Disclaimer & Warning: The information in this blog is only provided for informational purposes. This information is not designed to be used to treat any disease or health problem. Instead, always consult with your physician for proper treatment.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Chemotherapy Concerns

The following information and videos (at the end of this post) were taken from websites that oppose chemotherapy as an effective treatment for cancer and identify alternative cancer treatments.

Treating cancer is  big business! In fact, each year in the USA, allopathic (conventional) treatments generate over $200 billion! 
Big Pharma, physicians, and others involved in the “Cancer Industry,” profit heavily each time a cancer patient submits to the conventional “Big 3” treatment model:
  1. cutting out essential body parts via surgical intervention,
  2. poisoning with chemotherapy, or
  3. burning the body with ionizing radiation,
…or perhaps a barbaric combination of the three … hence the slang “cut, poison, burn.”

Chemotherapy History

Chemotherapy was discovered during World War II when a ship carrying sulfur mustards – a nerve agent to be used in chemical warfare – was bombed and the troops on board were exposed to the chemical.

A Lethal Accident Spawns Medical “Breakthrough”
Those men affected tested for depleted bone marrow and lymph systems – cells that naturally divide faster than other cells.  Scientists, at the time, wondered if mustard gas could be used in the treatment of cancer cells that also divide faster than normal cells in the human body.

The first versions of chemotherapy drugs were called “nitrogen mustards.” In 1942, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center secretly began treating breast cancer with these nitrogen mustards. No one was cured. Chemotherapy trials were also conducted at Yale University around 1943 where 160 patients were treated. Again, no one was cured.  But, since chemotherapy shrunk the tumors, researchers were so excited that they proclaimed the chemotherapy trials to be a “success.”

What’s the Catch?
Gradually, synthetic versions of the nitrogen mustards were developed, but they all had one common trait; they are unable to differentiate between “healthy” cells and “cancerous” cells.

They kill everything.  All the healthy cells (bone marrow, immune cells) that are naturally fast dividing are mowed down as surely as the fast-dividing cancer cells.

As an analogy, suppose you were to tell an exterminator that you have a termite infestation in your home. The exterminator, a professional whom you are entrusting, tells you that the best course of action would be to use a chemical which is known to eat away at both the wood and foundation of homes, as well as cause irreparable damage to furniture and windows.  Would you do it?

The repercussions of chemotherapy on the human body are intense.  Some people call them “side effects,” but the truth is they’re “direct effects.”

Most Common Direct Effects of Chemotherapy
Cognition is affected during chemotherapy.  Many patients who have undergone this modality refer to it as “chemo brain” – difficulty with memory, basic thought processes, coordination and mood.

Peripheral neuropathy is tingling in the extremities and may be accompanied by general fatigue or weakness, shakiness, numbness, or pain.  These symptoms also affect basic balance, reflexes, and coordination.

Xerostomia is extremely dry mouth and can lead to sores in the soft tissues, difficulty swallowing, and make you more prone to bleeding.  Patients report that taste is also affected.

Nausea is one of the most common direct effects of chemotherapy.

Dehydration as a result of vomiting or diarrhea is a concern and drinking plenty of water is critical during chemotherapy treatment.  Adequate hydration may ease symptoms of xerostomia and protect your kidneys (working hard to flush the chemo toxins from your body) as well.

Anemia occurs when your body can’t make enough red blood cells.  Red blood cells carry the oxygen to your tissues and lack of necessary oxygen results in fatigue, dizziness, inability to concentrate, feelings of being cold and overall weakness.

Neutropenia is what happens when your body doesn’t have enough white blood cells – the backbone of your immune system.  This leaves you more susceptible to infection and reduces their ability to fight the residual cancer.

Thrombocytopenia is caused by a low platelet count.  You need platelets for blood clotting and not enough means you are more likely to bruise or bleed.  This can cause issues with your menstruation, cause bleeding in your digestive tract that manifests in vomit or stools, and cause you to have nosebleeds.

Bone marrow stem cells can be damaged by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. This increases the risk of either myelodysplasia, a blood cancer where the normal parts of the blood are either not made or are abnormal, or acute leukemia. 

Fatigue is a persistent feeling of physical, emotional, or mental tiredness or exhaustion. It is the most common side effect of cancer treatment, and some cancer survivors experience fatigue for months and sometimes years after finishing treatment.

Cachexia is wasting of both adipose tissue and skeletal muscle. It occurs in many conditions and is common with many cancers when remission or control fails. Some cancers, especially pancreatic and gastric cancers, cause profound cachexia. Affected patients may lose 10 to 20% of body weight. Men tend to experience worse cachexia as a result of cancer than do women. Neither tumor size nor the extent of metastatic disease predicts the degree of cachexia. Cachexia is associated with reduced response to chemotherapy, poor functional performance, and increased mortality.

The primary cause of this complex metabolic condition involves increased tissue catabolism; protein synthesis is decreased and degradation increased. Cachexia is mediated by certain cytokines, especially tumor necrosis factor-α, IL-1b, and IL-6, which are produced by tumor cells and host cells in the tissue mass.
Cardiomyopathy is a weakening of the heart muscle.  This may cause irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) which can increase your risk of a heart event. Other heart problems include congestive heart failure (CHF), coronary artery disease, and arrhythmia.

Lung problems may occur if chemotherapy and radiation therapy are given to the chest, causing damage to the lungs.

Brain, spinal cord, and nerve problems may occur with chemotherapy and radiation, causing long-term side effects to the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. These late effects include: hearing loss from high doses of chemotherapy, especially drugs like cisplatin (Platinol); increased risk of stroke for those who had high doses of radiation treatment to the head, usually to treat a brain tumor; and, nervous system side effects, such as damage to the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord (peripheral neuropathy)

Endocrine (hormone) system problems may occur with some types of cancer treatments. For example, surgical removal of a woman’s ovaries (oophorectomy), chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and radiation therapy to the pelvic area may cause a woman to stop menstruating (menopause) or menopausal symptoms. In addition, men with prostate cancer who receive hormone therapy or who have their testicles removed may experience symptoms similar to menopause.

Men and women who receive radiation therapy to the head and neck area may have lower levels of hormones or changes to the thyroid gland. Both men and women who undergo treatment that affects the endocrine system are at risk of temporary or permanent infertility from cancer treatment.

Alopecia will affect all the hair on your body and usually occurs quickly when this treatment is begun.  Within several weeks after the conclusion of chemotherapy, the hair begins to grow back.  Fingernails and toenails may change as well, either turning colors or becoming very brittle.

Skin Sensitivity is also common and patients report symptoms of irritation, itchiness, rashes, dryness, and burning more easily in the sun.

Infertility in both men and women can occur with chemotherapy; affecting hormones and sperm count.  It may also wreak havoc on menstrual cycles, impact overall sex drive, and cause extreme vaginal dryness.  And sometimes it triggers  the onset of menopause.

Bone, joint, and soft tissue problems may occur with chemotherapy, steroid medications, or hormonal therapy, leading to osteoporosis, which is thinning of the bones, or joint pain. Some people may have a great risk of these conditions if they are not physically active.

Learning, memory, and attention difficulties may occur with chemotherapy and high doses of radiation therapy to the head, causing a loss of cognitive function and similar problems for both adults and children.

Dental and oral health and vision problems may occur, causing the following dental and oral health and vision problems, depending on the treatments they received: Chemotherapy may affect tooth enamel and increase the risk of long-term dental problems. High-dose radiation therapy given to the head and neck area may change tooth development, cause gum disease, and lower saliva production, causing a dry mouth. Steroid medications may increase the risk of eye problems such as a clouding of the eye that affects vision (cataracts).

Digestion problems may occur, affecting how well a person digests food. In addition, surgery or radiation therapy to the abdominal area can lead to tissue scarring, long-term pain, and intestinal problems that affect digestion. Moreover, some survivors may have chronic diarrhea that reduces the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Emotional difficulties. is a common problem that cancer survivors often experiencewith a variety of positive and negative emotions, including:  a sense of gratitude to be alive, relief, fear of recurrence, anger, guilt, depression, anxiety, and a feeling of isolation.

