Thursday, December 29, 2011

Oh no, Avastin is back...

Avastin for ovarian cancer slows tumors but fails to prolong life | Stronger Than Cancer

This is the most discouraging news I've seen today.

I celebrated the FDA removing it's approval of Avastin for Breast Cancer. It is too toxic, reduced quality of life, and did not have any benefit or improved survival. I was amazed at how many people were angry with the FDA for this decision, in a desperate attempt to do something, they'd rather take the physical punishment of a drug with serious side effects, that did not have any benefit. I don't know who these brainwashed masses are, but they are clearly only listening to propaganda from Genentech.

Well, it didn't take long before they decided to find another cancer to market their drug to. Now it's Ovarian Cancer.

What is insane, is that mixed in this story, that shows the results of two studies indicate that it DOES NOT prolong life for Ovarian Cancer, that some people are ... excited??? .. about this. Calling it a 'gift'??

Who on earth did they pay to make that statement???

For all of you cancer survivors who read this blog, PLEASE do not take your doctor's word for anything. Research EVERY drug they recommend. What are the real benefits. What are the risks.

It's your body. Only take a drug if YOU believe there is a real benefit that outweighs the risk, and miserable side-effects of treatment.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Idaho teen loses cancer fight after delivering son | Stronger Than Cancer

Idaho teen loses cancer fight after delivering son | Stronger Than Cancer

Wow, this is such a powerful story of sacrifice.

After going through cancer, and facing all the decisions you face about treatment, and your place in the world, I can completely understand her decision.

When I was diagnosed with cancer, the sleepless nights were not about my fears of dying, or concern for my life - all of my worries were about my children and how they were coping with my diagnosis, and how they would cope if I didn't survive. At 2am I was mapping out what I might leave for them, what message could I give them that would show them that I loved them even after I was gone... so many thoughts in so many directions - not about my cancer, but about my children.

Five years later, I am happy that I survived and our family is whole again.

My thoughts and prayers and blessings go out to Jenni Lake's little boy.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Breast Implant Scare is a Reminder: Buyer Beware

France to pay for implant removals, even as cancer fears subside | Stronger Than Cancer

From the article: "According to a news release from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, PIP is now defunct. It says the company "used non-medical grade silicone believed by the manufacturers to be made for mattresses.""

So, we don't think this poses a cancer risk, but what were they thinking using a silicone made for mattresses in a body - was ANY testing done on humans???

This fall under the category of 'buyer beware' - just because a 'doctor' is in charge of an implant, it doesn't mean it is safe, or healthy!!!

This is just a reminder that we are responsible for our own health - we can't assume something approved by our doctor is right or even safe for us.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Breast implants have no cancer link, but ALL Implants Should Be Monitored

Breast implants have no cancer link says UK watchdog | Stronger Than Cancer

This may not be linked to cancer (although I'm not convinced), but anything you put in your body that doesn't belong there, can pose a health risk. Watch it closely.

Obviously, there are times doctors need to implant things - many people get rods and other devices implanted for back or knee injuries etc. But this is still relatively new medicine, and we don't necessarily know what the long term risks are.

At the time of surgery, the benefits outweigh the risk - so, it is unrealistic to say NEVER surgically implant anything into the body.

The message is to keep an eye on it. Implants can deteriorate, or shift, or affect surrounding tissue.

Best to set up a routine to check all implants on a regular basis.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

USDA Dietary Guidelines and Cancer Prevention | Stronger Than Cancer

Internal Documents Reveal USDA Dietary Guidelines Panel Dominated by ADA | Stronger Than Cancer

What a sad article, but it goes without saying that much of the regulations and standards support the corporations.

In general, the FDA guidelines fall short of optimum health. They are the bare MINIMUM required, not a goal we should reach for.

A perfect example of this is their standard for Vitamin C. The USDA guideline for vitamin C is the minimum amount to prevent scurvy (a disease that sailors used to get when they didn't have access to fresh foods for long periods). Even lab monkeys are given more Vitamin C than the USDA for humans, because they don't want insufficient nutrition to skew results of their research.

Clearly, relying on the FDA, or USDA guidelines are NOT going to lead to health, but surviving cancer means we need to make sure our body always has what it needs to support the immune system...

As Cancer Survivors, we are going to have to take it upon ourselves to create our own dietary guidelines.

If it helps, you can start with a Cancer Prevention Cookbook - they generally contain excellent sections on the nutritional needs that support the immune system - a good example is The Strang Cancer Prevention Center Cookbook:

Or you can start with a Cancer Fighting diet (like the Mediterranean Diet), then adjust and modify to suit your needs. The important part is to eat plenty of nutrient-dense veggies and other cancer fighting foods.

As you go, your guidelines make more sense. As you survive, the USDA requirements make less sense.

I think this is something all cancer survivors come to at some point of their journey.

Keeping Tumor Cells Alive Can Lead to Individualized Treatment

Scientists are Able to Keep Tumor Cells Alive in the Lab | Stronger Than Cancer

This is such a wonderful breakthrough!

Instead of freezing a patient's biopsied tumor samples, live samples can be preserved and tested in the lab to evaluate treatments and potential risk to healthy cells.

This is SO much better that guessing about treatments, based on statistics and reports from the companies that make the drugs.

It will ABSOLUTELY lead to fewer deaths caused by the treatment itself, will help determine better treatments for older patients, and hopefully check normal cells for toxicity, thereby reducing side effects.

While I am usually the person who says, let's wait and do lots of testing before we make this a standard - in this case, I would love to see this procedure implemented as soon as possible. It is not a new treatment that is untested in humans, it is a new procedure that occurs outside the body, is completely harmless to the patient, will improve their treatment options and outcomes... there are NO down-sides to moving forward with this.

And since it was developed at a University, and not a private drug company, the information is publicly available.


Seems like advances in cancer are moving forward exponentially - we may find a cure in our lifetime :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Promising Cancer Vaccine or Immunotherapy?

Promising Cancer Vaccine Could Shrink Tumors By 80 Percent | Stronger Than Cancer

This appears to be more of an immunotherapy than an actual vaccine as the focus seems to be more on treatment than prevention at this time, and the goal is to stimulate a response 'after' the cancer has started to grow.

I find it interesting that they often will refer to triple-negative breast cancer as a difficult to treat cancer. It does seem that very little conventional treatments are helpful for triple-negative cancer: Tamoxifen or Herceptin are not effective, so the push is for chemotherapy (which isn't really effective) for this aggressive cancer.

I was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, but chose not to do chemotherapy. I chose my own sort of immunotherapy with the help of Dr. James Belanger, a Naturopathic Doctor. A large part of the treatment was mushrooms which have a unique effect on the immune system, and over 5 years later I am still cancer free.

So, for them to say that triple-negative breast cancer is hard to treat is only to say that they don't know of any 'drugs' to fight it. I fought it with my own body, my immune system, eating well and reducing stress.

