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October 6th, 2010
10:31 AM ET

Could chemo drugs cause a second malignancy?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Wednesdays, it's Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the
American Cancer Society.

Question asked by Ronda of Oklahoma:

My husband had non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 1990. He was treated with m-BACOD, then switched to CHOP. Now he is diagnosed with adenocarcinoma. His hematologist said that the chemo drugs long ago were mutagenic (which means what?) and cytotoxic (which means what?) and could have caused this second malignancy. Is this true?

Expert answer:

Thanks for your question. I hope your husband is doing well.

It is ironic but true that many cancer chemotherapies are known to cause cancers.

It is something that the physician must consider when recommending treatment. Nurses and pharmacists who mix and administer cancer chemotherapies take precautions to minimize their exposure to these drugs because of the potential for harm.

Most of the drugs that are carcinogenic increase the long-term risk of leukemia and lymphoma by a small margin. Some of these drugs have other significant side effects. Doxorubicin (a part of the m-BACOD and CHOP regimens) can cause congestive heart failure as well as leukemia. Some drugs such as cyclophosphamide (the "C" in CHOP and in m-BACOD) increase the risk of bladder cancer because the kidney filters them into the urine and the drug can sit in the bladder. This is one of the reasons some chemotherapies are given with lots of hydration. It flushes these drugs out and decreases the bladder's exposure.

A mutagen is a physical force that damages genetic material (DNA). The physical force can be radiation or a chemical. The change in genetic material is called a mutation, and things that can change genetic material are call mutagenic. For example, sunlight is mutagenic. It can damage the genetic material of skin cells, and this damage sometimes leads to skin cancer.

Genetic material controls the functions of the cell that it is in. When damaged, the genes usually cause the cell to die. Occasionally, when there is specific damage to a certain gene, the cell can start undergoing uncontrolled reproduction. The immune system also is on the lookout for aberrant cells and will attack them if found. A cell with a mutation that does not kill itself or does not get destroyed by the immune system can begin dividing and reproducing itself. Cancer is the uncontrolled reproduction of cells.

Cancer chemotherapies get into a cell that is undergoing uncontrolled growth and damage the cell so that it can no longer reproduce itself. A drug that damages a cell in order to kill it is called cytotoxic. These drugs do this through various means. The taxanes, used in a number of cancers such as breast and lung cancer, interfere with the gene structure. Some common drugs interfere with a cell's genes. The platinum analogues such as cis-platinum actually bond to genetic DNA and end up breaking the genetic strand. Similarly doxorubicin, etopiside and cyclophosphamide are commonly used chemotherapy drugs that can damage the DNA chain.

It is difficult to say with certainty that a person with a past history of cancer got a newly diagnosed adenocarcinoma because of chemotherapy.

There are several studies in the literature that tell us that people who get cancer are at a higher risk for getting a second cancer. This is true even among those who are not treated with cancer chemotherapies. Some estimate that 20 percent of long-term cancer survivors eventually develop a second cancer.

The higher risk is due to the fact that people who get cancer have demonstrated a problem in their genes. An identical copy of the problematic genes is in every cell of the patient's body. These other genes are at risk of losing control and developing a cancer. Also, cancer patients may get cancer because their immune system is not able to conduct good surveillance for aberrant cells and destroy them.


soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Larp

    I can believe it. My late wife had a spot on her lung (most likely from a mis-directed feeding tube while in CVICU after open heart surgery – it was place without using ultrasound). A cancer doctor asked for a biopsy, the surgeon performing the biopsy said that it was not cancer, just excess fluid in the cells (sort of backs up my first statement). The cancer doctor swore up and down it was cancer, ordered the first chemo treatment and 1 week to the day later, she had massive heart failure and went home to God as I was by her bedside holding her hand. As far as I am concerned, that doctor and his clinic murdered my wife in cold blood. I would have pressed the issue, but nothing would have brought her back.

    October 6, 2010 at 11:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • singularity5

      right.. the doctors intentionally killed your wife.. you realize doctors make mistakes as well? Also, I fail to see the connection between the chemo and the heart attack. Just because two things occur close in time doesn't mean one caused the other.

