Cancer treatment other than chemotherapy

Cancer can be simply defined as uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of a person’s body. Or more simply stated, harmful cells growing out of control. Chemotherapy has become a common form of cancer treatment. Chemotherapy (often shortened to “chemo”) is a combination of drugs. It can be given through injection, intravenous infusion (IV), orally, topically, intra-arterially (IA), or intraperitoneally (IP). In simpler terms a patient can be given shots. He or she can have chemo drugs dripped through a tube attached to a needle that goes into a vein. He or she can take a pill or liquid medication. A cream containing a chemo drug can be applied directly to the skin. Chemo can be delivered directly into an artery connected to a tumor. Intraperitoneal or IP is when chemo treatment goes directly into a part of the abdominal organs; that area is called the peritoneal cavity. Patients that undergo chemotherapy will often have side effects, some serious enough to delay treatment. For that reason, scientist and doctors continue to seek cancer treatments that have fewer side effects.

According to Dr. Ajay Goel, Ph.D., chemotherapy kills cancer cells but it leaves behind cancer stem cells that can lead to cancer’s recurrence. Those stem cells that are left behind can lead to metastasis (spreading) of cancer. However, based upon a recent study, Dr. Goel and his colleagues at Baylor University Medical Center have seen evidence that French Grape Seed Extract VX1 eradicates colorectal cancer cells and prevents cancer stem cell formation. According to a study, Oligomeric proanthocyanins (OPCs) from French Grape Seed Extract VX1 target a pathway necessary for stem cell survival. The OPCs suppress the pathway, something that has never been shown before. Dr. Goel stated, “…we show that OPCs cause cell cycle arrest and lock up tumor cells in their growth phase, which eventually leads to cancer cell death.” So far the OPCs have only been tested on animals that have become non-responsive to chemotherapy. They have only been tested on colorectal cancer. Positive results have been seen after about 3 weeks of treatment. The dosage given was between 500 mg and 1 gram per day. There have been no side effects exhibited in the test animals. Dr. Goel notes that results may not be the same for other forms of grape seed without the same standardizations as the extract used in the study.

A March 2011 article in Life Extension Magazine suggests that curcumin is a potent multimodal cancer-preventing agent. Curcumin comes from the Indian spice turmeric. It is believed to possess active components with anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive power. “In fact, curcumin targets ten causative factors involved in cancer development,” according to the 2011 article. If one causative factor is disrupted, it provides a good chance of preventing cancer. If several causative factors are disrupted, there is an even greater protection against cancer. Curcumin works system wide in the body. The article states, “It promotes apoptosis in rapidly reproducing cancer cells without affecting healthy tissue and reins in tumor growth by making tumors more vulnerable to pharmacologic cell killing treatments.” Curcumin increases the death of cancer cells, starves tumors of their blood supply, and opposes many of the processes that allow metastases to spread. Based on the fact that there has been over 240 published studies, the Life Extension Magazine article asserts that curcumin has shown promise in countering various types of cancer, including bladder, blood, brain, and lung cancers.

Dr. Ajay Goel is Professor and Director of the Center for Epigenetics and Cancer Prevention, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute, Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, TX. He believes there are three levels of prevention in the fight against cancer. Primary prevention involves never getting cancer at all by living a healthy lifestyle. Secondary prevention means detecting existing cancers early. Tertiary prevention requires improving on the cancer treatments that are available to those diagnosed with the disease. A diagnosis of cancer is best met with a positive attitude and proactive measures. Beginning a treatment program, eating right, and getting the proper amount of exercise are three of the most important.

The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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