I am looking forward to hearing more about this - but I still think, if I am going to choose immunotherapy to treat my cancer, I will focus on naturally occurring foods and nutrients, rather than something designed in the lab to attack. I always have that option if the cancer comes back.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Memory issues after cancer may not be due to chemo | Stronger Than Cancer

Memory issues after cancer may not be due to chemo | Stronger Than Cancer

A new study shows that memory issues are common in breast cancer patients and survivors regardless of whether they did chemotherapy or not, which throws into question the label "Chemo-Brain" for the fog which comes after treatment - one of the more frustrating side effects.

From personal experience, I did not have chemotherapy, but I did have serious memory issues (working memory, not long term memory) DURING my radiation treatment, and for a few months after this.

A typical example of my memory problem would be trying to shop for groceries. I would look at an item on my list, and by the time I looked up in the aisle, I had already forgotten what I just read.

Some of this could be from the incredible fatigue I experienced from radiation. Your body is doing a lot of work: fighting cancer, dealing with daily doses of therapeutic radiation, trying to stay well with cold and flu germs all around - your body needs a lot more rest during this time. This is not unlike other times in my life, if I was extremely exhausted, or very sick, my memory might fail...

To me, I blamed the radiation, and recovered fully when I recovered from the radiation. I don't have ANY memory issues now.

But it's all about the recovery. Some folks don't recover. To me, that may be a sign that they are still trying to recover from the treatment (chemo or radiation) and the 'shock' of diagnosis.

In my personal experience, the most dramatic improvement in my recovery from the treatment, came a year later when I began drinking Green Smoothies (after reading the book Green for Life - an excellent book that describes how greens affect our health, and provides recipes for getting more of these nutrients in our diet). This brought my energy back to a level better than anything in the years that led up to my cancer diagnosis. In my early 40s, I felt healthier and more energized than I did in my early 30s. And with the energy, came mental clarity, and improved focus. It was a dramatic change that I noticed immediately - within weeks I was back to normal... after a year of fatigue and sluggishness, it felt great to feel energized and healthy again.

I believe that when all the systems of the body are working efficiently, and your body has the nutrients it needs, and you are not burdened with stress, then mental clarity returns - in other words, I don't think the damage is permanent. I believe all cancer survivors can overcome the cancer, and move on to be healthier than they were before.

If nothing else, cancer is a wake-up call from your body saying: take care of me!!

If you have mental fog after treatment, perhaps it is your body saying: give me better nutrients, get out and take walks for fresh air, get enough sleep and above all else: REDUCE STRESS (adjust your priorities, enjoy your life, do things you love, and laugh). Try these things - you may see some memory improvement, and you're sure to feel better and more alert.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Report finds that life choices dwarf pollutants in breast cancer risk | Stronger Than Cancer

Life choices dwarf pollutants in breast cancer risk | Stronger Than Cancer

I'm a bit disappointed in this 'report'. Another one funded by Susan Komen, who seems to enjoy spending everyone else's money: ONE MILLION DOLLARS??? To tell us that women are getting breast cancer because of our lifestyle??? Really??

And every one of these reports makes a point of the increased risk for being obese - when I had an aggressive, triple-negative breast cancer, and NEVER had a weight problem.

This sort of "research" drives me crazy.

It's a huge waste of money.

It didn't discover anything new.

And it blames breast cancer on the patient (like we need guilt on top of struggling to stay alive), and it let's manufacturers of toxic chemicals off the hook. As if it's perfectly fine to expose us to constant exposure to 'safe' levels of toxins, chemicals, radiation....

Honestly - tell me why cancer rates are going up?

Women are not doing things much different now than they have always done - in fact, women are more into 'fitness' today than they were just one generation back. Women are less likely to smoke than they were 30 years ago...

I simply can't believe that 'lifestyle' alone can account for the dramatic increase in cancer rates.

What has changed??

The quality of the foods we're given to nourish our bodies has deteriorated. And we are exposed to more 'environmental' risks. We are encouraged to take more and more drugs for every minor inconvenience: allergies, colds, blood pressure, headache, stomach upset, trouble sleeping... and diet pills.

Hmmm, maybe women who are overweight are more likely to get cancer, because at some point, they all have tried diet pills.

As I said, I never had a weight issue - but I did struggle with allergies as a child. Imagine years of taking a drug designed to 'suppress' your immune system. Then when I really needed my immune system to kick in (to fight the cancer) my body had given up.

Perhaps the report is right.

Life choices are probably a greater factor in cancer risk (and survival). It's the life choice we make to ignore these stupid reports, and take charge of our own health, and stop polluting our bodies with everything we are told is safe.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

U.S. men with low-risk prostate cancer should delay or forgo treatment | StrongerThanCancer

Many U.S. men with low-risk prostate cancer should delay or forgo treatment | StrongerThanCancer

I would love to see this for many diseases. The fear-mongering and push to get ineffective drugs in many cases, is affecting some patient's survival.

Not in all cases. There are many situations where aggressive treatment is necessary - but there are so many different ways to attack cancer now, and some cancers (like prostate, or kidney cancer) seem to resolve themselves - so early screening and treatments can, in fact, cause more problems for the patient.

Luckily, it seems there are more and more panels assessing this information. I am truly hopeful that we see more monitoring of cancers, more targeted therapies, and less toll on the patient.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cancer Causes: The Full List | StrongerThanCancer

Cancer Causes: The Full List | StrongerThanCancer

Not that much new here. Just data presented in another way. We all know the lifestyle factors.

But there's a lot that it doesn't specifically track. For example, it doesn't seem to track the toxins in our environment.

They evidently track what the organization wants to track, and they sift the patients into categories.

But what if your cause was something they weren't tracking? They listed 'meat' as a category, but is it ANY meat, or is the the hormone and antibiotic injected meat? Is it red meat or poultry? Is dairy included here because it contains animal protein, or is it simply 'flesh'.

And fruits and vegetables are listed as a risk?

I think it's very scary when you have people plug random data into spreadsheets. In the end, you have less information than you started with, or rather, mis-leading information.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lung Cancer's Victims... Who Never Smoked

Lung Cancer's Hidden Victims... Who Never Smoked | StrongerThanCancer

This rings true for me. Cancers aren't predictable. I was diagnosed with breast cancer, with no family history, and absolutely NO indication that I would be at risk, in fact, they considered me to be at very LOW risk for the disease: I never smoked, never had weight issues, I breast-fed my children...

More and more we are seeing cancers that contradict what we assume is the 'cause' or the 'lifestyle' that brought it on.

I think we need to think of cancers - all cancers - as a global concern. That we are just enduring more and more toxins in our environment, and degradation of our food supply (our diets aren't nourishing us), and cancers can show up in ANY part of the body, regardless of our genetics, or gender (men are getting breast cancer)...

Be ever vigilant. Assume you are at risk for any cancer. Live your life to prevent all cancers.

New Research: cancer protection same as allergies

Cancer protection same as allergies | StrongerThanCancer

This is a really interesting connection.

As someone who had severe allergies as a child, it was interesting to see that most my allergic reactions subside after taking supplements to support my cancer.

There have been other approaches to immunotherapy for cancer, stimulating an immune response in the body in hopes that it will jump-start a immune response against the cancer. Many of those therapies are not proven - as a cancer treatment. Yet, I found the supplementation I took to strengthen my immune system to be very effective - and hopefully, it is keeping the cancer away. (The difference between the two being: 1) attempting to stimulate an already weak immune system, the other 2) strengthening the weak areas of the immune system while going through treatment improves the ability for the body to continue to fight the disease).