      October 6, 2010 at 12:23 | Report abuse |
    • cardio

      Larp, I feel for your loss but massive heart failure 1 week after major heart surgery is not a stretch by any means. I'm guessing her heart was severely damaged to begin with (thus heart surgery). While some chemotherapy drugs do stress the heart, it is unlikely the oncologist prescribed any of those for a heart patient. Causality by chemotherapy would be extremely difficult to prove and less-than-likely. Unlike in medical drama shows, most patients undergoing heart surgery do not have a good prognosis. I'm sorry for your loss and sorry your wife had to go through all of that.

      October 6, 2010 at 19:39 | Report abuse |
    • Maggie

      I am sorry to hear about your wife. Some doctors should not be practicing medicine specially when they do not care.

      October 6, 2010 at 23:13 | Report abuse |
    • ramiro

      sir,

      i am a physician...no place in the world is a feeding tube placed under ultrasound? Dont kid yourself...I am sorry for your loss...people should stop placing blames on doctors...those of you that eat 3 big macs a week for 20 yrs...smok crack or cigarettes...alcoholics with coagulopathies...you did this to yourself not the doctor

      October 7, 2010 at 04:38 | Report abuse |
  2. Dale Goodwin

    Social Security, no cola increase in 2010 because there was no CPI, yet the military pay raises are based on the same CPI, got 3.8% raise, explain this. The Obomics, is doing it again this year.

    October 6, 2010 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Squealy

      Sorry you did not get your SS cola this year. Truly. But, what does that have to do with recurring cancer? And, at least Obama wants to KEEP your social security, unlike the tea partiers who want to get rid of it. And the republicans who want to reduce the benefits.

      October 6, 2010 at 15:17 | Report abuse |
  3. Shirley Herzlich

    My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a double mastectomy and underwent chemo. She developed secondary leukemia from the chemo. Her oncologist said no one in his practice had ever got that before, that's why he doesn't warn patients that this might be a side effect. Well she fought for 15 mos. and even had a bone marrow transplant. But she couldn't beat it and died at the young age of 57. She now has twin girl grandchildren which she never lived to see. My sister was my best friend in this world, and even though it has been 6 years, I will never get over it. I function from day to day because I must. Please everyone out there, be sure to ask your onconoligist about secondary cancer from the chemo.

    October 6, 2010 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Daina

      Chemo is a well-known carcinogen however it's a bit of a catch-22 if one is going to die faster from the primary cancer & most do not develope a secondary cancer nor will they ever know if chemo caused it. Had she been warned would she have elected to live 6 months as the breat cancer metastasized to the lungs, liver & brain?

      October 6, 2010 at 13:39 | Report abuse |
    • grateful

      Shirley, those drugs bought time, life and interaction with family and friends that would not have occurred otherwise. That is priceless. To be durably angry that your loved one developed a rare secondary malignancy brought on by the previously lifesaving treatment is peevish. No one is guaranteed a long, healthy life and everyone dies. Your loved one lived longer than her alotted time and you are still angry. Stuff happens. It's happened to me. I got angry but now I'm over it. Being angry and sick is dumb. I'd rather just be sick and try to enjoy whatever I can and gracefully accept what comes.

      October 6, 2010 at 20:01 | Report abuse |
    • ladydi

      Shirley: Im so sorry that you lost your sister to this ugly ugly disease. Im a breast cancer survivor for 9 years. My younger sister was 45 when diagnosed and had chemo for 6 months. Now, 7 years later, the cancer is in her bones and the prognosis isnt very good. I often wonder if the chemo drugs could cause additional cancers...looks like it does – what a scary thought!!!! God bless you.

