Category Archives: Cancer Treatments
Up until now, drug companies have been free to decide whether to pursue treatments for paediatric cancers as part of their work on adult cancers or not, and this has led to a minimal amount of new drugs specifically for paediatric cancers being developed.
An estimated 2,000 children die of cancer annually, and the overall incidence of childhood cancer has been slowly increasing since 1975 – there has been a 13% rise in Childhood Cancer in the past 20 years alone.
Despite significant advances against certain pediatric cancers, including Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, there are still some types of cancer for which there are few or no effective treatments.
The truth is that new drug development in pediatric cancer is extremely slow, often lagging way behind adult treatments, and few compounds are designed specifically for children.
The sad truth is that Childhood cancers make up less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed each year, and that is is not much of a market for drug makers, who rack up an estimated $1.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs while bringing a novel drug to market.
They won’t have much choice going forward!!
Herbs and plants were the original treatments for many illnesses and injuries people faced. As such, cannabis or marijuana use dates back centuries. It popped up in Western medicine in the 19th century as a means of relieving pain, inflammation, and spasms.
Today, marijuana use can spark some serious debate, even when considered for medical use only. But regardless of how you feel about its use, more cancer patients are turning to marijuana for a number of reasons.
Marijuana is not legal for use everywhere and researchers have their own concerns about potential side effects. For some patients, however, the benefits can be invaluable as they go through treatment.
Some individuals being treated for certain cancers may undergo a Stem Cell Transplant along with Chemotherapy or Radiation Therapy. In Stem Cell Transplantation, healthy stem cells are taken either from themselves or a donor.
An allogeneic transplant is a procedure which involves using blood-forming stem cells (cells from which all blood cells develop) from a genetically similar, but not identical, cancer-free donor who matches the recipient’s tissue type. Most commonly, donors are a close relative, such as a sibling, but could also be an unrelated donor.
Using a donor for stem cell transplants offers what is called a graft-versus-cancer effect, in which the donor’s stem cells (graft) may attack any cancer cells found in the recipient (host).
Unfortunately, however, a stem cell transplant can also cause a condition called graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD).
GVHD is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition in which the donor cells attack the recipient’s healthy cells, causing a range of medical problems.
These days, walking into any major cancer centre looks rather different to a few years ago, because you are likely to see not only ordinary examination rooms, equipment, and chemotherapy suites, but also massage rooms, yoga mats, and possibly even a music therapy room.
This is the world of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. More and more recent research now supports complementary treatments such as Acupuncture, Yoga, and some diet supplements as good ways to relieve some of the side-effects of Chemotherapy Treatments.
Treatment centres that offer complementary options, as well as the amount of individuals taking advantage of them, have increased dramatically across the globe in recent years, with some studies showing that around 50% of all people undergoing cancer treatment use some kind of complementary option.
Most of the complementary treatments recommended by medical doctors have few or no side-effects, according to the director of medical content at the American Cancer Society, Ted Gansler, MD, who states that it is fine to try Music Therapy or Meditation, for example, while you follow your standard treatment plan.
When Children with Cancer have to undergo Radiation Treatment, they often get scared or nervous because they do not have an understanding of the process and the machines involved.
To remedy this, young children are usually given a general anaesthetic, even though the long-term side effects are still unknown.
Instead of relying on anaesthesia, Danielle Crump, BSN, RN, worked to develop the Paediatric Training Program within the Radiation Department of Johns Hopkins Hospital.
This initiative saves time and money while avoiding any risks or complications that might come from administering anaesthesia to a paediatric patient.
Cancer can be a frightening, nerve-wracking disease, and medical science often overlooks the emotional toll it takes on patients.
Children with Cancer can suffer even worse as they have to deal with all the hospital and clinic appointments, tests, tubes, operations, scans and treatments.
When dealing with Childhood Cancer, not only does the disease take its toll on the Child with Cancer, but also on the Parents and siblings.