This approach is a little different, a slightly different pathway - I'm looking forward to seeing what comes from further research.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Geographical Implications of Cancer

Utah officials outline cancer combat strategy | StrongerThanCancer

In a news release regarding one state's approach to cancer, it brought up some interesting thoughts on the geographical affects on cancer - like elevation, exposure to sun, and the lifestyle of the population.

Utah has very low cancer rates - their biggest concern is skin cancer which is quite preventable. But their lower overall cancer rate is attributed to their more active lifestyle.

It is interesting to think that in the United States we have such differences from one region to another. In the US, we have high cancer rates, and I often look to other countries with lower cancer rates to see how they may be reducing their risk. But there seem to be many areas WITHIN our country that have lower cancer rates, and not surprisingly, the higher cancer rates are in more urban areas.

Rather than blame geography, maybe we can look at the differences in lifestyle.

And how can we duplicate that if we live in a city, and work in a cubicle?

We are unsure if cell-phones cause cancer, but perhaps the lifestyle that has a cell-phone glued to the head could increase cancer risk. If the more active lifestyles have lower cancer risk, why limit it to the semi-regular trips to the gym - perhaps we can find ways to make our 'lives' more active - cultivate gardens, cook at home rather than eat-out, take stairs instead of use elevators (of course, if you work on the 30th floor of a building that can be difficult, but you could still take the elevator to the 25th floor and walk up a few flights)... or have a cab drop you off a few blocks away from your destination and walk the rest. Take every opportunity to get out and move - find ways to use your landscape - whatever it is - to keep energy flowing through your body...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Detecting Breast Cancer In Dense and Non-Dense Breasts | StrongerThanCancer

Detecting Breast Cancer In Dense and Non-Dense Breasts | StrongerThanCancer

This could be an improvement. I have dense breasts, although I don't think that impacted my mammogram, the breast cancer was pretty obvious by the time I had the mammogram, and I was young, so had no previous experience to say whether it would have been detected at an earlier stage.

Any improvement in diagnostics, especially for conditions that are difficult to read is good.

BUT, I will be interested to see further information on the amount of radiation etc this imaging exposes us to. It seems with every advance, we are so eager to see results against the cancer, and we forget that the equipment or treatments may be contributing to future disease - all of this should be taken into consideration... and yet it rarely is, in the 'business' of medicine.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Find Your Cancer Fighting Lifestyle

Research now links lifestyle and cancer | StrongerThanCancer

This advice seems obvious - eat right, exercise, drink in moderation and you reduce your risk of cancer - nothing new here.

But, the thought of linking lifestyle to cancer got me thinking about how we view our lifestyle and the choices we make every day.

My own cancer came after a long stressful period of long work hours, poor diet, lack of exercise, relationship issues and minimal sleep. It didn't feel right. I wasn't happy.

Perhaps, instead of looking at the things we have in our life as something to blame the cancer on - instead of feeling guilty about the individual things we do that might contribute to the development of cancer (indulging in an unhealthy treat, or drinking a few glasses of wine at a party) - we should think about how our life feels.

Does our life feel right? Are we happy? Generally, when our life is in balance, and we are happy, eating well, and active - then our immune system is happy and functioning perfectly. It is only when life gets out of balance that conditions exist for cancer, and we feel this: we are tired, we are depressed, we lack motivation.

Look at your life. Are you happy? What would you change? Do you feel run down because of obligations to work or family or neighbors... don't let yourself get run down, you can't help anyone if you get sick - so it's critically important that you maintain a lifestyle that works for you. Take the time to nurture yourself.

Look at your life. Does it feel right? Whatever doesn't feel right, move toward minimizing or hopefully getting rid of that. What makes you feel healthy and alive? Try to include more of that in your life.

Yes, lifestyle contributes to cancer. But rather than constantly looking at study after study for the specific unhealthy lifestyle choices, as cancer survivors let's listen to our bodies. When your body is tired and run down, it's telling you to change your lifestyle. When it feels great, then your lifestyle is probably fine, even if you cheat on your diet a bit.

Your body has the energy and resources to fight cancer when it is feeling good - do what feels right for your body.  That's the best lifestyle choice for you!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Creating a Cancer DNA Database: UK | StrongerThanCancer

Creating a Cancer DNA Database: UK | StrongerThanCancer

This is an interesting project.

It doesn't directly impact the patients who participate today, but interesting to think that drugs in the future will be targeted to the patient's dna. Or, not so much the targeting, but decisions about drugs can be more informed because we will have better information about whether a patient is likely to respond to treatment.

This has the potential to have so many more patients surviving cancer, and living much healthier lives - mainly because I think the outcome will be LESS toxic treatments. Less patients will be given chemotherapy if it's not likely to have a benefit - and this will reduce unnecessary treatments, deaths and other serious side effects due to unnecessary treatments.

Chemotherapy is effective in some cancers - let it become a targeted therapy, rather than the fall back drug for anyone with cancer.

In Questioning ChemotherapyRalph Moss explains the many ways the chemotherapy is mis-used. There are political, but also medical reasons (the patient wants to do anything to fight the cancer, even if the benefit is slim for their particular cancer) reasons for the broad use of chemotherapy - but I hope one day it becomes a therapy only used for the cancers that it's most effective for.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cancer fallout from Japan's nuclear disaster may be hard to detect | StrongerThanCancer

Cancer fallout from Japan's nuclear disaster may be hard to detect | StrongerThanCancer

Sad to think that the reason it is so hard to detect, is that cancer rates are so high in the first place :(

And cancer rates are so high in developed countries, because we are constantly bombarded with "safe" or "low" levels of toxins/radiation/carcinogens in our environment and in the food we eat.

Yes, much of the food produced to nourish our bodies contain cancer causing chemicals - unless it is organic, or comes from a local farm.

Amazing that some of the experts considered the cancer risk of this disaster absent or too small to detect, while others predict thousands of cancer deaths. In the end, it will be spun either way depending on who is presenting the data and who they represent (the corporations, the government, etc).

As with all statistics, and numbers, and the grey areas in between, a direct link is not possible, only averages and numbers of cancer cases based on proximity to the disaster.... over time.

It will be very sad to me if they eventually conclude that the cancer risk was minimal because we would all probably get cancer anyway. One of my greatest concerns is that BILLIONS of dollars are being spent looking for cures for cancers - maybe if that same money, that same fund-raising effort was put into detoxing our environment we would save several times more than that in medical costs (not to mention lives, and painful treatments, and emotional trauma).

Yes - prevention is key. Prevention is something every individual should work toward. But if we are going to have a global effort, government involvement, research, statistics, and funding to fight cancer - why not fight the causes first?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Quit Smoking and Double Your Survival | StrongerThanCancer

Why Smoking is Such a Bad Idea | StrongerThanCancer

I don't smoke, and I never have smoked. I would wonder why anyone in the world would smoke, except that I know several intelligent people who smoke and I have to accept that it will always be something I don't understand.

