In recent years, we’ve lost beloved and iconic stars like Kelly Preston and Oliva Newton John as well as some of our very own mothers, sisters, daughters, relatives and friends. In one year alone, the world lost approximately 685,000 ladies to the most common cancer of all, breast cancer. With one percent or less occurrences in men, this disease simply does not discriminate. The cell-slaying disease is projected to increase by a staggering 30% over the next twenty years. “By 2040, the burden from breast cancer is predicted to increase to over 3 million new cases and 1 million deaths every year…”
There are more than eight types of breast cancer including:
- Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS)
- Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)
- Lobular Carcinoma In Situ (LCIS)
- Invasive Lobular Cancer (ILC)
- Triple Negative Breast Cancer
- Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)
- Metastatic Breast Cancer
- Breast Cancer During Pregnancy
- Other Types
“Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in females worldwide.” As with all types of cancer some of the risk factors include genetics, environmental and other, simply mysterious influences. No matter who is the victim of the disease, those who have it will suffer through various treatments and the accompanying side effects. Currently, social acceptance of medical marijuana is increasing as patients attest to its benefits.
Although many breast cancer patients openly discuss the use and benefits of cannabis, the lack of clinical evidence for its use as a treatment for cancer-associated symptoms, makes it a challenge for physicians to discuss this ally with their patients. If that were not the case, they might offer, “especially in areas where surgery is poorly considered (and) not held out as a ”cure,’ although there’s a lot of clinical stuff saying it has been in some cases, but as an adjunct to ANY cancer therapy, consider the positive effects on appetite, nausea, cancer cell survival times, and pain relief as well as reduction in anxiety.”
What are common side effects of breast cancer treatments?
- Mouth sores
- Loss of appetite/cachexia
- Nausea and vomiting
- Nail changes
- Easy bruising
- Pain and numbness (neuropathy) in the fingers and feet
- “Chemo brain” or difficulty with memory and concentration
- Increased risk of infection due to lower white blood cell counts
- Hormonal side effects
- Depression and anxiety
Medical marijuana may alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy treatment. It has been used by breast cancer patients with positive results and even Olivia Newton John shared her own testimony. First diagnosed in the 90’s, she made the decision to include medical marijuana as an adjunct treatment. She chose drops for the chronic and excruciating pain that accompanies radiation therapy. Pain that has been described as having an internal sunburn that can’t be tamed. She fought her battle with medical marijuana as her ally and survived for thirty years and before her passing in 2022. Olivia wanted the world to know that she believed in the power of cannabis. “Medicinal cannabis is something that should be available to everyone who is going through a chronic illness or pain.” Medical marijuana has the seeming advantage of treating multiple cancer related symptoms simultaneously, not excluding anxiety, depression and cachexia (wasting away).
Breast cancer patients have a variety of medical marijuana options to choose from, which have reportedly eased or eliminated many of the symptoms associated with cancer treatments including chronic pain, nausea, focus/clarity, GI disorders, depression and fatigue. There are cannabis-derived pharmaceuticals that are available as well. “Researchers are looking into Sativex as a treatment for cancer related symptoms and for (treating) certain types of cancer.,” not just the symptoms. Ongoing research aims to prove that cannabis can cure cancer by killing cancerous cells on contact. “Delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, the main active component of marijuana, induces apoptosis of transformed neural cells in culture.” Medical marijuana is a gift from nature and there’s certainly enough evidence to explore more.