Bringing innovation and accountability to America’s deadliest cancer
BY BOB WRIGHT, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR - 03/01/17 10:40 AM EST 14
Since the United States declared “The War on Cancer” in 1971, there has been no improvement in
the pancreatic cancer mortality rate.
Ninety-one percent of pancreatic cancer patients die. Today and every day we will lose 117 people to this devastating disease. There are no early detection tests for pancreatic cancer, and no curative treatments. The clinical trial rate is abysmally low at 4 percent, because patients die too quickly to participate. There is no community of survivors because so few survive.
My wife Suzanne was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015. She was in the “Class of 2015” with 53,000 other patients, and like most of them, Suzanne lost her battle mere months after her diagnosis.
One of my very last promises to Suzanne was that I would not let the failure of the government and the medical community stand unchallenged. That I would not allow this disease to continue to be a silent killer. That I would do whatever it took to improve the odds for the next loved one to be handed this diagnosis.
Through The Suzanne Wright Foundation, I am keeping this promise by launching CodePurple, the first national campaign to fight pancreatic cancer with the urgency this crisis deserves.
The federal government research model is broken. There is no urgency and no accountability. If any other business failed this spectacularly for four decades, it would be shut down.
“Code Purple” is a hospital alert for emergency reinforcements, and a steady 91 percent fatality rate over forty years is an emergency that demands reinforcements. The National Cancer Institute “is the nation’s leader in cancer research,” with an annual research budget of approximately $5.2 billion. Inexplicably, pancreatic cancer receives about 2 percent of these research dollars.
The NCI is setting the priorities for research around the world, and with a token 2 percent allocation for pancreatic cancer, the NCI signals the white flag of surrender on this disease. That’s not leadership.
This lack of funding is compounded by an institutional reliance on a program of small grants, spread across too many people, over too many years, with no demand for accountability or a demonstration
of ROI. The NCI model is dated, low-risk, low-reward and out of step with breakthroughs and innovation in medical research and technology. There is nothing urgent about this system.
Medical advances have saved millions of lives. The mammogram became a recommended screening tool for breast cancer in 1976, the PSA Test was approved to detect prostate cancer in 1986, and the colonoscopy became the favored early detection test for colon cancer in 1990. These technologies have contributed to the drastic improvement in survival rates for these cancers. In all of this time, pancreatic cancer patients have been left behind.
This challenge demands a bold, new approach where we measure effectiveness by lives saved, and we report results. Investments by Google, IBMWatson, Microsoft and others offer more promise than ever in disease detection, diagnosis and treatment. These businesses apply their “Think Big” strategies, and state-of-the-art technology, to solve massive healthcare problems. This is the energy and expertise we need working on pancreatic cancer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the federal agency that works 24-7 responding to public health crises. It operates like an emergency room. This is the partner we need in the fight against pancreatic cancer. The CDC has a track record for fighting cancer in the United States. Its 2017 budget request allocates $302 million to The Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. The CDC Foundation provides a bridge between public and private innovators and aids the CDC in pursuing cutting-edge solutions to public health crises.
Pancreatic cancer research funding should be transferred from the NCI to the CDC for a pilot program that includes a partnership with a major innovator, focusing on discovery of early detection tools and curative treatments. High-impact research needs large grants with clear deliverables. Dr. Thomas Price, Health and Human Services Secretary, has authority over both the NCI and CDC. Under the HHS Appropriations Act, he has the authority to transfer these funds, with congressional notification. Dr. Price has the opportunity to be the first person in government in over 40 years to treat pancreatic cancer like an emergency.
There is energy and focus following the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act. The Beau Biden Moonshot, which I support, provides for $755 million in new cancer funds for the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration. The new Congress, working with the new Administration, should come together in a bipartisan fashion to authorize explicitly increased funding for pancreatic cancer research, and to establish the new emergency emphasis for the CDC to address this disease. Increased funding without accountability, however, will not yield the results we need. They have an opportunity to chart an ambitious, bold direction, and make life-saving progress. Pancreatic cancer should not be a death sentence. With effective leadership, urgency and the level of priority it demands, we can save lives.
Bob Wright is the chairman of The Suzanne Wright Foundation; co-founder of Autism Speaks; and former vice chairman of GE; and former chairman of NBCUniversal.
The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.
8 Surprising Early Warning Signs Of Pancreatic Cancer You Should Never Ignore
Written by REBECCA ENDICOTT
Every year, more than 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
The pancreas is a gland in the digestive system that produces enzymes to break down food. Pancreatic cancer is a disease where malignant cells develop in the organ’s tissues.
It’s incredibly important that everyone know the early signs of this lethal disease. Much like cervical cancer, the earliest symptoms can be easy to mix up.
As a result, pancreatic cancer is often caught too late. That’s why it’s so important to to keep an eye out for significant red flags.
The mild early symptoms of the disease often show up in your digestive system and in how you process food. These subtle stomach dilemmas might be your first warning sign that something is amiss.
Scroll through to learn about the early signs of pancreatic cancer. If you notice any of them, you should contact your doctor right away for a checkup.
Diabetes is a disease where the body doesn’t produce enough insulin and stops being able to regulate blood sugar.
It’s a common illness that comes in many different forms, but an abrupt diagnosis as an adult might be a sign of the first stages of pancreatic cancer.
Since a problem in the pancreas might cause insulin issues, you should ask your doctor to rule out pancreatic cancer if you get an unexpected diabetes diagnosis.
Sign #2: Itchy Hands And Feet
“Even a small pancreatic tumor can block the bile duct,” according to Caring.com. If the duct is blocked, bile starts to build up in the body.
When there’s too much bile in the blood, it starts to create compounds in the blood that can’t be broken down.
These compounds accumulate in the hands and feet, which might make your palms and the soles of the feet persistently itchy.
Sign #3: Yellowing Eyes
The buildup of bile in the blood stream is also called jaundice. This causes a lot of other symptoms beyond itchy palms and feet.
Bile has a bright yellow pigment, and it can show up in the whites of the eyes.
