How To Detox Your Body After Chemotherapy & Radiation


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 How To Detox Your Body After Chemotherapy & Radiation

Why It’s Important To Detox Your Body After Chemotherapy & Radiation

Although your body does a great job of detoxing all on its own – at least when you’re healthy – when you’ve been through chemotherapy and/or radiation, your body is overloaded with chemical residues.  It is important to detox after chemotherapy and/or radiation and you’re going to feel so much better if you do.

An overload of toxins is known to cause bloating, fatigue, headaches, poor memory, aching muscles, a suppressed immune system (which is the very thing you’re relying on to keep you well), even halitosis (bad breath!). Toxic buildup within the body can also be a problem if you have had lymph nodes removed because our lymphatic system acts as another method of waste removal, and this toxic buildup can worsen lymphedema.

Once chemotherapy and radiation are finished and these strong treatments have done their work, the body is filled with toxins.  Radiation can damage healthy cells and create toxic buildup and if you think about it, even cancer cells themselves become toxins as they wither up and die from the treatments.

Make sure you’re strong enough to undergo cleansing, however.  Consult with your physician or naturopath before embarking on a cleansing path.  You might find it necessary to wait a number of weeks or even months if you are too weak but the sooner you get started detoxing, the better you will feel.  Even if you are too weak, you can still increase your water intake, do some gentle exercise and begin juicing (for more on juicing, keep reading).

How To Detox Your Body After Chemotherapy & Radiation – 10 Tips

1.  Colonic Hydrotherapy – Colonic hydrotherapy can be of assistance not only after chemotherapy but also during to help alleviate the terrible constipation that often results from chemotherapy.  Your medical staff may argue the efficacy of chemotherapy (I had one nurse tell me that we are designed for wastes to move ONE way and we shouldn’t go against that!) but it really helps tremendously.  I went through a course of colonic hydrotherapy post-chemo and found it to be a gentle and effective method for toxin and waste cleansing.  There’s nothing new about colonics – Egyptians were using it for constipation centuries ago.  If you’d like to read one person’s experience with it, click here.

2.  Drink Plenty of Water, Herbal Tea – This is the most natural way to detox your body after chemotherapy.  Make sure your water is filtered (here’s a great, affordable water filter) to help keep you safe from herbicides, pesticides, and other assorted nasties that our water can often contain.  We used to hear that drinking 8 glasses of water per day was essential, however, newer studies have shown that as long as you are sipping away on water all day you are probably getting what you need.  Put in a slice of lemon for some additional flavor, cleansing qualities and antioxidant protection.  Herbal teas are also wonderful to help the cleansing process, particularly dandelion tea which is a liver tonic.

3.  Juicing, Juicing, Juicing – It seems like I am always touting the benefits of juicing organic vegetables and fruits but their importance for health cannot be overstressed.  Make sure you have a great juicer though, as not all juicers are designed to keep the living enzymes within your expensive organic produce alive!  Here’s a great one, this is the one I use (and it’s a great price).  Live juices can help to heal, rejuvenate, and flush away toxins. Fresh vegetable and fruit juices are the cleansers, energizers, regenerators, and blood builders of the human body.  Try any combination of beet (great blood cleanser), kale, spinach, carrot, cucumber, apple, ginger and pineapple (both great anti-inflammatories, so that makes them anti-cancer as well).  Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are full of antioxidants and help to cleanse the blood of impurities.  See my page Diet and Cancer for some data on why certain vegies and fruit are good for cancer.

4.  Circulate Your Blood – Something as simple as bouncing on a rebounder (one of those mini trampolines) for 10 minutes a couple of times per day helps to get your heart pumping, blood circulating and toxins flushing out of your body.  Best done BEFORE a meal or juicing, however!  Walking, cycling, hiking, dancing, yoga – all of these are great to get the body moving and detoxing.  Make sure you drink plenty of filtered water after exercising.

5.  Fiber – Fiber helps to grab onto toxins in your digestive tract.  Fiber soaks up toxins rather like a sponge, speeds up elimination, helps with cleansing.  Natural fiber is available from fruits, vegetables and whole grains, however there are also plenty of fiber products on the market which you could add to your regimen.  Get a recommendation from your health food shop or naturopath.

