Category Archives: Cancer

cancer news

New Cancer Drugs-Little Effect On Survival

Three cheers for Peter Wise! Finally someone is calling for better consent/education processes and better ethical treatment.

Considerable amount of money is spent on cancer.

There has been considerable investment and innovation in creating new cancer drugs that have been approved in the past 10 years. It has been found that these drugs have had little effect on the survival in adults with cancer, which is raising a number of concerns, according to an expert in the British Journal of Medicine. A former consultant at Charing Cross Hospital in London, Peter Wise, says that spending an annual six figure sum to prolong life by a few weeks or months might be inappropriate for many patients. The global sales of cancer drugs in 2015 were around $110 billion. He is calling for stricter drug approval criteria and improved consent processes to achieve the ethical treatment and reduce cancer costs.

Peter Wise is concerned as to just how much the cancer survival can be attributed to new drugs. There are other factors that are actually more likely to have been responsible for this survival rate. Couldn’t a lot of this be from alternative methods? From many of the new drugs that have been approved in the last decade, life has just been prolonged by only one to two months. And at what cost and discomfort has this been to the patient?

Ethical questions concerning approval of cancer drugs.

Certain ethical questions are raised with the approval of drugs with such small survival benefits, including whether the recipients are aware of the drugs’ limited benefits, if the high cost/benefit ratios are justified and if the trials are providing the right information. Peter Wise’s major interest lies in the ethical elements of medical research
and care. Limitation of cancer drug trials, such as the use of surrogate endpoints that allow earlier approval of new drugs, but are not always true indicators of survival benefit, should be considered and looked at. The recent integration of the Cancer Drugs Fund into the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICA) in England might make it possible to monitor the real world benefit of these drugs.

There is also concern over the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) accelerated and breakthrough category that compounds the risk of premature approval on limited evidence. This low bar of approval for expensive drugs ignores the ethical principle of fairness and equity. He writes, “By promoting marginally better treatment of poorly responsive cancers it diverts valuable resources that might be better employed for other health needs, within and outside cancer care.”

Lack of fully informed cancer consents.

There is a lack of fully informed consent for cancer treatment and this is a concern, quite often leading to misinformed patients with unrealistic expectations.
Patients should be able to demand good cancer care with accurate, impartial information followed by genuinely informed consent in both the clinical trial and the therapeutic settings. All of the ethical portions of patients consenting for these drugs should be addressed and corrected.

Most importantly, the threshold for approval of new and existing cancer drugs needs to be raised, using more meaningful disease specific criteria of risk-benefit and cost-benefit.

We are so up-side down on the cancer care/treatment that it has got to start getting fixed some way. Maybe just starting at being honest about the treatment would be a good place to start. Thanks Peter Wise for trying.

–Dr Fredda Branyon

cancer news

Aldo-Ketose and Cancer Spread

Once again, a good study done outside of the US. It seems that all the good studies for cancer are completed outside the US. What has happed to us? We were the first to put a man on the moon. That was not a simple task either. Let’s be the first to cure cancer!

Research was conducted whereby human bladder cancer cells labeled with luciferase were inoculated into mice, creating a xenograft bladder cancer model. Most of you may be thinking, what is a xenograft? A xenograft which is pronounced like zenograft, is a surgical layer of tissue from one species to a different species. The prefix “xeno-“ means something foreign.

The bladder xenograft grew and metastatic tumors were detected in the lungs, liver and bone after 45 days. They then used a microarray analysis that included more than 20,000 genes for the metastatic tumors and the team then discovered a 3 to 25 fold increase of the metabolic enzyme aldo-keto reductase 1C1 (AKRICI). High levels of AKR1C1 were found in metastatic tumors that were removed from 2 cancer patients, proving that the phenomena discovered in the mice also occur in the human body. Anticancer drugs and an inflammatory substance produced around the tumor, such as interieukin-1B, increased the enzyme levels.

Just so we are clear, if you do the research, you will find that aldo-ketose reduxtase is not a good thing to have happening. This brings about a pathway, or as the scientist call it, a catalyzing effect, that can help cancer spread and replicate.

It was also found by the researchers that AKR1C1 enhances tumor promoting activities and proved that the enzyme blocks the effectiveness of cisplatin and other anticancer drugs.

