Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The link between brushing your teeth and cancer

According to this article: Got Plaque? It May Be Linked with Early Cancer Death | Stronger Than Cancer plaque seems to be an indicator of a shorter survival.

More research is needed, but there are some interesting links here - perhaps due to inflammation or bacteria.

As our diet becomes poorer, our teeth suffer as well.

We need to think about maintaining a healthy smile as a more important health regimen - it's not just about having a pretty smile anymore.

Understanding why in one type of cancer, heavier men may live longer

According to this recent article, new findings indicate a survival benefit in heavier patients:

In one type of cancer, heavier men may live longer | Stronger Than Cancer

The researchers are quick to say that they would not encourage people to keep on weight, which could increase risk of other cancers, but that the findings might help understand this particular cancer in the study, called a diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

Later in the article, it does point out that a heavier person is getting less chemotherapy in relation to their body weight - it's quite possible that there is a link there as well.

In cancers that treat well with chemotherapy, you may have a better survival rate if you don't cause too much damage to healthy cells in your body.  Meaning - in some cases, less may be more with chemotherapy.

The belief to this point has always been to give the patient as much as they can tolerate.  A young relatively healthy patient will be given higher doses, than an more fragile elderly patient.  This seems to be the wrong way to dose a drug.  This is fear-based drug dosing.   It should be based on how the cancer responds to the drug, and what level would be least toxic to to the individual.  With that one change, I think survival rates would increase.

I don't mean to dismiss where the findings are leading the researchers.  It is there job to look into the particular cancer and find out what interactions may improve survival.

I would just love to see findings like this branch out into further research that looks at toxicity in dosing chemotherapy, and how to maximize the survival benefit by targeting the dosing to be most effective with the least toxicity.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Is It Time to Include Aspirin in Cancer Prevention Guidelines?

Aspirin Reduces Cancer Risk: Is It Time to Include It in Cancer Prevention Guidelines? | Stronger Than Cancer

Studies are showing that aspirin does more than reduce heart disease, it also reduces cancer risk.

It's an odd thing to supplement.  As someone who promotes healing, nutrient dense foods, and fighting cancer with nutrition, I feed uneasy about a recommendation to take a drug regularly, just because it has been found to reduce some risk.

Evidently, there is little risk associated with long term aspirin use, so if someone is inclined to take it, I would support that idea.

For now, I will refrain.  I prefer to reduce my risk by eating well, and keeping my immune system and body strong.

When they publish the mechanism by which aspirin reduces the cancer risk, we will probably find something in nature that does the same job.  My guess, is that it reduces certain inflammation which can lead to cancer - and there are many natural foods that do that as well.

I don't have an issue with inflammation in my body, so taking a drug blindly, to reduce cancer risk, for a risk factor that doesn't apply to me, doesn't make sense.

I am hoping people are thoughtful about their approach to this type of 'prevention'.

Know your body - start there for your cancer prevention plan.

Friday, April 6, 2012

False Positive Mammograms Increase Breast Cancer Higher Risk

Women With False Positive Mammograms at Higher Risk | Stronger Than Cancer

I love Susan Love's take on this:

"Surgery or needle biopsies may cause a local inflammatory or wound-healing reaction, which increases cancer risk," or "the extra radiation from the workup for the false positive could increase breast cancer," said Love. "Or we might be picking up on some subtle change in the microenvironment, the fibrous tissue, that's more conducive to cancer growing. We just don't know."

While others think there is some biological predisposition, she points out the very obvious possibility that the procedures that surround the investigation can lead to cancer later.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Fatal Side Effects of a Cancer Diagnosis

Cancer diagnosis raises risk of heart attack and suicide | Stronger Than Cancer

An interesting new study shows that a cancer diagnosis dramatically raises the risk of heart attack and suicide in the months that follow.

This should send a message to doctors, and fear-mongering organizations that want to sell you a 'cure' - many people survive cancer.  More people survive cancer, than a car crash, but we're not afraid to drive.

