Categories Prostate Cancer

Emerging Treatments for Prostate Cancer

With cancer being such a big problem these days, it is no wonder that many researchers are submerged in their efforts to find a cure. Although many different types of cancers affect men and women, blacks and whites, children and elderly, one type is certain to affect only males: prostate cancer. In labs all over the world, scientists are developing news strategies for fighting prostate cancer. The test subjects of these experimental drugs and regimens are men with advanced stage prostate cancer. The reason for this is because that no other types of treatment have yet worked, thus giving great promise to the experimental treatments. Plus, because the cancer is so advanced, any change due to the new treatment will be more noticeable, giving researchers “the upper hand.”

Most of these new medications and treatment methods for prostate cancer are known as Targeted Therapies. Basically, these attack the individual cancer cells themselves, unlike chemotherapy and radiation, which can’t differentiate between cancer cells and healthy cells, thus leading to adverse side effects. Some of these new treatments can actually inhibit the cancer cells communication, preventing them from further growth and spreading. Although these types of treatments are in the early stages (the FDA has not approved them yet), they show great promise in controlling and possibly eradicating prostate cancer altogether.

Several different types of Targeted Therapies are in the process of being developed. One method involves altering the growth of cancer through its complex communications network by changing the fats and proteins that are used in this communication system. Although this method has proven mostly unsuccessful, the research involved has helped scientists understand Targeted Therapy more, giving them more knowledge when dealing with other drugs, especially the synergy of two drugs (the ways that drugs might interact to fight disease).

Another method of Targeted Therapy involves the interference of the spread of prostate cancer. When cancer cells divide and spread, new blood vessels must sprout from the old ones in order to keep the cancer cells healthy and growing. This process is called angiogenesis. If angiogenesis could be inhibited in some way, the new cancer cells would die, thus preventing the cancer from ever growing to a larger state. One drug has specifically come out for this purpose (Avastin), but the FDA approved it for colorectal cancer only. However, it is now being tested in patients with breast cancer, and even prostate cancer. Although this treatment doesn’t rid the patient of the cancer, it does add promise to being able to live with the cancer until a definitive cure comes out.

A final type of Targeted Therapy being worked on stems from the notion of harnessing one’s own immune system to fight off the disease. Most vaccine are called preventive vaccines, which introduce small amounts of a virus into the body so that later, if the body ever comes into contact with it, the body will be able to recognize it and fight it off. The problem with cancer is that it never was a foreign virus: it used to be healthy human tissue. Thus, scientists are now working on what are called therapeutic vaccines, which enable the immune system to recognize certain proteins that are specific to cancer cells, giving the body the opportunity to fight off the cancer.

Categories Prostate Cancer

Diagnosing Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world. Everyone, therefore, should be informed about it. The following steps will guide you in diagnosing this disease.

Step 1

Know the risk factors for prostate cancer. These include family history of prostate cancer in a first degree relative, older age, African American race and a diet rich in animal fat.

Step 2

Perform the following prostate cancer screening in all men:

A rectal exam performed by a health care provider to feel for any lumps or irregularities in the prostate gland.

A blood test that measures prostate specific antigen (PSA). PSA is a protein produced by the prostate. Although many men with prostate cancer have an elevated PSA concentration (above 4.0 ng/mL), an elevated level does not always mean a cancer is present.

Step 3

Perform a trans rectal ultrasound if above tests are positive. It can be done in an office.

Step 4

If all of the above tests are positive, do a prostate biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Tips and facts:

It is important to distinguish Prostate cancer from Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) which is a non-malignent or benigh condition that occurs when the prostate enlarges, slowing or blocking the urine outflow. Treatment of BPH is aimed at reducing the urinary symptoms and improving urine flow. This may also include the surgical or endoscopic removal of the hypertrophied gland. For more information on Benigh Prostate Hypertrophy please read my article titled, ‘Treatment of Benigh Prostate Hypertrophy’

Categories Other Cancers

Canine Lung Cancer

Having pets has proven to help us reduce stress in our lives and help us live longer. They have become parts of our family, developing personalities of their own. So when our beloved dog is diagnosed with lung cancer, what can we do to make sure our pet has the best care? These guidelines can help with the prevention, symptoms, and treatments for canine lung cancer.