Cancer survivors, caregivers, family, and friends may also experience post-traumatic stress disorder. This is an anxiety disorder. It may develop after experiencing an extremely frightening or life-threatening situation, such as cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Each person’s post-treatment experience is different. For example, some survivors struggle with negative emotional effects of the cancer. Others say that they have a renewed, positive outlook on life because of the cancer.

Secondary Cancer may occur as either a new primary cancer or cancer that has spread to other parts of the body from the place where it started. It may develop as a late effect of previous cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. A common problem is lymphedema, especially in people with breast cancer. Lymphedema occurs when too much lymph collects in any area of the body. If lymphedema develops in people who’ve been treated for breast cancer, it usually occurs in the arm and hand, but sometimes it affects the breast, underarm, chest, trunk, and/or back.

As you can see, the impact of chemotherapy on the body can be brutal. It lays waste to your immune system, which is your first line of defense against cancer.

So, as a result, another direct effect of chemotherapy is ironically  cancer. It’s printed right on the chemo drug warning labels (in small print, of course).

So, if you go into a cancer treatment clinic with one type of cancer, and you allow yourself to be injected with chemotherapy, frequently a second type of cancer develops as a result. Your oncologist will often claim to have successfully treated your first cancer even while you develop a second or third cancer directly caused by the chemo used to treat the original cancer.

According to a study conducted by the Department of Radiation Oncology at Northern Sydney Cancer Centre and published in the December 2004 issue of Clinical Oncology, the actual impact of chemotherapy on a 5-year survival in American adults is a paltry 2.1% (See the chart below). (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15630849)


Dr. Hardin B. Jones (former professor of medical physics and physiology at the University of California, Berkeley) found that cancer patients who underwent chemotherapy actually died sooner than those who refused any treatment. In his study, he found that people who refused treatment lived for an average of 12 ½ years, whereas those who did chemotherapy (and other conventional treatments) lived only an average of 3 years.

Sadly, the truth is that many people who “die from cancer” really die from the conventional treatments long before they would have actually died from the cancer itself. To put it plainly, the treatment kills them before the cancer kills them.

As a matter of fact, the chemotherapy drug 5-fluorouracil “5-FU” is sometimes referred to by doctors as “5 feet under” because of its deadly side effects. Not to mention that a team of researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and Harvard Medical School have linked 5-FU to a progressing collapse of populations of stem cells and their progeny in the central nervous system.

For most adult cancers, the typical best case scenario is that the “Big 3” buys a little time. In a worst case scenario, you will die from the treatment rather than the disease.

Cancer is America's leading cause of death for people under the age of 85. Think about that for a second. Approximately 40% of men and women will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime. There are an estimated 13,000,000 people living with cancer right now in the U.S. Approximately 66% of people survive after five years of being diagnosed with cancer. These are estimated new U.S. cancer cases for 2015 -- based off similar 2014 statistics.
  • Lung and Bronchus Cancer: 225,000; Resulting Deaths: 160,000
  • Colon and Rectum Cancer: 136,000; Resulting Deaths: 50,000
  • Breast Cancer: 230,000; Resulting Deaths: 40,000
  • Prostate Cancer: 230,000; Resulting Deaths: 30,000
  • Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: 70,000; Resulting Deaths: 19,000
  • All types of cancer this year: 1,665,000; Resulting Deaths: 585,000
Last thing to consider: Seventy-five percent of all physicians in the world refuse chemotherapy for themselves! Look into natural remedies and NEVER AGAIN let the cancer business make you second guess the power of organic food to heal.

Chemo Kills One-Third of Patients
Chemotherapy kills more patients than it helps, 27 percent according to a recent report by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death, published at BBC. That’s roughly 1/3 of all people who get chemo! 

There are much more natural and less dangerous cures out there but the general population doesn’t know because 1). the doctors who propose alternative treatments are ostracized by the medical field, 2). the mass media blackout on alternative and holistic medicine, 3). it’s estimated that an average chemo regimen costs between $300,000 and $1,000,000 so obviously the Big Pharma sees no value in curing cancer. Just follow the money trail and you will understand why there is still no official cure for cancer.

Analogy: The problem with chemo is that is a temporary solution to cancer. It may prolong the life of the victim but it doesn’t cure the illness. Think of it this way, let’s say your car needed some major repair. Instead of targeting the cause of the problem and eliminating it altogether, you kept spending few bucks here and there to maintain the stability of the car. Sooner or later, your car will break down and you not only wasted money on small repairs but your car will no longer function. Now imagine that car was your body. Cancer is the major repair that needs to be eradicated. But conventional medicine only offers small repairs along the way called chemo. Just when you think your cancer has gone into remission it comes back again.

Doctors Rely on Chemo Too Much
Doctors are being urged to re-think their approach to giving chemotherapy during care at the end of life.

A review of 600 cancer patients who died within 30 days of treatment found that in more than a quarter of cases it actually hastened or caused death.

The report by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death said doctors should consider reducing doses or not using chemotherapy at all.

England's cancer tzar Professor Mike Richards said he was "very concerned".

The group of patients the independent group was looking at represents 2% of the 80,000 people who receive chemotherapy each year.

They were all severely-ill patients for which the chemotherapy was mostly being used to manage their condition rather than in an attempt to cure the cancer.

After examining case notes, the group said that 35% of patients received good care.

But it found that in 27% of cases it hastened or caused death - the toxic nature of the treatment can lead to a range of problems, the most serious of which is an infection called neutropenic sepsis.

Report co-author Dr Diana Mort said doctors should be more "cautious in prescribing chemotherapy for very sick patients".

And she added: "The process of consent may require more than one discussion.

"Patients must be made aware of the risks and side-effect of chemotherapy as well as the potential benefits."

Transfer Arrangements
The report also criticized the facilities made available to patients with nearly half being admitted to general medicine wards during the last 30 days of life rather than a specialist cancer unit.

The authors recommended where hospitals did not have specialist units they should put in place transfer arrangements to centers that did.

Professor Jane Maher, chief medical officer at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "This report provides very disturbing information about the safety of treatment for incurable cancer.

"It shows that doctors and nurses need to be much better at helping patients understand the pros and cons of such powerful treatments in the last year of life."

Professor Richards said he was "very concerned".

"I am asking all chemotherapy service providers to consider these reports urgently and to reassess their own services immediately against the measures we have set nationally."

But Dr Peter Clark, of the Royal College of Physicians, said while lessons could be learnt it was important to remember that chemotherapy carried "substantial short and long-term benefit" for the majority who undergo the treatment.

Chemotherapy Only Works For a Few Cancers
According to Gordon Zubrod, M.D., (a researcher for the US National Cancer Institute), chemotherapy is considered to be highly effective ONLY with the following cancers, primarily associated with certain lymphomas, leukemias, sarcomas and testicular:
+ Burkitt’s lymphoma
+ Choriocarcinoma
+ Acute lymphocytic leukemia
+ Hodgkin’s disease
+ Lymphosarcoma
+ Embryonal testicular cancer
+ Wilms’ Tumor
+ Ewing’s sarcoma
+ Rhabdomyosarcoma
+ Retinoblastoma

Unfortunately, these cancers affect very few people. If your cancer is not on the list, and yet, you are being administered chemotherapy, you’re being killed for profit.

If you have great faith in them, the chemo‘s plain purpose is to kill the cancer cells, without them ever mentioning that it also kills healthy cells.

Another big fallacy on why you’re being administered chemo is to clean up and prevent the spread of any remaining cancer cells (metastasis), if any left, after surgery. It’s as if the chemo will kill all those cancer cells.

If you’re not on Dr. Zubrod’s cancer list above, why are you being administered chemo that will just ravage your body and make you very poor before you die?

Chemo & radiation also kill healthy cells and the highest survival rate for chemo is 22% only (2009 Survival Rates, US National Cancer Institute). In fact, studies now show that chemo damages and kills more healthy cells than cancer cells!

