The Trumpet Medical Advisor

To contact me, please click on my email address in blue, at the right, for any health or health related problems or questions that you have. You will get a personal and confidential response from me.

Patricia Naeder, RN, BS.

pat@billbaur.com/public

 

March, 2010 Edition


NEW WAYS TO THINK ABOUT A CANCER DIAGNOSIS

There are many new discoveries in the field of oncology. Many people live long productive lives after a diagnosis of cancer.

Cancer, or carcinoma, is not one disease. It is many separate and distinct diseases. Each case of over-multiplication of cells is different. If cells overgrow in the colon they are different from the proliferation of cells in the lungs or breast. The cell type is unique. The treatment is specific to each, and the combination of Traditional and Complimentary and Integrative approaches have enhanced successful results.

The pathology in cancer cell is similar in that abnormal cells begin to grow and multiply which should not be there. There are many theories regarding the genesis of this pathophysiology, such as inflammation, genetics, toxins that find their way into our body, viruses, and ineffective immune function.

The status of the immune system is also central to the response to treatment plan.

Regardless of the etiology, the goal of treatment is to annihilate the abnormal cells in a variety of ways. Chemotherapy attacks them directly by poisoning them. Surgery obviously removes them physically, and is usually followed up with either chemotherapy or radiation. Radiation destroys them by destroying their pathways.

Then there are approaches that focus on disturbing their environment such as changing the bodyís pH from acetic to alkaline. Adding citrus to the diet and eating alkaline foods such as cucumbers are some of the methods. There are studies that focus on proving that a high oxygen environment makes it difficult for the cancer cells to multiply.

There are studies that show that the right combination of supplements creates an environment at the cellular level that prohibits the proliferation of these abnormal cancer cells.

 

TREATMENTS

In oncology, the area of treatment is expanding. There are new trends. Traditionally, when cancer is discovered chemotherapy, radiation and surgery have been the standard therapies. They are discovering and using more effective and less toxic agents all the time.

 

Targeted therapy for the individual: There is greater analysis now of the exact cell type of the cancer you have. Scientists are taking a sample of your cancer cells and creating an antibody oriented targeted treatment that acts like a vaccine, just for your cancer cell type.

 

Photodynamic therapy: A light-activated drug (Photofrin) is injected, which targets the cancerous cells. 24 hours later, a laser light is directed through a scope onto the tumor cells exposing the cancer tissue to the spectrum of light. The light switches on the drug destroying the cancer cells without damaging the surrounding healthy tissue.

4-  Hormone therapy for breast, and prostate cancer: Tamoxifen keeps cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow. For prostate cancer, Leuteinizing Hormone is administered to block the hormones that allows prostate cancer cells to grow.

5-  Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that when injected into your body become the desired cell type. This type of therapy is very useful when chemotherapy has been administered. Cells are destroyed during chemotherapy. After the chemo is terminated, the patientís own stem cells, which were taken from them before chemo started, and stored, are now returned to the patient to restore balance.

6-  Another trend now is to augment these therapies with complimentary therapies. These therapies are meant to integrate with the standard therapy to make it more effective and sometimes requiring less chemo, radiation or surgery.

7-  One of the new approaches is to supercharge the immune system before starting chemotherapy so that the body has reserve, in order to protect the normal cells.

 

COMPLIMENTARY/INTEGRATIVE CHALLENGES

Other complimentary therapies focus on treating each facet of the whole person to strengthen the patient so the body is more efficient in handling their diagnosis and treatment.

The Challenges:

Many major Cancer Centers have created Complimentary departments to care for the patientís nutrition, psychological status, anxiety, depression, nausea, weight, pain, and general well being. For instance, if the patients anxiety is not addressed the body produces large amounts of stress chemicals, cortisol, and adrenalin, which rip through the body and cause physical inflammation in the blood vessels.  Stress can also cause anxiety and panic attacks which wear down the immune system.

Another issue is depression. Left untreated the patientís brain chemicals become unbalanced. Usually serotonin levels are low, and the patientís response to therapy can be affected.

If chemotherapy is prescribed the patient may experience nausea. If radiation is begun the patient may have a drop in red blood cells and become weak. If surgery is performed the patient needs a strong immune system to regenerate new tissue. 

Pain is another issue which can be relieved with a variety of modalities.

Fatigue may become an issue. There are treatments for all of the above.

 

COMPLIMENTARY OR INTEGRATIVE SOLUTIONS

To address the above issues, all aspects of the patientís therapy are addressed with a Menu of the following therapies chosen by yourself and your physician to augment the Basic Traditional Therapy:

In the major cancer centers the lead Oncologist M.D. interfaces with all of the people on the Complimentary/Integrative Team to coordinate a treatment plan that is designed especially for you, and with you. It is tailored to your biological and psychological needs. It incorporates traditional treatment with any of the following:

 

  • Nutrition is addressed with a Clinical Dietician specially trained in oncology needs. Your Immune system is paramount at this time and keeping it strong is key to optimum recovery. Dieticians are becoming more and more essential to our health. Remember foods are chemicals! They can be a great adjunct to your therapy. Also the wrong foods can inflame your vessel walls and can tax your pancreas, live and other organs. In 400 BC Hippocrates said: ďLet food be your medicine and medicine your food.

  • A dietician is useful even for a common cold. They can prescribe an Anti-Viral Diet which targets foods that either prevent viral activity or can treat a viral cold.

