VIGILANCE FOR BRAIN CANCER

Brain cancer is a very serious form of cancer. Recently, Sen. John McCain revealed he has been diagnosed with a primary glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) – the most aggressive type of brain tumor. GBMs originate in the brain; it does not spread there from another part of the body. The cause is not known. This tumor has no relation to melanoma, the skin cancer for which McCain was treated in the past.

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QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT CHEMOTHERAPY

Chemotherapy is a standard treatment for cancer. It kills healthy cells along with cancer cells, inflicting damage on the body and seriously compromising the immune system. Chemotherapy also kills most rapidly dividing healthy and cancer cells, but not all the cells are fast growing. Cancer stem cells (CSCs), a small population of cancer cells that are slow growing and thus resistant to treatment, do not die. Chemotherapy makes these cells even more numerous as the ratio of highly malignant cells….

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RESTORING DIGNITY AND ’DOS

For many women facing cancer, the most devastating aspect is learning they may lose their hair due to chemotherapy.  “Most women tell me that as soon as they hear the oncologist say, ‘You’re going to lose your hair,’ that’s the last thing they remember hearing,” said Eric Johnson, co-owner, with his wife, Jeletta, of Hair Institute in Lexington. “They can deal with the sickness; they can deal with the treatments; but it’s the hair loss that gets them the most.

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Patients who refuse conventional treatment shouldn’t be considered difficult or non-compliant, he says.


Questions to Ask Before Beginning Chemotherapy

If you or a loved one are seeking multiple opinions about how to handle a cancer diagnosis, here are some questions to ask your oncologist:


What is the goal of the chemotherapy for my cancer? Is this a cure? The word “cure” will rarely be used. Instead, you’ll hear about remission or 5- and 10-year survival rates. Make sure you are clear about the expectations of the treatment plan.


What are the chances the chemotherapy treatment will work for me and my cancer? Is the goal a cure, tumor reduction or symptom removal? Will further treatment be needed following chemotherapy?


What chemo-sensitivity testing will you do to determine which chemotherapy agent to use? There is no one right treatment for any cancer.


What are my other options if I decline chemotherapy? This will reveal the doctor’s knowledge of available alternative therapies.


What will you do if I become resistant to chemotherapy treatment? How will this treatment change the cancer environment? Ask if it will only kill the cancer that is there and leave you vulnerable to more cancer. Oncologists do not always disclose that once the immune system is depressed, the cancer stem cells can go on to create more cancer.


You may also want to ask:



You should also ask the physician’s recommendation(s) for detoxing from the chemotherapy treatments afterward.      

Chemotherapy is a standard treatment for cancer. It kills healthy cells along with cancer cells, inflicting damage on the body and seriously compromising the immune system. Chemotherapy also kills most rapidly dividing healthy and cancer cells, but not all the cells are fast growing. Cancer stem cells (CSCs), a small population of cancer cells that are slow growing and thus resistant to treatment, do not die. Chemotherapy makes these cells even more numerous as the ratio of highly malignant cells to benign cells begins to spiral out of control soon after chemotherapy treatment ends. These cells then take up residence elsewhere in the body and regenerate treatment-resistant tumors. This was demonstrated in a groundbreaking study by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. The study, “Neoadjuvant chemotherapy induces breast cancer metastasis through a TMEM-mediated mechanism,” published July 18, warns chemotherapy can create lethal tumors.


Metastasis, the spreading of a cancerous tumor, is a leading cause of recurrent cancer, especially in people who undergo chemotherapy and radiation. Cancer that may have been contained in one part of the body becomes systemic, making it hard to reverse. The researchers suggest though chemotherapy may shrink a cancerous tumor, it also sends the cancer cells off into other parts of the body to rebuild into more destructive tumors. This latest research confirms previous findings

QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT CHEMOTHERAPY

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

going as far back as August 1991. In 2004, an Australian study on the effectiveness of chemotherapy found similar results, showing an overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival rates in adults at barely more than 2 percent.


During his years of consulting cancer patients, Dr. Moshe Frenkel noticed an increasing number of patients declining conventional cancer treatment. Combing through medical literature, Frenkel found the survival rate with chemotherapy (for a particular cancer) was just 32 percent; he had assumed from his training it was 80 percent. More surprising, the survival rate with no chemotherapy treatment was 26 percent. Frenkel further found a study that evaluated the quality of life of 140 cancer patients who had refused, discontinued or completed chemotherapy. The study revealed the quality of life of the patients who refused or discontinued chemotherapy was no different than those patients who completed treatment.


Due to his years of exposure to patients who refused chemotherapy, Frenkel surmises they are usually self-directed, confident, active individuals who have thought deeply about the meaning of life and cancer and their treatment options.