“When 14-year-old Nick Wilkins’ leukemia resisted chemotherapy, radiation and a bone marrow transplant, his doctors turned to the real pros: Nick’s own immune cells,” John Bonifield of CNN recently wrote on Click2Houston.com. After two months of targeted immunotherapy, Nick’s cancer “went into complete remission.”
Nick’s experience was not unique. Eighteen of the 21 other young cancer patients participating in a University of Pennsylvania study on the effectiveness of immunotherapy-based advanced targeted therapies also experienced complete remission of their cancer.
“This is absolutely one of the more exciting advances I’ve seen in cancer therapy in the last 20 years,” Dr. David Porter, Penn hematologist and oncologist, told CNN. “We’ve entered into a whole new realm of medicine.”
While some of the approaches to targeted cancer therapy are certainly new – recent advances in cellular and genetic medicine have made it possible to target specific genes and cell functions at a level not previously available – employing the body’s immune system to target cancer is a tried and true, rather than a “new,” approach. Issels Integrative Oncology Centers have been using individualized immunotherapy to treat cancer for more than 60 years! (Learn more about Issels’ history.)
Penn cancer researchers are not the only ones belatedly recognizing the advantages the immune system offers in the fight against cancer. In an earlier post on targeted therapy, we quoted immunologist Gordon Freeman of Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, who presaged the Penn findings when he said:
“The immune system is an evolutionary learning system. If you can engage it and get it to work successfully, it learns how to attack the cancer. And the wonderful thing is that it works.”
Visit our website to find out about integrative immunotherapy, a safe, effective, non-toxic way to treat cancer that is revolutionizing cancer treatment.
Eating a high-fiber diet is generally recommended to help prevent colon cancer, although there is debate within the cancer community about its effectiveness as a preventive measure.
A new study on mice adds to the debate by suggesting that cancer protection may have as much to do with the type of bacteria that live in your gut as with diet. In experiments with mice, researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine found that consumed fiber was fermented into the chemical butyrate when a certain type of bacteria was present in a mouse’s gut. The formation of this chemical appears to be critical to colon cancer prevention – at least in mice.
Mice with the butyrate-producing gut bacteria had a 75% lower incidence of colon cancer tumors than mice whose guts did not contain the bacteria. In control experiments, neither a high fiber diet alone nor the combination of butyrate-producing bacteria with a low-fiber diet had any effect on reducing colon cancer.
“Our study shows that it’s not the high fiber in and of itself that has a protective effect against cancer, but it’s a combination of the fiber plus having the right types of bacteria,” Scott Bultman of the University of North Carolina told Fox News.
Bultman explained that healthy colon cells use butyrate for fuel. Because cancer cells use sugar glucose for fuel, not butyrate; researchers suspect that butyrate collects inside the cancer cells, eventually causing their destruction in some, as yet, unknown way.
Studies on people have explored the effects of a high fiber diet on colon cancer with mixed results. Future studies will need to examine the potential impact of gut bacteria on colon cancer. Visit our website to find out how Issels integrative immunotherapy has successfully helped colon cancer patients achieve long-term remission.
Going through cancer treatment can certainly feel like a workout. Afterwards, physical activity might be the last thing on your mind. However, starting an exercise program can be beneficial to both your physical and mental health.
Studies have demonstrated that increased physical activity can help prevent a recurrence of cancer while extending the life span of cancer survivors. Exercise can also boost your mental and emotional outlook, which is vital for maintaining quality of life. It helps promote production of serotonin and endorphins, chemicals that work in your brain to elevate mood and reduce pain.
Here are some tips to help you successfully incorporate regular exercise into your lifestyle.
Don’t overdo it, especially if exercise wasn’t a part of your pre-diagnosis routine. Start off with small, achievable goals. Your success at each step provides motivation to move up to the next level.
Find an activity you enjoy. Don’t feel obligated to use a particular form or style just because it works for others. Do you find treadmills boring? Try swimming or walking outdoors. You’ll be more likely to stick with it if you’re having fun.
Exercise doesn’t have to be formal to pay dividends. Look for little things you can do such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Don’t feel guilty when you’re too fatigued for activity. Listen to your body and get some rest. Start up again once you’re feeling better.
