posted on Jan, 31 2011 @ 10:36 PM
Originally posted by rapunzel222
tending to suggest that chemotherapy actually causes cancer (with its number one side effect being cancer)
Well of course they have the potential to cause cancer. A number of chemo drugs fall into the same class of chemical agents that induce DNA mutations,
which can (by way of chance, predisposition and a number of steps) lead to tumour cell formation. Newer generation chemo drugs (and a lot of the old
ones too) can target cancer cells by virtue of their altered metabolic states (upregulation of the expression of certain enzymes, differences in
cytosolic pH, etc.), but that's not to say they can't and won't also damage healthy tissue. Minimising that damage is very hard because cancer
cells are, for the most part, the same as the rest of the cells in your body (with the exception of a few metabolic changes). It's a case of the
overall therapeutic benefits outweighing the temporary health costs. As was mentioned though, nurses and doctors who administer chemotherapy drugs
take (or should take) proper precautions when handling and disposing of them.
You'd also be surprised how many drugs are in fact natural products (or derived from natural products). It is not always the case that pharma
companies or independent research groups will then develop synthetic mimics of these natural products, either. There are plenty of marketed drugs
whose main ingredient is the same as what would be found in nature - cyclosporin and taxol come to mind. Aspirin is another.