The World Health Organization (WHO) has released its annual World Cancer Report and the news is troubling. WHO warns that cancer is becoming a global pandemic. In predicting a 57% worldwide increase in cancer cases over the next 20 years, WHO estimates that both cancer cases and deaths will nearly double by 2032.
It’s a grim picture made even grimmer by WHO’s finding that nearly half of all cancers could be prevented through a worldwide commitment to prevention, lifestyle education and collaborative research.
“We cannot treat our way out of the cancer problem,” Christopher Wild of the International Agency for Research on Cancer told CNN. “More commitment to prevention and early detection is desperately needed in order to complement improved treatments and address the alarming rise in cancer burden globally.”
Despite the gloomy global picture, there are glimmers of hope. Cancer risk increases with age and a significant portion of cancer’s predicted increase is related to the aging of the world’s population. However, if adjusted for aging, the U.S. cancer rate “is declining notably,” Dr. Walter Curran of Emory University’s School of Medicine told CNN. Curran credits the drop to healthier lifestyle choices.
While Africa, Asia and South and Central America, which account for 60% of global cancer, face tremendous challenges, America’s success offers encouragement for increasing global prevention efforts.
A strong immune system has proven to be a significant aid to cancer prevention and successful treatment. Issels alternative cancer treatments have achieved a unique record of complete long-term cancer remissions utilizing integrated immunotherapy to maximize the body’s immune response. Visit our website to find out more about our cancer treatment and cancer vaccine programs.
Next time: What you can do to decrease your cancer risk
Doctors and patients are rethinking their approach to cancer treatments for people in their 70s, 80s and 90s. According to the National Cancer Institute, the average age of cancer diagnosis in the U.S. is 66; yet the average life expectancy is 81 for U.S. women and 76 for men, according to National Geographic’s U.S. life expectancy map. With the average American living well past 65 and a growing number of people living into their 90s, cancer advocates say it’s time to take age out of the cancer treatment equation.
“What really matters is not chronological age, but functional age,” Dr. Ewa Mrozek, an oncologist at the Ohio State University Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center, told the Columbus Dispatch. With plans to begin a clinic devoted to serving the needs of older cancer patients, the center is riding the leading edge of a national sea change in America’s approach to treating older cancer patients.
A growing number of people are arguing that age should no longer be the primary basis for deciding whether a person will be unable to withstand the rigors of traditional cancer treatment — surgery, chemotherapy and radiation — and its usually traumatic side effects. Of more importance in determining how aggressively to fight cancer should be the individual’s general health – physical, cognitive and emotional — and the impact any other medical conditions or chronic illnesses might have on his ability to benefit from cancer treatment.
Older cancer patients may want to consider the important options offered by alternative cancer treatment centers. Issels Integrative Oncology’s individualized immunotherapy provides cancer patients with a personalized, non-toxic alternative to harsh chemicals and radiation without the strenuous side effects.
A new study calls into question one of the most widely accepted beliefs about cancer prevention: Eating foods that are rich in antioxidants can help decrease cancer risk. Not necessarily, say researchers at the University of Gothenburg Sahlgrenska Cancer Center in Sweden. Antioxidants may actually increase lung cancer risk for smokers and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Antioxidants are supposed to protect the body from cancer by preventing free radicals from damaging cells. “These radicals can damage almost anything inside the cell, including DNA, and DNA damage can lead to cancer,” explained study leader Dr. Martin Bergo. By neutralizing free radicals, antioxidants should decrease the possibility of DNA damage and cancer risk.
However, Swedish researchers found that in people with cancerous or precancerous cells, the body’s response to antioxidants appears to backfire. Instead protecting, antioxidants short-circuit a key immune response to cancerous cells, accelerating cancer progression, according to a HealthDay report posted on WebMD.
The study tested response to vitamin E and acetylcysteine, an antioxidant supplement, in mice with early lung cancer. “We found that antioxidants caused a threefold increase in the number of tumors and caused tumors to become more aggressive,” Dr. Bergo said. “Antioxidants caused the mice to die twice as fast, and the effect was dose-dependent.”
The findings are of concern not only because they fly in the face of current cancer prevention recommendations, but also because acetylcysteine is commonly used to improve breathing in COPD patients. Until further testing can be done, researchers recommend that people at risk of lung cancer avoid taking antioxidant supplements. Issels cancer experts point out that study findings were limited to lung cancer and that antioxidants received through food were not implicated.
