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Need to boost immune system

Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2012

New Chemo treatment crashed platelets, but they came back a week later on their own. Now his immune system crashed and they can't treat this weekend. What can be done to boost his immune system - they say it is nearly non-exsistant AND he is battling an infection - had a low grade fever for days. They are checking blood cultures over the weekend, hope they can kill the infection, but need to strengthen his immune system. Is there anything we can do at home for this?

Also, FOLFOX had no effect on cancer after 4 months of treatment, now doing 5FU, only had ONE treatment and he had an allergic reaction (hives), his platelets crashed, came back and now his immune system is nearly gone. Do you think they have to go with a different treatment all together? Told they will NOT do radiation or surgery due to colon cancer spread to eight large spots on his liver (largest is 5 cm diameter). Need some hope.

PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

But you will surely get ideas from forum members..
I read on your profile page that your husband had to deal with testicular cancer at one point. How did he fare with that as far as his immune system goes? Was he able to tolerate the treatment OK?

I'm not well versed in immune system issues being that in my 8+ years of doing chemo, I've never had to deal with them. Initially I had large tumors in my liver that were starved/shrunk using Avastin. Has your husband been on that? There's also a similar new drug called Zaltrap that works along the same lines by cutting blood to the tumors. They MIGHT offer some promise with your husband.

I know he still has to get his immune system up to par, but when he does there is also HAI pump therapy which has had very good results for many with the liver.
I hope this helps a bit, like I said others know more about the immune system and I have little doubt that they will offer some great suggestions.

Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2012

This was before I met him, all I know is that he had chemo and they removed the one testie. The chemo made him break out all over, so they gave him benedryl and continued treatment. He lost his hair, but eventually got it back. It did ruin his teeth, he has dentures now. He had no issues with blood or immune system (besides the allergic reaction).

Avastin was part of the first treatment (FOLFOX) - it did nothing. Will ask about Zaltrap when (if) he is cleared to go next Friday.

Thanks for the advice,


Maxiecat's picture
Posts: 544
Joined: Jul 2012

I have no suggestions on what you can do at home...other than getting plenty of rest. My chemo was also postponed this week...due to low WBC. I do have a cough and sore throat...they prescribed a short course of antibiotics to hopefully knock it out. They are going to go ahead with chemo on Tuesday ...but we are adding Neulasta to my treatments. The Neulasta helps your bone marrow production.

I hope he feels better soon and they can get his immune system back to where it should be so that he can continue with treatment.


Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6687
Joined: Feb 2009

My doctor said there was nothing to help it either and everything that I've tried never helped. Some say spinach or organ meats, but my immune system is still below normal after several years. Platelets are back to normal levels though. Having radiation to the pelvic bones which causes or produces most of the WBC/RBC. If anyone knows anything to do, I'd like to know too. Good luck.


wolfen's picture
Posts: 1327
Joined: Apr 2009

Since my daughter has been off chemo since mid July due to low platelets, I have been trying to check this out also. I mostly found that things like liver, fish, eggs, and leafy green veggies like broccoli and kale are supposed to boost the immune system. Unfortunately, sometimes even these things just don't work, but wouldn't help to give it a try. I know that chemo just really does a number on some peoples' immune system. There are a few here who have had problems with platelets and immune system and I'm sure they'll chime in. For low platelets, steroids and gamma globulin infusions can be tried. This may also be true for immune system since they are related.

Wishing your hubby the best of luck.



tanstaafl's picture
Posts: 1299
Joined: Oct 2010

The way we deal with persistent infection (someone else) is IV vitamin C and if necessary, amoxocillin with or without clavulanate. It's pretty neat, a drug resistant culture after several days of IV vitamin C tamps down or becomes tame to pedestrian antibiotics although usually the C and amoxcillin are used on the same days.

My wife is on oral (a "megadose" too low for cancer) and IV vitamin C and doesn't get really sick, just occasional scratchiness or sinusitis from pollution and crowds. Then it's time for another IV vitamin C, perhaps a little sooner because it means she's been too low and become allergic with possible histamine buildup.

For WBC immune boosting and platelets, PSK (Coriolus versicolor extracts) are what we've had the most blood data on. It's a nice improvement. Also high dose vitamin D, cimetidine, other beta glucans or mushroom extracts are useful where indicated. Getting rid of sugar and excess digestible carbs in all forms has also been useful for immune function.

thxmiker's picture
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

Welcome, and our thoughts and prayers are being sent your way.

I switched to the Zone Diet. It basically is a full balanced diet like we learned in grade school. Then when I crashed, I am trying the Gerson Diet. It basically is a vegan diet of juicing, then adds pure vegan, then allows proteins once a week. The concept is to take the stress of one's body and allow the body to build back up., There is a vitamin regiment that goes along with it.

Anti-Cancer Diet was a good read.
There are many newer versions of the Gerson Diet. New hope Cancer center.

Best Always, mike

steveandnat's picture
Posts: 887
Joined: Sep 2011

Did your doc order a shot to boost your counts? I get a neulasta shot and sometimes another one (cant remember the name). Pray your counts get better. Jeff

Posts: 1607
Joined: Aug 2012

Sorry I cant help....my husband hasn't even started treatments yet. Been almost a month of them chasing things down with test after test. He is also stage 4 and also had testicular cancer....treated with surgery then radiation. Just wanted to wish you well...I hope they can figure out how to help him.

pepebcn's picture
Posts: 6352
Joined: Aug 2010

Unfortunately there is nothing for platelets just wait or a transfusion of platelets but this is not very recommended by docs ( don't know why)
there is a drug called Neumega developed specially for Platelets but don't know any body treated with this drug! ( again a mystery ).
You can google for all this drugs and ask to your docs.

John23's picture
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

"What can be done to boost his immune system"

You can seek out a physician that practices Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a four thousand year old
science that is based on providing a healthy immune system to help
cure ills. Information regarding the science can be had by "googling"
it, and looking for the sites that -do not- try to sell you something.

You can click on my name and go to my space here on this site,
and read about my history.... and read my "blog" regarding TCM.

You -do not- have to abandon your present health care, but you
-can- add TCM to it to help improve the results.

Do yourself and your spouse a favor, and take the time to at least
look into it; you may very well save a life!

Best wishes for better health!


jr2012's picture
Posts: 67
Joined: Aug 2012

I agree with John about TCM. I have done qigong before going into chemo and that may have kept me without any side effects. My monk master said ginseng was given to many of his patients to get rid of the toxins and build immunity. Please check with that too.

And flush out the toxins with at least a gallon of water a day.

Ozone water is what I will recommend, and aloe vera.

jr2012's picture
Posts: 67
Joined: Aug 2012

I finished my chemo on Aug 31st and got back my immunity in a week's time. The platelets were low in my case, and my onc was afraid I might have to stop treatment. I ate mashed potato and boiled potato and stayed on a potato diet to spike up the platelets. Potatoes are effective for platelets count. You can try.

I do ozone therapy which I would not recommend while on chemo. Ozone brought me back my immunity. I used to do it on weekends when I was not on chemo. I bought me an ozonator and would drink ozone water to build immunity. And I am a vegan, so a lot of beans, lentils, and rice.

Hope this answers some of your questions.


Hooley's picture
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2012

I agree, greens,greens greens. Also I try have infrared sauna as often as possible. Also naval oranges mixed with vit c powder. The blue packet one, not sugary. I take zinc tablet, vit s drop, and shiitake mhroom capsules every omoften. Best of luck. Oh and lo Fred's bet root juice

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