Phytotherapy Specialist Dr. Şenol Şensoy talked about the effects of phytotherapy in the treatment of cancer and pointed out how good results can be obtained with the use of medicinal plant extracts in the right form.
The uncontrolled proliferation of cells as a result of DNA damage is called "cancer". Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide and is the cause of an estimated 2020 million deaths in 10. One out of every 6 deaths in the world and one out of every 1 deaths in our country is caused by cancer.
The most common types of cancer in men are lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach and liver cancer, while the most common cancer types among women are breast, colorectal, lung, cervical and thyroid cancers.
Our Habits and the Cancer Connection
About one-third of cancer deaths are due to 5 major changeable habits:
- High body mass index (obesity),
- Low fruit and vegetable intake
- Lack of physical activity, sedentary lifestyle
- tobacco use,
- Alcohol use.
Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer and is responsible for approximately 22% of cancer deaths. A defining feature of cancer is the rapid proliferation of abnormal cells that grow beyond their usual limits and can then invade neighboring areas and spread to other organs, the latter process termed metastasis. Metastases are an important cause of death from cancer.
What causes cancer?
1- Physical carcinogens such as ultraviolet and ionizing radiation;
2- Chemical carcinogens such as asbestos, tobacco smoke components, aflatoxin (a food pollutant) and arsenic (a drinking water pollutant),
3- Biological carcinogens, such as infections from certain viruses, bacteria or parasites.
4- Aging is another key factor for cancer development. As a person ages, cellular repair mechanisms become less effective.
5- Some chronic infections are risk factors for cancer. It is of great importance in low- and middle-income countries. About 2012% of cancers diagnosed in 15 were attributed to carcinogenic infections, including Helicobacterpylori, Human papillomavirus (HPV), Hepatitis B virus, Hepatitis C virus, and Epstein-Barr virus.
Reducing the cancer burden
Currently, 30-50% of cancers can be prevented by avoiding risk factors and applying existing evidence-based prevention strategies. Cancer burden can be reduced by early diagnosis of cancer. If diagnosed early and treated appropriately, patients have a high chance of recovery.
Accurate cancer diagnosis is essential for adequate and effective treatment because each type of cancer requires a specific treatment regimen that includes one or more modalities such as surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Determining the goals of treatment and palliative care is an important step. Health services should be integrated and people-centred. The primary goal is usually to cure cancer or significantly prolong life. Improving the patient's quality of life is also an important goal. This can be achieved with supportive or palliative care and psychosocial support.
Remarkable expressions of a stage 4 cancer patient;
“Of course my life will end at some point, but I felt that it would not be because of cancer and I fought. Let no one lose hope, let him fight”.
Benefiting from traditional and complementary therapies such as phytotherapy in the treatment of cancer increases its importance day by day. Proper nutrition of the patient and supporting the current medical treatment with medicinal plants will greatly increase the chances of success in the treatment. Mankind has thousands of years of ancient knowledge and experience about medicinal plants. Numerous studies have been conducted on medicinal plants, especially in the last 25 years, and thousands of articles have been published showing that medicinal plants have effects in almost every stage of cancer, from the prevention of DNA damage, that is, the preventive effects of cancer formation at the very beginning, to the prevention of distant metastases.
In studies on medicinal plants;
1- Antitumor effects show a selective feature, that is, they have a cytotoxic effect on cancer cells but do not harm normal tissue cells.
2- It increases the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, reduces its side effects and prevents cancer cells from developing resistance.
3- Angiogenesis (vascularization) formed by cancer cells is prevented, and tumor growth and metastasis are prevented.
4- Resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy to cancer stem cells It has a cytotoxic effect against them and drives them to programmed cell suicide, which we call apoptosis.
5- It exposes cancer cells, which use different mechanisms to hide from the immune system, by breaking these mechanisms, and makes the anticancer effects of our immune cells functional.
6- The powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenging effects of almost all medicinal plants contribute to the treatment of all diseases, especially cancer.
Cancer cells work like terrorists who rebelled against the body they came from, knew it very well, knew its weaknesses, developed tactics accordingly and tried to destroy the body with the support it received from inside and outside. Medicinal plants, on the other hand, act like volunteer soldiers with all kinds of equipment against all the war tactics of the cancer cell, which contain numerous healing properties.
As long as the patient can be fed orally, we can benefit from medicinal plants at every stage of the disease. Phytotherapeutic products can be considered both as a nutritional support, immune-enhancing special foods, and therapeutic medicinal agents. We can benefit from phytotherapy even at the stages when there is no opportunity to benefit from conventional medical treatments.
If the patient wants to get better, he gets better.
World-renowned oncologist Prof. Dr. The following words of Umberto Veronici (1925-2016) are very important in approaching cancer patients: “No one can tell anyone how long they will live. I have been in this profession for 55 years and I have witnessed many miracles. If the patient wants to get better, he will get better.”
Ibn Sina: There is no disease without a cure
Ibn Sina (1000-980), who lived in the early 1037s, called Avicenna (The Ruler of the Scholars) by the Westerners.“There is no incurable disease, except a lack of will.” with the aforementioned 4th stage cancer patient and Prof. How exactly Veronici's words overlap, don't they?
Will the cancer patient recover? Yes, it will heal, as long as the patient wants to get better.