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CANCER AND NUTRITION: CALCIUM

March 17th, 2011 Posted in Cancer | No Comments »

The average daily intake of calcium for an American is 450-500 milligrams, an amount well below even the U.S. RDA of 1,000 milligrams per day for those under age 50 and 1,500 milligrams per day for those over 50. While it is important to include sufficient calcium in your diet, you have to be wary of dairy products, its chief source. They contain too much fat and are also highly allergenic no matter what their fat content. Fatty foods are a factor in 60 percent of women’s cancers, 40 percent of men’s cancers, and 75 percent of all cardiovascular diseases.
Low calcium levels are linked to:
Osteoporosis.
Hypertension
Asthma flares.
Colon cancer
Alzheimer’s disease
Some male infertility problems
It is important to get the proper amounts of calcium in your early years—the first twenty to twenty-five years of life—so that the risk of all illnesses will be greatly reduced. However, recent studies suggest that postmenopausal women should take calcium supplements because even at that age bone loss can be reduced. 4,18 These studies have important implications for osteoporosis, because it is shown that bone loss can be reduced significantly even if you begin taking calcium later in life. Osteoporosis currently affects 34 million Americans and results in 1.3 million bone fractures each year.
The safest and easiest way to obtain calcium is by taking a calcium supplement. However, calcium should not be taken by itself; rather, it should be taken with several other nutrients that aid calcium absorption and metabolism. Some of these nutrients, like vitamin D and vitamin C, should be taken only with food, and the others, like magnesium, boron, silicon, threonine, and lysine, should be taken with calcium at night. Calcium and magnesium should be taken in a ratio of about three or four to one. Calcium should be taken only at night and not with food because fiber foods bind calcium and render it useless, and the body repairs itself at night using calcium, and if there is insufficient calcium available, it will be taken from the bones. Take calcium with orange or tomato juice if they do not upset your stomach because they facilitate calcium absorption. The best form of calcium to take is calcium carbonate because it is absorbed better than the other forms of calcium, and the lower molecular weight of calcium carbonate allows the use of a smaller pill. And finally, calcium taken at bedtime may help you fall asleep.
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OTHER WAYS OF REDUCING YOUR PAIN – INTRODUCTION

May 18th, 2009 Posted in Cancer | No Comments »

I believe that the effective use of painkillers is absolutely central to good pain control and that is why I have discussed this first. However, there are other ways of reducing your pain which you may also want to use. Choose the combination of painkillers and other approaches that gives you the greatest benefit for the least cost. For example, you can experiment to find the positions for sitting and lying that are most comfortable for you. You can try to avoid activities that aggravate your pain and to get plenty of rest. Heat on the painful spot can be very soothing— try using a good old hot water bottle! A gentle massage might help. Other possibilities that may appeal to you are meditation and acupuncture.

Whatever means you use to control it, your pain will be more of a problem at some times than at others. It will probably seem much worse when you are bored, lonely, depressed, anxious, frightened, physically tired or lying awake at night (the worst)! On the other hand, your pain is likely to seem less of a problem when you are in comfortable surroundings, have pleasant company, are keeping your mind occupied, sleeping well at night and at peace with yourself and your situation.

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IMPORTANCE OF CLINICAL TRIALS FOR YOU

May 15th, 2009 Posted in Cancer | No Comments »

Clinical trials are important to you in two ways. Firstly, results from them are used by doctors to determine which treatment is ‘best’. Secondly, you may be asked to take part in them. One of the worst aspects of clinical trials for you—the person with cancer—is that if you agree to take part in them you don’t get to decide on your own treatment (and nor, incidentally, does your doctor, because the treatment is decided by chance). You would be asked to agree to be randomised and then to have whichever treatment you are allotted by chance. Taking part in this type of clinical trial is of no benefit to you personally—you would be better off choosing the treatment you preferred (which may of course be one of the treatments being tested). It is also of little benefit to future patients because such small differences between treatments are being looked for. If people with cancer were given the choice between treatments, they would place more importance on things like convenience, side effects, comfort and time in hospital than on whether or not one or the other is likely to produce a few extra weeks or months of life. Differences in results that are big enough to be important and worthwhile for people with cancer don’t need randomised clinical trials and statistics to prove them.

