Share The Wealth by Chris Gupta
March 06, 2007

Cancer Drugs Can Cause Heart Damage And More

This has been amply demonstrated to me by a number of friends and acquaintances who where told that their type of cancers is of no concern as it can be dealt with standard treatments. Unfortunately, their cancer indeed was temporarily arrested but one became a total vegetable and others developed serious heart disease.... Yet again the treatment is worse than the disease particularly when it does not have to be.....

Normally, I don't advocate any drug unless it is an emergency but if you are going to take one make sure that you read the monograph your self, strangely, often even your doctor will not know of many side effects. Go to and review in detail the side effects also. Then you will know why generally toxic drugs are not recommend. Further these drugs deplete the very nutrients needed to repair the body's healing mechanisms. Lack of nutrients is the primarily reason for disease. When these are addressed not only cancer but many other diseases are healed. Yet mainstream medicine is not able to comprehend that nutrients are the magic bullet and not some generally toxic patented drug/s....

"Patients undergoing chemotherapy-with their immune systems completely destroyed or compromised-frequently die of pneumonia or common infections. Death from toxicity is also quite common. In one study, 10 percent of 133 patients using the chemo drug 5-FU (5-fluorouracil) died as a direct result of the drug's toxicity. *Doctors jokingly refer to this popular chemotherapy drug as "Five Feet Under." Chemotherapy patients come down with the whole range of blood diseases, such as aplastic anemia, in which the bone marrow can no longer make blood cells; leukopenia, an abnormal decrease in the amount of white blood cells; and thrombocytopenia, an abnormal reduction in platelets. The long-term effects of chemotherapy can include heart damage weeks, months, or years after treatment; loss of fertility; and an increased risk of recurrence of cancer."

*New York State Journal of Medicine, March 1971, p. 554. .

Extracted from: Options: The Alternative Cancer Therapy Book

See also:

Some Cancer Resources particularly the compendium of relevant links in this post

Orthomolecular Solutions to Heart Disease

Chris Gupta

Provided by: M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Last Updated: 01 Sep 2004

Some Doctors Do Not Fully Protect Against Complications

Dr. Edward Yeh

Any cancer drug can cause potential heart damage, even death, and many doctors do not adequately monitor their patients or manage their care to minimize the health risk, according to a study by M. D. Anderson cardiologists.

"Patients and doctors may not be aware of the spectrum of heart problems that can arise from cancer treatment, or know that many of these problems can be managed," says the study's lead author, Edward T. H. Yeh, M.D., professor and chairman of the institution's Department of Cardiology.

The study, published in the June 29 issue of the journal Circulation, is the first large-scale review that details:

* Cardiovascular complications that often occur in cancer therapy
* Ways to prevent or treat heart problems resulting from cancer treatment

Conducted with nine other M. D. Anderson cardiologists, the study reviews research on the cardiotoxicity (toxic effects on the heart) of 29 anti-cancer drugs as well as 30 years of experience at M. D. Anderson.

Cardiotoxicity can occur in any patient, Yeh says. Generally speaking, however, patients most at risk are elderly and have other illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease. Heart problems can occur during treatment or months and even years after treatment.

Potential problems described for each drug

Even the newest targeted therapies, designed to attack only cancer cells, can cause cardiotoxicity, Yeh says. The following potential problems can exist with these cancer medications:

Monoclonal antibodies- These substances locate and bind to cancer cells and can be used alone, or to deliver drugs, toxins, or radioactive material directly to tumor cells.

Toxic effects of these drugs (Avastin, Erbitux, and Rituxin) include:

* Hypertension (high blood pressure)
* Hypotension (low blood pressure)

"They seem to have more general toxicity than many other agents, but the problems they produce usually involve changes in blood pressure, which can be easily treated if recognized," Yeh says.

The monoclonal antibody Herceptin is less toxic than generally believed, although it can cause:

* Chronic heart failure
* Dysfunction of the left ventricular, the main chamber of the heart that pumps blood to the body

Chemotherapy drugs- Heart problems are relatively rare in the "antimicrotubules" class of chemotherapy drugs, of which Taxol is a member. However, several other common classes of chemotherapy drugs can cause potential heart damage:

Anthracyclines/anthraquinolones- (adriamycin). These agents are clearly more toxic to the heart than other medications, especially in large doses. They should be closely monitored because they frequently produce:

* Irreversible chronic heart failure
* Left ventricular dysfunction

"This is probably the most problematic class of anticancer drugs, but with experience, cardiotoxicity can be limited,"Yeh says.

