Imagine a war scene. Your commander gives you the good news: “To aid your battle, we are calling for a wide-scale bombing of the entire battlefield. Many of you will be killed, but also many of the enemy. The death toll on the enemy will be tremendous. Don’t worry — some of you will survive to fight the next battle.” Would you be impressed by such news, or consider that a great strategy?
In the battle against cancer, the typical treatment of chemotherapy does great damage to both sides. The theory is that the chemo hurts the cancer more than the patient. But chemotherapy damages the warriors needed to keep fighting the cell-to-cell battles: the cells of the immune system.
The advantage that cancer has
Cancer itself is a hardened warrior. Born out of harsh conditions, it is a response to adversity that spawns cancer in the first place. How many warning labels have you seen for toxic household products that can promote cancer? How many warnings have you heard about the cancer risk of smoking? The World Health Organization lists processed meat as “carcinogenic to humans”, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer has an exhaustive list of carcinogens that includes formaldehyde (found especially in new household furnishings), various components of air pollution, radioactive substances, alcoholic beverages, engine exhaust — the list goes on. Carcinogens stress normal cells and initiate an “adapt or die” response as the cells look for a way to handle the threat. When you are under high stress, the last thing you are likely to do is relax and go with the flow: you ramp up and put all the energy you can muster into fixing the problem. Cells are similar, and during times of famine, war, or disease we see just how far cells will go to try to survive and adjust to the current situation. Stress causes change — for good or ill.
Attacking cancer with harsh chemicals is playing their game — it’s their field of battle. Hitting them with chemotherapy causes a new round of frantic adaptation attempts. They have to be hit hard to overcome their determination to survive, and there will be collateral damage. The immune system is the opposing army. Its cells are the warriors meant to go out and attack renegade cells and invaders. That army needs to be strong to do its job.
Here is a typical progression of cancer treatment:
- Diagnosis. A tumor is found. Fear sets in (more stress!), and treatment begins.
- Tumor reduction. Radiation and chemotherapy kill off part of the tumor, and it shrinks. The doctors claim partial success and tell you to keep going because it’s working.
- Remission (maybe). The tumor is undetectable. Perhaps the cancer won’t reappear — we hope.
- Metastasis or the return of cancer. The cancer reasserts itself, and this time is more resistant to many chemotherapies. It’s learned from the experience!
- More treatments. The treatments may be harsher yet. Now the immune system is seriously weakened, leaving the patient vulnerable to infections that would normally be easily fought off.
Cancer Research UK states that cancer treatments can weaken the immune system, and the worst offenders are chemotherapy, targeted cancer drugs, high steroid doses, and radiotherapy — basically the traditional cancer treatment protocols! In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, the impact of cancer drugs on a particular type of immune system “killer” T cell was examined closely. This study found a chain reaction where the drugs inhibited mitochondria that provide energy needed for rapid immune cell multiplication, so that there simply were less of these killer cells in existence. Translation: chemotherapy weakens the immune system, and the immune system is needed to fight both the cancer and other viral or bacterial invaders.
What can you do?
If you have a cancer diagnosis, your number one priority is strengthening your immune system, no matter what treatment course you take. While the value of some therapies is questionable, the value of a stronger immune system is not. If you don’t have any known cancer, your immune system is the key to keeping it that way. So whatever your circumstance, your immunity is your life!
Dr. Nemec’s Comments:
A cancer stem cell is the base cell that makes all the other cancer cells. She is the queen bee in the beehive. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy cannot kill her, but they kill most of her worker bees. Does this help the situation when the tumor reduces this way? What do you think the queen bee does when you kill most of her children? She becomes even more aggressive and makes stronger and more chemotherapy and radiation-resistant worker bees.
If you are going to do this type of therapy to kill and toxify cancer, doesn’t it make sense that you will have to get rid of the inflammation and toxicity so your immune cells that kill cancer cells are strengthened? This is what we have helped people with for the last 35 years: getting healthy — really healthy — so the body and the immune system can do what God designed it to do.