Chemotherapies and radiation not ‘cure’ all

Dr. Cory Couillard

According to recent research, traditional cancer treatments may actually invite the growth of cancer stem cells. These stem cells, just one type of cell found throughout cancerous tumors, promote tumor growth as well as the spread of cancer within the body.

Cancer stem cells have also shown the ability to be resistant to chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

“So radiation and chemotherapy not only might create cancer stem cells, any pre-existing cancer stem cells in a tumor were very resistant to radiation and chemotherapy, so they remain as well,” says Dr. Chiang Li of Harvard Medical School. “This could help explain why these therapies are sometimes not as effective as we might hope.”

These common cancer treatments have shown the ability to reduce overall tumor mass, but have not successfully reduced the number of cancer stem cells. This increases the ratio of stem cells to non-stem cells. As a result, tumors can actually become more malignant as treatment progresses.

Even if a tumor’s size is greatly reduced, the remaining presence of stem cells can trigger a later, more deadly cancerous growth.

“If we are thinking about a way to get rid of the tumor forever, it’s important to make sure that not only the bulk of the tumor disappears, but also the cancer stem cells,” said María Vivanco of the Center for Cooperative Research in Biosciences in Bilbao, Spain. Vivanco and her colleagues studied the effects of estrogen on the development of breast cancer.

Cancer stem cells are also responsible for tumor progression, as they generate new cancer cells. Such progression increases risk of death. This process has been shown to occur despite chemotherapy treatment.

On the bright side, recent research on prostate cancer has described the discovery of cancer stem cells as the “Achilles’ heel” of cancer.

“By targeting these newly identified cancer ‘stem’ cells, we are attacking the foundation of tumor growth, rather than treating the symptoms of it,” said Dr. Josep Domingo-Domenech, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pathology at Mount Sinai. By identifying cancer stem cells as the cause of cancer’s spread and growth, researchers can now focus efforts on a way to inhibit their function in patients who’ve already been diagnosed with the deadly disease.

Fitness test versus cancer test

One of the challenges in health care is that patients wait until they are sick to take corrective steps.  Cancer is a prime example.  Thank goodness for the tests and research to treat cancer but we must not look past the importance of not getting it in the first place.

Instead of testing for cancer solely, perhaps we should be testing fitness, toxicity and nutrition.

Only 5-10 percent of all cancer diagnoses are hereditary or genetic. The remaining 90-95 percent of people can drastically reduce their risk of cancer by simply maintaining an active lifestyle, eating a plants-first diet and limiting their intake of toxic substances.

The body has a natural healing ability.  Cells in the body have a limited life cycle – they die and are created.  This is a key concept as the food that we eat, the activities that we do and the stress that we experience will impact the health of the future cells.

A healthier lifestyle equals healthier cells and a reduced risk of developing cancer and other lifestyle-caused conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

Dr. Cory Couillard is an international healthcare speaker and columnist for numerous newspapers, magazines, websites and publications throughout the world. He works in collaboration with the World Health Organization’s goals of disease prevention and global healthcare education. Views do not necessarily reflect endorsement.

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  1. October 12, 2012

    Many people look to what they cannot control versus what they can. There are always exceptions, genetic tendencies(5%) and the mere fact of aging. However, we will never change the disease if we never change the contributing factors. The cause is the cure. The risk of developing cancer goes down and the response to treatment goes up. Either way — lifestyle always wins.

  2. October 11, 2012

    I agrre fully with anonymous2. it is a ploy. They know well kimo is not doing anything for cancer, but it is a money making business. THIEVES!

    • Freethinker
      October 11, 2012

      What utter nonsense. Many people have gotten their lives back through chemotherapy. The fact that we do not have all the answers about how to deal with cancer does not automatically mean that the imperfect treatments we have are a scam. Science is a learning process; nothing properly under the name of science is a scam. Chemotherapy is not the ideal way to deal with cancer, but we are working on finding that ideal, and perhaps we will one day soon.

  3. anonymous2
    October 10, 2012

    There are several successful methods of treating cancer combined with nutritional therapies. Chemo and radiation cause cancer and they know that they don’t cure it. It is a money game with the pharmaceutical companies.

  4. B.E.B
    October 10, 2012

    How is it with all those tests being done, why are the professors cant come up with a cure for that deadly desease, after so many researches being done. I guess cancer is the cost for transgression of all of our sins we have committed in the sight od God

    • noko
      October 11, 2012

      “I guess”. Wow I wish more religious fanatics would be more honest and state their assumptions as just that, guesses, instead of those that try to make them into statements of fact.

    • Freethinker
      October 11, 2012

      Punishment for sins? Are you for real? What kind of nonsense is this? Cancer is a disease, like any other disease. It has nothing to do with anyone’s religious beliefs. To speak of cancer as a punishment for sins is not only to not be living in the 21st century but is also an insult to the blameless, wonderful people who are struck down by the illness. So please think before you speak.

  5. why it illigal
    October 10, 2012

    marijuana oil is used to cure cancer in many states

  6. Toosense
    October 10, 2012

    Cancer is a deadly disease and the more research and information that can be done to eliminate this terror the better. Yes I know that we can maintain a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risks but nowadays that isn’t even enough to stop this vicious disease. So many kinds of cancers and so many people including children are dying from this; it’s time scientists and doctors find a cure for this disease.

    • true
      October 11, 2012

      Doctors find a cure? you must be joking and how are they going to make money. What was the last thing they cured? Doctors have not cured anything in my left time, polio? all they do is give relief by pumping you with with medicine, we have to take some of it into our hands and yes plant base eating will help and we have to stop blaming things on genetics. “Vaganism” my friend

    October 10, 2012


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