Tag Archives: Defeating Cancer

Cancer Super-Survivors Give Us All Hope

Cancer Survivor
Cancer Survivor

Today’s array of immunotherapy  treatments are offering cancer victims something they’ve been robbed of for some time– a fighting chance. Read on to discover more about super-survivors and the treatments that are not only putting immunotherapy in the spotlight, but transforming the future of cancer treatment.

Super-survivor stats:

  • Joseph Rick
    Rick’s advanced melanoma metastasized throughout his body. Years of the side effects of chemo and radiation left a lasting impression, but did not cure his cancer. When doctors gave up hope, Rick turned to a trial vaccine immunotherapy. A year later his tumors had shrunk 50 percent, and after three years he experienced remission.
  • Tom Telford
    A tumor on Telford’s small intestine spread to his liver and kidneys following surgery and chemo, however Telford is still alive nine years later following treatment with immunotherapy.
  • Richard Logan
    Logan’s skin melanoma metastasized to his lung and liver. His cancer has been stabilized five years following treatment with checkpoint inhibitors, a form of immunotherapy.

Treating the immune system, not cancer:
Harnessing the power of the immune system, immunotherapy is charting new territory. It offers a chance at long-term survival, particularly in advanced cancers, with developments in treatment technology such as:

  • Checkpoint inhibitors
    Certain immune system components can prevent immune system warriors, T-cells, from attacking tumors. Checkpoint inhibitors block these components, putting T-cells back in the fight.
  • T-cell therapy
    This therapy involves genetically modifying certain T-cells outside the body, creating “CAR T cells”, which are then re-infused back into the body to attack targets on the surface of cancer cells.
  • And many more therapies both in use and under investigation.

Want to be a super-survivor? Contact Issels® today.

Exercise Tips for After Cancer Treatment

Exercise Tips After Cancer
Exercise Tips After Cancer

Going through cancer treatment can certainly feel like a workout. Afterwards, physical activity might be the last thing on your mind. However, starting an exercise program can be beneficial to both your physical and mental health.

Studies have demonstrated that increased physical activity can help prevent a recurrence of cancer while extending the life span of cancer survivors. Exercise can also boost your mental and emotional outlook, which is vital for maintaining quality of life. It helps promote production of serotonin and endorphins, chemicals that work in your brain to elevate mood and reduce pain.

Here are some tips to help you successfully incorporate regular exercise into your lifestyle.

  • Don’t overdo it, especially if exercise wasn’t a part of your pre-diagnosis routine. Start off with small, achievable goals. Your success at each step provides motivation to move up to the next level.
  • Find an activity you enjoy. Don’t feel obligated to use a particular form or style just because it works for others. Do you find treadmills boring? Try swimming or walking outdoors. You’ll be more likely to stick with it if you’re having fun.
  • Exercise doesn’t have to be formal to pay dividends. Look for little things you can do such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Don’t feel guilty when you’re too fatigued for activity. Listen to your body and get some rest. Start up again once you’re feeling better.

Exercise is a healthy complement to the holistic cancer therapy offered at Issels alternative cancer treatment centers. Our integrative immunology approach focuses on a personalized program treating both mind and body. Please contact us to learn more.

Pet Therapy – Improving Your Quality of Life

Pet Therapy
Pet Therapy

Is there anything more adorable and heart-warming than a four-legged friend who offers unconditional love? Pet therapy has become an increasingly popular means of providing physical and emotional support for cancer patients and others dealing with serious health problems. Mayo Clinic oncologist Dr. Edward Creagan has referred to it as “medication without side effects”.

Sigmund Freud was known to use dogs as relaxation aides for his psychotherapy patients, but it’s only fairly recently that pets have been used to “treat” those suffering from cancer. Therapy Dogs International and Pet Partners, the two earliest animal-assisted therapy groups, date back to the mid-1970s.

Cancer patients who receive visit from therapy pets have demonstrated emotional benefits such as lowered stress levels and improved moods. Interacting with the pets can help relieve the loneliness and isolation that often accompanies medical treatment. Some patients have even demonstrated a reduced need for pain medication.

While pets have been known as good companions since the dawn of mankind, researchers have tried to find the specific reasons that pet therapy has proven to be so effective. Studies have shown that visits with pets can reduce the levels of cortisol in the bloodstream. Cortisol is a hormone that produces the “fight or flight” response during high-stress situations. In addition, it can raise the level of endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain-relieving hormones.

Pet therapy can provide a valuable boost to your quality of life during cancer treatment. It’s a good complement to the integrative approach used at Issels alternative cancer treatment centers. Please contact us for more information.

20% Drop in Cancer Death Rates Over Past 20 Years

Declining Cancer Death Rates
Declining Cancer Death Rates

The New Year is starting out with some good news. According to the recently released American Cancer Society annual report, cancer death rates continue to drop. Over the past 20 years, U.S. cancer death rates have declined steadily, decreasing the overall risk of dying from cancer by 20%. That 20% represents about 1.3 million lives, Ahmedin Jemal, ACS vice president for surveillance and health services research and lead author of the 2014 report, told Fox News.

This latest analysis of cancer statistics also shows significant progress in reducing cancer deaths among certain high-risk population groups. Among the report’s more interesting findings was a 55% decrease in cancer death rates for middle-aged black men.

While the number of cancer deaths has been steadily decreasing since 1991, the report notes that the incidence of cancer has remained steady. The 2014 report estimates that 1,665,540 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year and that 585,720 people — about 1,600 per day — will die of cancer in the coming year.

However, as Jamal pointed out to Fox News, the decrease in cancer death rates is of greater importance than cancer incidence. As the U.S. population ages, the size of the baby boomer generation, the increased risk of cancer that accompanies aging and improvements in cancer detection methods can be expected to drive up the number of cancer cases. The declining death rate, however, is clear evidence of improvement in U.S. cancer prevention and treatment programs.

Jemal linked improved cancer outcomes to both medical and behavioral changes that have occurred over the past 20 years. The new emphasis on immunotherapy is redefining cancer treatment and calling new attention to the benefits of Issels’ immunobiologic-based alternative cancer tre


Coming Back from Cancer Treatment: Boost Your Body’s Immunity

Boost your immunity after chemotherapy
Boost your immunity after chemotherapy

Call it chemotherapy’s double-edged sword: the same powerful drugs that kill malignant cancer cells also wreak havoc on the rest of your body’s systems. The side effects go beyond hair loss, nausea and fatigue – you may be at risk for a compromised immune system.

In fact, according to Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 14th edition, “Autopsy studies show that most deaths from acute leukemia and half of deaths from lymphoma are caused directly by infection. With more intensive chemotherapy, patients with solid tumors have become more likely to die of infection rather than underlying disease.”

If you are undergoing or have recently completed a course of chemotherapy and radiation, you can take two important steps to boost your immune system and aid recovery.

  • Diet. A well-balanced diet rich in iron is a natural way to enrich your immune system. Maximize iron absorption  by drinking orange or grapefruit juice and adding sliced tomatoes or salsa to your entrée, and avoiding coffee, tea and milk with your meals. Herbs that boost immunity include astragalus, andrographis and ginseng. And a recent study pointed to fish oil as possibly beneficial to people with compromised immune systems.
  • Exercise. Getting your strength back after cancer treatment is a long process, but exercise can help you feel like your old self again. Harvard Medical School notes that “even though a direct beneficial link hasn’t been established, it’s reasonable to      consider moderate regular exercise to be a beneficial arrow in the quiver of healthy living, a potentially important means for keeping your immune   system healthy along with the rest of your body.”