Website Sources:

                                                  Patrick Swayze

Chemotherapy Success Rates

A study published in August 2003 revealed that of adult cancer in the USA and Australia, the use of chemotherapy, when looking at adjuvant and curative use, provided a cure only 2.1% of the time in the USA and 2.3% of the time in Australia.

The study undertook a literature search for randomized clinical trials which saw a 5-year survival rate that was attributed solely to cytotoxic chemotherapy in adult malignancies. The data was taken from the cancer registry in Australia and from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results data in the USA for 1998. As stated, the final results show that the overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA.

In the video below Dr. Peter Glidden cites the study that concludes better than 97% of the time, chemotherapy does not work. Yet it’s one of the main treatments in the battle against cancer. Dr. Glidden explains why that’s still the case.

According to a 2004 report by Morgan, Ward, and Barton: "The contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adult malignancies. ... survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA."

Reference: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15630849

Although such conditions may vary for different types of cancer, it is commonly held that 80% of oncologists will not take chemotherapy if they suffer from cancer themselves.

Chemo Causes Harm, Disease & Death

Top 10 Best-Selling Cancer Drugs of 2013

Chemotherapy Kills More People Than It “Cures”

Many people who “die from cancer” really die from the chemotherapy long before they would have actually died from the cancer itself.

Chemotherapy has always been developed from toxic poisonous chemicals, right? So, there has always been a fine line between administering a “therapeutic dose” and killing the cancer patient.

Many doctors step over that line. But don’t take it from me! Here’s what Dr. Allen Levin says about this topic: 

“Most cancer patients in this country die of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy does not eliminate breast, colon, or lung cancers. This fact has been documented for over a decade, yet doctors still use chemotherapy for these tumors.” In his book, The Topic of Cancer: When the Killing Has to Stop, Dick Richards cites a number of autopsy studies which have shown that cancer patients actually died from conventional treatments before the tumor had a chance to kill them.

Just think about it…
To put it plainly, the treatment kills them before the cancer kills them. As a matter of fact, the chemotherapy drug 5FU is sometimes referred to by doctors as “5 feet under” because of its deadly side effects. For most adult cancers, the typical best case scenario is that the “Big 3” buys a little time. In a worst case scenario, you will die from the treatment rather than the disease.

In his book, When Healing Becomes a Crime, Kenny Ausubel notes that in a trial on a chemotherapy drug tested for leukemia, a whopping 42% of the patients died directly from the toxicity of the chemotherapy drug!

Here are the facts. In 1942, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center quietly began to treat breast cancer with these mustard gas derivatives. No one was cured. Chemotherapy trials were also conducted at Yale around 1943 where 160 patients were treated. Again, no one was cured.

According to Dr. John Diamond, M.D., “A study of over 10,000 patients shows clearly that chemo’s supposedly strong track record with Hodgkin’s disease (lymphoma) is actually a lie. Patients who underwent chemo were 14 times more likely to develop leukemia and 6 times more likely to develop cancers of the bones, joints, and soft tissues than those patients who did not undergo chemotherapy.”

Dr. Glenn Warner, who died in 2000, was one of the most highly qualified cancer specialists in the United States. He used alternative treatments on his cancer patients with great success. On the treatment of cancer in this country he said: We have a multi-billion dollar industry that is killing people, right and left, just for financial gain. Their idea of research is to see whether two doses of this poison is better than three doses of that poison.”

Dr. Alan C. Nixon, past president of the American Chemical Society writes, As a chemist trained to interpret data, it is incomprehensible to me that physicians can ignore the clear evidence that chemotherapy does much, much more harm than good.”  And according to Dr. Charles Mathe, French cancer specialist, …if I contracted cancer, I would never go to a standard cancer treatment centre. Only cancer victims who live far from such centres have a chance.”

Yet, day after day, year after year, the Cancer Industry continues to put these toxic chemicals into the bodies of cancer patients. And the patients let them do it, even volunteering for new “guinea pig” studies, simply because someone with a degree from a school of disease (also known as medical school) told them it was their “only option.” It costs lots of money for them to poison the body of cancer patients, and the patients gladly pay it. Sadly, some people will spend six figures a year poisoning their bodies because their “doctor told them to do it.”

The truth is that there are many effective natural cancer treatments that don’t require a barbaric procedure like chemotherapy.

Cancer without Chemo
Cancer without Chemo is a subject many patients are asking about. Here's a doctor's perspective.

The first reaction of most people today, if they are unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with cancer, is abject fear. The first thing this accomplishes is that it weakens their immune system.

Then they are usually told that they must start chemo and must do it immediately or they will die a painful death soon. However, treating cancer without chemo is a viable option.

The threat that chemo has to start immediately only serves to make a patient’s fear that much worse. The fear is actually used as a weapon, in some cases, to try to coerce them into doing the treatment. If they ask about any alternatives, they are told there are none that meet the standards of modern conventional medicine.

The truth of the matter is, these standards set the bar pretty low. In a study published in The Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2004, “standard” chemotherapy for over 150,000 cancer patients, over a 14 year period, produced a 5 year survival rate of 2.1%. That means 98 out of 100 people were dead before 5 years after their date of diagnosis. I don’t know about you but to me that seems like a pretty awful rate of success. In fact, a recent study showed that people who are diagnosed with cancer and choose to go home and do nothing, have a better quality of life, and live longer, than people who choose conventional chemotherapy.

Fortunately, there are alternatives but you have to search for them yourself and you usually can’t rely on your doctor for help. They are not bad people, they are just trained and brainwashed into thinking that there are no other valid treatment options than the ones they were taught in medical school and residency. Unfortunately, this “education” is all controlled by the pharmaceutical industry.

Chemotherapy Costs

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, how much your chemotherapy treatment will cost and how to deal with all the bills that will inevitably follow should not be at the forefront of your concerns.

Unfortunately, treating cancer is not cheap: medical expenses typically include doctor and clinical visits, imaging tests like X-rays and MRIs, radiation treatments, hospital stays, surgery costs, home care, and the cost of chemotherapy, including expensive drugs.  Here is what you might expect to pay for treatment, plus some ways to potentially help manage the costs.

The costs of chemotherapy will vary depending on the type of cancer; which type of drugs are used; where you buy the drugs from; where you are treated; whether the costs are covered by insurance; and how often and how long you’ll need treatment.

You can receive cancer treatment in either a hospital outpatient department (HOPD) or in an office-managed setting, such as a physician’s office. Treatment for patients receiving chemotherapy in hospitals cost an average of 24% more than treatment in a physician’s office, according to a study by Avalere Health.

The study also found that the average cost of care per episode (three to four months of treatment) in office-managed settings was around $20,000, while the cost of care in a HOPD setting was just over $26,000, or 34% higher.

However, the average cost of treatment varies the most depending on the type of cancer. The most expensive cancer treatment was for colon cancer, which cost around $46,000 for both office-managed and HOPD settings, according to the study. The least expensive treatment was for genitourinary system cancer (urinary and genital organs), which cost $8,960 in office-managed settings and $19,592 in HOPD, the study found.

How much do cancer drugs cost?
One reason for the high costs of cancer treatment is the costs of new drugs. Of the 12 drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration for cancer conditions in 2012, 11 were priced above $100,000 for a year of treatment, according to a report by TakePart.com.

The cost of eight weeks of chemotherapy can range from $100 to $30,000. Treatment with inexpensive drugs like 5-FU or leucovorin costs around $300 dollars for eight weeks. However, to improve therapeutic effect, these drugs are often used in combination with newer drugs which are typically more expensive. According to Johns Hopkins Health Alerts, addition of Avastin® or Erbitux® to 5-FU or leucovorin can push up the cost of the dosing regimen to as much as $30,000.

Increase in Cost of Cancer Chemotherapy
According to Cancer Bulletin of National Cancer Institute, the average cost of initial cancer therapy per patient increased by $4,000 to $7,000, depending on cancer type between 1991 and 2002. A larger number of patients receiving chemotherapy and the high average cost of chemotherapy are some of the most significant factors leading to increased cost of cancer treatment.

