American Cancer Society Recommends Diet and Exercise

May 28th, 2012

Report extracted from another blog: http://www.canceractive.com

The American Cancer Society has published new and extensive data on Diet and Exercise as two essential complementary therapies for people who have had cancer.

The report (the Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors; Published in May 2012) states that there is strong evidence that an active lifestyle and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help cancer survivors live longer and stay cancer-free.

“There´s just been an explosion of research in this area that gives us the confidence that these things matter” said Colleen Doyle, Director of nutrition and physical activity for the American Cancer Society.

The, American Cancer Society Recommends Diet and Exercise  report, published online in A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, provides guidelines, based on the results of more than 100 studies released since 2006. Weight control is another essential part of the complementary plan, which has three parts:

1. Get regular aerobic and resistance exercise;

2. Eat a diet low in red meat and saturated fats, and high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains;

3. Use other weight-management strategies, such as portion control, to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

The research was said to be ´overwhelming´, and people who have had cancer are urged to build these three therapies into their Integrated Treatment program.

Ed: A report like this is very important since they have clearly reviewed a large number of separate research studies before coming to their conclusions and the American Cancer Society is both authoritative and independent.

The report debunks the common myth of UK oncologists that ´changing your diet, if you have cancer does not make a jot of difference´ as one oncologist Professor claimed in a top UK medical journal a couple of years ago. It provides reassurance to patients who do change their diets yet are greeted with anything from indifference to hostility by oncologists – several have reported to us that they have been ´laughed at´.

But, we have ourselves published a stack of research in icon magazine on diet. For example there is so much research that shows that you must cut your glucose intake (as glucose encourages cancer cells and tumours to grow according to 4 research studies in the last three years – people with the highest blood glucose levels survive the least); and cut all cows´ dairy (as this increases levels of IGF-1 a cellular growth hormone in the body).

Frankly, I hope you take this report and give it to any oncologist who is a diet doubter.

The report goes further than diet.

In line with all the research CANCERactive has presented, exercise works like a secondary treatment ´drug´ – there are many (usually American) studies that show Light Daily Exercise (from yoga to jogging) can increase survival times by 50 per cent.

And again we have told you of research about weight control – we told you that research by Northwestern Medical School said that it was never too late to start.

If only UK oncologists would understand that these three complementary therapies can help their patients survive longer they would realise the benefit to the patient and, ultimately, to the National Health Service, as the need for further treatment would be lessened, along with the costs. The report talks of preventing the return of cancer!

It´s a win-win situation.

Finally, the report makes those people who like to decry all complementary therapies look positively dangerous to your health. We know of one Professor who always writes on complementary therapies putting  ‘ no-evidence’  in brackets after the term. Admittedly he is a chemist or pharmacologist or something non-related so he has some excuse as cancer complementary therapies are probably not his strong suit, but he is just an example of the uninformed, negative nonsense talked in Britain today. And if one patient desists from using a complementary therapy because of this propaganda and the therapy could have increased their survival time then you have to be worried for patients.

Just as we have maintained at CANCERactive, the ACS are saying that there has been ´an explosion´ of research – ´overwhelming´ evidence.

Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Options

May 27th, 2012

Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Options – Opinion
Knowledge of  prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment options available, as well as the risks associated with each one is the first step in the process that will lead to one of the most important decisions of your life. That is, deciding whether or not to blindly accept, without question,  the advice of medical professionals to have life changing medical procedures or to take time out to study and research the diagnosis and the suggested treatment options, together with the health implications of each one, both short and long term. The potential side effects of some of the treatments are too life altering to leave this decision to chance and remember, prostate cancer is slow growing so there is plenty of time to consider your options.

To start with have a meaningful discussion with your doctor. Ask questions about each medical treatment option available to you and in particular, the side effects you need to be aware of especially those that will affect your ongoing quality of life.

While your treatment options become less viable if your cancer has progressed to areas away from your prostate gland, it is then even more important to be aware of what to expect following any treatment.

Some doctors and specialists; urologists and oncologists alike, can be biased when suggesting treatment options, promoting unnecessary treatments, CT scans, X rays, biopsies, and worst of all, surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy without fully considering the negative physical and mental implications to the patient. This will include impotence or incontinence (urinary and/or bowel), inconvenience and financial impost, together with pain and suffering. Such “preferred” treatments may not be the best clinical option for that patient. A factor that some men will find hard to accept I know but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence confirming this does happen, and all too often.

It is essential therefore, to seek a second and even a third opinion as to the correct diagnosis and prognosis to find consensus as to the most appropriate treatment option. Although it is possible, even probable, that you will receive diverse opinion from each consultation you will at least end up with enough knowledge and information to allow for further research and discussion.