But the number one reason most people tell you not to smoke is: Smoking Causes Cancer.

The interesting fact of my personal experience, is that although I never smoked - I got cancer. To my knowledge, the people in my life who do smoke, do not have cancer.

So, cancer is a complicated thing. I feel like it is caused by a combination of stressors to the immune system: stress, lack of sleep, relationship problems, poor diet, lack of exercise, exposure to toxins in our environment... there is a lot that goes into cancer, so although I never smoked, I also did not listen to my body when it was getting run down.

But if you smoke, you are just adding that one extra push toward cancer -

Yes, I got cancer and never smoked. Maybe if I did smoke, I wouldn't have recovered as well as I did. Maybe the cancer would have spread. Who knows how smoking would affect the 'survival' outcome. We know it increases the risk of getting cancer - but smoking also affects survival - or rather if you quit, you improve your chances of survival: Smokers With Cancer Can Quit and Double Survival!!

When we are diagnosed with cancer, we are always thinking, "How did I get this?" Hopefully, we move past this and ask ourselves, "How can I prevent this from happening again?"

Regardless of what factors caused your cancer, if you currently smoke - quit now.

If you need help - go to - it is a wonderful resource.

There are many reasons to quit, health reasons and social reasons - but do it BECAUSE IT FEELS GOOD!!

Son says Paterno has treatable form of lung cancer -

Son says Paterno has treatable form of lung cancer -

This is timely news given the fact that it's Lung Cancer Awareness Month - but also hopeful. Lung Cancer is particularly difficult to treat - radiation would be too damaging to the heart etc, so for doctors to feel that it is at a "treatable" stage is definitely hopeful.

I imagine it's tough to be a public figure and have to have your medical needs broadcast to the world - but I do find it inspiring to hear what doctors are willing to do for their patients, and that sort of thing just isn't publicized for the regular cancer survivors like... well, me.

A huge inspiration for me in my battle against breast cancer was all the news surrounding Suzanne Somers and her rejection of chemotherapy - as well as the long fight and ultimate decline of Elizabeth Edwards. Two battles. Two very different approaches. Two different outcomes.

I feel for celebrities who must endure a certain amount of publicity over their cancer. It's a very personal experience, and one that is hard to define until perhaps you are well past it - but whether they know it or not, they are a huge inspiration to the rest of us - we are all human - no one is immune - and we all fight this battle together!!

So, I wish Paterno best of luck for a good outcome - and thank you for sharing your story with all of us.

Friday, November 18, 2011

November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month | StrongerThanCancer

November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month | StrongerThanCancer

"It started with a cough that would not go away"

November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and everyone should be aware of the dangers and signs of lung cancer.

Often, those who quit smoking develop lung cancer many, many years later - so even if you quit, don't think you are done fighting cancer - your lungs need to clean out - get out and fill them up with lots of good fresh air, take walks and hikes, and BREATHE DEEPLY.

Eat cleansing foods like fruits and veggies that keep all the body systems working well, and provide constant anti-oxidants to fight cancer before it takes hold.

Drink Green Tea: The main reason we understand the health benefits of Green Tea, is because a study in China, a country with a large smoking population, found that men who drank 3 cups of green tea a day had a significantly lower rate of lung cancer. Green Tea had a protective effect.

Also, don't assume that because you don't smoke you won't get lung cancer. Many of us have been exposed to second-hand smoke, but also we live in a world with a lot of air-borne pollutants. We don't know whether what we are exposed to today will give us lung cancer in 10 years.

The best thing to do is keep your body healthy, do everything to prevent cancer, and become aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease and act quickly.

Lung cancer is best caught early because it is difficult to treat, but better yet - strive for prevention.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Inspirational and Inexpensive Gifts for Cancer Survivors

Get a jump on holiday shopping with some tasteful, and inspirational gifts of hope and encouragement for the cancer patients and survivors in your life.


For the most part the products are inexpensive t-shirts and mugs, but there are even little magnets for $2.85 - something for every budget.

The proceeds will support our efforts to educate, and improve survival for cancer patients, and ultimately support organizations with a focus on cancer prevention.  Nobody should have to endure the fear and trauma of cancer - but for those of us who have it - Let's Survive and Thrive!!

Finding Joy in the Holiday Season

In a post earlier this week, I mentioned finding things that bring you Joy as a tool to help in cancer recovery.

And as the holiday season approaches, it seems even more necessary to look beyond the pressures, and chaos, and noise of the outside world, and seek to fill your days with meaningful moments, and time with loved one.

A great book for anyone struggling emotionally, or overwhelmed, or stressed out - and an imperative book for trying to Move Beyond Cancer, is Finding Joy: 101 Ways to Free Your Spirit and Dance with Life.

The perspectives offered in this book are excellent for grounding yourself, discovering what's important in many areas of life: family, love, finances, and bringing out more joyful experiences in your daily life.

It has been part of my journey in recovering from cancer, that I should try to live life more fully - this book is a great help in that goal.

Europe to ban 'naked' airport scanners over cancer fears | StrongerThanCancer

Europe to ban 'naked' airport scanners over cancer fears | StrongerThanCancer

Europeans have always been sensible when it comes to protecting its citizens from health hazards.

They require labeling of GMO foods, and now they are banning airport scanners until more information is available about the radiation exposure and cancer risk.

Sadly, in the United States, the corporations who profit from the sales of these things can convince the government that there is a need. Maybe some day I will research the lobbying that goes on, but I prefer to blog about cancer.

But this is a GREAT move!!! I'm very happy about it, and I hope it sends a message globally that imposing untested exposure to radiation is not acceptable to the entire traveling population.

Cancer Flourishes On Recycled Cell Waste | StrongerThanCancer

Cancer Flourishes On Recycled Cell Waste | StrongerThanCancer

To be honest, the description here seems more like lobsters and other scavengers at the bottom of the ocean, than a Pac-Mac going around gobbling up whatever is in its path. But it's an interesting target for therapy.

My concern, as always with drugs like this, is the 'genetic manipulation' they casually throw out there, and then later the statement that "... if there is a way to block CMA selectively, so it only affects cancer cells and not healthy cells."

There seem to be many paths to target cancers - the challenge is finding treatments that don't affect healthy cells. The problem with the current standard treatment of chemotherapy is the terrible affects it has on 'healthy cells': that increase heart disease and risk of leukemia, and damage the immune system, blood cells, hair-skin-nails, and even the brain as many complain of 'chemo-brain' and memory issues.

I would hope that when they develop any new drugs, they follow "First Do No Harm", a sensible oath for our doctors, which should also be the cornerstone for research developing drugs that the doctors are to administer.

I wish this team luck in finding a way to block CMA without affecting healthy cells - I look forward to their future findings.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Healthy Heart Habits Also Guard Against Cancer | StrongerThanCancer

Healthy Heart Habits Also Guard Against Cancer | StrongerThanCancer

I love that the conclusion is to motivate physicians to focus on prevention. That has been my concern for a while, with groups seeking a cancer cure, putting their logo on unhealthy, sugary foods... as if prevention wasn't important, but raising money for drugs to cure cancer was.