This is another sign that a blockage, such as a small pancreatic tumor, might be developing in the pancreas.
Sign #4: Gnawing Pain In Belly
Abdominal pain is a common symptom with a lot of different causes.
Pain that radiates out from the pancreas is often described as “gnawing,” a bit like a hunger pain.
People who have had pancreatic cancer also report that the pain tends to go away when they lean forward.
Sign #5: Strange Stools
Your poop might provide one of the earliest clues to a problem developing in the pancreas.
If bile isn’t being processed properly, your bowel movements won’t be their normal brown color.
Instead, they’ll look pale and clay-colored, which is a symptom you always want to bring to your doctor.
Sign #6: Sudden Weight Loss
Weight loss is welcome if you’re trying to work off those last 10 pounds, but it can be an alarming red flag if you aren’t trying to drop any weight at all.
If a pancreatic tumor is developing, it may prevent your body from digesting food thoroughly.
That means that fat and sugar might pass right through your system without sticking, though essential nutrients also aren’t making it into your body.
Sign #7: Cravings Disappear
If you have always craved chocolate or cheese, and then suddenly lose your taste for them, you should pay close attention.
If your pancreas stops producing the regular digestive enzymes, it might also change your appetite.
In addition to feeling nauseated, you might find that specific foods you used to crave no longer taste nearly as delicious.
Sign #8: No Appetite
Pancreatic cancer doesn’t just cause cravings to disappear, it might make your whole appetite go up in smoke too.
You might feel hungry, then find that you’r completely full after just a bite or two. That’s because the lack of digestive enzymes can shut down your whole system and confuse your stomach.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important that you get in touch with your doctor right away.
This is especially true if you’re experiencing multiple symptoms all at once, since every early warning sign might help your doctor find a diagnosis.
ADVICE FROM A STAGE IV PANCREATIC SURVIVOR
ADVICE FROM STAGE IV PANCREATIC SURVIVOR
Excerpt From: Kelly A. Turner, PhD. “Radical Remission.”
1. First thing that I did was work on getting my pH in balance, because my internal environment was highly acidic. . . . I was using pH strips to test my urine, and eventually I was testing urine and saliva so that I could bring myself into a more alkaline balance. . . . I was pulling things out [of my diet] and putting things back in until I could get myself stable.
Like so many of the survivors, susan began her healing process by changing something physical—in this case, her diet. An alkalizing diet focuses on eating alkalizing (as opposed to acidic) meals in order to reduce overall inflammation in the body. In general, all fruits and vegetables eaten either raw or lightly steamed will have an alkalizing effect on the body, while meats, proteins, carbohydrates, sugars, dairy foods, and anything fried will have an acidic effect on the body.”
Her intuition also told her not to take vitamin or herbal supplements, because she felt her body would be better served if it received those nutrients directly from food.
2. Susan next turned her attention to exercise, because she intuitively felt that the breathing aspect of exercise would be important for her lung metastases:
I started walking every single day for about 30-45 minutes
3. She also made a conscious attempt to feel more joy in her life, and one of the ways she achieved this was by “not worrying about the past and not worrying about the future.” Instead, she tried to focus on being fully present in each moment. She used chakra techniques to help stay present and focused on releasing energy blockages.
The notion that a cancerous tumor is simply a buildup of stuck energy gave Susan a new, less fearful way of thinking about the diagnosis her doctors had given her. So she started using energy medicine and kinesiology techniques—such as Donna Eden’s and Machaelle Small Wright’s methods—to learn how to trace the energy in her body and feel where it was stuck. This gave Susan a powerful sense of control over her health. She began tracing her energy meridians every day and followed up with energy release exercises designed to get her energy unstuck and flowing again.
Her understanding of the spleen and pancreas is that not only does it metabolize food, it also metabolizes emotions.
She believes that once this energy is inside the body, it uses a system of centers (chakras) and pathways (meridians) to circulate energy around the physical body in order to keep the body operating healthfully. For Susan and most energy healing practitioners, thoughts and emotions exist first and foremost in the energy body. However, because the energy body also penetrates the physical body, they believe repetitive thoughts and emotions can eventually lead to physical blockages in the body, which can eventually lead to disease.
It’s now been over five years since she received a diagnosis of metastatic pancreatic cancer, and while she has not returned to her doctors and therefore has not definitively confirmed the disappearance of the cancer with Western medicine’s scans, her symptoms are gone and she has greatly outlived her doctors’ dire prognosis of being dead in less than a year. More important, she feels healthier and happier than ever:”
I great book to first read if you get a cancer diagnosis is the book "FIGHTING CANCER" by Richard Block R. A. Bloch Cancer Foundation.
“Cancer is the most curable of all chronic diseases. Today, the goal is not merely to prolong life the best that could be hoped for in the past but to cure the patient of the disease.
Everyone cannot beat cancer. Some people are going to succumb to it. If you try to fight it, however, you have a chance of beating it.”
“Be positive! Start with the assumption that everything in this book applies to you. Don’t be negative. Don’t assume that anything may be fine for someone else but not for you. That particular constructive suggestion is specifically for you! Don’t knock it until you have tried it. After you give it a fair trial, then and only then can you honestly say it isn’t for you.
You are a unique person. You have been brought up with individual standards, practicing your own set of customs based on your beliefs from the experiences to which you were exposed. Not only is no one else identical to you, but they are not even similar to you. There will be many things in this book that”
“It is not possible to emphasize enough how important every item expressed is to the assurance of recovery. Don’t rationalize that one little item can be ignored without jeopardizing your chances of recovery. That single factor that you have never heard of and probably doubt the validity of and may seem like a nuisance could be the key to recovery. Let me assure you that each thought has been originated by someone other than me. They have been discussed over and over by many people. They have been tried by numerous cancer patients before you and are believed to be a positive factor in recovery. Furthermore, nothing contained herein is believed to have any downside risk. Many other things could have been put in but might pose a potential risk for some people. It is believed that nothing in this book, if properly implemented, has any negative possibility.”
