Once you find out you have cancer, the first thing you want to do is to get rid of it. That's only natural. Get it the heck out of my body. But is this really the smartest thing to do? In many cases, I don't think so. And now a new study is bearing me out on this.
First, let's get one thing clear. If you have a cancer that can be safely removed surgically, get it out. No exceptions. I've seen way too many patients who avoided a surgery that could have cured them only to have the cancer eventually spread to a point where surgery is no longer effective. So don't wait. I'll say it again, just because it's so important. If you have a cancer that can be safely removed surgically, get it out. But what if surgery is not an option? What if the cancer has already spread to the point that a surgical cure is impossible? That's where it starts to get dicey.
The conventional approach to advanced cancer has always been to attack it with an intense and aggressive course of high-dose chemotherapy. The idea is that by doing that you will eventually completely eradicate the cancer from your body. But here's the problem. Complete eradication of advanced cancer is rare – about three to four cases out of 100. Why such a bad response? It's because cancers don't consist of just one kind of cell.
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There are all kinds of mutated cells in any cancer. And they're different. Some of them will be killed by the chemo, but others won't. So high-dose chemotherapy may actually worsen the situation by killing off all of the chemo-sensitive cells while leaving the drug-resistant cells to grow unopposed. This means that sooner or later, none of the cancer cells will be sensitive to chemo. That's when the case becomes fatal. And that's not all. The toxic side effects of high-dose chemotherapy can be overwhelming – not only leading to anemia, hair loss, nausea, and extreme fatigue. But it's also crippling the body's immune system, and even causing a second cancer. So is there another way?
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Enriquez-Navas PM, Kam Y, et al. Exploiting evolutionary principles to prolong tumor control in preclinical models of breast cancer. Sci Transl Med. 2016 Feb 24;8(327):327