Let's put the focus on targeting the cancer, healing the body, and bringing more balance to our lives.

Fear will shut down the immune system.  Even in patients that don't have a heart attack, the panic of a diagnosis has its negative effects.

Are there ways of addressing this issue to improve the survival for all cancer patients?

Patients who are determine to survive, seem to survive against all odds.  If more patients are offered encouragement, we would have better survival rates regardless of what their choice of treatment is.

Time to make a shift away from fear, and toward individual paths to healing for every patient.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cancers Become Resistant To Chemotherapy

Why Cancers Become Resistant To Chemotherapy | Stronger Than Cancer

This just underscores the need for more targeted treatments, and more careful, strategic planning when it comes to treatment.

Some patients may not even need chemotherapy, and this puts them at greater risk for future mutations that may lead to cancer.  And patients that do, will have better survival rates if targeted therapies can address this - better results, while reducing resistance.

Hopefully, this new data will be used for more thoughtful treatments - especially for borderline patient (ie. both ends of the spectrum, very early or late stage cancers).

Caffeine Combined With Exercise Cuts Skin Cancer Risk

Caffeine Combined With Exercise May Cut Skin Cancer Risk | Stronger Than Cancer

I love to see research that shows effects like this.

It is hard for us to connect exercise with reducing cancer, but there are things that are happening in our body that isn't just strengthening our muscles, and heart - all of our metabolic systems are getting a workout, and that benefits the immune system.

We don't need to kill ourselves exercising.  Mice in a lab are not forced to exercise more than they would naturally do - they are just given the equipment, and they naturally feel like running.

Whenever you feel sluggish - get up and move around - your body wants it, and it may be helping fight cancer.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cancer-Causing Chemical Isolated in Smokeless Tobacco

Cancer-Causing Chemical Found in Smokeless Tobacco | Stronger Than Cancer

We've known for some time that even chewing tobacco can cause cancer.

Now they've isolated what the chemical is.

As a rule of thumb, all habit forming tobacco products should be avoided.

The best way to fight cancer is to be careful what you put into you body, in the mouth, in your lungs, in the food you eat.  Cancer rates are going up.  Everything else is just too risky!!

Screening tied to Overdiagnosis and Unnecessary Treatment

Breast cancer screening tied to Overdiagnosis | Stronger Than Cancer

I don't oppose cancer screenings, but we need better information about what to do with that information.

Right now, the word 'cancer' invokes too much fear, so if it is caught at any stage, even quite early or benign, the path is usually treat it aggressively so there is no chance that it will come back.

We are finding that this isn't the best approach.  Some cancers have been seen to go away on their own.  Others would never become malignant.

If treating cancer was non-toxic, this wouldn't be a problem, but the side effects of treatment lead to other issues, like heart disease and increase risk of leukemia etc.  The decision to treat cancer can't be taken lightly.

In cancers that are discovered early, the patient needs better guidance about the best approach for her health.  Wait and watch is not standard for breast cancer, but with better diagnostics, maybe it's an option we should explore.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Understanding Cancer Treatment Options

Understanding Chemotherapy: Choosing Your Cancer Weapons

Chemotherapy is, for some, scarier than the thought of cancer.  While the cancer grew slowly in your body, and sometimes has no symptoms, we are all painfully aware of the side effects of chemotherapy: loss of color in the skin, hair loss, memory loss, fatigue, nausea...

Taking chemotherapy to fight cancer, is like asking your weakened body to fight two enemies at the same time.  We are prepared to fight cancer, but our body is also fighting the chemotherapy - to the point where we want to reject it - we don't want it, and we fight with ourselves just to get in for our treatment.

That's not the feeling we want to have for something that is there to 'cure' us.  It's a far cry from the idea of healing, nurturing, restoring our health.

So, although chemotherapy has become a standard treatment for cancer, it is not a decision to be taken lightly.  Like everything else, it is ONE weapon against cancer.

