Chemotherapy: The Double Edged Sword?
Chemotherapy is the treatment primarily offered when a cancerous tumour is diagnosed, however,a team of researchers looking into why cancer cells are so resilient accidentally made a far more important discovery, the team found that chemotherapy actually heavily damages healthy cells and subsequently triggers them to release a protein that sustains and fuels tumor growth and makes the tumor highly resistant to future treatment.
After extensive research it was found that chemotherapy helps cancer to survive, grow faster, and resist treatment.
The team were trying to explain why cancer is so resilient in the body, yet so easy to kill in the lab, and realized that the culprit is the interaction of chemotherapy and healthy cells surrounding the targeted tumors.
When used on cancer, chemotherapy slows or stops the reproduction of rapidly dividing cells found in tumors, but the new research shows it also damages the DNA of neighboring fibroblast cells, which normally help heal wounds.
A fibroblast is a type of cell that synthesizes the extracellular matrix and collagen, the structural framework (stroma) for animal tissues, and plays a critical role in wound healing. Fibroblasts are the most common cells of connective tissue in animals.Once hit by the chemo, the fibroblast cells churn out 30 times more of a protein called WNT16B than normal.
The protein WNT16B ws found to encourage prostate tumors to grow and spread into surrounding tissue, as well as to resist chemotherapy.
This follows similar research which found that expensive cancer drugs make tumors ‘metasize’ and grow massively in size after taking them. As a result, the drugs killed the patients more quickly.
The medical writer Ralph W. Moss, PhD, has written or edited twelve books and three film documentaries on questions relating to cancer research and treatment. Moss is a graduate of New York University (BA, cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1965) and Stanford University (MA, 1973, PhD, 1974, Classics).
The former science writer and assistant director of public affairs at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York (1974-1977), for the past 40 years Moss has independently evaluated the claims of conventional and non-conventional cancer treatments. He currently writes The Moss Reports, detailed reports on the 27 most common cancer diagnoses. He also posts regularly at ralphmossblog.com. Moss has been quoted many times when asked about the adverse effects of chemotherapy:
“If cancer specialists were to admit publicly that chemotherapy is of limited usefulness and is often dangerous, the public might demand a radical change in direction – possibly toward unorthodox and nontoxic methods, and toward cancer prevention. The use of chemotherapy is even advocated by those members of the establishment who realize how ineffective and dangerous it can be.”
Chemotherapeutic techniques have a range of side-effects that depend on the type of medications used. The most common medications affect mainly the fast-dividing cells of the body, such as blood cells and the cells lining the mouth, stomach, and intestines.
Chemotherapy – Adverse Effects
Common side-effects of chemotherapy include: Depression of the immune system, which can result in potentially fatal infections such as typhlitis. Although patients are advised to take infection-reducing steps, about 85% of infections are due to naturally occurring microorganisms in the patient’s own gastrointestinal tract, oral cavity and skin.
Chemotherapy treatment is physically exhausting for the patient, who might already be very tired from cancer-related fatigue.
It may produce mild to severe anemia and a tendency to bleed easily. Medications that kill rapidly dividing cells or blood cells are likely to reduce the number of platelets in the blood, which can result in bruises and bleeding.
Gastrointestinal distress is common alongside nausea and vomiting. Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
Nausea and vomiting are two of the most feared cancer treatment-related side-effects for cancer patients and their families.
In 1983, Coates et al. found that patients receiving chemotherapy ranked nausea and vomiting as the first- and second-most-severe side-effects, respectively.
Malnutrition and dehydration can result when the patient does not eat or drink enough, or when the patient vomits frequently, because of gastrointestinal damage. This can result in rapid weight loss, or occasionally in weight gain, if the patient eats too much in an effort to allay nausea or heartburn.
Weight gain can also be caused by some steroid medications.
One significant but not serious side effect is still very distressing for patients who can experience total scalp hair loss; other medications may cause hair to thin.
These are generally temporary effects: hair usually starts to regrow a few weeks after the last treatment, sometimes with a tendency to curl, resulting in “chemo curls.”
Permanent hair loss can result from some standard chemotherapy regimens. Damage to specific organs is also possible:
Cardiotoxicity (heart damage) Hepatotoxicity (liver damage) Nephrotoxicity (kidney damage) Ototoxicity (damage to the inner ear), producing vertigo Encephalopathy (brain dysfunction) Immunosuppression and myelosuppression
Virtually all chemotherapeutic regimens can cause depression of the immune system, often by paralysing the bone marrow and leading to a decrease of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Anemia and thrombocytopenia.
Due to immune system suppression, typhlitiis can become a life-threatening gastrointestinal complication of chemotherapy. Typhlitis is an intestinal infection which may manifest itself through symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, a distended abdomen, fever, chills, or abdominal pain and tenderness.
Typhlitis is a medical emergency. It has a very poor prognosis and is often fatal unless promptly recognized and aggressively treated.
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