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AFTER CANCER: SUSCEPTIBILITY TESTING

March 12th, 2009 Posted in Cancer | No Comments »

What Is Susceptibility Testing?

This is a new branch of genetic counseling that determines a person’s susceptibility to cancer, or cancer risk; on the basis of analysis of disease in family members (lineages). While the technology for susceptibility testing is available in Australia, it is still regarded as a research tool and is considered only after appropriate genetic counselling.

What Are the Advantages of Susceptibility Testing?

There are important benefits to susceptibility testing:

•It provides new research data that will lead to a better understanding of cancer and to better treatments.

•It can help identify individuals who should take special precautions or be monitored more aggressively. For example, everyone should be screened routinely for colon cancer. The age at which screening begins, the frequency of screening, and the tests used to screen individuals will depend on their susceptibility to colon cancer. Those with higher susceptibility should be screened more often and more completely.

•It can reassure people who feared being at greater risk for certain cancer and are found to be at normal risk for that cancer.

What Are the Disadvantages of Susceptibility Testing?

Currently, there are a number of disadvantages to pursuing susceptibility testing:

• It can provide false reassurance that you are not at risk. Someone with a strong family history of breast cancer who is four to be at “normal” risk for breast cancer still has a risk of breast cancer. This person needs to perform self-breast exams and have periodic physician exams and mammograms.

• It can cause great anxiety if you are found to have high susceptibility and if there is nothing you can do to prevent the cancer or pick it up at an early, potentially curable stage.

Your susceptibility is not your fate.

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AFTER CANCER: TREATMENT IS QUACKERY. CONVENTIONAL AND ALTERNATIVE THERAPY TOGETHER

March 12th, 2009 Posted in Cancer | No Comments »

How Do I Know Whether a Treatment Is Quackery?

There are warning signs of possible quackery. The company, clinic, or people offering treatment

•claim the treatment is harmless, painless, and nontoxic

• use a secret formula that is never revealed and cannot be tested or reproduced by anyone else

• explain the treatment’s action on the basis of unproven thee •require patients to follow special diets or intense nutritional support during and after treatment (the failure of the treatment can then be blamed on the patient’s inability to follow the rigorous diet)

•discuss their treatment only in the mass media •support the success of their treatments with testimonials and anecdotes

•have never done controlled studies to document effectiveness

•are not staffed by certified cancer specialists

•do not require a consent form •attack the medical establishment

Can I Do Both Conventional and Alternative Therapy Together?

If you learn of an alternative treatment that sounds appealing, get objective information about the risks and benefits. Discuss your findings with your oncologist before you make your final decision about which treatments to pursue.

If you decide to proceed with any alternative therapy, it is best to do so under the auspices of your oncologist, so that your progress can be monitored and you will not offset any benefit of conventional therapy.

If your oncologist adamantly opposes your pursuing simultaneous alternative and conventional medicine, and you feel that you must do both, it is safest for you to find a reputable oncologist who feels comfortable with your proposed treatments.

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AFTER CANCER: QUESTIONS ABOUT CLINICAL TRIALS

March 12th, 2009 Posted in Cancer | No Comments »

What Are Clinical Trials?

Studies on new cancer treatments for human volunteers are called clinical trials. The drugs or treatment have already been shown to have anticancer effects in the laboratory. The goal is to find safer and more effective cancer treatments.

Investigational treatments, also called experimental treatments, are not the same as alternative treatments.

Who Runs Clinical Trials?

Clinical trials are overseen by

•the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)

•a “co-operative group,” an organized group of doctors from a number of hospitals and clinics who are trained in designing,

running, and interpreting clinical trials

•a qualified individual oncologist or group of oncologists in one institution or clinic

•hospital research ethics committees: every hospital that runs a clinical trial must have an ethics committee which includes a lawyer, minister of religion and a layperson or community representative.