As you prepare for battle, choose your weapons wisely.  If you feel that your treatment will do more harm than good, then meet with as many doctors as you can to get a number of opinions.

As of now, our cancer treatment is still our choice.  It's a difficult battle - educate yourself - know your options - make sure you are fighting in the way that works best for YOU.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Vitality in a Blender

I have not done any of the Green Smoothie retreats, but after recovering from aggressive cancer treatments, I was inspired by the book Green for Life
 - a year after radiation I was still overwhelmed with fatigue, and green smoothies were the ONLY thing that brought my energy back.  Now I feel younger than I did years before the cancer hit.

But in an article about green smoothies and diabetes: About Diabetes and the Power of Observation - the issue of 'taste' comes up - how taste evolves after drinking green smoothies (ie. tasting natural sugars)  - something I observed in myself, although I always liked the taste of the green smoothies, was that I began to taste more of the other foods I ate.

This made staying with a healthy diet easy, because my taste buds were so sensitive, it helped in two ways: 1) the subtle differences in fruits, veggies, nuts, rice all were wonderful to me - such delightful tastes in nature - who needs a candy bar?  and 2) junk food tasted like greasy petroleum - it tastes really gross to me now.

There is something in the green smoothie - maybe many things happening.  As you cleanse your body, it just works better.  As your body gets the nutrients it needs, you can trust your cravings.

But something about the green smoothies is vital to health, in ways I never got before, regardless of how careful I was about my diet.

They are so easy to prepare.  It's a great way to make sure you get your raw fruits and veggies in your diet.  If you haven't tried green smoothies yet, do it.

It's better than any nutrition pill or energy drink.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Preventing Infertility in Cancer Survivors Still a Difficult Choice

Young Cancer Survivors Rarely Take Steps To Prevent Infertility | Stronger Than Cancer

Another challenging topic.  Yes, some doctors are counseling their patients about fertility issues, but patients are already overwhelmed just hoping to survive, they are not thinking clearly about their future.

Also, young women in this position don't want to burden their families with the cost of preserving fertility.

This may also go beyond the role of insurance companies.

I think this will be a subject that gets heated debates in the coming years.  There is already the debate about birth control and who is responsible for this - adding cancer to the discussion is more complicated.  Now we have mixed our personal decisions about family into politics.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Most Anal Lesions Don't Cause Cancer in Men

Most Anal Lesions Don't Cause Cancer in Men, Research Shows | Stronger Than Cancer

The HPV virus which increases a woman's risk of ovarian cancer, does not have the same risk for men.

The progression rate from high-grade anal lesions to anal cancer was about one in 600 per year for HIV-positive men and about one in 4,000 per year for HIV-negative men. In comparison, the progression rate from high-grade cervical lesions to cervical cancer is about one in 80 per year.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wade Hayes battles stage IV colon cancer

Musician battles stage IV colon cancer | Stronger Than Cancer

Musician Wade Hayes battles stage IV colon cancer.

Colon cancer grows slowly, and is highly preventable, but often goes unnoticed because it has few symptoms.

This is one cancer that should be screened regularly, as unappealing as a colonoscopy seems - it is worth it.  They catch many cancers in time with this procedure!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pregnancy Safe for Women With Estrogen-Sensitive Breast Cancer

Pregnancy Safe for Women With Estrogen-Sensitive Breast Cancer | Stronger Than Cancer

This is great news.  We don't always plan pregnancies, and this will ease some of the anxiety associated with pregnancy after a diagnosis of breast cancer.

And young women who have early breast cancer can work toward a future family.

Always good to be careful.  Susanne Somers was criticized for her bio-identical hormones (promoted for their anti-aging effects), and she has been fine with her breast cancer.

The biggest concern is the effect of cancer treatments: radiation, and chemotherapy, and tamoxifen - these have an affect on the rest of the body, and can affect overall health, which can further complicate a pregnancy.

Although the research is encouraging, if do you hope to get pregnant after cancer treatment, do everything you can to detox the body of all residual chemicals.

A clean healthy body will produce a clean healthy baby!!

