What Are the Long-Term Side Effects of Chemotherapy?

Chemo Side Effects
Chemo Side Effects

At our Issels® immuno-oncology center, the focus is on non-toxic therapies that work with your body’s own immune system to target cancer cells. Chemotherapy is one of the more widely used of traditional cancer treatments, but it can result in one or more side effects, with some manifesting themselves further down the road.

How does chemotherapy cause side effects?

Chemotherapy, or chemo, uses drugs to attack tumors by disrupting the cell cycle, halting the growth of rapidly dividing cancer cells. Problems arise when the drug also interferes with healthy cells in tissues, such as those in the reproductive, nervous and digestive systems.

Long-term and late side effects

While long-term side effects begin during the course of chemo, late side effects don’t become apparent until well after treatment has concluded. Since the damaged tissue cells continue to grow, the influence of the drugs may take some time to show up.

Some of the more common side effects of chemo include:

  • Fatigue
  • Heart or kidney problems
  • Infertility
  • Peripheral neuropathy, which is loss of sensation in hands and feet
  • Cognitive difficulties and learning disabilities

Side effects differ from patient to patient based on the specific chemo medications used and the patient’s unique physiology. Most side effects, including long-term, turn out to be temporary.

Treatment protocols at our immuno-oncology center are personalized based on thorough testing to determine your specific needs and are chemotherapy-free. This allows us to address the underlying causes of cancer to reduce the possibility of recurrence. Visit our website to learn more about cancer vaccines, immune system enhancements and other non-toxic weapons in our cancer-fighting arsenal.

Five Tips for Healthy Living with Cancer

Fighting Cancer With Exercise
Healthy Living

Continuing improvements in non-toxic immunotherapy have made a positive difference in the physical impact of cancer treatment. Maintaining your mental and emotional spirit is the other half of a winning equation for healthy living with cancer.

Here are five tips for strategies and activities to incorporate in your everyday life.

  1. Play an active role as a member of your own healthcare team.

The unknown is always frightening. Asking questions and learning more about cancer will demystify the disease, giving you a more appropriate and realistic perspective.

  1. Immerse yourself in the arts.

Listening to your favorite music and losing yourself in a good book or movie will distract you from negative thoughts while keeping you in touch with the joy of creativity and imagination.

  1. Join a support group.

Even though your family and friends may be ready and willing to help any way they can, there are times when you need to share with someone who is or has been in your shoes.

  1. Pamper yourself.

Take time to get a massage, practice yoga and meditation, or enjoy a relaxing soak in a bathtub surrounded by scented candles. Treating yourself goes a long way toward relieving physical and mental stress.

  1. Look for the lighter side.

Laughter truly is the best medicine. It boosts your immune cells and triggers the release of endorphins, your body’s natural mood elevator.

Our Issels® non-toxic immunotherapy treatments are designed with your individual needs in mind to help you maintain as much of your normal quality of life as possible. Visit our website for testimonials from cancer survivors of all ages.

Jimmy Carter: the New Advocate for Immunotherapy Treatment

Fighting With Immunotherepy
Fighting With Immunotherapy

Being a leader is nothing new for former president Jimmy Carter. Since the end of his political career, he has devoted his time to human rights activism, and his work earned him the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize. Today he has assumed a role he never anticipated: a leader in immunotherapy cancer treatment.

Carter’s diagnosis and treatment

In August 2015, Carter announced that surgery to remove a tumor from his liver had uncovered four spots of melanoma in his brain. He accepted the diagnosis with grace and strength, but that wasn’t the end of the story.

Doctors at Emory University, which is gaining notice as an immuno-oncology center, began treating Carter with pembrolizumab, an immunotherapy drug sold under the brand name Keytruda. The drug, which received Food and Drug Administration approval just over one year ago, does not work directly on the cancer. It works by harnessing the power of the body’s own immune system to destroy the malignant cells.

What does the future hold?

In a more upbeat announcement in early December 2015, Carter revealed that his brain cancer is gone. Since pembrolizumab is so new to the market, there is little long-range data available, so doctors will continue to watch for any signs of recurrence. The tumors have been slow-growing, which is reason for optimism that, should they return, they will not prove fatal.

Our Issels® immuno-oncology center is another leader in alternative cancer treatment. We offer personalized non-toxic therapies in a state-of-the-art facility featuring experienced, caring doctors and staff. Visit our website to learn more about our innovative treatment protocols.