Finally, they discovered that inoculating flufenamic acid, which is an inhibitory factor for AKR1C1, into cancerous bladder cells suppressed the cells’ invasive activities and restored the effectiveness of anticancer drugs. This acid is also known as a nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drug used for treating common colds.

This discovery is expected to spur clinical tests that are aimed at improving prognoses for bladder cancer patients. Expensive molecular targeted drugs are being used in the latest cancer treatments, putting a large strain on both the medical economy and the state coffers. This research could pave the way for medical institutions to use flufenamic acid, which is a cheaper cold drug and has unexpectedly been proven to be effective at fighting cancers.

This research was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Nobuo Shinohara of the Department of Renal and Genitourinary Surgery at Hokkaido University. The article’s lead author was postgraduate student Ryuji Matsumoto.

–Dr Fredda Branyon

Palliative, Hospice Care For Cancer Patients

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The American Society of Clinical Oncology recommends that those patients with advanced cancer receive palliative care soon after they are diagnosed and receive hospice care for at least the last three days of their life. There are major gaps between these recommendations and the real-life practice, according to a study.

The care received by all veterans over the age of 65 with cancer who died in 2012, a total of 11,896 individuals, was examined by Risha Gidwani, DrPH, a health economist at Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Economics Resource Center and a consulting assistant professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.

They found that 71% of the veterans received hospice care, but only 52% received palliative care. Exposure to hospice care differed significantly between patients treated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and those who were enrolled in Medicare. Many of the patients who received palliative care received it late in their disease’s progression rather than immediately following diagnosis, as was recommended by ASCO.

The study by Gidwani is published online in the Journal of Palliative Medicine. Vincent Mor, PhD, a professor of health services, policy and practice at Brown University was the senior author.

Hospice and palliative care are confused but are also two very distinct services. Palliative care is intended to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life and appropriate for all patients with serious illness and not just those who are at the end of life. Hospice care is an end-of-life service that can also provide social support for family members. Hospice care can only be ordered by a doctor if he believes the patient has fewer than 180 days left to live.

Improved exposure to palliative care needs to be reviewed, both in terms of how many patients receive it and when they receive it. The team’s analysis of palliative care focused on the care provided by the VA because this care is not coded consistently in Medicare. When the timing and provision of hospice care between patients treated by the VA and those who received care paid for by Medicare, it was discovered by the team there were differences that could not be explained by cancer types. Those patients receiving VA care were less likely to receive hospice care for the minimum of 3 days compared with those in Medicare. VA patients received hospice care a median of 14 days before death whereas those patients in VA-contracted care entered hospice a median of 28 days prior to death.

Obviously, Medicare and the VA have different policies on the use of hospice care as VA cancer patients can continue receiving curative treatment while in hospice care but Medicare patients must stop any chemotherapy or radiation before entering hospice. There were also differences in the use of hospice and palliative care between cancer types and ages. Those with brain cancer were more likely to receive palliative care than those with kidney cancer, as an example.

About 85.6% of veterans had some exposure to hospice care or palliative care in the 180 days prior to death. There are opportunities to improve access to care for patients older than 85 who are likely to have several medical ailments. Early palliative care increases both longevity and quality of life. Some doctors report they are unsure about the prognosis and that is why they refer patients late, even though the earlier referrals are better.

The study was funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

–Dr Fredda Branyon

Breast, Radiation-Free Mammogram Alternative

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There is a new method that identifies cancerous tumors by blood vessel structure. Around a million women in the Netherlands undergo mammograms for early detection of possible breast cancer. This x-ray is unpleasant and the researchers at TU Eindhoven are working on a breast-friendly method that does not use radiation and is more accurate. It generates 3D rather than the 2D images. Their proof of concept is published in the online journal Scientific Reports. Squeezing the breast tightly between two plates to produce one or more good x-ray photos is the current screening method. Not only is it unpleasant, but not without some risk. The x-rays themselves can be a contributor to the onset of cancer and it is often unclear if the anomaly found is malignant lesion or not. Of the cases, more than 2/3’s occur where something worrying can be seen on the x-ray photos and is a false-positive, after biopsies, and they are not found to be cancer. Now there might be an alternative.

