Category Archives: Living with Cancer

Sleep Disorders Can Impact Cancer Patients

The Anatomy of Sleep Cycles

While you’re not consciously aware of it, there are two distinct phases to sleep:

  • REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is the time when your brain is active.
  • NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep is the restful phase, which includes four stages ranging from light to deep.

One full sleep cycle lasts approximately 90 minutes, with a NREM phase followed by a REM phase. This pattern repeats four to six times during the night, depending on the total length of sleep. Any interruption in the cycle prevents the brain from fully completing its restorative tasks.

Sleep Disorders and Cancer

The National Cancer Institute identifies the five major sleep disorders as:

  • Insomnia or the inability to fall asleep and remain asleep
  • Sleep apnea, where a patient actually stops breathing for several seconds at different times during the night
  • Hypersomnia, which causes difficulty staying awake during daytime hours
  • Circadian rhythm disorder, in which the entire sleep-wake cycle is skewed
  • Parasomnia encompasses unusual behavior such as walking or eating while asleep

Chronic lack of sleep can interfere with your ability to care for yourself during treatment while it saps your energy and increases the risk of depression.

Issels® Offers Immunotherapy for Cancer Designed for Your Specific Needs

Our integrative immunotherapy for cancer treatments are focused on boosting your body’s natural abilities to fight the disease. Visit our website for more information.

Cancer Patients Can Benefit From Hands-On Therapies

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, “the human touch” is more than just a figure of speech. Hands-on therapies can help reduce stress, boost your spirits, and reduce physical pain.

How “Healing Hands” Boost the Fight against Cancer

There is scientific research to back up the positive claims of touch therapy. One widely publicized study involved a group of married women who were threatened with a mild electric shock, but their anxiety levels dropped instantly with a touch from their husbands’ hands.

Chronic stress and depression inhibit your body’s immune system, making it more vulnerable to invading cancer cells. Touch therapy can improve your overall wellness so you’re better equipped to fight the disease.

3 Popular Touch Therapy Techniques:

  • Body psychotherapy goes beyond talk therapy, helping you tune in to bodily sensations that uncover deep emotional traumas. Methods focus on various elements such as muscle contraction, breathing and posture.
  • Physical therapy addresses pain and limited movement in muscles, joints and other tissues. According to one study, women who had undergone breast cancer surgery and worked with a physical therapist had less pain and better quality of life than others who exercised on their own.
  • Massage therapy may seem like a luxury, but it actually triggers brain activity that increases serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical, and reduces the stress hormone cortisol.

Immunotherapy for Cancer: An Integrative Approach

At Issels®, our innovative immunotherapy for cancer uses a comprehensive mind-body approach to attack cancer cells while restoring your natural immune response. Visit our website for more information about our non-toxic, personally tailored treatment programs.

Tips for Coping with a New Cancer Diagnosis

Do you Have or Know Someone Who is Currently Experiencing a Hard to Treat Cancer? There is Hope!
Do you Have or Know Someone Who is Currently Experiencing a Hard to Treat Cancer? There is Hope!

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.

The American Cancer Society offers helpful tips for coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis and continuing to live life to the fullest.

Follow Your Own Path

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.

Stay Active

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

Our non-toxic immunotherapy programs are individually designed to meet your specific needs. Contact us to learn more.

New Vaccine for Ovarian Cancer Improves Life Expectancy

There is New Hope for Ovarian Cancer Treatment
There is New Hope for Ovarian Cancer Treatment

No two cases of cancer are the same, so scientists are finding that cookie-cutter cancer treatment is not always the best solution. According to a recently published study, a personalized vaccine has shown promise for boosting ovarian cancer survival rates.

Ovarian Cancer: The “Silent Killer”

An international team of researchers conducted the study of ovarian cancer, often referred to as a “silent killer” because it’s usually in an advanced stage by the time of diagnosis. Chemotherapy plus surgery is the conventional course of treatment, but team member Dr. Lana Kandalaft notes that 85 percent of patients experience recurrence.

Matching Cancer Treatment to Patient

Immunotherapy is a form of treatment that uses a patient’s own immune system to attack and kill cancer cells. In this case, researchers created a vaccine by harvesting a patient’s immune cells, then exposed them to cells from the tumor so they could be identified.