Exercise is a healthy complement to the holistic cancer therapy offered at Issels alternative cancer treatment centers. Our integrative immunology approach focuses on a personalized program treating both mind and body. Please contact us to learn more.
Exercise is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle, especially after a cancer diagnosis. It offers physical benefits such as boosting your immune system while fostering a positive mental attitude that’s so important to fighting cancer. Adding resistance training specifically targets some of the changes you may experience during treatment.
Resistance training uses weights, from either equipment or your own body, to supplement exercise moves. Its primary benefit is increasing muscle mass and tone. Cancer patients often lose muscle and gain fat as a side effect of treatment. Practicing resistance training can offset this tendency and help you maintain a better level of muscle tone.
This loss of muscle can be a contributing factor toward the fatigue suffered by patients in treatment. A 2012 study performed by Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center followed 221 cancer survivors in a 12-week strength training program. Participants showed major improvements in muscle mass along with blood pressure, body strength and flexibility.
Cancer can sometimes contribute to the development of osteoporosis. The disease itself can result in bone weakness, while radiation and hormone therapy can affect bone density. Weight training works your bones in the same way that it works your muscles, making it a powerful weapon against osteoporosis.
While aerobic exercise can be performed on a daily basis, strength training is best when done on a schedule that allows for intervening rest days. It’s a good idea to work with a trainer who can help you develop a program for maximum efficiency.
Resistance training benefits the mind-body connection that’s such an important part of the integrative immunotherapy provided at Issels alternative cancer treatment centers. Please contact us to learn more our individualized treatment programs.
If you are diagnosed with cancer, take a deep breath and follow these 6 steps:
1. Don’t panic. Cancer is not the death sentence it once was. Amazing advances are being made in cancer treatment that offer real hope. With the right treatment, your chances of beating cancer and living a long and happy life have never been better.
2. Knowledge is power. Learn everything you can about the type of cancer you have and the treatments available. While traditional Western medicine is beginning to embrace the benefits of integrative immunotherapy and other alternative cancer treatments, many physicians still cling to the old surgery-chemotherapy-radiation treatment trio. There are non-toxic treatment options and advanced targeted therapies available today that, for many patients, have proven to be more effective than traditional treatments.
3. Get a second opinion. Misdiagnosis and false positives have contributed to a culture of cancer overtreatment in the U.S. Get a second opinion to confirm your diagnosis and explore the complete range of treatment options.
4. Find the right cancer team. Choose a cancer team that takes a holistic approach to cancer treatment and will care for your physical, mental and emotional well-being.
5. Ask questions. The more you know and understand about the progress of your cancer and treatment, the more prepared you will be to cope with necessary changes to your daily life.
6. Strengthen your immune system. Your body’s natural defense against disease, your immune system plays a vital role in fighting cancer. Keeping your immune system strong with a healthy diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep and attention to other medical conditions can give your body the strength it needs to battle cancer. Issels integrative cancer treatment further boosts the immune system and has proven effective in fighting advanced and standard therapy-resistant cancers.
The value of mammograms is a hotly debated topic these days. Proponents consider the breast X-rays to be a valuable diagnostic tool; however, opponents of annual mammograms criticize the high volume of false positives and high rates of overtreatment that cause women to undergo painful and expensive cancer treatments unnecessarily.
According to a recent New York Times article on the controversy, “some studies estimate that 19% or more of women whose breast cancers are found by mammography wind up being overtreated.” That means that nearly 1 in 5 women who receive a breast cancer diagnosis as a result of a mammogram are undergoing the emotional trauma, pain and expense of surgery, chemotherapy or radiation treatments they do not need.
Overtreatment occurs when mammography detects tiny, slow-growing cancers that are unlikely to develop into life-threatening problems during the patient’s lifetime. Left untreated, these small cancers might never impact the patient’s life. Treating these cancers, however, subjects women to traumatic surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments that can have life-altering consequences. Prostate cancer and lung cancer have been subject to similar charges of unnecessary overtreatment.
Our own fear of cancer may be partly to blame for the high rate of cancer overtreatment in the U.S. Most people panic when they receive a cancer diagnosis and fail to explore all the treatment options available. For many patients, non-toxic integrative immunotherapy offers a viable alternative to more traumatic traditional treatment options.