The researchers have cleared a major scientific hurdle towards a new technology in which the patient lies on a table and the breast hangs freely in a bowl. With special echography a 3D image is made of the breast and any cancer is clearly identifiable on the generated images. They expect there to be many fewer false-positive results.

This particular technology builds on the patient-friendly prostate cancer detection method where the doctor injects the patient with harmless microbubbles. An echoscanner allows the bubbles to be monitored as they flow through the blood vessels of the prostate. The presence and location of cancer become visible. So far this method has not yet been suitable for breast cancer because of the excessive movement and size of the breast for accurate imaging by standard echography.

Libertario Demi, Ruud van Sloun and Massimo Mischi, researchers, have now developed a variant of the echography method that is suitable for breast investigation, known as Dynamic Contrast Specific Ultrasound Tomography. With microbubbles it uses the fact that they will vibrate in the blood at the same frequency as the sound produced by the echoscanner and at twice that frequency. You know where the bubbles are located by capturing the vibration.

They are using a phenomenon that Mischi happened upon by chance for the new method. The second harmonic was a little delayed by the gas bubbles and they have now developed a new visualization method. The more bubbles encountered by the sound on its route, the bigger the delay compared to the original sound. Thus they can localize the air bubbles and do so without any disturbance because the harmonic generated by the body tissue is not delayed and therefore discernible. Because the difference can only be seen if the sound is captured on the other side, it makes this method perfectly suited to organs that can be approached from two sides, like the breast.

An international and strong medical team is being put together to start performing preclinical studies. They expect the application in practice is ten or so years away and that the technology developed will probably not operate on a standalone basis, but in combination with other methods, will create a better visualization. Elastography might be a candidate whereby the difference in the rigidity of the tumor and health tissue can be used to detect cancer.

Three Signs of Thyroid Cancer to Look Out For

We always associate a sore throat with common colds, allergies, or excessive exposure to pollutants. Fact is, it could be potentially serious, especially when it happens more often than usual. Thyroid cancer occurs when abnormal cells start growing in your thyroid gland. The thyroid gland, known for its butterfly shape, is located in the front of your neck. It plays an important role in how hormones regulate the way your body utilizes energy to function.

Thyroid cancer is quite an uncommon type of cancer, and experts don’t necessarily know its root causes. But like the majority of cancers, changes in the DNA seem to play a leading role.

Thyroid cancer can cause a few distinct symptoms:

1. A lump in the neck

Bumps and lumps are always something to be cautious of, and any lump that refuses to disappear within a few weeks should immediately be checked out. If thyroid cancer has spread to the nearby lymph nodes, the mass might be located on the side of the neck where the lymph nodes usually are instead of the front where the thyroid gland sits.

2. Difficulties in breathing and swallowing

As a mass grows, it could lead to a sore throat that interferes with your ability to breathe and swallow. If this difficulty in breathing and swallowing does not go away within a few weeks, it’s worth getting checked out.

3. Developing a hoarse voice

Your voice box sits right on top of the thyroid, so any changes to the gland could alter your voice, making you sound chronically hoarse.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you do develop thyroid cancer, your treatment options will depend on the size and stage of your tumor.

1. Ultrasound

Tumors that are less than 1 centimeter, also known as micro-papillary thyroid cancer, can be left alone. Your doctor might simply postpone the need for treatment and send you for an ultrasound every six months to ensure that nothing has changed.

2. Biopsy

In a difference case, if you have a lump in your neck that could potentially be thyroid cancer, your doctor may perform a biopsy of your thyroid gland to check for any cancer cells. A biopsy is a procedure in which a small piece of the thyroid tissue is removed, usually with a needle, and then checked.

In cases where the results of a biopsy are not clear, you may need to undergo surgery to remove all or a portion of your thyroid gland before your doctor can diagnose you with thyroid cancer.

3. Immediate Removal of Tumor

Larger and aggressive tumors must be removed immediately, but it does not necessarily mean that you need to have your entire thyroid removed. Taking out your entire thyroid gland implicates the need for taking thyroid hormones for the rest of your life. There’s also a high risk of injuring the nearby parathyroid gland, which controls the body’s calcium balance. These days, many patients only remove part of the thyroid, specifically where the tumor is, which then allows a patient to dodge any side effects. Depending on the specifics, someone with thyroid cancer might also need radiation, chemotherapy, or targeted medication.