The stress of dealing with cancer in a child can cause many problems in the family unit, with siblings feeling that they are being ignored, parents being overworked and run ragged as the disease takes its course, and many fathers are unable to cope as they feel helpless and that they have failed their child – on top of which the mother often has to stop working to support the Child with Cancer – leaving the father as the only breadwinner and the only one at home to take care of the rest of the family.
Childhood Cancer often causes the break-up of the family unit, ending in divorce and leaving the mother to deal with everything on her own.
South Africa’s Competition Commission has launched an investigation into excessive pricing by three major pharmaceutical companies that have the sole rights to distribute cancer drugs in the country.
The commission’s job is to protect ordinary South Africans from abuse by dominant players. It has powers to investigate and evaluate restrictive business practices, abuse of dominant positions and mergers.
Its investigation into the drug companies is vital as cancer treatment is unaffordable for most South Africans. Many medical schemes – which offer medical cover to 16% of the population or 7 million people – refuse to pay for the medication because of the cost.
In South Africa all drug prices are approved and signed off by the medicines pricing committee in the National Department of Health. But our hope is that the commission’s investigation could still drive competition among suppliers, and in turn more affordable prices for cancer treatment. This should result in better access to affordable drugs, particularly for poor people.
Monoclonal Antibody Therapy is a form of Immunotherapy that uses monoclonal antibodies (mAb) to bind mono-specifically to certain cells or proteins. This may then stimulate the patient’s immune system to attack those cells.
Monoclonal Antibodies are laboratory-produced versions of immune system proteins that have been engineered to serve as substitute antibodies that can restore, enhance or mimic the immune system’s attack on cancer cells.
Antibodies can be very useful in treating cancer because they can be designed to attack a very specific part of a cancer cell. Monoclonal antibody drugs enlist natural immune system functions to fight cancer. These drugs may be used in combination with other cancer treatments.
Although we have previously mentioned Gerson Therapy, we thought that you might be interested in more information on this Alternative Therapy for Cancer.
The Gerson Therapy was one of the first natural cancer therapeutics and has successfully treated patients for more than 80 years. Rooted in an organic, plant-based diet, raw juices, coffee enemas, and natural supplements, the Gerson Therapy restores the body’s ability to heal itself.
The Gerson diet is naturally high in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, micro-nutrients, and extremely low in sodium, fats, and proteins. A typical daily diet for a Gerson patient on the full therapy regimen features 13 glasses of fresh, raw carrot-apple and green-leaf juices prepared hourly from fresh, organic fruits and vegetables; three full plant-based meals, freshly prepared from organically grown fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; and fresh fruit and vegetables available at all hours for snacking, in addition to the regular diet.
The Gerson diet is extremely detailed. It is not just the foods that are included and excluded; it is when the foods are eaten, how often they are eaten, how they are prepared, how not to prepare them, what to cook them in, how to package them, etc.
While we understand that when one’s child has cancer and does not seem to be getting better one is desperate enough to try ANYTHING, one should be aware of some of the cancer myths that are out there such as “Cancer is a Fungus – and Sodium Bicarbonate is the Cure.”
This rather strange and frankly ridiculous “theory” seems to originate in the fact that “cancer is always white.”
Let’s just put this myth to rest once and for all – cancer cells are clearly not fungal in origin, and cancer isn’t always white.
Sodium Bicarbonate reduces stomach acid. It is used as an antacid to treat heartburn, indigestion, and upset stomach. Sodium bicarbonate is a very quick-acting antacid; it should, however, be used only for temporary relief. Sodium Bicarbonate DOES NOT cure cancer!
Wheat-grass contains chlorophyll, which has almost the same molecular structure as haemoglobin. Chlorophyll increases haemoglobin production, which means that more oxygen gets to the cancer.
Wheat-grass also contains Selenium and Laetrile, both of which have anti-cancer properties. Both Chlorophyll and selenium also help build the immune system.
