Green Tea as a Preventer of Stomach Cancer

By now most of us have heard that green tea has been shown to be an effective cancer preventer. There are numerous studies that have shown green tea's anti-oxidants to have significant power in protecting our health and preventing disease.

Much of the research on green tea has been performed on laboratory mice, mostly because human trials take years to perform, and because human trials are rife with variables that can make conclusions difficult to determine.

However, one study performed in China on stomach cancer, did look at humans and attempted to ascertain whether or not green tea could mitigate their cancer risk, particularly in those who had a higher than average risk of stomach cancer, due to family history.

This study examined 206 people who had recently been diagnosed with stomach cancer, and 415 healthy participants. The subjects were thoroughly interviewed regarding their dietary habits. The participants were also screened for their relative susceptibility to stomach cancer, based on family history and other factors that raise the risk of developing stomach cancer.

This study showed a significant reduced risk of stomach cancer in those who were regular green tea drinkers. The reduced risk was even significant in those participants who would normally have had a higher than average risk of developing the disease.

Therefore, the study concluded that green tea may have the ability to mitigate other cancer risk factors. In particular, green tea was shown to significantly mitigate the risk for heavy alcohol drinkers.

Stomach cancer is a significant risk in the US. Each year, over 22,000 people are diagnosed with the disease, and over 11,000 will die from it. Two thirds of those who get stomach cancer each year are over the age of 65.

Today, stomach cancer is far less common in the US than it once was. Doctors believe this reduction is caused primarily by two things. The first is the more regular use of anti-biotics to treat infections in children. One particular bacteria, known as H pylori, is a significant contributor to stomach cancer, and anti-biotics can often kill this bacteria in our bodies while we're still children, before it can cause problems later on.

The second reason doctors believe we've seen a decrease in stomach cancer is refrigeration. In years past, the only way to keep meat safe for long periods of time was through salt curing or smoking. It's believed that the nitrates in meats preserved in this manner contribute to the development of stomach cancer. Therefore, the reduction in the amount of salt cured and smoked meats in our diet may reduce our risk of stomach cancer.

What are the risk factors for stomach cancer?

So, just what does make us have a higher risk of developing stomach cancer? There are several risk factors, and many of them can be controlled. The leading risk factors include:

o Smoking

o Obesity

o Poor Diet - As mentioned earlier, high levels of salted and smoked meat can contribute to stomach cancer. Conversely, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been shown to lower your risk of stomach cancer.

o Previous stomach surgery - those who have had surgery for ulcers and other stomach problems are at a higher risk of stomach cancer.

o Pernicious anemia sufferers

o Menetrier Disease sufferers

o Those with Type A blood

o Stomach polyps

o Family History

o Epstein-Barr Virus

o Bacterial infections

Mitigating Your Risk

We can't control our family history or our blood type, but many of the risk factors for stomach cancer are things that we have some control over. As an overall way to help prevent cancer, it's important to eat a healthy diet. Lots of fruits and vegetables are critical in this part of your cancer prevention regime, because in addition to their other healthy qualities, they are loaded with anti-oxidants, just like green tea.

Anti-oxidants are known cancer preventers because they fight the free radicals created in our bodies as we convert food to energy. These free radicals damage cells and DNA, leading to disease. But, a diet rich in anti-oxidants can neutralize these free radicals, preventing their damage.

So, including fruits and vegetables in your diet can help you in several ways. First of all, you'll be getting lots of vitamins and your daily dose of anti-oxidants. However, fruits and vegetables can also help you keep your weight in check, which is also a cancer preventer. Obesity is a risk factor for stomach, and many other forms of cancer.

You can also mitigate your stomach cancer risk by not smoking. Most people know that smoking causes lung cancer, but many people don't realize that smoking contributes to the development of many forms of cancer, including stomach cancer. It's also a wise idea to limit your alcohol intake. Some studies have shown an increased risk of stomach cancer among those who drank alcohol in large quantities over a period of years.

Finally, it's important to keep close tabs on your health in general. Visit your doctor regularly for checkups and have routine tests done when recommended.

And, don't forget to drink some green tea each and every day to give yourself and extra boost of cancer prevention!

Most Cancers Are Caused by What's in Your Food and Environment

"Cancer can be defeated" This phrase has served as a rallying cry for sick cancer patients for decades, but a growing number of scientific research henceforth come to the conclusion that the most effective weapon against this disease remains prevention.

"We know that the epidemic of cancer today is due to many carcinogenic substances in the air, water and food," said Liz Armstrong who co-authored the book Cancer: 101 Solutions to Preventable Epidemic.

Most products we use daily, whether at home, at school or at work, contain many carcinogenic substances. Some pesticides, for example, have mostly been associated with lymphoma, leukemia as well as cancers of the prostate, lung, breast and ovaries cancers. When polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, found in both the exhaust from trucks and cars and second hand smoke from cigarettes, they are associated with lung cancers, skin cancers, bladder cancers and kidney cancers. In addition, a causal link was established between formaldehyde (a substance commonly used in furniture manufacturing chipboard) and cancer of the lymphatic system and brain tumors. In identifying and eliminating carcinogenic agents present in the environment, we contribute to the prevention of this devastating disease.

Half of the cancers can be prevented

In its annual report titled General Statistics for cancer in 2010 and made public last month, the Canadian Association of Cancer says that "at least 50 percent of cancers can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle and policies to promote a healthy environment. Same stories from our southern neighbors, who wrote in their annual report of the National Cancer Institute's President's Cancer Panel, published last May. " According to our researches, at least one half of all new cancer cases and all deaths caused by this disease at a global scale could be avoided. In addition to our right of access to information and our duty of inquiry, we also have an obligation to act," said the cancer survivor and research scientist and author of Living Downstream,Sandra Steingraber. After her, the key to cancer prevention is based on the abolition of all known carcinogenic agents. "Actually, the public history of cancer is very encouraging. It tells us that the environment plays a role much greater than we thought. Each person represents a given point and our goal is to succeed in finding a solution to the problem. "

Rare genetic causes

Carcinogenic agents cause mutations in certain genes, which ultimately lead to cancer, it is estimated that approximately two thirds of all cancers are caused by the presence of these substances in the environment and they could be completely eradicated. I would have become very depressed if science had proved that our genes were to blame, "says Steingraber, but in reality, only 5 percent of all cancers are caused by our genetic factors. We can not change the past, but we can ensure that our systems and agricultural industries no longer depend on all sorts of toxic products. We can prevent cancer by protecting people against the causes of the disease.

Products associated with various types of cancer


May cause cancer of the lymphatic system.

Source: Production of synthetic materials and rubber.


May cause leukemia and cancer of the kidney or liver.

Sources: Dry Cleaning, Production of textiles, steam cleaning of metals.


Can cause soft tissue sarcoma, malignant lymphoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma, also leukemia, prostate cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.


May cause cancer of the lung, pancreas, kidney, prostate and breast.

Source: electroplating, leather tanning, textiles protection.


Causes cancer of the lung, pancreas, kidney, prostate and breast.

Sources: Coal, power plants, incineration, production of plastic materials.


May cause mesothelioma

Source: Isolation coverage, cement, jacket fireproof linings.


May cause cancer of the cervix uterus, kidney and liver, Hodgkin's disease and multiple myeloma.

Sources: Degreasers, adhesive products, paints, coatings.


Can cause a severe form of myeloid leukemia.

Sources: Emission of carbon dioxide, water purifying plants, smoking.

Polycyclic aromatic compounds

Can cause cancer of the lung, skin, of the bladder, kidney and larynx.

Source: Heating, carbon dioxide, second hand smoke.


Can cause leukemia, lymphatic cancer, and brain tumors.

Sources: Construction material (wood agglomerate), second hand smoke, combustion appliances.

Dioxins and furans

Can cause lung cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Sources: waste incinerators, steel mills, diesel, wood fireplace, power plants.

Prevention measures

1. Filter your tap.

2. Store your water in steel containers. (this will reduce exposure to contaminants and the production of plastic materials)

3. If you use a microwave oven, heat your food in a ceramic container rather than a plastic container.

4. Avoid using pesticides.

5. Eat organic food. (No pesticides, fertilizers or growth hormones)

6. Reduce your consumption of red meat and avoid processed meats.

7. Throw away expired medicines, store your paints and Household products in a suitable location.

8. Buy No toxic products.

9. Watch out for high emissions of radon inside your home.

10. Avoid second hand smoke.

Miracles Do Happen - You Can Cure Yourself Of Cancer

My story is one of a woman who survived cancer with alternative cancer treatment. When I was diagnosed with cancer the second time, all the visions of pain, medical procedures, doctors, waiting rooms and horrible sickness revived in my mind. My eyes swelled with tears as I thought of the worst. How could all of this be happening to me again? I had been diagnosed with throat cancer two years earlier and treated with the normal cancer cures of chemotherapy and radiation. The cancer went into remission. With my immune system down, I attracted an amoeba in my right eye causing blindness for almost a year plus I had a heart attack and heart surgery. I survived all of these trials and was getting well again, or so I thought.

I started to work professionally again after illness upon illness. However, one day I felt pain in my throat shooting up to my right ear again. I knew the signs and went straight to the oncologist for cancer treatment. The conjecture was that the newest cancer cures of Tomotherapy Radiation and Chemotherapy had not worked in my case. The doctors would treat the cancer again. However, this time the doctors prescribed what they termed as "salvage surgery." Just as the name might suggest, this surgery is very radical. The procedure entails removing a part of the right jaw and the neck artery, a part of the tongue, a part of the throat, removing the artery from the right hand to replace the neck artery, removing a patch if skin from the left shoulder to use skin to make a flap for the newly patched artery, insert a tracheotomy, and place a stomach tube for nourishment.

My face would have been deformed. My ability for speech would have changed and never be the same again. I would have lost my ability to swallow for a very long time, possibly forever, and I would be dependent on others to care for me. In my estimate, this was not a way I wanted to live the rest of my life; cancer or no cancer.

The first part of my journey was to get three professional opinions on fighting cancer from the top three surgeons in the world today. The three opinions came from:

1. University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, Virginia where I had been treated for the first cancer treatment.

2. Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California to their Top Oncology Center.

3. Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona to check out Trans Oral Micro Laser Surgery for Throat Cancer. This is a fairly new procedure done by only two renowned doctors in the world; one of them is at Mayo Clinic.

All of the doctors were in agreement that surgery was the only solution for my cure for cancer. Their surgical procedures differed slightly, but all agreed that chemotherapy and radiation had not worked. None of the suggested surgical procedures were minimalistic. My life would have drastically changed. My face would have a piece missing and I would never be able to look in the mirror again without crying.

I had to find a "miracle cancer cure." This is where my journey to alternative cancer treatment began. I read articles from doctors and cancer survivors alike where the body has incredible recuperative powers. I also read that "thoughts are things." I realized that I had thought myself into all of these illnesses. Simple logic would tell you "if I thought myself into all of these illnesses, then I can 'think' myself out of this 'dis-eased' state." I began to study and to search for a natural cancer cure. I also had to reach down inside my own being and analyze just what made me get cancer in the first place.

Another part of my journey was to begin to listen to my "inner self" and to be my own best friend. When you are faced with illness, and are busy going to doctors, you have very little time to sit and ponder why you got the illness. And yet, this very action is just as essential to your wellness as the medicine you take; in fact, possibly more essential.

I came to the realization that "cancer was just the symptom of something much deeper." Our mind is in control of both our conscious and subconscious actions. The brain runs the show. Have you ever questioned what your thoughts are giving "action signals" to your brain? What are we thinking in order to get ourselves sick with something as serious as cancer?

After making the decision to "turn down salvage surgery" I knew I needed to take another path to wellness; this time, the path to alternative medicine. Alternative cancer treatment is where my journey and where the story I have to tell others began. I have successfully cured myself of cancer, changed my life, and discovered why such a great percentage of people in the world today have cancer.

I have an incredible story to tell of how I cured my "self" of cancer. First of all, our food supply is being manufactured in such a way that it is poisoning millions of people slowly each day. There are very easy solutions to this problem. I followed a cancer diet cure which I have termed the "Anti-Cancer Diet" stressing strongly on cancer fighting foods. Being a gourmet and a "Foodie," I had to develop recipes which were not only anti-cancer foods, but also taste and look wonderful. Secondly, we all have environmental choices. If you smoke or are in a smoke-filled environment, you need to stop. Consider the consequences seriously. But more important than the others is "your mind." What is going on in your sub-conscious mind which enabled you to attract "dis-ease?" Thoughts are things, and you have attracted cancer to yourself. With some very simple exercises and "thought-changing" concepts, your cancer can be cured as well as any other illness.

Your body has a very strong recuperative power. You can "Cure Your 'Self' of Cancer" just the way I did. Alternative cancer cures are proving to people there is another way to rid ourselves of this dreaded disease named cancer. A healthy body, mind and spirit are possible even if you are deathly ill right at the moment. I am living proof to this fact. At a time when three of the top oncologists in the world today agreed that the only solution to my cancer diagnosis was radical "salvage surgery" I looked cancer in the eye and beat it. You can do this as well. It takes courage to educate you about alternative cancer cures. I believe my journey can be a lesson to others who are sick with cancer. Know that your cancer can be cured.

Copyright 2010 Carol E. Patterson. All Rights Reserved.

Diet, Soy & Breast Cancer Risk

Last week's column reviewed new clinical research findings suggesting that higher levels of soy-derived isoflavones in the diet, and in the blood, may significantly reduce the risk of prostate cancer. This week, I will be discussing a new research study that makes similar claims regarding the prevention of breast cancer.

Breast cancer in women is, in several important ways, analogous to prostate cancer in men. Like prostate cancer, most breast cancer cells are fueled by the body's sex hormones (androgens stimulate prostate cancer growth, while estrogen in women stimulates breast cancer growth). Prostate cancer is the number one cause of cancer in men, and breast cancer is the number one cause of cancer in men. Approximately 192,000 cases of each of these cancers will be diagnosed in 2009, with prostate cancer accounting for about one-fourth of all cancers afflicting men, while breast cancer also represents about one-fourth of all cancers that affect women. Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in men, and, analogously, breast cancer is the number two cause of cancer death in women. More than 27,000 men will die of prostate cancer in 2009, while more than 40,000 women will succumb to breast cancer this year.

In last week's column (Diet & Prostate Cancer Risk), I reviewed an innovative clinical research study that assessed both the dietary intake of soy-derived isoflavones and the concentration of these dietary nutrients in the blood. Isoflavones belong to a larger group of dietary compounds that are, collectively, referred to as phytoestrogens, as these nutrients are able to stimulate (albeit weakly) chemical receptors for the sex hormone estrogen. In a newly published clinical study, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the results of a large prospective Chinese women's health study add to previous similar research in suggesting that a diet rich in soybean-derived products, especially when consumed before and during adolescence, may be associated with a decreased overall risk of developing breast cancer later in life.

In this prospective public health study, more than 73,000 Chinese adolescent girls and women were followed for an average of 7.4 years. All of the participants in this very large study completed validated dietary surveys, and the incidence of new breast cancers among this very large group of Chinese women was then compared to their self-reported intake of soy-based foods.

The results of this study were rather striking, and were highly statistically significant when comparing the incidence of breast cancer among women with the highest levels of soy intake versus the women with the least soy intake. In this epidemiological study, the women who reported the highest regular dietary intake of soy-based foods were, overall, nearly 60 percent less likely to be diagnosed with premenopausal breast cancer during the course of this clinical research trial. This dramatic reduction in the risk of premenopausal breast cancer was observed in both the women who reported high levels of soy-derived foods in their diet and in the women who frequently consumed foods that were generally rich in isoflavones.

While this particular study did not measure isoflavone levels in the blood, as was done in the prostate cancer study that I reviewed last week, its results, nonetheless, mirror the findings of other similar epidemiological studies.

As with all survey-based disease prevention studies, of course, there is the potential for significant bias in this particular research study, and studies such as these cannot, by themselves, prove a "cause-and-effect" mechanism behind the clinical findings that they reveal. However, such studies, when conducted prospectively and with a high degree of scientific integrity, can still suggest potentially important disease prevention strategies. When the results of studies such as these appear to be especially compelling, they should then be followed-up by large, prospective randomized, placebo-controlled clinical research studies that provide so-called "Level I" clinical evidence.

Previous studies that have supported a role for soy consumption in breast cancer prevention have suggested that the increased consumption of soy-derived isoflavones before and around the time of adolescence is critically important, when the female breast is actively developing, and that this apparent protective effect of soy foods against breast cancer diminishes greatly after breast development is completed in early adulthood. (At the same time, however, the weakly estrogenic effects of dietary isoflavones have raised concerns about soy intake among women with a prior history of breast cancer, although there is no convincing scientific data, yet, showing that dietary isoflavones increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence.)

Another caveat that must be mentioned regarding the findings of this particular study is that the potentially beneficial effects of soy-derived foods, and of dietary isoflavones in general, in preventing breast cancer were observed in a homogeneous population of Asian women. Even if high levels of isoflavones in the diet really are protective against breast cancer, as this epidemiological study strongly suggests, it is still unclear whether or not this putative cancer prevention benefit applies equally to non-Asian women as well. Once again, only well-balanced, prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical studies can confirm or contradict the findings of this very large Chinese public health study. Fortunately, there are several such studies underway at this time.

Finally, although I don't, as a rule, include links to other websites within this column, I am making an exception for The Prostate Cancer Charity in the United Kingdom. This cancer awareness charity is competing in an online contest to have their prostate cancer public service announcement displayed on London buses at no charge. Please click the following link, and cast your online vote for this charity's worthy cause (you can cast a vote for them on a daily basis): Bluefrog - The Prostate Cancer Charity

Do Blood Pressure Drugs Cause Cancer?

Recently the media has reported that a class of blood pressure medicine known as angiotensin-receptor blocker (ARB) used by tens of millions of patients can cause a significant increase in cancer especially lung cancer. This was the conclusion drawn from a study published online recently by Sipahi et al in the medical journal Lancet Oncology.

A cascade of hormonal reactions mainly referred to as the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone (RAA) hormonal system is central in maintaining blood pressure. The first step in the chain is the production of renin in the kidneys when the kidneys detect lower blood pressure. Renin then stimulates the formation of a protein called Angiotensin I, which is then converted to angiotensin II by the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) in the lungs. Angiotensin II is the most powerful constrictor of blood vessels known and this constriction leads to elevated blood pressure. Angiotensin II also causes the secretion of the hormone aldosterone which further causes an additional blood pressure rise. Any drug that prevents the production of Angiotensin II via the RAA system therefore is useful in reducing blood pressure. The two classes of drugs that have the most substantial effects on the RAA system are the angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) drugs and the angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) and are widely used for the treatment of hypertension, heart failure and diabetes-related kidney damage. The mechanisms of action of both these drugs are different although producing the same end result: reduction in blood pressure or is antihypertensive. For instance, ACE inhibitors lower blood pressure not only by blocking the production of Angiotensin II, but by increasing the amounts of powerful chemicals, including nitric oxide, that widen the arteries.

Ever since the use of reserpine, a drug used for hypertension but no longer used, has been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer more than 50 years ago, the question of antihypertensive drugs and cancer has not come to rest. Beta-blockers have been associated with lung cancer, thiazide diuretics with renal cell carcinoma and colon cancer and calcium blockers with cancer in general. In most instances, the risk is small and not supported by biochemical experimental or epidemiological data. The relationship between diuretic therapy and renal cell carcinoma is supported by a variety of clinical biochemical and experimental data and remains of concern, particularly in women.

An association between the ACE inhibitors and cancer was first indicated when the results of the Candesartan in Heart Failure Assessment of Reduction in Mortality and Morbidity (CHARM) study were published in 2003. The results of the CHARM trial indicated that patients treated with candesartan had a significant increase in the risk for fatal cancers compared with control patients but that the investigators concluded this finding was likely due to chance. Since then, several other studies, including LIVE, ONTARGET and TRANSCEND noted an excess in malignancies in patients assigned the ARBs compared with placebo.

For that reason, Sipahi et al conducted the meta-analysis to determine if ARBs had an effect on new cancer diagnoses. Data were taken from all available scientific and public randomized trials in which patients were treated with an angiotensin-receptor blocker to treat hypertension, heart failure and diabetes-related kidney damage. The five trials with new cancer data were ONTARGET, PROFESS, LIFE, TRANSCEND, and CHARM-Overall. In addition, data were available for cancer deaths in LIFE, TRANSCEND, VALIANT, and Val-HeFT. In 85.7% of the trials examined, Telmisartan which is also marketed as Micardis, among other names was used. Telmisartan has been commercially available to treat hypertension since its approval in 1998. It is also approved for use in the reduction of the risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, or death from cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in patients 55 years of age or older who were at high risk of developing major CV events and who are unable to take ACE inhibitors. Hence, it is really the effect of telmisartan on new cancer that is being accessed in this meta-analysis.

The analysis followed about 61,590 patients: researchers found a rise of 11 percent in cancer overall and 25 percent in lung cancer among patients who took ARB drugs. Overall those patients on trial who were randomly assigned an ARB had an increased risk for new cancer diagnosis compared with those patients assigned placebo (7.2% vs. 6%). Among the solid-organ cancers examined, only an increased risk for lung cancer was identified compared with control groups (0.9% vs. 0.7%). That translates into the modest but significant effect of one additional case of cancer for every 105 patients who take the drugs for four years, which does not seem a high risk but is similar to that seen with passive smoking. Nevertheless, this is the first time such an association has been made and even if the risk for the individual patient is not huge, the clinical significance of this potential excess cancer risk is unknown.

Given the millions of patients on these drugs, this is an important number because it gives an idea of potentially how many excess cancers could be caused by these medications. The finding of a 1.2% increase in absolute risk for cancer over an average of 4 years needs to be interpreted in view of the estimated 41% lifetime cancer risk. In the background information for this meta-analysis, the researchers said, to date, there have been no significant safety concerns associated with the use of ARBs. "However, clinical trials of ARBs have mainly assessed their effects on cardiovascular and renal endpoints and have usually not reported incidence of cancers," the researchers wrote. Angiotensin-receptor blockers can be replaced with other blood pressure medications, the researchers said, but they warned patients not to do anything before consulting with a physician as these drugs have beneficial effects for the control of blood pressure and heart failure.

Officials with Boehringer Ingelheim, makers of Telmisartan, disputed the findings in a statement, saying that the company's "comprehensive internal safety data analysis of primary data contradicts the conclusions about an increased risk of potential malignancies." They also concluded that the finding of a modestly increased risk of new cancer diagnosis in the meta-analysis is "mainly based on the combination arm of telmisartan and ramipril [Altace, King Pharmaceuticals], an ACE inhibitor, in ONTARGET and not on the trial arms of each compound separately," it asserts, noting that the product labelling for telmisartan does not recommend combining it with ACE inhibitors.

In most studies and meta-analyses, the risk of cancer with the RAA system blockers was either equal or lower than with their comparator (including placebo). Thus, the present study showing a modestly increased risk of new cancer diagnosis with ARBs is unexpected and certainly warrants scrutiny and further investigation. While the meta-analysis has its strengths-particularly its size, the thoroughness of the literature search, and the application of appropriate filters to exclude potentially unreliable data, "there are also important weaknesses, which the investigators acknowledge-including the post-hoc nature of this investigation where only certain drugs within the ARB class are examined and that the trials examined were not designed to explore cancer endpoints.

In an editorial accompanying this meta-analysis, Steven E. Nissen, said although the researchers are "appropriately cautious" about drawing conclusions from the analysis as it remains unknown whether other ARBs-irbesartan (Avapro, Bristol-Myers Squibb/Sanofi-Aventis), valsartan (Diovan, Novartis), olmesartan (Benicar, Daiichi Sankyo), and eprosartan (Teveten, Abbott)-are linked to a higher risk of new cancer incidence, it was still "disturbing and proactive". Further investigation is needed to conclusively define any cancer risk associated with these drugs. Also, the mechanism for the possible increase in new cancer occurrences associated with ARBs is uncertain, according the authors. There is little, if any, biological plausibility that a drug exposure of a few years only would increase the risk of new cancer diagnosis. Cigarette smoking, which is one of the most powerful risk factors for lung cancer, will require 10 years or longer of exposure to significantly increased risk of lung cancer. Thus, it's exceedingly unlikely that the short-term drug exposure as happens in clinical trials ARBs would have a clinically meaningful effect. Nevertheless, regulators must review the possible association between ARB use and cancer, and promptly report their findings. In the meanwhile, ARBs which are often over prescribed anyway, should be reserved for patients with intolerance to ACE inhibitors.

Making Cancer History

It's difficult to say why one person would get Cancer and another would not. Sometimes it may seem that Cancer cannot be avoided but there are things that one can do to reduce the risk of this most painful and sometimes fatal disease. You can start by living a healthy lifestyle and taking charge of your health. If Cancer can't be prevented, treatment is more likely to be successful if it's found early.

Early detection is finding cancer at an early state and is often easier to treat. Recognising symptoms and getting regular checkups help detect cancer early. Be aware of your body and don't ignore changes, as the sooner a report is made to your doctor, the sooner a problem can be dealt with.

Screening is the early detection of cancer by testing or checking for disease when one has no symptoms. Some cancers can be discovered this way and can be treated early.

It's important to note that no screening test for cancer is 100% accurate. For example a screening test can show signs of cancer when there is none, or not show cancer when there is.

Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer starts in the cells of the breast tissue. and covers an area larger than just the breast. It extends up to the colar bone and from the armpit across to the breastbone in the centre of the chest. It can also be found in men but is very rare. Breast Cancer can happen at any age, but most cases occur in women over the age of 50. It can be found and successfully treated if detected early.

A Mammography, a low-dose x-ray of the breasts, can be used to test for breast cancer.
Clinical Breast Examination (CBE) a physical examination of the breast by a trained professional.
Some women have a higher risk for breast cancer and should consider testing regularly if, you had breast cancer before; you have a history of breast biopsies; you have a family history of breast cancer.

You can also be more aware of how your breasts normally look and feel so that changes can be readily recognised. bear in mind that the breast feel different during the menstrual cycle.

Signs to look for are a lump or swelling in the armpit: Changes in size and shape of breast:

Dimpling or puckering of the skin(orange peel skin): Redness, swelling and increased warmth in the infected breast: Inverted nipple, nipple turns inward:Crusting or scaling on the nipple.

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer starts in the cells of the cervix and grows very slowly. The cells of the cervix start to change and become abnormal. These abnormal cells are precancerous, meaning that they are not cancer. Precancerous changes to the cervix are called cervical dysplasia. Cervical cancer and cervical dysplasiain the early stages often do not cause any symptoms. Having regular tests can detect both and they can be treated successfully if diagnosed early.

Having multiple sexual partners , or becoming sexually active at an early age can put you at greater risk for developing cervical cancer. These factors increase your risk of being exposed to HPV. HPV is a group of viruses that can be passed easily from person to person through sexual contact. HPV infections are common and usually go away without treatment because the immune systemgets rid of the virus. Certain types of HPV virus can cause changes to cells in the cervix that may lead to cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer tests are, Pap Test which is a laboratory examination of cells taken from the cervix to detect changes. It can detect changes early before cancer develops.

A Pelvic Examination is a physical examination of the organs within the pelvis through the vagina.

These tests should be taken every 1 to 3 years. once you become sexually active. Even if you have stopped having sex, continue to have the tests.

Signs to Look for are abnormal bleeding or bloodstained discharge from the vagina between periods; unusually long or heavy periods; bleeding after sexual intercourse; watery discharge from the vagina; increased discharge from the vagina; bleeding from the vagina after menopause.

Colorectal Cancer

Most colorectal cancers start in the cells that line the inside of the colon and rectum. Colorectal cancer often grows slowly and in a predictable way. . It may not cause any symptoms in its early stages as the abdomen has lots of room for the cancer to grow and develop. Screening tests often can detect the cancer before symptoms develop , and it can be successfully treated if diagnosed early.

Colorectal Cancer Tests can be the following ways. If you are 50 years or older , have a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) every 2 years.

Colonoscopy is a test that lets the doctor look at the lining of the entire colon, using a thin flexible tube with a light and camera at the end.

Sigmoidoscopy is a test that lets the doctor look at the lining of the rectum and lower part of the colon, using a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera at the end.

Double Contrast Barium Enema is an x-ray of the colon and rectum, that uses a special dye called barium, that helps the doctor see the lining of the colon more clearly.

A person is at higher risk if a family member has the disease, has a personal history of colorectal cancer, is diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease or polyps or inherited condition of colon cancer.

Signs to look for aregeneral discomfort in the abdomen(bloating , fullness, cramps);change in bowel habits eg. Diarrhea or constipation; blood in the stools; narrower than usual stools; urgent need to have a bowel movement; feeling that the bowels have not been completely emptied;nausea and vomiting;fatigue; weight loss.

Skin cancer

The different kinds of skin cancer begin in different kinds of cells in the skin. (Basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma cell).

The best way to prevent skin cancer is to protect your self from the sun. Protect skin from the sun especially between 11a. m. and 4p. m. , or when the UV index is 3 or higher. Stay in the shade or indoors, out of the sun during these times. Cover your skin if you have to be exposed to the rays of the sun, and wear a hat. Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.

Wearing sunglasses can prevent damage to the eyes. Avoid using indoor tanning equipment. Check skin regularly.

Signs to Look for are changes in shape colour and size of birthmarks and moles; sores that don't heal; patches of skin that bleed itch, or become red and bumpy.

Reducing the Risk of Cancer

You can reduce the risk of cancer by making healthy choices every day. At least half of all cancers can be prevented.

Take the necessary steps to become a non smoker and avoid second hand smoke. Eat 5 to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Choose high fibre and lower fat foods. Be physically active.

Maintain a healthy body weight. Take a good supplement everyday that also supplies oxygen to the cells. Protect yourself and family from the sun. Follow cancer screening guidlines. Examine yourself regularly and see a doctor if there is a change in your state of health. Be careful how you store hazardous material.

Cancer Facts For Senior Citizens

The chances of developing cancer increase as you age, so senior citizens are at especially high risk for developing the disease. Fortunately, the number of deaths due to cancer have been declining; survival rates for people with cancer are higher than ever.

Although many types of cancer exist, they all share a similar formation: cancer begins when certain cells become abnormal and replicate, causing a mass of tissue referred to as a "growth tumor." Growth of such a tumor can harm nearby organs and tissues, and cancer cells may migrate to other parts of the body-in other words, they can metastasize.

Early diagnosis allows for more effective treatment, because of this it is important that senior citizens get regular checkups. Early treatment can shrink or get rid of a tumor while stopping growth and spreading. Early detection, including knowing the early symptoms of cancer, can make a significant difference in the effectiveness of treatment.


Since so many types of cancer exist, it has many different symptoms. Still, it is important that senior citizens and those who provide elder care be able to recognize symptoms.  Some to take note of are the following:

  • A lump or thickening in the body, commonly in the breast
  • The formation of a new mole or a change to an already existing one
  • A sore that never heals completely
  • Feeling hoarse or having a persistent cough
  • Changes in bowel movements or urination
  • Discomfort after meals
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Changes in weight without a clear reason
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge
  • Weakness or fatigue
These symptoms are not usually do to cancer itself; they may arise from non-cancerous (benign) tumors or other problems. You should see your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms or notice other changes in your personal health.

Cancer does not normally cause pain in its early stages, so do not wait for pain as an indication. If possible, seek help before that point, and make sure to get regular tests for early detection.


Because of the nature of cancer and its treatment, it is important to have regular tests to detect cancer long before you feel its effects. Being checked for cancer when you feel no symptoms is called "screening," which may include a physical exam, lab tests, or other tests to check internal organs. 

Your doctor may ask questions about your age, past medical problems, family history of medical problems, general health, and lifestyle before suggesting a screening test. It is a good idea to talk to your doctor about pros and cons of, as well as questions and concerns about each test before you agree to take it.

The following is a list of tests that screen for specific cancers in people over 50:

Breast cancer

  • Clinical breast exam: In this test, a doctor or health care professional will check the   breasts and underarms for lumps or other changes indicative of cancer. This type of cancer is more common in women, but men can also develop breast cancer.
  • Mammogram: This is a special X-ray of the breast that is useful in identifying cancers that are too small to feel. Aging increases the likelihood of developing breast cancer, so women over 40 are encouraged to have a screening mammogram every 1 to 2 years.
Cervical cancer                       
  • Pap test: A doctor gently scrapes cells from the cervix and vagina to be tested in a lab and identified as normal or abnormal. Women should have this kind of test at least once every 3 years. The cause of cervical cancer is the human papilloma virus, HPV, which can remain in the body for years.
  • Pelvic exam: The uterus, vagina, ovaries, and rectum are examined to track changes in shape and size. The doctor uses a speculum to widen the vagina to allow access to the cervix and upper part of the vagina.

Colorectal cancer
  • Fecal occult blood test: Stool samples are sent to a lab to determine whether it contains occult (hidden) blood, which can indicate cancer. Most cases of this type of cancer occur in senior citizens, so having this test every 1 to 2 years after the age of 50 is a good way to lower your chance of complications from colorectal cancer.
  • Sigmoidoscopy: A thin, flexible tube with a light is used to search the lower part of the colon and rectum for growths and abnormalities. This should be done once every 5 years.
  • Colonoscopy: This is similar to a sigmoidoscopy, but it includes an examination of the entire colon and should be done once every 10 years.
Mouth and throat cancers
  • Oral exams: Doctors and dentists use these to identify cancer early by examining the lips, tongue, mouth, and throat to note any abnormal changes. Make sure to have regular dentist appointments for early detection.
Prostate cancer
  • Digital rectal exam: The doctor places a gloved finger into the rectum to feel the prostate through the rectal wall. Hard or lumpy areas may indicate cancer. This type of cancer is the most common type in American men, especially in senior citizens.
  • Prostate specific antigen (PSA) test: This measures the amount of PSA in the blood. A high amount means that prostate cancer cells or other prostate problems are present.
Skin cancer
  • Skin exams: These are routine skin exams that can lead to early detection of skin cancer-the most common type of cancer in America. A screening that indicates a change or growth does not necessarily mean that cancer is present; a diagnosis may require further testing. The only method of truly identifying skin cancer is a biopsy, which involves looking at a small piece of tissue from the abnormal area underneath a microscope to check for cancer cells. If tests confirm that the abnormalities contain cancer cells, you should talk to your doctor about treatment options as soon as possible.


Many treatment options are available for people with cancer, including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Biological therapy is becoming more common for certain types of cancer. Some types of biological therapy help the body use its natural defenses to kill cancerous cells, while others block processes that allow cancer cells to live and grow.

People with cancer often see a number of specialists, including a medical oncologist, who specializes in cancer treatment; a surgeon; a radiation oncologist, who specializes in radiation therapy; and others. Doctors may suggest using one treatment alone or a combination of treatments, depending on what type of cancer you have, where it is in the body, and the stage to which it has progressed. Your overall health will be considered in order to find the best treatment plan for you.

Research suggests that treatments used in younger adults are often safe and just as effective in older adults, so senior citizens are generally given the same treatment options that are offered to younger adults.

Getting a second opinion-asking a doctor to go over the diagnosis and suggested treatment plan given to you by a different doctor-may be a good idea, and some insurance companies even require a second opinion before covering the costs of treatment.

New treatments are often available for testing. If you have cancer and would like to participate in clinical trials of new treatments, talk to your doctor.


Experts estimate that about two-thirds of cancers are caused by factors we can control, including the use of tobacco and what we eat and drink. Contact with dangerous substances like chemicals, metals, or pesticides can also increase your risk of developing cancer. Here are some ways to lower your risk of cancer:

  • Refrain from using tobacco products. Tobacco-in cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and even from second-hand smoke-is known to cause cancer. Tobacco causes about a third of all deaths from cancer in the United States each year.
  • Limit your exposure to sunlight. An excess of ultraviolet radiation from the sun, sunlamps, and tanning booths can lead to wrinkles, skin damage, and cancer.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables every day, limit fatty foods, and get enough fiber in your daily diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight contributes to your risk of developing certain types of cancer, including cancers of the prostate, pancreas, uterus, ovary, and breast.
  • Get plenty of exercise. Remaining active can lower your risk of developing breast and colon cancers, as well as other types of cancer.
  • Limit alcohol use to a maximum of one or two drinks per day. Consuming more than that increases your risk of cancers of  the mouth, throat, esophagus, and larynx. People who drink alcohol excessively and use tobacco are at an especially high risk for these cancers.
  • Know and heed work and safety rules to avoid dangerous materials that could lead to cancer.

How to Identify Breast Cancer Symptoms in Men

Breast Cancer Symptoms in Men

There is a common misconception that men cannot have breast cancer. Men often ignore the symptoms of cancer or mistake them for other illnesses. Factors such as social stigma and embarrassment contribute to the increasing denial among men of the possibility of getting cancer of the breast The development of male cancer ( of the breast) is largely similar to what women encounter. Males around the ages of sixty and seventy are more prone to the incidence of this type of cancer than any other age group.

Cancer Statistics

The latest American Cancer Society estimates for male breast cancer shows that in 2009 about 1,910 cases will be diagnosed with about 440 fatalities. Approximately one percent of the cancer cases, cancer of the breast cases, affect men. The lifetime risk for developing this type of cancer is at about one in a thousand. Recent studies also shows that the prognosis for this type of cancer for both men and women remains the same and the outlook is still hinged on what stage the cancer was diagnosed.

As in any other cancer, early detection and treatment is vital to an individual's survival. Thus, men are encouraged to be more aware of the cancer's signs and symptoms. Educating males in combating the social stigma brought about by cancer also assist in helping men against this type of cancer.

Detecting breast cancer in men

Knowledge and awareness on the signs and symptoms of cancer are very valuable in delivering the earliest possible detection and treatment for men with this cancer of the breast. Here are some of the symptoms associated with cancer of the breast.

  1. Painless development of lump or thickening of the breast
  2. Scaling and redness of the nipple and surrounding area
  3. Indentation or retraction in the nipple area
  4. Bloody or clear nipple discharge

Risk Factors

There are several factors that increase the risk of men getting cancer of the breast. Some of which like genetics and age are uncontrollable. However, some risk factors such as poor diet, alcohol consumption and smoking can be controlled, so it best to learn what we need to avoid. Below is a list of breast cancer risk factors in men.

  1. The average age of male breast cancer diagnosis is sixty-seven and breast cancer commonly occurs in men between the ages of sixty and seventy.
  2. One in five men with breast cancer had a female relative who had breast cancer too.
  3. Those who have undergone prior radiation treatment on the chest area have a greater likelihood for breast cancer.
  4. About five to ten percent of male breast cancers are inherited. Genetic defects on the CHEK-2, p53 tumor suppressor, BRCA2 and BRCA1 genes increases a person's cancer risk. These genes usually help prevent cancer by keeping cells from growing abnormally.
  5. Those who had a history of Klinefelter syndrome, a congenital abnormality wherein males had an extra X chromosome resulting to lower levels of male hormones and increased female hormones.
  6. Those who had taken estrogen-related drugs have a higher risk for breast cancer. Breast cancer cells are known to have estrogen receptors which improve the cancer's ability to progress.
  7. Those who had liver diseases are also at risk as the body's estrogen activity increases while the androgen activity reduces when a person is experiencing liver diseases, such as cirrhosis of the liver.
  8. Those who are obese may also be at risk for male breast cancer due to increased number of fat cells. Fat cells produce estrogen from androgen, thus increasing the estrogen concentration in the body.
  9. Excessive alcohol drinking also promotes breast cancer in men mainly due to the fact that alcohol consumption increases liver diseases and fat accumulation.

Treatment options for cancer of the breast in men

There are a number of treatment methods available for men with cancer of the breast. These methods do not differ from those done for women. Cancer staging is done to determine the best breast cancer treatment option a patient needs. Here are some of the treatment options available.

Surgery - There are several surgical options used to remove breast cancer in men these include simple mastectomy, modified radical mastectomy and sentinel lymph node biopsy. Simple mastectomy involves removal of all breast tissue including lobules, ducts, fatty tissue and skin including the nipple and areola.

In a modified radical mastectomy, the surgeon removes the entire breast and a portion of the underarm lymph nodes. The surgeon may also remove chest wall muscle if the cancer has spread to that area. The lymph nodes will be examined to check if the cancer has spread and additional treatment is necessary.

Sentinel lymph node biopsy is a procedure developed to locate sentinel nodes, lymph nodes receiving drainage from a breast tumor. Sentinel nodes are removed for biopsy to check for cancer development to the other lymph nodes. This procedure decreases the risk of complications as removal of a single node is necessary for examination.

Radiation Therapy - High energy x-rays are used to kill cancer cells during a radiation therapy. Administered by a radiation oncologist, the therapy is commonly done before surgery to shrink the tumor or after surgery to eliminate remaining cancer cells. Radiation therapy is often painless but may result in tiredness in men who had undergone therapy and tenderness of the breast.

  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone Therapy
  • Biological Therapy

Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to kill cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body after breast cancer surgery. The treatment is usually scheduled every two to three weeks after surgery for about three to six months.

Chemotherapy may be administered intravenously or in pill form. Most patients choose oral chemotherapy as this reduces the need to visit the clinic and can be done at home.

Some chemotherapies target the cancer itself reducing damage to healthy cells. Still, side affects like hair loss, fatigue, vomiting and loss of cognitive abilities may occur.

Estrogen receptor positive breast cancers rely on estrogen to induce the development of breast cancer cells. Hormone therapy is administered in order to prevent estrogen from bonding to sites in the body where cancer cells may have spread. The male hormone, androgen also helps in the growth of cancer cells. Thus, limiting both estrogen and androgen levels are essential in abating the spread of cancer cells.

In biological therapy, a biological response modifier is used to stimulate the body's immune system to combat cancer. This helps in enhancing the body's natural defense against specific diseases such as cancer. However, biological therapy is still in clinic trials.

You do not want any type of cancer to reach these stages. This is why Thit is extremely essential that you go and see a doctor as soon as possible, the moment you see any of these possible cancer symptoms given above manifesting themselves. Listen to your body "talk", and follow the signs.

Rare Cancer Guide - A Concise Summary

Not all rare cancers have strange, unfamiliar names such as hair cell leukemia. Brain tumors, cancer of the liver and ovaries are all considered rare cancers.

A cancer is considered rare if it is diagnosed in less than 15 people per 100,000 each year. This comes out to a total of about 40,000 cases per year in the US. For example, ovarian cancer occurs in about 21,000 women each year, which means it is classified as rare.

Most rare forms of cancer in adults are grouped together in a larger classification. For example, leukemia is a general classification of several rare types of cancers that occur in the blood.

The common cancers such as lung, breast, prostate, and colon cancer attract much more attention and get much more research funding than the rare types of cancer. Of course this makes sense because so many more people are affected by the common cancers.

However, the common cancers may be caused by many different factors - only one of which may be a genetic predisposition. Many of the rare forms of cancer can't be easily linked to environmental and other factors. Rare cancer research may be able to help scientists unlock the genetic codes which explain how humans get cancer.

Getting Clinical Care For Patients With A Rare Cancer

The problem with a rare form of cancer is finding a physician who is familiar with its diagnosis and treatment. Because these cancers don't happen as much as the common cancers, most physicians don't have experience in diagnosing and treating these cancers.

In order to get appropriate treatment for a rare form of cancer, you may have to continually ask your oncologist for answers. You may have to learn how to do the research yourself and even travel to see other doctors who specialize in an area of research similar to your cancer. Don't be surprised if the medical advice you get seems conflicting. Because these cancers are rare and the research may be limited, the science behind the treatments may vary widely.

Don't worry about offending your doctor by asking for a second opinion. Remember these cancers are rare, and most physicians will have little experience in dealing with them. It is OK to ask for a second opinion. Some insurance companies may even require a second opinion in the diagnosis of a rare cancer.

Seek a referral to a nearby "major" cancer treatment center because this will increase your chances of consulting with a specialist who is more familiar with your cancer type. Major cancer treatment centers are usually located in large metropolitan cities. You can usually find out more about these centers by researching online.

Take copies of your medical records with you and bring someone along to help you take notes of the your conversations. You don't want to miss any important details! Get someone you know that is skilled in Internet research to help you out with your online research studies.

How To Find Support For Rare Cancer Patients

Many people diagnosed with a rare cancer often feel alienated and alone because there are so few people who share their same condition. It is difficult to find others who can relate emotionally to these people. Most cancer patients find some sort of consolation in discussing their condition with others who have the same condition. Rare cancer patients have a difficult time finding others who have the same condition.

In these cases, cancer patients may be able to find a sense of community through online means such as support groups and cancer forums or blogs. Enlist the help of someone who is skilled in Internet research to find these support groups and show you how to interact with them online.

Rare forms of cancer may actually be easier to treat because they may have a single molecular genetic flaw that is common to them. However, the difficulty lies in detecting these rare cancers early, properly diagnosing the rare cancer and then seeking the appropriate treatment. Because the cancer is rare, it may be difficult to move through these phases quickly enough.

Consider a Clinical Trial

When cancers grow in spite of treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery, it may be time to consider other alternatives such as clinical trials. Cancer treatments must go through clinical trials before they are approved for use with the general population. You can choose to be a clinical trial patient and help advance cancer research to find a cure. If you choose to become a clinical trial patient you will have to sign waivers for risk. Weigh the risks carefully!

Get Insurance Guidance

Rare cancer patients often face insurance hurdles. Ask about insurance issues when you visit your oncologist. Some insurance plans require pre-approval before they will pay for a treatment of a rare cancer. Without such pre-approval you and your family may be stuck with a huge financial burden as well as the burden of care.

Keep careful records of all interactions with your insurance company. Document the time, date, the representative(s) you spoke with and the results of the conversation. Request for written approvals and do as much communicating as you can in writing instead of verbally. Make audio or video recordings of your conversations (ask for permission first!) with insurance representatives.

If you can't afford treatments there may be patient assistance programs that can help you. These programs are often referred to as "compassionate care" programs. Ask about these with your oncologist. Be persistent and firm and don't give up!

Breast Cancer Treatment Choices

Breast cancer can be treated with a mastectomy or breast preservation surgery, lumpectomy, followed by radiation and sometimes chemotherapy. These are the best ways to prevent recurrence of cancer. The most common place for cancer to come back is in the same area where it was found the first time.

The determination of which treatment is best for an individual is based on the pathology of the disease. The initial biopsy, which is done when the cancer is first suspected, will tell what type of cancer is present and whether it is hormone receptive. The knowledge of hormone receptors, or not, found will be part of the decision making information for an individual's treatment. Some types of tumors are stimulated by normal hormones found in a woman's body, such as progesterone, estrogen, and HER-2. A tumor may show a positive response to one or more of these hormones. By knowing this information, a plan of treatment can be offered that will improve a woman's chances of cancer free survival.

The pathology from the surgery, done to remove the cancer tumor, will tell if the entire tumor was removed and if cancer was found in the lymph nodes. During surgery the surgeon can see the cancer tumor, but not all of the cancer cells can be visualized. So the tumor is sent to a pathologist who puts the tumor and the surrounding tissue that was removed by the surgeon under a microscope. This way cancer cells that might be outside the main tumor can be seen. The lymph nodes that were removed in surgery can also be looked at under a microscope and it can be determined if there are cancer cells found in the lymph nodes. Often a Sentinel Node can be found, if a dye is used before surgery. This dye is injected before surgery and will show which node is the main node that drains fluid from the cancer tumor site. (The lymphatic system drains non blood fluids throughout the body.)

If lymph nodes are found to have cancer cells within them the cancer has moved from the tumor site to other areas in the body. This movement of cancer cells away from the tumor indicates metastasis, or stray cancer cells that are traveling in the body. The final pathology will offer much information about the type of cancer, the location of the cancer and how best to treat the cancer to provide a cancer free life for the woman.

A woman who has been diagnosed with cancer, from a biopsy, then will see a surgeon who specializes in breast cancer. Surgery to remove the tumor is always needed, as long as the tumor is in the breast it will grow and chances are the cancer cells will travel away from the main tumor and spread throughout the body. These cells that move away from the main tumor will settle and grow into tumors in other parts of the body, not just the breast. The surgeon will ask questions about the woman's health and ask about the woman's family. If a woman has family members that have, or have had breast cancer, this information will be included in treatment decisions. The surgeon then will discuss ways to treat the cancer. A mastectomy which is a removal of the breast that has the cancer in it, with one or more lymph nodes removed is one choice. A lumpectomy which is removal of the cancer tumor and a small amount of tissue surrounding the tumor is another choice. The size of the tumor, determined by the mammogram, will influence these choices. If the tumor is large a lumpectomy may not be a good choice. The smaller the tumor, the better the chances of survival for the woman. The larger the tumor the more involved the surgery will need to be, such as a mastecomy. Sometimes chemotherapy is needed before surgery; the chemotherapy will hopefully shrink the tumor and kill cancer cells that may have moved away from the main tumor (metastasized). When this is done before the surgery, the hope is that after surgery most or all of the cancer will be gone and only radiation will be needed. Chemotherapy may be needed after surgery depending on the type and stage of the cancer.

Often the surgeon will ask a woman to see a radiation oncologist before her surgery. This consultation will allow the radiation oncologist, another cancer doctor who specializes in radiation, to review the woman's case and to offer choices of treatment. The options this doctor may offer are whole breast radiation after surgery, or partial breast radiation after surgery, or no radiation if a woman has a mastectomy and no cancer cells are found outside the breast that was removed in surgery.

One type of partial breast radiation is brachytherapy. Breast brachytherapy has been available for some time, but not all doctors are familiar with it. Brachytherapy of the breast is a good choice for some women. The size of the tumor and the location of the tumor are two of the determinations if this is a good choice. If the cancer is found out side of the breast, brachytherapy is not a choice for a woman. Brachytherapy is radiation given to the area where the cancer tumor was. This is where most cancers come back, in the same area they were to begin with. Brachytherapy can be given over five days, where as whole breast radiation if given over 6 weeks. This is an advantage for women who do not live near a cancer treatment center, women who live busy lives (most women do), or women who don't want to prolong their treatments. When a woman chooses breast brachytherapy the applicator that will allow radiation to go right into the space where the cancer was; is placed at the time of surgery. Brachy means close. It is another advantage of brachytherapy. Only the tissue around where the cancer tumor was is radiated; the normal tissue is exposed either not at all or to such a low level of radiation it is not affected by the radiation.

The brachytherapy treatments are given two times a day, at least 6 hours between treatments, for a total of ten treatments. This type of radiation requires special equipment and knowledge, many cancer centers now have both the equipment and the radiation oncologists that are specialized in this treatment.

The other type of partial breast radiation is accelerated partial breast radiation. This type of treatment also requires that the tumor is small and no cancer has been found outside the breast. This type of radiation can be given over a shortened time, days instead of weeks. The equipment to give these treatments is IMRT, which most if not all cancer centers have. This is external beam radiation that goes from the outside of the breast to the inside of the breast and radiates all of the tissue in the area. The advantages to this treatment are it takes less time, although it is also two treatments a day at least 6 hours apart, and it only radiates the portion of the breast where the cancer tumor was.

Whole breast radiation has been around for a very long time and is what all women received until the past 15 years or so. This type of radiation involves one treatment a day Monday through Friday for 6 weeks, a total of 30 treatments. It is external beam radiation that goes from the outside of the breast to the inside of the breast and radiates all of the tissue in the breast and surrounding area, not just the area where the tumor was. This type of treatment is favored when the tumor is larger or the cancer cells were found outside of the breast, such as in one or more lymph nodes. The lymph nodes can be included in the whole breast radiation. Some women will choose whole breast radiation because it has been used for so very long. Partial breast radiation has shown the same effectiveness in studies, when the woman is a candidate for brachytherapy.

Chemotherapy and biological therapy or hormone therapies are needed in specific cases. These treatment choices should be discussed with the surgeon, the radiation oncologist and a medical oncologist.

What ever choose a woman is given they need to be well understood before she makes her decision. Asking questions of her doctors and talking to her loved ones will be helpful. If a woman's decision is thought out it will probably be the best choice for her. Prayer always is beneficial.

God Bless you.

Eye Cancer Treatment - Is There A Cure For Eye Cancer?

Eye cancer treatment is an important gateway to proper and complete elimination of tumors or cancer cells that develop in eye region. Treatment is helpful to avoid further growth of cancer cells in eye region and also prevents other forms of cancerous or non-cancerous disorders related to eye or other adjacent organs. Thorough eye cancer diagnosis is very important to undergo apt form of treatment pattern and get maximum benefit from the same.

Importance and Types of Eye Cancer Treatment

Eye is an important organ of human body. Cancerous development in eyes can lead to partial or complete loss of vision in long-run and can also cause other forms of cancers in nearby areas. Eye cancer can be of primary or secondary form and has a high tendency to spread at a rapid pace. Also, the chances of elimination of tumors decrease with increase in cancer stages and intensity of therapy also increases with increase in severity of tumor-growth. It is easy to tackle tumors restricted to local areas but, complete elimination of tumors becomes difficult in higher stages and the chances of cancer recurrence increase considerably.

Cancer treatment is important to ensure proper cell development in eye region and get rid of abnormal cells in time. Abnormal cells that lead to cancerous growth divide and grow at a very high rate and also compel adjacent healthy cells to behave unnaturally and function inefficiently. Abnormal cell growth also affects functioning of tissues and causes shortage of generation and supply of necessary resources to normal cells in the area. Thus, presence of cancer cells affects overall health of eyes.

Primary cancer of eyes is easy to treat as compared to secondary one. Also, eye cancer causes and symptoms can be traced and monitored easily in primary type of the disorder. Major regions affected due to primary form of tumor-growth are iris, cornea, eye lens, retina, orbit, ciliary body, and optic nerves. Tumors formed in primary cancer of eye metastasize only in late stages. Secondary cancer of eye is more common as compared to primary one and the tumors form mostly in lungs or breasts before reaching eye region. Thus people suffering from breast or lung cancer have high chances of suffering from cancerous infection in eyes if tumors are not treated well.

Cancer cure is also important because cancerous growth in eyes can instigate cell abnormality in other regions like head and neck areas, blood cells, lymph nodes etc. Cancer treatments are of various types and one must consult a physician before opting for one.

Prime Eye Cancer Cure

Surgery is the most widely adopted treatment for cancer. It can be of various forms as enucleation of eye (removal of eye without removing eyelids and eye muscles), evisceration (removing all eye contents except sclera), iridectomy (removing infected portion of iris), choroidectomy (removing choroid later), iridocyclectomy (removing ciliary muscle and iris), and eye wall resection.

Laser treatment is also useful to treat cancer of eye. One can also be recommended chemotherapy (treating tumors by chemicals or by intake of medically recommended chemical drugs), radiotherapy (exposing tumors to strong radiations), cryosurgery (passing liquid nitrogen to kill cancerous tumors by freezing them) and transpupillary thermotherapy (killing tumors by heating them with use of laser beams).

Treatment can give maximum output if done in early stages. Efficiency and reliability of eye cancer cure decreases if taken in late stages and one may have to undergo same or different forms of treatment repeatedly to keep cancerous growth under control or avoid eye cancer recurrence in later period.

Alternative Cancer Treatments Do Work - One Family's Story

A few years ago my husband and I wanted to know if alternative cancer treatments really worked. We wanted to hear from people who had used alternative treatments for their cancer, what did they think about it, what did they go through, what kind of results did they get from using alternative cancer treatments?

If you or someone you love has cancer and you're wondering if alternative cancer treatment might work for you, the story of our experience with alternative treatments may help.

My husband's doctor had informed him that he had cancer and not long to live. Nobody wants to hear that they have cancer, we were both devastated.

The doctor wanted him to start chemotherapy as soon as possible but my husband had seen firsthand what that was like and he didn't want to go through it. A couple of his friends had gone through chemotherapy treatments in their battle with cancer but neither of them had survived and they had both been in a lot of pain from the treatments.

We had heard that there were natural, alternative cancer treatments that work well for many people so we started searching for as much information on alternative cancer treatments as we could find in hopes of finding a cure for my husband's cancer that wasn't so harsh.

We found an alternative cancer treatment program that called for a change in diet, fresh juices and a lot of herbs. Intensive cleansing was a large part of the cancer treatment too. Other people told about their results with the alternative treatments and it looked promising.

Everything we read about alternative cancer treatments appealed to my husband a lot more than the horrible side effects of chemotherapy.

So we got everything we needed to start his alternative cancer treatment program and dug in. There were guidelines for what to do and what not to do and we followed it all. There were several things he had to give up and things he had to do that he'd never done before but he was OK with that if it would help him get well.

I made herb teas by the quart every day. We got our first juicer and as much super nutritious, fresh fruits and vegetables as out refrigerator would hold and my husband drank gallons of fresh juice. He did the cleansing every day as instructed and took herb bath soaks and hot and cold showers.

We went into the alternative cancer treatment program whole hearted and have been doing everything as instructed every day. It's quite a life changing experience when you add natural stuff to your diet and routine that you never considered before. At first it seemed strange but we were faced with life or death so we were willing to try anything.

My husband had been really weak from the cancer but the alternative cancer treatments have gradually made him a lot stronger and now he can do almost anything he could do before. His doctor says that whatever this alternative cancer treatment thing is that he's doing to keep doing it, it's working. The cancer was huge but the alternative cancer treatments have shrunk it to almost nothing.

Even after the cancer is gone we'll still do all the healthy stuff; he's made the alternative cancer treatments a part of his life. We've heard that cancer can seem to be gone and then come back but he doesn't want the cancer to take over again so he isn't taking any chances. Doing the alternative cancer treatments every day is a bit more trouble but it's well worth it.

I encourage you to try alternative cancer treatments for yourself; life is precious.

My Journey As a Cancer Survivor

Yes, that's me a survivor, a cancer survivor. I think that in many ways we are all survivors of one sort or another. We have all gone through our own trials and tribulations in our lives.

It is my hope that this "journey" may help those who have been diagnosed with, are going through, or finished their cancer treatments. It is also my hope that the families of those diagnosed can gain a little insight, from my perspective, of what we go through. So here's my journey, the bearing of my soul, the good, the bad and the ugly...and yes there was good that came out of this journey.

During the spring of 2008, I had gained some weight as we all do over the winter. I began walking, 2 1/2 miles in the morning and a mile at night and doing quite well. I was very dedicated and determined to lose about 25 pounds. OK so I was a smoker, I know I've heard it all, had the looks and it's no wonder why you got cancer, wow talk about adding insult to injury. But even with my smoking I was quite active and had absolutely NO, not a one symptom of lung cancer.

My mom had Ovarian Cancer when I was a teenager and I remember picking her up at the hospital after her surgery. My niece at age 16 had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2003. A friend of hers had grabbed her from behind kidding around and felt a lump. And her whirlwind began. I would go to her home every other day to give her her injections and help with her care. I was very involved with her treatment and knowledgeable about "cancer." I come from a large family, 6 of us and with all our extended families and relatives, these were the only cases of cancer in our lineage.

I remember walking up the stairs in my home at the end of the summer and becoming out of breath and thinking geez, I wonder if I have cancer.....that was it. Just a thought and it was gone.

I am a firm believer in positive thinking, not a particularly religious person but a fiercely spiritual person. I believe in the power of prayer and positive affirmations and a higher being. The Universe. I think that this helped me tremendously during this time.

September 29, 2008.

The Day The Whirlwind Began.

I was having an argument with my husband, can't even remember what it was about, and then I was having an anxiety attack, can you imagine in the middle of an argument. Since I have some medical issues, I decided to go to hospital and as mad as I was I told my husband not to come with me. Don't get me wrong I love the guy but needed some space.

When I got to the hospital, they ran the regular tests which came back normal and then did a chest x-ray and then a CT Scan, hmm just a little out of the ordinary but when you are in the hospital you go with the flow. And then I sat and sat and waited and waited with the hubby, yes he came down to the hospital. Being the stubborn type of person I am, I got dressed after 5 hours and told the nurse I was going home since no one had come to talk to me. The Doctor came in and told me I couldn't go home they were transferring me to the main hospital because I had Lung Cancer. BOOM Just Like That. Can we say bedside manner, none. I knew but I knew I would be OK.

I told the Dr that I was going home and would call my own doctor in the morning, which is what I did and the journey began.

In retrospect, I wished I had asked more questions and weighed the options more carefully but once you are diagnosed everything happens so fast you almost don't have time to think. It becomes a whirlwind very quickly. It is so important to chose your own doctors who you are comfortable with and you can talk to and ask questions.

I called my doctor Monday morning and got an appointment that day, hey when you say you've been diagnosed with Cancer, everyone gets in high gear. My doctor confirmed the results and the whirlwind started. It took about a week to get an appointment with the oncologist. During which time my husband got laid off from his job. Good and bad, yes he was around but he does not deal well with illness nor me being sick. I didn't tell anyone, not even my children and swore my husband to secrecy. I did tell my neighbor, who was the biggest part of my care, that I'll get into later. I didn't really have too much information, yes I had Lung Cancer, but that was all.

My husband and I met with Oncologist at the Cancer Center of NC, what an awesome place to be treated. She confirmed that I had Non Small Cell Lung Cancer and immediately scheduled me for a biopsy and an appointment with a Thoracic Surgeon at Duke.

One of the hardest things was to tell my family and friends. CANCER IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE. I can't tell you how many times I had to say this. I was so confident that I would be OK. Most cried and I had to be the strong one saying CANCER IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE, I will be OK.

It was truly amazing to me how people responded to the news. During this journey I was surprised at those who stepped up and helped me and supported me, those who barely even knew me. My neighbors who banded together to supply pre-made meals from Dinner Savvy for months, yes months. And then those who could no longer speak to me because I found that everyone handles illness differently. My brother who no longer could call me, he was afraid I would die to my best friend in NY who could only cry every time I spoke to her. It's difficult for everyone who is involved, but throughout it all I knew l would be OK.

I had my biopsy which confirmed that I had Non Small Cell Lung Cancer in my left lung. I was stage 1B. The cancer was about 1 1/2 inches and had not spread. The Thoracic Surgeon and Oncologist told me that I was "lucky". The best cancer to get in the worst situation, OK.... I was immediately scheduled for a Lung Resection, which is they remove half your lung. Breathing Tests were conducted to see how this would affect my breathing and it was determined that there would be little affect and I would not need to be on oxygen after the surgery.

The morning of the surgery I had to leave at 4:30 in the morning, my husband and I were going alone, I was concerned because he doesn't handle these situations well. Boy were we surprised to find one of our neighbors sitting in her car waiting outside to bring us to the hospital, what great neighbors!!! What a god send.

I never asked "why me", I just continued on my journey to rid my body of the cancer. I relied on my faith to get me through and I knew I would be OK.

Did I mention I am stubborn? I was admitted into the hospital on October 30 and released November 2, 3 days. I was determined to be out of the hospital. My doctor told me that I could leave when I could walk the hallways, well I was up and about the day after the surgery walking the halls, I was going home and I would be OK. And I am. The power of prayer and positive thinking.

Overall Stage Grouping is also referred to as Roman Numeral Staging. This system uses numerals I, II, III, and IV (plus the 0) to describe the progression of cancer.

* Stage 0 carcinoma in situ.

* Stage I cancers are localized to one part of the body.

* Stage II cancers are locally advanced.

* Stage III cancers are also locally advanced. Whether a cancer is designated as Stage II or Stage III can depend on the specific type of cancer; for example, in Hodgkin's Disease, Stage II indicates affected lymph nodes on only one side of the diaphragm, whereas Stage III indicates affected lymph nodes above and below the diaphragm. The specific criteria for Stages II and III therefore differ according to diagnosis.

* Stage IV cancers have often metastasized, or spread to other organs or throughout the body.

Within the TNM system, a cancer may also be designated as recurrent, meaning that it has appeared again after being in remission or after all visible tumor has been eliminated. Recurrence can either be local, meaning that it appears in the same location as the original, or distant, meaning that it appears in a different part of the body.

Some doctors further diagnose using a letter system to further define cancer.

The CCNC became my second home for the next 9 months. They have seen me at my worst, which was pretty bad, the care and compassion was way above and beyond.

I had my port inserted the second week in November and started chem the week after. 2 weeks on 1 week off, which means I had chemo for 2 weeks and then had a week off. Really wasn't too too bad at the beginning. During the second month I had an adverse reaction to the drugs and had to start on a new drug and was now 3 weeks on 1 week off. I really had thought I was a strong women, these new drugs knocked me on my butt.

At one point my blood counts were so low that I had to have a transfusion and then weekly injections to keep my blood count within an acceptable range.

I had started chemo right before Thanksgiving, so Thanksgiving and Christmas were hard for us. We usually had a house full and I just couldn't do it and I didn't have the energy to go anywhere. I cried as I told me boys ages 20 and 18 how sorry I was. They were wonderful throughout my whole ordeal, helping me whenever they could.

Two of my neighbors accompanied me to my chemo sessions. 1 week was for 6 hours, 2 weeks were for 3 hours. It truly is amazing who stepped up and supported us. They stayed with me for over 8 hours during week one of each session, you truly learn who your friends are when you are sick and I will be eternally grateful to those who have helped us so much. We had lunch, we read, we laughed, we bonded with everyone who was going through the same thing, we all became friends and a support system for each other comparing notes, treatments and questions. The CCNC's treatment room is open, friendly and airy with a huge fish tank.

I knew that I would lose my hair. But know and then having it happen are two very, very different things. My neighbor and I went to the Lovely Lady. Darlene and her sister were great. They talked me through a lot of my questions and were so knowledgeable. We tried on wigs and wraps and really made a great day of it. You learn to take things in stride or so I thought so....until my hair started to fall out and it happened so quickly.

It was about 2 weeks after my initial chemo, I was in the shower and I had a bunch of strands in my hand. I thought.. here we go. It was quite unnerving. So I went and had my shoulder length hair cut short but it still kept falling out but it was worse because it was short, go figure. I was in the shower and my hand was full of short hairs. I went back and had what I call a GI Jane, hey Demi, hair cut and the next day I went back and had it buzzed. It was better to cut it all off than have it fall out. That is just the way I felt, not everyone feels the same.

So I had a new style, no wigs, just lots of wraps, hats, scarves to match my clothes. I loved the scarf wraps so I could tie them tie and wrap the ends in.

I have medical coverage, but no prescription coverage. I was quite surprised to find out that my medical coverage did NOT, nope, cover all my medical expenses. My husband was out of work on unemployment, ouch.

The Financial Advisor was awesome!!! We were assured that I would still receive treatment and advised us to apply for grants. We applied for 3 grants and received financial aid that paid for some of the treatments. There are organizations that offer grants to pay for treatment. The prescription pills I took for nausea were $100 a pill, the CCNC forwarded my information and the drug company sent me my medication free of charge. Now don't get me wrong we are still trying to pay off 5 figures of medical bills but these organizations were a god send to us.

I also contacted the Financial Departments and asked for Financial Aid for my surgeries. I had been in 3 different hospitals. One hospital in particular allowed me $10,000 in medical care. Another a percentage off my bill according to our income. Each hospital is different but will try to assist you in paying your bill, at least mine did.

Research is the key. Ask questions about your payment options, what grants are available. Don't be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. These are so important and definitely lessens the stress, you certainly don't need anymore! I know I didn't.

A note about grants, there are different grants for different types of Cancer. Go online to There is information on how to receive grants for treatment of cancer. There is link on the lower left side of the page. You will also be able to fill out the applications and send it in. Contact the National Cancer Institute, which offers grants for cancer treatment for patients across the country. The NCI is reachable by phone at (800) 422-6237, email at

Contact institutions that treat specific types of cancers. For example, for breast cancer grants you can contact the Greenebaum Cancer Center by phone at (800) 888-8823 to apply for a grant. The Komen Foundation helps fund those who need assistance on cancer treatment through the cancer center.

I took weekly trips to the Cancer Center for over 8 months. My last chemo was May 27, 2009. It was the end of an era, almost the end of the journey. It was almost like a second family and I was almost sad to say good bye but it was a happy good bye. But then again, us survivors know that we will be back at least for me every 3 months for a PET Scan, which detects any cancer cells in your body and a Brain MRI.

It took almost 3 months for me to feel like my old self again, but then again it's a new me with a long journey behind me that has made me the new me. A better me for having finished this journey, meeting so many great, understanding people, having strangers help me for no other reason than because...For all those I Thank You from the bottom of my heart to the top of yours, you know who you are. You are the nurses, the doctors, the cancer centers across the world, the volunteers, the hospitals that called to see if I was OK, the drug companies and the grant institutions, the ladies at the Lovely Lady, my friends, my family, my neighbors, the strangers who didn't even know me......

I had my port removed December 28, 2009 and as I finish this am feeling great and looking forward to a new journey in life...being healthy...

A Breast Cancer Prevention Diet Should Include Lots of Herbs and Spices

Breast Cancer and Spices

  • The incidence of breast cancer and the death rate from this disease are four to five times lower in countries where large quantities of spices are eaten.
  • The inclusion of more spices in the diet should be part of any breast cancer preventive program.

East and West

Breast cancer is the commonest cancers in women globally with 95% of them diagnosed in women over 40 years of age. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment help to reduce the mortality rate from this scourge. However some types of aggressive cancer do not respond readily to hormone therapy, radiation or chemotherapy.

The most staggering breast cancer statistic is the vast difference in incidence of this disease between east and west. It varies from a low of 22 per 100 000 in the East to 90 per 100 000 in North America. In other words there is approximately a five fold difference in the incidence and death rate of breast cancer between these two regions!

And, if you look at a map that shows global incidence of breast cancer, you will see that the areas where there is a high level of spice consumption correspond to there areas where there is a low incidence of breast cancer - and vise-verse.

Contemporary research into the cancer-fighting properties of spices tells us why this is so. Many spices, turmeric in particular, contain compounds that have proven cancer fighting abilities. Moreover, this research shows that combinations of spices and their constituent phytonutrients are far more effective than the individual compounds themselves.


Turmeric's main constituent phytonutrient, curcumin, is one of the most remarkable and most studied of all the spice compounds. In addition to its other medicinal properties, curcumin is an extremely valuable chemoprotective agent.

Much of the research and interest in curcumin has centred on breast cancer, but it has also been found to have protective effects against cancers of the bladder, stomach, uterus and cervix.

When measured against other compounds that protect against cancer, curcumin exhibits at least a ten times greater chemoprotective potency than its closest rival.

Laboratory studies have shown that a single dose of curcumin inhibits cancer cell proliferation for over six days following its administration.


Curcumin assists the body's natural tumour-suppressing mechanisms in the following ways:

  • Stimulating cancer cell death,
  • Inhibition of DNA synthesis in cancer cells
  • Disruption of the blood supply to cancer cells

Anti-oestrogenic effects

Most breast cancers are hormone dependent, requiring oestrogen as a growth stimulant. Tamoxifen, which is one of the most used drugs in the treatment of breast cancer, works against this hormone-mediated process, interfering with oestrogen's tumour stimulating effects.

Curcumin exhibits its anti-oestrongenic effects by blocking the oestrogen-dependent receptors on tumour cells, thereby interrupting the cancer-stimulatory effects of oestrogen and slowing tumour growth. Some studies have shown that curcumin may be at least as effective as tamoxifen as an oestrogen antagonist

HRT, turmeric and breast cancer

Curcumin blocks the carcinogenic effects of hormone replacement therapy in post menopausal women.

Most hormone replacement preparations prescribed for post menopausal problems include a combination of estrogens and progestin hormones. It is the latter synthetic progesterones that increase the risk of breast cancer in those who have such bad menopausal symptoms that they cannot do without hormone replacement therapies.

Progestins increase the risk of breast cancer by stimulating the blood supply to developing cancer cells. They do this by enhancing the production of a growth factor that is responsible for the formation of new blood vessels.

By blocking the production of the progestin-stimulated growth factor, curcumin attenuates the blood supply to breast cancer cells without which they cannot survive.

Black pepper

Black pepper is an antioxidant-rich spice that has been shown to protect against several cancers. Moreover it contains an important compound, piperine that enhances the anti-cancer effects of other spice compounds including curcumin.

Without piperine curcumin would be almost totally ineffective against cancer cells. Piperine increases the bioavailability of curcumin by several hundred per cent and is a good illustration of the importance of using spices in combination to combat diseases such as cancer.

Other important cancer fighting spices:

All spices have high antioxidant activity and as such provide defense against cancer-inducing free radical damage. Spice that have attracted specific anti-cancer research are: cumin, garlic, ginger, citrus zest, anise basil, capsicums, clove fennel, rosemary, caraway, mustard

Other important cancer fighting foods:

Green tea, soy, grapes, brassica vegetables such as broccoli.

Eat more spices

In order to help prevent breast and other cancers it is important to eat a variety of herbs and spices rather than one or two specific types. Treatment of existing cancer using high doses of individual spices shou

Treatment Options For Prostate Cancer

Although some cancers may grow so slowly that treatment may not be needed, other grow fast and are a threat to life. Determining the need for treatment and the type of treatment can be a difficult decision.

There are a number of ways to treat prostate cancer. However, the choice will mostly be up to the doctor to determine which ones may be appropriate depending on the stage of the disease and grade of the cancer as well as the age and health of the patient. However, the longer the patient's life expectancy, the more uncertain the prediction and choice of a treatment method becomes, as most prostate cancers progress with time. The feelings of the patient and the possible side effects are also to be taken into consideration.

Treatment for prostate cancer may involve watchful waiting, surgery, radiation therapy, or hormonal therapy. Some men receive a combination of therapies. A cure is probable for men whose prostate cancer is diagnosed early. However, surgery, radiation therapy, and hormonal therapy all have the potential to disrupt sexual desire or performance for a short while or permanently. Therefore it is advisable to discuss your concerns with your doctor.

Two major treatments have been proved to be efficient in eradicating localized prostate cancer: surgical removal of the prostate and vesical vesicles (radical prostatectomy), and radiotherapy (external beam radiotherapy and interstitial radiotherapy). It is admitted that patients who will benefit from these treatments are those whose life expectancy exceeds 10 years. No benefit is expected in older patients who are likely to die from another disease. However, for those with metastatic prostate cancer, hormone therapy or chemotherapy would prove more effective although radiotherapy could also be used.

Surgical (Radical Prostatectomy)

Radical prostatectomy involves the surgical removal of the entire prostate, the seminal vesicles, the tissue immediately surrounding them, and some of their associated pelvic lymph nodes. It is appropriate for men for whom it is believed the tumor can be removed completely by surgery.

The major advantage of radical prostatectomy is that because prostate cancer may be scattered throughout the prostate gland in an unpredictable way, the entire prostate must be removed so that cancer cells are not left behind. Many experts consider radical prostatectomy to be the gold standard treatment in young patients having organ-confined disease. Indications for radical prostatectomy are presumably curable tumors in patients whose life expectancy is above 10 years.

Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer

Radiation therapy, also sometimes called radiotherapy, is a general term used to describe several types of treatment including the use of high-powered X-rays, placement of radioactive materials into the body or injection of a radioactive substance into the bloodstream. These various types of radiation treatments are used in a wide range of settings. These circumstances include primary treatment of localized prostate cancer, secondary treatment for cancer recurring within the region of the prostate and for relief of pain and other symptoms related to prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

The curative indication of external-beam radiotherapy is similar to that of radical prostatectomy: organ-confined cancer in patients with a life expectancy above 10 years. The treatment generally involves a 7-week course of radiotherapy. Radiotherapy is considered to result in lower rates of incontinence and erectile dysfunction than with radical prostatectomy. The major side-effects of conventional external radiotherapy are urinary irritative symptoms and bowel complications.

Hormonal Therapy for Prostate Cancer
When the prostate cancer is more advanced, and has spread to other parts of the body, treatment includes reducing the testosterone (male hormone) that supports the prostate and its tumors. Hormone therapy reduces symptoms and prevents further growth. Hormone therapy is achieved by either surgery or medication. Testosterone can be reduced by removing the testes; the operation is called a bilateral orchiectomy. The other commonly used option, however, is chemical castration - injecting synthetic LH-RH analogs every three to four months to suppress the natural production of testosterone. In doing so, it deprives the cancer cells of an element needed for growth. Using a number of medications, hormonal therapy attempts to nullify as much as possible all male hormone effect on prostate cancer cells.

There is also evidence that prostate cancer patients whose disease has spread to the lymph nodes will encounter prolonged progressive-free survival and a better quality of life with early hormonal therapy. While hormonal manipulation causes prostate cancer to shrink in 85 to 90 percent of a prostate cancer patients, total and durable eradication of the disease is unlikely. The good news is that hormone therapy may control prostate cancer for many years. The current hormonal therapy standard of care is, once initiated, to continue hormone therapy for life.

However, while hormonal therapy can put your cancer in check, there are unpleasant side effects such as nausea and vomiting, hot flashes, anaemia, lethargy, osteoporosis, swollen and tender breasts and erectile dysfunction. Evidence indicates that hormonal treatment when combined with radiation increases survival duration.


Chemotherapy refers to drug treatment using single drugs or a cocktail of several medications aimed at destroying cancer cells. The drugs circulate throughout the body in the bloodstream and can kill any rapidly growing cells, including both cancerous and non-cancerous ones. Chemotherapy drugs are carefully controlled in both dosage and frequency so that cancer cells are destroyed while the risk to healthy cells is minimized. Often, it is not the primary therapy for prostate cancer patients, but may be used when prostate cancer has spread outside of the prostate gland. Over the past 10 years chemotherapy treatments have been shown to improve pain control and survival for patients with advanced prostate cancer, who have progressed despite hormonal therapy.

Common side effects of chemotherapy depend on the type of drug used, dosage and length of treatment. For prostate cancer patients, the most frequently used chemotherapy regimen is docetaxel and prednisone. The most common side effects of this regimen are fatigue, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, hair loss, taste changes and a decrease in blood cell counts that result in an increased risk of infections.

Watchful Waiting

Watchful waiting/deferred treatment consists of a standpoint strategy until an active treatment may be required. Only patients with good compliance and easy access to healthcare should be candidates for watchful waiting. These men are counseled, and reviewed regularly with clinical examination and PSA measurements. The support for such management is based on the natural course of prostate cancer progression, which has been proved to be slow. Commonly, deferred treatment is indicated in asymptomatic old patients (life expectancy being less than 10 years because of age or debilitating conditions) with localized or locally advanced cancer. It is prudent to perform re-biopsy to avoid under-staging of the tumor.

Active Surveillance

Active surveillance is traditionally reserved for men with small-volume and low-to-moderate-grade prostate cancer, who have a low risk of death from prostate cancer. During active surveillance, men are followed closely with serial PSA, DRE, transrectal ultrasounds, and repeat prostate biopsies at regular intervals. It is different from watchful waiting in that men on active surveillance may elect treatment for cure when their disease appears to be changing and becoming more aggressive. The goal of active surveillance is to allow men to maintain their quality of life when the disease is slow growing or inactive but still allow them to be cured of prostate cancer when the disease appears to become more aggressive or is growing.

However, regarding the issue of prevention of prostate cancer, there is still a lingering controversy about true prevention. Consequently, most physicians believe that there is no easy substitute for a healthy lifestyle involving eating a healthy diet, avoiding dietary excesses, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, getting lots of exercise and being physically active, visiting the doctor on a regular basis, and most importantly achieving and maintaining a normal body weight.