      October 7, 2010 at 07:47 | Report abuse |
  4. YK

    As a cancer survivor I can say treatment decisions are tough and all treatments (including surgery) have side effects.. some long term. I battled breast cancer last year at the age of 31. After a double mastectomy I had to make the tough decision to undergo chemo. My Oncologist warned me about all the risks including small chance of leukemia. The chance of having a breast cancer recurrence was much higher than the chance of me getting leukemia from the chemo. I decided on chemo and will not have any regrets if I develop another cancer in the future. I am now currently taking hormonal therapy, Tamoxifen, and although it helps to lower the chance of breast cancer recurrence it also increases the chance of you getting another cancer, Uterine Cancer. Again, in my case, the chance of getting Uterine Cancer from tamoxifen is lower than the chance of breast cancer recurrence.

    October 6, 2010 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mtngrrll

      I too developed breast cancer at 48 yrs. old.Absolutely no history in my family, I'm a non-smoker, never had a drink, don't do drugs, vegetarian, etc. It was DCIS and only on one side, no spreading to the lymph system, but 4.0 on the nuclear scale. I had a total mastectomy on that side, I was told there was no need for chemo or radiation, and that I just needed to take Tamoxifen for the next five years and I would be good. Two years later, I have advanced leukemia and will not live to see either of my sons graduate – one is in 9th grade, the other in 6th grade. Leukemia was NEVER mentioned as a side effect of Tamoxifen. Of course the oncologist didn't believe me when I told him I couldn't eat because I felt sick all the time, until I dropped from my normal weight of 125# (5'9") clear down to 101# because I was nauseous 24/7 either. It took me 6 months just to convince them to run blood tests when I just knew something else was wrong. My cancer was the kind that doesn't typically come back. Yet because Tamoxifen was supposedly the only option for those of us who have not yet hit menopause, I have developed the one cancer that I have not been able to bounce back from. Never, never, never take anything your doctor or oncologist tells you for granted. Research on your own on the computer, read drug package inserts, talk to others; cancer support groups, internet cancer groups, etc. Be informed! Take Nothing for granted! If I had had any idea of how toxic the Tamoxifen was, I would have opted for no other follow-up treatment outside of a yearly mammogram.

      October 7, 2010 at 00:07 | Report abuse |
  5. Veggiehead

    A relative of mine had a very early, experimental (and no longer performed, because it was so damaging) form of chemotherapy about half a century ago. Years later, he developed leukemia, and shortly thereafter, tumors formed everywhere and he died a miserable death. You can look at that and say that the original treatment bought him some time, or you can say that an experimental treatment gave him a new and fatal disease. I think he was used as a guinea pig. Did the data that was collected on him in that original treatment include the ultimate result? No. By the time he died, researchers were trying new things (a few of which were used on him), and that old treatment was just a big "oops.". An oops that killed people.

    October 6, 2010 at 13:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • give to receive

      I'm sure you'd think nothing if your relative had been treated successfully today without significant sequalae and you never knew the names of the people who had been treated 50 years ago as "guinea pigs" and didn't fare as well. We enjoy better treatment today because it's a constant learning curve. We are all "guinea pigs", like it or not, because the only way to know is to try. I am thankful for the sacrifice of those who went before and I consent to treatments today, knowing data will help improve the treatments of tomorrow. 100% success on the first try for anything is absurd. Please adjust your standards. Look how long it took to invent and mandate seatbelts.

      October 6, 2010 at 20:12 | Report abuse |
  6. Mary

    I am a cancer survivor and I had 6 rounds of chemo. It is what is. If I get cancer again from chemo, I am going to die from something.

    October 6, 2010 at 15:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Bennett, Syracuse NY

    I love how the Doc used nice big words without explaining them...thanks to the "Expert answer" for doing a great job of explaining the jargon.

    October 6, 2010 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Realist

      good point. i noticed that as well. Smoke and mirrors.

      November 9, 2010 at 22:49 | Report abuse |
  8. RaifH

    I see a lot of folks saying "the doctors killed my loved one". So lets see... someone who had already had open heart surgery in an attempt (key word here "attempt") to buy them more time latter suffers heart failure? Obviously, it had to be the chemo, not their preexisting, very serious, heart condition. Someone dying of cancer died from another cancer later – obviously, "if only they had not had chemo", they would have lived longer?

