Actress Valerie Harper will share her battle with cancer in an NBC prime time documentary to air later this year. Valerie won viewers’ hearts in the 1970s as feisty Rhoda Morgenstern, first on the Mary Tyler Moore Show and then on the spinoff Rhoda. First diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, a recurrence spread to her brain. In March, the 73-year-old actress was diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare and terminal cancer of brain membrane.
Hoping to encourage other cancer victims to keep fighting, Valerie granted documentary camera crews unprecedented access to her daily struggle with cancer. The camera follows Valerie as she discusses traditional and alternative cancer treatments with doctors, undergoes experimental treatments and weathers cancer’s ups and downs with her husband and daughter.
“I can’t say it’s terminal,” Valerie has said. “I’m saying it’s incurable so far, but we’re all terminal. No one is getting out of this alive. The key is, don’t go to the funeral until the day of the funeral.”
Cancer research has made tremendous leaps just in the past decade. New genetic research is expanding our understanding of cancer and how it attacks the body, holding promise for the development of new and more efficient cancer treatment and delivery systems. However, it is our body’s own immune system that most cancer experts believe holds the ultimate key to developing a cure for cancer. A proven treatment protocol, immunotherapy is believed to offer the most promising path to a cancer cure.
For more than 60 years, Issels Integrative Oncology has been a leader in the use of immunotherapy to treat cancer. Click here to review our cancer case studies.
A breakthrough British study has identified cell behavior that researchers at University College London believe explains why cancer spreads. Aptly called “chase and run” by its discoverers, the mechanism describes the interesting interaction between healthy and diseased cells in the body.
The discovery is expected to aid in the development of new and even more effective immunotherapy treatments for cancer. But the British researchers have even higher expectations for their discovery. They believe they are on the path to finding an immunobiologic cure for cancer.
The study has identified what researchers call the “chase and run” effect in which diseased and healthy cells chase each other around the body. When cancer is present, it is believed that this game of cellular tag promotes the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. The British researchers believe that it should be “fairly easy” to stop the chase and run effect and keep tumors in one place.
If their theory proves true, it could revolutionize cancer therapy, making it easier to treat and remove cancer tumors.
“‘Most deaths are not due to the formation of the primary tumor.” study spokesman Roberto Mayor told the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail. “Instead, people die from secondary tumors originating from the first malignant cells, which are able to travel and colonize vital organs of the body such as the lungs or the brain. This happens because the cells get healthy ones to follow them.”
The study was conducted on frog embryos, not cancer cells so additional research will be required; but the initial findings are promising.
In the great debate over which is better for you — coffee or tea — both offer excellent health benefits, including the ability to help prevent certain types of cancer. For cancer survivors and those actively fighting cancer, the substances in coffee and tea may give your immune system a boost and improve mind-body function, particularly your ability to cope with cancer-related stress.
In our previous post we discussed the benefits of coffee; today we focus on the cancer-fighting benefits of tea (some findings may be preliminary or based on small patient samplings, but all offer promising avenues for further research). It should be noted that while herbal teas may confer their own benefits, they do not offer the benefits noted below.
Tea. Many people find the ritual of drinking tea to be a relaxing and comforting experience. There is a mindfulness to “having a cuppa” that creates a feeling of harmony between mind and body.
Antioxidants. Tea contains high concentrations of free radical-neutralizing antioxidants. Free radicals can cause cell damage that contributes to the development of all types of cancers. When possible choose green tea which contains the highest concentration of polyphenol antioxidants.
Skin cancer. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of tea may help protect your skin against sun damage, decreasing your risk of skin cancer.
Breast cancer. In studies, drinking green tea was associated with lower breast cancer risk. Tea can interfere with chemotherapy drugs, so talk to your oncologist.
Tea and coffee offer general benefits in the battle against cancer; whereas Issels’ cancer vaccines are formulated to provide specifically targeted cancer-fighting results.
Coffee or tea? Whichever side of the beverage debate you stand on, you’ll be pleased to know that both popular beverages offer health benefits that may help prevent certain types of cancer. If you are already fighting cancer, substances in coffee and tea may boost your immune system and improve mind-body function, enhancing your ability to cope with the stress of having cancer.
Here’s a rundown on the latest findings (some findings are preliminary or based on small samplings, but all offer provocative avenues for further research):
Coffee. If you’re one of those people who can’t get their motor revving in the morning without a jolt of java, you’ll be happy to know that your morning cup of coffee comes with quite a few unsuspected benefits. If coffee gives you heartburn, try a darker roast. A substance in dark roast coffees inhibits the production of stomach acid. Just remember; as in all things, moderation is the key. The benefits listed are based on consumption of 2 to 4 cups of coffee per day.
Skin cancer. Just one cup of coffee a day may lower melanoma risk by 11%. Coffee may also aid cell repair and help the body absorb harmful ultraviolet rays, decreasing skin cancer risk.
Endometrial cancer. Coffee decreases the body’s levels of estrogen and insulin which may help lower endometrial cancer risk.
Mind-body benefits. Women benefit from coffee drinking more than men. Drinking 3 cups of coffee a day can lower women’s risk of depression by 15%. Drink a fourth cup of coffee and depression risk drops by 20%. Coffee also helps women cope with stress.
Immunotherapy was again validated as an effective means of fighting cancer and prolonging life when new cancer research results were presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, study results were heralded by many of the 30,000 cancer specialists in attendance as “a breakthrough” with the potential to change the direction of mainstream cancer treatment protocols.
Among the more interesting cancer study results were increased survival rates for some of the new immunotherapy drugs either alone or in combination with other drugs. The conference was the first time long-term results were reported for some of the most promising new cancer drugs currently in development.
Immunotherapy treatments are designed to work with the patient’s own immune system, stimulating it to target and destroy cancer cells. Many members of the cancer community believe immunotherapy is revolutionizing the way we treat cancer. A growing history of success indicates that immunotherapy treatment protocols have the potential to significantly improve survival rates in patients with many types of tumors, including often fatal lung and kidney cancer. Of equal importance is growing evidence that immunotherapy can successfully treat advanced stages of cancer.
Immunotherapy cancer treatments are already used extensively in alternative cancer therapy. Our founder, the renowned German cancer specialist Dr. Josef M. Issels, was an early pioneer in the use of immunotherapy to treat cancer. Issels Integrative Oncology Centers have more than 60 years of experience using immunotherapy to successfully treat a wide variety of cancers at all stages of development.
While common and sometimes deadly when untreated, skin cancer is largely preventable. Wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen outdoors provides significant protection from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays; yet an American Cancer Society survey found that 31% of people never wear sunscreen.
Unprotected exposure to ultraviolet radiation, either from the sun or tanning beds, can significantly increase melanoma risk. People with pale skin, multiple moles or a family history of skin cancer are also at increased risk.
Early detection and treatment can usually halt skin cancer. Watch for skin changes, particularly the development of new growths or changes in the size or color of a mole, growth or spot. Warning signs include:
Scaling, bleeding or oozing.
The spread of color beyond the borders of a mole or spot.
Changes in sensation such as tenderness, pain or itching.
Stay in the shade and avoid direct sun exposure, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are most intense.
Wear wide-brimmed hats and cover skin with protective clothing when outdoors.
Protect your eyes with sunglasses that provide UVA/UVB protection.
Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen and lip balm that provide both UVA and UVB protection. Choose products with SPF 30 or higher. Apply sunscreen generously (about an ounce per application) 30 minutes before going outdoors to give it time to soak into your skin. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, toweling off or sweating. Be aware that water-resistant sunscreen only provides about 40 minutes of protection and should be reapplied frequently.