The end decision is yours and yours alone so keep asking questions until you are confident of the route you want to take. Do not be ‘frightened’ into a hasty decision you will regret later. Prostate cancer is slow growing so time is on your side. Fear of cancer is your worst enemy.

Here are some of the options open to you.

Surgery:
Surgical options available are as follows…
A prostatectomy is where your entire prostate gland is completely removed.
A lymph node dissection is where only the nodes surrounding the urethra are removed
Each of the above procedures requires a hospital stay and you would be anaesthetized. These procedures can be effective although cancers have been known to return weeks, months, or several years afterward (metastasis). As well, side effects can include urinary incontinence, impotence and infertility.

A major consideration is that any invasive procedure runs a high risk of permitting the escape of microscopic cancer cells into the blood stream and migrating to other parts of the body, causing metastasis. And more often than not it is the secondary cancer, the metastasis, which is the deadlier one.

Radiotherapy:
There are 2 common approaches to radiation therapy in treating prostate cancer, external beam radiotherapy and brachytherapy.
External beam radiotherapy is a procedure where a high energy radioactive source is used to project a beam at your prostate from a short distance outside your pelvic area. No anesthesia is required and it is done on an out-patient basis. It is typically done on 5 consecutive days over a period of about 5 to 7 weeks.

Brachytherapy:  is the usage of about 100 to 150 small radioactive pellets or seeds. They are placed directly into your prostate with a syringe a few at a time; it usually takes up to 40 injections to implant them all. This procedure is painful and requires a general anesthetic.

These two procedures use radioactivity to burn away cancerous cells. Side effects include impotence, inflammation of both bladder and rectum. Cancers have been known to return.

Chemotherapy:
Drugs known to be toxic to cancerous cells are introduced to your body. It is used to slow cancerous growths and relieve pain. It is not a cure but it can be used to help patients where ‘cures’ by other means are not possible. But it does damage normal cells and can have a devastating effect on ones immune system – right at the time it needs to be optimized – not reduced.

Please do note also that the No. 1 side effect of chemotherapy is – get this – developing other cancers!  Did you know that in the USA, approximately 50% of all income made by the oncologist is from recommending Chemotherapy treatment? A nice earner indeed.  So isn’t the oncologist more likely to have a personal bias for this treatment option, one not necessarily in your best interest?

High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)
HIFU is a procedure that uses sound waves to destroy cancerous cells. A focused ultrasound beam is aimed only at the regions of the prostate that are diseased with cancer. The cells targeted are destroyed using heat. Surrounding tissue is not affected by the beam and remains undamaged.

The entire prostate can be exposed to the ultrasound beam in about three hours. The procedure is done quickly and is effective in eradicating prostate cancer in over 90% of patients treated. Side effects are minimal resulting in urinary incontinence in only 5% of patients. Only 8% suffered urethral blockage and about 40% suffered sexual impotence. Impotence drops to 20% in patients whose cancer does not affect the prostate nerve. These reasons alone make HIFU the choice you should make when thinking about prostate cancer treatment.

Watchful Waiting:
This is a process of not treating the disease but monitoring it to see whether or not the condition will worsen and if it does, how quickly.

Active Surveillance:
As mentioned, in the past, the term watchful waiting meant no treatment until the further development of metastatic disease, after which androgen ablation (hormonal) therapy was commenced.

Today, men who have very low to low risk prostate cancer, and who choose not to have immediate treatment, are closely monitored with follow up intervention – where necessary – and when a cure is still considered possible.

This is commonly referred to, in conventional medical parlance at least, as active surveillance with selective delayed remedial intervention. This means that men undergo periodic evaluations including PSA tests, digital rectal examinations, and prostate biopsies. If there is evidence that the cancer is progressing, treatment is recommended with the intention of eradicating the disease.

Away form the more conventional forms of treatment above is what I consider to be the more enlightened way. It is the more beneficial way too with much better outcomes in most cases.

I’m talking about another form of Active Surveillance which follows a more holistic philosophy, using natural, alternative remedies. This is the course I have followed, seemingly very successfully, for the past seven years.. I do have half yearly blood analysis to check on various aspects of my physiology, including kidney (I have one only) and liver functioning, which is then followed up with my Urologist.

PSA Blood Test:

My PSA result is  recorded every six months or so. But I tend to ignore the results. Not only are the known causes for an elevated PSA many and varied and often unrelated to prostate cancer, the pathology too, is unreliable, being subjective. Identical specimens sent to two different pathology laboratories will invariably produce different results.