Global Spending of Cancer Drugs Reaches $100B

According to the Global Oncology Trend Report, released by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, global spending on cancer medications rose 10.3 percent in 2014 to $100 billion, up from $75 billion in 2010.

The report follows one from IMS Health released in April, which found that overall U.S. spending on drugs reached $373.9 billion in 2014 – a record high. This is largely attributable to the drug companies investing more in specialty medicines, such as complex, injected drugs rather than conventional treatments like pills. Spending on such specialty medicines grew 26.5 percent and accounted for one-third of medicine spending, up from 23 percent of the total spent five years ago.

The report shows that the U.S. spends more on cancer drugs than any other country, making up 42.2 percent of total spending. It also revealed targeted therapies account for nearly 50 percent of the total and have been growing at a year-over-year growth rate of 14.6 percent during the past five years.

Spending on cancer drugs has risen slightly as a percentage of total drug spending during the past five years in all regions. In the European Union, oncology represents 14.7 percent of total drug spending, up from 13.3 percent in 2010. In comparison, the U.S. has seen oncology increase from 10.7 percent to 11.3 percent of total drug spending during the same period.

When broken down by the total population, the report found the U.S. spent $99 per person​ in 2014, up from $71 in 2010. Most other countries showed the same growth, with the exception of Spain, where per capita spending has been flat. The percentage increase was largest in the United Kingdom, at 67 percent.

The Top 10 Best-Selling Cancer Drugs

The demand for oncology drugs is growing along with the rising healthcare spending in countries such as China; an expanding middle class better able to access healthcare in India and other emerging markets; and aging populations in big drug markets like the U.S. and Japan.

But cancer drugs have their own unique drivers. They treat deadly, frightening diseases, so patients demand them, even at nosebleed prices. Penny-pinching gatekeepers like the U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence are more amenable to new drugs for patients with terminal illness, if not at pharma's asking price.

Many of the newer cancer drugs, recently approved and in development, are aimed at cancers with specific genetic variations, so the drugs can be targeted to patients who are most likely to benefit--and that likely benefit can command premium prices. Finally, biologic treatments for cancer don't face generic competition on schedule as traditional drugs do, so even older drugs such as Herceptin don't have to contend with low-cost knockoffs.

The top 10 cancer drugs brought in U.S. sales last year ranging from $564 million to $3 billion, according to IMS Health numbers:
-- Rituxan - $3 billion
-- Avastin - $2.66 billion
-- Herceptin - $1.66 billion
-- Gleevec - $1.51 billion
-- Eloxatin - $1.2 billion
-- Alimta - $1.04 billion
-- Erbitux - $703.3 million
-- Velcade - $692.7 million
-- Xeloda - $647.6 million
-- Tarceva - $564.2 million
The Best-Selling Cancer Drugs in 2013
The industry's 20 biggest-selling cancer drugs generated combined sales of $53 billion in 2013, with Roche's Rituxan, Avastin and Herceptin franchises extending their lead at the top of this league table.

With combined sales of around $21 billion, these three drugs alone accounted for approximately 40 percent of the combined value of the 20 biggest-selling products. Factoring in the Tarceva and Xeloda brands, Roche generated 2013 sales of around $24 billion from products included on the list.

Don't Be Scared Into Chemotherapy

Key Points from a person who had first-hand experience with the health care system.

Cancer is a multi-billion $ business. Chemotherapy is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated upon the American public, and we are all paying for it. The pharmaceutical companies are the big winners. Americans are being led to slaughter like sheep; it is not cancer that kills, it is the chemo that kills.

If this were exposed for the fraud that it is, many businesses would lose a lot of money, so the fraud must continue.

The cancer medical treatment statistics are skewed: people who decline chemo treatment are NOT included in the stats. There is NO control group.

I know 5 people anecdotally who declined treatment and who are healthy; they are not followed in a longitudinal study. The statistics are based solely upon people who ACCEPT treatment. I know 15 people who had chemo and are now dead.

Chemo is effective only on 3 different cancers (testicular, lymphomas, childhood leukemias), yet it is presented as treatment for ALL cancers, even though it is known to be ineffective.

Chemo can cause other cancers to occur. 

Chemo can make cancer cells resistant to all chemo treatments; cancer cells fight to survive, adapt, mutate, and then they divide even faster in order to survive. 5) The basic premise of chemo needs to be questioned: the shotgun approach with collateral damage to organs and immune system is NOT acceptable. 

Doctors routinely use scare tactics about length of life to induce people to agree to accept toxic chemo when there is no proof that the treatment will benefit the individual patient. 

There are other wellness plans that would benefit people more than chemo, but these plans are blocked by the FDA, the AMA, and Big Pharma.

It is more beneficial to strengthen the immune system than to weaken it. Chemo weakens it.

Doctors are legally required to offer chemo as the "standard of care" and if the patient declines, it is documented as a CYA for the Doc. This is the crux of the health care problem. This is where the money goes. And insurance companies cover only the conventional therapies, because everyone has been brainwashed into believing in the fraud. Until you actually question the basic premise of chemo, it is the knee-jerk reaction to cancer.

One of the best sites for an overall view of cancer is cancertutor.com.
An honest oncologist responded to all our questions, and in effect said that there are no studies which would indicate that chemo would benefit me, that chemo can cause other cancers, that chemo could result in any cancer cells mutating and becoming resistant to all chemo drugs, and that if I declined treatment he would not see me again.

It is important to emphasize that the stats do not include a control group. People who decline treatment are not included in the stats; there are no longitudinal studies done to track people who decline conventional treatment. So when the medical profession presents "statistics" that are provided by the pharmaceutical companies to attempt to scare you into treatment which is beneficial only to their "bottom line", know that these statistics are skewed and therefore meaningless.

The American public has been brainwashed.

Just say no to chemo.

Below are some other topics and web links about the problems with chemotherapy.

Scared Into Chemotherapy Bullied By Fear

Cancer is a patented multi-billion dollar business.

Chemotherapy is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated upon the public, and we are all paying for it.
The pharmaceutical companies are the big winners. People are being led to slaughter like sheep. It is not cancer that kills, it is the chemo that kills. If this were exposed for the fraud that it is, many businesses would lose a lot of money, so the fraud must continue. Please note the following:
  • The statistics are skewed: people who decline chemo treatment are NOT included in the stats. There is NO control group. I know 5 people anecdotally who declined treatment and who are healthy; they are not followed in a longitudinal study. The statistics are based solely upon people who ACCEPT treatment. I know 15 people who had chemo and are now dead.
  • Chemo is effective only on 3 different cancers (testicular, lymphomas, childhood leukemias), yet it is presented as treatment for ALL cancers, even though it is known to be ineffective.
  • Chemo can cause other cancers to occur.
  • Chemo can make cancer cells resistant to all chemo treatments; cancer cells fight to survive, adapt, mutate, and then they divide even faster in order to survive.
  • The basic premise of chemo needs to be questioned: the shotgun approach with collateral damage to organs and immune system is NOT acceptable.
  • Doctors routinely use scare tactics about length of life to induce people to agree to accept toxic chemo when there is no proof that the treatment will benefit the individual patient.
  • There are other wellness plans that would benefit people more than chemo, but these plans are blocked by the FDA, the AMA, and Big Pharma.
  • It is more beneficial to strengthen the immune system than to weaken it. Chemo weakens it.
  • Doctors are legally required to offer chemo as the "standard of care" and if the patient declines, it is documented as a CYA for the Doc. This is the crux of the health care problem. This is where the money goes. And insurance companies cover only the conventional therapies, because everyone has been brainwashed into believing in the fraud. Until you actually question the basic premise of chemo, it is the knee-jerk reaction to cancer. The unnecessary deaths of 600,000 Americans every year must be stopped.
One of the best sites for an overall view is www.cancertutor.com. Several opinions on treatment options have been looked at, and an honest oncologist esponded to questions, and in effect said that:
  • "There are no studies which would indicate that chemo would benefit me".
  • "That chemo can cause other cancers".
  • "That chemo could result in any cancer cells mutating and becoming resistant to all chemo drugs".
  • "That if I declined treatment he would not see me again".
It is important to emphasize that the stats do not include a control group. People who decline treatment are not included in the stats: There are no longitudinal studies done to track people who decline conventional treatment.