New Evidence Strengthens Link Between Opioids And Cancer Growth

New Evidence Strengthens Link Between Opioids And Cancer Growth | Stronger Than Cancer

There's always potential interactions when you put drugs in the body.  Yes, we are trying to fight the cancer, but even drugs used to treat other complications are contributing to future cancers.

With everything, try to use the least amount of drugs for the job.

And after any medical treatment, cleanse the body - do a detox - flush those chemicals out!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

PrimalCon 2012 - an unusual retreat

Peak health just took a new direction - away from drugs and junk, and back to our roots:

Check out PrimalCon - a 3 Day Health and Fitness Retreat

PrimalCon 2012 - 3-Day Health and Fitness Retreat

Primal Con is a 3-day Primal Blueprint health and fitness retreat held at the beautiful Oxnard Beach Park in Southern California. PrimalCon is a total immersion weekend experience of expert-guided workouts, play, leisure time, lectures and presentations with assorted expert presenters on Primal-related topics, camaraderie with fellow Primal enthusiasts, and extraordinary Primal feasts - an experience that you will never forget for the rest of your life.

Not just fitness - a life changing experience for everyone!!

Check it out - looks very cool!!

Efforts to Establish National Standards for Survivorship Care

FCCC Leads Efforts to Establish National Standards for Survivorship Care 

A happy trend in cancer care is addressing the unique needs of cancer survivors, and those living with metastatic cancer.

There are important physical and emotional challenges that are faced every day.  Handling this well, and providing the right support, is an important direction in medical care.

Monday, March 19, 2012

"Working Out is the New Cancer Wonder Drug"

Activating the body in your fight against cancer is an important part of Survival.
Start with a simple plan. Do something you like to do, or would like to learn. Then go from there.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cadmium in diet is linked to higher breast cancer risk | Stronger Than Cancer

Cadmium in diet is linked to higher breast cancer risk | Stronger Than Cancer

Excellent study shows link of breast cancer with cadmium in the diet, but this is far less risk than the toxic levels of estrogenics in our environment!!

Hopefully, this leads to more research on the subject!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Skin cancer drug?

Skin cancer drug hopes raised by study | Stronger Than Cancer

There's interesting new developments in the treatment of skin cancer, an area where there has been little progress in the form of treatments. The results are encouraging, but when you look at the real numbers:

In the trial, only about half saw benefits from the drug.

And the end result, is the patients lived about 6 months longer.

None of this information was set against any difficulty or side effects. Would a patient think that it's worth it to live a few months longer, if they are miserable from the side effects of treatment?

While this drug will surely be promoted and given to patients, rarely are the other issues discussed.

In cancer treatment - now more than ever - with all the new cancer drugs being developed, we need to have a quantifiable way to measure the return on investment. Target the treatment, and weigh quality of life against the benefit.

If it proves worth it with all the factors considered, then that raises hope for me.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

So Hard to Quit Smoking, Even When You Have Cancer

Cancer Patients Still Smoking | Stronger Than Cancer

It makes me sad when I see those facing cancer unable to quit smoking. There is so much going on, we can't really blame them.

It's like the combination of an addictive drug, societies expectations, ego, emotions, the trauma of their diagnosis all teaming up against this person who needs strength and support. They are finding their support in cigarettes, and it is making them worse.

It is like all these factors have convinced the person to turn against himself and give into the cancer.

At one time, it was very hard for me to understand this.

I never smoked.

But having gone through the panic of cancer, I do understand how it becomes even harder to quit when you are in the midst of treatment.

There were many things that I knew I should be doing: exercise more, eat certain foods, etc, that I simply didn't have the energy, or more likely, mental capacity to begin until years after treatment was over.

Yes, I took baby steps. I did what I could. But we are in high stress survival mode. It would be like asking one of our troops at war to quit smoking while he's in the trenches. Sure, his health would improve, but 99.9% of his brain is focused on something else. It would probably take a few years after returning home from the war, when the soldier is able to shift his focus to the task of quitting smoking.