“Do not get guilty feelings if you try something and do not feel that it is helping you. Very rarely can anyone actually “feel” cancer leaving. It is important, however, to try anything that is not harmful because it might help, but have no guilt feelings if it does not.
It is my personal opinion that the greatest cause of mortality from cancer is the individual equating death and cancer. When an individual is diagnosed with a malignancy, their first assumption is that it will eventually kill them, and they therefore do not muster all their resources to fight this vicious disease. Cancer is a word, not a sentence.
“Often the physician who makes the initial diagnosis is a contributor to the problem. If he graduated medical school only 15 years ago, over half the cancers he was told were untreatable when he was in school are today curable to some degree. Furthermore, the physician has seen the suffering that went along with some of the primitive treatments in the past, and he cannot see putting his beloved patient through this. He recommends they go home and make themselves as comfortable as possible for the time they have to live.”
“that if a person does not try, there is no way they can beat it. If they do try, they have a chance. And I believe it can do nothing but improve the quality of their life. To me, there was nothing worse than waiting to die with no hope. Whatever treatments I went through did not compare to the lack of hope I had the first five days after diagnosis. I was fighting to live rather than waiting to die.
It is believed that the average person gets cancer six times a year. Their immune system destroys the cancer cells, and they know nothing about it. Occasionally, something comes along to depress the immune system, which allows these malignant cells to get a foothold and multiply.”
“When the immune system recovers, the cancer is already too well established and they have a detectable case of cancer. It is often discovered by a general doctor who tells the patient there is no hope, further depressing the immune system. The patient has complete confidence in this doctor who represents the entire medical system, so there is no purpose in getting a second opinion or going elsewhere. The patient is totally out of control at this point, compounding the problem.”
The greatest single mortality factor in cancer is the patient believing that death and cancer are synonymous.”
“There is no type of cancer from which some people have not recovered. The road to recovery generally is not very easy and requires real determination. Currently, the statistics show that 66% of all serious cancers can be cured. The one item that you rationalize is a bother or does not apply to you can be the deciding factor that would tilt the scale in your favor or against you. You generally have one chance. Use every resource in your power.
Cancer is a unique disease. There are five factors that make it different from any other known illness.
First, cancer cells grow geometrically without limitation. That means 2 becomes 4, then 8, 16, 32, 64, etc. If they grew 1, then 2, 3, 4, 5, we probably would never have heard of it. Because of this geometric growth, we must treat it promptly and properly or it can soon grow to a point where it may be untreatable.”
“One million cancer cells are smaller than the head of a pin. One billion cancer cells are the size of a pea and weigh about the same as a paper clip.”
“To further illustrate the way cancer grows, picture algae covering a lake. This algae doubles in area each day until, after one month’s time, it completely covers the lake. When should it be noticed? When it covers one half of the lake? That is the day before the end of the month. When it only covers one fourth of the lake? That is two days before the end of the month. If you caught yours three or four or five days before the end of the month, you must feel very grateful!
The second unique factor is the property of cancer cells to spontaneously travel to distant sites. One million cancer cells are smaller than the head of a pin. One billion cancer cells are the size of a pea. This means that they have the ability to float freely through the blood stream or the lymph system. They could be in your stomach today and in your head, your lungs or your toes tomorrow.
“Third is that cancer is actually over 200 different diseases. There is no similarity between brain cancer and breast cancer other than the word cancer and the fact that they are both rapidly dividing cells. Different types of cancer should be treated by different types of medical specialists with totally different methods after being diagnosed through different means. Furthermore, the advances being made continuously in the many different types of treatments make it absolutely impossible for any one individual to know the very latest and best therapy for every type of cancer. In contrast, if you break your arm, many physicians would know the state-of-the-art way to set it.
Fourth is the unique fact that while many cancers can be treated successfully “successfully the first time, if they are not, often there is no second chance. For example, with my lung cancer, I had all the radiation my lung could take; so, if I had not been cured completely and had suffered a recurrence, I could not again have successfully had radiation therapy”
“Fifth and last is the major factor mental attitude plays in the recovery from cancer. Most oncologists agree that if a patient believes they will die from their cancer, they are right and cannot be saved. That is not to state that if they believe they will recover, they necessarily will, but at least they have a chance.
“The biggest and the hardest single thing that you will be required to do in the entire battle is to make up your mind to really fight it. You must, on your own, make the commitment that you will do everything in your power to fight your disease.”
“There are a lot of “terminal” people alive, healthy and cancer free. There is no type of cancer from which some people have not been cured. There is no cancer for which there is no treatment.
To give up requires no commitment. You can stay in the comfort of your own lifestyle. Fighting means a complete change of lifestyle, absolutely leaving your comfort zone. There will be doctors doing things you might not like. There will be lots of work for you to do. There might even be some pain and suffering, and certainly lots of new and unexpected experiences. You must decide that the end is worth the means because you are the only one who can do it. No one else can do it for you. There is no half way. It’s all the way”
“Fighting cancer is not a simple matter of thinking positively, wishing it away and saying, “Hey doc, cure me.” It is a matter of knowledge. It is a matter of educating yourself about every detail and mustering all your resources. Use every drop of energy in an organized fashion to constructively concentrate on getting rid of cancer.”
“If you miss that first chance, if you don’t do everything in your power, often there is no second chance. This is why no cancer patient can afford the luxury of looking back and saying, “I wish I would have...” Never look back. Concentrate on this moment forward and do everything in your power. There is no downside risk. Now you may have a chance.
When I talk to a cancer patient who is still smoking (including but not limited to lung or throat cancer), the answer as to why that person continues to smoke is obvious without asking the question. Way down deep, this person knows that smoking is bad for them. No one has to explain. No one has to plead with them to give it up. What this person is saying no, what this person is screaming to me is that they only want to live as long as it is easy and convenient for them. They are not willing to do anything and everything to help their doctor cure them. They know they must do everything in their power if they want to have a chance of getting well. By continuing to smoke, they are saying that they are not willing to do everything in their power to be cured, and therefore their chances are dramatically reduced.”
Once you decide yourself to do absolutely everything in your power to fight cancer, all sorts of positive things occur. The mere act of reaching a decision causes unforeseen incidents, meetings and assistance that could not have been anticipated. Goethe stated, “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” You make it happen.”
“As each case of cancer is as unique as a fingerprint, so is each person’s desire and determination. To camouflage it, “as a positive attitude is oversimplification.”
“Failure to become intimately involved with all the details of your cancer is like closing your eyes after falling into quicksand. For the moment maybe, your ignorance will give you a false sense of security. However, to have a chance of escaping, you must muster all your resources and use and exhaust every option open to you.”
“Stress and depression are integral parts of this disease. The sooner we realize that, the better and easier they are to cope with. We must have outlets to vent our emotions and support us in times of need. No matter how strong we each think we are, without a good support mechanism we will crumble.”
“I’ve learned you shouldn’t feel cursed if you have a disease with a foul name. Don’t think of yourself as worthless because you’ve been stricken. Tell the people you love how you feel about them while you still have the chance. Be kind to yourself. We should be thankful for each day granted to us and treat it joyously. Every moment is special to me.”
Cancer is often an eye-opener, teaching us that life is too short to postpone what we really want. It starts us thinking about how much we really enjoy life. In that respect, it can really be a positive experience because those who have cancer can use it in positive ways, to grow and to change their ways for the better and to profoundly affect the lives of loved ones around them in deeply positive ways.”
“According to Dr. Shlomo Breznitz, a visiting Israeli psychologist at the National Institute of Mental Health, there are four styles of response to the initial diagnosis of cancer. The first is hope. Hoping is an active process in which one imagines a positive future based on a realistic assessment of the present. Hope does not blot out the bad. Instead, it emphasizes the positive.
The second style, hope plus denial, is an illusion. People who “hope for the best” may fall apart when faced with bad news.
Third, total denial, is when the person blocks out the problem entirely. Denial is a psychological sign showing the person is unwilling to confront reality.
Giving up, the fourth style, means neither hoping nor denying and has the worst prognosis.
Norman Cousins, in his book entitled Human Options, states, “One’s confidence or lack of it, in the prospects of recovery from serious illness, affects the chemistry of the body. The belief system converts hope, robust expectations, and the will to live into plus factors in any contest of forces involving disease. The belief system is not just a state of mind. It is a prime physiological reality. It is the application of options to the maintenance of health and the fight against disease.”
“Don’t mistake the side effects of the treatments for the symptoms of the disease. Many treatments can make you tired, weak or upset your stomach. This is absolutely normal and expected and could even indicate that the treatments are doing their job rather than the disease is getting worse.”
FEAR. The greatest damage will be done if we don’t face it. The more an individual tries to avoid fear, the greater that fear will grow. Denying fear is costly in terms of personal energy. Suppressed fear will not dissipate but will continue to sap a person’s energy. It is particularly harmful to a patient who needs all his resources to combat his disease. It will not help to try to suppress the fear. Get it out in the open so that it can be relieved.”
“Fear is an absolutely normal response to a life-threatening disease. The only danger to fear is when we deny it. Once fear is expressed and admitted, an excellent antidote can be knowledge.”
“After you have faced up to the fact that you have a life-threatening disease from which you might die, concentrate all your thoughts on living and fighting cancer.
We are all human beings. One hundred years from now we will all be dead. This was a fact when we were born, and we have always known it. The only question is “when.” In my opinion, the quality of life is better for one who is fighting to live than one who is waiting to die. There is no possible way that searching for the state-of-theart therapy and taking it could shorten your life one minute, and maybe it could lengthen it.”
“Coming to terms with cancer means that denial must give way to free, healthy expressions of grief and fear. Moving from denial to realizing fear and anger can bring positive responses in many ways. The belief that our life has had meaning can lessen the fear of dying. The quality of our daily life affects our ability to handle fear. Being active and doing things you like gives less time to brood about your condition which, in itself, enhances your fear by allowing you to think about negative factors. Just the simple act of making a decision can give you a sense of moving forward and gaining purpose, of being in control.”
“From time to time, depression and negative thoughts will cross your mind. If they didn’t, you would not be normal. Anger, impatience and selfishness are absolutely normal and could even be considered positive reactions. The one thing you must avoid is continued depression. The mere diagnosis of cancer causes depression. Many cancer treatments are depressing. Depression decreases the function of your immune system. Your immune system fights cancer. It is important that when you do find yourself depressed, you shake this feeling. Do this by talking about your depression to your family or friends. Change your thoughts from depressing subjects to positive, pleasant subjects.”
“There is an old saying, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It keeps you busy but gets you nowhere.” Make up your mind that you have lots of things to do and lots of places to go. Whenever you feel yourself getting worried or depressed, try to change the direction of your thoughts and think about a forthcoming event. Plan things to do when you are with a particular relative or friend.”
“Common sense does not always give the best results, regardless of our intentions. We need to know how to help ourselves. If we allow ourselves to feel like a victim, we feel we have no control over our situation. We can’t control everything in our lives, but we can learn to become an active participant and have a strong influence on what happens to us. Helplessness increases fear, anxiety and depression and can even cause a person to lose their will to live.”
“He said that “terminal” is a place where you catch a bus and does not usually apply to a disease. Furthermore, he is not treating people who are dying. He is treating patients who are trying to live. Another outstanding cancer researcher, Dr. Jimmie Holland, states, “People ... are fighters and they want to fight to the end. They don’t want to get the feeling that they have been given up. They want to be a part of the cutting edge of the fight against cancer.”
“There are three types of treatments that you must consider in treating cancer. First there are conventional medical treatments (such as surgery, chemotherapy, and the other treatments described later in this chapter) of which I am completely in favor when prescribed by a qualified physician and concurred with by an independent qualified second opinion. Conventional medical treatments always come first and foremost in treating cancer.
