Treatment side effects

Standard Cancer Treatments side effects

The cancer industry claims that standard treatments are “highly effective” while  downplaying the painful and sometimes lethal side effects. Here’s a quick look at some of the facts.



Possible complications for any surgical procedure include:

  • Complications related to anesthesia, including pneumonia, blood clots and, rarely, death
  • Infection at the incision site, which may worsen scarring and require additional surgery
  • Fluid build up under the skin
  • Mild bleeding, which may require another surgical procedure, or bleeding significant enough to require a transfusion
  • Obvious scarring or skin breakdown, which occurs when healing skin separates from healthy skin and must be removed surgically
  • Numbness and tingling from nerve damage, which may be permanent
    Source: Mayo Clinic

Atrial fibrillation after surgery increases risk of heart attacks, strokes.
An irregular heartbeat following surgery known as post-operative atrial fibrillation (POAF) often is dismissed as a transient phenomenon. But a study has found that POAF can significantly increase the risk of heart attack or stroke during the first 12 months after surgery.
Source: Science Daily / University of Toronto

A study (The efficacy of surgical treatment of breast cancer.) found:
The conclusion from the previous analysis, that surgery has not been shown to reduce mortality for any form of cancer, is therefore still valid.

A study (The efficacy of surgical treatment of cancer – 20 years later) published in 2014 concluded:
Caution: No benefits can be expected to be achieved from using cancer surgery except in a few immediately life-threatening situations. Surgery appears to be based on an invalid paradigm of what cancer is. Cancer appears to be a systemic disease and therefore standard treatments need to be reassessed in this light.

The following is published on the respected website

Biopsies and surgery can and do spread cancer cells

For a long time there have been rumblings about the possible dangers of cancer spread when having biopsies, for example, in breast cancer or prostate cancer. The issue is called seeding. Namely that when a needle is used up to 15 times to take samples across an area, it might hit an area of cancer on probe 3 and pass just a few cells on when probing all the following areas.

Just such an article appeared in the BMJ (July 2004) quoting a report from Australian surgeons whose stated view was that continuing liver biopsies gave rise to a serious risk of seeding and stating that such biopsy was useless and dangerous.

Surgery can make cancers grow faster

  • Life Extension Magazine in America reported as early as 1985 that cancer surgery increased the risk of metastases. By 2001 the British Journal of Cancer contained an article stating that removal of the primary tumour may result in sudden acceleration of the metastatic process. By 2009 in the Annals of Surgery, researchers reported that cancer surgery itself can create an environment in the body that greatly lessens the obstacles to metastases. This corroborates observations that relatively soon after surgery, metastatic lesions quickly emerge that were not necessarily evident prior to the surgical procedure Bill Fallon, Life Extension magazine.
  • In icon [Integrative Cancer and Oncology News magazine] we covered Italian Breast cancer research by Dr Romano Demicheli, which looked at women having mastectomies at the Milan Cancer Institute. The conclusion made was that some women relapsed quickly and the surgery had created biochemical changes actually promoting cancer cell and blood supply growth, and increasing tumour growth rates.

Ways surgery encourages cancer spread

Apart from physically disturbing and releasing cancer cells around the body, other cancer-proliferating activities happen with surgery.