    Nothing is certain in life or medicine – heart surgeries, chemo for cancer – all are just a "best effort" to give you some more time. You could die in surgery. Chemo is hard, unpleasant, and could cause other complications or even other cancers further down the road. But the alternative (which you are certainly welcome to choose) is to do nothing and just die from your original condition. It's your choice. For myself, as someone with a condition that, if left untreated, will likely kill me much sooner rather than later, I've weighed the options and have chosen to trade the high certainty of a slow debilitating death in the next year or so for a good chance at another several years of reasonably decent life – even if the treatment means I will likely die from some long term side-effects years from now. It is not a perfect choice, but it is the only choice available at the present, and it is my CHOICE non-the-less.

    October 6, 2010 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. TWA

    To Singularity – you obviously dont know anything. Chemotherapy drugs can damage the heart.
    Don't speak about things that you dont know anything about.

    October 6, 2010 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • The Truth

      A rare side effect from a few chemotherapy drugs is heart failure – not advanced coronary artery disease (which is what causes an actual "heart attack"). Perhaps you should tread lightly with you comments.

      October 6, 2010 at 18:32 | Report abuse |
  10. ICUnurse

    If a person has one kind of cancer, they have a predisposition to cellular mutation - their cells turn into things they shouldn't. It's not unreasonable to think they'd have a high risk of developing a secondary cancer if they were exposed to chemicals which are designed to interfere with specific stages in a cell's division, which is what chemotherapy does. I've had patients in ICU who were on chemo, and some of them have had lymphomas and leukemia that they tell me are subsequent to prior cancer treatment. I've also had people who had cancer as children or teenagers who are now showing up with thyroid cancers from radiation treatments and x-rays to the head, neck and chest.

    The most important thing is quality of life. I've watched a lot of people die from a lot of different things - alcoholism, drug abuse, cancer, COPD, CHF, kidney failure, ARDS, SIRS and trauma. Do yourself a favor and discuss what you want done when the time comes with your family now, whether you're sick or not, get a living will and a durable power of attorney for healthcare. We all die, but it's better to do it at home with hospice than with strangers sticking tubes in you, breaking your ribs while trying to beat a fatally disease heart back into beating, and generally torturing you your last hours on earth when there's no hope.

    October 6, 2010 at 16:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Realist

      so treating that person with a cocktail of toxic drugs is more likely to jump start those gentice mutations, yes, you are correct! The fact of the matter is each person should take the time to research their treatment options and not be rushed or pressured into chemo and raitaion without being fully aware of the potential side effects (especially if they are, as you say, prone to cell mutations).
      Anyway, we're so quick to blame disease on genetics, how about lifestyle and the environment we live in? Everything we eat, even when we try our best to eat healthy, has been tampered with, genetivcally modified, irradiated, treated with chemicals, preserved, processed. No wonder cancer is such an epedemic. Then we look for this elusive cancer cure into which we have poured billions of dollars. Cancer is profitable. Blame the genes. Keep pumping money into the research pool. But ignore the abuse we keep on committing against our environment, our bodies and our food sources.

      November 9, 2010 at 22:58 | Report abuse |
  11. CHF Cancer Cure.

    Yes, in fact laboratory cardiology research uses Doxorubicin and Adriamycin in high amounts to induce congestive heart failure to see if their new drugs can reverse the congestive heart failure. Personally, I would never get old line cytotoxic therapies even with a bonafide cancer diagnosis. Non-hodgkins is a weaker, "less malignant" cancer that exists next to superificial skin malignancies. Chemo to kill a tumor in the middle of your whole body is like using a machine gun to prune your garden and mow your lawn.

    October 6, 2010 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • quality or quantity?

      While your tumor stews, sit back and wait another 30 years for a new targeted therapy so you may spare the small bit of normal tissue hanging off your now VW-sized tumor. Or you can acknowledge that sometimes quality of life is better and gracefully accept your situation and choose hospice rather than damaging curative treatment.

      October 6, 2010 at 20:22 | Report abuse |
    • Jayjay

      Just FYI, doxorubicin = adriamycin, which is an anti-tumor anthracycline antibiotic which acts like a vessicant.