Second are termed complementary (such as prayer, relaxation, imagery and diet), which means methods of treatment that are used in addition to conventional medical treatments. I am completely in favor of any and all complementary forms of treatment as long as your physician says they will not specifically harm you or interfere with whatever medical treatments you are taking.
Third are alternative therapies, methods of treatment used instead of conventional medicine. I am totally and unequivocally opposed to any form of alternative treatments!
Sometimes you may hear a person describing a treatment as “unorthodox.” In my opinion, that term should not be used. It merely indicates the person using it is unfamiliar with the treatment and trying to discourage its use even though it might be helpful to the particular patient. In fact, sometimes this term is applied to legitimate experimental therapy.
In the first half of the 20th century, anyone being cured of cancer would only have done so with surgery. Therefore, to most surgeons, any method of treatment other than surgery, such as radiation, chemotherapy, relaxation or prayer was unconventional. Today the majority of cancer patients are treated with combinations of therapies in order to achieve the highest cure rates possible.
The critical thing is to differentiate between alternative and complementary treatments. Use your head and you will have no problem figuring out which is which. Everything recommended in this book is complementary. It is in addition to whatever your qualified physician recommends.”
“A human being will not be denied hope. They get oversold on a complementary therapy and use it to the exclusion of medical treatments. Then this complementary therapy becomes an alternative therapy. It goes from something wonderful, something that can help save your life to something terrible, something that can most certainly cost you your life.
Stay far, far away from alternative therapies because they can kill you by denying you access to the treatments that thousands of scientists have developed and perfected over the years. Believe in and use every complementary therapy that your physician says cannot hurt you. It is your life, and if you don’t do everything possible to help yourself, no one else will.”
“I want to go on record as stating that any single minute without hope is worse than all the treatments I went through!
These horror stories were probably true in your parents’ or grandparents’ time. Today, these treatments, when administered by qualified professionals, are scientific, not guesswork. Doctors know exactly how much of anything can be given to you safely to do exactly what is supposed to be done and probably what the side effects or residual effects will be.”
“Be grateful that dedicated doctors and scientists discovered the treatments and perfected them so you are able to receive the benefits of them. Only a few years ago this was not possible. Because many people died previously, maybe you have a chance of beating cancer. Do everything your qualified doctor recommends to help save your life.”
“Don’t confuse inoperable with incurable. Maybe they sound somewhat alike, but they don’t mean anything similar. I was inoperable and here I am writing this book. Inoperable means that at the moment, in the opinion of the doctor who is examining you, it cannot be operated on. It does not mean that you cannot be successfully treated without surgery. Also, it does not mean that other treatments could not make you operable. In my case, radiation and chemotherapy reduced the size of the tumor to make it operable. In addition, it does not necessarily mean that another surgeon with more experience or skills could not successfully perform the surgery.”
“Furthermore, in my personal opinion, while surgery is properly given credit for many of those cured from cancer, I believe that failure to give additional treatments prior to or following surgery is responsible for many of the deaths from cancer. That is why I urge every patient to receive a qualified second opinion prior to any treatment or to confirm with a board-certified oncologist the surgeon’s statement that no further treatments are necessary.”
“Unfortunately at the time of diagnosis, about half of cancer patients already have spread of their disease beyond their original site, and the only therapy that has made in roads against these cancers is chemotherapy.”
“The importance of drugs is universally acknowledged now that cancer specialists realize that the disease is systemic, or body-wide, not confined to one site or tissue. In such cases, only treatments like drugs that can reach the nooks and crannies of the body wherever cancer cells may be hiding can be successful.
Cancer cells lose their ability to control their own growth. Normal cells know when to stop growing. If half of your liver is removed in an operation, for example, your liver will grow back. Once local repair is complete, growth stops.”
“By themselves, cancer cells are not usually destructive, but they keep proliferating in the body so that they eventually crowd out the normal tissue of organs. That’s what kills the patient. If the cancer is in the lungs, for example, the eventual replacement of healthy tissues by malignant cells interferes with breathing.
Many of the drugs and biological agents now being used are aimed at interfering with cancer cells’ reproduction rather than destroying them. In a sense, we want to give cancer cells the correct signal to stop growing and behave like normal cells. The drugs fall into several main categories.”
“Alkylating agents: The DNA of a cell is made up of chemical bases that must be duplicated and precisely paired when the cell divides. Alkylating agents interfere with this so the cell dies. Cytoxan is one of the alkylating agents.
Antimetabolites: These drugs resemble nutrients that the cell needs. When these chemicals are used to build DNA and other cell structures, DNA made with the chemotherapy does not work correctly, therefore causing the cell to die. Such agents include methotrexate, 5-FU and 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP).
Antibiotics: Some of these were discovered in research for new drugs to fight infections. They disrupt the synthesis of RNA, a substance the cell needs to make DNA. Two leading antibiotics in cancer therapy: bleomycin and adriamycin.
Plant alkaloids: Vincristine, vinblastine, and vinorelebine are derived from the periwinkle plant. They prevent the cell from reproducing by disrupting it during cell division. Taxol is made from the bark of the Pacific Yew tree and Taxotere from the leaves of the Pacific Yew tree. They are in a category called the “Taxanes.” Taxanes work by disrupting the dividing cell.”
“Topoisomerase inhibitors: Topoisomerase is an enzyme that helps DNA during cell division by fixing the breaks in the DNA strand. Topoisomerase inhibitors block that. The DNA strands cannot reform and the cells die. Drugs in this category include topotecan and irinotecan.
Tyrosine kinase inhibitors: These small molecules get into the cell and stop it from growing by shutting off the receptors on the cell surface. Drugs in this category include Gleevac, Tarceva, Tykerb and Sprycell.”
“Anti-angiogenesis: These are drugs that block angiogenesis, the development of new blood vessels. Solid tumors cannot grow beyond the size of a pinhead (1 to 2 cubic millimeters) without new blood vessels to supply the nutritional needs of the tumor. Without new blood vessels, the tumor’s supply of oxygen and nutrients are cut off; it cannot grow and spread to other parts of the body. Drugs in this category include Avastin, Sutent, and Nexavar.”
