At a cost of $199, 23andMe’s DNA test is considerably less expensive than testing in a medical office, which can run into thousands of dollars. Existing customers of 23andMe are expected to have access to the test within the next few weeks.
BRCA gene mutations have been linked to a higher risk of developing breast cancer. While there are more than one thousand known mutations, the DNA test from 23andMe screens for three specific mutations that are found primarily in people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.
It’s estimated that one in 40 Ashkenazi Jews has one of the mutations, which results in a 45 to 85 percent chance of women developing breast cancer by the age of 70 as well as a higher risk of ovarian cancer. Men can also carry one of the mutations along with a risk of breast cancer.
How Effective Is Consumer Genetic Testing?
Geneticist Eric Topol of the Scripps Institute cautions that 23andMe’s test is a start, but testing needs to be more comprehensive. Topol adds that, since the test is limited to three mutations, people may get a false sense of security when they are actually carrying other mutations outside the scope of the test.
As recently as 15 years ago, the chances of survival for a patient whose melanoma had spread to other parts of the body were only slightly more than zero. Today, thanks to advancements in the area of integrative immunotherapy, these patients have a legitimate source of hope.
Paving the way for treatment
Pete Daly was one of those patients for whom a diagnosis of metastatic melanoma meant a bleak future. With immunotherapy entering a clinical trial phase, Daly believed his participation would give meaning to his situation by helping others.
Up to that point, testing had been done only on monkeys. It didn’t take long to see results as within weeks Daly’s doctors found that his tumors were shrinking. Currently, 13 years after testing Daly continues to show no signs of cancer.
Former President Jimmy Carter is another patient who has benefited from integrative immunotherapy. He is also no longer showing signs of the melanoma that had formed in his liver and brain.
Immunotherapy is a “game changer”
Oncologist Dr. Mark Albertini of the Carbone Cancer Center at University of Wisconsin Health credits the courage of patients like Daly for contributing to the development of immunotherapy treatments, which he refers to as “game changers.” Dr. Albertini stresses that early detection is still key to successful cancer treatment.
Issels® has been a pioneer in the use of integrative immunotherapy treatments that are personalized to meet each patient’s individual needs. Visit our website today to learn more about our cancer vaccines and other advanced non-toxic cancer treatment protocols.
Others may see a cancer patient’s bald head as a badge of courage, but hair loss is the chemotherapy side effect cancer patients fear most. Our hair is such an integral part of our self-image that losing it is a traumatic experience.
Not all chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss, but many do. Hair loss typically begins a few weeks after chemotherapy begins and can range from mild thinning to total baldness. Hair usually grows back in 3 to 10 months; but it may be a different texture, fullness or color. Hair may also grow back unevenly, looking thin or patchy.
Why Does Chemo Cause Hair to Fall Out?
Chemotherapy drugs are designed to attack fast-growing cancer cells. Unable to differentiate between cancer and other fast-growing cells in the body — such as hair cells — these chemicals kill everything. And chemotherapy doesn’t just affect the hair on your head. Eyebrows, beards and body hair may disappear.
Can You Prevent Chemo Hair Loss?
There is little that can be done to prevent chemo hair loss. Applying minoxidil (Rogaine) to the scalp has not been shown to prevent hair loss but may encourage faster hair re-growth. Scalp cooling is another strategy for preventing hair loss (read one woman’s story), but results have been mixed.
The only sure way to prevent chemo hair loss is to avoid chemotherapy. Integrative immunotherapy is a holistic approach to cancer treatment that does not result in hair loss or produce the other painful and dreaded side effects associated with chemotherapy. Working with, not against your body, immunotherapy empowers your immune system to fight cancer naturally. Visit our website to find out more.
Cancer treatment and quality of life often generally considered mutually exclusive terms. When surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are the only options, cancer patients often find the “cure” to be as painful and damaging to their well-being as — and sometimes worse — than the disease.
If the lessons of history hold true, today’s standard cancer treatments will someday be considered barbaric. Even if cancer is not completely preventable in the future, it is likely that surgery, chemotherapy and radiation will be replaced by kinder, gentler, more effective cancer treatments that do not rely on destroying the body to heal it. We are already heading in that direction.
Immunotherapy: Natural Defense
Integrative immunotherapy, which has formed the basis of Issels’ holistic cancer treatments for more than 60 years, has allowed many cancer patients to treat their cancer and enjoy a better quality of life. Issels’ unique record of complete and long-term remission of advanced cancers and cancers that had proven resistant to the standard cancer treatments favored by practitioners of Western medicine demonstrates that cancer can be successfully fought by tapping into the body’s own natural defense mechanism – our immune system.
Emphasis On Quality of Life
Increasingly, Western cancer researchers are coming to the same conclusions that have driven Issels’ alternative cancer therapies for decades:
“At Issels Medical Center I was empowered by the calm, compassion, love and knowledge — and seeing very sick patients blossom and being able to walk and talk again within short three weeks.” — Issels Medical Center patient Barbara Humphrey
We have also found that our immunobiologic core treatment program can be beneficial in treating other immune system diseases, not just cancer. We opened our Santa Barbara outpatient center to make Issels’ unique individualized immunotherapy protocols and German homeopathic medicine more accessible.
On the American Riviera
While you are visiting our outpatient clinic, the focus will be on your health and ameliorating the condition that has brought you to Issels. But because we understand that your life is about more than your cancer or disease, we have located our outpatient facility in the beautiful coastal community of Santa Barbara in Southern California. Just north of Los Angeles in an area known as the American Riviera, Santa Barbara enjoys a Mediterranean climate and offers a wealth of outdoor and cultural pleasures.
For our patients’ convenience, Issels Medical Center is located close to major hospitals, fitness centers, health food stores and a variety of restaurants. Out-of-town patients can find comfortable accommodations nearby at special rates.
Five years used to be the magical mark cancer survivors hoped to reach. If your cancer didn’t return within five years of completing treatment, you could start to breathe a little easier and feel hopeful about the future. Improvements in cancer treatment, early screening and cancer prevention have pushed the boundary between fear and hope back another five years.
Half of all newly diagnosed cancer patients now survive for at least 10 years, according to Cancer Research UK. With longer survival rates, some researchers are suggesting that many forms of cancer should now be considered and treated as chronic, rather than fatal, diseases.
War on Cancer Reaches Tipping Point
“The reason this 50% figure is an important tipping point is that it’s saying that now half of all patients will survive at least 10 years after a diagnosis and for many it will be very much longer than that,” Dr. Harpal Kumar, CEO of Cancer Research UK told London’s Daily& Sunday Express. I think that does represent a change in the way we should be thinking about cancer.”
Integrative Medicine Changing Treatment
The integrative approach toward treating cancer that has slowly been replacing Western medicine’s traditional reliance on surgery, chemotherapy and radiation may have much to do with the trend toward longer cancer survival rates. That has certainly been our experience at Issels Centers for Integrative Medicine in Tijuana, Mexico and Santa Barbara, California.
A leader in the field of integrative cancer treatments for more than 60 years, Issels’ cancer treatment teams have enjoyed unique success in the treatment of many forms of cancer using individualized immunotherapy. By integrating various alternative cancer treatments into our non-toxic immunobiologic core treatment program, Issels had been able to help many patients achieve complete long-term remission of their cancer.