Fault in Our Stars Faithfully Portrays Teens Coping with Cancer

The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars

Take tissues if you go see the new hit movie The Fault in Our Stars. The story of two teens with cancer who fall in love has a few weepy moments sandwiched between the romance, self-discovery and laughs. A faithful retelling of John Green’s best-selling young adult novel, the movie faithfully portrays the emotional highs and lows of teens trying to cope with cancer while struggling to live a normal life. (Click here to watch the trailer.)

The Plot

Hazel and Gus, played by Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, meet at a cancer support group. She has thyroid cancer, is depressed and must drag around an oxygen canister, an ever-present reminder of cancer’s life-shortening reality and the fact that she is different from the other teens at her high school. He is a basketball star who lost a leg to osteosarcoma but, now 18 months in remission, chooses to celebrate life.

The Lesson

Gus’ ebullient outlook is the perfect antithesis to Hazel’s dour view of life with cancer. While ultimately heartbreaking as childhood cancer often is, their summer romance is a story of hope and overcoming fear as they plunge into life with teenage abandon. Without the specter of cancer lurking in the wings, The Fault in Our Stars might have been merely another sweet teen romance on the summer movie circuit. But the threat that cancer will bring young hopes and dreams to an abrupt halt elevates the movie, reminding us that life is short and should be embraced and lived.

At Issels Integrative Oncology even stage 4 cancer stories can have a happy outcome. Click to hear our patients stories in their own words.

Advances in Genetics Boost Success of New Immunotherapy for Cancer

Advances In Genetics
Advances In Genetics

Thanks to the advancement of gene sequencing techniques such as high-throughput genome sequencing, capable of breaking down an entire genome in a single day, a new cancer cell therapy treatment may become available to patients.

Successfully used to treat Melinda Bachini, a 45 year old Montana woman suffering from a rare bile-duct cancer after standard chemotherapy failed and resulted in hair loss and nerve damage, Bachini researched and decided to try the new experimental cancer therapy.

Reported in the journal Science, Dr. Steven Rosenberg’s team at the National Cancer Institute used a combination of cutting-edge genomics and recent insights into the human immune system. They identified specific CD4 T-cells  attacking the cancer in Bachini’s body, then literally pulled them off the tumor they were attacking and grew them in lab to later re-infuse into Bachini.

Treating Bachini first with strong chemotherapy to kill competing immune cells, she then underwent 2 rounds of this new treatment. The first reduced symptoms immediately and proceeded to shrink the tumors over 6 months. A second became necessary when the tumors began to grow back. All the mutations present in the cancer – and their associated T-Cells – had to be isolated, grown, and re-infused in order to eradicate the tumors.

This new immunotherapy for cancer is hoped to be used as a blueprint for attacking other types of cancers. Bachini’s case was the first to be treated with this personalized approach and also the first time doctors have been able to target a specific mutation in the immune system. It is anticipated further research into this alternative cancer therapy will provide additional treatment options for a wide array of cancers in the not-too-distant future.

Immunotherapy Offers Improved Quality of Life During and After Cancer Treatment

Advancement In Immunotherapy
Advancement In Immunotherapy

Cancer treatment should not just be about living longer. Your quality of life both during and after cancer treatment should be of equal concern both to you as a cancer patient and to the team of specialists that are directing your treatment. Its focus on improving the patient’s quality of life is one of the benefits of integrative immunotherapy that sets this alternative method of cancer treatment apart from traditional treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

What Immunotherapy Does

Immunotherapy taps into the power of your body’s own immune system, activating your body’s natural defenses against disease. Unlike traditional cancer treatments that destroy healthy cells along with cancerous cells, immunotherapy acts with your body to strengthen your immune system and healthy cells while targeting cancerous tumors and the tumor microenvironments that affect their growth and spread. What that means for many cancer patients is no unpleasant toxic side effects, an often faster recovery and a better quality of life during and after treatment.

“Very Exciting” Results

Cancer researchers new to immunotherapy have called its impact “very, very exciting.” As chronicled in the New York Daily News, a woman in the late stages of cervical cancer saw her tumors disappear and now shows no signs of cancer after undergoing an immunotherapy procedure similar to Issels autologous cancer vaccine. In the procedure, immune cells from the woman’s blood were multiplied in the lab and infused back into her blood stream with amazing results. The woman called the procedure “like Gatorade for the cells.”

Thanks to immunotherapy, this woman is one of many who are enjoying complete and long-term cancer remission. Find out more on our website.