Causes and Risk Factors

Canine lung cancer can affect any type of dog. It is more common among the medium and larger dogs, more so the older ones. There has been studies showing second-hand smoke could cause canine lung cancer. Make sure your dog has regular check-ups and at the first sign of something wrong take him to the vet. This can help prolong your dog’s life. Information used in this article can be online and does not serve as an alternative to veterinarian advice. Please consult with you pet’s vet for more information.

Symptoms

Diagnosis and treatment

Canine lung cancer can be detected through x-rays. The x-ray can show the enlarged lymph nodes, and a biopsy can be done to test for lung cancer. If the cancer remains in one area, surgery is recommended. Other areas can be treated with chemotherapy and radiation to help prevent the spread of the cancer. Pain relief medications are used to help make the dog more comfortable and help with any pain they may be experiencing. In addition, there are many natural remedies that can aid in the treatment of cancer by strengthening the immune system. Dietary supplements and different herbal formulas include Red Clovers and Alfalfa. Other remedies and information can be found at www.natural-dog-health-remedies.com .The prognosis of canine lung cancer can be anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years.

Finding out your dog has lung cancer can be devastating. The most important thing for you to do at this point in your dog’s life is to make him comfortable and happy. Give him lots of love and attention. Be sure to educate you and your family on the disease and other ways to help your dog cope with this illness.

www.dog-health-guide.org

www.natural-dog-health-remedies.com

Categories Other Cancers

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms by Stage

It is estimated that over 21,000 cases of ovarian cancer will have been diagnosed in 2018, making up 3 percent of all cancer cases for women. Although the five-year survival rate is over 50 percent, 15,000 people in 2018 died from ovarian cancer. These statistics should emphasize that, despite progress in combating the disease, women should be aware of the signs and symptoms related to ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer growths originate from the ovaries, the female reproductive organs responsible for creating eggs. It typically develops in the ovary linings. There are no known direct causes attributed to ovarian cancer, but there are hereditary factors that can contribute to being diagnosed with it. Statistics suggest that white women 50 years or older are more likely to get ovarian cancer than other population groups.

Early Stage and Symptoms. In the zero or first stage, ovarian cancer cells are present inside one or both ovaries but no cells are present outside of them. There are no visible symptoms for stage 1 ovarian cancer. These symptoms usually show up when the tumor has grown large enough to pressure other organs. If ovarian cancer is discovered at this point, it is usually through a routine pelvic exam.

Stage 2 Symptoms. At stage 2, the ovarian cancer has spread from the ovaries and possibly into the fallopian tubes or other pelvic organs. Pelvic pain, abdominal swelling and frequent urination could indicate the existence of ovarian cancer tumors. Signs and symptoms of stage 2 ovarian cancer they are hard to distinguish among other possible diseases. This makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose ovarian cancer at early stages.

Stage 3 Symptoms. At stage 3, the ovarian cancer has spread beyond the reproductive organs and into the abdomen or surrounding lymph nodes. They could also spread to the rectum. Gas, constipation and diarrhea could also be signs, as well as abnormal menstruation and pain during intercourse.

Stage 4 Symptoms. When ovarian cancer reaches stage 4, it means that the cancer cells have spread into other organs such as the liver, lung or intestines and possibly other lymph nodes. Doctors sometimes find cancer cells in the lung fluid, indicating how far it has spread. Associated symptoms would be a collection of fluids around the abdomen which arises from liver failure, labored breathing from infected lungs, or the inability to properly digest food due to cancer-laden intestines. The 5-year survival rate at stage 4, according to cancer.org, is 17 percent.

Categories Blog

Vegetables that Prevent and Fight Cancer

Recent studies have shown that there are many vegetables that are effective in fighting and preventing many different types of cancer. They should not be used in place of traditional treatment for those who have been diagnosed with cancer, but can be used as part of a cancer-fighting regimen. The benefit of fighting cancer with vegetables is that they are far less likely than traditional treatments such as chemotherapy to cause sickness and harm to other parts of the body.

Cauliflower, Broccoli, and Cabbage

This family of cruciferous vegetables, including but not limited to cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage, releases a chemical called Phenethyl-isothiocyanate when they are chewed. This chemical induces cancerous cells to turn against themselves, which can greatly reduce the size of cancerous tumors.