I say we focus on PREVENTION first, while researchers are working more and more on targeted therapies for rare and hard-to-treat cancers.

But this article could even extend to other areas.

Whenever I look at lists of things that help prevent any chronic illness: arthritis, diabetes, heart issues... they ALL seem to point to the same thing.

Prevention is ALL about 1) eating well, 2) getting some exercise, and 3) reducing or eliminating unhealthy behaviors like smoking, or excessing drinking or fats. I would add to that finding balance, reducing stress, and participating in activities that bring you joy!! That can really change how the body, and the immune system responds.

So, rather than thinking of just heart disease and cancer - think about all the things you do to stay healthy:


That seems worth it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Is the Pill behind rising prostate cancer rates? | StrongerThanCancer

Is the Pill behind rising prostate cancer rates? | StrongerThanCancer

This article just boggles the mind. It may be the first time a compound has leached into the environment from one person and caused cancer in another.

It just underscores how important it is to look more globally at chemicals/food/drugs. The FDA is always approving things that have 'safe levels' of known toxins, and I truly believe that cancer rates are going UP because we are bombarded daily with constant exposure to toxins in the environment.

Clearly, when they are approving the pill for use in women, they are looking at the potential side effects on HER body, and the efficacy of the drug. It's a stretch to think they would do studies on its affects on other people - but this study sheds light on the interconnectedness of all of us with each other and our environment. Just like second-hand smoke - the way we live our lives does have an affect on those around us.

But stepping back - to put the blame on birth-control pills may be premature. In that same time period, when birth control pills were more actively used - is it possible that that is the when hormones were used in animals for a greater yield, plumper meat, and to increase milk production?

This is one study. It raises many questions. The findings are interesting, but I believe the source of the problem could be elsewhere, or possibly a compounded issue of many areas where hormones are used to modify the body's natural behavior.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Teenage girls up breast cancer risk with every alcoholic drink | StrongerThanCancer

Teenage girls up breast cancer risk with every alcoholic drink | StrongerThanCancer

I've posted before about the the link between alcohol and cancer. This specific study shows a connection with teenage girls, and benign breast disease which is a risk factor for cancer.

Anything in excess is not healthy for the body, particularly for teens who are still in a stage of physical growth.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Top Ten Cancer Fighting Foods | StrongerThanCancer

Top Ten Cancer Fighting Foods | StrongerThanCancer

This is an excellent video - we all know there are certain foods that fight cancer, it's nice to know why. I'm really looking forward to seeing more in this series.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cancer treatment shows promise for rapid weight loss | StrongerThanCancer

Cancer treatment shows promise for rapid weight loss | StrongerThanCancer

This is more than a little scary. Drugs are drugs. Drugs are powerful. Whenever they manipulate what your body naturally wants to do - I get nervous.

Perhaps it will work, but a therapy like this ignores the causes of obesity, and patients will not develop the self control needed to keep themselves in a healthy state. That is the best case scenario. The unknown is whether the drug will have other side effects. If it is restricting blood supply, what else is it restricting, or what vital organs may be affected?

In my opinion, there is only one way to lose weight: burn more calories than you take in.

Of course, there are clinical cases where a patient needs intervention. But cancer drug therapy doesn't seem like the best choice. It may be more appealing than getting your stomach stapled, or having a rubber-band put in (I've heard these work), but we simply don't know.

I often think my cancer is a result of having childhood allergies. Year after year of taking antihistamines - a drug made to suppress the immune system - must have taken a toll. Then when I needed my immune system to kick into gear, but it was weak and inactive.

It will be interesting to see how this develops.

For the sake of the patients, I hope it is well targeted to specific cases, but I can't help but worry.

Drug companies want to sell drugs. And with the epidemic of obesity in this country, that population is an desirable target for any marketable drug therapy...

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Mindful Approach to Cancer

As time goes by, and it has been 5 years since my diagnosis, it becomes clear that not enough attention is given to the emotional trauma that a cancer diagnosis brings about.

Everyone expresses concern, your team of doctors are doing everything they can, there are support groups - but there is still something missing.  You are still lost in a confusion of emotions.  You still feel lost.

I am sorry that I did not discover this book when I was going through treatment.  I'm sorry that I did not discover this book when I was just getting back on my feet after cancer treatment.  But I am glad that I found it now.  Five years after my diagnosis and treatment, I am still struggling with the same emotions.  I am struggling to move beyond the cancer.  I still have emotional healing to do, and the perspective given in Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery: A Step-by-Step MBSR Approach to Help You Cope with Treatment and Reclaim Your Liferegardless of where you are in your cancer journey, helps you to become whole again.

I hope in the future, all cancer treatment is provided alongside mindfulness coaching.  I think more patients will recover with better results, rather than just surviving the battlefield of chemotherapy and radiation, they can begin to embrace their lives and move away from fear and toward happiness and greater fulfillment.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Computer ‘Pathologist’ Could Help Assess Breast Cancer Survival | StrongerThanCancer

Computer ‘Pathologist’ Could Help Assess Breast Cancer Survival | StrongerThanCancer

An interesting development, but I worry that too much emphasis is put on computers, and treatments will be prescribed - maybe even dictated - to the patient based on statistics and numbers. There is a lot that goes into surviving cancer. Information is important, but it needs to be kept in context as a tool for the patient to decide what is best for him/her (yes, some men get breast cancer).

My triple negative diagnosis put me in the category that would require the most aggressive treatment - it took a lot to decide to take a less toxic path. With computer data added to the doctors opinion... it may not be long before they don't allow you the choice to determine your own path to survival.

Maybe I'm stretching here, but we need to be careful. As it is insurance companies can deny us coverage if we have a pre-existing condition and a lapse in our coverage. The more people rely on computers to make decisions for them, the less personal our healthcare will be.

....all of that said, it IS a pretty cool tool though :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cancer: Don't Just Sit There and Take It

Further to yesterday's news: Is Sitting Too Long a Cancer Risk, the conclusion seemed to be that regular, even if only a minute, breaks during the day may reduce your risk of getting cancer.

Later in the day, I was observing how wonderful my body felt after doing yoga.  It was as if every cell in my body was alive.  That feeling lingers for most of the day; I'm in a great mood, I feel healthy, the everyday challenges seem more manageable.  To me, this was a big part of truly feeling like I could move beyond my cancer.  I am now building a resource list for yoga centers that have programs for cancer patients: Stronger Than Cancer: Yoga (if you have a center to recommend, please send it to me).

Yes, yoga is longer than the one minute break, and it is one break not several.  But the energy that the yoga created in my body, made me WANT to move throughout the day.   It was as if the yoga encourages the type of daily breaks/movement that reduces the risk of cancer.

The yoga that I have been doing lately is easy to fit into my schedule because it's on video: Brian Kest Power Yoga - this one may be too challenging for someone just recovering from treatment (click to image to see the description):

But there are wonderful yoga videos that help you go through and recover from treatment : Yoga for Breast Cancer:

Yoga has worked for me.  It is gentle, but leaves you feeling strong and healthy.  There may be other physical outlets that energize you - find what works for you.

Keep moving - stay energized - take lots of 'active' breaks.