      Also, the gold standard treatment of Non-hodgkin's lymphoma is the CHOP-R regimen which includes Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide) Hydroxydaunorubicin, Oncovin (Vincristine) and Prednisone. Hydroxydaunorubicin is known by a few names. Doxorubicin, adriamycin–for example. I mix these chemo drugs on a regular basis as a part of my job

      October 7, 2010 at 01:53 | Report abuse |
  12. Bob

    When you put toxic chemicals in the body , you poison it.. Cancer maybe caused by these toxins, the way lung cancer is caused by cigarettes.. Pretty simple.. Cancer is not genetic ( in my opinion) but a direct result of all the toxins we eat in our food, drink in our water, and breath in our air.. So simple even science can figure it out

    October 6, 2010 at 18:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • The Truth

      Bob, I understand that everyone has a right to their own opinions, but unless you really understand cancer genetics and the mutations that cancer cells develop in the process of becoming malignant please don't spread ignorance.

      October 6, 2010 at 18:28 | Report abuse |
    • simplicity

      Mmmmm. My whole family and extended family is covered in skin cancers and we are of different generations, lived and grew up in different states, held different occupations and liked different foods. That would be...heritable genetics. So simple even a hick could put it together without a scientist explaining it. Fact is, heretable genetics contributes susceptibility, not cancer. It needs an environmental trigger. Without the susceptibility, however, the trigger doesn't produce illness. Scientists call this the "two-hit" model. Hicks call it "bad blood". All cancer cells are genetically perturbed. Most have 2-3 times as many chromosomes as normal cells and express developmentally and tissue-specific inappropriate proteins. Cancer is by definition a "genetic" disease strongly influenced by heritable factors and triggered by environment. I am a scientist and have simply explained it for you.

      October 6, 2010 at 20:37 | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      uh bob - you are so wrong it's not even funny! there are many genetic cancers out there and they are known to be genetic because of certain criteria AND finding gene mutations that cause a specific cancer... my husband just went thru a year of cancer treatment (surgery, chemo) for genetic colon cancer that took his brother and father...my husband has one of the rarest cases of colon cancer that mayo clinic has ever come across and his type of surgery and following chemo was what saved his life.

      please do not pass on bad information for surely you are NOT any kind of doctor

      October 6, 2010 at 20:50 | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      Bob, explain to me why I was diagnosed with lung cancer last year at the ripe old age of 36? Never smoked a cigarette in my life.......over and over again I've been told by all my doctors that I have a genetic mutation....they tested me for it!! I've been breathing the same air as everyone around me and no one else around me has gotten it!! I do believe that environment can be a factor but genes also play a very important role too!! I was warned of the side effects of chemo and all I can say to that is I have to take the good with the bad!! But please do not make assumptions that everyone who has lung cancer smoked!!! Look up the statistics and you will find that 15% of lung cancers are in never smokers!! And 50% is former smokers from decades ago. So only 35% of lung cancers occur in current smokers!

      October 6, 2010 at 22:41 | Report abuse |
    • Donna

      If there is no genetic component, then how can siblings who eat the same foods, grow up in the same house and go to the same school, yet one sibling gets cancer and the others don't??? Is there an explanation for that?

      October 6, 2010 at 23:48 | Report abuse |
    • Realist

      wow, you guys were quick to jump all over Bob. Everything is blamed on genetics these days, even obesity! Our environemnt absolutely causes cancers, new cancers, rare cancers, etc. If it is so genetic, how did that person't gene pool continue? Wouldn't all their ancestors have been wiped out by cancer? Cancer is much more prevalent today than it was 50 years ago. Wake up and smell the (heavily pesticided) coffee beans people!

      November 9, 2010 at 23:06 | Report abuse |
  13. Renee

    As an oncology nurse I can say it is welll known, at least within the medical community, that some types of chemotherapy can cause cancers later on....in additon to the primary cancer being treated. The patient undergoing treatment is supposed to be made aware of this possibility with a process called "informed consent". Really though, what choice do people have? If they do not pursue chemotherapy for the cancer they currently have, they will probably die; if they do pursue chemotherapy it's possible, not certain, that they could develop a secondary cancer later in life. What choice would you make? Most people choose to go with the present....not what might happen, and often it pays off.