Hot Peppers

Although it can sometimes be difficult to stomach spicy foods when you are feeling sick, hot peppers have been shown to reduce the size of tumors in pancreatic cancer, a very aggressive and usually fatal form of cancer. The chemical in peppers that makes them spicy, capsaicin, is the element that caused cancer cells to kill themselves, leading to the conclusion that the spicier the pepper, the more effective it is. Maybe the cancer just can’t take the heat!

Ginger

One study found that simple powdered ginger was highly effective in killing cancer cells, not only through the typical method of cancer cells killing themselves, but also through a more unusual form of cancer cell self-cannibalization. This is especially good because cancers that are resistant to chemotherapy can be targeted through ginger.

Carrots

Carrots are one of the earlier vegetables to have been found to fight cancer. Studies have been a bit inconclusive on what exactly in them is effective, but they suggest that carotene (the element that makes them orange) has an effect, as does falcarinol, a natural pesticide found in carrots.

All Other Vegetables

As a cancer prevention tactic, eating a variety of vegetables is sure to increase the healthy functioning of your body by making sure it has all the vitamins and minerals it needs to fight off cancer and any other disease or illness! Generally, raw vegetables (in their crunchy form, or juiced from that crunchy form) are most effective, but if you can’t stand it raw, go ahead and cook them to get at least some benefit!

Sources
Vegetable Compounds Combat Cancer: Scientific American
Eat Carrots to Fight Cancer: News-Medical

Categories Other Cancers

Breast Cancer Misconceptions

Those working toward ending breast cancer have been plagued for years about the connection between abortions and miscarriages and breast cancer. Many have speculated that an induced abortion (or spontaneous abortion, as miscarriages are known as) have led to higher developments of breast cancer because of hormonal levels that lead to changes in the breasts (“Abortion, Miscarriage, and Breast Cancer Risk”). The National Cancer Institute consulted 100 experts on pregnancy and breast cancer and came to the definitive conclusion that there is no correlation between abortion and miscarriage and the risk of breast cancer (“Abortion, Miscarriage…”)

A more devastating myth is the notion that mammograms detect 100% of all breast cancers. In reality, mammograms falsely misdiagnose 35 to 70 out of 1,000 women as not having breast cancer when they do (“Mammography”). Human error is to account in most cases although there are still limitations in technology. However, it is important to realize that mammograms remain the only screening method available to find early onset breast cancer, so discounting them as unhelpful or unnecessary could lead many women to live with untreated cancer for an extended time. Mammograms should be utilized as cautionary tools. If a suspicious lump is visible and mammograms do not detect it, patients should request another mammogram or biopsy of the lump.

The road to requesting a mammogram often begins with monthly breast self-examination. Many look to this procedure as a fail-safe method toward determining if their lump is cancerous or not. A startling report has been released in recent months that highlight the ineffectiveness of self-exams. While many grassroots advocacy groups have persevered with their conviction that breast self examinations (BSE) are unhelpful and often stressful for women, it is only in recent months that groups such as the Canadian and American Cancer Societies have shied away from advocating BSE in their prevention tip brochures. Doctors and researchers reason that most lumps discovered from BSE’s are typically benign and cause undue worry and fear in patients. They maintain that the best screening method remains regularly scheduled yearly mammograms for women over 40.

While mammograms are known to dispense false prognosis in some cases, they still remain the best pre-diagnostic tool available. The American Cancer Society recommends that women 40 to 49 should have a screening performed every two years, and once a year for women age 50 and older (“Breast Cancer and Care”). More than 90% of breast cancers are detected from a mammogram (“Breast Cancer…”). A mammogram is an x-ray imaging of the breast, designed to detect suspicious lumps through low dose x-rays. While discovered some years earlier in Europe, the method was not used widely in the United States until the 1950’s. New developments in film imaging has reduced the amount of radiation needed to produce a picture and thus lessened the controversy surrounding the practice of mammography (“Mammography”).

Categories Other Cancers

How a Seemingly Cursed Breast-Cancer Diagnosis Proved a Blessing

Twelves days after my 20th birthday, my mother died with a cancerous brain tumor after only a short illness. So even though it was 24 years later when my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was devastated.

