Cancer changes your perspective. It changes what is important and how you choose to spend your time. Whether you’ve just been diagnosed, are undergoing cancer treatment or count yourself among the growing legion of cancer survivors, cancer is a life-changing event. People with cancer or any debilitating disease realize that what is important is not how long you live, but how you spend your life.
It’s a lesson actor Michael J. Fox learned early in his adult life. Diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease when he was only 30, Michael has beaten the odds. His 20-year struggle with Parkinson’s hasn’t been easy for him or his family; but his ability to maintain his emotional equilibrium is nothing short of miraculous.
In a recent interview with AARP Magazine, Michael said it took time and family support to accept his fate and move beyond it; but his positive attitude has allowed Michael to become a tireless crusader for Parkinson’s and continue acting. Michael’s uplifting journey offers inspiration for cancer sufferers and others with debilitating diseases. He told AARP that he has been guided by the following thought:
“My happiness grows in direct proportion [to] my acceptance and in inverse proportion to my expectations. That’s the key for me. If I can accept the truth of ‘This is what I’m facing — not what can I expect but what I am experiencing now’ — then I have all this freedom to do other things.”
This fall Michael will use that freedom to star in a new NBC comedy series. HIs message is clear: Set yourself free and live for today.
The provocative headline — How to Cure Cancer — on the cover of Time magazine’s April 1, 2013 issue was as intriguing as reporter Bill Saporito’s featured article, The Conspiracy to End Cancer. Saporito chronicles the radical multi-discipline, multi-institution approach to cancer research and cancer treatment development that is being spearheaded by Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C), a celebrity-funded cancer foundation that is funneling millions of dollars into a new style of cancer research that is not only changing our approach to this multi-faceted family of diseases but could significantly fast-forward efforts to develop a cure for cancer.
The cost of cancer is staggering. Despite progress in cancer prevention, detection and treatment, more than half a million Americans die from cancer every year, according to the National Cancer Institute; and another 1.7 million new cancer cases are diagnosed. Annual medical costs alone top $77 billion, and the cost of lost productivity by patients and family caregivers is more than $124 billion.
Part of the problem with treating cancer is that cancer is not a single disease, but many, possibly hundreds of different diseases. Adding to the complexity is the fact that cancer has no single pattern of attack or behavior, but many. While there are commonalities, there can also be vast differences in the way cancer and cancer treatments affect different individuals. The typically fragmented approach to medical research in which individuals and small teams working independently attack small pieces of the cancer puzzle and then jealously guard their discoveries has not proven effective against the breadth and scope of cancer. Stand Up to Cancer is changing the cancer research paradigm.
Cancer patients and healthcare providers are watching the progress of a proposed British bill that would allow the country’s nationalized healthcare system to pay for experimental cancer treatments even if there is no proof they work. Like Britain,
America’s established medical and insurance communities favor long-standing traditional cancer treatments and have been slow to recognize the value of what they term alternative and complementary medicine, much less embrace the healing potential of experimental cancer treatments. Under current British law, experimental cancer treatments are illegal in the United Kingdom, a situation the bill’s author, Lord Maurice Saatchi, hopes to change. Should Parliament approve the bill, it could open the door for the expansion of approved cancer treatments in the U.S.Lord Saatchi, who lost his wife, novelist Josephine Hart, to ovarian cancer two years ago admits that his bill is motivated by grief. He has characterized as “medieval” his wife’s cancer treatment, calling the chemotherapy and radiation she received as “degrading and ineffective.” Under British law, physicians must adhere to standard medical practice or face possible prosecution. Saatchi considers the law’s restrictions a serious impediment to new cancer treatments that may offer cancer patients hope.
In Parliamentary debate, government health minister Lord Frederick Howe pointed out one of the serious problems in bringing cancer treatments to the consumer marketplace, the role entrenched medical and government bureaucracies play in delaying the approval of cancer therapies and drugs, an issue relevant to U.S. cancer treatments.
“It still takes an estimated average of 17 years for only 14% of new scientific discoveries to enter day-to-day clinical practice,” Howe said, adding the obvious, “This is not acceptable.”
The reaction in Times Square is about what you’d expect when people walk through a giant inflatable colon for the first time: embarrassed giggles, outright laughter and, yes, fart noises! The giant colon was on display March 1 to promote the start of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Talk show host Katie Couric, who famously underwent an on-air colonoscopy when she hosted the Today show, led a tweet chat to promote colon cancer education and prevention.One in 20 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year, according to the Colon Cancer Alliance. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S. and second deadliest, but the prognosis for colon cancer is looking up. When discovered and treated early, colon cancer is highly preventable and has a 90% survival rate.
An aggressive campaign to promote regular colon cancer screenings starting at age 50 (earlier if colon cancer runs in your family) has significantly decreased new cases of colon cancer in the U.S. and decreased the death rate by more than 30%, according to The Doctors. (Click the link to watch The Doctors discuss ways to minimize colon cancer risk.) With increased screenings, 40% of colon cancers are now found early.
Unfortunately, without regular screenings, many colon cancers are not detected until they reach an advanced stage. Lack of early symptoms and/or symptoms that mimic other common intestinal and bowel issues can delay diagnosis of colorectal cancer. Issels Integrative Oncology offers hope for late-stage colon cancer. (Click here to hear about patient remissions.)
Watch our tweets tomorrow for preventative measures that may help lower your colon cancer risk.
The return of her breast cancer after a decade in remission has caused U.S. singer-songwriter Anastacia to cancel her European tour just a month before its scheduled London kickoff. Less well-known here than she is abroad, the 44-year-old pop singer is a chart-topping, multi-platinum star with a huge European and Asian following. First diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 when she was 34, the Chicago native has shared her cancer struggle through her song lyrics.After winning her first battle against cancer, Anastacia created the Anastacia Fund to help increase breast cancer awareness among young women. Her recent hit single Best of You is her personal message to those who share her struggle against cancer: “Don’t ever let cancer get the Best of You!”
Anastacia is representative of a disturbing U.S. cancer trend that cuts across racial and socio-economic lines. The results of a breast cancer study prompted by the author’s own breast cancer diagnosis at age 27 discovered that advanced-stage breast cancer among women 25 to 39 has been increasing at the rate of 2% per year since 1976. While breast cancer diagnoses in women under 40 comprise only 7% of all U.S. breast cancer cases, cancer experts are concerned by both the upward trend and the more aggressive nature of breast cancer in younger women.
The prospect of cancer is frightening at any age, but particularly when you are young and just beginning to build your life. Issels Integrative Oncology is internationally known for its remarkable complete long-term tumor remissions of standard therapy-resistant cancers. Visit our website for cancer treatment information.