We tend to think of National Cancer Survivor Day as a day that’s set aside to honor all of those who have beaten this dreadful disease. However, here at Issels® we feel that it’s also important to remember the unsung heroes. These are the people who have worked hard by their loved ones’ sides to ensure that they receive the best possible care during their treatments.
National Cancer Survivor Day is June 5. On this day, we want to remember everyone who has fought, or who is still fighting cancer and celebrate them and their journey.
The Effects of Cancer
Unless you’ve been through it, it’s hard to completely understand the effects of cancer. Many patients live their lives in a constant state of fear from one treatment to another, and the side effects that are usually experienced after their treatments can have life-long impact. Their caregivers struggle with knowing if they’re making good decisions, and whether or not their friends and family members are comfortable and pain-free.
Providing Support to Patients and Caregivers
If you know a cancer patient or a cancer caregiver, there are many ways you can honor them; not just on National Cancer Survivor Day, June 5, but all year long. Providing a listening ear helps more than you know, and offering to do tasks such as running errands, cleaning the house, and paying bills is very much appreciated. Cancer patients and their caregivers need to know that they are supported and loved, and you can play a major role in making sure that happens.
This year, on National Cancer Survivor Day, June 5, wear your purple ribbon and show your support!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While it was once unlikely at best, surviving cancer has become reality for a steadily growing number of patients. According to the American Cancer Society, survivorship is defined from the point of diagnosis and extends through the balance of life.
The ACS teamed up with the National Cancer Institute for extensive reports on current cancer survivorship and treatment statistics. Here is a look at some numbers that reflect the positive results of integrative immunotherapy and other effective treatment methods.
Cancer rates are down while survivorship is up
While there has been a reduction in cancer incidence rates, the number of survivors has grown sharply over the last 40 years. The 3.3 million total in 1974 has become 14.5 million in 2014, with the number expected to reach 18.9 million by 2024.
Gender differences are minor
Female survivors outnumber male survivors by slightly more than 700,000, but percentages by age, type of cancer and post-diagnosis years are remarkably similar. More than 40 percent of survivors in both groups are aged 70 and older, due to the aging of the Baby Boomer generation.
Early detection makes a major difference
Statistics continue to show the importance of early diagnosis and treatment. The five-year survival rates for breast, prostate, colon and skin cancers range from 90-100 percent when diagnosed at the early localized stage.
Cancer is a tough disease. The treatment options can often cause their own set of problems. This is especially true when it comes to chemotherapy. At Issels®, a center for immuno-oncology, doctors sometimes see patients develop myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Essentially, chemotherapy can expose patients to high doses of harmful chemicals that then cause further cell mutations, creating a sort of slippery slope that can be hard to climb back up.
Despite the inherent dangers of undergoing chemotherapy, it is still a popular and to a certain degree an effective treatment. The key is to understand the risks and fully discuss your options with your doctor. If you are undergoing cancer treatment and you feel like your doctor is simply telling you what the next step is, without consulting you about quality of life consequences, then you may want to seek out a second opinion from another oncologist or a whole other perspective about non-toxic treatment options from the experts at Issels®.
Through years of research and clinical experience treating patients, we have discovered that a comprehensive approach to treatment that takes into consideration the individual patient’s specific situation and his/her own input is by far the best way to fight against cancer and minimize the side effects of treatment. Short term chemotherapy can be life-saving in the case of aggressively growing tumors that endanger a vital organ, but long-term chemotherapy inevitably damages the bone marrow and suppresses the immune system. To achieve long-term remission we need to restore your body’s own healing power. A non-toxic strategy that includes boosting your immune system, so that treatment is as effective as possible, is one of our hallmarks. Combining our expertise in immuno-oncology with non-toxic treatments may also help reduce your chances of developing other complications and second cancers.
As a cancer patient, it can be easy to feel isolated and alone as you fight the illness. Community support can relieve your loneliness and provide inspiration from the encouragement of others. A young woman’s refusal to be marginalized led to the creation of Twist Out Cancer, an online social network allowing members to form positive connections.
One woman’s story
Jenna Benn Shersher was a 29-year-old woman dealing with a rare form of lymphoma that affects fewer than 300 people in the United States. Although her compromised immune system kept her isolated, she decided to proactively reach out for companionship.
Since treatment prevented her from enjoying her favorite pastime of dancing, Jenna posted a video of herself twisting in her room to Chubby Checker songs. She invited viewers to join her on the “dance floor,” and it took only days to receive responses from thousands of people, many of whom shared their own dance videos.
Giving back to the community
After completing treatment, Jenna wanted to use her experience to benefit other cancer patients seeking companionship. Twist Out Cancer is a website devoted to creating bonds through the sharing of thoughts, stories and experiences.
Anyone touched by cancer is encouraged to create their own page highlighting the personal “twist” they use to cope with the disease. One young woman recently issued a challenge to others to “Kiss Away Cancer” by posting selfies of their smooches with family, friends or even passers-by.
At Issels® we look beyond cancer to see the unique individual that you are. Our treatments are personalized to meet your particular needs. Visit our website to learn more about our non-toxic immunotherapy methods.