Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Damage and Late Effects of Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy

Late-effects of orthodox cancer treatment most people don't know about...

Image: Office.com
The reason I avoided chemo was the horrendous side-effects associated with that treatment, and the obvious toxicity that the body must endure. However, no-one pointed out the potential late effects that can plague your life thereafter.

Late-effects explained:

Cancer treatments can cause long-lasting health problems, called "late-effects".

The late-effects of cancer treatments are a well known problem in the medical profession, but less understood by the rest of us. These health problems can result years later, including "secondary cancers" i.e. new (different) types of cancer, which can arise due to the damage caused by toxic treatment, as outlined below.

Damage caused by chemo

Medicine is now a high risk industry, like aviation. But, the chance of dying in an aviation accident is one in 2 million, while the risk of dying from a medical accident is one in 200!"
--Dr. Leape of the Harvard Medical School of Public Health

Aspiring doctor kept emotional online diary of battle with terminal cancer caused by chemotherapy Daily Record

A BRAVE medical student whose terminal cancer was triggered by chemotheraphy kept an emotional blog charting her final days.
Stari Gunarathne, 26, of Aberdeen, believed she had beaten lymphoma – only to be told the drugs used to treat her had caused another cancer.

In her first blog entry, on January 27, 2013, she wrote from her hospital bed: 

“Two weeks ago, I was told I have an aggressive form of leukaemia that has been caused by the chemotherapy treatment I had three years ago for the Hodgkin lymphoma...The doctors have said this is incredibly rare for this to have happened and now I have to stay in hospital for about five weeks at a time getting intensive chemo to cure the cancer that was caused by the chemo – go figure."  STARI GUNARATHNE, (26)

 (My emphasis)

Full story: Daily Record /news about chemo victim

Damage caused by Radiotherapy: Video

Two women show the after effects of their cancer treatment. Both have one arm that is painful and useless.

According to Cancer Net conventional cancer treatment, such as chemo and radiotherapy, all potentially have LONG TERM side effects, outlined below.

Long-Term Side Effects of Cancer Treatment

(From cancer.net)

Key Messages:
  • Cancer treatments can cause long-lasting side effects, called late effects.
  • The types of late effects a person experiences vary based on the cancer treatments he or she received.
  • All cancer survivors should receive follow-up care after treatment to watch for and manage any late effects.

Types of late effects

Because late effects are caused by cancer treatments, nearly any type of treatment can cause late effects. Some of the more common late effects are described below. If you are concerned about a particular late effect, please talk with your doctor.
Heart problems. These are most often caused by radiation therapy to the chest and/or chemotherapy, especially if the drugs doxorubicin (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar) were used. People age 65 or older and those who received higher doses of chemotherapy have a higher risk of heart problems that may include inflammation (swelling) of the heart muscle, congestive heart failure (a condition where the heart has difficulty pumping blood), or heart disease.
Lung problems. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy to the chest may damage the lungs. Cancer survivors who received both chemotherapy and radiation therapy (for example, a person who has received both treatments for a bone marrow/stem cell transplant) may have a higher risk of lung damage. Some of the drugs that are more likely to cause lung damage include bleomycin (Blenoxane), carmustine (BiCNU), prednisone (multiple brand names), dexamethasone (multiple brand names), and methotrexate (multiple brand names).

The late effects may also include the following:

  • A change in how well the lungs work
  • Thickening of the lining of the lungs
  • Inflammation of the lungs
  • Difficulty breathing

Also listed, we have:

Endocrine (hormone) system problems.

Bone, joint, and soft tissue problems.

Brain, spinal cord, and nerve problems.

Dental and vision problems.

And, importantly...

Secondary Cancers. A secondary cancer is a different type of cancer that appears after the original cancer diagnosis. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), cancer survivors have a 14% higher risk of developing a new cancer. The development of a secondary cancer is thought to be from previous cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can also damage bone marrow stem cells and increase the chance of either myelodyplasia (a blood cancer where the normal parts of the blood are either not made or are abnormal) or acute leukemia. Talk with your doctor about how to lower the risk of a secondary cancer and how to watch for any signs or symptoms
Full details: Long term effects of conventional cancer treatment: from cancer.net

Side Effects of Chemotherapy on the Body... a virtual guide

If you would like to see a well presented medically reviewed infographic regarding the common side-effects of chemotherapy, Healthline.com recently designed a virtual guide to the effects of chemotherapy on the body. You can see the infographic here: 19 common side effects of chemotherapy

Lyn's story gives a wonderfully frank account of her experiences with chemotherapy, and what she did when it failed. This video provides valuable insights.


It seems there is quite a significant risk that conventional cancer treatments can leave a legacy of harm and suffering. This is yet another thing to weigh up regarding risks and benefits when considering treatment. There are no easy choices. Of course some cancers, (and associated treatment), may have less risk of such harm than others. It seems a good idea to research this issue further regarding any proposed cancer treatment, and discuss it with your doctors.

In contrast, alternative non-toxic treatments have no such "late-effects" or even any side effects. There is no damage of any kind. And there are many to choose from.

If you have cancer, you owe it to yourself to check out all the alternative options you have before making such an important decision.

Further reading suggestions:
Many natural non-toxic treatments exist that offer far greater success, and are unlikely to cause harm or kill you. I personally refused chemotherapy, (which I felt would finish me off) and followed the The Bill Henderson Protocol which to my mind is one of the best available at the current time, especially as a DIY system you can do at home. (instant download)

 Or available on Amazon (paperback) here: Cancer-Free Your Guide to Gentle, Non-toxic Healing

Another book I found vital to my understanding of alternative cancer treatment
 options is... Outsmart Your Cancer, by Tanya Harter Pierce
Outsmart Your Cancer was the first book I read when I was diagnosed with cancer, and facing 6 months of chemo. There are a good number of alternative treatments explained, so as to provide a considerable choice. It is essential to at least have an understanding of what's out there and available to try. Many of these treatments have been devised by highly qualified people with medical or scientific backgrounds who have an approach that intelligently exploits the few weak spots unique to cancer cells. The science and history behind each protocol is fascinating to say the least.


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