Men have another reason to hit the treadmill. A new study has found an intriguing link between physical fitness and cancer risk in middle-aged men. Scheduled for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in early June, the study tracked the relationship between physical fitness and the development of the prostate, colorectal and lung cancer (the 3 most common male cancers) in a group of 7,000 healthy, 45-year-old men over a period of 20 years.
At age 65, men who had remained physically fit over the intervening 20 years were less likely to develop cancer. Additionally, among those study participants that did develop cancer, men who were physically fit experienced more positive outcomes.
In an interview with PBS NewsHour, the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Susan Lakoski of the University of Vermont College of Medicine noted:
“This is the first study that really addresses the issue of fitness being a prognostic marker of cancer risk in men, and then a marker of prognosis after a cancer diagnosis. . . . People who had lower fitness, or went less time on the treadmill, were more at risk for developing cancer later in life.”
Asked why fitness has such a noticeable impact on cancer, Dr. Lakoski equated fitness with the body’s ability to maximize efficient oxygen delivery to the organs. As she pointed out, oxygen delivery “is very important in modulating different pathways involved in inflammation, hormone levels, immune surveillance, [and] oxidative damage. All of these things play into reducing cancer risk.”
In a New York Times op-ed column, actress Angelina Jolie shocked many people by revealing that she had undergone preventive double mastectomy after learning she carries the BRCA1 gene which is known to significantly increase the risk of breast cancer and uterine cancer. Supported by husband Brad Pitt, Ms. Jolie’s decision to “be proactive and to minimize the risk as much as I could” was driven in large part by her mother’s long-term cancer battle and early death at the age of 56. In sharing her decision, Ms. Jolie lamented the fact that only one of her six children had the opportunity to know their grandmother before her death.
“My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87% to under 5%,” Ms. Jolie said. “I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.”
Ms. Jolie is not the first high-profile celebrity to choose preventive double mastectomy. In 2008, actress Christina Applegate had both breasts removed after surviving breast cancer to prevent its return. However, Ms. Jolie represents a growing new movement among high-risk cancer patients to act before cancer strikes.
The desire to take aggressive preventive action before receiving a cancer diagnosis has been fueled by the discovery of genetic defects — BRCA1 and BRCA2 –directly linked to a high risk of breast cancer. Coupled with the high incidence of breast cancer among women, discovery that they carry a genetic marker for breast cancer seems to stoke the natural fear cancer provokes.
Preventive surgery is one way to deal with cancer fear, but it is not the only choice.
Big Pharma is jumping on the immunotherapy band wagon. According to Bloomberg.com, major drug companies are poised to introduce a new generation of experimental cancer drugs that use the immune system to target and destroy tumor cells. Big Pharma may be putting a new twist on immunotherapy, but the treatment philosophy is hardly new. Alternative cancer treatment centers were early to recognize the importance the human immune system plays in fighting cancer. Immune-boosting cancer vaccines and integrative immunotherapy have been cornerstones of Issels Integrative Oncology treatment protocols for 60 years.
Motivated by billions of dollars in potential drug sales, drug companies are waiting for study results scheduled for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology at the end of May before launching new drugs.
[Immunotherapy] “is going to be a paradigm shift for treating cancer. We are pretty good at shrinking tumors but not good at getting rid of them. Immune therapy is a way to begin to approach that,” Merck VP Gary Gilliland told Bloomberg.
Drug makers estimate it will take a year to determine the effectiveness of new immunotherapy drugs to increase cancer survival rates and extend lives. Bloomberg notes “the strategy offers scientists the first major new avenue for attacking cancer in a decade.”
Rather than waiting for Big Pharma to complete its testing, we’d like to recommend that people with cancer review the patient testimonials on our website. We’ve been using immunotherapy to fight cancer for more than 60 years and many of our patients have enjoyed complete long-term cancer remissions. Visit our website to hear what they have to say.
