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The Adjuvant Conundrum: Need For Alternative Breast Cancer Treatments

Traditional Adjuvant Therapies

In this article we will take a look at the problems breast cancer adjuvant therapies available through mainstream medicine.  Adjuvant therapies are treatments that follow the primary treatment (typically surgery or radiation) with the intention of eliminating and preventing recurrence of breast cancer.

There are different types of adjuvant interventions that are used for breast cancer.  These include:  chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy.  The long term continuation of these therapies is not without serious side effects, and patients have to consider the deterioration in their quality of life and also their increased susceptibility to other diseases as consequences of these therapies.


What Do Breast Cancer Patients Feel About Them

A study conducted by University of Pennsylvania researchers looked closely at breast cancer message boards and found that breast cancer survivors often talk about the drug side effects and possibly even discontinuing adjuvant therapies because of their severe side effects.  Given that the United States has 2.5 million breast cancer survivors, their choices can make a big difference in the long term survival outcome of a large population of patients.

When people are suffering they sometimes need to voice their opinion or ask questions to get answers to their concerns. Many are considering alternative breast cancer treatments, but they don’t know where to begin and what would be safe.  Being able to stay anonymous sometimes helps the patients to voice what they are really feeling without fear of reprisal or judgment.  That is why they go to websites like or those sponsored by Komen and Oprah to communicate with like-minded people

One of the most common adjuvant therapies offered are drugs known as aromatase inhibitors, which is the subject of many message board discussion strings.  These drugs are given to hormone positive breast cancer patients after their initial treatment, and have to be continued for years.  They can cause side effects such as severe joint pain, swelling, cognitive issues, overall achiness etc.  One patient on aromatase inhibitors reports the following which tells the story: “ … (I) feel like I’m 80 when I’m mid-50s …”.  The scale of use of this drug family can be estimated when you consider its yearly revenue of about $3.5 billion worldwide.

Most women never complete taking the aromatase inhibitors because of the intense side effects. As a matter of fact almost 50 percent of women do not finish the course, putting them at greater risk of recurrence or dying of other causes.

The results of the research showed that about 18 percent of women that wrote on breast cancer message boards talked about the side effects. Arthralgia (joint, muscle and skeletal pain) was the number one complaint in these message board posts. In addition hot flashes, night sweats, and bone loss were also mentioned.  Loss of energy and well-being were also reported as big problems.

Almost half of the people offering advice said to try pain killers as the solution to the problem, with others suggesting herbal remedies, exercise, or consulting a doctor. Surprisingly only a mere 8 percent suggested that the patient should stay on the drugs, which is creating a big problem in the long term view of breast cancer treatment for patients.


Alternative Breast Cancer Treatments

What many patients who adhere to their adjuvant programs tell themselves is that they do not really have an option.  Despite not having faith in their treatment, they continue with it for fear of the cancer returning if they do not do it.  In the process, they deal with the massive side effects that alters their life significantly.

The good news is that alternative cancer treatment options exist.  Alternative cancer treatments provide an opportunity for patients instead of the long and arduous journey with adjuvant therapies.

Dr. Jimenez, Medical Director of the Hope4Cancer Treatment Centers and a pioneer in alternative medicine says, “We treat many breast cancer patients after they have gone through traditional treatments.  The fact is that most patients do not realize that resorting to adjuvant therapies is an attempt to artificially keeping the cancer from returning.  It does not change the terrain that caused the cancer in the first place and, if anything, enhances the toxic environment and throws off the homeostatic balance.”

He continues, “My advice to breast cancer patients is this:  just because the cancer may seem to be gone after treatment, do not take it for granted that it will not return.  At the same time, the patient does not have to relegate themselves to a life of misery, following treatment protocols that are toxic and harmful. Alternative breast cancer treatments may have the answer.  With the right guidance, we help our patients alter the environment in their body using safe, non-toxic methods, and re-train their body to live normally without having to suffer through the devastating side effects of mainstream therapies”.



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