Chemo may spread breast cancer and trigger more aggressive tumors

Scientists have found that, while shrinking tumors, chemotherapy opens a gateway for breast cancer cells to spread into the blood and other parts of the body.

In 2012, a groundbreaking study was published which explained how chemotherapy can backfire and boost cancer growth.

In 2016, we learned that chemo causes long-term immune system damage in breast cancer patients, reducing key immune cells for at least 9 months after treatment.

In July 2017, another study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, offered more insight into how chemotherapy could cause cancer to spread, and trigger more aggressive new tumors.

In the latest study, researchers studied the impact of chemo drugs on breast cancer patients and found that the drugs increased the chance of cancer spreading to other parts of the body. Once breast cancer spreads, it becomes almost impossible to cure with conventional treatments.

Many breast cancer patients are given chemotherapy before surgery, even though half of them don’t need it, and this new research offers further insight as to how chemo can trigger the spread of cancer cells around the body, while it is striking a primary tumor.

As I’ve said many times, chemotherapy is often only a short-term solution to a long-term problem.

The new study presents evidence that chemotherapy can switch on a repair mechanism in the body which ultimately allows tumors to grow back stronger. It also increases the number of ‘doorways’ on blood vessels which allow cancer to spread throughout the body.

An image showing 'doorways' opening in blood vessels which allow tumours to spread 
An image showing ‘doorways’ opening in blood vessels which allow tumors to spread  CREDIT: GEORGE KARAGIANNIS 


Dr. George Karagiannis, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, found the number of doorways was increased in 20 patients receiving two common chemotherapy drugs (patients were given neoadjuvant paclitaxel after doxorubicin plus cyclophosphamide).

He also discovered that chemotherapy increased the number of cancer cells circulating in the body and in the lungs of mice given breast cancer.

Dr. Karagiannis and colleagues suggest women be monitored during chemotherapy to check if cancer is starting to circulate and if doorways were emerging. If this is found to be the case, they recommend discontinuing chemo before surgery.

Karagiannis is currently planning more extensive trials to further examine the issue.

If you or someone you care about has cancer, make sure you download my powerful free guide: 20 Questions for Your Oncologist.

Recommended reading
How chemotherapy can backfire and boost cancer growth

Half of breast cancer patients don’t need chemo

Chemo causes long-term immune system damage in breast cancer patients

Chemo kills up to 50% of patients in some hospitals

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This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. EmilyGoodall

    Great article . . . about time someone stepped up to the plate and blew the whistle on this dangerous threat. R. Cameron Bryce talks about this phenomenon at length in his nonfiction thriller, “Killing Tony”. Chemo and radiation treatments have the very real potential to cause new, much more virulent forms of cancer within a patient whose original cancer diagnosis is in full remission!

  2. 0or8afh


  3. nick

    Why do you think cancer almost always returns with much greater fervor AFTER chemo!!?

    1. Fifi

      Isn’t it because your immune system has been compromised? The immune system has to work so much harder to fight the poisoning effects of the chemotherapy drugs (essentially poison) and becomes weakened in the process. Physically we are already taxing our general immunity e.g. environmental toxicity. Our mental patterns also play a powerful role as well.

  4. edward varley

    The problem is that when you stop the chemo, the Cancer starts to spread.

  5. Jo Nagorka

    Hi Chris, I respect you and appreciate your sharing your life with us. I had stage IIb breast cancer (invasive ductal) diagnosed in 2013, my tumor was 2.5 cm, I opted for the standard of care recommended. I had surgery followed by 6 months of chemotherapy. For the first couple of years after cancer I wondered if I’d done the right thing, then my friend who chose totally holistic treatment, (surgery only & no chemotherapy or follow up treatment) she cashed out her pension and moved to Costa Rica. Nine months later her cancer returned with a vengence and she was unable to stop it. She died in December of 2015. Lovely lady, age 53. My Chicago friend has been living with stage 4 breast cancer, travels the world and enjoys every minute. I feel very blessed to be here and thankful that I chose this path, but everyone must choose what’s best for them, and God is still in charge and healthy living and healthy eating are soooo important! Thank you for allowing me to share my views, my best to everyone going on this journey that no one wants to be on.

    1. Pugh76

      Jo, I am also a cancer survivor that opted for standard of care recommended and know without it I would be dead today. I applaud your post because I believe there is not one right answer for cancer treatment. I do wish these two worlds could come together and realize the benefits of both. I would love to see modern medicine incorporate diet into their regimes and holistic world start providing research and governing the ingredients in their products. I know as result of some amazing cancer drugs both chemo therapy and others I am alive today 2 years later. I also hope people understand the majority of over the counter supplements have no oversight and the majority of the ingredients used are coming from China.

  6. Elisa

    Wow i was told by the onocologist that i had to do chemo and i had no cancer cells that traveled through my body. I refused because i did not understand what the chemo was killing if there were no cancer cells.

  7. brucelee

    the tele and daily mail as references!? at least ref the original study …

  8. bp

    I was diagnose with breast cncr 4 years ago, I did not have surgery, went the holistic way by becoming a vegan and juicing. the tumor shrunk, but just this year it got a bigger, had a pet scan and it showed that the marker is causiing inflamation around it and thats what cause to be a little bigger (2.5 cm). I am debating on taking it out, but most suergeon wnat to take your limp nodes out, and that I dont want to do. Could anyone give me some info. on this. I also plan not to take chemo or radiation. Would love to hear form someone as it pertains to the above.

    1. Julia Grimason McLaren

      I wonder if discussing this with a good naturopathic doctor would help to find the best substances for reducing the inflammation. I use raw grated ginger and turmeric with black pepper but I wouldn’t want to advise you as I’m not qualified. I hope you find a healthy solution. Good Luck.

    2. ISA41:10

      How long did you stay a vegan? Did you give up diary completely? Are you eating organic? Have you eliminated as many toxins out of your life as possible i.e. tap water, shampoos, deodorants, makeup, etc? Are you exercising at least 3 times a week?

  9. Marcy

    I refused chemo and the oncologist said ‘should I book an appointment with the psychiatrist?’. Had the radiotherapy, maintain a healthy diet/lifestyle and over four years cancer free.

  10. ISA41:10

    As one who had bladder cancer 7 years ago I took liquid chemo after the Doc removed the tumor. A few year later I got kidney cancer and had my kidney removed. Since then I have done a ton of research and have rejected all chemo. I’m also fed up with my doctor who just wants to remove every little speck on my bladder and do a biopsy every time I have a cysto. I have told him NO which has resulted in a huge argument between him and I. In fact he even threatened to not see me anymore. I could care less! In the last year I have gone to a whole foods plant based diet and have lost 15 lbs and feel great.

    For those you with cancer or just want good health, read “The China Study” by Colin Campbell or if you have Netflix watch “What the health”. Both show how animal and diary protein cause tumors to grow.

  11. Patty Simmons Padgett

    My dauhter and myself were both diagnosed in Feb and Mar of 2012.My daughter started chemo followed everything that was thrown at her, she passed away the day before her 42nd birthday in 2013. I had to keep working to keep insurance, after first half of chemo , I quit treatment and started my own treatment of nutrition and alkalizing my body and keeping active with a purpose. 5 YEARS I am still hear.

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