  • Surgery involves fundamental biochemical changes in the body, from the effects of stress to inflammatory response to the production of healing hormones. On top of that, Doctors give you drugs at the same time – anaesthetics and antibiotics. You simply cannot think of surgery as an isolated incident in the body.
  • Anyway, your cancer may well not be an isolated island in your body. Far more likely is that the conditions of cancer exist all over your body. Research covered in icon Cancer Watch have shown that cancers produce secondary pre-cancer cells much earlier than previously thought. These rogue cells pass round the body to other tissues where they and their oncogenes lie dormant.
  • Research has also shown that tumours actually produce chemicals that stop vascular growth to these dormant cancer cells lying in other parts of the body. In other words the cancer cells need a blood supply in order to grow into a tumour but the main primary tumour actually stops rivals forming. Remove the primary and the others can come out to play. A great deal of research has focused on Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF). You can suppress VEGF with bioactive natural compounds like curcumin, green tea (EGCG), resveratrol, milk thistle and genistein (in soy and red clover).
  • Indeed, the actual healing process from any surgery see an increase in growth hormone levels in the body. Major surgery will produce a large growth hormone response. (This is one reason why I believe strongly that people with cancer should not touch one drop of mass market cows´ dairy. Because of the way the cows are kept, it increases blood levels of IGF-1, a growth hormone). Surgeons know this and have been trying to minimise surgery – for example using more lumpectomies or key hole surgery.
  • Surgery can cause localised inflammation through eicosanoids, short-lived but highly active hormones. Especialy if steroids are used at the same time. Cancer likes inflammation, it encourages its spread. Omega-3 from fish oil, a small aspirin, ginger, garlic, aloe vera, curcumin, and resveratrol can reduce the inflammation in the body. (Vane and others)
  • The antibiotics and drugs administered will damage your microbiome, the crucial bacteria in your gut that control your immune system, and keep pathogens and yeasts in check. Friendly bacteria in your microbiome also produce your B vitamins, vitamin K that protects your liver and short-chain esters that prevent build up of bad triglycerides and inflammatory compounds in the blood stream. We suggest you read our article ´Heal Ur Gut´ with some urgency and take probiotics and B complex during the period of the surgery.
  • The antibiotics and drugs actually reduce plasma levels of vitamin D. Yet it is known that people with cancer and low levels of vitamin D, survive least. Take 5000 IUs per day of vitamin D, at least.
  • Surgery uses anaesthetic., which is also known to reduce the immune system via the gut microbiome. Doctors typically measure the white cell count, but as we continually point out, there are many different types of white cells (T-cells, B-cells, macrophages etc). Research has shown that surgery greatly reduces the numbers of Natural Killer (NK) cells circulating in the blood you will have a much harder job to kill off a cancer cell after surgery. Readers will know that we have always advocated going into surgery with a strong immune system we have suggested a combination of astragalus, cats claw, turmeric, echinacea, total natural vitamin E, zinc, selenium, grape seed extract and natural vitamin C with bioflavenoids. Vitamins D and K have also been shown to help fight cancer cells in research.
  • The drugs and anaesthetic used during surgery, and the stress involved, can make the body more acidic. Cancer tumours are highly acidic. Research from Arizona, Chicago and H. Lee Moffitt has shown that acid conditions in the body increase metastases from tumours and that acidic conditions favour these metastatic cells ´taking hold´ and forming new tumours.


Important Safety Statement: Most side effects of radiotherapy, including radiotherapy delivered with Accuray systems, are mild and temporary, often involving fatigue, nausea, and skin irritation. Side effects can be severe, however, leading to pain, alterations in normal body functions (for example, urinary or salivary function), deterioration of quality of life, permanent injury and even death.
Source: Accuray (manufacturer of radiation therapy equipment)

Radiation side effects

  • Cell damage that leads to new cancer.
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Mouth and throat changes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Problems around sexuality and fertility in men
  • Problems around sexuality and fertility in women
  • Skin changes
  • Urination changes
    Source: The website of the National Cancer Institute (

Radiation therapy to the chest can cause:

  • Lung damage (scarring, inflammation, breathing difficulties)
  • Heart damage (scarring, inflammation, coronary heart disease)
  • Osteosarcoma (bone cancer)
  • Breast cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
    Source: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Study: Intensity-modulated radiation therapy, protons, and the risk of second cancers
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) allows dose to be concentrated in the tumor volume while sparing normal tissues. However, the downside to IMRT is the potential to increase the number of radiation-induced second cancers
…Intensity-modulated radiation therapy may double the incidence of solid cancers in long-term survivors.

Source: International Journal of Radiation Oncology


A 14-year study The contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adult malignancies published in Clinical Oncology in 2004 explored the contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to five year survival in 250 000 adults with solid cancers from Australian and US randomised trials. An important effect was shown on five year survival only in testicular cancer (40%), Hodgkin’s disease (37%), cancer of the cervix (12%), lymphoma (10.5%), and ovarian cancer (8.8%). Together, these represented less than 10% of all cases. In the remaining 90% of patients—including those with the commonest tumours of the lung, prostate, colorectum, and breast—drug therapy increased five year survival by less than 2.5%—an overall survival benefit of around three months.
Study Results:
The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA.
Study Conclusion:
As the 5-year relative survival rate for cancer in Australia is now over 60%, it is clear that cytotoxic chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival…

Study Authors:
Graeme Morgan, Department of Radiation Oncology, Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, NSW;
Robyn Ward, Department of Medical Oncology, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, NSW;
Michael Barton, Collaboration for Cancer Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Liverpool Health Service, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Read the full article in PubMed

NEW 2019

Breast Cancer drugs Paclitaxel and Herceptin can cause fatal lung disease.