My sister, 9 years older than I, had filled my mother’s shoes as best she could. She held our family of 4 boys and 3 girls together. She hosted holidays at her home and kept in touch with us all even when we didn’t keep in touch with each other. You know the way a mom does. She was there for me when I got married, when I had my two children and when I went through the divorce. My sister was always taking care of me.

Immediately I starting questioning God. I am a Christian and believe that God does everything for a reason. So I wanted to know right away what in the world He was up to. Why would he allow my sister to have cancer after losing my mother to this horrible disease. And immediately my sister started in on me to get a mammogram. Being a single parent of two college aged children, doctor visits where a luxury that I could not afford even with insurance. I was never sick so I didn’t even have a doctor, so my sister encouraged me to contact her doctor for a physical and a mammogram.

At age 45, and my first mammogram ever, I had breast cancer. When I got the call from the doctor to come in to his office I already knew what he was going to say. My children insisted on going with me and I insisted that they stay in the waiting room while I met with the doctor. He assured me that all would be well because it was small and it had been found early.

After a few tears, I collected myself and when out to face my children in the waiting room, I wasn’t even sure I could tell them without crying, but I needed to be strong for them or so I thought. I did it, I told them it was cancer and I didn’t cry and then we rushed on to church just like we did every other Wednesday night.

The next few weeks were filled with doctor appointments, surgeon and oncologist. At the follow up visit after my surgery, the doctor informed me of the type of cancer and told me that even though it was small and I had no lymph node involvement, that this cancer was fast growing and that in 2 to 3 years he would have not been able to help me with surgery. This was it! The answer to my prayer. I had asked God why and this was it. My sister had cancer to save my life.

She was talking care of me still. We went through chemo and radiation together. I helped her pick out her wig and she helped me pick out mine. During the summer of 2001 we helped each other survive. Together we learned first had what it meant to have the support of someone else who knew what you were going through and with the love of a sister.

Today, we are cancer-free, and with the help of some other cancer survivors, we started a cancer support group for women. The name of our group is SIS, Sisters In Survival. We do volunteer work through the local American Cancer Society, Reach to Recovery and Relay for Life. God not only answered my question that day, but showed me a new ministry for my life. If you had asked me back when I was going through the treatments I would have no doubt told you that having cancer was a curse, but now? What can I say , I am blessed!

Categories Blog

Cancer Fighting Vegetables

It is estimated by the National Cancer Institute that approximately one third of cancer deaths are diet related. So what you eat is extremely important, especially if your family has a history of cancer. This article will highlight some vegetables that prevent cancer.

Among all the foods that combat cancer, there are numerous cancer fighting vegetables. These vegetables that prevent cancer do so by means of their antioxidant properties. Antioxidants neutralize the damage done by free radicals to your body. Some also protect the body by means of preventing the absorption of cancer causing agents. While no one vegetable, consumed en masse, will prevent cancer, cancer fighting vegetables, when taken in moderation, will significantly reduce the chances of cancer.

Avocados

While an avocado is actually a fruit, it is a main component in many vegetable and salad dishes. They have a high concentration of a powerful antioxidant called gluthaione and a good supply of potassium and beta-carotene. It is also a scientific opinion that the benefits of eating avocados as a cancer fighting vegetable extend to preventing liver cancer.

Carrots

Apart from containing good amounts of beta-carotene, carrots also have a good concentration of falcarinol. It was found by the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences that isolated cancer cells grew more slowly in the presence of falcarinol. However, don’t consume excessive amounts of carrots as an excess of beta-carotene, which carrots are extremely rich in, may actually cause cancer instead of fighting it.

Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower and Brussle Sprouts

Cruciferous vegetables comprise of a large group of cancer fighting vegetables. These release an antioxidant called sulforaphane when chewed or cut. This strong antioxidant has shown to be effective in combating colon and prostate cancers.

Spinach and Romaine

Another cancer fighting vitamin found in some vegetables that prevent cancer is folate, a B-complex vitamin. It was found that lower levels of folate results in more likely DNA mutations. Both spinach and romaine are great salad vegetables that have good quantities of folate.

Seaweed

Popular in Japanese cuisine, Seaweeds are rich in chlorophylones and chlorophyll. These fatty acids have been proven to help prevent breast cancer.

