Does Surgery Spread Cancer?

When someone is confronted with a diagnosis of cancer, in the vast majority of cases doctors recommend surgery — often, as quickly as possible. The goal is to remove the cancer, with the hope that the person can go on to live a normal, cancer-free life. But unfortunately, the reality is often otherwise. For far too many people, cancer recurs; either at the primary site, or the cancer metastasizes, arising at sites distant from where the cancer originated, often in life-threatening areas, such as the lung, liver, brain, or bone.

Many of the patients that find their way to me have been through the heart-breaking trial of believing that surgery would cure them, only to have cancer reappear months or years later. My twenty-five years of experience with cancer has shown me that contrary to the generally accepted treatment modality, surgery can actually encourage the return or spread of cancer. In cancers of a more benign nature, such as a slow-growing basal cell skin cancer, or a breast tumor with a full pathology of nothing but favorable markers, surgery is almost always effective, and does provide a “cure.” But in the case of more aggressive and intelligent cancers, such as renal or pancreatic tumors, surgery causes an environmental change that feeds the cancer. When this happens, the cancer not only returns, but also metastasizes and behaves more aggressively. It’s important to note that less invasive forms of surgery may not create the same problems.

There are several reasons why surgery promotes the growth and spread of cancer. Surgery inevitably causes cellular damage and inflammation, triggers the need for increased growth factors to heal from the assault of surgery, and weakens the life force. The body responds by up-regulating growth factors, such as VEGF, and inflammatory pathways, such as COX-2 and LOX-5, which are essential for healing. But this also provides cancer cells with exactly what they need to spread and multiply. The process of angiogenesis, which is part of the body’s innate healing activity, is the very same process that nourishes cancer. In addition, surgery causes mutations of important cancer-suppressor genes, most notably the nm23 gene. Research shows that the primary tumor has been shown to suppress angiogenesis in its distant metastasis. And although it’s not often taken into consideration, surgery weakens the vitality of the patient. The energy, or life force, required to heal from surgery is the same energy that is needed to control and suppress cancer.

This is not to say that I am opposed to surgery. I believe that there is a place for surgery in treating some cancers, but there must first be a comprehensive plan developed for the most beneficial outcome. An effective treatment plan consists of a systemic protocol that targets the health of the individual, the specific nature of the cancer, and is based upon natural compounds that suppress angiogenesis while simultaneously promoting healing. These compounds include adaptogens such as Panax ginseng, which have the ability to promote healing, build vitality, inhibit cancer growth, and suppress cancer-related angiogenesis simultaneously. Other natural compounds that promote healing include anabolic nutrients, immune-modulators, and enzymes.

Within the ETMS approach the timing of surgery is critical. The goal is to strengthen the “host,” optimize the “terrain,” and target the cancer, which may include specific individualized drug therapies. There are three primary reasons for implementing a comprehensive ETMS program before undergoing surgery:

  • If you have been successful at shrinking the tumor, or eliminating it entirely, your long-term prognosis is good; if you remove the tumor surgically and then begin a systemic treatment program, you have no way of knowing how you are affecting the cancer.
  • If the tumor has shrunk, surgery becomes easier, less invasive, and often (in certain cancers such as breast cancer) eliminates the need for reconstruction; the smaller the tumor, the less aggressive the surgery needs to be.
  • Cancer is a systemic disease, which means that the origin of cancer is the stem cell.  Various events occur that transform normal stem cells into cancer stem cells. These factors are both genetic (the genes you are born with) and epigenetic (genetic alternations that occur during one’s life); the same factors that cause cancer to develop at the stem cell level are also involved in cancer metastasis. What this means is that treating cancer systemically reduces the risk of metastasis.

Evidence is beginning to find its way into the forefront of modern research that surgery is not a curative treatment for systemic cancer and that many natural compounds target cancer stem cells, as well as promote healing. Removing a tumor through resection is an aggressive and invasive action, and one that should be carefully considered when facing an already hostile, unstable internal environment. Until the allopathic medical model is fully aware of the detrimental effects of using emergency treatment approaches for addressing chronic conditions, we will be unsuccessful at treating and curing our most deadly diseases.

Surgery has it place in cancer treatment, but it needs to be used wisely and with a greater understanding of the cost-to-benefit ratio; in addition, as mentioned previously, timing must be carefully considered. I believe surgery should be preserved as later treatment rather than as a first-line treatment as it is presently used, unless the situation is truly an emergency and must be performed to save a person’s life. Whenever possible, immunonutrition and botanical medicine needs to be applied at least one week (and preferably, weeks or months) prior to surgery. If one has been successful with a balanced, systemic treatment plan, results such as tumor shrinkage and a noticeable improvement in energy and overall health (as measured by lab tests) will be apparent. In this case, surgery, if necessary, can be successfully performed without the risk of generating an environment that will promote metastases.

For more information on this subject click here to download an extensive, fully referenced paper I’ve written entitled “Can Surgery Spread Cancer.”

   Send article as PDF   

16 Replies to “Does Surgery Spread Cancer?”

  1. I have researched enough to be sure that most surgeries will cause the spread of cancer. I was interested in your observations that some cancers can be cured by surgery.