Whatever activity makes you feel good, is also fighting cancer.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Getting Advice on Treatment

If you are recently diagnosed with cancer, it can be very confusing to understand your options when it comes to treatment.  Find out where you can learn about what your options are and who you can turn to for professional advice from those who know how to get you the best possible chance of survival.

Getting Advice on Treatment | StrongerThanCancer

The Cancer Risk of... Sitting?

We all know that regular exercise can help prevent cancer, and improve your survival.  But this week, Nevill Owen, PhD, of Australia's Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute presented research at the American Institute for Cancer Research conference showing a link between a sedentary lifestyle and cancer risk.

The findings encourage "break time".  Instead of just thinking of getting to the gym, which is difficult for many people, thinking of ways to get moving throughout the day will have an impact.

"We found that even breaks as short as one minute can lower these biomarkers."  The biomarkers they refer to are: waist circumference, inflammation, and other indicators of cancer risk.

The  risk effects seemed greater for colon and breast cancer.  The evidence was weaker for lung, prostate, and ovarian cancers.

But even without a specific link to other cancers, why not take breaks?  We often think more clearly when we get up and move around, and if it is also helping in the fight against cancer, it's a simple thing to do - and supports the plan to fit cancer fighting strategies into every part of daily life.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fighting Cancer and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

A year after my diagnosis, I remember a conversation when I was explaining how I mentally I felt like someone who had returned from war.  I felt disconnected.  I had flashbacks.  I remember thinking it was like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

A few years later, a number of articles are published linking the diagnosis of cancer to PTSD - for me it was a revelation - it made sense.  see: Many cancer survivors suffer from PTSD.

My symptoms seemed slightly different, particularly the avoidance part of it.  There are definitely many parts of my memory that I have blocked, and some things I avoid - but others, particularly those people who stood by me, are so connected - that I have difficulty trusting anyone but them.

I thought the study was interesting when it suggested that it can worsen over time.

I don't think it's the majority of cancer patients, but it's important to consider.  Cancer patients should seek help if they are struggling with depression years after diagnosis.  Treatment for PTSD can help them move toward healing, and it doesn't seem to go away on its own if it's not treated...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

BRCA and Cancer Risk

Today, they released new findings regarding BRCA and cancer risk, see No Higher Risk of Breast Cancer for Women Who Don't Have BRCA Mutation but Have Relatives Who Do

In a flash, I remembered the pressure from my surgeon to get the testing done, with all sorts of scary stories and the implications it had for my daughter, and handing me the phone because maybe I should call my husband, oncologist, anyone who might convince me to do it.

I love that testing gives us information, but it seems to me, that too often (especially in my case) testing only led to more tests, and justification to pressure me into preventative (surgical) actions.  This same surgeon was already suggesting that I have my ovaries removed to reduce the chances of ovarian cancer.

They are my ovaries.  I want to keep them.

Not long after this, I found a different surgeon, and she will forever be remembered as Frankenstein.

But the article also hinted at how eager the medical community was to find some greater risk associated with the gene existing in the family.

All of that said, having a family member with breast cancer does put you at greater risk.  But with the risk of getting some cancer in your lifetime very high :Cancer Strikes 1 in 2 Men and 1 in 3 Women, it makes sense that everyone, I mean EVERYONE should assume that they are 'at risk' of getting cancer, and should work toward preventing it!!!

Let's not rely on tests.  Tests and screens to find cancer make sense.  Tests to see if you are "AT-RISK" perhaps aren't necessary.  Living in our modern world puts us at risk.  We are all at risk.

With everything we know about what fights cancer, there's no reason not to begin the fight today and reduce our chances of getting cancer.  Let's not be a part of that statistic.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Awareness didn't stop me from getting Breast Cancer

As Breast Cancer Awareness month comes to a close, I breathe a sigh of relief...

I am a breast cancer survivor, the scary triple-negative kind of breast cancer.  But since the beginning of my cancer journey, I have always been put-off by the "Breast Cancer Awareness" campaigns.

When I first heard Susan Komen ads on the radio after my diagnosis, I couldn't help but notice that the entire content was about fear.  I didn't want fear, I wanted hope for my survival.  And when I looked into it, and saw how their funds are used, it became clear that they weren't "for the cure" they most definitely had an agenda - an agenda that was not aligned with my plan for survival.

But that aside, as a survivor, you would think I would want to encourage at least the message of "awareness" that is promoted each October.  Maybe that would save lives if women knew to do self-exams, and made it in for their regular screenings.

So.  Why does an Awareness campaign bother me so much?

Partly, this must be due to the fact that I have been aware of breast cancer since my teen years.  I'm not sure how I heard about it, but there's a general awareness that cancer exists, and the most common forms - there is even an awareness that there are rare forms of cancer.  I have always done breast self-exams fairly regularly.  If my doctor had recommended a mammogram, I would have done it - but I was at LOW RISK for breast cancer.  I was young and healthy...  I was not at the age for routine mammograms yet.

So, all of the awareness that I DID have, did nothing to prevent my breast cancer.  There is nothing in the pink ribbons scattered all over every sugary product at the grocery store that would have made me do anything differently, nor would it have made my lump less aggressive when they found it.

Awareness did not prevent my breast cancer.  It didn't even help me catch it early.  It didn't offer me better treatment options.

Awareness is just a foot in the door for promoting an agenda for profits.  Susan Komen is connected with drug companies - so their idea of a cure, is to encourage people to find cancers that need drugs - maybe detect them early, cancers that may not even need chemotherapy will be treated with chemotherapy - they even fund lawsuits to encourage treatment of late-stage cancers that don't respond well to treatment.  And their alignment with KFC - foods that may cause cancer - boggles the mind!!

Komen for the Cure?

And that's not all.  Recently, Susan Komen seems to think they have a trademark on the use of the word "Cure".  Like it's NOT okay for anyone else to care about curing cancer?  Really?  Do they really NOT care about the real cancer patients who want to survive, cancer patients aren't allowed to think any other organization is seeking a cure - they have to use some other word when they are seeking to survive their cancer??  Absurd.

The more you read, the more you look at who is profiting - the more offensive it is:  they take MY breast cancer, and use it to make other people feel sorry for me, so money is given to THEM!!!  That feels like abuse to me.  The "Awareness" campaign leaves me feeling manipulated and used.

Most people are aware that cancer exists.  A large percentage of the population will get cancer regardless of this awareness.  Maybe we should try something different.

Let's make a campaign about CANCER PREVENTION!!!  Not just breast cancer - ALL CANCER!!!

That would be a campaign that I would like to see.

That would be a campaign that would fill me with hope, not fear and/or disgust.

It could promote all sorts of healthy eating and lifestyle changes - beautiful green signs in the produce section of the store, instead of pink ribbons on sugary cereal boxes.

And above all else - it is a campaign that could have real results - less people dying of cancer.  That IS our goal isn't it?  I hope so.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Moving On from Cancer - Does It Ever Leave You?

A pattern I see over and over again in cancer survivor blogs, is the little details of their every day life.

We all have families, we have jobs, some of us have children, gardens, hobbies...  we talk about our lives, and what we are doing just before heading out for another scan or blood test.  We talk about how great and supportive our family has been... or sometimes we are dealing with break-ups.

