How chemo can make your cancer stronger

Cancer might sound scary, but you can beat it -- and I help patients take on this disease and win all the time.

The real challenge in many cases isn't beating the disease. It's helping patients to survive mainstream treatments such as chemotherapy, which can be even deadlier than the cancer itself.

And now, new research shows how chemo can actually backfire and help make the cancer stronger than ever, more likely to grow and even more likely to spread.

It starts with healthy cells. Or, rather, it starts with cells that were healthy until chemo came in and wrecked them.

These cells, called fibroblasts, usually produce collagen and help with wound healing. But once they're damaged by chemo, they start pumping out a protein called WNT 16B.

And unfortunately, tumors just love WNT 16B. The more they get, the more they grow -- and in the recent experiments, fibroblasts damaged by chemo produced 30 times the normal levels of the protein.

At that point, the tumor isn't "chemo resistant" anymore, even if that's the phrase your oncologist will use. It's actually chemo powered -- and instead of dying off, the tumor thrives because of the very treatment that was supposed to wipe it out.

It's a terrible irony, but researchers say it helps explain why up to 90 percent of solid cancers -- including cancers of the lung, breast, prostate, and colon -- go on to develop that "chemo resistance."

And I say it's just one reason why chemo often kills patients before it kills the cancer.

I won't say there's no role for chemotherapy, but too many people rush into it, not fully informed of the risks and believing they have no other choice.

There are always other choices.

Sometimes, chemo might be appropriate. But other times, it's not. Just make sure you inform yourself first. And if you do choose chemo, work with a holistic doctor to help limit the damage of this toxic treatment.

And for more on natural ways to beat cancer, keep reading -- because there's one proven disease-fighter that might be growing in your garden right now.