Is chemotherapy the most effective cancer treatment?


Fact Box

  • The Mayo Clinic defines chemotherapy as “a drug treatment that uses powerful chemicals to kill fast-growing cells in your body.” It is most often used to treat cancer “since cancer cells grow and multiply much more quickly than most cells in the body.”
  • Developed by physicians and scientists in the 1940s conducting “military medical research on dozens of chemical warfare agents,” chemotherapy was derived from mustard gas, “sulfur mustard, commonly called mustard gas, and nitrogen mustard, a derivative of mustard gas, became a new form of cancer treatment.”
  • According to the CDC, about 650,000 Americans receive chemotherapy treatment “in an outpatient oncology clinic” yearly. 
  • There are four main types of chemotherapy drugs, including alkylating agents, antimetabolites, plant alkaloids, and antitumor antibiotics.

Maha (No)

For cancer patients, chemotherapy is almost a given, as doctors recommend it as a first-line treatment. However, this may not be the miracle patients and their families may be praying for. 

First off, chemotherapy has its limitations. Some types of cancer may not respond to it. It’s also considered palliative rather than curative for terminal patients. 

Even when effective, chemotherapy causes more harm than good. Its side effects can degrade patients’ quality of life, negatively impacting their mental and physical well-being. 

The risk of death from chemo isn’t entirely off the table either. Even an infection can kill patients undergoing it because of low white blood cell count.

Thankfully, there are other treatments available. In addition to immunotherapy and targeted therapies, alternative treatments have been proven to beat cancer. 

A change in diet tops this list. Around 200 patients had a “remarkable recovery” after shifting to entirely vegetarian diets. Similarly, diets rich in veggies and fruit, such as the Dr. Sebi diet, may boost the lymphatic system to reverse cancer.  

Another holistic option is the Rife machine. Suppressed by drug companies and the American Medical Association, it uses the frequency at which cancer cells vibrate to destroy them. 

Equally maligned is the Gerson Therapy. This treatment combines organic fruits, vegetables, and grains with supplements and detox treatments like enemas. 

There are also several proven treatments that combine nutritional cleansing, psychotherapy, and visualization for healing. An excellent example of this is Louise Hay’s program which helped her recover in six months. 

With safer options available, cancer patients may be able to survive without pumping harmful chemicals into their fragile bodies.  

Chad (Yes)

There are hundreds of unique types of cancers, and all are very different. So, when discussing treatments, we have to generalize and do so at a broad level. But, for most cancers where surgery or radiation is not an option, chemotherapy is currently the only way to achieve remission or be cured.

Chemotherapies are scientifically proven and have been since the 1940s. Until recently, they were the only repeatable cure for cancer (anecdotal remedies abound but are often misleading).

Chemotherapy is brutal on the body, and many people (especially those who don't have cancer) fear it greatly. This fear opens up opportunities for the unscrupulous to take advantage of them by selling alternatives, most of which do not work--many are just exploiting desperate people willing to try and pay for anything when faced with death.

One problem with alternative/plant-based/diet-based/spiritual/etc. cures are that the dead don't talk. . .you only hear about the one miracle case on TV or an internet article and not the countless cases where it didn't work. This is why everybody with cancer should follow their doctor's advice and avoid internet trends or conspiracy theories. 

Studies have shown that the highest survival rates are among those who do chemo and follow all doctor's orders but also take control of their health by adding in complementary treatments (acupuncture, massage, yoga, exercise, prayer, etc.) that improve mood and wellness, as well as taking supplements (cautiously), and maintaining a healthy diet.

Recently, CAR-T and other immunotherapies have replaced chemo for some cancers. Hopefully, this trend will continue to replace all chemo, but until then, chemotherapy is the best option for most patients.

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