On 16 July, 2019, The Worthing Herald reported on the case  Cecilia Francis, known as Celia, died at Worthing Hospital from lung disease induced by the chemotherapy drugs paclitaxel and herceptin, which she was given as ‘add-on’ treatment for breast cancer, on October 28 last year.

An inquest into her death, held at Crawley Coroner’s Court on Friday, July 12, heard that the 61-year-old of Furzeholme, Worthing, had not been informed that pnemonitis, an inflammation of the lungs, was a potentially life-threatening side effect of these drugs in the literature from cancer charities that she was given at hospital.

This 2017 study shows that Paclitaxel promotes the spread of cancer cells to the lungs.

One dose of 5-FU chemotherapy can kill you if you have a DPD enzyme deficiency. 

5-FU (5-fluorouracil) includes the following brand names:
Carac Tolak
Xeloda (Capecitabine)

This meta-analysis  published in 2019 by The American College of Cardiology, reported that cardiovascular disease symptoms and heart attacks were observed in as little as 12 hours of intravenous infusions of 5-FU. Toxic reactions also include heart failure, seizures, and coma.

Dihydropyrimidine Dehydrogenase (DPD) is the liver enzyme largely responsible for deactivating and detoxifying more than 80% of 5-FU from the body. Without the DPD enzyme, fluorouracil-based drugs (5-FU and capecitabine) continue to poison the body indefinitely, resulting in overwhelming toxicity, collateral damage, and for some, agonizing death.

There is a blood test to check for the DPD enzyme deficiency, but most cancer patients are not given this test, or even told about it, before they are given 5-FU.

There is also an antidote to 5-FU poisoning called Vistoguard (uridine triacetate), but it must be given within 4 days, and it is very expensive.

Chemo spill

Accidental Chemo spill

A study published in The Lancet (Sept. 2016)
30-day mortality after systemic anticancer treatment for breast and lung cancer in England: a population-based, observational study found:

Out of 28,364 patients with Breast Cancer who received Systemic Anticancer treatment (chemo), 700 died within 30 days of treatment start date.

Out of 15,045 patients with Lung Cancer who received Systemic Anticancer treatment, 1,274 died within 30 days of treatment start date.

Some of these patients died of disease progression or from other causes.

SACT = Systemic AntiCancer Treatment
Read the full article in Lancet Oncology

This study published in 2017 says chemotherapy “ may increase cancer cell dissemination and induce a more aggressive tumor phenotype with increased metastasis.”

Chemo can cause cancer to return
This study states:
Interestingly, rates of tumor cell repopulation have been shown to accelerate in the intervals between successive courses of treatment, and solid tumors commonly show initial responses followed by rapid regrowth and subsequent resistance to further chemotherapy. Our results indicate that damage responses in benign cells comprising the tumor microenvironment may directly contribute to enhanced tumor growth kinetics.

“Most cancer patients in this country die of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy does not eliminate breast, colon, or lung cancers. This fact has been documented for over a decade, yet doctors still use chemotherapy for these tumors.”
— Allen Levin, MD, UCSF — The Healing of Cancer

A look at five chemo (and other) drugs commonly given to cancer patients. The side-effects listed below are only a sample of the full range of side-effects observed. Please see individual manufacturers site for further details.

What causes cardiac toxicity?

Source: texas Oncology

There are many possible causes of cardiac toxicity. In cancer patients, cardiac toxicity may be caused by radiation to the chest and some chemotherapy drugs.

The most well-known cause of cardiac toxicity is the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin (Adriamycin®). Doxorubicin is a type of chemotherapy drug called an anthracycline. Anthracyclines may be used to treat leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma and breast cancer. Other anthracyclines are:

  • Daunorubicin (Cerubidine®)
  • Epirubicin (Ellence®)
  • Idarubicin (Idamycin®)

Other chemotherapy drugs that may cause cardiac toxicity are:

  • Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan®)
  • Fluorouracil (5-FU)
  • Mitoxantrone (Novantrone®)

Cancer drugs that have been reported to cause abnormalities in heart rate or rhythm in more than 10% of patients include:

