Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2017. It has been updated and republished in August 2019.
Conventional methods of treating cancer generate approximately $200 billion dollars each year, and that’s just in the U.S.! Most of this money goes straight to the manufacturers and a large majority is generated through the sale and use of chemotherapy drugs.
Chemotherapy is part of the “Big 3” treatment methods promoted by allopathic medicine: chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, with millions of cancer patients using it in some way each year.
[Editor’s note] If you’ve read our articles and know our mission, you know that we support everyone’s personal choice when it comes to treatment. Our goal is not to talk you out of chemo or convince you that there is a “right way” for everyone to handle a diagnosis. Our goal is to equip you with the facts so that you are armed with the truth.
If you or someone you love decide to go the “chemo route” as part of an overall cancer treatment protocol, be sure to get the facts. Most importantly, find out what you can do to detoxify your body right away once your chemo course is over.
What Chemotherapy Does
For a comprehensive explanation of what chemotherapy is and how it effects your body on all levels, read the truth about chemo here.
In terms of the negative effects chemotherapy has on breast cancer patients in particular, new research has discovered that it may actually do more harm than good. Approximately 30% of all breast cancer patients will undergo some form of chemotherapy. There is currently a general understanding across the board (among conventional doctors as well) that these treatments do affect the immune system. No one knew to what extent until recently however.
A British study conducted by the University of Leeds and published in the January 2016 edition of Breast Cancer Researcher took a look at how chemotherapy affected immune system health in 88 breast cancer patients. The results were shocking…
Leeds researchers found breast cancer chemotherapy to be associated with “long-term changes in immune parameters that should be considered during clinical management.” These changes included a drastic reduction in T, B, and Natural Killer cell counts after just two weeks of treatment. The study also discovered that certain immune system cells, including T cells, remained significantly lower a whole 9 months after treatment ended.
The most significant finding, however, was that repopulating T and B cells expressed significant changes when compared to their pre-chemotherapy predecessors. This indicates that foundational genetic mutations may carry over into future generations of cells long after chemotherapy had ended.
Like radiation and surgery, it is important to remember that although chemotherapy may shrink visible tumors, it will not affect circulating cancer stem cells. Stem cells are “blank slates.” Healthy stem cells are needed for the formation of everything from T cells to connective tissue. When cancer is a concern, however, those same stem cells can turn deadly and be used for re-seeding and refueling tumor growth.
5 Natural Therapies That Can Help With Chemotherapy Detox
The following natural substances and modalities can help you detoxify chemo drugs and rebuild your immune system. All of these natural substances and protocols will also help prevent cancer recurrence as well.
#1. Broccoli Sprouts
Broccoli sprouts contain a high amount of the cancer-busting and immune boosting substance sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has proven to be a strong cancer inhibitor, especially of Breast Cancer. It creates apoptosis (cancer cell death) and also boosts Natural Killer cell activity. Sulforaphane can also be consumed in supplement form and in some high-powered formulas. Click here to discover how to grow your own broccoli sprouts at home.
#2. Beta Glucans
A quality beta glucan supplement extracted from either yeast or (more powerfully) from medicinal mushrooms can provide a very effective way to boost your immune system overall. Beta glucans increase the ability of immune cells to “eat” cancer cells and, according to a University of Kentucky study, can have an effect on breast cancer gene expression.
There are over 200 documented studies to date that address the effects of curcumin on breast cancer in particular. And there are literally thousands on the positive effect this component of the Indian spice turmeric can have on the immune system. Curcumin has shown to reduce tumor growth and induce apoptosis, even on multi-drug resistant breast cancers. It is a potent anti-inflammatory and can drastically improve immune function. One study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry reported that curcumin tripled the expression of a protein whose job it is to combat bacteria, viruses, and fungus.
Chlorella is most known for its detoxifying ability against heavy metals, but it is also a great chelator (binder) of other toxins (like residuals from chemotherapy) as well. In addition, it is a super-booster for the immune system. It is a sound source of vitamin B-12 and provides 10 times the amount of beta carotene than carrots. It also contains polysaccharides, which have been shown to improve the ability of immune system cells to communicate with each other when pathogens threaten. It also contains chlorophyll, which increases blood oxygenation. Chlorella can also increase glutathione levels as well.
Hyperthermia is the use of heat to detoxify and heal the body. It can include far infrared saunas, hot therapeutic baths, Biomat technology, and helio (sun-based) protocols as well as other heat-focused modalities. According to the National Cancer Institute, “high temperatures can damage and kill cancer cells, usually with minimal injury to normal tissue.” And according to research done by Dr. Nobuhiro Yoshimizu, author of the book The Fourth Treatment for Medical Refugees, raising your body temp by just one degree can boost your immune system by 40%
Finally, in addition to the substances mentioned above, if you are on a healing path with breast cancer, consider getting your vitamin D, iodine, and melatonin levels checked. Supplement accordingly, based on the advice of your natural health provider.
After chemotherapy treatment, the body is filled with toxins. Some of those toxins will stay in your system and continue to wreak havoc unless they are flushed out in a proactive way. In addition, the immune system will most likely be functioning below healthy levels for some time after chemotherapy has ended.
I am not an oncologist but it just makes sense to me that in order to regain health and keep cancer at bay after chemo, one would need to flush residual chemo toxins out and restore immunity in the safest way possible. You can do this with natural plant compounds and simple holistic protocols designed to gently restore and renew.