(NaturalHealth365) It is an unfortunate medical fact that persons with breast cancer are highly likely to experience a recurrence after surgical tumor removal or a mastectomy. The cancer relapse usually takes place within 18 months of a surgical intervention.
However, until now, medical professionals were at a loss as to why.
A recent study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Whitehead Institute is now shedding light on this. Surprisingly, it is the healing process of the surgical scar that is at the root of this high incidence of cancer recurrence following surgery.
Breast cancer surgery taxes the immune system and leads to spread of cancer cells
The immune system’s default functioning is to prevent the spread of cancer. This action continues even as the body is battling cancer. However, with the added stress of healing from surgery, the body’s healing forces are sidetracked away from their full focus on resolving a cancerous condition.
Cancer cells are then prone to spreading throughout the body, allowing the cancer to progress. The post-surgical wound response provokes already disseminated cells to grow and proliferate, forming tumors called metastases in other parts of the body.
During the wound healing and scarring process, the immune system goes into overdrive, sending cells to the area in order to promote healing and closure of the wound. This reaction of the immune system can actually fuel the formation of secondary tumors in critical areas such as the brain, liver and lungs, where they can become even more life threatening than the original appearance of cancer in the breasts.
For those interested, the study results were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Anti-inflammatory agents show promise in supporting the immune system, fighting formation of cancer cells
In the past, researchers chalked up increased incidents of breast cancer following surgery to handling and disrupting the area. However, since healthy breast tissue is also removed, it could not be the surgery alone spreading cancer.
The researchers believe anti-inflammatory drugs could assist in controlling the immune system so that cancer does not spread to other parts of the body. Foods high in antioxidants are known to be effective in fighting and protecting against cancer.
Favor anti-inflammatory foods and supplements to support your immune system
Antioxidant-rich foods bring anti-inflammatory effects and suppress the formation of free radicals in the body – which can increase the odds of cancer. Free radicals are highly damaging to the cells, and they set the stage for the rogue cell division that characterizes the formation of cancer cells.
The foods highest in healing antioxidants include dark green, leafy vegetables, berries, artichokes, pecans and dark chocolate. Whether you are facing a cancer diagnosis or want to decrease your odds of getting it, these foods can help support a healthy immune system.
In addition, as an added ‘anticancer effect,’ you might want to consider taking anti-inflammatory supplements such vitamin C and curcumin.
Sources for this article include:
Cancer & Heart Disease
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