Volume 3, Issue 29
August 5, 2010

Cancer treatments increase your risk of heart disease, arthritis, and other illnesses

What would you say if I told you that cancer therapy works? It kills cancer. Not surprising, right? But what if I then told you that this same cancer therapy will significantly increase your risk of heart disease, second cancers, arthritis, and a host of other problems?

Well, an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine says that's exactly what happens.

In the study, the researchers followed children who received these treatments between 1970 and 1986. All of them were under the age of 21 when they started treatment. All of them suffered from other illnesses later in life. And all of these illnesses were directly related to the chemo and radiation.

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The worst problem happened to the kids treated for Hodgkin's disease, and cancers of the bones and the brain. The girls generally fared worse than the boys. I was immediately reminded of a beautiful young woman I saw last year. At the age of 39, her doctor told her she had colon cancer, and it had spread throughout her body. Why? Because they had treated her for Hodgkin's disease seven years before. They never told her of the increased risk.

So this is not just a problem for children. It's a problem for anyone who takes chemo or radiation treatments.

According to this study, cancer survivors had almost twice the risk of developing at least one chronic health problem.ÿ They were five times more likely to have three or more ailments. And they were six times more likely to develop illnesses that were severe, life-threatening, or disabling.

But it was Dr. Kevin C. Oeffinger's quote that really irritated me. He's the director of the program for adult survivors of pediatric cancer at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He said, this risk of future problems "is unavoidable, given the toxicity of the therapies."

Why would that upset me so much? Because he's wrong. If you have cancer treatment, you don't have to suffer with heart disease, arthritis, or any other disease later in life. Oncologists routinely ignore anything that is natural for their patients. All they want to do is kill the cancer. So what if the patient becomes ill as a result? Let's just call it collateral damage.

I just had a patient the other week who developed breast cancer. Her oncologist not only did not discuss diet, stress, nutritional therapies, or detoxification with her, but he actually cautioned her against taking "any vitamins of any kind." His reasoning was that anything that helps healthy cells must also be helping cancer cells. This thinking not only makes no sense, it also has no scientific basis. Cancer cells are abnormal cells. What helps normal cells is unlikely to help cancer cells.

In fact, the majority of studies published show that taking high dose antioxidants during either chemotherapy or radiation therapy usually improves the effects of these treatments.

If you ever contract cancer, do all you can to boost your immune system with diet and supplements and rid your body of toxins. Your life and your quality of life depend on it.

Finding your Real Cures,

Frank Shallenberger, MD

Ref: Moss RW. Should patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy be prescribed antioxidants? Integr Cancer Ther. 2006 Mar;5(1):63-82.

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