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Paclitaxel, or, Taxol


This chemotherapy and cancer drugs article is about Paclitaxel (Taxol) which is a treatment for non-small cell lung cancer, head and neck cancers, melanoma, ovarian and breast cancers.

The Truth about Taxol

It is a colourless liquid administered by drip. It is a compound extracted from the bark and needles of Pacific yew tree, Taxus brevifolia, and has strong ´cytoxic´ abilities, inhibiting cell division.

Put simply, it is a poison and causes cancer cells to die by self-destruction - blocking the function of the apoptosis inhibitor protein Bcl-2 (B-cell Leukaemia 2) found normally in cancer cells. It can have serious side-effects and its benefits are often over claimed.

In the USA Doctors tell patients with breast cancer that it has an effect in less than 3 per cent of cases.

Side effects can include: a reduced white blood cell count, hair loss, numbness and or tingling in hands or feet, painful muscles and joints.  Occasionally it can slow the heart rate and may temporarily affect the liver.

Patients should not consume any grapefruit products (the fruit, fruit juice) when taking this drug.

Can Taxol cause cancer to spread?

Cancer Watch (Feb 2010) included the story Can cancer drugs spread breast cancer? In it we covered a controversial paper (extract 6014) presented at the 27th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. German researchers from the Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena have found that the action of Taxol causes a massive increase in metastases around the body, which could appear as cancer some years after treatment had finished. Patients about to take Taxol are advised to copy the article from Cancer Watch and to consult their oncologist.


Other articles that you may find interesting are:

  1. Diet for Chemotherapy ;
  2. Beneficial bacteria ;
  3. A-Z guide to complementary therapies;
  4. Your cancer, where you can read about everything from causes to cancer treatments to complementary therapies for your cancer.
  5. How to boost your immune system.

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