Chili Peppers and Jalapenos

While these don’t contain significant amounts of antioxidants, chili peppers and jalapenos both contain capsaicin. Capsaicin is know to neutralize nitrosamines which are the suspected cause of stomach cancer.

Sources

Acrylamide in Food and Cancer Risk, National Institute of Cancer
Home, Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences

Categories Other Cancers

Breast Cancer and My Friend Cindy

Cindy (not her real name) is a mom I met almost three years ago at my child’s elementary school. Our girls are in the same scouting troop. Cindy has Stomach Cancer. She has a wonderful husband and three lovely young children.Oh, and she also has an amazing mother-in-law. I will get to that later on.

I feel a strong bond with her children because my mom had Breast cancer when I was young. My sister was away at college and I felt all alone. My dad did not like to talk about my mom. My mom hid in her room for almost two years. Finally, when her chemotherapy treatments were finished, she came back to the living. And living she did. She lived for another 20 years and then got sick again. She died in 1995. My heart was, and still is broken. My mom was my best friend.

So, I do know what those kids are going through. The only difference is that their mom has not come back to life. I am not sure she ever will. It has been almost three years and she is still in either her bed or a hospital bed. She now has tumors in her Liver. Although her cancer is considered “stable”, Cindy is almost always in pain. Her dear mother-in-law has basically taken over. Cindy’s own mother and father have not helped at all. They live far away and are in denial. Cindy has written them off.

How do you live when you know you are dying? How does one go on? Cindy’s children want their mom back but will she ever return? Can their father replace a mother’s hugs and kisses? How do I tell my friend to live for the moment for the sake of her children when she carries such a heavy burden? Who am I to get angry when I see those kids looking so sad? I wish I had all the answers.

My friends and I share our feelings about Cindy. We feel that she is not trying hard enough to put on a “happy” face. This will be the third Christmas that the kids have to watch their mom in pain. The baby is only four. It is so unfair. I play out so many scenarios in my mind about this family’s future. I know which future I wish would come true. You all know it. The happily ever after future. This is the future where mom is not wearing a nightgown.

She is not lying in a hospital bed. She is not dying. She is attending school functions and concerts. She is decorating the Christmas Tree. She is taking the turkey out of the oven and wearing that apron that says “Mom’s the Best”. Most of all, she is living.

Categories Other Cancers

Triple Negative Breast Cancer at a Glance

Gender, age, genetics, family history, personal history and race are just some of the risk factors associated with breast cancer. For instance, inheriting a mutated form of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which under normal conditions are protective against breast cancer, increases ones risk. Breast cancer has many factors that contribute to its development. What oncologists are finding out is that breast cancer is not one cancer but many subtypes of cancer. The breast cancer subtypes are based on three receptors:

  1. Estrogen receptors
    2. Progesterone receptors
    3. Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)

Commonly used treatments for breast cancer mainly target these receptors. Breast cancers that are estrogen receptor positive (meaning the breast tumor grows when the hormone attaches itself to the receptor site) will respond to anti-estrogen drugs like Tamoxifen. So treating breast cancers that are estrogen, progesterone or HER2 positive means that drug therapy blocking these receptor sites can help treat breast cancer in those patients.

But, what happens when the tumors don’t have any of these receptors. This is exactly the case with triple negative breast cancer. The triple negative form of breast cancer gets its name because it lacks all three receptors and treating it with hormone therapy is ineffective. In the US, approximately 180,000 women are diagnosed with some form of invasive breast cancer and 15% of them have triple negative breast cancer. This type of breast cancer is rare, aggressive and difficult to treat. The only form of treatment for women with triple negative breast cancer is chemotherapy.

According to Dr. Funmi Olopade, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, patients responding well to chemotherapy have a better chance at survival. Unfortunately, the challenge for doctors and their patients is dealing with triple negative breast cancer when it reoccurs. There isn’t an effective way to treat this form of cancer when it returns because the chance of survival is not good. While more research is needed to understand triple negative breast cancer, screening is the best measure to allow for early detection. Early detection means, “Many of the women are surviving. They are beating the odds of dying because they know they can do preventive approaches to reduce their risk of dying,” Dr. Olopade said.

For more information on triple negative breast cancer check out the TNBC Foundation for news, updates and the latest on clinical trials.