So when the medical profession presents "statistics" that are provided by the pharmaceutical companies to attempt to scare you into treatment which is beneficial only to their "bottom line", know that these statistics are skewed and therefore meaningless.

This has really been a revelation as to the medical profession being driven by the pharmaceutical industry. The public has been brainwashed.

Just say no to chemo.

Chemotherapy Statistics
In the U.S., chemo was most successful in treating testicular cancer and Hodgkin's disease, where its success rate fell just below 38 percent and slightly over 40 percent respectively. Still well below the 50/50 mark.

A review of chemo on 5-year survival rates in Australia garnered almost identical results, with a 2.3 percent success rate, compared to the U.S. 2.1 percent rate of success.

And this is the best that conventional medicine has to offer for treating this widespread killer.

We live in a country where children are literally taken away from parents who do not want their child with cancer to get chemotherapy. The child can be forced to get chemotherapy and the parents can be arrested.

Perhaps,¦just perhaps, this would be acceptable if it could be conclusively proven that chemotherapy was the right thing to do. But in fact, this is not the case. Actually it is just the opposite.

Chemotherapy studies show that it is positively NOT generally effective. One other interesting read you may want to see is:

So What Are the Actual Chemotherapy Statistics?
A review of all known relevant clinical trials concluded that if the average cancer patient gets chemotherapy, his or her chances of still being alive 5 years from now increases by a pitiful 2.1% in America.

That is barely worth getting dressed for, and this study does not even say anything about quality of life either.

Seeing as the how current average 5-year survival rate in the U.S. is something like 65% percent, it is clear that chemotherapy contributes almost nothing to successful cancer outcomes.

Considering this study shows that chemotherapy essentially does not significantly improve 5 year survival, one must realize that once you account for the patient to patient variability in this measure, that means a significant fraction of patients may actually have their 5 year survival reduced by chemotherapy.

This is further confounded by the fact that studies that show negative outcomes are often never published. If this data does not sink in, and it just sounds too unbelievable to think that lifespans are being shortened by chemotherapy, consider another study done in England where 27% of 429 patients receiving "end of life care" were found to have their deaths caused or hastened by chemotherapy they were prescribed.

Even if chemotherapy were shown to radically improve 5-year survival rates, it would still not prove it is generally effective.

A 5-year survival rate is only one metric derived from a complete statistical distribution of patient survival times.

In other words, "scientists" are taking meaningful data, and throwing out most of it. It could very well be that if studies had preserved the complete statistical distributions of survival times, that we would see that on a whole, chemotherapy decreases various metrics of survival time, such as perhaps the average survival time.

You can look at the breakdown by cancer type of this study in the chart below.
Some oncologists may argue that these statistics are not relevant to today's drugs, and that the newest drugs work so much better than in the past.

Though this is theoretically possible, first consider the fact that this is what oncologists have been saying for the last 30 years. Then consider that in the light of the present study, that they have been wrong all that time!

If that argument was wrong yesterday and for the 30 years before that, then why would it all of a sudden be right today?

For further discussion on the unfortunately fatal flaws of the current cancer treatment paradigm, read "18 Reasons Why Conventional Cancer Treatment is Insane".

The End Result
In short, chemotherapy in general is conclusively known to be not without side effects as well as typically ineffective! I am quickly learning that if society agrees on something, there is a good chance it's wrong! Countless examples from history can be given relating to this.

If an oncologist says alternative treatment is experimental, he needs to take his own advice and analyze the statistics that show that chemotherapy is experimental (and toxic for that matter). At least alternative therapies are generally safe!

Make sure you take this study to your oncologist if you have cancer. Though you want to be respectful and always "leave them an honorable retreat, don't give up your life for the sake of not upsetting someone.

To the best of my knowledge, this study has had a significant media blackout in the U.S., and it is likely that many oncologists have never even heard of this study.

The current situation in cancer care is abysmal. I am not saying it is all the fault of oncologists, but they do have to accept a significant portion of the blame. Many oncologists actually feel trapped in the current system and want to make changes but fear ridicule from colleagues, malpractice suits, or even loss of license.

Nonetheless, braving those obstacles is always preferable to continually and knowingly inflicting harm on patients with chemotherapy (either directly or indirectly through the lost opportunity to pursue alternatives). Oncologists need to break out of their rigid molds and start doing what works instead of what they were taught to do.

It's not clear exactly how many oncologists would take chemo themselves, but when you put a reasonable upper bound on that number‚ it still ends up being not nearly all of them. Unfortunately, this constitutes significant hypocrisy on a whole.

Integrative Treatment Is the Answer
There are amazing options available. Everyone who educates themselves has good chances of living cancer free. Prevention is a lot easier than treatment. And I actually don't think it will be very long before many more integrative clinics work up the courage to start reporting their impressive results (these results already exist!), and yes, surgery could theoretically be a necessary part of that.

As for the fraction of that 80% of the population that does what their oncologists tell them (without first educating themselves and questioning their doctors on the effectiveness of chemotherapy), they are choosing possibly needless death.

I don't mean to offend people who have lost love ones, but it is the truth and people need to stop killing themselves needlessly.

The sad and shocking truth about chemotherapy - Sarah Best

Recent research identified a compound in chemo drugs that fuels cancer growth.

Reference: http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v18/n9/full/nm.2890.html

It found, specifically, that repeated bouts of chemo can cause healthy cells to secrete a protein – WNT16B – that helps cancer cells to grow, invade surrounding tissue and resist chemo treatment.

In lab tests, scientists observed an up to 30-fold increase in WNT16B production in response to chemotherapy.

So now we know that when cancer suddenly starts growing and spreading more aggressively after chemo – as so often happens – that is not only due to chemo’s ability to quickly ravage the immune system, but also because chemo causes healthy cells to start churning out a chemical that accelerates cancer growth.

This research was published in August and you’d hope that it would lead to chemo being used a lot more judiciously.

But in fact that should have happened at least 20 years ago.

That was the time at which a landmark review of the evidence around chemotherapy for advanced cancer, conducted by a leading epidemiologist and biostatistician, showed it to be a useless treatment in the majority of cases.

YouTube Videos
Here are some videos about the business of cancer/chemotherapy, cures, Dr. Burzynski, Fabio, Dr. Burzynski Part 2, Mike Adams, etc.

Note: Here are the transcripts for the Dr. Burzynski videos:

More Website References

The Man Who Questions Chemotherapy - Dr. Ralph Moss

What The Cancer Industry Does Not Want You To Know About Chemotherapy and Radiation

Shocking Truth About Chemo

20 things you need to know about chemotherapy

Diet, Chemotherapy, and the Truth: How to Win the War on Cancer

Cancer - Mammograms, Chemotherapy vs. Alternative Cures - Suzanne Somers Speaks Out Against The Conventional Cancer Industry

Doctor Lies to Patient

Chemotherapy Benefits and Disadvantages

Many different types of chemotherapy drugs are used in a variety of ways to treat different types of cancer. The benefits of chemotherapy include destroying cancer cells, shrinking existing tumors and preventing cancer cells from thriving and multiplying. The goal is to prevent or slow down the progression of disease to help extend life. Since these drugs can have serious side effects, chemotherapy benefits must be weighed against risk factors and expected outcome.

Shrink Tumors: A cancerous tumor is a collection of abnormally growing cells. When chemotherapy is used to shrink an existing tumor, the benefit is to improve the patient's quality of life by decreasing the pain and pressure caused by the tumor. Although the tumor is likely to continue to grow or come back, shrinking a tumor can control the disease to the extent that a cancer patient will live longer. Chemotherapy is also used to shrink tumors prior to surgery or radiation treatments.