Routine Tests:

I routinely decline all offers of conventional medical treatment. Neither do I accept specific prostate tests, such as annual digital rectal examination, nuclear bone scans and prostate biopsies. And I won’t, certainly not whilst I have no clinical symptoms indicating otherwise. Having no perceived symptoms currently does not necessarily mean I have managed to kill it off, but I am sure hoping so. Without taking the option of further conventional tests, a biopsy for example, I’m afraid only time will tell. But I’m happy with that.

Benign Prostate Hyperplasia BPH

Now in my eighth year since diagnosis with an aggressive (Gleason grade 9. 5+4) prostate cancer, I have no obvious symptoms indicative of cancer. Of more concern to me is an enlarged prostate gland. This has given me serious problems from time to time over some 20 years, with numerous hospitalizations with blood clots blocking bladder action and necessitating surgery, three trans urethral resection of the prostate (TURP), during that period.

The last such procedure being in mid 2010 when a core biopsy taken evidenced no cancer cells present. A very encouraging outcome indeed, though I hasten to add this result is not conclusive. It was a biopsy on the prostate gland internal core only, so it cannot be said that there is no cancer present elsewhere, on the periphery of the gland for instance. To know that I would need to subject myself to another biopsy similar to the one at diagnosis and that I will not accept. Nevertheless, from my perspective, it does sound promising. And the result did confound two resident urologists attending. That in itself was pleasing.

Treatment Decisions Are Yours and Yours Alone:

Decisions to be made about cancer treatments are very individual ones. No two people are the same as indeed, no two cancers are the same. Even secondary cancers can be of a different type than the first one.

What matters is that the individual, using all available resources and information available to him, satisfies himself as the course of action he wants and then he must be prepared to stick with that decision come what may.

Prostate Specific Antigen PSA Blood Test

May 20th, 2012

More often than not the first indication that something is amiss with ones prostate gland is experiencing one or more of several problems, including pain or discomfort when urinating, needing to wee frequently at night, difficulty starting or stopping the flow, an intermittent flow, dribbling and even blood in the urine. However, these symptoms more commonly indicate an enlarged prostate gland, known as benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), rather than cancer. And the two are not necessarily related.

The doctor will then check for elevated Prostate Specific Antigen PSA, identified by blood analysis. A higher than normal reading will often lead to an immediate suspicion of cancer. Prostate specific antigens are enzymes produced by prostate gland cells. An increased level in the circulation is an indication that prostate gland cells are more prolific than is normal or that the prostate gland is over active, or both.

A digital rectal examination (DRE) is then done in the doctor’s rooms with one gloved finger inserted into the patient’s anus, allowing the doctor to feel the texture of the gland surface. A pitted or rough, granulated surface being evidence of probable cancer. By the way gents, don’t even think of suggesting a second opinion here or you might simply get two fingers instead of one. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself).

In several earlier posts I have clearly stated my doubt as to the true value of relying on PSA readings. In fact, even though I do submit to a six monthly blood test, I do so mainly to check on the health of my lone kidney rather than for any other benefits it may give me. I never let the reading, high or low, worry me. My urologist however, usually expresses concern when the reading goes up but says little when it goes down. Probably because there is no way he can identify the true cause of the fluctuation, due to the many unrelated health factors at play with the PSA, both psychological and physiological.

As indicated above, my own PSA bounces around quite a bit. At the beginning of 2006, when first diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer (Gleason 5+4=9, Stage T2) my prostate specific antigen reading was 7.4 ng/ml. It is currently 24 ng/ml. Although my Prostate Specific Antigen PSA Blood Test levels have bounced around quite a bit in the 7 year period since diagnosis the trend, albeit slow, has been upward.

That being the case, some people would have it that I should be worried. My urologist for instance, keeps suggesting I need to do something positive about it, like have hormone treatment for starters. He just doesn’t seem to get it that I am doing something positive about it. I am spending a lot of money and time with my alternative health regimen and my personally formulated diet. A costly exercise indeed and with which I appear to be getting excellent results, but one that doesn’t put money into his pocket, of course. Disappointingly,  my urologist has not detailed the negative aspects and long term side effects of hormone treatment, which my research tells me is considerable.

By any measure, I do not exhibit physical signs of having cancer at all so I guess my regimen is working fine for me.  Being busy and positive in both mind and spirit are possibly my main weapons in my armory for fighting cancer. Not forgetting also the ever critical, unstinting, magnificent, self-sacrificing and untiring support of my dear wife.

The prestigious British Medical Journal has reported that in a 20 year study following over 9000 men, the PSA test offered no improvement in their lifespan. Meaning there was no difference in mortality between men who were PSA tested and men who were not. Many other studies are on par with this result but as always, there are studies indicating the contrary.

