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Oxygen spreads cancer, Myth or True?

Posts: 22
Joined: Mar 2005

Have you heard that when a patient is operated on and is opened up that once the oxygen hits the cancer it spreads or speeds up the spread of cancer? I always thought it was a myth but a visiting nurse told my parents this is true, that it is in the medical books. Has anyone else ever heard of this or been told this?

nanuk's picture
Posts: 1363
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi Becky: I've also heard this, but then I suppose we would all die from breathing if it was true..I would be interested to hear from any experts on this one. Nanuk

Posts: 708
Joined: May 2004

OK, I am a cancer survivor and a doctor; there are a few of us here.
The oxygen gossip is a load of crap. :)
Yes, cancer grows in our world, which had an oxygen base... BUT, surgery doesn't open up bodies to oxygen. The body is filled with oxygen to begin with. The cancer grows on us; we grow on oxygen. Indirectly, yes. But surgery doesn't increase oxygen availability to cancer.

Try not to worry TOO much (it is all relative). Hang in there. It really does get easier in time. jana

ron50's picture
Posts: 1609
Joined: Nov 2001

Hi Becky,
The way my oncologist explained it was that a lot of cancer patients are close to end stage when they are operated on. Their bodies are flat out battling the cancer let alone having to recoup from major surgery so for a lot of patients the surgery is the last straw ,the oxygen has nothing whatever to do with it ,it is pure myth. good luck with teatment and don't worry ,Cheers Ron.

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Posts: 835
Joined: Apr 2004

There is a theoretical basis to the idea around surgery stimulating new vessels to grow at the site of the operation which is part of healing. These new vessels can theoretically allow the growth of teh tumour. However there is NO scientific evidence that substantites that at all and there is clear evidence that the one procedure that most greatly increases your chance of survival from bowel cancer is chopping it out.

As for teh oxygen thing- Jana has said it all- complete CRAP!

Steve (also a doc and cancer survivor)

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