“However, it is given in such small doses that its prime mission is to damage the DNA of a malignant cell. The cell does not die instantly, but when it tries to divide, it is unable to and dies at that time. Therefore, radiation treatments continue to be effective on the tumor after the treatments are completed, often for 90 days and more. Sometimes, tumors shrink primarily after the therapy is finished.
Radiation treatments are normally given 5 days a week, not because the doctors don’t like to work on the weekends or have a strong union, but because during the other two days, normal healthy cells will repair the damage done to their DNA. Cancerous cells are unable to repair this damage.”
“IMMUNIZATION THERAPY: Some of the most exciting possibilities are offered by drugs that work in entirely different ways from the original three conventional treatments surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. One such approach is immunization therapy, using drugs that cause the body’s immune system to attack cancer just as it fights off infections. The concept is based on two theories. First, cancer cells can be perceived by the immune system as “foreign” and, with proper help, rejected. The second is that cancer victims have lost their natural powers of rejection because of their debilitating disease, so boosting their immune system will help them.”
“It seems that there are a number of substances that occur naturally in the body to maintain normal growth and development which may be utilized to stimulate the body’s natural defenses against cancer. The National Cancer Institute has established a special research program to explore intensively the therapeutic applications of these naturally occurring substances called “Biological Response Modifiers.”
HYPERTHERMIA: This is the process of heating a tumor approximately 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Hyperthermia can magnify the benefits of chemotherapy or radiation therapy several fold without much downside risk. It is generally done with a microwave-type mechanism. This in and of itself is capable of killing certain types of cancers. It can be done by warming a chemotherapy agent and bathing the tumor bed. This is called intraoperative hyperthermia.”
“PHOTODYNAMIC THERAPY: This was developed at Roswell Park Memorial Institute in Buffalo, New York, in the early 1970s. A nontoxic drug, Hpd, is injected and is absorbed by all cells. It sensitizes these cells to light. About three days later, an intense laser light is shined directly on the tumor, producing high-powered singlet oxygen inside the cell so reactive that it destroys the cancerous growth.
“MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES: They target a single receptor on a cell. These drugs, when they bind to the cell, program the cell to die or mark it for destruction by other cells. The surfaces of viruses, bacteria and even normal cells contain specific molecules that are called antigens. When they enter the body, these antigens or T-cells (fighter cells) trigger the B-cells (also fighter cells) which then turn into an antibody producing factory. Antibodies attach to the invading cells causing their destruction. All vaccines are made from antigens that induce the formation of antibodies in advance to ward off infectious diseases.”
“GENE THERAPY: Gene therapy has a particular potential application to cancer because there is a strong genetic basis to many cancers. Cancers often grow and spread because of the mutations in their genes. The cancer cells’ mutations may make them invisible to the immune system so they can’t be rejected, or the mutations may take away the growth controls built into all cells, resulting in their uncontrolled growth. Gene therapy puts genes into cancer cells to make them stimulate the immune system or to restore growth control.”
“Gene therapies are no longer experimental. Gleevac rearranges the chromosomes, getting rid of the Philadelphia Chromosome that causes Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. Herceptin (trastuzumab) and Tarceva (erlotinib) target the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor, shutting off stimulation of the nucleus so that the cell stops reproducing. Avastin (bevacizumab) targets Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptors, making it impossible for the tumor to stimulate growth of blood vessels. There are many new drugs in the “pipeline” that target genes or intracellular structures to stop the growth of cancer.
“But most important of all, we should use some plain good judgment. When you hear about a new cancer remedy that sounds simple and easy and that you can handle largely by yourself, recognize it for what it is. If it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly isn’t true."
RADICAL REMISSION- 12 THINGS TO CHANGE TO HAVE A BETTER CHANCE TO BEAT PANCREATIC CANCER
State of mind
1. Change the conditions under which the cancer thrives. Ex moldy basement. You could use bleach to get rid of the mold, but if you still have a wet basement with no sunlight, the mold will return
2. Illness is a blockage in the body mind or spirit that prevents movement. Illness is the degree of stress or tension that you have in your body. Remove the stress and the body starts to heal itself. Stress can come from toxins physical, mental or spiritual level
3. A body mind spirit connection exists and energy is the substance that permeates all three levels
4. Diet change. Yes to veggies. Little meat. Take out wheat sweets and dairy
5. Taking vitamin and herbal supplements
Curcumin, D3, B12, B6, K3, Beta Carotene, Vitamin A, Fish Oil, Magnesium and Melatonin. She recommended I stop calcium, Vitamin E, Vitamin C.
6. Release suppressed emotions. If you are in a constant state of fear, the immune system shuts down. Be like a waterfall and let things flow through you.
7. Increase positive emotions. No one says you have to be positive all the time. The more joy you can bring into your life, the better your immune system will work
8. Use your intuition
9. Deepen your spirituality and transcended experience. This feeling was achieved through prayer and meditation.
10. Take control of healing decisions
11. Have a strong will to live.
12. Increasing social support
4 CANCER MYTHS:
Myth #1- Cancer is Man-Made
The simple fact is that more people are living long enough to develop cancer because of our success in tackling infectious diseases and other historical causes of death such as malnutrition. It’s perfectly normal for DNA damage in our cells to build up as we age, and such damage can lead to cancer developing.
Myth 2: Superfoods Prevent Cancer
That’s not to say you shouldn’t think about what you eat. Some foods are clearly healthier than others. The odd blueberry or mug of green tea certainly could be part of a healthy, balanced diet. Stocking up on fruits and veg is a great idea, and eating a range of different veg is helpful too, but the specific vegetables you choose doesn’t really matter.
Our bodies are complex and cancer is too, so it’s gross oversimplification to say that any one food, on its own, could have a major influence over your chance of developing cancer.
Myth 3: ‘Acidic’ Diets Cause Cancer
Cancer cells create an acidic microenvironment due to a high metabolic rate. Cancer cells can’t live in a highly alkaline environment, but neither can healthy cells. Your body works to keep pH levels constant, and changing your diet is not going to substantially change the pH levels of your blood, which are tightly regulated by the kidneys and lungs regardless of foods consumed.