I believe it reasonable to conclude however, that the PSA test is nothing more than an exercise in futility, aimed primarily at frightening men into having unnecessary, expensive, high profit and potentially harmful prostate cancer treatments. Over-diagnosis and over-treatment is the result.

PROSTATE SPECIFIC ANTIGEN PSA BLOOD TEST readings will vary from day to day, as determined by numerous factors including, but not limited to, general well-being, fever, and recent sexual activity.

Doctors’ tend to ignore the lower (PSA) reading and hit on the high one to ‘encourage’ (or should I say ‘panic’) men into early acceptance of a cancer diagnosis.

All too often men with a high Prostate Specific Antigen PSA Blood Test reading are found, following surgery, not to have cancer at all, whereas men with a low, seemingly insignificant reading will be found to have it.  Over-diagnosis and over-treatment is the result and serves only to boost the coffers of the medical fraternity. So why should a chap put himself through such an unnecessary process at all.

What all this really boils down to is that before undertaking any medical or surgical procedure it is essential to fully explore all options, both conventional and natural. Seek second or even third opinions from medical specialists and other health professionals, take notes and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Talk to anyone who will listen and especially those who have been down the same track, especially in forums discussing your particular medical condition. Do your own research on the internet. And don’t be hurried into making a decision.

Ultimately, the decision making process becomes much easier with the new knowledge and added insight, providing the confidence you will need to make the choice that is best for you.

See also: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/panel-says-no-to-routine-prostate-cancer-testing-201205224748

AND:       https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/psa-screening-for-prostate-cancer-a-doctors-perspective-201205234756

Glutathione Health Benefits versus Glutamine Health Benefits

April 7th, 2012
    Glutathione versus Glutamine?
Glutathione is an antioxidant, one of the human body’s most powerful antioxidant particles,
while glutamine is an amino acid. However, Glutathione is also said to be an amino acid but a different kind,
as it is a material resulting from several types of amino acids. This material is also beneficial to the body
as an antioxidant as these help avoid cancer from occurring by preventing carcinogens and other cancer-causing
substances from damaging important cellular components in a human body.
Read the rest of this entry »

Probiotic Formula – What Exactly Is It?

April 2nd, 2012
What Exactly Is in a Probiotic Formula?  
Everyone has heard about probiotics. Doctors are recommending them to many of their patients, and they are also easily found in many supermarkets and drug stores.They are being advertised on television, in magazines, and in newspapers. But what exactly is probiotics?Throughout our entire body, we have living bacteria living in a mutual relationship with our body. As humans, we do not bother or harm these bacteria unless a disease is harming us.And these bacteria do not harm humans but actually help us function properly. These bacteria live everywhere throughout our body; inside of our mouths, the bottom of our intestines and even on the outer layer of our skin.Our body utilizes these organisms to the best of its ability to help the body fight off infection if needed, or in general to help the body function.

In the gastrointestinal tract, humans have many different types of these bacteria living there. Bacteria in the stomach thrive in extremely acidic conditions, which is why the stomach and intestines are filled with bacteria.

These organisms help the body break down food into vital nutrients that it needs to work properly, such as different types of vitamins and minerals.

When the bacteria levels in the gut become low, probiotics are almost always taken orally in order to replenish these bacteria that the body needs for digestion.

Probiotics are a supplement containing the live bacteria inside it. Once the capsule is taken, it dissolves in the gastrointestinal system allowing for the bacteria to be replenished.

The most common type of live culture found in probiotic supplements is Lactobacillus, Bafidiobacteria, and L. acidophilus.

All three of these bacteria aid in the digestion in humans by breaking down nutrients. It is important to understand that only good bacteria are used in creating probiotic supplements. Bacteria that are beneficial to the body and are naturally found in the digestive tract of the body are the only type of bacteria used in these supplements.

There are many types of microorganisms living, which can be either harmful or beneficial to the body. Scientists and manufacturers of probiotics are specifically only using the beneficial bacteria that are naturally found in the gastrointestinal tract of humans.

Probiotic supplements are taken orally, and can come in either a pill or liquid type. Each serve the same purpose, and there are different types of probiotics solely for the purpose of preference by the patient. A doctor may prescribe one versus another, but either way liquid versus oral pill will do the same exact thing.

There is a type of PROBIOTIC called “multi-probiotic” which simply means there is more than one type of bacteria found in this supplement.

This type is beneficial to patients with multiple gastrointestinal problems, and also will allow patients who have low bacteria counts in their gastrointestinal tract to quickly bring their bacteria count back up to normal healthy levels.

Although this probiotic is less common, it still serves the same benefits as a normal probiotic that only contains one type of bacteria.

Learn about the different brands of probiotics.

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