All patients in the study were treated with a combination of immunotherapy drugs, while a certain number also received the vaccine. After one year, the vaccinated group had a survival rate of 100 percent compared to 60 percent of the control group.

Results continued to be encouraging after two years. The vaccinated group showed a survival rate of 78 percent, while the rate dropped to 44 percent with patients receiving drugs alone.

Issels®: A Pioneer in Personalized Cancer Treatment

Our founder, Dr. Josef Issels, performed groundbreaking work developing immunotherapy as an integrative and holistic form of cancer treatment. Visit our website for more information about how we are continuing his legacy of helping patients with advanced and therapy-resistant cancers achieve long-term remission.

Cancer Treatment and the Impact on Cognitive Ability

Immunotherapy is Changing Cancer Treatment Again in Exciting New Ways
Cancer Treatment and the Impact on Cognitive Ability

Effective cancer treatment sometimes involves dealing with side effects and secondary symptoms. Here are some things you need to know about the possible effects of cancer and its treatment on cognitive abilities.

What Is Cognition?

Simply put, cognition is “the mental process of learning and understanding.” Cognitive thinking is what allows you to focus, process new information, solve problems, perceive spatial relationships and communicate via speaking and writing.

Cognitive Problems Related to Cancer

Problems involving learning and memory are common signs of cognitive impairment due to cancer. Specific problems can include:

– Inability to complete tasks

– Failure to recognize familiar objects

– Loss of focus and concentration

– Difficulty with money management, such as paying bills

– Lack of motivation

– Disorganized behavior and/or thinking

Other Factors Contributing to Cognitive Problems

States of mental and physical well-being are deeply intertwined. Cancer patients and survivors may find that the following issues also impact cognitive abilities:

– Age

– Overall weakness or frailty

– Drug and alcohol use

Chemotherapy and other cancer treatment

– Other diseases or illnesses

– Being postmenopausal

Restoring Cognitive Abilities

Researchers are studying the use of certain drugs in treating cognitive problems, but a pharmaceutical solution is still in the future. Many patients have found these natural methods to be helpful:

– Movement therapy, such as tai chi or yoga, that emphasizes the mind-body connection

– Learning new ways to absorb information

– Using calendars, tech devices or other tools to stay organized

– Activities such as gardening or caring for pets that establish focus

Integrative Non-Toxic Cancer Treatment at Issels®

Our personalized cancer treatment methods avoid the common side effects that can affect your overall wellness. Contact us for more information.

Living with Cancer – the New Normal for Some Patients

Living with Cancer - the New Normal for Some Patients
Living with Cancer – the New Normal for Some Patients

Not so long ago, a diagnosis of cancer was the worst news a patient could hear. Flash forward to today when, thanks to remarkable improvements in cancer treatment, patients are learning to live with the disease as their “new normal.”

Liz Burke: One Woman’s Story

In TheJournal.ie, an Irish news website, a woman named Liz Burke shared her experiences in honor of Daffodil Day, a fundraiser for the Irish Cancer Society. Liz was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007.

After a lumpectomy, Liz underwent a course of chemotherapy followed by another of radiotherapy. She demonstrated her sense of humor by relating a story about purchasing a wig to cover her baldness and finding it one day in the mouth of her Jack Russell terrier.

Two years later, Liz’s doctor discovered that breast cancer cells had metastasized to her liver. This triggered another nine months of chemotherapy followed by two years of maintenance, but the good news is that the tumors became inactive.

Finally, one more blow. After five years, the breast cancer metastasized again, this time resulting in a brain tumor. Liz had surgery to remove the tumor and radiotherapy treatment afterwards.

“People Survive Cancer”

These days Liz follows a regular schedule of MRIs, CT scans and weekly infusions. Her message? “People can live quite happily alongside cancer.” Liz believes we’re lucky to live in a time when so much progress is being made with new and effective cancer treatment.

Issels®: There IS Life After Cancer

Many of our patients at Issels® have similar stories of hope and recovery. Visit our website to read and hear their testimonials.