The odds of beating thyroid cancer are usually in favor of the patient. The survival rate for stage I and stage II papillary or follicular thyroid cancer is almost 100%.

Cancer & Night Sweats

Typically cancer symptoms will vary from person to person and will depend upon the type of cancer, where it appears, its size and severity as well as how it affects the body.  

Lowering body temperature is the result and purpose of sweating.  The heat escapes through the skin when the water and salt are released from the sweat glands.  The sweat glands all over the body are controlled by nerve cells in the layer of the skin and not always visible, but the body constantly sweats.  The amount of sweat that is produced depends on factors such as what you are doing, your emotional state and temperature.  A sudden temporary feeling of warmth throughout the body that can lead to sweating is called a hot flash, and commonly linked to women during menopause and not normally a concern.

Night sweats and hot flashes can sometimes signal a medical problem and doctors will check for the underlying condition if it is not due to the menopausal state.   

The hot flashes can be accompanied by:

  • Light or heavy sweating
  • Racing heart
  • Feelings of irritability

Excessive sweating in male and female cancer patients may be due to cancer treatment.  In some cancers and cancer survivors, night sweats typically affect women but do also occur in men.  Menopause affects women and can be due in part to natural, surgical or chemical causes.

Some treatment drugs that can also cause sweating and hot flashes are:

  • Aromatase inhibitors
  • Opioids
  • Tamoxifen
  • Tricyclic
  • Steroids

There can be medicines to treat night sweats but they can cause side effects such as:

  • Antidepressant may lead to nausea, drowsiness, dry mouth and changes in appetite
  • Anticonvulsants can cause drowsiness, dizziness and trouble concentrating
  • Clonidine has been linked to dry mouth, drowsiness, constipation and insomnia

Patients will respond differently to drug therapy treatment programs.  

Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes people to sweat excessively during the day or night and usually does not pose a big threat.

Other issues that can cause night sweats include:

  • Menopause
  • Infections
  • Low Blood Sugar
  • Hormone disorders
  • Neurological conditions such as stroke
  • Anxiety or stress
  • Alcohol or drug withdrawal or abuse

Medications can also cause night sweats as a simple aspirin.  Night sweats are uncomfortable but are usually harmless.  Drink lots of water to make up for the amount of fluid lost and to prevent dehydration.  Just remember that sweats can be a sign of additional problems, so contact a doctor to work out the cause as well as a treatment plan, especially if the sweats are accompanied by rapid weight loss or gain, tiredness or breathing trouble.  Seek immediate care if these indicators are present.

–Dr Fredda Branyon



Bladder Cancer & Vitamin D

Other than the already known benefits of Vitamin D, could there be yet another important benefit?  Our vitamin D intake is important, as low levels have been linked to a risk of bladder cancer.  These findings are coming from results presented recently at the Society for Endocrinology conference in the United Kingdom.

Evidence has already been shown that low vitamin D is detrimental to our health.  Some of it comes from a good diet, and good sources will include fatty fish and fish oil, dairy products, mushrooms, liver and egg yolks.  It is mostly synthesized when the body is exposed to sunlight.  It has been found that our dietary sources alone cannot normally provide sufficient vitamin D.

This particular vitamin helps our bodies to maintain healthy levels of calcium and phosphates and low levels are linked to a range of health problems.  If a child has low levels of vitamin D it can lead to bone deformities, such as rickets.  In time with age, a lack of vitamin D can lead to osteoporosis, especially in postmenopausal women.  The low levels have also been linked to cognitive impairment, cardiovascular disease, cancer and autoimmune conditions.

This condition is common among people with limited exposure to sunlight and includes those populations from northern regions where winter days are short, and also those in climates where it is too hot to spend time outdoors.  Those who cover up or use sunscreen with a strong SPF factor to avoid sunburn or skin cancer are at risk of the lack of vitamin D.  Low levels also include those who cover their bodies for cultural or religious reasons, those who stay out of the sun to keep their skin pale and people with darker skin who are also more prone to low vitamin D levels.

Drinking those sugary drinks may also have an impact on their vitamin D levels.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States noted that between 2002-2006, about 8% of the population aged 1 year or over were at risk of vitamin D deficiency, 24% at risk of inadequacy, and only 17% met the desirable levels.  Less than 1% raised concerns about an excess of vitamin D.  About 1.4% of the men and women in the U.S. are expected to develop bladder cancer.  This accounts for 4.6% of all new cancer cases and responsible for 2.8% of all cancer deaths.  

Dr. Rosemary Bland from the University of Warwick and Coventry in the U.K. led researchers who wanted to know more about how synthesis of vitamin D might affect immune responses in specific tissues.  The team had a systematic review of 7 studies to investigate the link between vitamin D and bladder cancer.  They had 112 to 1,125 participants per study and some of the studies measured vitamin D levels before diagnosis, some during and some at the follow-up stage.

Out of 7 studies performed, it was found that 5 had a risk of bladder cancer going up when vitamin D levels are low.  The higher levels also correlated with better survival and outcome in those with bladder cancer.  They also examined the transitional epithelial cells that line the bladder and found these cells can activate and respond to vitamin D.  They can also synthesize enough vitamin D to trigger a local immune response by recognizing the abnormal cells before they develop further.  Their conclusions are that bladder cancer risk correlates with low serum (vitamin D) levels and if confirmed, administering supplementary vitamin D could be a safe and economical means of prevention. More studies are required to test this association.  

–Dr Fredda Branyon


Alternative Care

I read an eye opening article written by a woman who is a cancer survivor.  Her story was uplifting and proves to me that alternative medicine is the perfect alternative to the immune destroying chemo treatments.

The lady in the article was told by her doctor that there was nothing further he could do for her. She had experienced a near death reaction to their poisonous chemotherapy.  She felt he had made all the money he could off her and was at the end of her treatment.  She chose as a last resort to enter one of the alternative care facilities in Mexico.  This was in 2007 when she was sent home to die by the oncologist.

She feels very fortunate at being a survivor and able to recommend alternative treatment in Mexico after surviving for 9 more years to date cancer free.  She arrived at the facility in a wheel chair with only several weeks to live.  Weak and feeling next to death, she fortunately still had the will to live.  After only several weeks of natural cancer treatments, she professed being a new person.  She felt strong and alive.  She walked out of the clinic beside her husband with huge smiles on both their faces.  At this point, she knew she would live.  

Upon returning home she visited her conventional oncologist who was shocked after receiving the results of her “after” PET-scan test, compared to her first test.  He professed never having seen anything quite like it.  Her blood tests were perfect and the PET-scan did not detect ANY CANCER at all.  She left him bewildered and confused at leaving, without even telling him she had been to Mexico for treatment.

This generous lady shared her story in the hopes that others out there having been given the death sentence would reach out to the possibility of alternative cancer treatment.  Many testimonies like this one are posted every day.  Don’t block out the possibility and hope that your life is NOT over, just temporarily sidetracked!


Sugar Has Many Names

Sugar is supplied to our bodies from natural sources in our fruits and vegetables. Combining this with additional fiber, vitamins and minerals, natural sugar is processed slightly differently than the refined white sugar, or sugar by other names, to disguise sugar in your food. It’s difficult to avoid those foods that are laced with sugar, unless you have switched to a diet of nearly exclusively whole foods. Processed foods quite often come with the addition of sweeteners to tempt our palates.

Sugar can trigger an addiction that’s hard to break, and is one of the most damaging substances to your body. Sugar addition is unchecked in adults and children and defined as a specific “bliss point” for products by manufacturers, that bring customers back for more. The junk food industry doesn’t want us to know that sugar has significant and deadly effects on your health, therefore the label may not even list sugar as an ingredient.

About 45 grams of sugar was consumed every five days for people in 1812, which would equal the amount of sugar in one can of soda. Americans were consuming sugar in 2012 to the equivalent of 17 cans of soda every five days. That’s a jump that can have disastrous effects on our lives. Hiding sugar under names we aren’t aware of can have devastating effects.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) put out new Dietary Guidelines for Americans along with the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that limit the amount of sugar to 10% of your total daily calories. If you consume a 2,000-calorie diet this amounts to 10 to 12 teaspoons, which is over the amount of sugar in one 12-ounce coke. It is estimated by the National Cancer Institute that the average American consumes 15 teaspoons of added sugar every day. Not only is sugar in candy and sweet treats, but also those condiments, salad dressings, canned goods and drinks in addition to sodas.