    October 6, 2010 at 19:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Lauren

    My grandmother had breast cancer when I was 3 months old. She beat it, but 17 years later it came back in her liver. The breast cancer drugs had a history of causing this, but without those drugs I never would have known her. Seventeen years of memories is enough for me to take that risk.

    October 6, 2010 at 20:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Heather

    I completely agree with Bob. Food additives are all chemically based, chemo and radiation are toxic to the body. This is all explained in the documentary The Beautiful Truth. Ironic, a man discovers a cure for cancer in 1928, and he mysteriously dies not long after he starts writing a book about his discovery. Toxicology reports show he was poisoned. Hmm....doctors a little nervous out there?

    October 6, 2010 at 20:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • perfection

      The drug you may wish to try is a neuroleptic, which will help with your paranoid delusion of cancer-cure snuffing conspiracy. What you want is perfect. What is offered is compromise. You may choose death in the form of non-treatment if you wish not to compromise.

      October 6, 2010 at 20:49 | Report abuse |
  16. Heather

    Forgot to mention, the last time I posted something similar to what I just mentioned about the POM Wonderful inteded lawsuit by the FDA on cnn.com...my post and the entire article disappeared from the website. Search results found absolutely nothing. So, keep going to the doctors and believing everything they say. In the mean time, I'll maintain my organic foods diet, and battle illness on my own. The only time I'll see a doc is for a suspected broken bone or ligament damage.

    October 6, 2010 at 20:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • perfection

      Maybe you imagined that lawsuit. Asserting that your post singlehandedly caused the global removal of all content on a topic from the internet is again, delusional. Please, try neuroleptics. A medicine-and-science-free life is short, diseased and filled with pain. You are welcome to it.

      October 6, 2010 at 21:07 | Report abuse |
    • Realist

      Perfection, why are you so threatened by what the person above your comment just wrote? Perhaps you are the paranoid and delusional one, or pehaps you are extremely gullible and naive. Keep on going to the doctors and getting poked and prodded and screened for every disease in the book. e-mail me back when you are on at least 3 different types of meds. Nice chatting with you!

      November 9, 2010 at 23:14 | Report abuse |
  17. pedonc

    With 12 years in the oncology world, I am disturb by many posts associated with this story. Most chemo agents have risks, from renal failure, heart failure, second cancers and so on. This is a risk one must take for a change of a cure. Yes, doctors explain these risks at the time of consent. Most patients are too shocked by the dx to hear the risks involved. The risks are generally less than 10% in the population of patients. When weighing the risk to life expectancy with and without treatment, the risk of life out weight certain death.

    October 6, 2010 at 20:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Realist

      certain death?? How about all these breakthorughs and new advice such as the "Wait and See" stance when delaing with prostate cancer patients? Have you never heard of remission thanks to radical dietary changes and holistic care? Shame on you for claiming to be in the health field and making such a radical statement as "certain death". That's like patients who are told they'll never walk again, or they have 6 months to live, and they defy the odds and lead long and healthy lives. Your fatalistic comment really makes my blood boil.

      November 9, 2010 at 23:17 | Report abuse |
  18. abrannigan

    As a 46 y/o mom I wouldn't change my decision to undergo chemo (R-CHOP) and radiation to the head for the tumor I myself found eroding thru the hard palate (originated in the maxillary sinus); the findings of my particular case have baffled some in the oncology field; I always been healthy, weight concious, and active – non-smoker and an occasional drink of wine once in a great while. No history of cancer in my family. My feelings are that I developed this mutation from the chemicals I've inhaled throughout my life – weather it be household cleaners or the dust and toxins I breathed during my woodworking hobbies. Either way, I take full responsibility for my choices and credit the doctors for doing their best to get me to remission! It's been two years now since my last treatments and I have been able to enjoy every soccer game, nonstop!

