Don’t stress about coming up with the perfect words. This is a new situation for both of you. If you don’t know what to say, be honest about it. Your loved one will let you know what he or she needs.
Keep the focus on the patient. You’re there to help them, not the other way around. Talk to another friend or family member if you need a sounding board.
Avoid clichés or dismissive comments like “You’ll be fine” or “At least you got the ‘good’ cancer.” Of course you don’t want to be a source of doom and gloom, but minimizing the situation doesn’t make the patient feel any better.
Every case of cancer is different. Don’t bring up friends, family members or acquaintances and compare their situations.
Don’t ask for details about their cancer treatment such as blood test results or possible side effects. Let them share information if they like, but respect their personal boundaries.
Sometimes no words are necessary. Your loved one might want you to provide a sympathetic ear, or may prefer a period of silence. Be willing to graciously accommodate their wishes.
Melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer, has a survival rate of up to 95 percent that is reduced nearly in half by late diagnosis. An experimental blood test for melanoma showing high degrees of accuracy could make it easier for patients to receive timely cancer treatment.
Finding Clues in the Bloodstream
Antibodies are produced by the body’s immune system to attack foreign substances, including cancer cells. A research team at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia conducted a study using blood samples to identify particular antibodies created in the immune response to melanoma.
The 245 test subjects included both melanoma patients and healthy volunteers. After the team identified a combination of 10 antibodies specific to the presence of melanoma, they were able to detect melanoma patients with 79 percent accuracy and healthy participants with 84 percent accuracy.
Progress in Early Cancer Detection
Professor Mel Ziman, leader of the project, said the team is proceeding on a trial with 1,000 participants to get the accuracy rate up to the required 90 percent level. Ziman projects that with a successful outcome, the test could be commercially available within five years.
While early detection makes a vital difference in successful melanoma treatment, current testing methods are costly and invasive. Scientists around the world are also making progress on blood tests to identify several types of cancer, including ovarian, lung and esophagus.
When you receive a diagnosis of cancer, your mental and emotional adjustment can make a difference during your course of immuno oncology treatment. Unfortunately, most people have no frame of reference for coping with such news.
Your situation is unique. Others may offer ideas of what has worked for them, but don’t feel obligated to follow them to the letter. View these tips as suggestions and try out different methods to find your own best solution.
Learn About Your Cancer
Knowledge is power. The unknown is often more frightening than the reality, so take time to educate yourself about your type of cancer and the various treatment options that are available.
The link between exercise and mood is well-documented. Physical activity stimulates production of endorphins, which are natural mood elevators. Consult with your doctor to make sure you’re not overdoing it.
Let Your Feelings Out
Many people believe that fear, anger and other negative emotions must remain hidden, but that can make your situation even harder to bear. Talk to friends and family, join a support group or try an artistic outlet such as writing or painting.
Be Kind to Yourself
Make a point each day of doing something that makes you happy, whether it’s meeting a friend for lunch or simply meditating for 15 minutes.
Issels®: Immuno Oncology Personally Created for You
For decades, cancer has been the main focus of innumerable medical researchers. During 2016, immunotherapy for cancer was designated the top advance in the field for the second consecutive year.
The Rapid Rise of Immunotherapy Treatment
The announcement was made in Clinical Cancer Advances 2017, the 12th annual report from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Dr. Daniel F. Hayes, president of ASCO, presented the report to Congress during a recent meeting to request continued funding for cancer research.
According to Dr. Hayes, immunotherapy was a “promising theoretical treatment” less than 10 years ago. In a relatively short span of time, it has become a “standard of care” that has positively affected thousands of patients.
Just how much progress has been made in immunotherapy for cancer? Since 2011, a total of 15 immune-targeted therapies have been approved. That success combined with continued improvements in identifying candidates and overcoming resistance mechanisms, led ASCO to dub it “Immunotherapy 2.0.”
Dr. Hayes also stressed the importance of federal funding in maintaining the momentum in cancer research. One prominent development that has made a significant impact is the Cancer Moonshot program. Former Vice President Joe Biden took up the cause after his son Beau’s death from brain cancer.
Issels®: Ahead of the Curve
While the rest of the medical community is embracing the value of immunotherapy for cancer, we have been in the forefront of successfully treating patients by boosting their own immune systems. Visit our website to learn more about cancer vaccines, NK cells and our other non-toxic, individually tailored programs.
While scientists had previously made the connection with mice, a team at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center recently made a breakthrough with the first study involving humans. The subjects included 233 patients with advanced melanoma.
A subset of 43 patients was on checkpoint inhibitors, one of the primary methods of immunotherapy for cancer. Out of this group, 30 responded to the treatment while 13 did not.
What made the difference? The researchers discovered that the 30 patients who responded had a wider variety of gut bacteria, particularly a specific type called Clostridiales, along with a higher concentration of the immune cells that fight cancer.
Strengthening the Immune System
According to Fred Ramsdell, vice president of research at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, it’s likely that exposure to a greater amount of bacteria during your lifetime results in a more robust immune system. Exactly why this happens is still a puzzle for now.
Experts are optimistic that this information will eventually be used to more effectively target patients who will respond to immunotherapy treatments. A clinical trial focusing on the microbiome is planned for later this year.
Immunotherapy for Cancer: The Issels® Approach
Our namesake, Dr. Josef M. Issels, pioneered non-toxic immunotherapy treatments and we carry on his legacy today. Contact us for more information about our individually tailored programs that are created to meet your individual needs.
When foreign cells invade your body, they carry proteins called antigens that trigger an immune response. Your system produces antibodies that bind with the antigens, which either neutralize the rogue cells on their own or alert T-cells to attack and destroy them.
While cancer cells also produce antigens, they manage to evade the normal process by hijacking the checkpoints that signal the immune system to attack. The cells remain undetected, allowing them to multiply as they continue to weaken the immune system.
Penetrating the Shield around Cancer Cells
Instead of using external treatments like radiation and chemotherapy to fight tumors, immunotherapy for cancer focuses on boosting the natural abilities of the immune system by “training” it to recognize and attack cancer cells. These methods include:
Drugs containing lab-made monoclonal antibodies that bind to cancer cell antigens and block the normal proteins that “disguise” them
Vaccines containing proteins that help the immune system recognize antigens on tumor cells
Issels®: A Personalized Approach
Immunotherapy for cancer has become a valuable alternative or supplement to traditional treatments, but each patient’s case is different. We use specialized testing to create an integrative treatment method that addresses your particular needs.
Contact us today to learn why Issels® has been a leader in the successful use of immunotherapy treatments.