Categories Blog

Silent Reflux Causes Esophageal Cancer

Do you have gastroesophageal reflux? Perhaps you feel a burning in your throat or a need to clear your throat. There are people who actually throw up because the contents that shoot from the stomach into your esophagus has a strong taste and it burns. Silent reflux causes esophageal cancer and there is no way for you to know if you have it or not without testing.

Acid reflux is an uncomfortable feeling and occurs when eating certain foods such as spaghetti sauce or spicey foods such as Mexican. Count yourself fortune if this description fits you because you will not have to worry about the deadly form of silent reflux.

For patients over 50, a routine test is ordered called a colonoscopy. However if you are under 50 it only means no routine testing will be ordered. It does not mean you are not at risk for developing silent reflux. Children are not immune from this diagnosis although it is rare in their age group.

Once routine testing shows esophageal cancer the treatment is palliative. Palliative treatment means buying the patient time to remain on this earth. There is no cure which makes this more devastating.

Surgery is the first procedure offered. Part of the stomach is fashioned to create a new esophagus. The remainder of the stomach remains high in the chest cavity. Nourishment is feeding through a tube until you are able to swallow. Meals are measured in teaspoons a few times a day. This is the same for a gastric bypass which in essence you have had. Ironically you are dying of silent reflux yet now you can feel the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Chemotherapy is the next form of treatment but not to cure, only to keep the disease from a fast progression. Chemotherapy takes a toll on the patient. For some it is hair loss, for others nausea and vomiting lasting for hours. Eventually it wears a person down with loss of weight and loss of energy. At some point a decision is made by the patient, to continue or to stop which is not an easy decision.

Silent reflux causes esophageal cancer that is deadly with no cure. By the time you are diagnosed there is no treatment to cure you. Routine tests are used to search for this condition but they are offered only when you are over the age group of 50. Perhaps this will change as the public becomes informed of this danger. Colonoscopy is the test that diagnoses this condition and needs to become a routine test to save lives of people who do not have to die.

Sources

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/esophageal
http://www.cancer.org/docroot/cri/content/cri_2_4_1x_what_is_esophagus_cancer_12.asp

Categories Prostate Cancer

Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a gland located between a man’s bladder and penis, just in front of the rectum. Its function is to secrete fluid that nourishes and protects sperm. Unfortunately, this gland can become cancerous. All men ages 50 and up should undergo annual prostate cancer screenings from a physician. Men of African American descent should begin regular, annual screenings as early as age 40. Screenings are particularly important for those men who have a family history of prostate cancer.

One in thirty five men will die from prostate cancer. Therefore, it is important to know the warning signs. Some possible indicators of prostate cancer are difficulty initiating and/or stopping urination; frequent or painful urination; or pain on ejaculation. Blood may be present in urine or semen.

More serious possible indicators of prostate cancer include a urinary tract infection where a fever is present along with burning pain upon urination; bladder obstruction-despite drinking enough fluid, little to no urination is occurring; acute kidney failure, where there is no urination with little or no pain despite drinking enough fluid; or, deep bone pain in the back, hips and thighs. When bone pain is present, it is a possible sign that the prostate cancer has spread to the bones.

The first sign of cancer may be spine compression. This is where the cancer has spread to the tailbone and vertebrae region of the spine. The vertebrae become weakened, causing it to collapse on the spinal cord, which in turn causes problems with function. Should this occur, it can cause difficulty in walking, weakness in the legs, difficulty urinating or defecating, as well as numbness or a tingling sensation in the groin area. If any of these symptoms occur, seek emergency medical treatment immediately.

While there are several tests to diagnose cancer, the early screening test is known as the Digital Rectal Examination (DRE), which helps detect the cancer in its early stages. Because the prostate is internal and therefore cannot be seen externally on a man’s body, the test is performed by a physician by inserting a gloved finger into the rectum. The physician will feel for any hard, lumpy or abnormal areas. If cancer is suspected, the physician may then order an ultrasound guided biopsy. Other tests used by physicians to diagnose prostate cancer include a PSA blood test, cystoscopy or bladder scope test, as well as MRIs or CAT scans.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/prostate-cancer/guide/prostate-cancer-overview-facts

http://www.cancer.org/docroot/lrn/lrn_0.asp

http://www.prostatecancerfoundation.org/site/c.itIWK2OSG/b.4983495/k.5C76/About_Prostate_Cancer.htm

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 Blog

Vitamin B6 and Cancer

A recent study in the medical journal, JAMA, found that low levels of Vitamin B6 could indicate and increased risk for developing lung cancer. The finding was true for current smokers, past smokers, and people who have never smoked. But what is Vitamin B6 and how could it help to prevent cancer?

Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, is part of the B complex of vitamins which include eight other B vitamins which are important for many body functions such as regulation of metabolism and immune function. Adequate nutrition with B vitamins obtained from the food, but not in tablet form, is important for the prevention of pancreatic cancer.

Deficiency of Vitamin B6 can lead to anemia, depression, skin disorders (dermatitis), high blood pressure, swelling (water retention), neurologic disorders such as seizures, and high levels of a chemical called homocysteine which increases a person’s risk of heart disease.

The recommended daily intake of Vitamin B6 can be obtained from vitamin tablets or fortified foods, and varies based on age and sex. Vitamin B6 is present in a variety of foods including fortified cereals, bananas, garbanzos beans, pork, avocados, milk, cheese and salmon, spinach, oatmeal and chicken breast. However, many people eating a western diet may be deficient in B vitamins, and mild Vitamin B6 deficiency is common.

On the flip side, taking too much Vitamin B6 from vitamin supplements can cause serious medical conditions as well including poor coordination, numbness, and fatigue.

But how could Vitamin B6 be able to prevent lung cancer? A lot of factors may lead to the development of lung cancer, and certainly being malnourished puts a strain on the body which could increase a person’s chances of developing lung cancer. Specifically, the immune system appears to play a critical role in the body’s ability to locate and destroy cancerous cells before they become large tumors. A deficiency of Vitamin B6 might be enough to suppress the immune system’s “immune surveillance” which is thought to be involved in locating and destroying cancerous cells. In addition, Vitamin B6 is also involved in the process of building DNA insides cells, and a defect in this process could lead a person to develop cancer.

However, doctors warn that while Vitamin B6 may decrease the risk of lung cancer in smokers, they still have a much higher risk of developing lung cancer than non-smokers. In addition, while lower levels of Vitamin B6 in lung cancer patients may indicate deficiency of another vitamin or other factor which predisposes a patient to lung cancer.

Nonetheless, Vitamin B6 has been thought to help prevent colon cancer, especially in women who drink alcohol. Thus in the future doctors may be paying more attention to Vitamin B6 levels, especially in those who are exposed to smoke or at higher risk of developing colon cancer.

Categories Other Cancers

What to Expect from a Colon Cancer Screening Test

If there is a history of colon cancer in your family then it is advisable to get a test, or even if suffering some sort of discomfort; it is always better to be sure. For the average person, there will be a certain amount of uncertainty because they do not know what is involved with a colon cancer screening test; but this is understandable.

It is always advisable to take the advice of a doctor, although a person must be comfortable with a test they are about to undergo. With this in mind a doctor must be advised of any fears or reservations before action is taken. If there is a history of colon cancer in your family, a doctor might suggest a colonoscopy.

Regardless of what is preferred by the patient, the doctor will advise of what to expect from a colon cancer screening test. If it is a colonoscopy, then the procedure will be explained in depth, as this is one of the most advanced types of test for this complaint. Although not pleasant, because it involves the insertion of a flexible tube being inserted into the rectum with a tiny video camera at the tip of it; the final result will be peace of mind.

Due to this being a most advanced type of screening if any abnormal tissues are found they can be removed through the scope. This procedure will also enable samples to be taken. The entire examination will take from twenty minutes to one hour.

Medication before colonoscopy might need to be adjusted and solid foods must not be eaten the day before the examination. A sedative may be used during the course of the examination, which could cause some side effects, and could take up to a day to completely wear off.

If tissue samples are taken, the patient may experience some bleeding, but knowing what to expect from a colon cancer screening test will help a person decide to proceed with the examination, to eliminate any fears that may be harbored. For the sake of an hour, and a little discomfort, any uncertainty and fears can be removed.

This is usually what a colon cancer screening test comprises of, and the slight discomfort that will be experienced is far better than the treatment that could be the result if it is left untreated.

Categories Other Cancers

Pancreatic Cancer: What Are the Causes?

It’s at the top of the list of cancers you don’t want to get, with survival rates in the single digits.

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cancer for men and the fifth most common found in women in the United States. It’s a killer but rarely develops before the patient reaches age 50. According to the Penn State College of Medicine, the disease is two to three times more prevalent in heavy smokers than it is in non-smokers. It’s not contagious.

