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 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

Prostate Cancer & the Impotence Connection

For men suffering from prostate cancer, there are many other co-morbid health complications which lead to an overwhelming sense of confusion and can create emotional complications in the prostate cancer patient. Such co-morbid complications often involve issues associated with urinary and sexual health but men, as a whole, can be overcome by a combination of these complications.

One such complication, impotency, can lead to emotional and psychological deterioration when left untreated following prostate cancer treatment. For many men, some level of temporary impotency may be associated with an enlarged prostate or treatments of prostate cancer but, for others, the impotency is much more significant, resulting in the inability to sustain or even achieve an erection.

What is important to understand is that impotency, following prostate surgery, including orchiectomy and prostatectomy, and following radiation or chemotherapy, is quite common. In many cases, temporary impotence can last as long as 12 months. For this reason, taking radical steps to resolve impotence, immediately following one of these treatment options for prostate cancer, should be avoided as the impotency may resolve on its own after a few months of recovery.

When impotence fails to improve after 12 months post treatment of prostate cancer, the option to pursue more radical forms of impotency treatment may be considered. If confirmed as an impotency directly related to nerve damage, associated with the treatment of prostate cancer, the physician may consider the use of a combination of treatments including penile injections, the use of performance enhancing drugs such as Viagra and even opt to move into more radical treatments including penile implants, vacuum devices and radical surgery to re-route the major artery from the stomach to supply the necessary blood flow to the penis.

While all of these treatments of impotency are successful in their own right, most men will opt to pursue restoration of their sexual health, following prostate surgery and prostate cancer treatment, using only Viagra. In fact, the use of Viagra, coupled with meditation and relaxation techniques, has shown to provide some success in restoring some degree of erection in male patients with a history of prostate cancer. They key to health restoration, therefore, may lie in the patient’s willingness to overcome the complication from a more holistic approach.

In recent surgical advances, the surgery to remove the prostate, and to remove associated cancer cells, has become more specialized, offering the male patient with a better surgical outcome in the treatment of prostate cancer. While surgery, in most cases, can not be avoided, there are techniques the surgeon can use to avoid affecting, permanently, the nerves which control the ability of the man to obtain and achieve erection. Be certain, before selecting a surgeon, that issues such as erection are clearly addressed so as to resolve any issues or complications associated with the prostate surgery and associated prostate cancer treatment.

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 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

Statistics on Ovarian Cancer

I was troubled to read that actor Pierce Brosnan’s 41 year old daughter Charlotte Harris, died from ovarian cancer. His first wife Cassie, Charlotte’s mother died 11 years ago, from the very same disease. Cassie Harris, was 43. How sad that Mr Brosnan had to re-live his pain, all over again.

A former co-worker of mine died from ovarian cancer. It seemed as if one day she was diagnosed, and within a few months she was gone. Radiation and chemotherapy did nothing except turn her skin black, cause her to vomit and lose her hair. The alleged cure, seemed to do more harm than the disease.

Cancer does not discriminate based on income. Pierce Brosnan no doubt had the funds to help his wife and daughter get any treatment necessary, yet they died, just like less fortunate individuals who were not able to afford treatment. Actress Gilda Radner died of ovarian cancer. She probably had access to the best doctors, yet she too was a victim of this dreaded disease.

Statistics do bear out, that white women experience the highest rate of ovarian cancer, followed by Latinio’s, African Americans, Pacific Islander/Asians, and Alaska Native American Indian women.

Ovarian cancer symptoms, mimic other common, non life threatening, illnesses. This is why many women are not diagnosed, until it is too late. Symptoms may include frequent gas, bloating, pelvic pain, fullness and loss of appetite,or indigestion.

One woman dies from ovarian cancer every 12 days. 43% of those who are diagnosed, live at least 5 years. I have not heard that any other females in my co-worker’s family were diagnosed with ovarian cancer. And it is not known whether or not Charlotte Harris and her mother had the gene marker indicating they were at high risk for the disease.

Although billions of dollars have been raised for cancer research, very little of it goes towards ovarian cancer. There are preventative measures, which offer modest protection against ovarian cancer. They are hysterectomy, oral contraceptives, and tubal ligation. They are only recommended however, if there is an actual medical need.

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.

Categories Blog

Liver Cancer: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

The liver, the largest organ inside the body, is the multipurpose factory of the body. It breaks down and stores nutrients from the intestines, manufactures agents that clots blood on wounds, secretes bile that absorbs nutrients, and removes toxins and waste from the body. Tumors develop from abnormal cell growth in liver tissues. These tumors can be malignant or benign. When cancer cells become malignant, they can spread to other organs in the body.