  • Arsenic trioxide (Trisenox®)
  • Daunorubicin (Cerubidine®)
  • Denileukin diftitox (Ontak®)
  • Gemtuzumab ozogamicin (Mylotarg®)
  • Idarubicin (Idamycin®)
  • Melphalan (Alkeran®)
  • Octreotide (Sandostatin®)
  • Oprevelkin (Neumega®)
  • Paclitaxel (Taxol®)
  • Tretinoin (Vesanoid®)


Generic Name: Trastuzumab
Brand Names: Herceptin
Manufacturer: Roche

Condition or Diseases treated: Breast cancer

Information source:

Boxed WARNINGS and Additional Important Safety Information


  • Herceptin administration can result in sub-clinical and clinical cardiac failure. The incidence and severity was highest in patients receiving Herceptin with anthracycline-containing chemotherapy regimens

Infusion Reactions; Pulmonary Toxicity

  • Herceptin administration can result in serious and fatal infusion reactions and pulmonary toxicity. Symptoms usually occur during or within 24 hours of Herceptin administration.

Embryo-Fetal Toxicity

  • Exposure to Herceptin during pregnancy can result in oligohydramnios and oligohydramnios sequence manifesting as pulmonary hypoplasia, skeletal abnormalities, and neonatal death.


  • Herceptin administration can result in sub-clinical and clinical cardiac failure. The incidence and severity was highest in patients receiving Herceptin with anthracycline-containing chemotherapy regimens. In a pivotal adjuvant breast cancer trial, one patient who developed CHF died of cardiomyopathy
  • Herceptin can cause left ventricular cardiac dysfunction, arrhythmias, hypertension, disabling cardiac failure, cardiomyopathy, and cardiac death
  • Herceptin can also cause asymptomatic decline in LVEF

Infusion Reactions

  • Herceptin administration can result in serious and fatal infusion reactions
  • Infusion reactions consist of a symptom complex characterized by fever and chills, and on occasion include nausea, vomiting, pain (in some cases at tumor sites), headache, dizziness, dyspnea, hypotension, rash, and asthenia

Tamoxifen (Nolvadex)side effects Tamoxifen
Manufacturer: AstraZeneca
Condition or Diseases treated: Breast cancer
Information source

Pregnancy. There have been a small number of reports of spontaneous abortions, birth defects and foetal deaths after women have taken Nolvadex, although no causal relationship has been established.

An increased incidence of endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma (mostly malignant mixed Mullerian tumours) has been reported in association with Nolvadex treatment. The underlying mechanism is unknown, but may be related to the oestrogen-like effect of Nolvadex. Any patients receiving or having previously received Nolvadex, who report abnormal gynaecological symptoms, especially vaginal bleeding, should be promptly investigated.

A number of second primary tumours, occurring at sites other than the endometrium and the opposite breast, have been reported in clinical trials, following the treatment of breast cancer patients with tamoxifen. No causal link has been established and the clinical significance of these observations remains unclear.

Breast cancer patients initially treated with tamoxifen have a twofold increased risk of uterine corpus cancer, with particularly high risks seen for rare tumors of the mixed mullerian type.
Source: Second Cancers – Landmark Studies

Avastin (Bevacizumab)side effects avastin
Manufacturer: Roche Group
Condition or Diseases treated: Metastatic Colorectal Cancer
Information supplied by: Genentech USA

Possible serious side effects

Most serious side effects (not common, but sometimes fatal):
GI perforation
A hole that develops in your stomach or intestine. Symptoms include pain in your abdomen, nausea, vomiting, constipation, or fever
Wounds that don’t heal
A cut made during surgery can be slow to heal or may not fully heal.

Serious bleeding
This includes vomiting or coughing up blood; bleeding in the stomach, brain, or spinal cord; nosebleeds; and vaginal bleeding.

What are the other possible serious side effects?
% = Percentage of patients who had this side effect in clinical studies across different cancers

Severe high blood pressure 18%
Blood pressure that severely spikes or shows signs of affecting the brain.
Kidney problems 7%
These may be caused by too much protein in the urine and can sometimes be fatal
Infusion reactions 3%
Infusion reactions include high blood pressure or severe high blood pressure that
may lead to stroke
trouble breathing
decreased oxygen in red blood cells
a serious allergic reaction
chest pain
excessive sweating.
Severe stroke or heart problems 2.6%
These may include blood clots, mini-stroke, heart attack, and chest pain.
These can sometimes be fatal
Abnormal passage in the body 2%
This type of passage—known as a fistula—is an irregular connection from one part of the body to another and can sometimes be fatal
Nervous system and vision problems 0.5%
Signs include headache, seizure, high blood pressure, sluggishness, confusion, and blindness