You may not know by the labels of what sugar is contained in your foods, as they may be listed as sugar, sucrose, fructose, Dextran, Ethyl Maltol and Panela. Some companies are reducing their sugar content in some foods.

Some of the sugars may be described as syrup or with an “ose” at the end of the word, such as galactose or fructose. Following is a list of some sugars under unknown names: blackstrap molasses, buttered syrup, cane juice crystals, evaporated cane juice, caramel, carob syrup, fruit juice, honey, fruit juice concentrate, brown rice syrup, corn syrup solids, Florida crystals, golden syrup, maple syrup, molasses, refiner’s syrup, sorghum syrup, sucanat, treacle, turbinado, barley malt, corn syrup, dextrin, dextrose, diastatic malt, ethyl maltol, glucose, glucose solids, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, d-ribose, rice syrup, galactose, maltodextrin and castor.

The liquid sugar is even more dangerous to our health than any other form of sugar. Fruit juice contains the same amount of sugar as other sugary drinks, even though they are marketed as healthier choices. They have the same negative effects on your body as other drinks with added sugar.

The other bad news is that cancer has a sweet tooth and thrives on sugar. Researchers have found through a study that sugar developed pancreatic cancer. Other research tells us cells thrive on sugar and don’t burn other fuel as effectively, and cancer cells rely on sugar to maintain cell function. Some strategies can help you to reduce or eliminate your intake of added sugars as: knowledge in power, reduce your net carbs, eat real food, read labels, use safe sweeteners, increase your healthy fat intake at meals, include fermented foods in your nutrition plan and try turbo tapping.

Remember that it’s up to each and every one of us to take control of our health and do everything possible to avoid the risk of cancer. Starting with our diet is an extremely important step.

Dr Fredda Branyon


Castor Oil Benefits

The castor oil seed has a very unique chemical composition.  The seed plant is native to India and 90% of its composition is ricinolete acid.  This is a fatty acid that is thought to be responsible for castor oil’s healing properties.  In Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, Persia and 17th Century Europe and the Americas, it was used for medical reasons.

There are many uses for castor oil besides medical such as food additive, flavoring agent, mold inhibitor, ingredient in skin care products and cosmetics, used in the manufacturing of plastics, rubbers, synthetic resins, fibers, paints, varnishes, lubricants, sealants, dyes and leather treatments.  In WWI it was used as an aircraft lubricant.  

Besides being used in the industrialized world, were you aware that castor seeds could be deadly?  The toxin ricin is made from a protein in the castor seed and if ingested, gets into the ribosomes of your cells where it prevents protein synthesis that kills the cells.  Mash that is left over after processing castor seeds into oil, makes the ricin.  Just 1 milligram of ricin is fatal if inhaled or ingested and eating just 5 to 10 seeds would be fatal.

There are modern medical uses for castor oil like topical applications for a variety of skin conditions like keratosis, dermatosis, wound healing, acne, ringworm, warts, other skin infections, sebaceous cysts, itching and hair loss.  More importantly it shows some promise in treatment of cancer.  The American Cancer Society reports that early clinical trials suggest that ricin, when combined with an antibody to confine this poison to malignant cells, will shrink tumors in lymphoma patients.  

Castor oil has also been used to treat multiple sclerosis, arthritis, epilepsy, appendicitis, colitis, Parkinson’s Disease, Migraine and other headaches, liver ailments, cirrhosis, AIDs, eye irritation, cerebral palsy, cholecystitis, scleroderma, detoxification and gynecological problems.

Castor oil can be used as topical massage oil and the castor oil packs can improve the function of your thymus gland and other components of your immune system.  

Some side effects, such as taking orally, may alleviate constipation but can irritate your intestinal lining causing digestive discomfort, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal side effects.  If you have cramps, irritable bowel, ulcers, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, colitis, prolapses, or have recently had surgery, you should avoid castor oil due to the adverse effects.  It has been known to stimulate labor in healthy pregnant women and there have been reports of it causing nausea.

–Dr Fredda Branyon