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Weigh the Risks vs. Rewards of Radiation

I’ve talked a lot about the limitations – and even the dangers – of conventional cancer therapies. In fact, even when conventional therapies have some success against cancer tumors, their effectiveness against cancer stem cells is almost nonexistent.

As you know, stem cells carry the information needed to create every cell in the body. Stem cells not only divide, but also differentiate, making different types of cells with specialized functions, such as blood cells, muscle cells, connective tissue cells, nerve cells, and others. The body maintains a reserve of stem cells used whenever a replenishment of different cell types are needed.

Unfortunately, tumors also have stem cells, and these cancer stem cells have special properties that make cancer difficult to heal. While cancer stem cells only compose less than 1 percent of the tumor, these cells contain all of the information needed to regrow a tumor. In other words, even if a treatment is capable of eradicating nearly all of the remaining 99 percent of a tumor, those remaining stem cells can simply regrow what was just eliminated. To make matters worse, stem cells are often difficult to target because they can easily morph into other forms of cancer cells.

Causing More Harm Than Good

Cancer stem cells have been proven to be very resistant to radiation and chemotherapy. But even more concerning is research from the UCLA Department of Radiation Oncology at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, which showed that even while radiation is capable of eliminating half of breast cancer tumor cells during a typical treatment, it also transformed other non-cancer stem cells into new cancer stem cells.

Plus, the research also showed that the newly created breast cancer stem cells were 30 times more effective in their ability to create tumors, as compared to the original stem cells. In other words, not only did the radiation fail to eliminate the cancer stem cells, but it had the opposite effect of making new cancer stem cells even more powerful than the originals.

The researchers believe the cancer cells are using the same cellular mechanisms that allow other cells to adapt and survive in the face of stressors. Dr. Frank Pajonk, associate professor of radiation oncology and researcher at Jonsson Cancer Center, explains:

“We found that these induced breast cancer stem cells (iBCSC) were generated by radiation-induced activation of the same cellular pathways used to reprogram normal cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) in regenerative medicine. It was remarkable that these breast cancers used the same reprogramming pathways to fight back against the radiation treatment.”

Try the Safer Approach

Further research that studied this effect of radiation against cancer cells only added more evidence that conventional cancer therapies, such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, have very little effect against systemic (or advanced) disease. In fact, these therapies really have no way of targeting cancer stem cells and generally have no effect—or, as we discussed above, the opposite effect.

In truth, cancer is only healed by treatments that serve to boost the body’s immune system to allow the body to heal itself. Only by using gentle, nontoxic therapies that support the body – instead of stressing it – can be successful in the long run.

If your doctor has recommended radiation to treat your cancer, I encourage you to get in touch with Hope4Cancer for a second opinion so we can discuss some alternative therapies that allow the immune system to be the primary participant in the healing process. We’d love to help you!

Dr. Subrata Chakravarty is the Chief Science and Technology Officer at Hope4Cancer. Join the conversation by tweeting @Hope4CancerMex or commenting on the blog or Facebook page.

4 thoughts on “Weigh the Risks vs. Rewards of Radiation

  1. Buenas tardes. Tengo una hija de 34 años diagnosticada con cáncer de cerviz, el tumor ya tiene 8cm. Y no lo operan. Le están haciendo quimioterapia 1 vez por semana y radioterapia de lunes a viernes. Hoy el dolor fue tan fuerte que no le pudieron hacer la radioterapia. Le aplican morfina y la Dra. Le dijo que ya no le podían dar medicamentos mas fuertes para el dolor, que sólo ir por urgencias a la clínica. Por favor ayudemos. No se que podemos hacer. Lleva dos semanas de tratamiento.

    1. Lamentamos mucho escuchar sobre el diagnóstico de su hija y todo lo que está pasando. Tratamos el cáncer de cuello uterino en nuestros centros. Recomendaría programar una consulta telefónica gratuita para discutir el tratamiento potencial. Simplemente visite y complete algunas preguntas breves. Una vez completado, tiene la opción de reservar su propia cita con un Consejero de Admisiones. Si no reserva su propia cita, un miembro de nuestro equipo lo llamará lo antes posible. También puede llamar a nuestras oficinas durante el horario laboral, de lunes a viernes de 8am-5pm PST, y sábados de 9am-1pm de EE. UU. 1.888.544.5993 / internacional: +1.619.669.6511

  2. I am looking for some clarification of my diagnosis. Five years ago I was diagnosed with DCIS invasive ductal carcinoma in my left breast. I had surgery and radiation and aromatase inhibitor, which I only took for 2 of the 5 years. Recently I was diagnosed again ,this time in the right breast, again DCIS invasive ductal carcinoma. I am upset because my MRI from 5 years ago showed something questionable in my right breast and the report clearly indicated to follow up in six months, but I was never told about it or I would have followed through. I have some questions as follows:
    1. In my research online, I can only find DCIS OR invasive ductal carcinoma. Why do my reports indicate I have both? both times tumor is .8 & .6 of a centimeter.
    2. I also was diagnosed recently with an enlarged aorta on the left side of my heart. Could that be from the radiation therapy? They want me to have radiation but I’m not sure if I want
    or need it. I had surgery to remove the cancer last month. In both surgeries they removed a lymph node and both were free of cancer.

    1. Hello Patricia.

      Thank you so much for sharing your story and we are so sorry to hear all you are going through. We cannot imagine how difficult things are for you right now. We are not able to give medical advice directly through our website or social media platforms, but please contact our admissions office at 888-544-5993 or go to and fill out the form and one of our admissions officers can get you a consultation with our doctor. They will be able to best answer your questions and set up a possible treatment plan for you.

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