Manage Cancer: Because cancer cells can grow and spread quickly, one chemotherapy benefit is to slow down or prevent that growth. Chemotherapy can help prevent cancer cells from spreading from the original site to other parts of the body. At times, chemotherapy is used to destroy any cancerous cells that remain in the body after radiation treatment or surgery and may also be used to help make radiation treatments more effective. Chemotherapy is often the treatment used when cancer that was eliminated in the past comes back to the same area or to another part of the body. In advanced stages of cancer, chemotherapy may be used to help relieve symptoms and improve quality of life even though it cannot extend life.

Cure Cancer: In some cases, chemotherapy completely eliminates cancer cells or tumors from the body. According to the American Cancer Society, if the cancer does not return for many years, it may be considered cured, but since cancer can return at any time, physicians do not generally establish a complete cure as the primary chemotherapy benefit. Treatment plans and goals vary, as do the benefits expected from chemotherapy, depending on the type of cancer, or where it originated, and how advanced it is at the time of treatment.

Chemotherapy Disadvantages
Chemotherapy--or chemo for short--destroys cancer cells, and can also stop or slow the spread or growth of these cells. Despite the obvious benefits of chemo treatment, there are several disadvantages to this form of treatment that should be considered before finalizing your cancer treatment strategy.

Side Effects During Treatment: The most significant disadvantage of chemotherapy is the development of treatment-related side effects. During treatment, you may experience a variety of gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal or constitutional symptoms. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), individuals undergoing chemo frequently report experiencing such symptoms as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation or diarrhea. Fever and fatigue are also common side effects experienced by chemotherapy patients. The most apparent and emotionally challenging side effect associated with chemo treatment is alopecia--a medical condition in which your hair falls out. This condition may only affect certain areas of your body, such as the scalp, but may also extend to the face or limbs. The Mayo Clinic notes that chemo patients may also develop painful mouth sores or may bruise easily. Though these side effects may be significant, the majority of these symptoms will disappear once chemo treatment is stopped.

Side Effects After Treatment: The NCI notes that, in some instances, side effects related to chemotherapy may not become evident until months or years after treatment has ended. These effects may include heart or kidney problems, lung tissue damage or nerve damage. Chemo treatment may also lead to infertility, which can affect your ability to conceive a child. Though chemotherapy has been proven effective in the resolution of several types of cancer, there is always a risk that the cancer may reemerge after treatment has ended.

Treatment Schedule: Depending on the type or severity of your cancer, your chemotherapy schedule may require that you visit your oncologist for daily or weekly treatments. According to the NCI, chemo treatment is typically administered intravenously (IV), but may also be given in an injection, oral pill or liquid or a topical cream. Traditional IV treatments may last for several hours, which may be inconvenient if you have family or job responsibilities.

Treatment Costs: Even if you have medical insurance, the cost of chemo treatment can be expensive--especially if you require long-term treatment. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Alerts, one in five cancer patients under the age of 65 delayed or avoided chemo treatment based solely upon treatment costs. This problem is becoming worse as newer anticancer drugs emerge, especially as more than one type of chemo drug may be necessary to treat your type of cancer. If you have difficulty paying for your chemotherapy, Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Alerts states that some pharmaceutical companies offer programs that can help pay for your treatment.

Patient Concerns
Many people are concerned about having chemotherapy, because of the side effects that can occur. However, side effects can often be well controlled with medicines, and some people have only a few side effects.

Some people ask what would happen if they did not have the treatment. Treatment can be given for different reasons and the potential benefits will vary depending upon the individual situation.

In people with early cancer, surgery is often done with the aim of curing the cancer and chemotherapy may be given to reduce the risks of it coming back. It is helpful to discuss with your cancer specialist how much the chemotherapy may reduce the chance of the cancer coming back in your particular situation.

If the cancer is at a more advanced stage, the aim of treatment may be to control the cancer. This can lead to a reduction in symptoms, a better quality of life, and it can possibly prolong life. However, for some people the treatment will have no effect upon the cancer and they will get the side effects without any of the benefit. If you choose not to have treatment in this situation, you can still be given supportive (palliative) care, with medicines to control any symptoms.

The decision about whether to have chemotherapy treatment can be a difficult one and you may need to discuss it in detail with your doctor.

Where chemotherapy treatment is given
Chemotherapy units are very specialised and not all hospitals have them, so you may need to travel for treatment. Chemotherapy drugs are usually prepared in a special area of the hospital pharmacy. All the drugs are carefully checked by the pharmacy staff to ensure that they are the right ones for you. Chemotherapy tablets, capsules or creams can be given to you to take home.

Most intravenous chemotherapy drugs can be given to you as a day patient at the hospital. This may take from half an hour to a few hours. However, some treatments, such as having chemotherapy into the abdominal cavity, will mean a short stay in hospital – perhaps overnight or for a couple of days. For some chemotherapy treatments – for example, high-dose chemotherapy – you will need to stay in hospital longer, perhaps for a few weeks. Your doctor or nurse will explain exactly what your treatment will involve before it starts.

If you are having chemotherapy by intramuscular injection, subcutaneous injection, intrathecal injection, or intracavity injection into the bladder, it is usually given in the outpatients department or the chemotherapy day unit at the hospital. It may also be given on certain wards within the hospital.

Sometimes, specialist chemotherapy nurses can visit you at home to give intravenous chemotherapy. This sort of service is only available in some parts of the UK and with some types of chemotherapy treatment. You can ask your doctor whether it is possible to have your treatment at home.

Points to remember when having chemotherapy at home
    Chemotherapy tablets, capsules or injections may need to be stored in a particular way, such as in the fridge. Always follow the instructions given by your pharmacist.
    It is important not to touch some chemotherapy drugs with your fingers. You can check this with your pharmacist.
    All drugs must be stored out of the reach of children as they could cause serious harm if taken by accident.
    If you are having intravenous chemotherapy by pump and you notice any leakage of the drug from the pump or tube it is essential to let the nurse or doctor at the hospital know immediately.
    If you feel unwell at any time, phone the nurse or doctor at the hospital for advice.

Planning your chemotherapy treatment
Your treatment will depend on a number of factors including:
    the type of cancer you have
    where in the body the cancer is
    how far it has spread (if at all)
    your general health.

How often you have your treatment and how long the whole course of treatment takes will depend on:
    the type of cancer you have
    the particular chemotherapy drugs you are having
    how well the cancer responds to the drugs
    any side effects the drugs may cause.

Before starting chemotherapy, you will have your height and weight checked. This is used to work out the right dose of chemotherapy for you.

Intravenous chemotherapy is usually given as several sessions of treatment, unless you are having continuous treatment by infusion pump. Depending on the drug, or drugs, each treatment can last from a few hours to a few days. Each treatment is generally followed by a rest period of a few weeks to allow your body to recover from any side effects and so that the number of cells in your blood can go back to normal. The treatment and the rest period together make up a cycle of treatment. The number of cycles you have will depend on how well your cancer is responding to the chemotherapy.

Your doctor or chemotherapy nurse will explain your treatment plan to you. If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask. It often helps to make a list of questions and to take a close relative or friend with you to remind you of things you want to know but may easily forget. You may need some tests before starting your course of treatment. These will include blood tests and perhaps urine tests or heart tests.

Before each cycle of chemotherapy, you will normally have blood tests and see the doctor or specialist chemotherapy nurse. This can take some time. Your GP, practice nurse or the staff at a hospital close to your home may be able to test your blood a day or two before your treatment, so that you do not have to wait so long on the day of your treatment. If your blood is tested at your GP surgery, or at another hospital, the results can be sent to the hospital where you are having your treatment. Sometimes, you may need to have x-rays or scans.

All chemotherapy drugs are prepared specially for you and you may have to wait while the hospital pharmacy department gets them ready. To help pass the time, it can be helpful to take a book, personal stereo, iPod, newspaper, crosswords or perhaps some letters to write.

It may take several months to have all the chemotherapy needed to treat your cancer. When chemotherapy is given by an infusion pump it can be given continuously over a time varying from several days to several weeks.

Some people having their chemotherapy as tablets or capsules take them daily for several weeks or months, before they have a rest period.

