Radiation/Chemotherapy And The Heart
Women who have had breast cancer wish to know what they can do to preserve their life most successfully after that tragic event. There is a psychology that says if you contract disease you are weak or bad or guilty. There is no doubt that accepting responsibility for your health problem is an important first step, but guilt and other pejorative terms are unnecessary and counterproductive. In life, we need to be thankful that we have come this far and continue to do a better job in the future. Women who have had chemotherapy and/or radiation to their chest in the treatment of their breast cancer may now have a new problem to deal with. There is no treatment that does not have after effects in some people. There is no such thing as a good pill or good surgery. They are all poison to begin with, but they are likely better than the underlying condition.
If you have had radiation to the chest and/or chemotherapy, try to understand it as a stiff and drying effect on the underlying bones, muscles, lungs, and heart. Here are the modifications I suggest:
- Do nothing to repeat the problems that may have caused the breast cancer: Avoid sweets and most importantly dairy products!
- Be lean, exercise, and have a positive/persevering mentality. All negativity is counterproductive.
- Obviously, do not smoke.
- Limit wine or other alcohol to 3 drinks a week or less. If you assault your liver with alcohol, you also assault your heart.
- Do some weight lifting. It helps the lower percent body fat, which overweight is one of the main drivers of the chemicals which began the problem.
- Your cholesterol must remain under 130 because the arteries as well as the heart muscle have been damaged by the radiation. Those damaged coronary arteries become susceptible to further hardening of the arteries/heart attack. The best way to prevent the development of the hardening of the arteries is to have a total cholesterol under 130.
- Be as macrobiotic as possible. Use visualization, yoga, and all the other healthful practices to maintain your current heart as all of the parts of the body are interconnected.
- Have a periodic echocardiogram with Tissue Doppler. This will identify abnormal function of the heart muscle. I cannot be more specific on how often "periodic" is, but I would recommend every two years if the echo/Doppler returns normal and perhaps more frequently if abnormal.
- Maintain a positive relationship with your family/friends/physician or health caregiver.
- Do not take tons of vitamins and minerals and supplements. If you do take those kinds of things, I would recommend an antioxidant combination that is made from natural products as opposed to synthetic, plus CoQ10 four days a week - I believe the body needs a break(s).
- I do recommend AHCC, DIM, I-3-C daily for 14 days and then 4 days a week (WWO = Wednesday and the weekend off).
- L-Arginine and taurine may be of benefit, but use these at about 3 grams each with guidance.
- Hawthorne berry maybe helpful if a cardiac condition is proven.
- Traditional medicines such as Coreg, Benicar, and Inspra definitely have a place.
Call if you wish to arrange a telephone consult.
H. Robert Silverstein, MD