Center For Natural Medicine Newsletter

Getting the Best from Chemotherapy Without the Worst of Chemotherapy

In This Issue
Time for Yourself
It seems most of us know someone with cancer. It has become common to meet people who are being treated with drugs to remove cancer from their body.  I would love to tell each of them that there is help to reduce the side effects and help assure a better outcome.
Gathering Information

Study of the literature in recognized journals such as Cancer, Journal of Clinical Oncology, and International Journal of Cancer has given me the information to develop well substantiated treatment plans.  Both by the type of chemotherapy and by the patients' symptoms there are plans to make the journey easier.

This is breast cancer awareness month.  Breast cancer is most often treated with Adriamycin (Doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosamide) and Taxotere or Taxol.  I will refer to them as "AC" and Taxanes.

Did you know glutamine has been proven to help reduce side effects from all of these drugs?  AC can cause mouth sores called stomatits.  Glutamine powder is mixed in liquid and "swished" in the mouth before swallowing to prevent and treat mouth sores. 

Four to six grams in divided doses through the day would be safe for most people.  Glutamine has also been shown to reduce burning mouth syndrome and neuropathy from the Taxanes. I always suggest combining glutamine with liquid Traumeel by BHI.  BHI, a German company, published effectiveness studies on Traumeel with cancer related stomatitis showing great results.  My patients can tell you it is very effective.
I urge my patients to start this right away and continue daily throughout their treatment.  It really does work.  I have even seen it heal mouth ulcers in patients who did not take it in the beginning of treatment.  As soon as they began glutamine and Traumeel the sores began to heal.  It was wonderful. 


Chemotherapy Effects

The heart muscle can be damaged by chemotherapy; causing problems even years later.  Fortunately there are well-known heart protective nutrients.  Coenzyme Q 10 is my favorite heart protection for breast cancer patients because it has been shown in small studies to fight the breast cancer.  The dose is rather high at 300 mg. daily.

A multiple vitamin with the RDA of antioxidants (Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Zinc) can be used.  High quality is necessary, but not high levels of these nutrients.  This will increase effectiveness of the drug and decrease toxicity.  


It is time consuming to keep up with the literature studies so someone like Dr. Keaton who specializes in Chemotherapy support is more likely to be up to date with the literature.


The food choices you make can also help.  If you have nausea your old comfort foods may be all you tolerate for a day or two.  Do not try new foods or foods you do not prefer during chemo or you may develop aversion to them. 


Once the nausea is controlled there are many helpful foods.  Green tea is high on the list of beneficial drinks along with plenty of water.  Highly colored fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, yams, broccoli or carrots will help you maintain your energy. 


If you enjoy fish the studies have shown beneficial outcome if you eat fish more often.  Ground flax meal is helpful as are whole grains and nuts.  You may try mixing these as a breakfast muesli.

Nausea can be effectively treated with herbs such as ginger and peppermint, essential oils tangerine and peppermint infused into the room, and homeopathic medicine specific to the case or try Nux vomica.  Acupuncture is extremely effective and the National Institutes of Health supports the use of Acupuncture for the nausea.

Take Time for Yourself

My patients tell me after the chemotherapy they feel rather like the flu.  They also tell me that the acupuncture rapidly helps resolve this sensation.  I recommend my patients schedule ahead with me to receive acupuncture directly after each chemotherapy session.  Often that is enough to keep symptoms away.  Acupuncture helps with anxiety, sleep, pain and energy as well as the nausea.

Last, but not least, consider taking some time for yourself now.  Begin meditation, prayer time, guided imagery or yoga.  Have tea with a friend. Join a support group and make new friends.  Go back to a favorite art expression, writing, or try something new.  Do something you have dreamed of doing or just keep putting off.  As the saying goes: "Yes, you are worth it!"


Dr. Dana Keaton
Center For Natural Medicine