More Breast Cancer Myths and Facts

Breast Cancer Myths BustedAwareness Month
Breast Cancer Myths Busted

Twenty-five years ago breast cancer was considered a fatal diagnosis. But medical advancements and aggressive screening programs have resulted in a dramatic 34% drop in fatality rates and an astounding 98% increase in five-year survival rates. There are now more than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors enjoying life in America today!

Despite the amount of publicity breast cancer generates, many myths remain. Today, we continue our previous post separating fact from myth:

Truth About Mastectomy

Myth: Preventive mastectomy is the best way to prevent breast cancer if you carry the BRCA gene mutation.

Fact: Many cancer treatment experts feel that actress Angelina Jolie’s highly publicized decision to have both breasts removed after discovering that she carries the BRCA mutation did women a disservice. In the wake of her decision, fear of BRCA soared along with demand for preventive mastectomies.

Each breast cancer case is as unique as the woman it affects and demands a personalized approach to treatment. Treatment decisions should not based on the celebrity decisions but should be made in consultation with your cancer specialist. Mastectomy is only one breast cancer treatment option and is not warranted in many cases, even for women who carry the BRCA genetic mutation.

Better Treatment Options

Myth: Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are the only ways to treat breast cancer.

Fact: The debilitating side effects of traditional cancer treatments have more breast cancer patients turning to integrated immunotherapy, either as a primary or complementary treatment. In combination with traditional treatments, many immunotherapy patients experience fewer and less severe side effects, faster recovery and better health after treatment.

Visit our website to find out more about immunotherapy treatments for cancer.

Breast Cancer Myths and Facts

Breast Cancer Information
Breast Cancer Information

One in eight American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. Despite its prevalence, the chances of surviving breast cancer have improved dramatically over the past decade. But old myths still abound. Get the facts below:

Not Just for Women

Myth: Only women get breast cancer.

Fact: While breast cancer strikes women far more frequently than men, more than 2,000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. By comparison, more than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually, about one every two minutes.

Myth: Breast cancer only strikes older women.

Fact: While it is true that breast cancer risk increases with age, breast cancer can strike women of any age. The median age for breast cancer diagnosis in the U.S. is 61 for white women and 57 for black women; but with average life expectancies in the mid-80s, cancer survivors can expect to enjoy many years of active life.

Better Survival Rates

Myth: Breast cancer is the No. 1 cause of cancer death among American women.

Fact: Lung cancer claims the lives of more U.S. women annually than breast cancer, but breast cancer is the top cancer killer of women between the ages of 40 and 59. Breast cancer kills more than 40,000 American women each year.

Myth: Few women survive breast cancer.

Fact: Your chances of surviving breast cancer have never been better. Early detection and improvements in breast cancer treatment have pushed breast cancer fatality rates down 34% since 1990. When detected early, the five-year survival rate has soared to 98%. More than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors are living and thriving in America today.

More myth-busters next time

Novel Treatment May Be Successful Treating Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer Treatment
Lung Cancer Treatment

Under pressure to develop treatments for recurrent cancers with a high rate of fatality, cancer researchers are revisiting old treatment strategies to see if the application of new medical techniques and improved medical technology might make these strategies viable cancer treatment options again. Repeat radiation is one of these old treatments undergoing new life.

High Risk of Injury is a Problem

Significant improvement in the precision of radiation targeting has led a small number of cancer centers to experiment with repeat radiation on Stage 4 lung cancer patients who are out of options. Re-irradiation uses high-level doses of radiation but employs new techniques to tightly target the tumor and minimize damage to surrounding tissues. Despite precautions, repeat radiation does carry a high risk of serious injury to the patent which seems to be the reason few cancer centers are experimenting with the procedure.

No Risk Alternatives for Continued Lung Cancer Treatment

Using another treatment on the comeback trail, lung cancer patients undergoing non-toxic autologous cancer treatments are achieving positive results without re-irradiation’s considerable risks. Autologous cancer vaccines that use the patient’s own blood to boost immune system function have been used with success at Issels alternative cancer treatment centers for decades. Although the use of autologous vaccines has been in use for decades, it is back in the spotlight in the wake of new discoveries revealing the complicated cellular interactions between cancer tumors and immune system cells.

Stage 4 Lung Cancer Remission Success

Despite its effectiveness among various cancers and stages, individualized integrative immunotherapy is another cancer treatment strategy that has been gaining traction in mainstream cancer medicine. Find out more about how integrative immunotherapy is being used to successfully combat Stage 4 lung cancer.