Most of us think about leaving our loved ones a legacy. We want the people we love to have something tangible to remember us by when we’re gone. Cancer simply truncates the time line, compelling us to face end-of-life thoughts today rather than several decades in the future. Many cancer patients find comfort and satisfaction in creating a lasting family legacy. Focusing on the people and events that have touched your life also promotes a positive attitude that enhances the healing effects of Issels advanced alternative cancer treatments.
As we noted in our last post, family legacies can take many different forms, here is another idea:
Create a family cookbook. Collect favorite family recipes. You can include recipes from other family members, but be sure to include the recipes for all of your children’s favorite foods, even if they came from cookbooks. Your children may not know that mom’s fabulous sugar cookies came from a Betty Crocker cookbook or that the recipe for their favorite chocolate chip cookies is printed on the chocolate chip package.
And don’t forget to write down recipes for foods you whip up without thinking. That you add cinnamon and vanilla to the milk and eggs when you make French toast or that sour cream is the magic ingredient in your smooth-as-silk mashed potatoes are tricks that will allow your children to recreate for their families the favorite foods of their youth.
Consider personalizing your cookbook by adding recollections and photos. Have your cookbook printed and bound at a local copy service like Staples or Kinko’s or through an online publisher like Blurb.
With advances in both traditional and alternative cancer treatments, your odds of beating cancer are better than ever before. But cancer can take a tragic turn and it is only human to consider worst case scenarios when you receive a cancer diagnosis. Even when alternative cancer treatments achieve long-term remission as they have for many Issels’ patients, a brush with cancer is a reminder that life is fragile and our time on Earth is limited.
Creating a legacy of happy memories to leave your family can help cancer patients maintain a positive attitude during treatment. Focusing on your family can also reinforce your determination to keep fighting and search for new solutions in advanced alternative cancer treatments when traditional cancer protocols fail.
Creating a lasting family legacy can be fun and rewarding. Here are three suggestions to try:
Create a family photo book. The modern incarnation of the family scrapbook, bound family photo books can be easily creating on a number of websites. Shutterfly.com and Blurb.com are particularly popular for their easy-to-use templates and step-by-step instructions. Customizable pages allow you to upload and place photos and add descriptive text or comments. To create a meaningful legacy your family will cherish, use text blocks to share family stories and personal observations or impart words of wisdom for the next generation.
Create a family tree. Too often family history is lost with the passing of family elders. Genealogy websites such as ancestry.com can aid you in researching your family tree. Bring your family tree to life by adding family photos and annotating entries with family stories and recollections. Present your family tree in a bound book (see above) or collaborate with a talented family member to illustrate the data so it can be framed.
Frequent and liberal application of broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF has been proven to help prevent skin cancer (click the link for full details), but there are also certain foods that can boost your body’s natural ability to protect itself against skin cancer. If you are a skin cancer or melanoma survivor, adding these foods to your diet may help increase your protection against recurring incidents of skin cancer.
Grapes have been found to offer strong natural protection against the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays which are a primary cause of skin cancer. Researchers at the University of Barcelona in Spain discovered that naturally-occurring compounds in grapes called flavonoids protect skin cells from UV radiation.
Milk Thistle contains the plant extract silibinin which University of Colorado researchers at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences have found has the ability to kill skin cells that have been mutated by UVA radiation, the type that causes skin cancer. If they do not die, mutated cells typically turn cancerous. Silibinin also protects the skin from sunburn-causing UVB radiation, offering a double-dose of protection.
Strawberries have photo-protective properties that offer natural UV ray protection, according to a study conducted at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Italy. These berries also contain powerful antioxidants that promote cell survival and minimize DNA damage.
Coffee lowered the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer by 11% in a study conducted by researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit. The more coffee you drink, the greater the protection. In the study, drinking 6 cups of coffee boosted skin cancer protection to 36%. Researchers suspect caffeine kills sun-damaged cells.
With all the publicity breast cancer and prostate cancer receive, many people assume they are the top cancer killers in the U.S. While breast and prostate cancers are the two most frequently diagnosed cancers, lung cancer, only third in number of diagnoses, actually kills twice as many people as its more common cousins.
Current and former smokers comprise the majority of lung cancer victims, but non-smokers are also at risk, particularly if they have lived with a smoker or worked in a smoke-filled environment. In some cases, the dangers of second-hand smoke can elevate cancer risk to the same level of cigarette smokers.
The bad news for lung cancer victims is that the 15% 5-year survival rate has remained unchanged over the past four decades, despite the tremendous progress in cancer diagnosis and treatment that has resulted in greatly improved cancer survival rates for many other types of cancer.
Symptoms that mimic common respiratory illnesses and the late arrival of symptoms make early detection of lung cancer difficult. Researchers have been working to develop better screening procedures that could prompt earlier lung cancer discovery and treatment. At Stanford University, researchers have had some success using a lung CT scan to diagnose lung cancer. Among study participants, early detection improved lung cancer survival rates by 20%, but the high level of false positives (95%) remains problematic.
Actress Valerie Harper will share her battle with cancer in an NBC prime time documentary to air later this year. Valerie won viewers’ hearts in the 1970s as feisty Rhoda Morgenstern, first on the Mary Tyler Moore Show and then on the spinoff Rhoda. First diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, a recurrence spread to her brain. In March, the 73-year-old actress was diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare and terminal cancer of brain membrane.
Hoping to encourage other cancer victims to keep fighting, Valerie granted documentary camera crews unprecedented access to her daily struggle with cancer. The camera follows Valerie as she discusses traditional and alternative cancer treatments with doctors, undergoes experimental treatments and weathers cancer’s ups and downs with her husband and daughter.
“I can’t say it’s terminal,” Valerie has said. “I’m saying it’s incurable so far, but we’re all terminal. No one is getting out of this alive. The key is, don’t go to the funeral until the day of the funeral.”
Cancer research has made tremendous leaps just in the past decade. New genetic research is expanding our understanding of cancer and how it attacks the body, holding promise for the development of new and more efficient cancer treatment and delivery systems. However, it is our body’s own immune system that most cancer experts believe holds the ultimate key to developing a cure for cancer. A proven treatment protocol, immunotherapy is believed to offer the most promising path to a cancer cure.
For more than 60 years, Issels Integrative Oncology has been a leader in the use of immunotherapy to treat cancer. Click here to review our cancer case studies.
A breakthrough British study has identified cell behavior that researchers at University College London believe explains why cancer spreads. Aptly called “chase and run” by its discoverers, the mechanism describes the interesting interaction between healthy and diseased cells in the body.
The discovery is expected to aid in the development of new and even more effective immunotherapy treatments for cancer. But the British researchers have even higher expectations for their discovery. They believe they are on the path to finding an immunobiologic cure for cancer.
The study has identified what researchers call the “chase and run” effect in which diseased and healthy cells chase each other around the body. When cancer is present, it is believed that this game of cellular tag promotes the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. The British researchers believe that it should be “fairly easy” to stop the chase and run effect and keep tumors in one place.
If their theory proves true, it could revolutionize cancer therapy, making it easier to treat and remove cancer tumors.
“‘Most deaths are not due to the formation of the primary tumor.” study spokesman Roberto Mayor told the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail. “Instead, people die from secondary tumors originating from the first malignant cells, which are able to travel and colonize vital organs of the body such as the lungs or the brain. This happens because the cells get healthy ones to follow them.”
The study was conducted on frog embryos, not cancer cells so additional research will be required; but the initial findings are promising.