  • The anti-viral foods, which are high in lysine and low in arginine, create an environment where it is difficult for the virus to multiply and thrive in your body. These foods keep the virus in check.

  • A good dietician should be a permanent part of everyoneís life. Many physicians have them on staff and will make them available to you. Look for R.D. Registered Dietician. All hospitals have them too.

  • Anxiety/Stress needs to be treated. Being stressed and anxious batters the immune system substantially, not to mention the discomfort. The physician may prescribe an anxiolytic such as the valium or xanax family of medications. There are many classes of drugs to effectively treat anxiety.

  • It is very important that stress be handled every single day. Chose your own methods: soft music, nature walks, long baths, read those books on your shelf, keep positive people around you, and delete negative or anxiety producing people. Build in breaks and make an appointment to relax.

  • Do not allow anxiety or depression to take you over. Actively seek solutions to every single problem that is bothering you, from paying your medical bills, to feeling weak from therapy. Insist on a practical solution. Get others to help you. This is the time to assign your problems to others. Lift the burdens off of yourself one by one.

  • Talk therapy is very successful by helping your problem-solve, and keeping your mind in balance. It is one of the most successful tools for peace of mind.

  • Depression can be treated with anti-depressants such as the Wellbutrin type of med, or the SSRIís (Serotonin re-uptake inhibitors). These drugs keep serotonin circulating in the brain for a longer period of time thereby elevating the patients mood. This is very important to prevent the depression cascade. There are many classes of drugs for depression that are very effective. Donít accept depression; defeat it.

  • Prayer, if you are spiritual. Many of my patients un-burdened themselves substantially through their prayers. If that is what works, then that is your therapy.

  • Pamper yourself to the max while you are sick. Allow others to care for you until you have recovered.

  • Massage therapy is very effective because it increases circulation which carries red blood cells, which carry oxygen and nutrients throughout the circulation. Also white blood cells are circulated which fight pathogens.

  • The lymph system is enhanced which drains off toxins and keeps a balance within the circulatory system.

  • All of this improves the function of the all important immune system which is your best defense against illness, even cancer.

The second therapeutic benefit of massage is the relaxation effect which is critical for the cancer patient. Massage augments therapy, and can hasten healing and tissue regeneration, and shorten therapy required. At a time like this relaxing is the ultimate gift.

  • Vibrating mats are excellent to promote healing. They can be placed in a chair, or on the bed, and are very effective because of the same mechanism of increased circulation and a feeling of relaxation and well being.

  • Acupuncture may be chosen to treat nausea, and to enhance the messaging of pathways at the cellular level.

  • Supplements, Antioxidants, and Vitamins. Usually a Doctor of Osteopathy will handle this in cooperation with your lead oncologist.

  • The most popular food group said to fight cancer are the cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts. There are many foods that have been studied for their activity with cancer. It is very important that this be analyzed because there are good and bad interactions between food and medicines.

  • There are specific supplements that are targeted to spare normal cells while the chemo agents kill the carcinoma. This can be very helpful in recovery. Discuss this with your oncologist, and your team. Dr. Richard Becker wrote a book, Foundations for Healing which is a great introduction to the use of supplements, and Dr. Sinatra wrote a book on supplements.

 

PUT YOUR TEAM TOGETHER

You or a family member may of may not have a diagnosis of cancer now.

Or you may have family members who have had cancer and are cured, but you consider yourself a possible candidate.

Or you may be a planner, like myself, who thinks pro-actively all the time. Itís always preferable to plan when you are calm and not under the stress of being ill. So get your information together and save it. Hopefully you will never need it, but it would be great to have all the research done.

 

IDENTIFY YOUR MEDICAL CENTERS AND DOCTORS

You may want to become familiar with what the major cancer centers in the country have to offer, and of course the one nearest to you. Things to consider in choosing a center:

  • Reputation.

  • Geography.

  • Their Protocols, which is a list of usual chemotherapy agents, surgeries, radiation used, for the type and stage of the cancer.

  • Have them email or mail you a copy of their treatment facility including the Physicians and their C.Vs., and their Traditional, and Complimentary/ Integrative treatment modalities, so that you can utilize the latest multi-pronged approach for a full recovery from cancer.

SOME CANCER CENTERS:

1-  National Cancer Institute: Has list of all Traditional and Complimentary and Integrative Alternative therapies. They also have access to Clinical Trials in progress.

Fox Chase, PA.

M.D. Anderson, TX.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering, NY.

Dana Farber, Boston, MA

Mayo Clinic, MN.

Duke University Med Center, Durham, NC.

University of Cal, San Francisco, CA.

Cancer Centers of America

University Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA

Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine. This is 42 Academic Health Centers, including Osher Center, Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, University of Pennsylvania. Check here for studies.

The Bravewell Clinical Network.

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Cancer is much better understood now that we have the Genome Project and a better understanding of the microbiological pathways. New treatments are being successfully used more and more. Have no fear. Medical people are Scientists and will continue to research and test, and demand proof of successful therapies to defeat this disease so that patients can live a long, full and happy life.

 

Good Health to you,

Patricia Naeder, RN, BS

Medical Advisor


This column is for informational purposes only, and represents the opinion, and reporting of the author only. Any discussions with the Author should be presented to your own personal Physician for his/her Professional opinion. It is not meant to substitute for seeing one's own Medical Doctor, Psychiatrist, or Psychologist for Professional care.