New Focus on Colorectal Cancer Treatments

Cancer Treatment
Cancer Treatment

Integrative medical treatments for colorectal cancer were the subject of a recent episode of Fox News’ Sunday Housecall. Advancements in integrative immunotherapy, cancer vaccines and advanced targeted therapies have more patients – and their doctors – incorporating alternative cancer therapies into their treatment protocols for colorectal cancer and many other forms of cancer.

Patients are looking for non-toxic cancer treatment options that don’t have the debilitating side effects of the big three treatment standards — surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. They are finding the options they seek in individualized cancer therapies grounded in integrative immunotherapy. The unique complexities of colorectal cancer and other forms of gastrointestinal cancer particularly lend themselves to individualized cancer treatment protocols. Also of note is the effectiveness of cancer vaccines in the treatment of colorectal cancer, specifically autologous dendritic cell vaccines.

While considered a largely preventable cancer, colorectal cancer often goes undetected in its early stages. It may be several years before patients present symptoms. Symptoms can vary with the location of the tumor but may include fatigue, weakness, abdominal pain, weight loss, shortness of breath, spastic colon, diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease, peptic ulcers, bloody stool, diarrhea or constipation.

Diet education is part of Issels’ holistic approach to cancer treatment. To help prevent colorectal cancer, a diet rich in fiber and colorful fruits and vegetables is recommended. Choose deeply pigmented foods such as blueberries, cranberries, pomegranates, carrots, red peppers, kale, broccoli, spinach and red cabbage.

Visit our website to find out more about Issels integrative immunotherapy program for the treatment of cancer and other immune diseases. We offer a full spectrum of alternative cancer treatments and immune disease therapies at our inpatient clinic in Tijuana, Mexico and the comprehensive immunobiologic core treatment at our outpatient medical center in Santa Barbara, California.

Cancer Caregivers Must Take Care for Themselves Too

Being a Caregiver is an Important Role.
Being a Caregiver is an Important Role.

Two out of three Americans can expect to serve as a family caregiver at some point in their lifetime. With cancer predicted to outstrip heart disease as the leading cause of death in America, many family caregivers will be caring for cancer patients. But those cold, impersonal facts are far removed from the intensely personal and emotional experience of caring for a family member with cancer.

Highs and Lows of Being a Caregiver

Serving as a cancer caregiver for someone you love can be a tremendously rewarding experience. But trying to juggle your own life with your responsibilities as a caregiver can also take a huge toll on your physical and mental health. Many family caregivers place the needs of their loved one ahead of their own needs which is completely human and sometimes necessary. But failing to take care of yourself can leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed which helps neither you nor the family member you are caring for.

Caring for the Caregiver

To be an effective caregiver for a family member with cancer, you must take care of yourself.

Use the following strategies to stay emotionally and physically healthy: 

• Caregiving can be an isolating experience. Establish a good support network and enlist family and friends to help out. Accept help when it’s offered and call on your support team when you need a break.

• Know the warning signs of stress: exhaustion, irritability, trouble sleeping, forgetfulness, eating too much or too little and loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities. Chronic stress erodes your physical health and may lead to depression. Monitor your health and see your doctor regularly.

You know your loved one is receiving the best possible care at Issels alternative cancer treatment centers. Family caregivers must take equally good care of themselves.

Resources for Family Caregivers

Helping Caregivers Deal with Cancer
Helping Caregivers Deal with Cancer

Cancer has been called a family disease because it affects not only the cancer patient but the entire family. Spouses, parents, adult children and other relatives find themselves suddenly thrust into the role of caregiver.

While being the caregiver of someone you love can be a very rewarding experience and is a role many family members willingly accept, it can also be emotionally draining and physically exhausting.

Local Cancer Support Resources

Taking care of another person on top of your own responsibilities can leave caregivers feeling overwhelmed. It is important to develop a strong support network early. There are many excellent organizations, publications and support groups, both online and in your local community, available to cancer caregivers.

Good places to find local resources include the family resource center of your local hospital, your county or city’s senior services department, churches and local branches of national cancer organizations.

Online Cancer Support Resources 

The following online resources may also be helpful:

National Cancer Institute offers an online cancer information service and live chat.

American Cancer Society offers helpful articles for caregivers and links to cancer support networks.

Cancer Care provides a list of online and telephone support groups for cancer caregivers and sponsors educational online and telephone workshops and podcasts on cancer-related topics. Monthly Q&As with cancer experts offer answers to common caregiver questions.

Family Caregiver Alliance is devoted to supporting caregiver family members and friends. The site offers education, practical tips and resources to help caregivers manage every stage of care.

Caregiver Action Network (formerly National Family Caregivers Association) provides information, education and support for family caregivers and offers online support forums and peer networks.