Why Would I Want to Enter a Clinical Trial?

A clinical trial can offer you some unique advantages:

•It can provide an opportunity to try newer treatments before they are generally available.

•These new treatments may prove to be your best chance for doing well.

• It can offer a chance to participate in work that helps all cancer survivors, no matter your outcome from the trial or the conclusions drawn from the trial.

• If you are in remission from a cancer with a very high rate of recurrence, and there is no standard therapy to help prevent recurrence, you may want to try to increase your chance of prolonging your remission.

• Some people feel they are watched more closely in a trial, sin the investigators have to report on all results.

• Clinical trials usually provide all treatment and follow-up at cost to the patient.

Are People Who Participate in Clinical Trials “Guinea Pigs”?

No. The term has come to be associated with animals or people used against their will for experiments without regard to the safety.

The negative connotations of the term “guinea pig” do not apply to clinical trials. You cannot become a participant in a clinical trial without your written informed consent, let alone without you knowledge. Clinical trials are controlled, informed situation; where your short-term and long-term safety is of paramount importance. Except for Phase I cancer experiments, clinical trials offer you the possibility of doing more to treat or prevent cancer than is available with standard therapy.

Many Phase II or III clinical trials offer exposure to cutting-edge treatment and technology before it is routinely available. These treatments are administered by highly trained, highly qualified doctors.

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AFTER CANCER: ARE THERE ANY OPTIONS IN REGARD TO MY FOLLOW-UP?

March 12th, 2009 Posted in Cancer | No Comments »

Yes. Your doctor will advise a certain schedule of follow-up. If you have special needs, let your doctor know so that these needs can be factored in when planning your follow-up. Rest assured that your doctor is going to make your health, not your preferences or special needs, the overriding concern when arranging the details of your follow-up. Special needs that might affect timing of follow-up include

• travel restrictions (if you come in from out of town, some dates may be more expensive or less convenient than others)

• financial constraints (sometimes there is an option about how often certain tests are obtained or which tests are done)

• family/work responsibilities

• anxiety about your condition (for your peace of mind you may need more frequent follow-ups than are usually recommended)

Some patients prefer to have all their tests done prior to the follow-up visit, so that all the results can be discussed at the visit.

Where you are followed up can be influenced by travel restrictions or financial constraints. If your oncologist is in another city or town, you can sometimes arrange to have blood tests or scans performed locally, and the results or scans mailed to your oncologist. When very specialized blood tests are required that are not available locally, blood can sometimes be drawn locally and mailed to the lab used by your oncologist.

Follow-up visits help you stay well and confirm that you are doing well. Follow-ups do not cause cancer or other medical problems. Learn to use your follow-ups in a positive way.

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AFTER CANCER: PARTIAL REMISSION. CURE

March 12th, 2009 Posted in Cancer | No Comments »

What Is a Response or a Partial Remission?

You have had a response, also called a partial remission, when tests indicate that you still have cancer but that you have gotten rid of at least half of your cancer. This can be determined through a comparison of the results of tests obtained before and after treatment. For example, the spots on your chest X ray may be 75 percent smaller (e.g., in lung cancer), or there may be 75 percent fewer cancer cells in the blood and bone marrow (e.g., in leukemia). Some doctors may use the term “response” or “partial remission” when there is any shrinkage of your cancer, but a less than 50 percent reduction in detectable cancer is not considered a meaningful improvement from an overall view of your cancer situation. Ask your doctors what they mean when they use the terms “response” and “partial remission.”

What Is a Cure?

A cure is said to have occurred when there is no detectable sign of cancer and you have the same life expectancy as if you had never had cancer. For some cancers you have to be in complete remission for a year to be considered cured. For many others five years is the reliable interval after which your chance of recurrence is extremely low. Still others, such as certain types of lymphoma, are considered incurable, because no matter how long you live in complete remission there is still a significant chance the cancer will recur.

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