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Chris Woolmams / Catherine Woollams
Chemotherapy and cancer drugs

The Truth about Cancer Drugs

Here CANCERactive covers chemotherapy and cancer drugs and we include our ´A to Z review of the top cancer drugs´. In the past, several experts have conducted reviews for us in very specific areas, for example on breast cancer drugs, prostate cancer drugs and lung cancer drugs and we have included those for you too. Even though the articles are getting old, many of the drugs are still in regular use today! 

And that is the conundrum. Almost every day we hear about a new wonder drug - a Biologic like Herceptin, or a new immunotherapy drug or vaccine. A step change is coming. Going are the days when cancer drugs were synonymous with mass destruction; early cancer drugs simply used the fact that cancer cells were rapidly dividing and went to work on them, be they cancer cells or hair cells. Anything that was rapidly dividing was ´hit´.

Unfortunately, the Truth about Cancer Drugs is that this brave new world is not really with us yet. Standard Breast Cancer and Colorectal cancer treatments in the UK still use drugs like 5-FU, (5 Fluorurocil), first approved in 1956.

Pharmaceutical companies and scientists have been working on ways to get your immune system to better see the cancer - sometimes the results seem spectacular - but for less than a fifth of the total number of people with that cancer. You can read more on the Truth about Immunotherapy HERE.

It is very likely that these scientists will have to look to alternative approaches. For example, the new immunotherapies still have notable side-effects and one of these is that they damage the microbiome. Yet the bacteria in a healthy micro biome are very anti-inflammatory and boost the immune system. The re-addition of the very bacteria killed by the new immunotherapy drugs seems to help them work better, and on more people!

My favourite quote on cancer drugs came from Dr. Contreras when I interviewed him, who said, "We use drugs at the Oasis of Hope. We just find they don´t work very well, and often the damage from the side-effects simply outweighs the benefits from the drugs".

Old fashioned Chemotherapy is still the norm. It has substantial side-effects. The new drugs are certainly not yet the finished article and give just months of extra survival on average. They too have side-effects, and they are expensive; in some cases, very expensive.

Moreover, since 2012 it has been clear that at the centre of every cancer are ´cancer stem cells´ which drive the cancer. Drugs can knock back a tumour by 50, 60, or 70 per cent. But no synthetic drug is known today that kills off the stem cells at the heart of a cancer.

You will find an overview of chemotherapy and developments in cancer drugs by clicking this link: Cancer Drugs and Chemotherapy

Everybody taking a cancer drug should read this overview, and then their specific drugs in the A to Z guide. We promise that every time there is research in Cancer Watch on the drug, its benefits or its side effects, we will update these important pages.

Testing for effect

We have always been alarmed at the numbers of drugs dispensed to cancer patients. Whilst Clinical Trials might measure the effectiveness of one or two drugs in combination, some women newly diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK are routinely given four simultaneously. Plus the nausea drugs and a steroid.

2016 research from Belgium and covered in Cancer Watch has used genetic testing and shown that at least 15 per cent of these women are being treated unnecessarily - a waste of drugs and increased damage to the woman. Their test is called the Mamaprint. It is not yet available.

But individuals can be tested. There is something called ´Chemosensitivity testing´ - it shows whether a drug has the potential to work on your cancer. If it does not, why use it? The same testing system can be used to show if cur cumin, vitamin C, artemesinin or other natural and bioactive compounds would have an effect on your personal cancer and if they would potentially be better or worse than the drug. Read about Chemosensitivity testing HERE.

Diet and Chemotherapy

There are other articles in this section. We advise everyone taking drugs to read the piece on diet and chemotherapy because, in our review, we found that NHS dieticians in the UK are giving the majority of cancer patients dangerous, cancer feeding-information (there, weve said it!), like encouraging them to eat foods that are bad-fat and glucose-rich, when glucose is the favourite food of a cancer cell. 

And recent research has shown that people with the highest blood-glucose levels survive the least! Be warned. You will quickly understand what you need from your cancer diet, and cancer nutrition programme when undertaking chemotherapy. Cachexia can, of course be a problem. But shoving fats, sugars and salt down your throat is not the way to beat a cancer. You might like to read Hydrazine Sulphate elsewhere on this site if you are concerned about cachexia (severe weight loss and debhilitation caused by the cancer drugs).

Our favourite Diet at CANCERactive is ´The Rainbow Diet - see the bottom of the page for our book, and our Recipe Book.

You should also read the article on taking antioxidants during chemotherapy and you might like to read how the best way to reboot your immune system is with herbs (for example, curcumin, astragalus, cats claw and echinacea). You will also find that in our search facility. 

You might also look for our article on Beneficial Bacteria - without them, you may not be able to derive the best nourishment during your chemotherapy programme, even if you have the best cancer diet possible! Also 2016 has shown that your gut bacteria are ESSENTIAL for drugs and especially the new immunotherapies to properly work. Everybody taking a drug should simultaneously take probiotics especially Bifidobacteria.

If you are going to take a drug, especially one of the older and powerful cancer-cell killing chemicals, check the facts and be sure its what you think is best. You may find our five-year old article Blind Faith of some help. It was supposed to be one half of the anti/pro chemotherapy argument. Unfortunately the professors asked to write the case for chemotherapy didn´t. However, it was criticised as a piece - for being too balanced!

On the left of this screen you will find more articles on a variety of subjects to do with the cancer treatment of chemotherapy and cancer drugs.

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