AARP Caregiving Resource Center provides a comprehensive collection of online tools for caregivers, including connections to experts and other caregivers through online forums.

Cancer Takes Toll on Patients’ Mental Health

You Are Not Defined by Cancer!
You Are Not Defined by Cancer!

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is a traumatic event. Many patients experience extreme stress and anxiety and may succumb to depression as they struggle to deal with their diagnosis and subsequent treatment. While the effect cancer can have on the mental health of cancer patients is known, such issues seem to be considered peripheral and may be paid scant attention by many traditional practitioners.

Western medicine’s cancer treatment model has been criticized for having too narrow a focus that concentrates medical attention and resources almost entirely on the cancer treatment protocol while ignoring as secondary other important aspects of the patient’s health. Cancer patients pay a greater price than previously believed for this attitude.

Mental Health Can Play a Role in Recovery

A patient’s mental health can play an important role in cancer treatment outcomes and recovery. At Issels Integrative Oncology, we believe in the body, mind and spirit connection. Our holistic approach to immune therapy includes addressing our patients’ mental and physical health. At our alternative cancer treatment centers in Tijuana, Mexico and Santa Barbara, California, we provide psychological guidance and relief of emotional stress as part of our comprehensive cancer treatment program.

The Real Value of Holistic Care

The value of taking such a holistic approach to patient care by addressing the patient’s mental health during cancer treatment is the subject of a broad new study being funded by the National Cancer Institute.

“We can give people the best chemotherapy (and other treatments) in the world; but if we’re not checking in to see how they’re doing as people, we may not get the best results,” Georgia Anderson of the University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute, one of 18 facilities participating in the study, told USA Today.

For more than 60 years, Issels has taken such a holistic approach to cancer treatment. You are more than your cancer at Issels.

New Research Changes Our Understanding of How Cancer Metastasizes

Doctor Listening to Patient
Doctor Listening to Patient

For decades researchers in the lab have studied cancer cells in flat, shallow Petri dishes. As a result, assumptions about how cancer behaves in the body have been based on two-dimensional models. Now, new research is turning long-held beliefs about cancer upside down. Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered that cancer actually moves quite differently in the three-dimensional human body than it does in the lab.

How Cancer Spreads in 3D vs. 2D Models

In two-dimensions cancer cells move in a slow, aimless fashion called a “random walk.” Until now researchers had assumed that cancer cells moved in the same random way in the three-dimensional human body, making it virtually impossible to determine where cancer might land when it metastasizes.

The new findings indicate that cancer cells are more directional than random when moving through three-dimensional spaces like the human body. New 3D modeling may allow cancer experts to predict the most likely path of metastasis should cancer spread.

How Cancer Cells Move Explained

“Cancer cells that break away from a primary tumor will seek out blood vessels and lymph nodes to escape and metastasize to distant organs,” Denis Wirtz, director of Johns Hopkins Physical Sciences Oncology Center, explained on HUB. “For a long time, researchers have believed that these cells make their way to these blood vessels through random walks. In this study, we found out that they do not. Instead, we saw that these cells will follow more direct, almost straight-line trajectories. This gives them a more efficient way to reach blood vessels—and a more effective way to spread cancer. This means that the time these cancer cells need to make their way out of connective tissues is much shorter than previous estimates.”

The new 3D model may lead to more effective advanced targeted immune therapies and cancer vaccines designed to protect against metastasis.

How to Protect Yourself Against Skin Cancer

Preventing Skin Cancer
Preventing Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is easily treated when detected early and rarely spreads to other parts of the body. However, a new study has found that nonmelanoma skin cancer can increase your future risk of developing dangerous melanoma skin cancer and 30 other forms of cancer (see our previous post). The risk is greatest for young people under age 25.

To guard against skin cancer, everyone should check their body regularly for new or changing moles and see their doctor if they notice any changes. Study researchers also recommended that people who develop nonmelanoma skin cancer during their teen or young adult years consider cancer screenings for internal malignancies.

Detecting and beginning cancer treatment early improves outcomes, although Issels integrative immunotherapy has achieved an enviable record of complete long-term remissions even when cancer is advanced or resistant to standard therapies.

Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Taking the following measures to protect your skin from exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation can significantly reduce your risk of skin cancer:

• Avoid tanning salons. Some sunlamps emit highly concentrated doses of UV light that can be as much as 12 times more potent than sunlight, increasing cancer risk.

• Before spending time outdoors, apply a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB), water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Reapply frequently while outdoors.

• Wear a broad-brimmed hat to shade your face.

• Wear sunglasses with 99% to 100% UV absorption.

• Wear clothing that protects your skin from sun exposure.

If you develop cancer, Issels offers non-toxic alternative cancer treatments and full spectrum healthcare at our Santa Barbara, California outpatient medical center. Inpatient treatment is also available at the largest, most modern private hospital in Tijuana, Mexico.