Traditional Medical Treatments and the Side Effects of Drugs

So what can be done for cancer recovery? This question can be answered two ways. First, information about cancer can be obtained from The American Cancer Society, the American Institute for Cancer Research, hospice, and your own oncologist who will be primarily responsible for the plan of your treatment. Chemotherapy may be one of the recommended treatments. It works by interrupting the cell cycle and prevents cells from reproducing. It will only work at the specific phase of the cell division. Several different drugs can be used together which will attack more cells at various stages of cell division. All chemotherapy drugs have been approved by the FDA through rigorous testing to determine which drugs are most effective for certain cancer situations. But what also has been discovered is that since the chemotherapy drugs cannot tell the difference between healthy cells and cancer cells, the drugs destroy all cells that are in that particular part of cell division it is targeted to disrupt. It is also most effective against rapidly reproducing cells, but, not being able to distinguish good from bad, can affect the hair, bone marrow, and mouth lining cells. There are side effects to be concerned about that could be simply unpleasant to life threatening (Altman and Sarg 61-62). Suppression of bone marrow is one dangerous side effect that is necessary for healthy white blood cells to help fight off infections. Johan Bjorksten, Ph.D., a prominent scientist from the University of Wisconsin, has shown that chemotherapy destroys the immune system beyond repair and increases risk for death from infectious causes (Quillin 29-31). Researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that the risk from chemotherapy causing leukemia outweighs the benefits of its therapy (qtd. in Quillin 29). Another very critical side effect through the use of chemotherapy is bone marrow depression, which can lead to anemia, greater risks for infection, and serious bleeding (Altman and Sarg 33). Chemotherapy drugs have warnings attached to the packaging and you should be advised that with use of various types of chemotherapy there is a chance of liver and heart damage, secondary malignancies may appear, and the individual who administers the treatment is also at risk for birth defects (qtd. in Quillin 31). Radiation therapy would be the next type of treatment offered and is given to about sixty percent of all cancer patients (Quillin 10). Radiation works by killing and eliminating cancer cells and is targeted to the DNA within the cancer cells (Altman and Sarg 231). Long-term side effects of radiation include birth defects and infertility. Radiation can also cause damage to the lining of the intestines that can cause difficulty in the nutritional, fluid, and electrolyte absorption (Keane and Chace 228). Surgery is the most desirable treatment for about sixty-seven percent of all cancer patients. This is thought to bring the best success for removal of a cancerous mass. Unfortunately, because of the nature of cancer growth, it is not always possible to remove all cells or tissue because the tumor is not always in one isolated area. Any remaining cells could re-infect the body (Quillin 10).

About Pat Alves

Pat Alves is the Regional Coordinator for the Cancer Prevention Coalition, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to reducing escalating cancer rates through a comprehensive strategy of outreach, public education, advocacy and public policy initiatives. Pat is also a local director in the Chardon area, and works personally with the neighboring community chapters by speaking at all area meetings. Pat has been involved personally with cancer issues since 1997 when her father was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer (lymphoma) and given six months to live. Through her comprehensive study of alternative choices she was able to develop a plan that changed the outcome of her father's diagnosis. He was cancer free in four months. Since that time Pat has joined Cancer Prevention Coalition and has offered hope to any family or organization that is interested in hearing about prevention and alternative choices by speaking at meetings and through local radio broadcasts. Cancer topics are not her only subjects that she speaks about. She speaks on alternative health issues that currently have no cures, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, hormone replacement therapy and digestive disorders and helps people to understand their responsibility in making right choices about change and recovery. Pat also teaches clinics on Essential Oils, the aromatherapy and ancient approach of healing through oils and is an authorized representative of Neways International, the manufacturer of the purest essential oils in the world. Pat currently lives with her husband and daughter in Chardon, has two older children and is grandmother of two girls. She is currently studying in the area of BioScience Technology at Lakeland Community College. She is a member of the Lakeland Civic Band for 26 years, plays the flute, and is a professional seamstress with a home based sewing business.