To those that do manage to quit - you are superstars!!

To those that can't - don't throw it away - keep it as a goal, even if you can't achieve it today.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Don't Just Read The Warning Label - Know the Ingredients

Time For Some Anti-Cancer Housekeeping

I always have thought that I was careful to stick to brands that use quality ingredients, and that I use household products safely, but the more you learn, the more you realize, that we are surrounded by chemicals that can affect our health.

With cancer rates going up, even if you have no family history of cancer, watch out for chemicals and cancer-causing ingredients that don't come with a warning label.

It's not enough to read the label - you have to know what those ingredients are.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Read the Label - Even if You Have Cancer

Drug is still approved, but update that warning label to include a deadly brain infection...

Cancer drug gets stronger label warning | Stronger Than Cancer

Interestingly, when you are diagnosed with cancer, your doctor RARELY shows you the label, or even discusses the risks of the drugs that you take.

They will go over the side effects. A casual, "Well, you may experience some fatigue, or loss of appetite..." but unless you ask, they rarely will tell you, "..and it will increase your risk of heart disease, and leukemia, or a deadly brain infection..."

It is important that all patients ask for documentation about the drugs they are prescribed. Not just cancer drugs, but anything.

Amazingly, there are brand-name drugs for things like headaches, marketed directly to consumers, that require a prescription, that are NO better than ibuprofen, that have serious side effects.

It's up to the patient to determine if the risks outweigh the benefit of any drug.

Read labels. It's your body. Talk to your doctor about alternatives.

When you've made an informed decision to take a drug, then you can be sure that it is the best decision.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Teens Fighting Cancer

Teens Fighting Cancer | Stronger Than Cancer

As rates of cancer increase in the teen population, medical teams are faced with not just treating the cancer, but also the emotional challenges they face as they are preparing to enter the world.

I love the stories about the inner strength these teens have when faced with cancer, but it doesn't make the sad truth that cancer rates are going up any less disturbing.

Cancer rates among children and teens just don't go up for no reason. We can't blame this on smoking, or drinking, or poor lifestyle choices that erode health over time - they are directly responding to either 1) environmental toxins, or 2) the recent introduction of Genetically Engineered Foods that have become ubiquitous in the past decade.... or maybe it's because more and more children are put on medications just to get through the school-day.

Something is breaking down in their bodies. We can treat it, try to cure it, help them cope emotionally, hope they survive, but until we start to address the root causes (and maybe it's a combination of causes) we will continue to see more and more cases.

Time for policy change in the interest of public health.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

There Won't Be a Single Cure for Cancer

Curing cancer: a reality check | Stronger Than Cancer

A great article, with the right perspective, and of course - it's from Canada. I don't know why organizations here can't publish thoughtful, realistic perspectives on the War on Cancer; it seems as though every article is just a promotion for drug companies, or fund raising for organizations looking for the "Cure".

There isn't going to be a single "Cure". There isn't going to be a cancer vaccine. There will be many ways to attack cancer - there already are many ways to attack cancer, many cancers respond to this, and many don't. We just need to move toward identifying the paths that will help us fight more and more cancers. Getting rid of cancer is going to be a long and slow process - but hopefully, with the right emphasis, it will be steady progress in the right direction.

But most important, for any of us who live outside the lab, and who aren't actively researching the 'cure' for each of these cancers, the point that was made - that we could cut cancer in HALF through prevention - is better than any treatments that are discovered for any particular type of cancer.

The article continues to list several lifestyle changes that can help prevent cancer - we also need to consider environmental causes and try to minimize that as well.

Begin with yourself, and your family, and your immediate environment to cut cancer rates. Then let's expand to our communities - reduce toxins from local industry, provide healthier foods in schools. And as a country we could do more - proper labeling or banning of GM foods, reduce (or eliminate) BPA packaging.

To me, this sounds more like a 'War on Cancer' than all the hundreds of targeted therapies we have yet to discover.