The dirty little secret of modern oncology is that cancer therapy-surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy, often leads to relapse of the original cancer, a treatment-related secondary cancer or a lifetime of long-term and late stage side effects.
Experience living with cancer since my diagnosis in early 1994, has taught me that newly diagnosed cancer patients will live better, longer lives if they think about their cancer treatment as a whole. Not just about their induction therapy and reaching their first remission. Please understand that your oncologist will usually think short term aka “progression free survival” meaning survival to your first remission.
I understand that this big picture thinking is difficult. I didn’t do this when I was first diagnosed so I’m preaching a sort of “do as I say, not as I do” philosophy. In my defense, my mantra is “I wish I knew then what I know now…”
If you are trying to think big picture as a cancer patient or caregiver, the studies below talk about anti-oxidation- before, during and after conventional therapies such as surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy.
While I would be the first to say that there is no single answer to the antioxidant debate, I would be the first person to encourage you to consult with an integrative oncologist about your specific situation. There are many studies that document how antioxidants can enhance the efficacy of a chemotherapy drug with reducing the toxicity of that chemo drug.
Whether you are a newly diagnosed cancer patient or a cancer survivor who has concluded his/her induction/initial therapy, learning about complimentary therapies such as antioxidants, whole body hyperthermia or acupuncture can make a real difference in your life.
An example of my thinking is the post I’ve linked below. I credit a nutritional supplement called Curcumin with keeping me in complete remission from my incurable blood cancer called multiple myeloma. In addition to killing multiple myeloma, curcumin has been shown to help my chemotherapy-induce heart damage, help my chemobrain, and even make me younger!
If you have any questions about managing your own long-term or late stage side effects or if you have any questions about antioxidants, please scroll down the page, post a question or a comment and I will reply to you ASAP.
Thanks very much,
“Patients would be well advised to seek the opinion of physicians who are adequately trained and experienced in the intersection of 2 complex fields, that is, chemotherapeutics and nutritional oncology. Physicians whose goal is comprehensive cancer therapy should refer their patients to qualified integrative practitioners who have such training and expertise to guide patients. A blanket rejection of the concurrent use of antioxidants with chemotherapy is not justified by the preponderance of evidence at this time and serves neither the scientific community nor cancer patients.”
“Free radicals generated as byproducts of normal metabolism can damage biologically relevant molecules. When their generation is increased, damage can also be increased, resulting in the development of many pathological conditions. Antioxidant defenses protect the body from the detrimental effects of free radicals. Dietary fruits and vegetables provide a reasonable amount of compounds that act as physiological antioxidants. Although existing knowledge does not allow a final and conclusive assessment of the relevance of antioxidants for health, it does provide the basis for its rational consideration. This paper addresses the specific aspects of antioxidant supplementation in health and disease.
“At present, there is no strategy to reduce the risk of recurrence of the primary tumors or of a second cancer among survivors. Patients unresponsive to standard or experimental therapies have little option except for poor quality of life for the remainder of life. Therefore, additional approaches should be developed to improve the efficacy of current management of cancer…
The authors also propose that after completion of standard therapy and/or experimental therapy, a maintenance nutritional protocol that contains lower doses of antioxidants and their derivatives, together with modification in diet and lifestyle, may reduce the risk of recurrence of the original tumor and development of a second cancer among survivors…”
“Cancer treatment by radiation and anticancer drugs reduces inherent antioxidants and induces oxidative stress, which increases with disease progression. Vitamins E and C have been shown to ameliorate adverse side effects associated with free radical damage to normal cells in cancer therapy, such as mucositis and fibrosis, and to reduce the recurrence of breast cancer…”
“Conclusions: Since the 1970s, 280 peer-reviewed in vitro and in vivo studies, including 50 human studies involving 8,521 patients, 5,081 of whom were given nutrients, have consistently shown that non-prescription antioxidants and other nutrients do not interfere with therapeutic modalities for cancer. Furthermore, they enhance the killing of therapeutic modalities for cancer, decrease their side effects, and protect normal tissue. In 15 human studies, 3,738 patients who took non-prescription antioxidants and other nutrients actually had increased survival…”