-The pH of bodily fluids, such as saliva and urine, does change temporarily depending on the foods you eat, but that doesn’t affect blood pH levels (or, hence, the environment of cancer cells in the body).
We know that the immediate environment around cancer cells (the microenvironment) can become acidic. This is due to differences in the way that tumours create energy and use oxygen compared with healthy tissue. Researchers are working hard to understand how this happens, in order to develop more effective cancer treatments.
But there’s no good evidence to prove that diet can manipulate whole body pH, or that it has an impact on cancer.
Myth 4: Cancer has a Sweet Tooth.
This is an unhelpful oversimplification of a highly complex area that we’re only just starting to understand.
‘Sugar’ is a catch-all term. It refers to a range of molecules including simple sugars found in plants, glucose and fructose. The white stuff in the bowl on your table is called sucrose and is made from glucose and fructose stuck together. All sugars are carbohydrates, commonly known as carbs – molecules made from carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.
Carbs – whether from cake or a carrot – get broken down in our digestive system to release glucose and fructose. These get absorbed into the bloodstream to provide energy for us to live.
All our cells, cancerous or not, use glucose for energy. Because cancer cells are usually growing very fast compared with healthy cells, they have a particularly high demand for this fuel. There’s also evidence that they use glucose and produce energy in a different way from healthy cells.
But all this doesn’t mean that sugar from cakes, sweets and other sugary foods specifically feeds cancer cells, as opposed to any other type of carbohydrate. Our body doesn’t pick and choose which cells get what fuel. It converts pretty much all the carbs we eat to glucose, fructose and other simple sugars, and they get taken up by tissues when they need energy.
While it’s very sensible to limit sugary foods as part of an overall healthy diet and to avoid putting on weight, that’s a far cry from saying that sugary foods specifically feed cancer cells.
Both the ‘acidic diet’ and ‘sugar feeds cancer’ myths distort sensible dietary advice – of course, nobody is saying that eating a healthy diet doesn’t matter when it comes to cancer. You can read about the scientific evidence on diet and cancer on our website.
But dietary advice must be based on nutritional and scientific fact. When it comes to offering diet tips to reduce cancer risk, research shows that the same boring healthy eating advice still holds true. Fruit, vegetables, fibre, white meat and fish are good. Too much fat, salt, sugar, red or processed meat and alcohol are less so.
Even if one believed sugar feeds cancer, although it might sound logical that eliminating sugar from one’s diet could then stop cancer cells from growing, that’s biologically not how our bodies use food. All food energy — regardless of its source — is converted into identical simple sugars that our bodies use for energy to function. Similarly, our bodies use the same chemical nutrients from foods - regardless of their source. Just like healthy cells, cancer cells don’t care where the sugar comes from. And if you stopped eating completely, your body would then start tearing down fat and muscle stores for energy, but it wouldn’t stop the cancer until you died of starvation. Please don't try this. Following this faulty logic would seriously endanger the life and chances of a cancer patient who needs greater nutritional intakes, not more restrictive diets.
The sugar-cancer fear has the veneer of science, fueled by reports made to appear scientific. Like all food fears, this one is nothing new. Each time it’s been debunked, it resurfaces using a different technique or elaborate theory attempting to convince us that it is based on science.
The root of this myth is experiments by German scientist, Otto Warburg, Ph.D., who won the 1931 Nobel laureate in medicine. He reported that cancer cells produced lactate from glucose in the presence of oxygen, where normal cells produced lactate from glucose in the absence of oxygen. This observation led him to conclude that energy metabolism in cancer cells was different and was misinterpreted to mean that dietary “sugar feeds cancer.” By 1961, scientific research had identified the metabolic pathways in all cells and shown that energy metabolism is the same as those in cancer cells, but the myth was born.
But there is no truth to the rumor that sugar causes cancer, or that people with cancer shouldn’t eat sugar because it causes cancer to grow faster, said Dr. Timothy Moynihan, M.D., a cancer specialist at Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota. He debunked this popular misconception in a recent article, explaining:
Sugar doesn't make cancer grow faster. All cells, including cancer cells, depend on blood sugar (glucose) for energy. But giving more sugar to cancer cells doesn't speed their growth. Likewise, depriving cancer cells of sugar doesn't slow their growth.
This misconception may be based in part on a misunderstanding of positron emission tomography (PET) scans. Doctors use PET scans to help determine the location of a tumor and see if it has spread. During a PET scan, your doctor injects a small amount of radioactive tracer — typically a form of glucose — into your body. All tissues in your body absorb some of this tracer. But tissues that are using more energy — exhibiting increased metabolic activity — absorb greater amounts.
Tumors are often more metabolically active than healthy tissues. As a result, they may absorb greater amounts of the tracer. For this reason, some people have concluded that cancer cells grow faster on sugar. But this isn't true.
DIET AND CANCER
Diet is an extremely critical part of the successful treatment of cancer. However, a couple words of caution before you go off the deep end. Don’t confuse the recommended diet for avoiding cancer with the recommendations for helping cure cancer. There is absolutely no relationship. Books have been written on diet to prevent cancer. That is not what we are concerned with here. You have cancer, and you want to recover.
The critical part of diet is to eat a well-balanced diet to help maintain your strength so that your own body is capable of aiding the medical treatments in doing their job
“Often, patients lose their appetite due to the treatments or to the disease itself. In this case, it is important, even critical, to force yourself to eat a sufficient and well-balanced diet to give your system proper nourishment. This is no time to even think about dieting. Try your best to maintain your weight.”
“For those whose treatments make it difficult or impossible to eat, health professionals will encourage any intake of food which provides calories, even if that means a diet of ice cream sodas.
