Tag Archives: Cancer Treatment

New Breast Cancer Medication Causes an Exceptional Response in Test Patients

New Innovative Treatments Are In The News
New Innovative Treatments Are In The News

‘Hope springs eternal’ is a good old-fashioned saying that fits perfectly when discussing a new breast cancer medication that is sparking positive results.

The drug in the news is called, everolimus – brand name Afinitor. It has been approved for two years and used to fight against certain breast cancers and also  treat tumors in the pancreas and kidneys. It is known for creating “exceptional responses” to treatment due to a recent turn of events for patient, Grace Silva, whose story was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

After taking the drug for approximately two months, the 58-year-old experienced her “exceptional response” when tumors in her lungs virtually disappeared. According Dr. Jochen Lorch, Silva’s oncologist, this type of result from drugs is nearly non-existent.

Research studies to understand why exceptional responses occur are on-going. One reason is due to a technology known as next generation sequencing. The once very expensive test to decode DNA genetics in cancer patients is now much more affordable due next-generation technology.

With this genetic technology available, doctors have additional information at hand that helps them determine mutations in tumors, such as Grace Silvas. Mutations can have several effects including increasing the size of a tumor, enabling cancer cells to resist drugs, or working toward shrinking tumors.

Another piece of good new is from the National Cancer Institute that has initiated a new program called the Exceptional Responders Initiative focused on cataloging and identifying mutation patterns. This new initiative along with upgrades by cancer researchers to the way they work with new drugs is jump-starting additional studies. With new visions on the horizon, the future for cancer patients is brighter.

If you are seeking new innovative treatments for your cancer, we invite you to evaluate the Issels Treatment programs.

Cancer Caregiver Lessons Learned

Cancer Caregivers
Cancer Caregivers

Alexandra Detwiler has many things in her life that she has planned for, worked for, and earned. She and her husband live in Manhattan, New York and she works in television development with NBC Universal. Alexandra also has something that she did not plan for and that no person deserves: A loved one diagnosed with terminal cancer.

She shares that life-altering predicament with millions of people across the globe, and in a recent article for Today Health, she shares her insights and the lessons learned as she and her family care for her mom who is diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, a glioblastoma multiforme.

  • Firstly, maintain your sense of humor. You and your relatives deserve and need as much joy as can be found in every moment.
  • Find a support group of people who know what you are experiencing because they have experienced the same things. Some friends will want to be supportive, but will not understand your emotions and frustrations.
  • Be realistic with your expectations for yourself and others. You are not able to dictate how others will respond. Anticipating too much from people will set you up for disappointment.
  • Appreciate life’s simple moments.
  • Remember the healthy days and do not just focus on the cancer. It is a powerful disease and can easily overwhelm an entire family.
  • Appreciate the honor you have to know your loved one and to be in a position to care for and assist them.

Contact Issels Integrative Oncology for more information about our personalized non-toxic treatments.

New Melanoma Immunotherapy Shows Strong Promise

New Therapies for Melanoma Treatment
New Therapies for Melanoma Treatment

Traditional forms of cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation can be very effective for some patients, although they do have many severe side effects. In addition, not every patient responds well to these treatments, which is why there has been so much research done on various forms of alternative cancer treatment.

The FDA recently granted express approval to a new drug called Keytruda, which is chemically known as pembrolizumab. This powerful new drug treats cancer in a way that’s different from conventional cancer treatments. It actually boosts the body’s natural immune system and readies it to attack the cancer cells.

It’s common for patients receiving chemotherapy to suffer from side effects like nausea, vomiting and hair loss. Whereas in clinical trials, ninety percent of all patients who took Keytruda experienced no side effects whatsoever. The best part of the approval of this new drug is that Keytruda appears to be resulting in much longer life expectancy than other treatment methods. One study of 600 patients resulted in 62% of them making it past the 18-month mark.

Researchers are very hopeful that this is just the start of a great breakthrough in cancer treatment options. It is becoming increasingly apparent that immunotherapy, which is what Keytruda uses, is much more beneficial for patients both in terms of reducing their side effects and improving their overall life expectancy.

Alternative cancer treatments are quickly becoming the norm. It might only be a matter of time before they replace chemotherapy and radiation, simply because they really do work. If you or a loved one is looking for alternative cancer treatments, we would love to help you. Please contact us!

