Tag Archives: Pain Management

Can Your Hair or Lack of It Be An Indicator for Cancer?

Going Bald?
Going Bald?

Going bald is a fact of life for some men. There are many who dread looking in the mirror in the morning to find that they’ve lost more hair, while others embrace their hair loss by shaving their heads at the first sign of thinning. The truth is that being bald isn’t as big a deal as it was even just a few years go. Although a new study indicates that middle-aged balding might be an indicator for prostate cancer.

The study observed men who were approaching the age of forty-five and came to the conclusion that if they were going bald, they had about a thirty-nine percent increased risk for cancer than men who had all of their hair at that age. It was speculated that this could be because a dip in testosterone resulted in prostate cancer.

However, are these findings accurate enough to cause men to be concerned if they exhibit male pattern baldness?

Physicians say it’s highly unlikely. The study lacks the information that’s needed to support its findings. The best plan of action for any man who is approaching middle age is to visit the doctor on a regular basis and get screened for prostate cancer. Even though baldness might end up being a factor in a cancer diagnosis, the fact is that most cancer patients got the disease because of their genetics or because of a lifestyle choice.

Your family history is a strong indicator of whether or not you’re at risk for developing any type of cancer. If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer or any type of cancer, here at Issels®, we understand cancer treatments and patients in a way that’s different from other cancer centers. We’ve successfully been treating patients for sixty years, and we can help you too. Contact us.

New Revelations about Chronic Pain May Aid Cancer Patients

Constant Pain and the Brain
Constant Pain and the Brain

Brain scans are revealing new insights into the nature of pain and why some people develop chronic pain after trauma while others recover. According to a recent AARP article, neuroscientists at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago have discovered that:

  • Exposure to constant pain causes the architecture of the brain to change.
  • Increased interaction between two specific areas of the brain, the medial prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens, increases the probability that chronic pain will develop.

It is hoped that brain imagery may eventually lead to new techniques for chronic pain management and relief that might also help cancer patients mitigate the pain of the disease and certain treatment protocols. Until that day, the most effective pain management currently available is a holistic mind-body approach that emphasizes function over pain relief.

Pain medications are still a “first line of defense;” but “at best, people get about a 20 to 30% reduction in pain from opioid pain medications,” pain expert Dr. Richard Rosenquist of the Cleveland Clinic explained to AARP, citing the additional risk of dependence as further reason to look for other solutions to pain management.

“Now I want to know what people would like to do that they can’t do because of their pain. Then we can look for ways to help them manage the pain and do what they want to do,” Dr. Rosenquist told AARP.

The focus on function holds merit for cancer patients who must often find ways to perform everyday tasks despite their pain as they care for themselves and their families. Adopting the view “if it works for you, use it,” Issels cancer treatment specialists recommend that their cancer patients take a holistic approach to managing pain and employ a combination of pain management techniques.

Next time: Techniques for managing cancer pain

Massage Therapy May Help Cancer Patients Manage Stress

Massage Therapy May Help to Relieve Stress.
Massage therapy may be a treatment program to discuss with your Issels physician.

Cancer patients may realize “profound” benefits from massage therapy. In a new study reported on Fox News, brain cancer patients experienced significant stress relief after receiving massage treatments. As the report noted, brain cancer can affect patients’ physical and cognitive functioning. Cancer tumors’ interference with brain function can also lead to challenging secondary mental disorders. Brain cancer patients suffer a high rate of depression often caused by the stress of traditional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation treatments, as well as by the progress of their disease.In the study, brain cancer patients who received massage therapy twice a week for four weeks experienced a remarkable decrease in stress levels. Patients who at the beginning of the study suffered from severe stress scored below diagnostic stress detection by the end of their 4-week treatment.

“This is more significant than I would have expected,” Dr. Keri Peterson of the American Massage Therapy Association told Fox News.

Prior to the study, the majority of participants expressed concerns common to most cancer patients, including sadness, worry, nervousness, pain, tiredness, trouble sleeping, fear, depression, eating, constipation, nausea, dry skin and tingling sensations. At the end of the 4-week treatment protocol, concern about common cancer stressors was significantly reduced, by as much as 60% for some issues.

As a group, brain cancer patients enjoyed improved feelings of emotional, physical and social well-being. Post-treatment testing revealed that benefits began to fade when massage therapy was discontinued, although patients’ stress levels remained lower than they were initially. Continued massage therapy is an option you may want to discuss with your Issels treatment specialists.

Tips for Managing Cancer Pain

Physician Talking to Patient
Physician Talking to Patient

Cancer pain is not a solitary event but a fusing of mind and body. Pain caused by diagnostic tests, cancer treatments or the cancer itself travels through the body’s nerve pathways to your brain and may be felt in more than one of your senses. (Find out more about what causes cancer pain on the American Cancer Society website.)Working with your cancer treatment team, you will want to develop different strategies for anticipating and managing various types of pain. Having pain management protocols in place will facilitate early intervention which is the key to effective cancer pain management.

We all respond to pain differently and you may need to experiment to figure out which pain management techniques work best for you. Some people find relief in complementary or alternative cancer therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic or massage. Your Issels treatment specialists may also prescribe drugs or supplements to aid in pain control. Omega-3 fatty-acids and vitamin D supplements have shown some promise in treating certain types of pain.

Effective control of cancer pain generally involves multiple strategies. You may want to try some of these techniques for managing cancer pain:

  • Practice mindful meditation. Reacting to pain with anxiety, anger or fear can actually make it worse. In mindful meditation, you focus on controlling your thoughts and feelings rather than your reaction to pain.
  • Engage in physical activity. Even small amounts of daily movement can help strengthen muscles and release stress-fighting endorphins.
  • Learn to accept pain. Acceptance is the conscious decision to accept what you cannot change, focus on the positives and move forward with your life.