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Chemotherapy causes fingernails to fall off, foul-smelling pus, blackened nails... Natural plant extracts can help limit the damage


(NaturalNews) It's common knowledge that chemotherapy can cause people to lose their hair, but did you know that it can also cause the fingernails to fall off? The condition, known as onycholysis, can also include ridges or blackening of the nails, or even a foul-smelling pus. It can be so painful that it interferes with everyday activities such as parents cuddling with their children, and can make people so embarrassed that they avoid leaving the house.

According to renowned cancer doctor Robert Thomas of Cambridge University and Addenbrooke's Hospital, the emotional impact of fingernail loss is equivalent to that of hair loss, but has garnered little attention from the medical establishment. This is shocking, considering that the drug most likely to cause the effect is taxotere, one of the most common drugs for the top three cancers in Western countries: breast, prostate and lung cancer.

Thomas is now researching a natural balm, based on plant oils and extracts, that could help prevent the condition.

The power of polyphenols

The nail balm, formulated by Thomas himself, is based around cocoa butter, olive oil, shea butter and beeswax. These natural oils serve to moisturize the nail and the nail bed, making them more resistant to damage. The balm also contains extracts of African sage, eucalyptus, lavender and wintergreen, all of which are known to be high in polyphenols, as well as to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Thomas hopes that the polyphenols will protect the nails from the harsh effects of chemotherapy drugs.

Thomas is now running a double-blind clinical trial, in which 30 chemotherapy patients will be assigned to massage either the nail balm or petroleum jelly cream (without knowing which is which) into their hands twice a day. Participants will also answer questions about their quality of life. Their nails will be photographed, and the photos will be evaluated by dermatologists who do not know which intervention the patients had received.

Until the results are confirmed, Thomas recommends that people undergoing chemotherapy use a clear nail polish and gloves to protect their nails.

Thomas is a specialist in breast, prostate and bowel cancer who has garnered widespread acclaim for his research. In 2007, the British Oncology Association named him "Oncologist of the Year." In 2014, he won a National Institute of Clinical Excellence award for best practice.

In spite of his background in traditional medicine, Thomas is a strong advocate of natural lifestyle interventions. He is the author of the book Lifestyle after Cancer, which lays out the evidence that lifestyle changes including diet and exercise can prevent cancer, slow its progression, reduce the severity of side effects and risk of complications from cancer treatment, as well as preventing cancer relapse.

Chemo drugs are poison

Many people are not aware that chemotherapy drugs are highly toxic chemicals which, in addition to killing cancer cells, usually wreak havoc on healthy cells as well. This widespread death of healthy cells is responsible for chemotherapy "side effects" such as hair loss, nausea and vomiting, fatigue and weakness, sterility, and heart or kidney damage.

Chemotherapy can also cause degenerative neurological damage – perhaps responsible for the cognitive impairment known as "chemo brain," which can persist for years after treatment.

In fact, a 2006 study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer were significantly more likely to be admitted to the emergency room or be hospitalized than breast cancer patients who were not undergoing chemo. The most common causes of hospitalization were fever, infection, dehydration and low blood cell counts. The findings caused one of the researchers to suggest that given the risks, chemotherapy may not be the best treatment choice for all women.

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