6.  Herbal Medicine – There are many herbs which will assist you in detoxing after chemotherapy and radiation.  Milk thistle is a particularly good herb for liver cleansing.  I would definitely recommend seeking the advice of a qualified naturopath before using herbal medicine, however, because they are specifically trained in herbal medicine and since herbs can sometimes have drug interactions you would want the best guidance possible for your particular needs.

7.  Eating Organic Food – Because at this stage you are working towards detoxing and keeping well and healthy, your best bet is to avoid processed and sugar-laden foods as these will not assist the detox process.  Eating plenty of organic fruits, vegetables and lean meats like fish or chicken is much more conducive to keeping your system clear of any further toxins.  Google “raw food recipes” for some really great suggestions and recipes that appeal to you.

8.  Epsom Salt Baths – There is something so restorative about a hot epsom salt bath!  Hot water opens the pores and assists perspiration to take toxins away.  Epsom salt is actually magnesium sulfate, and these two minerals help generate enzymes that clean up the body.  To make it a totally revitalizing experience, add lavender essential oil for its calming effects, or ginger which also helps to open the pores and is a good natural anti-inflammatory.  If you don’t have epsom salts, baking soda is also useful and it helps to neutralize the effects of radiation.  This is another place where water filtration is important because if you live in an area where the water is highly chlorinated you are soaking all that chlorine up into your body through the skin.  Chlorine and breast cancer are linked, see this article from  For a great recipe on a particular sort of detox bath, see my article How To Detox In Your Bathtub.

9.  Detox Your Household – You might not think about this, but if your body and skin care products are laden with toxins you are taking all of those into your body via the skin as well.  If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin or hair.  I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t mention the importance of using organic body products and cosmetics when you are detoxing your body.  There are several good brands out there, contact me if you need help finding good ones.

10.  You Must Rebuild Your Immune System – Since your immune system is your first line of defense against cancer and all other diseases, you must rebuild it because the chemotherapy and radiation treatments will have blasted the hell out of the very thing you are relying upon to stay well.  Yes, your body may eventually do this on its own, but the process is generally quite slow and we don’t want to give any open doors to stray cancer cells.  Here’s my page on how to build immunity quickly so that it’s very strong:  8 Ways To Build A Super Strong Immune System.

I know that’s a lot of things to think about, but if you are determined to get well and stay well, incorporating even just two or three of these suggestions into your life will be very helpful.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this, so that you are better than before, thriving!

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31 thoughts on “How To Detox Your Body After Chemotherapy & Radiation

  1. Hi I am a 5 year survivor of breast cancer had chemo and radiation for 3 months followed by 5 years Femara. I eat a healthy diet but seem to come down with every virus going. I have been juicing and drink lemon water daily but wen I start an exercise program I come down with viral illnesses that leavw me with muscle aches joint pain headaches and gut problems. Any help wld be appreciated.

    1. Hi Kaye,

      Thanks for your message, it was really good to hear from you. I assume from your email address that you are somewhere in Australia? I would HIGHLY recommend getting yourself off to a naturopath. It sounds very much like your immune system has taken a big hit with the therapies you went through for breast cancer and is having trouble rebounding. A good naturopath will be able to recommend some herbs and supplements that will help you strengthen your immune system. Do you need a recommendation? If so, what city are you in?
      xox Marnie

  2. I have just finished chemo and radiation for endometrial cancer. During my treatment, I worked out on the treadmill, crosstrainer, and when I wasn’t doing chemotherapy when I wasn’t allowed to swim, continued on the cross trainer. I found that even on low days, this kept the chemicals moving through my system and I reduced any numbness in my fingers and toes. I maintained my strength, even though my energy hasn’t returned and it was recommended that it will take up to a year to regain some of most of it. I saw a naturopath who has put me on a program that is of a cleansing nature but does not involve drastic changes, as I am already a vegetarian and have a fairly balanced diet that includes organics most of the time. I did not go through too much “chemobrain” and kept doing puzzles, both Sudoku and crosswords as well as cryptic. This kept my mind functioning through the treatment. I have, however, developed Macular Degeneration and will have to deal with this side effect. I did not get sick during the process either. I hope this helps a bit – it worked for me. I look forward to my continued recovery and have remained positive for the most part. My physician says she is amazed that I have maintained this disposition and she credits it to my recovery. I believe it kept me going.

