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Home / Health & Science

Chemotherapy may spread cancer, caution scientists

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy GRAHAM KAJILWA | Mon,Jul 10 2017 00:00:00 EAT
By GRAHAM KAJILWA | Mon,Jul 10 2017 00:00:00 EAT

Chemotherapy spreads cancer instead of curing it, a new study shows.

The study by New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine says chemotherapy is the worst treatment for cancer contrary to common belief.

Today, chemo is the most sought after form of treatment for cancer.

However, scientists found that instead of curing the disease, it makes it even more deadly and it consequently becomes incurable.

They said chemotherapy only offers short-term solution and in the end puts patients at a higher risk.

The study, also published by The Telegraph on July 5, suggests chemotherapy opens ways for cancer tumours to spread even further to other body parts.

Chemotherapy is used to suppress the tumours. However, the scientists said, while so doing, the treatment opens a gateway for them to spread into the blood system. After this, the growth may get out of control.

“This explains why some patients, after undergoing chemotherapy and declared cancer free, the disease resurfaces and becomes more lethal ,” they said.

They added: “Cancer then becomes incredibly difficult to treat and often becomes fatal once it spreads to other organs. This is when it is classified as Stage Four,” the study reads in part.

However, one of the scientists, George Karagiannis, said the findings should not stop patients from seeking treatment. He called for development of new ways of monitoring tumours in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

“One approach would be to obtain a small amount of tumour tissue after a few doses of preoperative chemotherapy. If we observe that the markers scores are increased, we would recommend discontinuing chemo and having surgery first, followed by post-operative chemo,” said Dr Karagiannis.

Chemotherapy is administered as a pill or through an intro-venous drip.

It is also one of the preferred treatments for breast cancer which affects 34 in every 100,000 women in Kenya, according to Kenya Cancer Network (KCN). It also has serious side effects.

KCN says there are an estimated 39,000 new cancer cases in Kenya. About 30 per cent of cancers can be treated if detected early. However, 70-80 per cent of case in Kenya are diagnosed when it is already too late.

Side effects of the treatment include heavy vaginal bleeding, chest pains, poor vision, depression or emotional instability, slow speech and memory loss.

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