Improving Your Quality of Life When Living With Cancer

Positive Mind Set
Positive Mind Set

When living with cancer you may find yourself too preoccupied to take part in activities you normally enjoy. It’s important to focus on taking time for yourself and improving your quality of life. Even small pleasures can make a big difference in maintaining a positive mental attitude.

Defining quality of life is highly personal. Only you can say what factors go into your ideal blueprint for living. Are you a social butterfly who loves spending time with family and friends? Maybe you’re more of a homebody who enjoys curling up with a good book.

No matter where your bliss lies, taking care of your emotional and physical well-being boosts your quality of life. Here are some helpful ideas that can be easily incorporated into your schedule.

  • Stress can greatly impact your health. Find a method that helps you relax and free your mind. Meditation is particularly effective because it teaches you to live in the present rather than deal with regrets of the past or fears of the future.
  • Keep your energy level up by including some moderate exercise in your daily routine. Walking and bike riding are fun activities that won’t even feel like a workout.
  • Challenge yourself to become educated about nutrition and try out what you learn in the kitchen. The Internet makes it easier than ever to find healthy, simple-to-prepare recipes. Take some cooking classes at a local community center and make some new friends along the way.

No one else’s story is the same as yours. Write it however you choose and continue finding joy in every day of the journey

Mexican Research Supports Alternative Cancer Treatment for Lung Cancer

Alternative Lung Cancer Treatment
Alternative Lung Cancer Treatment

New lung cancer research being conducted in Mexico appears to parallel alternative cancer treatments developed by Issels Integrative Oncology and in use at our Alternative Cancer Treatment Centers for years. According to, researchers at Mexico’s National Institute of Respiratory Diseases are working on developing a lung cancer treatment that would use the patient’s own blood to boost immune system function. We are naturally pleased to see other cancer researchers following in our footprints.

A key component of our well-established integrative immunotherapy cancer treatment program, Issels’ cutting-edge, non-toxic autologous cancer vaccines are cultured from the patient’s own blood. Using the patient’s blood both maximizes immune system response and, because nothing foreign is being introduced into the body, removes the issue of toxicity that creates so many problems for chemotherapy and radiation patients.

“We are developing at the lab a system of cell activation from the patient’s own blood so it can eliminate its tumors,” the institute’s lead researcher, Patricia Gorocica, told Eurasia Review. Gorocica and her team are part of a growing movement in Western medicine that now shares our view that the future of cancer treatment lays within the body’s immune system. For more than 60 years, Issels has been a leader in the use of individualized immunotherapy to fight cancer. It is gratifying to find increasing recognition of our core treatment values.

The Institute’s push for new lung cancer treatments has been spurred by an uptick in worldwide lung cancer rates which researchers believe may be related as much to increased pollution particulate and smoke from burning timber and coal as cigarette smoking, particularly in developing countries.

For more information on autologous cancer vaccines alternative cancer treatments, and supporting research, visit our website.

20% Drop in Cancer Death Rates Over Past 20 Years

Declining Cancer Death Rates
Declining Cancer Death Rates

The New Year is starting out with some good news. According to the recently released American Cancer Society annual report, cancer death rates continue to drop. Over the past 20 years, U.S. cancer death rates have declined steadily, decreasing the overall risk of dying from cancer by 20%. That 20% represents about 1.3 million lives, Ahmedin Jemal, ACS vice president for surveillance and health services research and lead author of the 2014 report, told Fox News.

This latest analysis of cancer statistics also shows significant progress in reducing cancer deaths among certain high-risk population groups. Among the report’s more interesting findings was a 55% decrease in cancer death rates for middle-aged black men.

While the number of cancer deaths has been steadily decreasing since 1991, the report notes that the incidence of cancer has remained steady. The 2014 report estimates that 1,665,540 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year and that 585,720 people — about 1,600 per day — will die of cancer in the coming year.

However, as Jamal pointed out to Fox News, the decrease in cancer death rates is of greater importance than cancer incidence. As the U.S. population ages, the size of the baby boomer generation, the increased risk of cancer that accompanies aging and improvements in cancer detection methods can be expected to drive up the number of cancer cases. The declining death rate, however, is clear evidence of improvement in U.S. cancer prevention and treatment programs.