The second word of caution is to look carefully at any purported cure that is based on a specific diet. Where, other than psychologically, is the potential benefit? I have looked in depth into such fad cures as macrobiotics, megadoses of certain vitamins, coffee enemas and even Laetrile. They are appealing to an individual who has been denied hope by a physician or a person who does not want to work within the “medical system and is looking for the easy way. Believe me, if it were there, it would be well documented. There would be many more successes than those who were cured by spontaneous remission or psychotherapy. Don’t get me wrong. Spontaneous remission and psychotherapy are wonderful, but they can be more often successful, in my opinion, when applied with conventional medical treatments than alternative therapies.
Researchers believe that the mechanisms at work in response to hopefulness are identical to those involved with placebos. If you believe that a treatment for an ailment will be helpful, you are much more likely to benefit from it.”
“The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council, in a publication entitled Toward Healthful Diets, stated, “Sound nutrition is not a panacea. Good food that provides appropriate proportions of nutrients should not be regarded as a poison, a medicine, or a talisman. It should be eaten and enjoyed.” What upset many was the board’s conclusion that there was no specific dietary advice appropriate for all.”
“Many people today have unrealistic notions about what nutrition can accomplish. Certain enthusiasts even claim nutrition can cure cancer.
Nutrition does play an important role in the prevention and treatment of cancer, but it is not a cure-all. This view is supported by Dr. Richard Rivlin of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/ Weill Cornell Medical Center. “It is a tragedy when nutrition is viewed as the sole means of prevention and treatment of cancer, particularly when established methods of attacking the disease by surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy are abandoned for the illusory benefits of a ‘holistic approach’ using nutrition exclusively,” said Dr. Rivlin.
He added, “Nutrition is an important adjunct to any treatment plan, one that has often not been utilized enough, but nutrition should not be expected to do the job entirely on its own.”
Nutrition is essential while a patient receives drug and radiation therapy. One technique, called hyper-alimentation, involves intravenous feeding with a concentrated solution of nutrients that enables the patient to maintain weight without eating. This keeps a patient strong enough to fight the disease.
Careful scientific studies have shown that “organic” diets, coffee enemas, megadoses of certain vitamins, and the use of Laetrile or pangamic acid are of no value in the treatment of cancer. As a matter of fact, megadoses of certain vitamins such as A, D, E and K can be damaging. Laetrile, in particular, is harmful because its cyanide content can be quite toxic.”
“While vitamin C has been demonstrated in controlled tests to have no benefit in fighting cancer, many people ask about it. Possibly, this is because Linus Pauling, who won a Nobel Prize in a completely unrelated field, recommends it highly. My advice to you is to talk to your physician. Under certain circumstances, it could counteract the beneficial effects of a particular cancer drug.”
“Nutrition is an important consideration to every cancer patient; however, it provides the best results only when approached with realistic expectations. Eat a well-balanced diet sufficient to maintain your strength and follow your qualified physician’s advice.
“But this young woman said she knew her mother would make it because she believed a miracle would happen. It was my opinion that miracles or luck don’t just happen, you have to make them happen. It is hard work that will give her mother a chance. She must find competent psychological assistance to convince her mother of the problem and to do everything”
“Being told you have cancer is like being hit by a truck. In a few seconds, the course of your life is altered. Shock! Fear! Guilt! Anger! Bewilderment! These are reactions of many cancer patients when told they have cancer”
“Set goals and have someone or something to live for. You will feel much better about yourself, and it will help you cope with your treatment.
12. Not minimizing the pain, stress and fear that accompany cancer and its treatment, it is a fact that everything does not necessarily have to be negative. It is possible that through this illness you can learn to live a better and fuller life.”
Four Big Nutritional No-No's
From Tony Horton, Founder of P90X and author of “The Big Picture.”
If you’re looking for optimal health, you need to let your diet bend and sway a little, not get caught up in the latest trendy diets. There are diets to cure this or that, diets to loose weight, diets that involve high amounts of fat, low or no carbs, etc. Whatever you are trying to accomplish, here are 4 nutritional no-no's regardless of your goals. The goal should be to have optimal health your whole life, not just for a period of time or to get that beach body for that one trip you have been planning.
SO HERE ARE THE FOUR BIG NUTRITIONAL NO-NOs:
1. REFINED FLOUR. Whether grains are necessary in your diet is a subject of debate, but if you do eat grains, make them whole. This means the husk and bran are left on the grain, and that’s where you find all the fiber and nutrients. Refined grains strip these two elements off, leaving just the endosperm, which is basically a nutrient-free blob of carbohydrates. If you want extra credit, eat sprouted grains, like you’ll find in Ezekiel bread. They neutralize “antinutrients” such as phytic acid that many people, particularly paleo experts, feel make grains a poor food choice. Sprouting also increases the potency of the nutrients in the grains.
2. REFINED SUGAR. I have yet to meet a nutrition expert who likes refined sugar. Studies link the stuff to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, and even cancer. There are times when a little refined sugar can be used as targeted sports nutrition, such as after an intense workout to restore blood sugar and glycogen, but other than that, you should run, not walk, away from this poison.
3. ADDITIVES AND PRESERVATIVES. Start reading the ingredient lists on the back of snack foods. Acesulfame potassium? Sodium nitrate? Red 3? You know what that stuff is? Poison basically. I love what Tony Horton says in his book the "Big Picture." He says, "what would you do if, next Thanksgiving, your uncle Morty plopped a bowl of white powder on the table and said, “Here’s a little butylated hydroxyanisole. Enjoy!” Would you eat it? I doubt it."
4. CONVENTIONAL MEATS. The reason these made this list has nothing to do with animal rights. The truth is, you are what you eat. Battery hens and standard feedlot cattle are fed a cocktail of hormones to increase their meatiness. They’re also fed antibiotics to keep them healthy in dank, stressful conditions. Then you buy the meat, you barbecue it, you eat it, and—and guess who’s consuming that cocktail now? If you have eaten beef your entire life, it is going to be hard to give up the tender bloody juiciness of a good cooked steak, but just limit your intake and if you do eat meat, make it grass fed and organic.
Source: "The Big Picture" by Tony Horton
Educational guide about veterans and asbestos health: