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Healing Chemotherapy-Induced Senescence aka Aging-

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“Senescence (/sɪˈnɛsəns/) or biological aging is the gradual deterioration of functional characteristics in living organisms. The word senescence can refer to either cellular senescence or to senescence of the whole organism.”

According to research, chemotherapy and radiation cause pre-mature aging of the patient. Because I underwent  five rounds of induction chemotherapy, followed by two rounds of consolidation chemotherapy followed by an  autologous stem cell transplant all in 1995, I underwent a great deal of chemotherapy and a great deal of toxicity. If the study linked above is accurate, I have sustained a great deal of premature chemotherapy-induced aging…

I don’t research anti-aging therapies in hopes of finding some sort of fountain-of-youth or serum to look young again.  My goal is to counteract and heal the senescence or biological aging caused by chemotherapy in an effort to

  • heal my many long-term side effects (see below)
  • reduce my risk of further side effects such as a secondary cancer…

However, if I can counteract the aging caused by chemotherapy and radiation and look younger in the process…I won’t argue.

Anti-aging therapies are a way for me to manage all of my cancer therapy related side effects- listed below. Anti-aging foods, nutritional supplements and lifestyle therapies such as frequent, moderate exercise, curcumin, resveratrol, dark chocolate, etc. are my way of pursuing evidence-based, non-conventional, non-toxic therapies that can heal my therapy-induced:

  1. Chronic Non-Cancer  Pain
  2. Risk of Treatment-related Secondary Cancer
  3. Corticosteroid-induced Avascular Necrosis
  4. Chemotherapy-induced cognitive dysfunction-Chemobrain
  5. Chemotherapy & Radiation-induced Nerve damage-CIPN and RILP
  6. Chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy-heart damage
  7. Chemotherapy-induced Deep Vein Thrombosis- blood clot
  8. Chemotherapy-induced Atrial Fibrillation- Afib
  9. Chemotherapy-induced Heart Valve Damage-
  10. Chemotherapy-Induced Hemorrhagic Cystitis-irratible bladder
  11. Radiation-induced DysphagiaDifficulty Swallowing
  12. Radiation-induced Xerostomia-Dry Mouth
  13. Cancer Survivor Mental Health- 

All of the health problems linked above are long-term and late stage side effects that resulted from several years of my chemotherapy and radiation. All are side effects that may result from my premature biological aging. I have to believe that it may  help if I can slow the premature aging caused by my chemotherapy and radiation.

If biological aging helped to cause these side effects, healing/slowing biological aging can heal them???

To be clear, I’m talking about biological aging as in senescence. 

I will link and excerpt years of blog posts below that explain the many therapies I employ to slow the aging process of my cells and my skin at the same time. My goal is not to “look younger.” My goal is to slow or reverse the premature biological aging caused by the chemotherapy and radiation I underwent from my diagnosis in early 1994 though my diagnosis of end-stage MM in September of 1997.

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:

Cancer Survivors May Face Premature Aging

“Treatments that help people beat canceralso can cause them to age prematurely and die sooner, Mayo Clinic researchers report.  Cancer survivors naturally age faster than others who haven’t had cancer, and are more likely to develop long-term health problems related to aging while they’re still relatively young, the study authors said.

These ailments can include hormone and gland disorders, heart problems, brittle bones, lung scarring and new cancers. Survivors also are more likely to become frail as the years pass…

Childhood cancer survivors’ estimated life expectancy is 30 percent lower than that of the general population, and they are three to six times more likely to develop a second cancer, the researchers noted…”

Cancer Treatment-Induced Accelerated Aging in Cancer Survivors: Biology and Assessment

“In brief, future research is warranted to better understand the biological mechanisms of aging. Since anti-aging drugs are available, a deeper understanding of aging-related consequences of cancer and cancer treatments would lead to new strategies to mitigate or even reverse aging and will eventually improve the quality of life of cancer survivors…”

Cancer Treatment as an Accelerated Aging Process: Assessment, Biomarkers, and Interventions

“An accumulating body of evidence supports the hypothesis that cancer and/or cancer treatment is associated with accelerated aging. The majority of these data come from the pediatric literature; however, a smaller yet growing body of literature points toward similar findings in the geriatric population. This is a key survivorship issue the growing number of older adults with cancer face, along with the short- and long-term impact of cancer therapy on the aging process…”

  1. Reducing Inflammation is the Key to Cognitive Function and Long Life
  2. Anti-Aging or Anti- Immune System Aging?
  3. Are Anti-Aging Therapies such as N.A.D., Legit?
  4. Melatonin As Anti-Aging Therapy for Age-Related Bone Loss
  5. Resveratrol = Anti-Aging, Slow Multiple Myeloma, Slow chronic disease?
  6. MM- Anti-aging- Diet, Supplements, Sleep, Exercise
  7. Healing Chemotherapy-Induced Aging-
  8. Can Childhood, AYA Cancer Survivors Heal Frailty, Cognitive Decline?
  9. Collagen-Skin, Muscle, Joint, Brain and Heart Health
  10. Chemotherapy Ages Breast Cancer Patients 10-15 years?!?!
  11. Coffee, Improve Skin, Reduce Skin Cancer Risk-
  12. Reduce Chronic Inflammation to Reduce Parkinson’s Disease?
  13. C-B-D, Inflammation and Alzheimer’s
  14. Reduce Brain Inflammation, Reduce Risk of Depression, Risk of Suicide

What does the finding that “stem cell transplant accelerates aspects of aging” mean for the long-term Multiple Myeloma Survivor?

According to the article linked and excertped below, during the month of December in 1995, I aged 30 years in 21 days. I went from a 35 year old to a 65 five year old. I underwent standard multiple myeloma treatment.  I had an autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT). They say that age is only a number, right?

I was told that I had an incurable blood cancer called multiple myeloma. My oncologist recommended an ASCT. Frankly if Dr. Berger had recommended jumping off the Terminal Tower for my MM treatment,  I would have done it.

While just about everyone under the age of 70 who is diagnosed with multiple myeloma is told that they should have an autologous stem cell transplant, a growing number of myeloma specialists are questioning the pros/cons of transplants.

The remission from my ASCT lasted 10 months. It is clear that autologous stem cell transplants have improved since ’95. A small but significant number of MMers have enjoyed long remissions from ASCT’s. And a 65 year old myeloma patient might not care if he/she ages by 30 years after the ASCT. But an ASCT is not curative and every MMer will relapse eventually.

Almost four years of conventional therapies after my diagnosis led to two remissions, two relapses and “there is nothing more we can do for you. ” My oncologist told me that back in 9/97. An evidence-based but non-conventional therapy put me into complete remission in early 1999 where I remain today (10/18).

I have remained in complete remission since ’99 by living an evidence-based, non-toxic, anti-MM lifestyle. While I live with many long-term side effects from my toxic therapies long ago, I think my immune system is working well.

I encourage MM coaching clients to live an evidence-based, non-toxic, anti-MM lifestyle through nutrition, supplementation, bone-health, lifestyle and mind-body therapies.  The Multiple Myeloma Cancer Coaching program supports aging immune systems like mine.

To learn more about evidence-based but non-toxic MM therapies, scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • MM Survivor
  • MM Cancer Coach
  • Director People Beating Cancer

Recommended Reading:

Blood cancer treatment ages immune cells by 30 years, study says

“Researchers at the University of North Carolina found blood cancer patients treated with an autologous stem cell transplant showed elevated levels of expression of messenger RNA comparable to advanced aging, and at levels higher than with other stem cell transplant therapies, according to a study published in the journal EBioMedicine

Stem cell transplants help extend survival time for blood cancer patients, and are delivered in one of two ways: Autologous transplants, taken from stores of a patient’s own stem cells, or allogeneic transplants, which uses stem cells from a donor…

“We know that transplant is life-prolonging, and in many cases, it’s life-saving, for many patients with blood cancers and other disorders…””At the same time, we’re increasingly recognizing that survivors of transplant are at risk for long-term health problems, and so there is interest in determining what markers may exist to help predict risk for long-term health problems, or even in helping choose which patients are best candidates for transplantation…””

Most people’s biological age, the age of their cells, is different from their age in years. Many cancer treatments carry side effects, such as fatigue, nausea and hair loss, and researchers were not surprised to find accelerated aging.

“Many oncologists would not be surprised by the finding that stem cell transplant accelerates aspects of aging,” Dr. Norman Sharpless, director of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina, said in a press release. “We know that years after a curative transplant, stem cell transplant survivors are at increased risk for blood problems that can occur with aging, such as reduced immunity, increased risk for bone marrow failure, and increased risk of blood cancers. What is important about this work, however, is that it allows us to quantify the effect of stem cell transplant on molecular age.”

For the study, the researchers analyzed blood samples from 63 cancer patients, 26 of whom underwent autologous transplants and 37 of who received allogeneic transplants. Most of the autologous transplant recipients had myeloma, and some also had lymphoma, while most of the allogeneic transplant recipients had leukemia. Five of the allogneneic recipients had also previous received autologous transplants.

Researchers found higher expression of mRNA coding for the p16 protein, which is expected to increase exponentially as people age chonologically, in both groups of cancer patients. In those who received an autologous transplant, however, patients had three times the p16 expression they had before transplant — a significant increase…”

Leave a Comment:

Kathryn Guillaum says 8 months ago

Heart; GP, yesterday changed my b.p med. The new one has a diuretic in it. This happened after he asked if I had swelling ( legs,ankles) and I said “sometimes”. The pharmacist suggested I try half a pill for a while (pill is 25mg/once a day).She cited dizziness and lots of bathroom trips.
B.P is generally around 130-140 and as high as 160+ , in the examining room
Blah blah….I have to get my weight down; started daily treadmill…today
GP isn’t suggesting weight loss.
Weather is not going to be conducive for walking any distance.
Crap….I have more to do. Better food choices….
He said I’m depressed lol, who isn’t these days? Says I’m a classic case of elder depression/anxiety. He used to teach medical students.
Anyway, I have some work to do!
Your cardiac challenges are worse.
Oh, and since MM, my hair is completely gray. GP seems to lean toward senior effects, more than MM effects.
How about I stop being told what I am and just work on this body to make it last longer without drugs?He hasn’t ordered an ekg, just…going by my appearance? and b.p….in the examining room.
There is a new cardiologist in the center. Maybe a referral?
Nice bedside manner but how about real time investigation, not guesses?

I vented, no need to comment! I thought I had pretty good charge of myself….mostly.
More power to you David! Thank you for keeping us informed!
Just saying….

    Kathryn Guillaum says 8 months ago

    Ps what do you think of the COVID boosters( newest), and the high dose flu vaccine ( for seniors and vulnerable patients)? I had both in one Dr visit and it’s the first time I have ever gotten side effects; lasted a few days

      David Emerson says 8 months ago

      Hi Kathryn-

      While there is a tiny risk of side effects from vaccines, there is an even greater risk of virus to all who have MM- even MM in remission. Our immune function is reduced.


    David Emerson says 8 months ago

    Hi Kathryn-

    Good to vent. Hang in there.


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