What are the side effects seen most often?
In clinical studies across different types of cancer, some patients experienced the following side effects:

  • High blood pressure
  • Too much protein in the urine
  • Nosebleeds
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Back pain
  • Headache
  • Taste change
  • Dry skin
  • Inflammation of the skin
  • Inflammation of the nose
  • Watery eyes

Afinitor (Everolimus)side effects AFINITOR
Manufacturer: Novartis

Condition or Diseases treated: Breast cancer
Information source: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation


  • Non-infectious pneumonitis: Monitor for clinical symptoms or radiological changes; fatal cases have occurred.
  • Infections: Increased risk of infections, some fatal.
  • Renal failure: Cases of renal failure (including acute renal failure), some with a fatal outcome, have been observed.
  • Angioedema: Patients taking concomitant ACE inhibitor therapy may be at increased risk for angioedema.
  • Oral ulceration: Mouth ulcers, stomatitis, and oral mucositis are common.
  • Impaired wound healing: Increased risk of wound-related complications.
  • Laboratory test alterations:
    Elevations of serum creatinine, urinary protein, blood glucose, and lipids may occur. Decreases in hemoglobin, neutrophils, and platelets may also occur.
  • Embryo-Fetal Toxicity: Can cause fetal harm.

Alimta (Pemetrexed)side effects Alimta
Manufacturer: Eli Lilly
Condition or Diseases treated: Non-small cell lung cancer

Information Source: Eli Lilly

ALIMTA can suppress bone marrow function, which may cause low blood cell counts.

Call your doctor right away if you have a fever, chills, diarrhea, or mouth sores. These symptoms could mean you have an infection, which may be severe and could lead to death.

The most common side effects of ALIMTA when given alone or in combination with cisplatin are:

  • Stomach upset, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.
  • Low blood cell counts:

    • Low red blood cells. Low red blood cells may make you feel tired, get tired easily, appear pale, and become short of breath.
    • Low white blood cells. Low white blood cells may give you a greater chance for infection.
    • Low platelets. Low platelets give you a greater chance for bleeding. Your doctor will do blood tests to check your blood counts before and during treatment with ALIMTA.
  • Tiredness. You may feel tired or weak for a few days after your ALIMTA treatments.
  • Redness or sores in your mouth, throat, on your lips, or in the tube that connects your throat and stomach (esophagus). You may get redness or sores in your mouth, throat, on your lips, or in your esophagus (stomatitis, pharyngitis, esophagitis) or you may feel pain or have difficulty when drinking or swallowing food. These symptoms may happen a few days after ALIMTA treatment.
  • Loss of appetite. You may lose your appetite and lose weight during your treatment.
  • Rash. You may get a rash or itching during treatment. These reactions usually appear between treatments with ALIMTA and usually go away before the next treatment. Skin reactions or rashes that include blistering or peeling may be severe and could lead to death. These are not all the side effects of ALIMTA. For more information, ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.

Zoladex (Goserelin acetate)side effects Zoladex
Condition or Diseases treated: Prostate cancer
Information supplied by:

  • Cardiovascular Diseases:
    Increased risk of myocardial infarction, sudden cardiac death and stroke has been reported in association with use of GnRH analogs in men.

Less common:

  • Fast or irregular heartbeat


  • Bone, muscle, or joint pain
  • changes in skin color of the face
  • fainting
  • fast or irregular breathing
  • numbness or tingling of the hands or feet
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes
  • skin rash, hives, or itching
  • sudden, severe decrease in blood pressure and collapse
  • tightness in the chest
  • troubled breathing
  • Pain in the chest
  • pain in the groin or legs (especially in the calves of the legs)

Minor Side Effects

More common:

  • Sudden sweating and feelings of warmth (also called hot flashes)

Less common:

  • Blurred vision
  • burning, itching, redness, or swelling at the place of injection
  • decreased interest in sexual intercourse
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • nausea or vomiting
  • swelling and increased tenderness of the breasts
  • swelling of the feet or lower legs
  • trouble sleeping
  • weight gain

Less common:

  • Bone pain
  • constipation
  • decreased size of the testicles
  • inability to have or keep an erection

For a full list of all your treatment options please see Treatment Options

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