    Thanks for the report, would love to have a fully referenced copy.

    thanks so much

  2. Hello Donnie, and thank you for what you do. I would also like to receive your paper on the subject. I am an RN with a passion for prevention, and lean heavily toward natural vs pharmaceutical/surgical/radiological treatment of cancer and other health challenges. In fact, I’m not fond of allopathic medicine in general, with the exception of our emergency and trauma med, and our rehabilitative therapies, which are outstanding. Beyond that, the system is built for profit, not for health. So, I thank you for your insights and efforts to help improve the health of mankind. I share your passion. I do a lot of patient teaching, and armed with reliable information, I’m able to offer my patients viewpoints that often differ from their doctor’s recommendations, and that sometimes triggers new thought and decision-making processes (not often enough, but change is difficult, comes slowly, and many folks don’t want to buck the system or defy their doctors – unfortunately). Thank you! melissa

  3. I would also like the full paper. My husband is having his third thoracic surgery in a few weeks to remove lung mets from colorectal cancer. He’s been off chemo for 2.5 years now and only been on supplements. He’s doing quite well, all things considering. This new lung nodule was a surprise. I hate the idea of the inflammatory and other stress surgery causes the body, but it seems like it is the best option in his case.

  4. Bonjour, writing to you from France where my alternative physician/ocologist would very much appreciate receiving the paper on “Can Surgery Spread Cancer.” I’ll translate it for him. Much appreciation for your efforts…my own breast tumor from DCIS continues to melt away thanks to non-surgical, alternative measures including Dr. Beljanski’s formula. You can find it in the USA at a hefty price, but here in Europe I get it for about $100 per month thanks to an underground network of physicians and pharmacists who are dedicated to providing alternatives to surgery at a modest cost. I’ve heard that Beljanski formulas are also available from Spain at B3Labs. Merci, Donnie Yance!!

  5. Please send me your fully referenced paper, “Can Surgery Spread Cancer”.
    I truly believe what you are saying.
    My surgery to remove an extremely large ovarian cyst containing two types of cancer left my body unbelievably traumatized and my immune system flattened. I had been monitoring my cancer numbers monthly prior to surgery and within one month following surgery the numbers had increased, which was quickly followed by my cancer numbers exploding within only two months of having had the surgery.
    It has taken me over four months of diligent use of the Super MSM Protocol I thankfully found on the web-site along with lots of additional immune system boosting products to reduce my cancer numbers back to pre-surgery levels, and that is without considering that the surgery removed a large portion of the original cancer, so I am really still not at pre-surgery cancer levels yet.
    I wish that I had known of some of the products and protocols that you mentioned to prepare for surgery, as I would certainly have used them.

  6. Dear Donnie Yance,
    I have just been diagnosed with stage III rectal cancer. Where do I start? I’ve always been a firm believer that the body is capable of healing itself and I’ve been very healthy, naturally, all my life. The regimen being laid out for me seems to be radiation then surgery. PET scheduled for Monday. I haven’t seen the oncologist yet. This is my first time on your blog and want to get all the information that is pertinent and read as much as I can as fast as I can. I’ve done enough looking in the rear view mirror. I’d like to know how to monitor my numbers, etc. I’m sure all this is in your blog so I’m starting my research now. Please help and thank you in advance.

  7. Thanks for your research. I am always looking for referenced material to help cancer patients and would be greatly obliged to receive your fully referenced paper. Keep up the good work.

  8. The day I received the diagnosis of breast cancer, I also received a page that listed several doctors, etc. who had been scheduled to do the surgery, radiation, follow-up, etc.

    I declined.

    Today I was amazed to read what I had suspected. Surgery can spread cancer. Thanks so much for your work and this website.

    Please send me your amazing paper entitled, “Does Surgery Spread Cancer?”

    Thank you so much!

      1. After six months of drinking Essiac Tea and the Johanna Budwig protocol–and staying on a stoic anti-cancer diet, I was able to shrink the tumor! Another six months and it would have been GONE! However, my children were very eager for me to “just get it out.” I agreed to a lumpectomy and have been sorry ever since. Some months later, cancer reappeared in the same breast–different area. I am determined NOT to have another lumpectomy–and am following a very careful anti-cancer program. How are you doing, Susan. Hopefully, everything is going well for you.

  9. Approximately 3 yrs ago after having my left kidney removed due to kidney cancer, I had ond spot in a lung lymph node. I was on sutent and the node got smaller. I wanted to stay on the sutent, my dr wanted me to have it removed. I was afraid that it would spread. My dr said it was an old wife’s tale and told me if it was removed I would be cancer free. He convinced my husband and I gave in and had it removed. Yup…it spread. I should have stuck to my gut feeling…but when someone waves the possibility of being canced free…you go against your feeling. Don’t do it!!! I would appreciate a cooy of your paper and any suggestions to help me move firward. Thank you and may God bless your work.

  10. Hi Donnie,
    I read this article with great interest and would very much appreciate the full deal to be emailed to me…. thank you for a very interesting site of reading and thinking:)

  11. I would like a copy of the fully referenced article as well. I just had a right hemicolectomy last summer. The program to build myself up was interrupted by a car accident and subsequent surgeries for a lacerated arm and tibial plateau fracture. It has been an interesting summer:). I am a health food nut from way back when, which account for a good recovery so far. But one does worry about recurrence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *