The Trumpet Medical Advisor
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Patricia Naeder, RN, BS.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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,
|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.|