But it seems that no matter what we do, there is this giant lump of a cancer diagnosis that we are dragging around with us every day.  We can go to work, and feel like we are living a normal life, but we are still cancer survivors - wondering if it will come back... our perspective on everything changed with the awareness of that possibility.

Can we ever let go of that?

After 5 years of survival, it is still such a large part of my identity.  I am no longer an artist, mother, teacher...  I'm a cancer survivor: Front and Center.

Why can't we go back?  When we've been healthy for a while, why can't we go back to our old selves?  

I read in a blog recently, that relationships stay with us long after they are over.  Someone had done an exercise where you took a piece of tape and stuck it on everyone else in the room, and with each person a little lint stayed on your tape - the people in your life, even when they are gone, still linger with you - you carry them with you everywhere.  Cancer feels like that, only instead of a little lint, it's a big lump, like a shriveled up raisin stuck to your piece of tape along with all the lovely lint from the people you've known.  Even when it is completely gone, you can't let go of it.

So, how do we heal from this?  Is there a way to take it beyond the cancer and become something more whole, something new?  Like moving on from a bad relationship shouldn't define you - you become more truly yourself - independent of the scars...  does healing from cancer ever reach that point of independence, when it no longer defines you - when it's only a whisper or a bit of lint...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Is Cancer Preventable?

I was diagnosed with cancer.  I have no family history, I have no health indications that would make anyone think I'd be prone to cancer, I rarely get sick...

So, I believe there is NO reason I should have had cancer.

But, I was lazy about my diet - I found it easier to each quick and cheap, than to prepare thoughtful healthy meals.

I had a lot of stress in my home life and at work...  that weakens the immune system.

I had very little time to exercise - and always felt guilty about it.

I lived in a house that had radon gas - yes, we mitigated (which basically means you try to air out the house), but I wasn't concerned about it.

All the things that my body needed to stay strong, I just let them go.  I made everything else a priority.

So.  Now that I've had cancer, I think: Is the cancer something that just happens, or is it really preventable?

Can I change my diet, and environment, and exercise - all things that improve survival - will that prevent it from coming back?  Was my lack of concern before a cause for cancer?

I don't know.  But my body feels like that is true.

How can the cancer possibly return, when I am giving it nothing??

I created a graph to illustrate my point at:

I will continue to build on this idea, because I truly believe it's possible.  I would love to hear other people's opinions.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Back to Fighting Cancer

After several months of not blogging, I am back.

It occurred to me that my absence might be worriesome - anyone following a cancer survivor's blog must question their survival if they disappear for a while - so I am back to remind you that:

I am still here!!

Surviving Cancer!!!

Alive and Well!!!

The reason I was gone was because I was moving, and otherwise busy with life...  but my life is now about keeping the conversation going.  Let's survive together.  Let's explore all the ways we can prevent the cancer from ever coming back.

I decided this morning, that I TRULY believe, that CANCER is completely PREVENTABLE.

Even if you have had cancer before....

Stay tuned: I will blog more about this tomorrow :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Painful hip fractures strike breast cancer survivors

Click the link to read the full article.  We can't forget that as survivors, we are fighting to survive our treatments as well as the cancer.

ScienceDaily (2011-02-02) -- Common drugs used to treat breast cancer combined with the early stages of menopause could be weakening the bones of middle-aged breast cancer survivors. This bone loss may lead to hip fractures and debilitating physical effects, according to a new study.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Does long-term cell phone use lead to brain tumors?

I'm sharing this link - something to think about as we all rely more and more on our cell phones - not just for a quick call, but email, web searches, twitter....  constant interaction.

ScienceDaily (2011-01-19) -- Research suggests that long-term exposure to microwaves from cellular phones may lead to an increased risk of brain tumors. Although debate continues, independent studies with long-term follow-up strongly suggest an increased risk of brain tumors related to the use of cellular or cordless phones. more

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer

"Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer"... and I would add "Why You Should Not Put Too Much Faith in the Advice of Your Doctor." This is a must read for anyone trying to navigate the medical industry these days.

I write this blog because I am a cancer survivor and I have learned firsthand how important it is to be in charge of your own health.  But this book is important even if you don't think you are sick, or like everyone who hasn't had cancer, you may assume that is something that happens to other people.  It is not a book about cancer, it is a book about the medical industry and how it works, and how information is getting to the consumer.

Yes - consumer.  Not patient.

Think about drug ads on tv.  Think about how there's a quick message about some woman who isn't sure whether she should take this drug because she sometimes has some anxiety.  Then they proceed to quickly go through a lengthy list of side effects: dry mouth, depression, intestinal bleeding, death...  Then it says "Ask you doctor if this drug is right for you."

It is not just cases like cancer where we need to worry about the treatments that are prescribed to us.  And after reading this book, I also think it is not just about reading the list of side effects.

Think about the recent FDA recall of Avastin.  This became an incredibly political topic.  It was a dangerous drug, with "a number of serious and life-threatening side effects" with very little benefit.  But, the drug company stands to lose a lot of money, so they create a campaign to scare people into keeping the drug.  Among the group fighting to keep the drug are doctors, doctors who want their patients to stay on the drug - that is scary to me.  

This book explains how things like this happen.  It is far more involved that I can possibly get into here, but it affects EVERYONE.  One example is a college student who is convinced he needs drugs to sleep better, and after a series of events eventually commits suicide (a side effect on an anti-depressant taken for a side effect of the sleep drugs).

There are some parts of the book that I think are dismissive.  For example, in the discussion of unnecessary back surgeries, I was someone who had a very-much necessary back surgery, some of the language seems as though most procedures can be avoided.  There should be a bit more in there to help someone determine when is it necessary or not...  but that is not really the point of the book - and everything else is very eye opening, and when you begin to see how the system operates, then it does empower you to make these decisions for yourself.

If you haven't read this, you should.  The healthcare system is getting more and more complicated.  For your survival (really) it is important that you read this book, and not assume your doctor, or specialist are recommending the best treatment for you.  

They want to treat the symptom - You want to live.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Not Just a Beautiful Flower: The Marigold Brings Natural Health

This is a really interesting article from Natural News - now I'm excited to learn more about edible flowers :)

Not Just a Beautiful Flower: The Marigold Brings Natural Health

(NaturalNews) Marigold (also known as Calendula officinalis) is not just a beautiful flower, but a natural medicine for many conditions. The marigold has now been placed in the books of cancer and anti-cancer cures, because it has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. The marigold is also able to help in the treatment of wounds.

Learn more:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sunday, January 9, 2011

When Do You Stop Thinking That the Cancer Coming Back?

It's Sunday morning.  Time to relax from the busy week, I can't remember the last time I let myself just sit and relax.  I need a job, so I'm always thinking about that...  and one thing I've been thinking about lately:

Do cancer survivors ALWAYS worry that a pain in their body is the cancer coming back?  When does that stop?

I still have pain, after 4 years, from the radiation, particularly around the scar tissue, but sometimes in the other breast.  I try to tell myself that we are watching it, so it must just be some residual pain, but once in a while, if I'm feeling weak, it can be scary.