Jemal linked improved cancer outcomes to both medical and behavioral changes that have occurred over the past 20 years. The new emphasis on immunotherapy is redefining cancer treatment and calling new attention to the benefits of Issels’ immunobiologic-based alternative cancer tre


Valerie Harper on Cancer Part 2: Being Prepared for the End Can Free You to Live Now


For actress Valerie Harper, getting her affairs in order and making decisions about end-of-life issues after being diagnosed with inoperable cancer (see our previous post) was a necessary part of taking care of her family. But in making sure that she was prepared for the end of life when it came, she found a sense of peace that freed her to live life to the fullest.

In an interview published in the October/November 2013 of AARP Magazine, Valerie said she facing the possibility of death head on; but her husband, Tony Cacciotti, “didn’t want to discuss it.”

“Most people don’t do it because they think it’s never gonna happen to them or that by talking about death you speed up the process,” Tony said. But with coaxing from Valerie, the couple saw a lawyer to update their wills and draft healthcare directives spelling out the types of medical care they did and did not want to receive in their final days.

It was during those discusses when Valerie voiced a wish to be cremated that Tony was finally able to overcome his reluctance about dealing with end-of-life arrangements. “I wanted to be buried next to her,” he told AARP. “That meant I had to muster my fear and deal with the cemetery thing.” The couple chose a plot in Hollywood Forever where many of Hollywood’s most famous stars are buried and, to Valerie’s delight, peacocks roam the gardens. “It’s a life-giving place,” Valerie said.

Valerie encourages everyone, not just people undergoing cancer treatment, to talk to their families and discuss their wishes about life-and-death.

Valerie Harper on Cancer: Prepare for Tomorrow But Live for Today! – Part One

Surviving Cancer
Surviving Cancer

Valerie Harper refuses to be cowed by cancer. Battling incurable cancer, the 74-year-old Emmy-award winning actress is living each day to the fullest. She’s prepared for the inevitable end of life but has already outlived doctors’ predictions.

“This diagnosis makes you live one day at a time, and that’s what everyone should do: Live moment to moment to moment,” Valerie told AARP Magazine in an interview.

Although never a smoker, in 2009 Valerie was diagnosed with lung cancer, the same cancer that killed her mother (also a non-smoker). After surgery to remove the tumor, she returned to acting. While rehearsing for the Broadway show Looped early in 2013, she started having memory problems. Doctors in New York found cancer cells in the meninges tissue that surrounds the brain, leading the press to report that she had brain cancer. When she returned home to Los Angeles, Valerie’s oncologist diagnosed her condition as inoperable metastasis of her earlier lung cancer.

Since then Valerie has been treating her cancer with a combination of traditional and alternatives at an alternative cancer treatment center and says she is so far holding her own. “This diagnosis makes you live one day at a time, and that’s what everyone should do,” Valerie counsels; “Live moment to moment to moment.”

But Valerie has also insisted on preparing for the end of life whenever it comes. That part of dealing with cancer has been difficult for her husband of 26 years, Tony Cacciotti. “Valerie is a realist,” Tony told AARP. “And she worries more about others than herself. She worries about what’s going to happen to us when she’s gone.”

To be continued

Immunotherapy May Improve Adult Outcomes for Childhood Cancer Survivors

From Childhood to Being an Adult: Cancer Problems
From Childhood to Being an Adult: Cancer Problems

One in every 640 adults between the ages of 20 and 39 is a childhood cancer survivor, according to the U.S. Institute of Medicine. About 70% of those cancer survivors will experience serious, life-altering health problems as adults that are directly related to their cancer battle and, more often, the cancer treatment they underwent decades ago. To these childhood cancer survivors it seems a cruel twist of fate that cancer up-ends their lives not once, but twice.

A recent University of Florida study on the long-term effects of childhood cancer found that many survivors suffer physical, mental or social effects as adults that can drastically impair daily function and quality of life. Working with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Florida researchers analyzed data from 1,667 childhood cancer survivors.

According to a report on Medical News Today, “The most common symptoms the survivors reported were head pain, back and neck pain, pain in other parts of the body, sensation abnormalities, and disfigurement” (such as hair loss). Other symptoms included heart problems, lung problems, mobility issues, learning and memory issues, depression and anxiety. Seventy percent of childhood cancer survivors reported at least one negative adult-onset symptom with 25% reporting six or more. With each additional symptom, survivors reported a noticeable decrease in their quality of life.

It is possible that using integrated immunotherapy to bolster the immune system during and after childhood cancer treatment, either as a primary treatment or with traditional treatment may decrease adult-onset symptoms for childhood cancer survivors. There may also be benefit in continuing immunotherapy treatments beyond initial cancer treatment to optimize immune system benefits throughout life.