(BeWellBuzz) Cancer is society’s biggest enemy – more than 7 million people die prematurely due to cancer every year. Recently, researchers stumbled upon a chance discovery that challenges the wisdom of using chemotherapy, which, so far, is considered to be the most effective cancer treatment.
Chemotherapy fuels tumor growth
Researchers made this unexpected discovery while trying to find answers to why cancerous cells are so difficult to kill inside a human body when the same cells can be killed easily in the lab. While studying the effect of chemotherapy, a standard cancer treatment, on tissue obtained from prostate cancer patients, scientists found evidence of DNA damage in non-cancerous cells after chemotherapy. These findings, published in the medical journal National Medicine, raises serious concerns about the efficacy of chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy, as you may know, works by killing cancerous cells. However, chemotherapy drugs cannot differentiate between healthy cells and cancer cells, and attack both with the same vigor. Scientists have found that non-cancerous cells that were damaged by chemo drugs release a certain protein, WNT 16B, in high quantities. WNT 16B secreted by healthy cells damaged by chemo drugs interact with nearby cancer cells, increasing their survival rate and, more disturbingly, making them more resilient to other treatments.
DNA mutations caused by chemo drugs may be passed to future generations
Studies show that chemotherapy drugs can cause DNA mutations. Scientists suspect that these DNA mutations may be passed to a patient’s future generations as well. In other words, chemotherapy drugs may negatively affect a patient’s entire hereditary line.
Animal studies suggest that cancer drugs make cancer cells metastasize
Researchers at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, Boston, studied the effect of cancer drugs and found that they caused cancer cells to metastasize aggressively.
In their findings, scientists noted that cancer drugs, sunitinib and imatanib, caused cancer cells to metastasize. Sunitinib (brand name Sutent) is used for the treatment of gastrointestinal tumors, while imatanib (brand name Gleevec) is used for treating gastrointestinal stromal tumors and chronic myelogenous leukemia. The size of the tumor may initially reduce when these drugs are administered. However, these drugs make cancer cells metastasize aggressively over time.
These cancer drugs, as well as many other cancer drugs, work on the principle of anti-angiogenesis, a process that inhibits the growth of new blood cells. When scientists stimulated anti-angiogenesis in mice, they found that although the size of the tumor first decreased, it increased afterward by as much as 300%. The findings of this study were published in the January issue of Cancer Cell.
Natural substances are effective in controlling/preventing cancer
Natural alternatives, such as turmeric, have shown promise in controlling and preventing cancer.
While reviewing 11 studies, experts concluded that turmeric can reduce the size of brain tumors by as much as 81%. Additional studies have also confirmed that it is a potent anti-cancer agent, and can even stop tumors from growing completely.
Vitamin D is another effective anti-cancer nutrient. It is believed to be better at fighting cancer than many conventional cancer drugs. The optimal range of Vitamin D for cancer patients is higher than that for healthy individuals. That is why cancer patients are recommended to undergo a special blood test called 25(OH)D, before using Vitamin D for its anti-cancer capabilities. The optimal range of Vitamin D in healthy individuals is 50-70 ng/ml, while the range for treating cancer is 70-100 ng/ml.
Other natural substances, besides ginger and Vitamin D, are also effective in preventing cancer. Early animal studies show that other natural substances, such as saffron, are also effective in controlling cancer. Let’s take a look at some of these natural anti-cancer agents:
- Saffron – Scientists studied the effect of saffron in rats that had liver cancer and found that it slowed the spread of cancer cells and killed them. The findings of this study were published in Hepatology.
- Selenium – An antioxidant mineral, Selenium is believed to reduce the risk of bladder cancer.
- Whole Ginger Extract – According to an article published in the British Journal of Nutrition, whole ginger extract has shown promise in the treatment of prostate cancer. To get the therapeutic effect of ginger compounds, prostate cancer patients should consume 3.5 ounces of this substance daily.
Is it time we look beyond chemotherapy?
Maybe yes. More studies should be performed to better understand the role of natural substances in cancer treatment.
Recent studies show that cancer drugs are not only ineffective in treating cancer, but that they cause the tumor to metastasize aggressively, and, thus, decrease the lifespan of cancer patients. Also chemotherapy is astronomically expensive, leaving many patients or their families financially ruined while the drug companies continue to profit. That’s why prevention should be a main priority and natural substances such as turmeric should be considered in treating cancer and do not cause any harmful side effects.
Do your research before you commit to being poisoned with chemotherapy.