Tag Archives: Skin Cancer

Melanoma Treatment Breakthrough with Immunotherapy

A Break Trough in Immunotherapy
A Break Trough in Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy continues to prove itself an effective weapon in the fight against cancer. Recent studies show that treatment can produce lasting remission in patients suffering with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Leading pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb conducted testing of nivolumab, a member of a new class of immunotherapies. Its purpose is to disable a protein called PD-1 which restricts the body’s own immune system from attacking cancer cells.

Phase 1 of the trial involved 107 advanced melanoma patients whose cancer had spread to other areas despite treatment with traditional drugs. These patients received nivolumab via intravenous infusions during alternating weeks for periods of up to 96 weeks.

Median life expectancy for people with advanced melanoma is one year. Follow-up studies after treatment with the nivolumab found that 62 percent of the patients were alive, with 43 percent surviving after two years. Researchers are encouraged by the fact that the immunotherapy continued to show positive results even after treatment concluded. The data also suggests that therapy during earlier stages can be even more effective.

Bristol-Myers is continuing Phase 3 trials with nivolumab that focus on other forms of cancer such as lung and kidney cancer. In some cases, testing is using a combination therapy including ipilimumab, another of the new immunotherapies that works on disabling a different cell receptor.

Issels natural cancer treatment is based on more than 60 years of successful experience using integrative immunotherapy. Patients receive personalized protocols created to address their unique needs. Please contact us to learn more about our treatment centers and programs.

How to Protect Yourself Against Skin Cancer

Preventing Skin Cancer
Preventing Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is easily treated when detected early and rarely spreads to other parts of the body. However, a new study has found that nonmelanoma skin cancer can increase your future risk of developing dangerous melanoma skin cancer and 30 other forms of cancer (see our previous post). The risk is greatest for young people under age 25.

To guard against skin cancer, everyone should check their body regularly for new or changing moles and see their doctor if they notice any changes. Study researchers also recommended that people who develop nonmelanoma skin cancer during their teen or young adult years consider cancer screenings for internal malignancies.

Detecting and beginning cancer treatment early improves outcomes, although Issels integrative immunotherapy has achieved an enviable record of complete long-term remissions even when cancer is advanced or resistant to standard therapies.

Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Taking the following measures to protect your skin from exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation can significantly reduce your risk of skin cancer:

• Avoid tanning salons. Some sunlamps emit highly concentrated doses of UV light that can be as much as 12 times more potent than sunlight, increasing cancer risk.

• Before spending time outdoors, apply a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB), water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Reapply frequently while outdoors.

• Wear a broad-brimmed hat to shade your face.

• Wear sunglasses with 99% to 100% UV absorption.

• Wear clothing that protects your skin from sun exposure.

If you develop cancer, Issels offers non-toxic alternative cancer treatments and full spectrum healthcare at our Santa Barbara, California outpatient medical center. Inpatient treatment is also available at the largest, most modern private hospital in Tijuana, Mexico.

Young Skin Cancer Survivors at Greater Risk of Later Cancer

Skin Cancer Risks
Skin Cancer Risks

Most of us are aware that sun exposure and tanning beds increase the risk of skin cancer. The most common kind of skin cancer is nonmelanoma skin cancer which, when discovered early, is highly treatable and rarely spreads to other parts of the body. However, a recently released study of 502,490 individuals in the United Kingdom has now linked nonmelanoma skin cancer to a greater risk of future cancer; and young people who are least likely to protect themselves from harmful sun exposure are at greatest risk.

A large, long-term study of people with a history of nonmelanoma skin cancer found that they were more likely to develop other types of cancer. For people under the age of 25, the risk was a disturbing 23 times higher. For adults 25 to 44, risk decreased but was still 3.5 times greater than for those who had never had skin cancer. Risk continued to decrease with age, although it remained slightly higher for all age groups.

“Our study shows that [nonmelanoma skin cancer] susceptibility is an important indicator of susceptibility to malignant tumors and that the risk is especially high among people who develop [the condition] at a young age,” noted Dr. Rodney Sinclair, director of dermatology at Epworth Hospital in Australia, on Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

It was found that people who had nonmelanoma skin cancer before reaching the age of 25 were 53 times more likely to develop bone cancer, 26 times more likely to get blood cancers, 20 times more likely to be diagnosed with brain cancer, and 14 times more likely to develop other cancers other than skin cancer. The study also suggests a significant risk of developing other cancer types–salivary gland, melanoma, bone and upper gastrointestinal tract cancers, in particular–among people with a history of the disease in general.

Issels integrated immunotherapy offers non-toxic alternative cancer treatments for cancers of all types including melanoma.

Foods that Decrease Skin Cancer Risk

Frequent and liberal application of broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF has been proven to help prevent skin cancer (click the link for full details), but there are also certain foods that can boost your body’s natural ability to protect itself against skin cancer. If you are a skin cancer or melanoma survivor, adding these foods to your diet may help increase your protection against recurring incidents of skin cancer.

Foods That Reduce Cancer
Foods That Reduce Cancer
  • Grapes have been found to offer strong natural protection against the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays which are a primary cause of skin  cancer. Researchers at the University of Barcelona in Spain discovered that naturally-occurring compounds in grapes called flavonoids protect skin cells from UV radiation.
  • Milk Thistle contains the plant extract silibinin which University of Colorado researchers at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences have found has the ability to kill skin cells that have been mutated by UVA radiation, the type that causes skin cancer. If they do not die, mutated cells typically turn cancerous. Silibinin also protects the skin from sunburn-causing UVB  radiation, offering a double-dose of protection.
  • Strawberries have photo-protective properties that offer natural UV ray protection, according to a study conducted at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Italy. These berries also contain powerful antioxidants that promote cell survival and minimize DNA damage.
  • Coffee lowered the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer by 11% in a study conducted by researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit. The more coffee you drink, the greater the protection. In the study, drinking 6 cups of coffee boosted skin cancer protection to 36%. Researchers suspect caffeine kills sun-damaged cells.

Take Steps to Prevent Skin Cancer

Melanoma Prevention
Melanoma Prevention

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.

You can prevent skin cancer by following these recommendations from Issels’ alternative cancer treatment teams:

  • 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.

Summer Sun Can Cause Skin Cancer

Protect Yourself From The Sun
Protect Yourself From The Sun

With the first spell of hot weather finally here, we’re spending more time outdoors soaking up the sunshine. But without proper protection sun exposure carries the risk of skin cancer. The most common of all cancers, skin cancer accounts for about half of U.S. cancer cases, according to the American Cancer Society. Every year, more than 3.5 million new cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer and more than 76,000 new cases of potentially-deadly melanoma are diagnosed in America.

Most basal and squamous cell skin cancers are caused by sun exposure and are most likely to develop on the face, ears, neck, lips or backs of the hands, the areas of the bodies most frequently exposed to the sun. These cancers begin in the basal and squamous cells — from which they get their name — that form the base of the skin’s outer layer. Discovered and treated early, basal and squamous cell cancers are highly treatable, offering an excellent prognosis for complete recovery. However, if ignored and untreated, these cancers can spread to other parts of the body.

Melanoma skin cancer is the most serious form of skin cancer, killing an average 10,000 Americans each year. Melanoma occurs in the skin’s deeper layers and targets the melanocyte cells that produce skin pigment, or melanin. Melanin is the skin’s natural protectant from sun exposure. Caught early, recovery from this invasive form of skin cancer is quite good. The 5-year survival rate is 91% for melanoma victims.  However, melanoma often goes undetected in its early stages and can be an aggressive spreader.

To be continued