Changes in the treatment plan
Your doctors will use blood tests and sometimes urine tests to monitor the effect that the chemotherapy is having on your body.

If you have a tumor that can be seen on a scan or felt by the doctor, the hospital staff will regularly check the effects of the chemotherapy on the cancer. The results from your blood tests and any scans or x-rays can show how much the cancer is responding to the treatment.

Depending on the results of the tests, your treatment plan may sometimes need to be changed. There can be many reasons for this and your doctor will tell you why your treatment needs to be changed if this is necessary. It may be because the drugs you are having are starting to cause damage to particular parts of the body, such as the bone marrow, kidneys, liver or nerves in the hands or feet.

Sometimes it can be because the chemotherapy is not shrinking the cancer enough. If this is the case, then changing to different drugs may be more effective.

Sometimes, your treatment may need to be delayed because the chemotherapy drugs are stopping your bone marrow from working properly. Delaying the chemotherapy gives your bone marrow a chance to recover before the next session of drugs is given.

Website Source:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Chemotherapy -- The Positive Side

Chemotherapy (also called chemo) is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to damage and ultimately destroy cancer cells.

Note: The following video provides a quick overview of the three types of cancer conventional therapy: chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

How Does Chemotherapy Work?
Chemotherapy works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells, which grow and divide quickly. But it can also harm healthy cells that divide quickly, such as those that line your mouth and intestines or cause your hair to grow. Damage to healthy cells may cause side effects. Often, side effects get better or go away after chemotherapy is over. Chemotherapy works best if the cancer cells do not recover as well as the normal cells. Exploiting the difference in the sensitivity of cancer cells as opposed to normal cells is central to effective chemotherapy treatments.

What Does Chemotherapy Do?
Depending on your type of cancer and how advanced it is, chemotherapy can:
  • Cure cancer - when chemotherapy destroys cancer cells to the point that your doctor can no longer detect them in your body and they will not grow back.
  • Control cancer - when chemotherapy keeps cancer from spreading, slows its growth, or destroys cancer cells that have spread to other parts of your body.
  • Ease cancer symptoms (also called palliation of symptoms) - when chemotherapy shrinks tumors that are causing pain or pressure - such as by lessening a cough, or pain by affecting the cancer cells causing such symptoms.

Chemotherapy Uses
Sometimes, chemotherapy is used as the only cancer treatment. But more often, you will get chemotherapy along with surgery, radiation therapy, or biological therapy. Chemotherapy can:
  • Make a tumor smaller before surgery or radiation therapy. This is called neo-adjuvant chemotherapy.
  • Destroy either hidder or obvious deposits of cancer cells that may remain after surgery or radiation therapy. This is called adjuvant chemotherapy, and it attempts to improve upon the results of the other treatment previously given.
  • Help radiation therapy and biological therapy work better.
  • Destroy cancer cells that have come back (recurrent cancer) or spread to other parts of your body (metastatic cancer).

Chemotherapy and Your Daily Life
Chemotherapy affects people in different ways. How you feel depends on how healthy you are before treatment, your type of cancer, how advanced it is, the kind of chemotherapy you are getting, and the dose. Doctors and nurses cannot know for certain how you will feel during chemotherapy. They should inform you of the common side effects of the proposed treatment before you agree to take the treatment.
Some people do not feel well right after chemotherapy. The most common side effect is fatigue, feeling exhausted and worn out. You can prepare for fatigue by:
  • Asking someone to drive you to and from chemotherapy
  • Planning time to rest on the day of and day after chemotherapy
  • Getting help with meals and child care the day of and at least 1 day after chemotherapy 
Tips for Meeting With Your Doctor or Nurse

  • Make a list of your questions before each appointment. Some people keep a running list and write down new questions as they think of them. Make sure to have space on this list to write down the answers from your doctor or nurse.
  • Bring a family member or trusted friend to your medical visits. This person can help you understand what the doctor or nurse says and can talk with you about it after the visit is over.
  • Ask all your questions. There is no such thing as a stupid question. If you do not understand an answer, keep asking until you do. If the doctor uses terms that you do not understand, then say so and ask that it be explained in other terms that you can understand.
  • Take notes. You can write them down or use a tape recorder. Inform your doctor if you are recording the visit. The doctor should not object but it is polite to inform them. Later, you can review your notes and the recording so that you can remember what was said.
  • Ask for printed information about your type of cancer and chemotherapy drugs you are to receive and the schedule on which you will receive them. Also request a schedule of follow up lab tests and other studies which may be needed prior to your seeing the doctor again.
  • Let your doctor or nurse know how much information you want to know, when you want to learn it, and when you have learned enough. Some people want to learn everything they can about cancer and its treatment. Others only want a little information. The choice is yours.
  • Find out how to contact your doctor or nurse in an emergency or after normal office hours. This includes who to call and where to go.

Questions to Ask Your Health Care Professional

About My Cancer

  1. What kind of cancer do I have?
  2. What is the stage of my cancer?

About Chemotherapy

  1. Why do I need chemotherapy?
  2. What is the goal of this chemotherapy?
  3. What are the benefits of chemotherapy?
  4. What are the risks of chemotherapy?
  5. Are there other ways to treat my type of cancer?
  6. What is the standard care for my type of cancer?
  7. Are there any clinical trials for my type of cancer?
  8. Do you recommend that I participate in a clinical trial?

About My Treatment

  • How many cycles of chemotherapy will I get? How long is each treatment? How long between treatments?
  • What types of chemotherapy will I get?
  • How will these drugs be given?
  • Where do I go for this treatment?
  • How long does each treatment last?
  • Should someone drive me to and from treatments?

About Side Effects

  1. What side effects can I expect right away?
  2. What side effects can I expect later?
  3. How serious are these side effects?
  4. How long will these side effects last?
  5. Will all the side effects go away when treatment is over?
  6. What can I do to manage or ease these side effects?
  7. What can my doctor or nurse do to manage or ease these side effects? When should I call my doctor or nurse about these side effects?

Your Feelings During Chemotherapy
At some point during chemotherapy, you may feel:
  • Anxious
  • Depressed
  • Afraid
  • Angry
  • Frustrated
  • Helpless
  • Lonely
It is normal to have a wide range of feelings while going through chemotherapy. After all, living with cancer and getting treatment can be stressful. You may also feel fatigue, which can make it harder to cope with your feelings.

How can I cope with my feelings during chemotherapy?

  • Relax. Find some quiet time and think of yourself in a favorite place. Breathe slowly or listen to soothing music. This may help you feel calmer and less stressed.
  • Exercise. Many people find that light exercise helps them feel better. There are many ways for you to exercise, such as walking, riding a bike, and doing yoga. Talk with your doctor or nurse about ways you can exercise.
  • Talk with others. Talk about your feelings with someone you trust. Choose someone who can focus on you, such as a close friend, family member, chaplain, nurse, or social worker. You may also find it helpful to talk with someone else who is getting chemotherapy.
  • Join a support group. Cancer support groups provide support for people with cancer. These groups allow you to meet others with the same problems. You will have a chance to talk about your feelings and listen to other people talk about theirs. You can find out how others cope with cancer, chemotherapy, and side effects. Your doctor, nurse, or social worker may know about support groups near where you live. Some support groups also meet online (over the Internet), which can be helpful if you cannot travel.
Talk to your doctor or nurse about things that worry or upset you. You may want to ask about seeing a counselor. Your doctor may also suggest that you take medication if you find it very hard to cope with your feelings.

It is normal to have a wide range of feelings while going through chemotherapy. After all, living with cancer and getting treatment can be stressful.

Chemotherapy Side Effects

What are side effects?
Side effects are problems caused by cancer treatment. Some common side effects from chemotherapy are fatigue, nausea, vomiting, decreased blood cell counts, hair loss, mouth sores, and pain.

What causes side effects?
Chemotherapy is designed to kill fast-growing cancer cells. But it can also affect healthy cells that grow quickly. These include cells that line your mouth and intestines, cells in your bone marrow that make blood cells, and cells that make your hair grow. Chemotherapy causes side effects when it harms these healthy cells.

