When you think about cancer treatment, what immediately jumps to mind? If you’re like most people, it’s probably some combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. However, these conventional therapies can actually make things worse by damaging the immune system instead of healing it. I witness every day how they’re counterproductive to healing and leave the body vulnerable to infection.
As Dr. Tony Jimenez has already written, our immune system is an amazingly complex and wondrous natural defense, so let’s strengthen (not weaken) it, so it can do its job!
Let’s first look at how “the big three” in cancer treatments affect the immune system, and I’ll show you some better alternatives
We all know surgery causes major stress on the body, but did you know it also suppresses the immune system? I’m always surprised to hear patients call surgery an endpoint when, in fact, it’s just the beginning of a long road to recovery. It can take several months for the immune system to bounce back from even a minor surgery, and during that time, infections in the lungs, sinuses, urinary tract, and more can run rampant.
Surgery directly affects the immune system in other ways, too. Our skin is our bodies’ first line of defense against infection. Because it’s cut open during surgery, a whole host of bacteria and germs can easily enter and trigger a local infection. Additionally, surgery to remove a tumor often also includes the removal of lymph nodes. Healthy lymph nodes help filter out harmful substances, support white blood cells in the fight against infection, and trigger immune responses. So when they’re removed, it causes a major disruption. Even minor injuries after a surgery, such as bug bites and paper cuts, can suddenly overwhelm the immune system, leading to infection.
“Chemotherapy drugs work by killing the rapidly proliferating cancer cells that are making you sick. The downside is that they can also damage healthy white blood cells, which are normally the backbone of your immune system and are constantly replenished. A reduced white blood cell count, a common side effect of cancer treatment, leaves you susceptible to infections, including those caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi….When your white cells are low, a small infection can quickly escalate into a serious health threat.”
If you’re still not convinced, let me share with you some scary statistics courtesy of Dr. Joseph Mercola:
“The National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) found that more than four in 10 patients who received chemotherapy toward the end of life suffered potentially fatal effects from the drugs, and treatment was ‘inappropriate’ in nearly a fifth of cases. In a study of more than 600 cancer patients who died within 30 days of receiving treatment, chemotherapy probably caused or hastened death in 27 percent of cases, the inquiry found.”
I can’t speak for you, but that’s certainly enough to make me think twice before agreeing to a chemotherapy regimen.
3. Radiation Therapy
While not quite as assaulting as chemotherapy, radiation therapy still has the potential to mess with your immune system. It can irritate the skin to the point that it breaks, allowing bacteria and germs to easily enter the body. It can also create scar tissue, which can damage surrounding lymph nodes and lead to a long-term risk of infection. Additionally, if radiation is directed at the bones, it can lower your white blood cell count, which significantly weakens your immune system.
In addition, a recent study at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center found that even when radiation is killing some cancer cells, it’s also making the cells that survive even more malignant—up to 30 times more likely! So while the treatment reduces the number of cancer cells, making it appear to be effective, it’s actually causing even more long-term harm.
I don’t tell you all of this to scare you. Instead, I want to tell you that, thankfully, better alternatives exist. At Hope4Cancer, we have several therapies that treat cancer and actually boost the immune system at the same time. Our nontoxic cancer-fighting agents keep normal tissues and cells healthy while attacking cancer cells—as well as minimizing significant side effects. Our Sono-Photo Dynamic Therapy, and Indiba Hyperthermia, to name just a couple examples, destroy cancer cells and stimulate the immune system, and our Full Spectrum Nutrition system is another overall immune booster. We also work to eliminate infections agents from the body, restoring it to its balanced, healthy state.
In short, at Hope4Cancer we help our patients restore their immune systems so their bodies can heal their cancer from the inside. We know if the immune system isn’t an active participant in ridding the body of cancer stem cells and non-stem cells, we have little chance of helping our cancer patients heal.
In future blog posts, we’ll discuss the everyday threats to the immune system as well as the new immunotherapy treatments that have been getting a lot of attention lately. We look forward to having you along for the ride.