The negative effects Chemotherapy can have on your body, including your brain
Cancer is on the rise in our modern society. Sadly, it is still not talked about openly. People do not always dare to admit they have cancer. Modern medicine mainly focuses on radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and it is a miracle your immune system can take this brutal attack and you survive it.
These treatments attack not only the “sick” cells but also the healthy ones, a situation of which it is difficult to recover from. I can only repeat what I have said in various posts before this one. Your lifestyle is the key factor in determining if you develop cancer or not. We all carry cancer cells in our system, they are there but call it sleeping.
After eating the wrong foods over a certain period (this varies from person to person), these cells might start to mutate. Cancer cells like an unhealthy environment, an environment which lacks oxygen, an environment which is toxic with unhealthy things like additives, sugar and or artificial sweeteners, pesticides, the wrong fats, plastics, processed foods, all the things which actually should not be in our body.
The inflammation caused by these wrong foods is the environment cancer cells like and need to multiply.
When you have chemotherapy to battle breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer or any other type of cancer, the entire body suffers, including the brain.
Lately, the phrase Chemo Brain is becoming more well known. It is an expression cancer patients and survivors might use. It describes their feelings after having gone through chemotherapy. People say their memory has gone missing, they have cognitive problems. Some might even describe it as a kind of brain fog, chemo brain fog.
Doctors and scientists refer to this as a chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment or chemotherapy-related cognitive dysfunction. The people who suffer this will say their brain does not function the same as before the chemo, their brain simply feels damaged.
If you had chemotherapy, you might find you suffer some or all of the following symptoms:
Difficulty concentrating, multitasking or learning new things
Short attention span
An overall feeling of murkiness
Looking at this list, one really wonders why one should do chemotherapy in the first place? It is so hard on our body that often our immune system cannot cope, and to top it off, there are a lot of side effects. The sad thing is that most doctors recommend these awful treatments and family and friends might even tell you to do it.
There are many “other types” of treatments out there. Tales of people who refused to go the “normal” way. Investigate before you decide to have chemo. Get all the information possible to then be able to make a well-informed decision.
To have a Chemo Brain results from many factors combined
One cannot say it is only this or that which has caused it. It is more of a cocktail of all the added things like surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy. All of this together will have a negative effect on your brain. Let’s face it, this is an immense effort on part of our body to stay alive.
When a person is going through all this, the individual has additional challenges. The added stress of the treatment, the recovery, the likelihood of survival, how it will affect your life from now on, the constant feeling sick, this all takes a toll on you and actually reduces your ability to fight the disease. All this one has to consider.
What can one do as a treatment
Each patient is different, so the treatment has to be personalized. An in-depth look on lifestyle and eating habits. A brain SPECT imaging will give insight into which areas in your brain are functioning well and which areas have suffered from the chemo treatment.
What one should do as prevention
Well, the first thing which comes to mind is to boost your immune system. If your immune system is strong, then you will not need all these harmful “treatments” to start with. There are many things you can do on a personal level to stay strong and healthy. Many things are actually known by most of us, but knowing does not always mean doing it.
One we all know is stop smoking. I can talk here from personal experience. I tried 3 times in my life but stupidly after some months started again. In 1998, I remodeled my house and decided there would be no more smoking inside the house. This applied to myself and all visitors. That was a really good decision.
It got even better when I smoked my last cigarette one week before Christmas 2015. The reason? My better half who at that time still was a resident in the U.S. had told me he stopped drinking his daily soda pop. In May 2016, I surprised him with the fact I had stopped smoking. We both have benefited from our decision.
Get enough sleep
I know it is not so easy, even if you are retired like we are. At least try to get a good 7 to 8 hours and what is important is to sleep in a dark room, the darker the better. Try to stick to a regular time going to bed and getting up. Having a good night’s sleep will make it possible to master daily life and keep stress levels low.
One of the most important factors
Know what you put into your mouth. Fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, are a must. It is always a good idea to wash your fruits and vegetables before consuming them. A part should be raw and the rest slightly cooked, like wok style. Eggs from happy chickens, bio meat and fresh caught salmon from a clean non-polluted area and do not forget nuts, seeds, and fermented foods, (kefir, Greek yogurt, or kimchi.)
Don’t forget some real honey. Extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil are also beneficial. Do not drink milk or soy milk, the best is natural coconut milk.
Cut down or completely eliminate man-made foods like cookies, ice cream, and sweets. Bread, rice, especially pasta and pizza should be reduced or seldom eaten. Like it or not, we are all sensitive to some degree to the gluten in grains, and this causes inflammation.
If you have any inflammation, your immune system will be trying to address this condition, but if the inflammation continues the immune system will give up the battle.
Skip the fast food and the microwave oven, which kills the nutrients in your food. Not too much salt and then use Himalayan salt. A good idea is to start your day with a glass of lemon juice with a little Himalayan salt on an empty stomach. Later in the day, you can have a glass of red wine and a piece of black chocolate. I think we can consider these as healthy minor sins.
