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Preventing Surgically Induced Breast Cancer Metastasis


Removing a cancer surgically has been shown to give the best chance of survival.  Unfortunately, anything that disrupts cancer like surgery (and possibly a biopsy) can spread cancer cells to distant organs (metastasis). It does this by increasing inflammation, reducing immune function, promoting angiogenesis, and increasing cancer cell adhesion.

Fortunately, science has found a way to dramatically reduce the risk of metastasis! A study was published in The British Medical Journal in 2002 that demonstrated an over the counter drug, Cimetidine, used for heart burn turns out to have potent anti-cancer and anti-metastatic properties. You know the drug as Tagamet. Another study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute documented the power of modified citrus pectin to inhibit the spread of cancer. The recommended protocol for cancer surgery is a minimum of 5 days before surgery take 14 grams of MCP (a type of dietary fiber that has been modified to make it absorbable into the blood stream) and 800 mg a day of Cimetidine and continue for a month or more to reduce metastatic risk. I would do the same if having a biopsy.

You need to know the role of your immune system in fighting cancer and preventing metastasis. Although there are many immune cells one stands out above all the rest when it comes to cancer. The immune cell NK (Natural Killer Cells) specifically seeks out and kills a variety of cancer cells. Surgery inhibits the immune system including NK cells but there are a number of ways to increase NK activity. The nutritional supplements:  glutamine, garlic, inositol hexaphosphate (IP6), lactoferin, and active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) have all been demonstrated to increase NK activity.

After surgery there is a significant increase in factors that promote angiogenesis, the process of building new blood vessels. It’s been well documented that cancer can’t grow beyond the size of a pinhead without the addition of new blood vessels. The neutraceuticals EGCG from green tea, cur cumin, chrysin, soy isoflavones (genistein), and silibinin from milk thistle have been shown to inhibit angiogenesis.

The kind of surgery as well as the type of anesthesia has an impact on metastasis as well. The less invasive the surgery the better. The common use of morphine after surgery promoted metastasis in a breast cancer study. It’s now recommended to use the drug Tramadol for pain relief as it actually stimulates the immune system and NK activity in particular. Adding a regional anesthesia, a spinal block, along with conventional anesthesia has been shown to markedly reduce the threat of recurrence and metastasis during the years following surgery.

Again, inflammation promotes cancer growth and metastasis. NSAIDS, over the counter anti-inflammatories including aspirin have been shown to decrease inflammation by reducing a potent inflammatory enzyme, COX-2. In 2008 a study showed an 80% reduction in bone metastasis in breast cancer cases for those taking a COX-2 inhibiting drug.

Supplements including cur cumin, resveratrol, vitamin E, soy isoflavones, EGCC, quercetin, fish oil, garlic, feverfew and milk thistle are natural products that inhibit inflammation.  Some of these also thin the blood and should not be used prior to surgery. For specific protocols and caveats for all the neutraceuticals mentioned here are to be found at  Note: these products are to be used for cancer recovery and preparation and not to prevent, cure or treat cancer.

If you are reading this article it’s likely you are facing a potentially serious situation. Take action, educate yourself and feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Be sure and read my strategies for preventing cancer.

Yours in good health,

Dr. Hough              OC Breast Wellness

11770 Warner Ave #111, Fountain Valley, CA  92708 (714) 363-5595


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