Will I get side effects from chemotherapy?
You may have a lot of side effects, some, or none at all. This depends on the type and amount of chemotherapy you get and how your body reacts. Before you start chemotherapy, talk with your doctor or nurse about which side effects to expect.

How long do side effects last?
How long side effects last depends on your health and the kind of chemotherapy you get. Most side effects go away after chemotherapy is over. But sometimes it can take months or even years for them to go away.

Sometimes, chemotherapy causes long-term side effects that do not go away. These may include damage to your heart, lungs, nerves, kidneys, or reproductive organs. Some types of chemotherapy may cause a second cancer years later. Ask your doctor or nurse about your chance of having long-term side effects.

What can be done about side effects?
Doctors have many ways to prevent or treat chemotherapy side effects and help you heal after each treatment session. For example: drugs to prevent or control nausea and vomiting are much more effective now than they used to be. Talk with your doctor or nurse about which side effects to expect, when they are likely to occur, and what to do about them. Make sure to let your doctor or nurse know about any changes you notice - they may be signs of a side effect.

As another example: chemotherapy can lower your white blood cell count. White blood cells are an important way to fight infection. If you get a fever when your white blood cell count is low it can be very dangerous. Development of a fever after office hours should always be called about right away. Your doctor and staff should teach you what to watch for- such as chills or sweats, and the importance of having a thermometer on hand.

Doctors have many ways to prevent or treat chemotherapy side effects and help you heal after each treatment session. Talk with your doctor or nurse about which ones to expect and what to do about them. Make sure to let your doctor or nurse know about any changes you notice - they may be signs of a side effect.

Chemotherapy As a Good Option
In order to keep things "on balance", here is a positive view of chemotherapy taken from the Science Blog website.

Chemotherapy drugs are, by their very nature, extremely toxic and typically work against your body's natural ability to fight cancer, e.g. destroying host immunity instead of supporting it.

One of the biggest drawbacks to chemotherapy is the fact that it destroys healthy cells throughout your body right along with cancer cells, a "side effect" that often leads to accelerated death, not healing.

Another devastating side effect of chemotherapy is the way it actually supports the more chemo resistant and malignant cell subpopulations within tumors (e.g. cancer stem cells), both killing the more benign cells and/or senescent cells within the tumor that keep it slow-growing, or even harmless.

As a result, this unleashes a more aggressive, treatment-resistant type of cancer to wreak havoc on the body.

A handful of natural compounds have been discovered, however, which exhibit an effect called "selective cytotoxicity."  This means they are able to kill cancer cells while leaving healthy cells and tissue unharmed.

This type of cancer treatment is intelligent, targeted and will not result in the death of the patient from "collateral damage" in what is increasingly a failed war not against the cancer being treated, but the patient's own irreversibly devastated body.

Make no mistake about it, chemotherapy can be rough. Very rough. But what is often forgotten is that it can also be life-saving, particularly in the case of hematologic malignancies, where it is the primary therapy.

What is also often forgotten or intentionally ignored is that doctors don’t use chemotherapy because they love “torturing” patients or because they’re in the pockets of big pharma and looking for cash or because they are too lazy to find another way. They do it because, at least right now, it’s the best scientific medicine has. And in the case of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, for example, it’s life-saving.

Yes, chemotherapy can make you feel nauseated and make you throw up. It can make your hair fall out. It can temporarily depress the immune system. It can cause bleeding complications, such as GI bleeding. It can cause kidney damage. It can cause heart damage. It can cause lung damage. it can cause nerve damage. It can make you lose weight. It can even result in your death from complications. In short, it is not something to be taken lightly.

Unfortunately, the disease it’s meant to fight is a formidable foe indeed. It is your own cells, and often the difference between the toxicity of chemotherapy against the cancer and against normal cells is all too often not that great.

But what does cancer do? How do cancer patients die? They suffer and die in protean ways. Cancer can do everything chemotherapy can do (with the exception of hair loss) and more. I’ve seen more patients than I care to know suffer and die from cancer. I’ve seen family members suffer and die from cancer, most recently my mother-in-law.

One of the most frequent claims of cancer patients who opt for quackery instead of chemotherapy and effective science-based therapies is that they want to remain healthy. Some, as Abraham Cherrix did, state that, even if they end up dying, they want to “die healthy.” It’s a dangerous illusion. There is nothing “healthy” about dying from cancer. Dying from cancer is anything but “healthy.” What does dying from untreated cancer mean? What happens? What does it involve?

Dying from cancer can mean unrelenting pain that leaves you the choice of being drugged up with narcotics or being in agony.

Dying from cancer can mean unrelenting vomiting from an uncorrectable bowel obstruction. It can mean having a nasogastric tube to drain your digestive juices and prevent you from throwing up. Alternatively, it can mean having to have a tube sticking out of your stomach to drain its fluids.

Dying from cancer can mean bleeding because you don’t have enough platelets to clot. The bleeding can come in many forms. It can be bleeding into the brain, in essence a hemorrhagic stroke. It can mean bleeding from the rectum or vomiting blood incessantly. And, because so many transfusions are all too often necessary, immune reactions can chew up new platelets as fast as they’re infused. Yes, paradoxically, even when a cancer patient’s immune system is suppressed in late stage cancer, frequently it does work against the one thing you don’t want it to: Transfusions of blood products.

Dying from cancer can mean horrific cachexia. Think Nazi concentration camp survivor. think starving Africans. Think famine. Think having cheeks so sunken that your face looks like the skull underlying it.

Dying from cancer can mean your lungs progressively filling with fluid from tumor infiltration. Think choking on your own secretions. Think a progressive shortness of breath. Think an unrelenting feeling of suffocation but with no possibility of relief.

Dying from cancer can mean having your belly fill with ascites fluid due to a liver chock full of tumor.

Dying from cancer can mean so many other horrific things happening to you that they are way to numerous to include a comprehensive list in a blog post, even a post by a blogger as regularly logorrheic as Orac.

Modern medicine can alleviate many of the symptoms people with terminal cancer suffer, but it can’t reverse the disease process. However, the relief of these symptoms requires that the patient actually accept treatment. Hospice can minimize such symptoms, often for significant periods of time.

However, even with the very best hospice care, there is nothing “healthy” or pleasant about dying from cancer. It means a loss of control. It means being too weak to get up by yourself, to feed yourself, to go to the bathroom yourself, to bathe yourself, or do do much other than lie in your bed and wait for the end.

Without such treatment, a patient who chooses quackery over effective curative or palliative therapy dooms himself to a painful and unpleasant death. He in effect dooms himself to the sorts of ends untreated cancer patients suffered hundreds of years ago, before there was effective therapy.

It doesn’t have to be this way, but the seductive promise of a cure without pain, without hair falling out, without nausea lures cancer patients to havens of quackery in Tijuana or to flee from authorities trying to see that a child obtains potentially life-saving treatment, all because of a magnified fear of chemotherapy, all because of the propaganda that paints chemotherapy as “poison,” radiation as “burning,” and surgery as “slashing.”

Here’s the dirty little secret behind “alternative cancer cure” (ACC) promises. They are seductive because it is true that cancer patients who stop their chemotherapy will do feel better than they did when undergoing chemotherapy. Of course they do, at least for a while!

Often what’s happened is that the tumor shrinks, and, once the chemotherapy course is done, the patient does feel better because the tumor is no longer causing B symptoms or compressing lungs and making him short of breath or whatever. It is also true that more chemotherapy will make the patient feel lousy again for a time. Unfortunately, in the case of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the additional chemotherapy is necessary to maximize the chance of cure. Hodgkin’s disease frequently relapses without the additional courses of chemotherapy. Science and clinical trials have told us that.

Cancer doesn’t give up. It’s like the Terminator. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And, if it is not treated, it absolutely will not stop, ever, until the patient is dead. And it won’t be a pretty end.

Chemotherapy or death by cancer? For cancers for which chemotherapy is so effective, like Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it’s really a no-brainer.

Website Sources: