Steve came to Ahava the first time after he was diagnosed
with stage four lung cancer. He was receiving chemotherapy and
targeted therapy, and his treatment plan was designed to stop the
cancer’s progression. This was not a curable situation.
Although he had not been bothered by facial acne for many
years, the acnelike rash that he now had on his face was due to
the drugs he was receiving to treat his cancer. Steve had been
treated medically for the rash, but combating chemicals with
chemicals did not seem to be working for him.
Chemotherapy is a systemic cancer treatment often used
when cancer has spread or metastasized beyond the initial tumor,
or there is a very high risk of metastasis. It refers to chemical
agents or drugs that are destructive to cancer cells. These drugs
stop the cancer cell’s growth and development. In Steve’s case,
the cancer had spread beyond his lung into parts of his liver
when he came to Ahava.
Cancer cells reproduce largely uninhibited, and it is these
cells multiplying that eventually form a tumor. At any time,
cancer cells can also break away from the original site and
be carried to distant body sites by the blood, setting up new
cancerous growths. This is called metastasis and is a hallmark
of cancer. There are a large number of chemotherapy agents
that may be used alone or in combination for the treatment
of cancer. A side effect of these drugs is the more or less
indiscriminate destruction of reproducing cells. The cells of
the gastrointestinal tract, bone marrow and hair follicles are
commonly affected. Unfortunately, many chemotherapy agents
are not smart enough to distinguish between the unwanted
reproduction of cancer cells and the normal cells that are
reproducing. This causes the side effects of nausea, vomiting,
immune system suppression with infection and hair loss.
Additionally, Steve’s cancer treatment included targeted
drugs with the chemotherapy, which are new technologies
designed to block the mechanisms by which cancer cells are
nourished, grow, divide and possibly spread. These targeted
treatments are much smarter about blocking cancer cells
without as many side effects as traditional chemotherapy.
The one that he was receiving—an epidermal growth factor
receptor inhibitor—blocked the cancer mechanisms while
causing extreme skin dryness and an acnelike rash.
Steve was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer,
and was receiving chemotherapy and targeted
therapy, and his treatment plan was designed to stop
the cancer’s progression. He was experiencing an
acnelike rash on his face due to the drugs he was
receiving to treat his cancer.