The Tough Questions – What Should I Tell My Kids About Cancer?

Telling Kids About Cancer
Telling Kids About Cancer

Naturally, you to want to protect your children from bad news. The instinct to shelter them may make you reluctant to tell them about your cancer; however, it is best that you do. It will be difficult to continue hiding it and children are often able to sense when something is wrong. They may be more worried if they feel that important news is being kept from them.

Explain the Illness
Find a time where you will not be interrupted or distracted.  Younger children will not need as much detail as older ones; too much information may confuse and distress them. Phrase answers to questions so that each child will be able to understand. Children up to age eight may be given a short explanation. Tell them that cancer means a part of your body that is not doing what it is supposed to do. There are bad cells in your body that can spread, so they need to be kept from growing or to be removed.

Prepare for reactions such as the child thinking that they caused the cancer (“magical thinking”) or that it is contagious. You may have to explain that cancer cannot be transmitted to them or the other parent.

For older children, name the illness so that they do not misunderstand. They may need a more detailed explanation and may ask questions about your specific type of cancer. If they have more information, they are less likely to feel helpless.

Explain to the child that there are treatments available that can help and that it is much rarer for people to die from cancer than it used to be.


Immunotherapy the Cancer Protocol for the Future

Immunotherapy is Being Recognized
Immunotherapy is Being Recognized

It’s not exactly a new procedure – researchers have been working on immunotherapy for decades in the fight against certain types and stages of cancer – but the protocol is getting renewed interest in the light of clinical trials and new treatments that show promise; cancer immunotherapy was even named Science magazine’s 2013 “Breakthrough of the Year.”

In the past, immunotherapy has shown uneven or unremarkable results. “But as the sophistication of our understanding of immunology increased,” Charles Link of New Link Genetics told MIT Technology Review, “new strategies evolved to attack the disease, and those strategies are turning out to work in the clinic.”

Today’s immunotherapy uses the body’s own immune system – the “T-cells” – to target and attack malignant cancer cells. When used in conjunction with chemotherapy, immunotherapy may serve to shorten and lighten the chemo treatment, which can dramatically reduce the unpleasant side effects and toxic complications of the powerful  toxins.

A handful of major pharmaceutical companies have immunotherapy protocols in tests. In one early-stage trial of melanoma patients, half of those receiving high-dose immunotherapy had tumors shrink or disappear, and a year later the majority of those patients were still alive – a notable result, as late-stage melanoma survival rates are typically low.

T-cell protocols are just one of the new wave of cancer treatments that are making headlines. A form of cellular therapy, for example, trains a patient’s own immune cells to better recognize cancer cells, after which these powerful fighters are infused back into the patient. One pharma company is developing virus-based gene therapies that, according to MIT Technology Review, “selectively kill cancer cells while simultaneously making the cells better targets for the immune system.”

Cancer Caregivers Must Take Care for Themselves Too

Being a Caregiver is an Important Role.
Being a Caregiver is an Important Role.

Two out of three Americans can expect to serve as a family caregiver at some point in their lifetime. With cancer predicted to outstrip heart disease as the leading cause of death in America, many family caregivers will be caring for cancer patients. But those cold, impersonal facts are far removed from the intensely personal and emotional experience of caring for a family member with cancer.

Highs and Lows of Being a Caregiver

Serving as a cancer caregiver for someone you love can be a tremendously rewarding experience. But trying to juggle your own life with your responsibilities as a caregiver can also take a huge toll on your physical and mental health. Many family caregivers place the needs of their loved one ahead of their own needs which is completely human and sometimes necessary. But failing to take care of yourself can leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed which helps neither you nor the family member you are caring for.

Caring for the Caregiver

To be an effective caregiver for a family member with cancer, you must take care of yourself.

Use the following strategies to stay emotionally and physically healthy: 

• Caregiving can be an isolating experience. Establish a good support network and enlist family and friends to help out. Accept help when it’s offered and call on your support team when you need a break.

• Know the warning signs of stress: exhaustion, irritability, trouble sleeping, forgetfulness, eating too much or too little and loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities. Chronic stress erodes your physical health and may lead to depression. Monitor your health and see your doctor regularly.

You know your loved one is receiving the best possible care at Issels alternative cancer treatment centers. Family caregivers must take equally good care of themselves.