The Truth About Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is usually the first treatment option that enters the minds of those who are diagnosed with cancer as it has become the normal response to a cancer diagnoses. It is one of the traditional responses to cancer in today’s modern medicine, but is it actually the best option to treat cancer?

What actually happens to the body when it undergoes such a strenuous chemical attack?

Are there more natural alternatives that could be just as effective?

History of Chemotherapy

Let’s begin by understanding the history behind chemotherapy. In World War I, many soldiers were killed or injured by a chemical gas known as mustard gas. Mustard gas is absorbed through the skin so gas masks were useless against this deadly weapon.

After WWI ended, thousands had died from or been crippled by mustard gas. As World War II began to approach, the Allies were fearful of more chemical attacks so they began to look into the creation of antidotes.

While researching the medical records of those who had been affected in WWI, the researchers saw that those men had decreased immune cell counts. They theorized that if mustard gas could kill healthy cells, it could also kill cancerous cells.

After successfully using nitrogen mustard (the compound used to make mustard gas) in animal trials, they received approval for their first human test.

A man known as J.D., who had severe lymphoma that prevented him from being able to swallow, sleep or even cross his arms because of the sizes of the tumors, became the first successful human test subject. Unfortunately, he died only six months later, but his story became the starting point for today’s modern chemotherapy treatments.
After WWII ended, UK chemist Professor Alexander Haddow began working with nitrogen mustard in an attempt to make it less toxic and more focused on its ability to kill cancer cells.

He was able to successfully tinker with the compound in such a way that revealed the characteristics necessary for preventing the growth of tumors in rats.

Years of development and study have molded Haddow’s work into the chemotherapy treatments used today.

Survival Statistics

Now that we understand its beginnings, it is important to take a look at the survival statistics as provided by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA).

The website provides statistics from the CTCA’s database and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program database, and they cover various types of cancers diagnosed between the years 2000 and 2013.

The following survival rates range from six months to five years after diagnosis based on the type of cancer from the SEER database (this database includes national results from a large number of institutions).

Some of these numbers are encouraging and others are challenging to acknowledge, but there are ways to fight cancer to give yourself or your loved one the best chance to survive this horrible disease.

As seen in the chart above, some of the cancers have higher survival rates than others, but did you know that the risk of getting a second cancer is still high after surviving the first round of cancer?

According to one holistic cancer strategist and breast cancer survivor, the connection between chemotherapy and the risk of developing a second cancer is not new information to the medical community.

The American Cancer Society has recognized that chemotherapy is a carcinogen that could lead to a second cancer after its use with the risk being even higher if chemotherapy and radiation are used together.

The most common “second cancers” associated with the use of chemotherapy and radiation are acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

Chemotherapy Ingredients

What specifically is in chemo that can cause a second type of cancer in the body? There are several types of chemotherapy agents that are used. They are commonly grouped according to their chemical structure.

Alkylating agents are drugs that prevent DNA replication in cells. They do this by binding to the DNA. The goal is to limit the cell’s ability to reproduce, and therefore, limit the growth of the cancer. Some of the most common examples of this type of drug includes mechlorethamine, cyclophosphamide, and ifosfamide.

Platinum-based drugs utilize platinum to interfere with the cellular process leading to cell death. Cisplatin, carboplatin and oxaliplatin are the traditional platinum-based chemotherapy drugs. According to one study, one of the major issues with this type of chemotherapy is tumor resistance. In addition to the high potential of resistance to platinum-based agents, the risk of developing leukemia greatly increases with increased use and when combined with radiation.

Topoisomerase inhibitors are drugs that prevent topoisomerases (enzymes that help separate DNA strands for replication) from performing separation. Topoisomerase II inhibitors including Etoposide and Teniposide can greatly increase the risk of leukemia as early as 2 to 3 years after it is given.

Mitotic inhibitors are plant-based derivatives that keep cells from dividing by stopping the production of the proteins necessary for cell reproduction. Examples include Docetaxel, Estramustine, Ixabepilone and others. Unfortunately, these agents can cause nerve damamge so they must be limited when used.

Corticosteroids (steroids) are commonly used for a variety of treatments apart from chemotherapy, but may also be used in cancer treatment. They are hormone-based drugs and may have familiar names—prednisone, methylprednisolone and dexamethasone. Oftentimes, steroids are specifically used to prevent nausea, vomiting and allergic reactions.

The greatest problem with using these drugs for the treatment of cancer is the fact that they are unable to differentiate between cancer cells and healthy cells.

If the chemotherapy drug is successfully altering or killing cancer cells, it is also successfully altering or killing healthy cells that are vital to recovery and healing.

One study indicated that the risk of developing leukemia after the use of chemotherapy and radiation to treat early-stage breast cancer in a large group of women was actually twice as high as had been previously reported.

Alternatives to Chemotherapy

The risk in using chemotherapy for treatment of cancer is evident, but what other alternatives are out there?
First, it is important to seek out the opinions of more than one doctor. Cancer treatment plans should really be individualized and include less-intense therapies combined with nutritional plans.

Targeted therapies focus on determining what pathways made the cancer like it is. The process specifically identifies which pathways to block and uses treatments to target and inhibit only those pathways.

This reduces the side-effects to little or none (i.e. a skin rash versus pneumonia) and shortens the length of time that a side-effect may occur (i.e. the length of the treatment versus the development of a second cancer ten years later). Some targeted therapies that have been approved for use by the FDA include:

Hormone therapies — prevents or interferes with the production of specific hormones. These have been approved for breast and prostate cancers.

Gene expression modulators — modify gene expression

Immunotherapy — specifically utilizes the immune system to target cancer cells

Apoptosis inducers — cause cancer cells to go through the apoptosis process

Angiogenesis inhibitors — used to block the growth of blood vessels to tumors

Monoclonal antibodies that deliver toxic molecules — uses antibodies that target specific cells (cancer cells). Once attached, it releases a chemical that kills the cell without attacking normal cells.

Nutrition also plays a huge role in the successful treatment of and recovery from cancer. Utilizing a nutritionist or holistic doctor who has experience treating cancer can speed the treatment and recovery processes by boosting the immune system and “starving” the cancer cells (through eliminating sugar intake).

Taking nutrients like Beta Glucan can help to boost your immune system tremendously.

Many studies have been performed that show the significant impact that specific nutrition choices while enduring cancer can have during the treatment and healing processes.

Chemotherapy is a harsh process that can take a significant toll on the body not only immediately, but also for years after. Not only can it cause serious health issues, but it can also be the source of a second cancer years after the first cancer. Alternative options should be considered just as or even more seriously as the initial route to healing a cancer as they can be just as effective with fewer and less intense short- and long-term side-effects.


Go to the next page and learn about a powerful nutrient that many proven drugs like Penicillin, Cyclosporin and Krestin have replicated after that can protect your body from cancer –


About the Author:

Emma Deangela is the best selling author of The Alkaline Diet Program and 80/20 Fat Loss. She has helped over tens of thousands of men and women to lose weight and transform their health with sound nutrition advice. Learn how you can lose weight fast – How to lose weight by adding these alkaline foods.

Do you or any of your friends or family undergo chemotherapy? Share with us more about your experience if it is effective or not?

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14 responses to “The Truth About Chemotherapy”

  1. Gisele king Avatar
    Gisele king

    Where can I purchase Beta Glucan? And can you take this as a vitamin supplement? I’m worried about my husbands intake on sugar. He seems addicted to it.

  2. Leanna George Avatar
    Leanna George

    First you have to test to see if your cancer is hormone related or not. Then a biopsy should be done, and tested to see which chemo drugs will work. I’ve been cancer free for 14 years, but there is damage to my body, mostly neuropathy of my feet, which us creeping up my legs. The problem with breast cancer is if it makes a blood line to lymph nodes. Also, depending on where the cancer is located, whether you need radiation. There are so many variables. The key to less damage is to have the tumor tested with chemo drugs to see which have synergy. They didn’t do that with me, so the doctor picked the first two chemo drugs and they didn’t work, then another biopsy showed what worked. Chemo is very damagingno doubt.

    1. DanMedlin Avatar

      Leanna George could you email me so that we could talk. I have male breast cancer and just completed chemo. They have radiation scheduled and I’m doubting that I need to take it.

  3. Laura Avatar

    What about Thyroid papillary cancer after radiation?l

  4. Pat Greco-Canaday Avatar
    Pat Greco-Canaday

    My husband(a very long, steady smoker)was diagnosed with lung cancer early last year. He let his PCP pick Dr.’s and treatment. Although my husband lost his hair from radiation
    Treatments he had no side effects from the chemo. The oncologists really marveled at that. However the cancer also went into the brain, 2 tumors. The brain radiation the 2nd time
    Saddened him so because he lost all his nice hair which had grown back. His taste buds were ruined and he no longer had any food or drink to look forward to. He passed this January. I do not think either treatment was right for him. They were just experiments on him.

  5. Bettie King Avatar
    Bettie King

    I have looked for an explanation to the question, “does chemo really work” Thank you for your answer. It is the first type of treatment offered to cancer patients, yet it never, or almost ever, brings about a cure . It is just “on to something else”. The suffering that goes along with it isn’t one feels they can even get through. Now, with the explanation that it brings on more 2nd cancers, makes you wonder if you should forget chemo and go it alone. My family has gone through the loss of 6 members with cancer…devastating. The rest wonder when it will be their turn! My husband died in l983 and the advancements made in the search for cures seems ridiculously slow since then. My husband’s cancer was lung, yes a heavy smoker. They operated but couldn’t do anything for him, but came to his room afterwards saying they would be starting chemo soon. When asked if chemo would help cure and was told “no, but that'[s all we’ve got. He was told to forget chemo and we checked out, starting a search to all the places offering help, including Mexico and Greece, which seemed to offer the most “visible help ” from people attending, like us. My husband’s uncle was treated with radiation, which was to wrong place, paralyzsing him for the rest of his life, an aunt and her daughter had breast, another colon, etc. , so you can see faith on cancer cures in our family is hard to find. Didn’t mean to go on, but the people we saw on our trips scared you so badly, you were afraid to believe anything doctors told you, and that included the “good old family doctors”. Talk about war stories….we have them. Thanks for your info.

  6. John Forrest Avatar
    John Forrest

    I am now in my third year of treatment for prostate cancer which has spread to the bones, is inoperable and incurable. I have been given different kinds of medication but without any success. My Oncologist suggested Chemo 9 months ago, but I refused. He then put me on a drug called Zytiga which had an immediate effect but has now shown signs of losing its impact. I was again told that Chemo was my option but again I refused. I then requested that I stay on Zytiga as my lifestyle was better than when I first started. He agreed that as I was happy then I should keep on using. I am 81 years old, live alone and while I am still able to look after myself will continue to refuse Chemo.

    1. William Ketelhohn Avatar
      William Ketelhohn

      Try organic maple syrup & aluminium free baking soda. Mix it 3 parts organic maple syrup + 1 part aluminium free baking soda Put it in a saucepan, place it on the stove bring it to the simmer keep stirring for at least 5 minutes. Put in a glass jar.
      Doc Replied Cancer loves sugar, when we ingest the mixture the cancer cells literally explode. The maple syrup is like a trojan horse. That did me. I came home got the ingredients and started it immediately. It is nearly 3 years & i am still here.

      1. Bay Mac Avatar

        Do you add any water to the maple syrup and baking soda?

        Sincere Thanks

        [email protected]

  7. Erastus Kahn Avatar
    Erastus Kahn

    Very helpful information provided here. Thank you ever so much.

  8. Sue Marie Leidner Avatar
    Sue Marie Leidner

    My husband had a radical prostatectomy in 2004 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer; having a PSA of 26 & a Gleason Score of 7. BTW, he had had a clean physical, including normal PSA, nine months earlier. He then had 38 sessions of radiation. He had no PSA detected, then years later his PSA began to increase. We then went to several docs to address the problem. We finally found a doc in Fountain Valley who said he would “cure” him. He was then given chemo in 2006 or 2007 (the same as breast cancer patients received) and has virtually been on it, in one form or another, since then. He has been getting DOCEtaxel every three weeks and although he’s alive, his physical condition is very compromised, to say the least (you know the drill; fatigue, “chemo brain,” pain, etc.) Around mid-February he had a chemo extravasation, from which he is still suffering. His infusion nurse, after two futile pokes, asked the charge nurse to try and she was “successful,” getting it in the vein but telling my husband to “be careful because it was not in very well,” after which my husband had to spend ten days in the hospital for pain management, after which he came home with a portable PCA on Dilaudid, which he’s still on. Although the redness has decreased, he still is in pain, weaning off the narcotics which give him temporary relief, but at the same time taking gabapentin, titrating up to 600mg TID. No doc or anyone else has given us a prognosis or how long this crisis will last. My husband is now considering a BurstDR device to mitigate the horrible pain from which he is suffering. He has to pass a pain psychologist’s interview and have a cervical spine MRI before he can qualify for a trial of seven days. If it’s successful, then he can, after several weeks, get the device implanted and perhaps experience a decrease in pain of 50%, and maybe up to 90%. We are hopeful that this can help us, as our lives have been immensely compromised and changed, hopefully not forever. If anyone out there has had or knows of anyone else who has experienced the same or a similar event, please comment to my post, as we feel so alone and unsupported. Thanks for reading this…

  9. Frances walbert Avatar
    Frances walbert

    I had breast cancer. They told me that i needed chemo to shrink the ca and then they would operate to remove the ca. I had a hormone lump. After surgery they said i needed radiation. I now have neuropathy in my ft and in my arm. I also have osteoporosis from the chemo. My dr. Took out 17 lympnnodes under my arm and now i suffer with numbness and tingling in my arm from my elbow up to and under my shoulder and armpit. They keep telling me that it takes time to heal. I am on a hormone drug that causes joint and muscle pain for the next 10yrs. I also have treatments every 3 wks. In my port for 1 yr. to supposedly prevent me from getting ca again. I have a lot of tenderness in my breast which they seem so surprised that it is still tender. The part that i like the best is that none of these people ever had ca themself. How do they know what i feel like. If i had to do it all over again, i would never do chemo again.

  10. Karen Scribner Avatar
    Karen Scribner

    My husband had (he is deceased) the MTHFR gene mutation that allowed some kinds of chemo to be toxic to him. He also was B12 deficient and because the oncologist would not test him for the MTHFR defect he was also given the wrong B12.
    MTHFR is estimated to be in 20-70% of the population. Autism is #1 on the list of diseases caused on along with fibromyalgia p, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, miscarriage, migraine.

  11. Marcel Avatar

    Good to see the survival statistics as provided by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA).

    For your report to be balanced you really need the same statistics for the other treatments you are suggesting.

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