I’ve fielded this question, in various forms, for years: Does surgery or a biopsy cause tumor cells in your body to spread?
Unfortunately, I’ve never really had a good answer. After all, modern medicine relies so much on these procedures that it was hard for my otherwise traditionally trained mind to imagine they could possibly produce such an effect.
But I can say that it certainly makes some intuitive sense. So I’ve always kept an open mind. And now, new research finally tackled this burning question…
No surgery is risk-free
This study looked at patients with colorectal liver metastasis (CLM)—a condition that requires removal of the liver for a cure.
Researchers compared two surgical approaches: A conventional hepatectomy, which involves techniques that would release tumor cells into the blood stream. And an alternate method, which involves less manipulation—and presumably, less risk of cancer cells spreading. (This method came into practice in 1992.)
Ultimately, results showed no difference between the procedures when it came to reducing circulating tumor cells (CTCs). Each surgery turned them up about 25 percent of the time.
Now, granted, this research is dealing with a very specific type of surgery for people with colorectal cancer that had spread to or was isolated within the liver. But it still proves a point: There is always some risk, even with “ordinary,” routine procedures.
It’s time for a change
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that surgery is never a good option. But patients should know the exact risks and benefits of any procedure before agreeing to it. (I talk more about this in the April 2021 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter [“My comprehensive guide to navigating a cancer diagnosis”]. So if you haven’t already, consider subscribing today!)
The authors of this study say that the findings “do not support further efforts to reduce tumor cell dissemination and subsequent disease recurrence by minimizing intraoperative manipulation.”
In other words, they see no reason to go looking for less “hands-on” techniques that would further reduce tumor cell spread. But how does that make any sense?!
In my opinion, we need to be actively seeking therapies that prevent those tumor cells from moving and taking hold elsewhere in the body. On what planet is that not a better solution?
But, as we all know by now, modern medicine doesn’t even like to consider these possibilities. Which means we may never know how to improve these outcomes. As a result, we’ll be stuck having to choose between the most conventional approaches, rather than the most effective ones.
Clearly, it’s high time for the field of cancer medicine to step up their game. And not just with new drugs. Perhaps the war could actually be won if we also examined what’s at stake before treatment even starts—whether it’s from biopsy or surgery.
In any event, you have a lot to think about if you are faced with these decisions. Which is why I recommend my Essential Cancer Protocol to anyone currently facing down a diagnosis—or anyone who simply wants to avoid one in the future.
To learn more about this comprehensive, online learning tool—or to enroll today—click here now!
“Does Surgery for Colorectal Liver Metastases Release Tumor Cells?” Medscape Medical News, 02/04/2021. (medscape.com/viewarticle/945260)