Cumulative Immune System Suppression

Although the concept of cumulative toxicity on immune system function has already been addressed, it must also be emphasized that the immune system will often only demonstrate the effects of the cumulative toxicity in a sudden, dramatic fashion clinically. Furthermore, the many different insults that finally caused the immune system to "collapse" may have been present for months, years, or even decades prior to the loss of health. This is probably the primary reason why long-term toxin exposure still gets so little blame for the devastating damage that it causes. Other biological systems will typically demonstrate a gradual erosion of function over time. Not the immune system, however. Even if certain aspects of the immune system do gradually become compromised from prolonged toxic exposure, the intact organism, in this case the human, will usually compensate in a variety of different ways. This gives the distinct impression that good health is very suddenly and dramatically replaced with a new disease process. The patient literally seems to "fall off the cliff" rather than to gradually stumble down the hill.

Coogan et al. published a study showing that men who survive cancer in one testicle are at much greater risk of developing cancer in the other testicle, sometimes as long as twenty-five years later.7 One way to look at this information is to realize that whatever compromised the immune system enough to allow the first cancer to appear can smolder in the background for over two decades until the second cancer appears. Toxicity, especially chronic and low-grade toxicity, could be expected to manifest itself in exactly this fashion. Almost by definition, anyone who has ever had cancer has a severely compromised immune system and any unaddressed toxicity will increase the likelihood that a new cancer or other degenerative disease process will appear later. When a cancer goes into remission or is clinically cured, but toxic exposures continue, the patient is really just a clinical time bomb waiting for an opportunity to explode.

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