Right Nutrition Matters

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Can your chemotherapy cause another cancer?

Oct 16, 2019


A National Cancer Institute analysis of over 700,000 patients with solid cancer tumors between the ages of 20 and 84 who initially underwent chemotherapy from 2000-2013 and survived for at least 1 year after diagnosis, found that the risk of developing a second cancer such as leukemia after being cancer-free for some time increased 10-fold (long term chemo side-effect).

One of the greatest fears in people undergoing chemotherapy or any other form of cancer treatment is the chance of a relapse a couple years down the road. The toll that a treatment such as chemotherapy takes on one’s quality of life is so great that it would be extremely painful to go through the process again. And yet, even with all the advancements in recent ‘breakthrough’ chemo medication, studies show that the risk of developing a second cancer is greatly intensified for people with solid tumors who have gone through chemotherapy.

Long term Chemotherapy Side-effect  : Second Cancer such as leukemia

Second Cancer : A Long Term Chemo Side-Effect

A study done by the National Cancer Institute closely analyzed data on over 700,000 patients with solid cancer tumors between the ages of 20 and 84 who initially underwent chemotherapy from 2000-2013 and survived for at least 1 year after diagnosis. After reviewing the data, researchers found that the risk long term chemotherapy side-effect of secondary cancers such as myelodysplastic syndrome (tMDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) “increased from 1.5-fold to over 10-fold for 22 of the 23 solid cancer types investigated” (Morton L et al, JAMA Oncology. Dec. 20, 2018). Acute myeloid leukemia is a rare and dangerous cancer that disrupts the production of blood cells in the body.

Science of Right Personalized Nutrition for Cancer

The fight against cancer is a big battle and currently, one has to systematically think through the causes and effects or pros and cons of every potential treatment one puts their body through. For example, people with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system which is part of the body’s immune system, are at a much greater risk of developing a secondary cancer after radiotherapy (Petrakova K et al, Int J Clin Pract. 2018). And while there is a much higher initial success rate for females with breast cancer, the risk of developing second primary malignant tumors post therapy (long term chemotherapy side-effect) has also increased greatly (Wei JL et al, Int J Clin Oncol. 2019).

Of course, the patients going through their initial cancer therapies are hopeful of a cure and unaware of increased risk of developing a secondary cancer. The lack of options forces patients to brace the travails of chemotherapy which they think is going to be the most successful therapy in eradicating their cancer. However, even after becoming cancer-free, there is always an impending risk of potentially having a relapse or a secondary cancer. And that is why cancer patients should always try to live a healthy lifestyle and eat the right foods as part of the cancer patients’ diet to keep any risk of developing future malignant tumors as low as possible.

Cancer patients often have to deal with different chemotherapy side effects which affect their quality of life and look out for alternative therapies for cancer. Taking the right nutrition and supplements based on scientific considerations (avoiding guesswork and random selection) is the best natural remedy for cancer and treatment related side-effects.