Coping with the Side Effects of Traditional Cancer Treatment

Dealing With Side Effects
Dealing With Side Effects

One of the goals of non-toxic cancer treatments at the Issels immuno-oncology center is a reduction of debilitating side effects typically caused by traditional treatments. Unfortunately, side effects are a frequent result of therapy when using chemotherapy and radiation.

Successful management of side effects has benefits for both your physical and mental well-being. Here are three of the more common side effects of traditional cancer treatment along with tips to reduce them.

  1. Fatigue from radiation and chemotherapy

Not only is cancer treatment energy-sapping on its own, it can sometimes result in anemia, which also causes fatigue. This exhaustion often interferes with normal activities so many patients find it helpful to cut back on work and other obligations. A healthy diet and moderate exercise can also help, but it’s important to get rest when you need it.

  1. Hair loss from chemotherapy

Hair loss is a well-known side effect of chemotherapy, which destroys rapidly dividing cells like hair roots. The loss is usually temporary, and hair grows back from three to 10 months following the last treatment, but can be permanent in some patients. A variety of options are available based on your personal preference. They include cutting your hair short or covering your head with hats, scarves and wigs.

  1. Nausea from chemotherapy

Nausea and vomiting that accompanies chemotherapy is usually addressed with medication. Some patients avoid types of food that tend to be irritating, such as greasy or spicy products. Based on a 2004 study, researchers are exploring the possibility that expectations of nausea can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Treatment protocols at our immuno-oncology center include non-toxic therapies that minimize harmful side effects. Contact us to learn more about the Issels® personalized programs.

Non-Toxic Agent Makes Cancer Cells Glow

Thermal Treatment
Making the Cancer Glow

When you’re looking for small objects in a dark, confined area, your first step is turning on a light. Recent cancer research has uncovered a non-toxic chemical compound with the ability to “turn on the light” that reveals cancer cells.

Breakthrough testing

The study, conducted at Oregon State University, was presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists last October. Researchers injected a substance called silicon napthalocyanine into mice suffering from ovarian tumors. After 24 hours, the chemical had been absorbed by the tumors but was not present in the rest of the body.

Tumors were completely eradicated, and researchers detected no side effects. They are optimistic about the compound working on other types of tumors as well.

“Glow in the dark” cancer cells

Once the compound has been absorbed by a tumor, it causes cancer cells to glow when illuminated with near-infrared light. The effect makes it easier for surgeons to find and remove the cells more effectively, while a chemical reaction combining heat and oxygen kills any remaining cells.

Olena Taratula, lead author of the OSU study, explained that the research demonstrates proof of concept they hope to expand on with further experiments. Next on the researchers’ agenda is developing a system whereby the compound would actually seek out cancer cells. The next round of testing would involve dogs, possibly followed by clinical trials on humans.

Our experienced staff of medical professionals actively works to remain up-to-date on the latest and most innovative cancer research. Contact us to learn why Issels® is a leader in non-toxic integrative immuno-oncology treatments.

Cold Cap Aims to Save Hair of Chemotherapy Patients

Save Your Hair
Preventing Chemo Hair Loss

Hair loss frequently affects women undergoing chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer, making them self-conscious at a time when their emotional state is already fragile. That may change with use of the cold cap, a device approved last December by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use at cancer treatment facilities.

The science behind the cold cap

While various forms of cold caps have been sold around the world, the DigniCap is the first one officially cleared by the FDA for use in the United States. The cap is made by Dignitana AB, a medical technology company in Sweden whose slogan is, “Preserving Dignity of Life.”

Cold caps work on the principle of scalp cooling, which has been around for decades. The concept involves applying near-freezing temperatures to a patient’s scalp, temporarily reducing blood flow and cell metabolism in the area. This makes it difficult for the cancer-fighting drugs to reach and damage hair.

Bringing the DigniCap to the United States

The DigniCap was tested at the University of California at San Francisco and four other medical centers. Out of 122 women tested while undergoing standard chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer, more than two-thirds of the participants retained more than half of their hair. Dignitana AB plans to lease the DigniCap to cancer treatment centers for use by chemotherapy participants, who would pay a fee for each round.

Treatment at our Issels® immuno-oncology center focuses on your mental and emotional well-being as well as your physical health. Visit our website to learn more about our personalized non-toxic protocols.