Pains in other parts of the body are scary too.  Breast cancer often recurs in the bones, so every time I have a pain in my chest (probably indigestion), it feels like cancer in my chest.  An ache in my leg will feel like a tumor.

What do I do?

I take a few deep breaths.

Amazing, but most of the time, I seem to be able to make this work.  The holidays were stressful.  If I stop, and rest, and let myself breathe a little, some nice long deep breaths, often the pain will subside.

The breathing seems to help me in two ways:

- oxygen in your blood is good for fighting cancer, deep breathing helps give your body what it needs to fight cancer

- if the pain goes away when I breath deep and let myself relax a little, then I begin to feel more confident that the pain is really stress-related, and NOT another tumor growing somewhere else.

I'm not young.  My body will get aches and pains.  That doesn't mean the cancer is going to return.

So this Sunday, I am going to relax, and enjoy my health.  Live this beautiful moment in time.

Life is Good :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D., Cancer Advisor: A Phone Consultee Comments

Follow this link to the testimonial.  There are many others like this, but I think for anyone going through such stress in having to make decisions about how to treat their cancer - especially if you are hesitant about putting your body through toxic treatments when you are already feeling weak - having an unbiased person walk you through your options can be incredibly comforting and reassuring.

Dealing with a cancer diagnosis is a very emotional experience.  If you feel like you can't think straight enough to make decisions (very important decisions that affect your survival), then consider calling Ralph Moss.  I know if/when my cancer recurs I will call him: I'm a single mother - I can't afford to die, and I also can't afford to be a wreck through treatment - I need to be a mom, I need to do everything I can to be there for my children.

Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D., Cancer Advisor: A Phone Consultee Comments: " We recently received this comment on our phone consultation service: 'My telephone conversation with Ralph Moss was most helpful in h..."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fighting Cancer with Coffee

Since my cancer diagnosis, I have always worried about drinking coffee.

Both my Oncologist, and Radiologist have said drinking coffee is okay.  When I read articles that talk about what I should do to help my survival, they mention quitting smoking (no problem for me, I never smoked), or drinking less alcohol (high consumption is associated with recurrence, again, not a problem for me).  But nobody mentions coffee. 

I have seen that drinking tea helps fight cancer.  Many teas, especially green tea, have cancer fighting properties, but it is the antioxidants in the tea, not the caffeine that fights cancer.  I enjoy a cup of tea, but that is an afternoon drink for me...

Oh, but I LOVE my morning cup of coffee.  It is my only weakness.  

As I start my New Year trying to improve my health,  I decide to look into any connection between cancer and coffee consumption.  I was surprised and overjoyed to discover that there are more studies showing coffee preventing cancer, than coffee causing cancer.

The distinction that I found was this:

- There seems to be Acrylamide in coffee with medium and lighter roasts that cause cancer (luckily, I prefer a darker roast): see this article: Cancer Chemical Found in Coffee.

But this seems to be the only bit of information that I can find, and that coming from a country that likes to promote tea consumption ;)

Beyond that, I found study after study showing not only that coffee is not harmful, but that it seems to prevent cancer.  The best article I found was this: 

""If we had a drug for any disease that could demonstrate a risk reduction of 34%, that would be considered a great drug. That degree of risk reduction is very strong," he said.""

But to be clear, as this next article states: 
Coffee and Cancer Risk
"The study was associative, which means although researchers found a strong link between coffee drinking and reduced cancer risk, they can't say for sure that it's the coffee doing the trick."

I will keep my mind open.  I'm not going to think that I am fighting my cancer as I drink my morning coffee, but I will also stop feeling guilty for enjoying it.

Life is Good!

Monday, January 3, 2011

NUTRITION ADVICE: Top Antioxidant Foods

Ralph Moss (Cancer Decisions) Blog Has Moved

 By now you probably all know I'm a huge fan of Ralph Moss, author of several books, all of which are inspiring and helpful to a cancer patient wanting to improve their odds of survival.  I want to forward along the message that his blog has moved to:

I encourage all of you to subscribe to his blog, I have found not only his insights, but also the feedback from his other readers very comforting (in ways I was not comforted by my own physicians...).  If you haven't read any of his books, see below for some of my favorites, but all of them are good.  He also does personal consultations, which can be helpful when you are confused by conflicting information, and emotional overload.

FYI - I do not represent Ralph Moss, I'm just a fan of unbiased and honest information.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Starting 2011 With a Plan to Fight Cancer From Every Angle

In my most recent readings, I am finding that there are so many things to consider in my fight against cancer.

My first line of attack has always been diet - but this has two parts that I must evaluate at each meal:

1 - am I reducing the foods that might encourage cancer growth: synthetic/processed foods, refined sugar?

2 - am I eating cancer fighting foods at every meal?

But there's also a connection between cancer and regular fitness, even if it's just walking.  So my second line of attack is to make sure I do some sort of movement, if not every day, several times a week.

I'm done, right?  I did the treatment with my doctors, I'm eating better, trying to exercise more..  I'm fighting cancer!!!

Yes.  But I can do more :)

Every day we are bombarded with chemicals in our environment.  For the most part, these are government regulated, and we should assume they are safe.  But the government is concerned that chemicals not exceed amounts that could cause cancer (meaning cancer causing effects may be present, just at low levels), and often it is after a product has been on the market for a while that we find that it causes cancer: for example, the connection between breast cancer and plastic.  So, my goal is to use more natural products in my home.

There - now I am fighting cancer completely.  Fight, fight, fight!!!

Hmmm, but there's something I'm missing.  All this fighting goes against my nature.  There are studies that show a connection between survival and emotions.  Perhaps the most important thing I can do to survive is to simply enjoy a beautiful sunset, play with my children, and laugh with my friends.  

So this year, I am resolving to survive cancer, not just with what I put inside my body, but with what I will allow into my home, and how I live my life.  I will either buy less toxic cleansers, or make my own.  I will stock my kitchen with antioxidants for meals and snacking.  I will get out and enjoy nature walks. But most importantly, the key to my survival will be to live each day to its fullest.

As they say: Live, Laugh, Love - now a prescription for living longer!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Slow Death by Rubber Duck

...The Secret Danger of Everyday Things.

The title of this book may seem a bit like a prophecy of doom, but the message is more hopeful.  Instead of making us feel guilty for all the plastic, man-made things that surround us, they provide excellent information and research to help us move toward a less toxic environment.

The most important points they make, and this is why you need to read this book, is how seemingly innocent plastics in our homes can directly affect our health.  This is not just a book about trying to reduce landfills, or asking us to recycle, but that living with these plastics can cause disease.  There have already been studies linking plastics to breast cancer (see the link): What Is the Connection Between Plastic and Breast Cancer. 

The book has a wonderful style, quite readable and entertaining, and I feel the way the information is presented makes it easier for us to make decisions to create a less toxic environment at home.

If you are fighting cancer, as I am, this information is critical.  If you want to prevent cancer, this information is critical.  If you want to do everything you can to provide a safe and healthy environment for your family - this book will be invaluable.

Enjoy - may you have a healthy and happy 2011!!