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 Therapies: Alternative/Complementary Cancer Therapies 
 
Richard Walters ©

Patients undergoing chemotherapy-with their immune systems completely destroyed or compromised-frequently die of pneumonia or common infections. Death from toxicity is also quite common. In one study, 10 percent of 133 patients using the chemo drug 5-FU (5-fluorouracil) died as a direct result of the drug's toxicity.~14 Doctors jokingly refer to this popular chemotherapy drug as "Five Feet Under." Chemotherapy patients come down with the whole range of blood diseases, such as aplastic anemia, in which the bone marrow can no longer make blood cells; leukopenia, an abnormal decrease in the amount of white blood cells; and thrombocytopenia, an abnormal reduction in platelets. The long-term effects of chemotherapy can include heart damage weeks, months, or years after treatment; loss of fertility; and an increased risk of recurrence of cancer.

Most chemo drugs cause secondary cancers, especially of the gastrointestinal tract, ovaries, and lungs. These are among the most difficult cancers to treat. They can appear five, ten, fifteen years after the "successful" chemotherapy. In one study, 18 percent of the survivors developed unrelated cancer up to fifteen years later. Reports like the following are fairly typical: "Secondary cancers are known complications of chemo therapy and irradiation used to treat Hodgkin's and non- Hodgkin's lymphomas and other primary cancers" (New England Journal of Medicine, September 21, 1989) . "Chemotherapy drugs that were long ago used to treat ovarian cancer may have done as much harm as good by sharply increasing the risk of leukemia.. .. Among women treated from 1960 through 1985, the risk of leukemia was 12 times higher in those who received chemotherapy than in those who only under went surgery" (Associate d Press ,January 5, 1990) . Between 5 and 10 percent of all patients who survive chemotherapy die of leukemia in the first ten years after treatment, according to Harvard micro biologist Dr. John Cairns. When chemotherapy and radiation are given together, secondary tumors occur about 25 times more than the expected rate. This depressing assessment was made by Dr. John Laszlo, the American Cancer Society's senior vice president for research.15

Chemotherapy can be one of the most physically and emotionally devastating of all treatments. Most of the forty FDA-approved chemo drugs on the market cause baldness; hair may take years to return to normal. Other common side effects include extreme nausea and vomiting, bleeding gums, sores around the mouth, bleeding and ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract, and candida (thrush). Numerous patients say they find the side effects worse than the disease itself. A number of autopsy studies have shown that many patients die from the standard treatment they receive before the tumor has a chance to kill them.16

The cancers from which most people die-the big killers like breast, colon, and lung cancer-generally do not respond to chemotherapy. Chemotherapy has only a limited effectiveness against any tumor that is large or has spread; its successes are generally with small, very early tumors. Several studies indicate that chemotherapy has no survival value in breast cancer. "Survival may even have been shortened in some [breast cancer) patients given chemotherapy," according to six British cancer specialists writing in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet.17

"Practicing physicians are intimidated into using regimes which they know do not word. One of the most glaring examples is chemotherapy, which does not work for the majority of cancers," Alan Levin, M.D., told a national conference on abuses in medicine held in 1985. A distinguished professor of immunology at the University of California at San Francisco Medical School, Levin added, "Despite the fact that most physicians agree that chemotherapy is largely ineffective, they are coerced into using it by special interest groups which have vested interest in the profits of the drug industry."18 Prescribing chemotherapy when it has little or no chance of working "is at best stupid and at worst criminal," notes Dr. Robert Atkins, well-known practitioner of complementary medicine.19 Yet mainstream cancer doctors do this on a daily basis.

(Excerpted from Options: The Alternative Cancer Therapy Book ISBN: 0895295105)
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