Researchers cannot pinpoint a single reason why some people get pancreatic cancer. Little is actually known about the cause or causes of the disease. It appears to arise both in individuals with certain health patterns as well as those with no predisposition. Among the latter group is “Last Lecture” Prof. Randy Pausch of Carnegie Mellon University, who succumbed to complications of the disease at age 47 less than 2 years after his 2006 diagnosis.

Individuals with chronic pancreatitis are at an elevated risk of developing this type of malignancy. Statistics show that males are at higher risk than females. They also suggest that individuals exposed to cancer-causing agents such as tobacco and those who eat a high fat but low fiber diet are at increased risk. Consuming foods with additives and having diabetes also increase a patient’s chances of developing pancreatic cancer. Penn State suggests that while no link has been proven, individuals who work with petroleum and some of the chemicals used in the dry cleaning industry should be careful to follow the respective safety guidelines.

Information from the Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at Johns Hopkins University details potential heredity links to contracting this type of cancer. Pancreatic cancer is considered a genetic disease, one caused by mutations in DNA. Some of the changes are inherited. Others develop after birth.

Inherited changes explain why pancreatic cancer occurs often in some families. Researchers attribute acquired changes to bad luck while cells are replicating or to exposure to carcinogens such as cigarette smoke.

The National Familial Pancreas Cancer Registry (NFPTR) currently lists more than 250 families with two or more members who are pancreatic cancer patients. Scientists have also identified a familial breast cancer gene known at BRCA2. Johns Hopkins researchers estimate that as many as 10 percent of cases of pancreatic cancer are caused by inherited defects in this gene. It’s found in about one percent of individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. This might explain the higher rate of the disease noted in Jewish individuals versus those of the Catholic or Protestant faiths. Testing is currently available for BRCA2 mutations.

Peutz-Jeghers syndrome is a rare heredity condition in which family members develop polyps in their small intestines that protrude from the normal intestinal surface plus pigmented spots on their lips. These individuals are at higher risk than normal for developing pancreatic cancer.

Increased risk has also been assigned to individuals with Familial Atypical Multiple Mole Melanoma (FAMMM) syndrome. This is a rare hereditary condition in which the afflicted family members develop skin moles and melanomas.

Johns Hopkins reports that the Heredity Non-polyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC) syndrome affects perhaps 1 in 200 individuals. Marked by an inherited disposition to develop cancer of the colon, endometrium, stomach and ovaries, it puts patients at increased risk for pancreatic cancer.

Although heredity pancreatitis is rare, it usually causes chronic inflammation of the organ beginning at an early age. The gene for this condition, which also results in elevated risk for pancreatic malignancy, has been named the trypsinogen gene.

Categories Blog

Cancer Fighting Recipes

Recent research suggests that being obese may greatly increase the risk of developing cancer. Leading doctors have followed select men and women for the past 19 years. Men with the highest body mass index (BMI) had death rates from all cancers that were 52 percent higher than normal weight men, and with women, it was 62 percent higher. The same study also points out that being overweight caused cancer of the breast, colon, and rectum, Esophagus, gallbladder, kidney, and uterus.

If you do not get it, I will spell it out. Being overweight and obese puts you at greater risk of developing cancer. The same study suggests obesity may account for 20 percent of all cancer deaths in the U.S. of women and 14 percent in men. 90.000 cancer deaths all over the world could be prevented through a change in diet and excersie.

Researchers believe that fat cells act like hormone pumps, dumping hormones and other growth factors into the bloodstream. The more fat a person carries and the less active they are, the more active the pumps. When you have cancer, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to lose weight. Diet and exercise are key.

Here are some great recipes for cancer patients:

Power pudding

The power in this pudding comes from insoluble fiber in the wheat bran, sorbitol in the apple juice, and prune juice. This recipe came from a study published in Home Healthcare Nurse. It was shown to be effective in restoring bowel control in a group of homebound elderly patients. Basically, this is a natural fiber laxative that works as a bulking agent. The recommended dose is ¼ cup with breakfast.

½ C. applesauce

½ C prune juice

½ C. stewed prunes (pkged)

½ C. wheat bran flakes

½ C, whipped topping

½ t. cinnamon

Blend ingredients until mixture has a smooth pudding like consistency. Cover and store in refrigerator. Pudding keeps for one week.

45 calories, 0.6-gram protein, 10.6 grams carbs, 0.8-gram fat
Fruit Smoothie

Smoothie contains only two carbs. If you need to gain or maintain weight, add fresh flaxseed oil to recipe. If more protein, add another scoop of whey protein.

½ C. strawberries

6 oz. plain nonfat yogurt

½ medium banana

1 scoop whey protein

1 T. flaxseed oil

Place all ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Using frozen fruit results in a thicker, icier smoothie.