One should remember that our cells renew. This means you can be healthier now than in your younger days. Depending on how you feed them, they might be stronger cells or weaker cells. Avoid drinking water from plastic bottles and if needed, have a good water filter system at home.
Enjoy some light exercise each day and get some rays of sun on your body, like 15 minutes a day for your vitamin D. Taking care of your digestive system also helps your brain to stay healthy. The brain-gut connection is something scientists have discovered not so long ago.
I hope this post has been of some help to you. I would be happy if you leave a comment.
A book by Dr. Amen
Dr. Amen is a world renowned physician, psychiatrist, brain-imaging specialist, and founder of Amen Clinics.
2020 has nearly completed, and it has been an unusual and often frightening year full of stress and sadness. In Feel Better Fast and Make it Last, you’ll discover new, powerful brain-based strategies to gain control over anxiety, worry, stress and anger. Especially in these troublesome times a very recommendable book.
Before you leave, you might like to have a look at Recommendations. It is a special page I have made for you. I hope you will find something useful.
Source: Dr. Daniel Amen, Amen Clinics, contact on 1- 855-208-9525, Harvard’s Health Publishing, How to boost your immune system, updated: July 16, 2018
Photo Source: Pixabay
As the right fats in your diet are also important, you might like to read this post.
Thank you for your post. It highlights yet another problem with getting cancer and the harmful effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. I firmly believe in preventative health and nutrition to prevent the big C and degenerative diseases.Thanks for highlighting the effects on the brain, which I fear is not well understood, but as you say – these treatments attack not only the “sick” cells but also the healthy ones.
I was very interested in the good water filter system you recommend as water is so important, yet tap water is full of chemicals and fluoride. Your link takes me to a bulk office supplies, website, can you please check the link and advise the best water filter system. Thank you for all your tips on prevention, this is really the most important for any reader to implement I feel.
Good Morning John,
Thank you for leaving a comment on my website. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?
Everything in our body is related. If we do good or bad there will be consequences. Perhaps not tomorrow or next month but surely in the years to come.
I have recently received my bone density test and I have improved by 2.5% compared with 2016. Adding more nuts and seeds to my diet did the trick.
I checked the link you mentioned. This is not a link I put, it is a ling from Viglink. They scan a post and put links related to the text. Well, in this case, they messed it up, sorry about that. I am sending you a link of EWG.org, they are good and I get a lot of useful information thru them. https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/water-filter-guide.php
Unfortunately even though almost all of us know how bad habits negatively affect our bodies, most of us don’t do anything to change that or we do something for a limited period and after we fall back to our pleasure routine. I think it’s a bit in our character as humans don’t want to change their favorite habits either it’s food or lifestyle. We are programmed like this and although there will always be exceptions most of the time this rule applies. I think everyone knows that we need to eat healthy, but how many actually do it? Only when health problems start we start panicking and regret we didn’t take action earlier.It’s an unfortunate fact.
Good Morning Stratos,
You are right in stating that humans, in general, think it will not affect them, it will only affect all the other people having naughty eating habits. The food industry has been playing dirty tricks on us making all this man-made food taste sooo good. Our taste buds are being fooled but when you try to read a label often you cannot understand the strange names and neither have an idea what it all means.
In Holland we have a saying. When you burn yourself you will have to sit on the blisters. The more we turn away from nature the worse our health will get.
Thank you for leaving a comment. I hope you have downloaded your free PDF?
I found the food section of this article near it’s end extremely interesting – I have heard certain things on documentaries concerning some of the foods you mentioned – but I’m shocked by the range of foods to avoid.
On the subject of pizza – which most parents will admit, their kid’s love! What would you say is the most harmful element to it? Is it just a gluten thing?
Good Morning Chris,
Thank you for commenting on my post. I can imagine you are shocked by the not to eat list. These are man-made foods. We are paying a high price, our health, to have turned away from nature.
Next time. you go to a supermarket and buy a pizza. do have a look at the ingredients. The dough is made of wheat which has gluten but that might not be the worst. It could be GMO wheat treated with Roundup, there you have the problem. The sauce has additives, lots of sugar etc. Cheese often has plastics. The best thing one can do is make your pizza at home. If there is gluten sensitivity in the family you can always opt for Spelt. How about going to the organic place nearby, buy 10 kg of tomatoes and at home make your own sauce. I do this and it tastes way better than store bought. In case you want the recipe I will forward it to you.
This one seems to be a really sensitive topic for many people, and rightly so. It’s certainly really important to lead a healthy and happy lifestyle. Those are factors that surely help with prevention. Regarding chemotherapy, it certainly does damage to the body, but for some people it’s a price that has to be paid. I wouldn’t advise sufferers not to do it, as it’s the only way to save their lives. 🙂
Good afternoon Antonis,
Thank you for your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?
Yes, it is a sensitive subject for a lot of people. My Mother had cancer in 1973. She did not have chemotherapy but she did have radiation therapy, which is nasty enough. Afterward, she changed her eating habits in a radical way, no more man-made foods. She died in 1997.
