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.