The National Cancer Institute says that, in 2020, an estimated 22,620 are expected and they expect an estimated 18,160 deaths. Multiple liver cancer symptoms occur to let individuals they have cancer. Like many forms of cancer, various risk factors make people more susceptible to liver cancer. Some of these risk factors include genetic conditions, hepatitis, low birth weight, and cirrhosis of the liver caused by alcohol, medications, and other toxins.

Liver Cancer Symptoms

Liver cancer signs and symptom vary from one person to another; however, people recognize general symptoms of liver cancer. Many of the common symptoms of liver cancer occur in upper abdominal regions. Abdominal pain indicates that a person has developed a large tumor in the liver. Other liver cancer symptoms that affect the stomach include sudden abdominal swelling and bloating known as ascites, nausea, and vomiting.

Another sign that a person has liver cancer is jaundice, a condition that causes yellowing of the skin and the white of the eyes. People who consume large amounts of alcohol experience muscle wasting. Other physical signs and symptoms of liver cancer include unexplained weight loss and fever, itchy skin, swollen veins, and an enlarged spleen. Once doctors run various tests and diagnose these symptoms, they administer various liver cancer treatments, depending on the stage of the cancer.

Liver Cancer Treatments

Chemotherapy is a traditional liver cancer treatment in which a combination of chemotherapeutic drugs is injected into the body. This drug combination shrinks large cancer tumors. Doctors sometimes combine chemotherapy with other medical treatments in order to increase success rates. Chemotherapy treatments lead to unpleasant side effects like vomiting and nausea, lethargy and hair loss.

Radiation Therapy is used by doctors to treat dividing cancer cells. Unlike chemotherapy, radiation therapy attacks only cancer cells and those surrounding it. New advances in radiation therapy have helped reduce the damage done to healthy liver cells.

Surgical Resection is an invasive liver treatment in which cancerous sections of the liver and surrounding tissue are removed. This treatment is only suggested when patients have small localized tumors and have no signs of liver cirrhosis. One drawback to this form of treatment is that, if the person has inadequate amounts of liver, they could experience liver failure.

Liver Transplantation occurs when damage caused by liver cancer becomes so advanced that the organ cannot be saved. This liver cancer treatment becomes a viable option for people who are showing signs of liver failure, but the cancer has not yet spread to other areas of the body. However, in the United States, approximately 18,000 people are waiting for livers, and medical professionals have to determine which patients deserve available livers.

Early detection is the best defense for fighting liver cancer. People, though, must recognize the signs and symptoms of liver cancer. Many of them are hard to detect because they mimic common medical conditions. However, many people have access to a number of liver cancer treatment options that may stave off the spread of this deadly form of cancer.

Categories Other Cancers

Lung Cancer: Signs and Symptoms

Lung Cancer is a disease causing uncontrolled cell growth in lung tissue, which the World Health Organisation estimates to be responsible for 1.3 million deaths worldwide every year. The five year survival rate of sufferers with treatment stands at only 15%, but this can be increased drastically with early diagnosis.

What are the Signs of Lung Cancer?

  1.  Persistent Cough

Victims have a cough most of the time. When another affliction is causing a constant cough, lung cancer will cause it to become worse as the disease’s invasion of lung tissue progresses.

  1.  Blood in Phlegm

One of the most noticeable symptoms of the cancer is hemoptysis, which is the appearance of blood in the phlegm (sputum) you cough.

  1.  Pains when Breathing or Coughing

A common symptom of lung cancer is pain in the chest when breathing or coughing. This is typically first noticed when taking deep breaths, when sneezing or yawning for example.

  1.  Non-specific Symptoms

Many cancers have common symptoms that effect many forms, including cancers of the lung. These include lose of appetite, weight loss, muscle weakness or fatigue. Psychological symptoms including anxiety and depression often appear.

Less Common Symptoms

These symptoms are also frequently observed in lung cancer sufferers, but are generally less frequent, or associated with a more advanced stage

  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing or swelling of the neck (caused by enlarged lymph nodes)
  • Finger Clubbing (changes in the shape and color of your fingers and nails)
  • General discomfort or pain in the chest, in particular under your right side ribs

How is Lung Cancer Diagnosed?

As always, should you have any doubt you should consult your doctor. Diagnosis of Lung Cancer is painless and non evasive. The most common method used is a simple chest X-Ray, followed by a computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan. Where these methods are insufficient to confirm the diagnosis, a biopsy (collecting a sample of the cancer using a needle) is conducted under anaesthetic.

How is Lung Cancer Treated?

As with most cancers, treatment is generally conducted by chemotherapy, radiography or surgery, and most frequently a combination. A decision on which treatment to use is decided on a case by case basis, dependent upon the specific manifestation of the disease, the extent to which it has spread and the overall general health of the sufferer. Palliative treatment is also conducted in conjunction with these methods, which minimises the pain and suffering of victims throughout the process.