Wheat-grass contains at least 13 vitamins, of which several are antioxidants, including Vitamin B12, and various minerals and trace elements, including selenium, as well as all 20 amino acids.
Back in the 40s and 50s, cancer patients were being treated by having their blood extracted, bombarded with ultraviolet light and then put back into the body.
The blood (actually the haemoglobin) “remembered” the ultraviolet frequencies (i.e. the haemoglobin continued to vibrate after being exposed to the frequencies) after the blood was put back into the body.
Wheat-grass can be used instead of extracted blood because the haemoglobin molecules and the chlorophyll molecules have some very key similarities.
As if it is not bad enough to suffer from cancer and have to go through all the pain and stress of the many tests, the diagnosis and the treatments, conventional cancer treatments such as chemo, radiation, and/or surgery come with lingering side-effects that make life very difficult.
One such potential problem is that it can become hard to swallow without experiencing significant pain − a condition known as dysphagia, in which swallowing is difficult and/or painful.
It is difficult if not impossible to ensure that your Child with Cancer gets the correct nutrition to help fight their cancer and heal their body during and post-treatment when it is so difficult and painful for them to eat. Read the rest of this entry
The brain is the most important organ in the body because it controls all complex actions including the ability to learn, speak, move, think, and control our emotions. The brain is made up of soft spongy tissue which means that when malignant cell growth occurs, it often invades surrounding healthy brain tissue quickly (brain tumours).
Although there have been many advances in technology and medicine over the decades, conventional therapeutic strategies generally remain unsuccessful and offer brain cancer patients a dismal outlook. Patients who undergo surgery and radiation treatment have an expected survival rate of only nine months. Only 10% of individuals who undergo chemotherapy for a brain tumour have an extended life expectancy.
While it is important to highlight Brain Tumour Awareness this month, focusing mostly on the primary symptoms and medical testing for brain cancer, more attention needs to be paid to nutrition, toxic exposures, and lifestyle factors and their contribution to the development of brain cancer. Read the rest of this entry
Aromatherapy and the use of essential oils has become an accepted complementary therapy for cancer patients, as they can provide support in the form of stress relief and emotional support.
Some essential oils, however, have been shown to act directly on cancer cells, , preventing growth or even promoting apoptosis (cancer cell death).
Every individual carries a minute amount of “cancer,” or malformed cells, in our bodies at all times. These cells do not cause any problems in healthy bodies where a balanced diet and robust lifestyle is practiced – the cells will generally be removed or healed and the body kept in balance.
In an unhealthy body which is not well-maintained or exercised and fed a constant diet of junk food, these malformed cells can continue to exist and can actually develop into cancer.
Some of the most effective oils against unhealthy irregular cells include Chamomile, Frankincense, Oregano, Rosemary and Thyme. These oils are remarkable because they are able to selectively harm or disable cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact, whereas many conventional cancer medications and treatments are often poorly targeted and cause severe side effects.
Whether your baby, toddler or young child who is currently caught up in the fight of their lives against cancer will eventually be able to have children or not is probably the last thing on your mind, but it may be something that you should take into consideration…
Some cancer treatments do not affect a child’s growing reproductive system, but others can damage a girl’s ovaries, which contain eggs, or a boy’s testes, which contain sperm. This damage may make it impossible to have a baby for a short period after completing cancer therapy or for the rest of the person’s life.
Chemotherapy, Radiation Therapy, and other cancer treatments can be very effective at doing their job, but what makes them good at fighting cancer can also cause side effects.
One of the side-effects of cancer treatments can affect the reproductive organs and have long-term effects on a child’s reproductive health. Side effects such as reduced fertility as a result of cancer treatments are known as late effects.
Your child’s risk of having late effects depends on his or her diagnosis, the type of treatment your child is getting, and the dosages. Everyone is different so it’s best to discuss the subject with your child’s medical team.
Your child’s doctor should be able to tell you whether their cancer treatment regimen is likely to have short- or long-term effects on your child’s reproductive health or not.