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How is mop up chemo different

abita's picture
abita
Posts: 803
Joined: Dec 2017

They say to do mop up chemo  to kill any errant microscopic cancer  cells. This would make it seem that chemo can get rid of the cancer. But then, they also say that chemo alone cannot cure cancer. Why is it that if there are microscopic cancer cells in the bloodstream or wherever, mop up chemo can kill them and prevent a recurrence,  BUT, if say, you are on chemo and the tumors shrink down to cells, why can't more chemo kill those remaining cancer cells so that they don't grow back?

myAZmountain's picture
myAZmountain
Posts: 335
Joined: Apr 2018

I read a theory about cancer cells in a book "How to Starve Cancer" written by a British woman that developed her own treatment and cured herself of several cancers that proposes there are cancer stem cells which produce the offspring cancer cells that are fast growing, but the stem cells themselves are slower growing and are often left behind after chemo, to possible reoccur. When the fast growing offspring cancer  cells are killed by chemo, their contents spill out which includes the  cancerous cellular DNA, the stem cell uses this genetically coded debris to start making more offspring cancer cells--but now its much faster process since the DNA code is already there--explains why chemo seems to work so well at first, then tumors come back much more aggressively. Just an intersesting view. I highly recommend the book.

Butt's picture
Butt
Posts: 354
Joined: May 2018

Because it takes only one naughty cell to escape.

abita's picture
abita
Posts: 803
Joined: Dec 2017

Right. But if in theory mop up chemo can kill that one naughty cell after surgery, then why can't it killed that one tiny cell that is left over after chemo has killed all the other cells.

abita's picture
abita
Posts: 803
Joined: Dec 2017

I wonder if it is possible  eventually,  but they don't consider it likely because there are so many more cells to kill if not cut out first.

Butt's picture
Butt
Posts: 354
Joined: May 2018

Because they also mutate and may be slightly different and some can be pretty smart. It also has to do with mutation dominance and other variables.

SoCal42
Posts: 78
Joined: Jul 2017

Cancer cells are very talented at mutating and developing resistance. It's also believed cancer cells can become dormant, and chemo largely attacks cells that are actively growing.

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