Could chemotherapy help spread breast cancer cells?

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A very close friend of mine recently got diagnosed with breast cancer. I know she’s a fighter and I know she will beat this.

But still, if I think about the road ahead of her in her battle against this horrible disease my heart breaks. I know she’s going to do everything she can to get rid of it and keep it from spreading… and that includes aggressive chemotherapy to shrink the tumour, followed by surgery to remove it.

Cancer catch 22

I feel a bit like a devil’s advocate writing this, but this latest cancer study that I came across is something that I think every woman should be aware of.

According to this new study, you need to think very carefully before you agree to chemotherapy treatment, because it turns out that those drugs could potentially open the door for cancer cells to enter your bloodstream and spread even further.

The study looked at the effects of common chemotherapy drugs, like paclitaxel, on tumours in both human and animal tissue. It turned out that even though the drugs did decrease tumour size, they also increased the risk of the cancer spreading to other parts of the body. This spreading is what doctors call “metastasizing.”

The chemo drugs did this by boosting the activity of what’s known as “tumour microenvironments of metastasis” (TMEM), which are areas of your blood vessels where cancer cells can clump up with immune cells that usher them right into the bloodstream.

The study found that depending on the type of tumour, TMEM activity caused by chemotherapy can increase by as much as three times. As potentially is the case with a common type of breast cancer, called oestrogen-receptor positive/HER2 negative.

We already know that one of the risks of chemotherapy is a depleted immune system that can lead to other life-threatening complications like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Add radiation, that doubles your risk of developing a secondary cancer, to that mix and the battle against cancer becomes a full-blown war to survive.

Unfortunately, chemotherapy and radiation are the two gold standard cancer treatments that cancer patients are offered.

But there are other options, like intravenous vitamin C that has been shown to be effective in many early-stage cancers. And even if you’ve already had a mainstream treatment like radiation or chemotherapy, supplements like quercetin, curcumin, berberine, and fish oil have powerful anti-cancer properties and can help protect against the return of cancer.



Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.

Sources:

Chemotherapy Before Breast Cancer Surgery May Fuel Metastasis, statnews.com/2017/07/10/breast-cancer-chemotherapy/

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy induces breast cancer metastasis through a TMEM-mediated mechanism, stm.sciencemag.org/content/9/397/eaan0026

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