Williams Cancer Institute

The Effect of Traditional Cancer Treatments On the Cancer Immune Response—The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

“Clearly I think every cancer patient knows their basic traditional options for cancer treatment. If cancer is caught early, it is often surgery, probably with chemotherapy and radiation to follow, that is typically prescribed. If cancer is caught late, or if the patient was treated early, but the cancer has nonetheless progressed, treatment options gener- ally are going to center around chemotherapy, radiation, and maybe the combination of both. I am a traditionally trained doctor, but I am not a fan of these treatment options. I have seen the results first-hand and in general, they are pretty dis- appointing. Patients would like a more effective therapy, hopefully with fewer side effects. Our main goal is to eliminate thesetreatments that seem rather barbaric. More and more, patients are questioning the logic of these treatments, instead offollowing their doctor’s recommendation blindly. The cancer system is very hesitant to get away from these therapies. Immunotherapy has come on the scene and is becoming accepted at a fast pace, and its acceptance in large part is patient driven. Patients see the ads, hear the success stories, and question their doctor about getting immunotherapy. Still in most cases, even though the results with immunotherapy are better, it is often held back until oncologists can get a few courses of chemo and radiation in first. To me, this is like saying, “Yes we have something that works better, but let’s try the stuff that doesn’t work well first, and then later we can try something that might work better. Oh, and we are going to beat up your body first, so that later your chances of immunotherapy working will be even less.”

This clearly makes no sense. The healthcare industry is addicted to chemotherapy and radiation just like the energy industry is addicted to oil. It is for this reason that the system is slow to change. I have to admit, to completely abandon the current treatments is something that would create an economic crisis, and for that reason the changes will be gradual. That being said, the immunotherapy industry is going to be big business in its own right. Big Pharma is already getting themselves well entrenched as the change is coming, though the hospitals and the doctors are still lagging behind.

However, enough on those aspects, our goal here is to give you the information to enhance your treatment success. So, can chemotherapy and radiation be used to your advantage? Yes it can. Could it be that chemotherapy and radiation may be detrimental to immunotherapy treatments? Yes to that also. There is still a lot for us to understand about the interaction of these traditional treatments and immunotherapy. I will try to guide you to make the most out of these combinations. The reality is that most cancer patients, if they stay inside the standard healthcare system, whether it is for convenience or insurance coverage, are probably going to get chemotherapy. Let’s make the most out of it.”

In order to read more you can download a free copy of my book in the following link
Jason R Williams, MD, DABR

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