I wonder if you have seen The Truth about Cancer series? 9 episodes of eye-opening information. One should be informed about all existing treatments, not only the conventional ones. Then one should be allowed to make a personal and free decision on what treatment to do. You will find The Truth about Cancer on a widget in the sidebar.
I found this article interesting. When doctors advise medical treatment, it can be difficult for the lay person to evaluate if the medical treatment is really necessary, especially if the lay person has concerns about the medical treatment in the first place. Even the idea of getting a second opinion from another doctor, the lay person is going to think that the second doctor is just going to agree with the first doctor with maybe a different way of reaching that recommendation.
In this case, it would appear that prevention is better than cure. I liked that this article discussed diet and offered some really good diet suggestions. However I am confused that milk is not recommended. Why is this?
Good afternoon David,
I personally think one should get a second opinion, even a third or fourth if needed. One should not forget that big money is made with our health. The more ailments we have the happier Big Pharma will be. We are responsible for our health. In old China one would pay the doctor as long as one stayed healthy, payments would stop when getting sick.
In old times the milk would be raw and it would come from happy/healthy cows. Nowadays the poor animals live a life which is unnatural, are injected growth hormones, antibiotics and in case they are fed corn it will be GMO full of glyphosate. That is the reason one should not drink milk.
, Mahatma Gandhi ones said milk is meant for babies.
Thank you for your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF.
Very informative post. It’s really sad the way most of us live our lives. We endanger ourselves and most of the time don’t even realize it. The funny thing is that some of us do realize it and still keep on with our dangerous habits.
One might ask how is it possible that one even after knowing the dangers of smoking still keeps on smoking. It’s crazy that we humans decide to be ignorant of the fact that we are endangering our health.
You mentioned chemotherapy as one of the ways that is been used to treat cancer and that it is really dangerous to our health. Yes it is really dangerous to our health but most people go on anyway.
Now I might not blame them due to the fact that they might have lost hope and are willing to do just about anything in other to become healthy.
Though it is also important for them to do their research and try to find out if there are other solutions but our doctors that are suppose to inform them of these other solutions are the ones that suggest chemotherapy in the first place.
I hope we humans can become more enlightened so we can live most part of our lives( or all our lives) healthy.
Good Morning Jay,
Thank you for visiting my website and leaving a comment. I hope you have downloaded your free PDF?
It is strange that humans do so many things which are bad for them. Take an example like driving and at the same time talking on the mobile. We cut the trees knowing they help us breathe. We eat too much sugar even if we know it is the preferred food of cancer cells. The list is long.
Doctors will normally prescribe standard treatments, most of the time they do not know of anything else. I have listened to the series The Truth about Cancer, you will find it in a widget in the sidebar. There are so many alternatives but you have to be willing to keep an open mind, lots of people cannot do that or do not want to do that.
It will still take a long time till the human race becomes enlightened. Many more lives are needed to understand we are all equal, come from the same source and will go back there, until that happens we will keep repeating the same mistakes, sad but true.
Thank you so much Taetske, for such great info. It is so sad to note how people are suffering directly or indirectly to this deadly diseases called cancer. Unfortunately we can do very little to control it. I was not aware of how Chemotherapy can result into so many side effects. I just hope scientists will do something about this because we can’t say we have treated someone with cancer, if the result of the treatment have so much side effects.
I think, it is very crucial to pay attention to what is expected of you, if you had Chemotherapy as after effects like confusion and difficult in concentrating can affect ones life negatively.
Good Morning Ngonidzashe,
Thank you for commenting on my post. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?
We are responsible for our health, that means we have to think and investigate. Doctors do not always know all the possibilities which are available.
I had a total hysterectomy in 2008. My doctor told me that by his experience I would get cancer in 5 to 10 years so he advised me to have this operation. Now I know I could have opted for getting my hormones in balance and that would have solved the problem. I did not investigate, only after the operation, I did and found an anti-aging doctor who explained everything. There you see, 2 doctors with a completely different approach to the same problem.
I always knew chemo was rough on the body, but I never made the connection that this applies to your brain as well. I can’t say I have the healthiest eating habits, but I do think I’ve been gradually going in the right direction over the years. I really like sweet tea and pop, but I’ve cut them out for the most part. I went from having them multiple times a day to maybe a few times a year. Also, I’ve drastically reduced my drinking. I might drink once a year, if that. You made some excellent suggestions that I’ll definitely try out.
Good Morning Thomas,
I am happy that you found some value in reading my post. That is, after all, the reason for writing it. If I can help with suggestions, it fulfils my mission.
As I live in the south of Spain, I have the habit of drinking 1 glass of red wine each evening and I must confess I enjoy it. Looking back, the finally stopping to smoke was not difficult, but to skip the red wine would be sad.
I started to be interested in health in 1986 and over the years my eating habits changed. Now, at the age of 70, I am happy where I am. I live pill free and have no ailments, so I have a lot to be thankful for.
Thank you for your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF? Tulip widget.