    1. Ruth,

      Thanks so much for your comment and for sharing this part of your journey with us. It just illustrates how important it is to be proactive with your self-care during treatments for breast cancer and what a positive difference that can make. Well done, Ruth! Thanks again –

  3. Dear Marnie,

    As of yesterday I just finished a 6 week treatment of both chemo and radiation for tongue cancer. I have to use a G-Tube for nutrition until the swelling goes away and the burns/mouth irritation. Can’t wait to feel better and eat normal again. I know sugar is bad and I believe it promoted the tongue cancer. I have never smoked and never was a heavy drinker.
    Some people tell me not to detox too soon because the radiation is still doing its job in the treatment of it all…Thank you for your knowledge and insight.


    1. Hi Tina,
      Oh, my dear – I can just imagine how badly you want to feel better and I am hoping that happens for you soon. Yes, sugar is a problem for your immune system – have you seen my page “8 Ways To Build a Super Strong Immune System”? Just hover your mouse over my “Diet & Cancer” page, you will see it listed under that. I would recommend starting there and begin building a bullet-proof immune system so that cancer can’t get a toehold in your body anymore! If I can help you with any of my suggestions on that page, I am glad to assist!
      Sending warm thoughts your way,

  4. Many health professionals feel that the mineral Clinoptilolite zeolite is the best and most efficient way to detox and remove radiation from the human body after chemotherapy! This is because the zeolite with its cage like structure grabs and holds onto the radiation all the way out of the body without re-releasing any radiation back into the body to recontaminate it and make you feel sick as many other detox products do. For more information on zeolite including on the only ingest able detox zeolite for human consumption see the website at

  5. Hey Marnie, Noted your comments on detox & the 8 steps. I have throat cancer and begin treatment next month.Never smoked & social drinker.Liked your advice.Thankyou, Denis (Australia)

    1. Denis,
      Thanks for your comment, much appreciated. If I can help you in any way, please let me know. I wish you well in your healing journey.
      Warmest regards,

  6. hi Marnie. Thanks for your information.I am currently on chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. Have been doing chemo on and off for 2 years. I’m also seeing a naturopath. I was wondering if it’s best to wait until all chemo treatment is done to detox or to be doing some detox thing while I’m getting the chemo. My naturopath thinks I should be doing the detox all along the way as I have gotten very sick from the chemo in the past.will this keep the chemotherapy from being as effective in fighting against the cancer or will it make it more effective?

    1. Hi Marian,
      I agree with your naturopath, it’s best to do some detoxing along the way – I have sent you a private email with a bit more information. Basically, however, for the sake of others reading this reply, some gentle detoxing along the way is very helpful. I found a combination of juicing, acupuncture, Chinese herbs (always under the care of a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor) to be very effective while I was going through chemotherapy. I’m not aware of any specific research about detoxing while undergoing chemotherapy but I have heard that certain herbs make the chemo more effective. And certainly, if you are reducing the toxic burden on your body and feeling better, that’s a very good thing. I always felt it was better not to be a toxic waste dump!
      Hope that helps –
      Warmest regards,

  7. Hello! I had Hodgkin lymphoma during my pregnancy 9 years ago. I recieved 6 chemo during my pregnancy and 6 after I delivered followed by 30 days of radiation. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism a few years later and have suffered a lot from it. I have seen a few naturpaths and have had no luck with a good vitamin, herb, and mineral regimen. Any advice…PLEASE help me! I want to complete detox my body. THANK YOU!

  8. Helli Marnie. I am at the end of chemo. 2 more to go , then radium . There after 6 months of Herceptin. I have nasty blemishes on my face. What do you suggest I use for the blemishes. And does the numbness of fingers ansd the feet normally go away after chemo. I had 4 cycles of the red devil and an having 12 taxol.