    October 6, 2010 at 20:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. lllpayne

    In 1997 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Part of my treatment was radioactive iodine treatment. The doctors in the hospital's nuclear medicine department explained that I could get leukemia in the future. I had to sign a release form that indicated that I knew the risks. I haven't been diagnosed with a secondary cancer, but it is always in the back of my mind that something could happen in the future. I had good doctors that explained the risks. The treatment saved my life. There was no other choice but to do it. You have to take risks to survive cancer.

    October 6, 2010 at 23:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Heather

    No thanks perfection, sounds like another cancer causing drug. I'm good thanks. Over 150 documented cases of cured cancer, some in stage 4 without the use of chemo, radiation, drugs, etc. Tomorrow you should google the Gerson Therapy and educate yourself, although if you're a doctor, I'm sure you're already aware of this type of treatment and the success cases which is why you're in denial. Let's be honest, if the medical profession started to recommend this treatment to cancer patients, there would be no need for specialty doctors anymore.

    October 7, 2010 at 00:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael

      Gerson? You mean the guy that promoted coffee enemas, rectal ozone, and daily raw calf liver extract (until the extract started kill his patients)? I assume you are a comedian because only a nut would believe in such (coffee flavored) crap.

      October 7, 2010 at 08:31 | Report abuse |
  21. mmi16

    I am a 14 year C survivor and underwent surgery, chemo and radiation to combat my colon cancer.

    October 7, 2010 at 04:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Becca

    Good for you mmi16 I am also a cancer survivor, had good and bad doctors along the way and rough chemo(Cisplatin) and radiation. Seems now Hormone therapy may have been the culprit. Have reached the 10 year mark with some kidney problems and other issues, but life is good.

    October 7, 2010 at 07:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. mordrud

    I came down with Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP) and would have died of kidney failure were it not for cyclophosphamide that put my disease into remission. If I get cancer from it oh well. I got 3 extra years so far that I wouldn't have had without the drug. The drug I am mad at is aciphex (a PPI)-which is the likely culprit of my HSP in the first place. But as the physician above said – I would not have needed the aciphex if it wasn't for my steady diet of colas, spicy food and beer. ultimately we are usually the cause of our own misery.

    October 7, 2010 at 08:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Heather

    Not a nut Michael, I just have no faith in the medical profession anymore. When I was 13y/o, my doctor wanted to put me on cholesterol pills because "my family has a history of high cholesterol". Yeah...good reasoning there...CHA CHING! Then they wanted to put me on high blood pressure pills once because I had just had a fight with my boyfriend prior to walking into the office. Ya think? Maybe our blood pressure is higher when people are angry possibly? My father was put on cholesterol reducing pills, which caused his blood sugar to go up, so they prescribed something to control that, then something else started increasing, and they prescribed more pills for that. Eventually, he ended up having to take 12 pills a day! Are you kidding me? Each one causing something else to go wrong. You're telling me that this is healthy? It's not. Sorry. And yes, Gerson suggested coffee enemas, which I would never do, nor a regular enema for that matter, but hey, it's not going to cost me anything to rid my body of toxins and/or cancer. How do you explain the older population that has been smoking for over 50 years and never having cancer? Hmm...my guess is that the foods we ate are causing cancer because food additives did not really become a part of our culture until the 50's/60's. Not many people died of cancer in the 60's/70's...but since the 90's that rate has climbed drastically and it's all because of the food additives and chemicals we're putting in our bodies. Call me what you want, but everything I heard about in The Beautiful Truth, makes sense to me. I still don't trust doctors, especially the ones that are overweight telling ME (plays 3 sports a week, works out) that I need to watch my weight.

    October 7, 2010 at 11:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. CHF Cancer Cure.