Be realistic in setting goals. A moderate reduction of 10 to 15 percent in weight has less stress in the body and mind.

Be careful of what you eat, try to visualize yourself cancer free. Maintain your optimism and please whatever you do remain upbeat. Cancer is a real depressing disease. The depression alone will sabotage your efforts.

Categories Blog

What to Expect at a Cancer Screening: A Patient's Perspective

The same week that a diagnosis of cancer reared its ugly head in my family, I happened to take notice of a comforting ad in a local newspaper. A hospital a few towns away was offering a cancer screening event for a nominal fee. Since reality has struck, and nobody is immune to cancer, I decided to attend the screening.

The staff worked from a checklist, testing for oral, skin, cervical and breast cancer. Since I had never attended a cancer screening event, I was unsure what type of test would be preformed for each screening. With modern technology, I was hoping a quick draw of blood would give them all the information they needed. When I arrived, although the staff was personable, they didn’t explain what would happen at each screening station.

Oral Cancer Screening
The oral cancer screening was a simple visual exam with a lot of pressing on my chin and cheeks. A classic wooden tongue depressor was used, along with a small flashlight to check all areas inside of my mouth.

Skin Cancer Screening
The skin, breast and cervical exam all took place in a private exam room. The nurse asked me to undress, and wear a hospital gown. The skin cancer screening was a simple visual test, followed by questions from the doctor. He asked if I had noticed any abnormalities in my skin such as a change of color, growth of a mole or other sensitive spots.

Breast Cancer Screening
Women that have an annual exam by a gynecologist won’t be surprised by the breast and cervical cancer screenings. The breast exam included a list of questions about any changes in texture, color or tenderness while the doctor did the physical exam. Expect pressing and rolling of the skin, around and on, the breasts.

Cervical Cancer Screening
The cervical cancer screening was the same as an annual PAP smear. A small sampling of cervical cells were collected and sent for testing. The test can determine if pre-cancerous or cancer cells are in the cervix.

Since some screening results are not available on the day of the cancer screening, ask the staff if they will call or mail the results, and how long it will take to receive the information. Some clinics will schedule a follow-up appointment during the screening.

Don’t be surprised if the results are not black-and-white, and additional testing is recommended. Common follow up procedures from a cervical cancer screening may include an endometrial biopsy or a saline infused sonohystogram. These tests allow the doctors to gather more information, to give an accurate diagnosis.

Categories Other Cancers

Bladder Cancer and Its Symptoms

With cancer, one of the cells gets it in his head to reproduce and starts doing so for no apparent reason. This is cancer, and it can be devastating when it settles in the bladder.

My in-laws had come to visit as they always did every two or three months, and on one particular visit, my father-in-law wasn’t feeling too well. He said he felt as if he had been kicked in the stomach by a horse, and he felt bruised. We weren’t able to go anywhere, or do much because he was always having to use the bathroom. We spent most of their visit just enjoying each others company.

Before leaving to go home my husband made his step-dad promise to make a doctor’s appointment as soon as he got home; which he did. By this time he was having pain when he urinated, and sometimes there was blood present in the urine.

The doctor ran a series of tests; a blood work-up, and another one which was a cystoscopy, and these combined confirmed that he had cancer in his bladder.

The doctor started him on chemotherapy, and even though it helped in that the cancer didn’t spread; he ended up having to have a urostomy. In other words; his bladder had to be removed, and his urine went in a bag. My father-in-law had a terrible adjustment period, but he eventually became okay with it. We were all happy to have him around for a few more years.

Though there are some cancers that you can do a home test on, such as breast cancer, or a home-test kit can be purchased to detect whether there is blood in the stool for colon cancer, there is no way to detect bladder cancer unless you go to see the doctor.

These are some of the symptoms one should be watchful for, if there is a concern about bladder cancer.

  1. A bruised feeling in the bladder area; or a heavy feeling
  2. Dark, or reduced urine
  3. Blood in the urine
  4. Pain upon urination
  5. Frequency of urination
  6. The urge to urinate even though none comes out
  7. There can be weight loss, but that would come later on in the disease

You will notice that the symptoms of bladder cancer closely resemble the symptoms of kidney or bladder infection. This is one reason why my father-in-law didn’t see the need to see his doctor right away. He figured it was a bladder infection, and it could wait until he finished his vacation, and he got home. Seeking medical attention is the only safe way that it can be determined whether it is a kidney or bladder infection, or if it is bladder cancer.