    1. Hello, thanks for your comment. I hadn’t heard of blemishes being caused by chemotherapy but I do know a lot about the numbness of fingers and toes, it is called chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. The one thing that appears to help this quite a bit is acupuncture, I have written an article about that, see: Have a look at that article, there are a lot of suggestions within it. I used acupuncture all during my chemotherapy treatments – and it helps to have begun this before chemo begins – or at the beginning – but you should get onto it right away. I hope this helps and please feel free to sign up for my free newsletters and e-books, you can do that from any page on my site. They are full of my best information on healing from and preventing breast cancer.
      Warmest regards,

  9. I have just been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and had a lumpectomy with two sentinal lumph nodes removed for biopsy. The tumor was caught early (7mm) and is estrogen & progesterone fed, which means I will be placed on anti-hormone meds. Waiting for the biopsy to confirm staging of the cancer, which will dictate my treatment of radiation and potential chemo. I am overwhelmed with all the information to digest and brace for the outcome of the recent biopsy; praying that it has not spread to any other part of my body. I want to prepare and maintain my system to withstand the comimg challenges. Review of your detox information appears to provide a stable beginning.

    1. Hi Linda,
      Thanks for your comment. I have answered your message privately via email. Am sending blessings your way and please know that I will help you at every stage of your journey should you wish me to.
      Warmest regards,

  10. Hi Marnie
    What is a fast and effective detoxification for my had who has lung cancer. He stopped his chemo over 6 months ago and is weak and now losing weight fast. We are trying to fi d something to help build his immune system while juicing and eating organic food and vegetables. Do you have any suggestions for us.
    A desperate daughter,

  11. I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer 15 cm tumor. Not spread to lymph nodes. Halfway through chemo. Just started radiation. Have been juicing and eating liquid diet. Any ideas on detox? Any ideas with medical marijuana. CBD?

    1. Cheryl,
      Thanks for your comment. I highly recommend everything on this page for purposes of detoxing and rebuilding your immune system (which is crucial because the chemo and radiation will be working against it). I’m sorry, I do not have any personal experience with medical marijuana. I wish you the very best and if I can assist you with anything specific, just let me know.
      Warmest regards,

    1. Talitha,
      Yes, juice fasts are very good, I would just add that if a person is undergoing chemotherapy and radiation at the present time, they should do this under the care of an integrative oncologist or naturopath to ensure that they are well enough to do this.
      Thanks for your input.
      Warmest regards,

  12. i was on chemotherapy finished the last round in August 2013 for hodgkin s lymphoma is there any thing i can use to cleanse my system and regulate my menstruation i have seen my periods twice from the time i finished chemotherapy until today

    1. Tabisa,
      I would need much more information about you and your level of health to accurately provide you with information such as you are seeking. Feel free to send me a more detailed health history via the “Contact” button on my website.
      Warmest regards,

  13. I was diagnosed with stage 3 invasive lobular and ductal breast cancer currently undergoing chemo 2nd round tomorrow would like to know more about detox to help me alomg

    1. Grace,
      I would be happy to help you. Have you signed up for my free newsletters and e-books? They are full of my best info on healing from breast cancer and you can email me for more direct support when you need it.
      Warmest regards,

  14. Hi Mrnie,

    Thank you for doing this. It’s amazing.
    My friend who is an 65 year-old omnivore is about to start chemo. I am vegan (not a crazy one though).
    I’ve been talking to her for years about cleansing but you know how it is.
    My question: do you think it is wise to do chemo AND juicing at the same time? Should she wait with the chemo and do cleansing first? Or chemo first and cleansing later? Since, as I see here – and i have to admit, i haven’t thought about it, one should be cleansing AFTER chemo as well.
    Please share our thoughts. Thank you!

    1. Hi Danielle,
      I apologise for the delay in responding to you. With regard to going through chemo and juicing at the same time, that’s what I did and I can highly recommend it. They’d be pumping the drugs into my system and I’d be sipping on freshly prepared juices, I didn’t even wait to get home. This procedure kept me very well indeed – I was detoxing as I went. Highly recommended. I was taking all kinds of supplements though too and making use of Chinese herbs and acupuncture. If your friend has time to build up her immune system before chemo starts, that is a good thing as well. But if they are keen to get started and she is a willing participant in the chemo, then chemo first, juicing as she goes, and cleansing afterward. That’s my best recommendation. Your friend is fortunate to have someone who cares for her. Please let me know if I can assist in any way.
      Warmest regards,

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