Alkylating agents- Platinol and Cytoxan, the most widely used alkylating agents, can produce a wide range of heart problems at higher doses, including:

* Chronic heart failure
* Hypertension

Antimetabolites- (which include the widely used agent 5-fluorouracil). Antimetabolites can produce ischemia, a decreased flow of oxygenated blood to an organ due to an obstruction in an artery, which can lead to heart attacks if not treated.

Non-chemotherapy drugs- Potential heart damage also can occur with:

* Interleukin-2 - which frequently results in:
--* Hypotension (low blood pressure)
--* Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat)
* Gleevec - which can cause heart failure
* Trisenox - which can result from fatal "QT prolongation" (lengthening of the part of the heart rhythm cycle referred to as the QT interval.)
* Thalidomide - which can produce a variety of serious heart ailments

Yeh says although the potential for heart damage from cancer drugs is present, complications can be avoided with proper measures.

Possible solutions include:

* Avoiding certain drugs
* Lowering drug dosages
* Administering drugs slower and over a longer period of time
* Monitoring cardiac health more stringently
* Avoiding giving some drugs simultaneously
* Treating cardiac risk factors
* Use of an echocardiogram during and after cancer treatment
* Treating patients with heart failure drugs

"We found a profile of cardiotoxicity for the most often used anticancer drugs, but it is important to know that every patient has different risk factors that will determine how their hearts handle the treatment," Yeh says. "Monitoring and management is key to surviving cancer with a good and lasting heart."

© 2006 The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. All rights reserved.


posted by Chris Gupta on Tuesday March 6 2007
updated on Thursday March 8 2007

URL of this article:





Readers' Comments

At 01:35 AM 07/03/2007, you wrote:

Chris, I cannot see any link at to side effects. Any suggestions?Thanks, Noel

Here is an example for Avastin


Note: Most of the drugs mentioned in the original post have now been linked to the adverse reaction links on

See also: Late Effects to the Heart

At 12:00 PM 07/03/2007, you wrote:

Thank you for bringing this most important information to our attention. MLR21@xxxxx.zzz

Thanks for the feedback Norma, and thanks also for the kind comments. Incidentally I am an Engineer and not a Dr.


At 03:00 PM 07/03/2007, you wrote:

Dear Dr Gupta,

I am in my second "remission" for ovarian cancer and have been treated with Carboplatin and Taxol. For two months I was treated with Doxil and had a lot of lumpy, knotted veins and bruising and staining of my tissues. I was told by my Dr. that Doxil could indeed cause me heart problems and monitored me for that. I was not adequately monitored for deep vein thrombosis during my first round of treatment because my history of varicose veins and circulation problems wasn't properly noted. That put me on Warfarin which is a "whole new way of life". When I was unable to walk I decided to take my life back and got out "Prescription for Natural Healing", took curcumin, garlic, Lecithin, and a few other things and was walking in four days and without pain in six! I began researching everything I could get my hands on in four different books, and researching every possible thing I could find on the computer, asked my girl friend who ran a health food store consulted a friend of mine who is an experienced nurse. I really and truly believe that without their information I would be very much weaker, have more heart damage, and have a lot more than a surgical hernia to deal with. My red blood count is still low so I am anemic and have very little stamina. I credit my remission to EFT which brought my CA125 down fron 1680 to 108 in one 4 week treatment period! I only took traditional treatment because that was all that my insurance would pay for.... Now I am in light therapy at the occupational therapy unit at my clinics hospital. It is helping to heal my IV damaged veins in my forearms and I hope will help my hands which lock up and charlie horse when I hold anything too long. My last treatment was in late Dec. and I count my life in month from one check up to the other. I have a counter full of all kinds of promising herbs, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that are shown to have some effect on cancer in vitro. I pray almost every day for the doctors and researchers that I hope will come up with MY Cure in time for me to finish living a whole, complete, vigorous life. My husband and I will be married 50 years next valentines day Please, Please keep up the good work. Without people like you who would I have gotten the information from that is giving me a chance to be strong enough to wait out this insidious disease and have a real chance to conquer it.

Norma Johnson

Simple they should not want to upset their pharma buddies....


At 09:11 PM 09/03/2007, you wrote:
Hi Chris,

Enjoyed your mailouts re: chemo drugs and heart damage.

The damage is particularly egregious in children. There have been 2 cases in the news recently....both teachers who died of heart disease in their 20s...a result of chemo drugs administered for childhood cancers. These same drugs affect growth and fertility.

The question I keep asking is, " why is the Cancer Society not more proactive in disseminating info as regards preventing malignancies in the first place?"

Just getting this off my chest.


Posted by: Chris Gupta on March 8, 2007 10:44 PM


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