    The answer to this question is simply YES. Even the drug package literature mentions the secondary carcinogenic effects. The reasons for taking chemo such as not wanting to carve steaks out of yourself may buy time, but there is damage done. Some of this damage is irreversible, as in a person who was cured of their cancer but lived their remaining days of life as a frighteningly emaciated apparition of walking death. I could not believe this person was actually alive or even human for that matter. Even surgery causes a huge spike in VEGF, the angiogenic factor your body makes in huge quantity when you are cut or injured in order to grow new healthy blood vessels. VEGF grows tumors, and then you need anti-VEGF after surgery, but this makes your wounds less able to heal. At a mere cheap price tag of $50,000+ a year, something most anyone can afford. Some new line cancer drugs cost nearly $100,000 a year plus the added bonus of no refund, it might not work, and there are side effects too. ( there is nothing strange here everyone, have a nice ice cream and a free tape on the way out.) In the biotech industry, there is what is known as the selectivity ratio. For example, 10000 cancer cells killed for every 1 normal cell killed, day after day on this drug. You multiply this by how many cells you have and how many days you are on this drug, and the biotech industry realizes that old school chemo is a race to poison the cancer before the drug poisons you outright. This is the basis of biotech cancer research – an actual selectively targeted cure to replace all the old bad stuff. In the meantime, what is the harm in taking natural food supplements such as plants and vitamins as cancer preventatives (??) I don't think anyone is calling these a magic bullet without proper dose and route, but there are profound biochemical effects of these when administered correctly. There couldn't be this huge secret battle to outright ban natural food supplements at your grocery store if there wasn't economic warfare being waged on it by the artificial drug companies. It sounds like lunatic fringe and smacking of conspiracy theories, until you find that there is legitimate documentation of them really doing this all in the name of corporate profit and lobby pressure. You can follow the historical stream of self-contradictions. AMA backed smoking tobacco.

    It's not a secret, and the short and verified answer is "YES." Not right away, and not always, but yes.

    October 7, 2010 at 19:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Thurston Murray

    I am a long term male breast cancer surviver–28 years and counting. However I had another mode of treatment Radiation. I developed serious cardiac blood vessel disease, and was operated on 3 years ago to atempt to help the problem. I have always exercised, eaten healthy, never had a family history of heart disease, and lower than needed bad LDL. I visited the Cleveland Clinic, after my heart surgery failed, and was examined for three days by three wonderful Doctors. The conclusion was that my Radiation Treatment could have damaged my blood vessels, but proving that would be a stretch.

    October 7, 2010 at 21:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Caroline

    What about filgrastim given to donors.?...they say long term side effects are not known. Sort of scary for the donor......

    October 8, 2010 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Realla

    Hi Heather,
    I work in a cancer research lab. I am very concious of the chemicals I am exposed to at work- and at home. Conciousness, knowledge, and skepticism of what is known are all healthy, good. Certainly, science would go no where without a healthy does of skepticism.

    But I would urge you to consider that skepticism need not be an all-or-nothing dogma. "How do you explain the older population that has been smoking for over 50 years and never having cancer?" I would explain that by noting that deaths by heart-attack have dropped considerably, leaving other killers (like cancer) to take a higher place in the rankings. Do I believe that certain chemicals that are now ubiquitous in our environment can cause cancer? Yes. I am further aware of the idea that their small concentration/amount in any given product can cause harm because due to daily, long term exposure. This idea deserves credit. The rate of change in our society is rapid, and methodical, reliable research has not been able to keep up with the long-term risks of the products we are often exposed.

    And it is precisely this idea inspired the pouring of money into cancer research to uncover such environmental effects. The lay public is not alone about being concerned about these issues. Doctors and researchers are in their ranks.

    While it sounds you've had more than your fair share of pill-popping-happy doctors, uncompassionate doctors, and doctors that outright don't communicate with each other (or are incompetent at communication period)- I assure you that there are many doctors that would never treat you so egregiously. In fact, many doctors become doctors in response to hearing (or experiencing) stories like yours.

    I support your skepticism- but could you just step back from going off the deep-end? You are much more useful as an activist in the mainstream.

    October 8, 2010 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Twitter for Beginners

    Wonderful website. Plenty of helpful information here. I'm sending it to several buddies ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thank you to your sweat!

    April 18, 2012 at 22:34 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.