Yoga may help recovering breast cancer patients fight the fatigue and inflammation that follows surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Exercise is known to help alleviate post-treatment symptoms, but many cancer patients are simply too exhausted to participate in regular exercise. For these cancer patients, one option is low-impact hatha yoga which boosts strength and flexibility while enhancing mind-body awareness without taxing the body.
In a recently published study designed to test yoga’s benefits for cancer patients, Ohio State University researchers tracked 200 breast cancer survivors. According to a report on Boston.com, cancer patients who participated in 90-minute restorative yoga classes twice a week for 12 weeks following cancer treatment reported a nearly 50% reduction in fatigue. Blood tests of yoga participants also revealed a 15% reduction in three proteins that are markers for inflammation.
Interestingly, the study found that yoga continued to benefit cancer survivors even if they stopped participating in yoga after the initial test period. After six months, fatigue and inflammation continued to decrease with those who continued practicing yoga realizing the greatest benefits.
Yoga participants also benefited from improved sleep which study leader Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at OSU, linked to the decrease in inflammation. “Part of the idea with yoga and related kinds of practices is it may make people less stress-responsive overall. If you can turn down the thermostat in terms of reacting to stressors, you may be able to lower inflammation,” Kiecolt-Glaser told the Columbus Dispatch. Inflammation has been linked to a higher risk of cancer recurrence and spread.
Issels Integrative Oncology embraces a comprehensive strategy of non-toxic cancer treatment that encompasses body, mind and spirit to restore the body’s own immune system. Visit our website to find out more about our integrative immunotherapy cancer treatments.
The combination of two alternative cancer therapies that are still in experimental stages could have the power to transform cancer treatment. The breakthrough discovery was recently announced by Canadian researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute (CHEO).
The new cancer therapy combines two alternative cancer treatments pioneered at CHEO: a recently developed viral therapy and an apoptosis protein inhibitor developed nearly two decades ago. Separately, each treatment showed promise but had failed to have a significant impact on cancer remission results. However, when the two therapies were combined in the lab and tested on mice, the results were dramatic. Combination magnified the cancer-killing effect of both therapies, resulting in a 90% cure rate in laboratory mice.
“The discovery, in effect, takes a drug that knocks out the genes that make cancer cells ‘bullet proof’ – something like pulling the plug on those cells’ resistance to dying – and gives it an extra push by priming the body’s immune response.” as lead researcher Dr. John Bell explained to the Ottawa Citizen.
Like other immunotherapy cancer treatments, the Canadian discovery is non-toxic, safe for children, highly effective against cancer and has the potential to be applicable to many different forms of cancer. Clinical trials of the combination therapy are expected to be scheduled soon. If successful, the Canadians estimate it will take about a decade before the new treatment will be available to patients as a non-toxic alternative to traditional chemotherapy and radiation and the destructive toll they take on the body.
As a pioneer in the use of immunotherapy to treat cancer, Issels welcomes this promising new addition to the growing body of immunotherapy-based alternative cancer treatments that are changing the way cancer is treated.
A new international study spearheaded by Spanish cancer researchers has developed a method of identifying people with a hereditary risk of cancer related to Lynch Syndrome, Science Dailyreports. While the focus of the study was limited to a specific hereditary condition known to increase cancer risk, researchers believe their findings may be applicable to other hereditary cancers.
Cancer develops within the body. Errors in normal DNA replication and other issues can cause genetic alterations or mutations that interfere with normal cell functioning and may lead to cancer. Some people, however, are born with a genetic mutation that predisposes them to a certain type of cancer. An estimated 5% to 10% of all cancer tumors are hereditary through predisposition.
An inherited colorectal disease, Lynch syndrome, also known as HNPCC (Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer), carries an increased risk of colon cancer and endometrial cancer. In a cooperative international effort to identify the genetic variants responsible for Lynch Syndrome, researchers around the world culled through data on thousands of genetic variants.
The significance of many of these variants is as yet unknown. However, it is hoped that consolidation of global research into a public database will allow researchers to translate data into useful clinical information, expanding our understanding of Lynch Syndrome and its genetic implications. The project is being funded and managed by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Scientific Foundation of the Spanish Association Against Cancer.
Identifying the genetic variants responsible for hereditary cancers may help identify at-risk families, encourage early monitoring and preventive measures, inform targeted cancer therapies and provide affected families with useful genetic counseling in the hopes of minimizing cancer risk for future generations. Researchers believe that the process they are using with Lynch Syndrome could be applied to other hereditary cancer genes.