Better known today for her fitness videos and self-help books on diet and nutrition, Suzanne Somers rose to fame as ditzy blonde bombshell Chrissy on the 1977 hit sitcom Three’s Company. A frightening brush with breast cancer in 2001 changed Suzanne’s life.
Using her personal journey with breast cancer and her own experiences with alternative cancer treatments and alternative methods of cancer prevention as a springboard, in Knockout Suzanne puts the spotlight on innovative alternative cancer treatments and preventative measures that focus on building up the body and immune system.
In interviews with doctors who are successfully using alternative medical methods that are not yet part of Western medicine’s mainstream to knockout cancer, Suzanne explores the cutting-edge science and forward-reaching medical theories that are driving innovation in cancer treatment.
Among the alternative cancer treatments reviewed in Knockout are many of those developed and employed at Issels Cancer Treatment Centers in Santa Barbara, California and Tijuana, Mexico, including modern integrative oncology, immunotherapy, cell therapy, cancer vaccines and gene-based therapies. In fact, Suzanne notes the role of our founder, Dr. Josef Issels, in pioneering integrative immunotherapy in the fight against cancer.
In Knockout, Suzanne says, “Cancer kills and continues to kill. But there is hope, and this book offers new choices.” Issels Integrative Oncology is one of those new choices.
There’s nothing rosy about having cancer. But new cancer treatments, cancer vaccines, integrated immunotherapy, cytokine cell therapy and gene-targeted cancer therapies have increased cancer survival rates dramatically and appear to hold the keys that may lead to future cancer cures. Alternative cancer treatments offer new hope even when traditional treatments fail.
With real potential for long-term cancer remission, there is value in maintaining a positive and hopeful attitude. The connection between mind and body is not fully understood, but we do know that a positive attitude can promote healing and reduce the negative effects of stress on the immune system and general physical and mental health.
Finding ways to relieve cancer stress and maintain a positive attitude may make a difference in your ability to fight cancer successfully. When cancer gets you down, use these suggestions to boost your spirits:
Move your body. To release negative emotions, do the chicken dance with your kids or tune in the soundtrack to Stomp and stomp around or drum on pots and pans.
Focus your attention. Engage in a thought-provoking conversation, learn a language or take up a new hobby. New challenges force the mind to focus on the task at hand.
Have a good sob. Tears have a cleansing effect on the psyche. Rent a tearjerker and cry until you’re spent.
Notice the world around you. Look out the window, go for a drive or walk and tune into the world’s funny quirks and compelling beauty.
Tap into your creative side. Exercising your imagination is energizing and releases joy.
One of the challenges cancer patients face is maintaining a positive outlook on life. How we view the world is strongly connected to how we view ourselves. If you feel good about yourself, that positive feeling colors everything in your life. You feel comfortable in your own skin and confident that you can meet the day’s challenges with success.
There’s a strong connection between self-esteem and physical appearance. When cancer and cancer treatments strip you of energy, appetite and even your hair, it’s hard to feel beautiful which can send your self-esteem plummeting. You know how low you feel when you have a bad hair day. Well, every day is a bad hair day for cancer patients — and loss of hair is just part of the problem. Cancer and cancer treatments can turn skin sallow and pale or make it blotchy and more prone to blemishes. Fatigue can leave dark circles under the eyes, and pain can make the face look pinched. When chemotherapy causes hair and eyebrows to fall out, the face can look blank and undefined.
To counter the loss of beauty and boost the self-esteem of cancer patients, Look Good Feel Better was founded to support and encourage cancer patients to rediscover their natural beauty. Sponsored by the Personal Care Products Foundation in collaboration with the American Cancer Society, Professional Beauty Association and National Cosmetology Association, the program sponsors beauty makeovers and esteem-building workshops through local cancer organizations. It also offers an online library of beauty tips for women and men designed to show cancer patients how to minimize the effects of cancer on their appearance.