Category Archives: Living with Cancer

Tips for Lowering Your Stress Levels While in Cancer Treatment

Taking a Deep Breath and Seeking Help Can Really Help Take Stress Down a Notch.
Taking a Deep Breath and Seeking Help Can Really Help Take Stress Down a Notch.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, stress relief is more important than ever for your quality of life. A recent study found that relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation actually produce molecular changes that counteract depression.

The Immune System in Overdrive

When stress triggers the familiar “fight-or-flight” reaction, it also boosts production of a molecule called NF-kB. This molecule in turn stimulates genes to produce cytokines, which are proteins that cause inflammation as part of the immune system response.

In the short term, this process is helpful in battling infections and other common ailments. Problems arise when the pro-inflammatory gene expression is chronic, leading to higher cancer risk along with accelerated aging and mental disorders such as depression.

Exploring the Mind-Body Connection

The study from the Universities of Coventry and Radboud, published in Frontiers in Immunology, examined gene behavior in 846 participants over a span of 11 years. Principle focus was the effect of mind-body interventions (MBIs) such as yoga, tai chi and meditation.

Results showed that regular practice of MBIs caused reduced production of NF-kB and cytokines. This decrease reversed the pro-inflammatory gene expression pattern, with a corresponding reduction in the risk of inflammation-related conditions.

According to lead researcher Ivana Buric, the process leaves a “molecular signature” that reverses the effects of stress and anxiety. MBIs can change the genetic code to follow a path toward health and well-being.

Immunotherapy for Cancer: A Personalized Approach

No two cases of cancer are the same. Contact us to learn how Issels® uses individually developed immunotherapy for cancer programs to help patients of all ages and all forms of cancer.

Cancer Caregiver Tips: Talking About Cancer with Your Loved One

Cancer Caregiver Tips: Talking About Cancer with Your Loved One
Cancer Caregiver Tips: Talking About Cancer with Your Loved One

Are you a cancer caregiver who’s tiptoeing around your loved one because you’re afraid of saying the wrong thing? Use these tips to guide your conversations in positive and helpful directions.

Tips for Talking to a Cancer Patient

  • Don’t stress about coming up with the perfect words. This is a new situation for both of you. If you don’t know what to say, be honest about it. Your loved one will let you know what he or she needs.
  • Keep the focus on the patient. You’re there to help them, not the other way around. Talk to another friend or family member if you need a sounding board.
  • Avoid clichés or dismissive comments like “You’ll be fine” or “At least you got the ‘good’ cancer.” Of course you don’t want to be a source of doom and gloom, but minimizing the situation doesn’t make the patient feel any better.
  • Every case of cancer is different. Don’t bring up friends, family members or acquaintances and compare their situations.
  • Don’t ask for details about their cancer treatment such as blood test results or possible side effects. Let them share information if they like, but respect their personal boundaries.
  • Sometimes no words are necessary. Your loved one might want you to provide a sympathetic ear, or may prefer a period of silence. Be willing to graciously accommodate their wishes.

Personalized Cancer Treatment from Issels®

Your experience with cancer is unique, so your treatment should be also. Visit our website to learn more about cancer vaccines and other individually tailored and integrative immunotherapy for cancer treatments.

Cancer Caregivers: What to Expect When You Step Into the Role

Cancer Caregivers: What to Expect When You Step Into the Role
Cancer Caregivers: What to Expect When You Step Into the Role

Cancer brings major changes to the life of a patient, but becoming a caregiver can be equally challenging. Here’s some information to help you prepare for your tough but rewarding new role.

Tips for Becoming a Cancer Caregiver

1. Ask for Help

No matter how invested you are in the job, you won’t be able to do it all. Don’t feel guilty about enlisting help as needed.

2. Be Prepared to Hear “No”

Not everyone will be willing to assist, even those who make a vague offer to help. Instead of passing judgment and letting resentment build up, either talk to the person about what’s bothering them or simply let it go.

3. Take Care of Your Own Health

You won’t be much help if you’re feeling tired and run-down. Make time to relax and enjoy some of your favorite activities.

4. Maintain Your Regular Routine

Follow your own daily routine as much as possible. You’ll have to make some concessions of your time, but stress can build up if the disconnect from your normal life is too great.

5. Create a Support Network

Despite your good intentions, caring for a cancer patient is bound to cause occasional thoughts of frustration, anger and fear. Talk about your feelings with a family member or close friend. You might also consider seeing a therapist or joining a support group.

Personally Tailored Immunotherapy for Cancer at Issels®

No two cancer patients have the same needs from caregivers or treatment, so our integrative immunotherapy for cancer programs are created for each individual’s case. Visit our website for more information.

Tips for Coping with Body Changes While in Cancer Treatment

Coping with Body Changes While in Cancer Treatment
Coping with Body Changes While in Cancer Treatment

While cancer’s most serious impact is on your health, it can also affect the way you look and feel about yourself. Here are some tips on maintaining a positive self-image while undergoing immunotherapy for cancer or other treatment.

Internal and External Changes Caused by Cancer

Everyone’s cancer is different, and so are the side effects you experience. Common body changes, short-term or long-term, include:

Loss of hair

• Scars or other changes in skin

• Fluctuations in weight

• Loss of body parts (limbs, breasts, appendages)

• Loss of fertility

How to Cope with Body Changes

• Grieving is an essential step in dealing with any type of loss. Feeling sad or angry is human, not weak. Give yourself time.

• Coping with cancer can actually have a positive influence on mental and emotional characteristics such as strength and wisdom. Focus on and appreciate the aspects that have improved.

• Be good to yourself. Buy new clothes, experiment with a new hair style or color, try out some different makeup. Continue to take pride in your external appearance and eventually your internal mindset will catch up.

• Stay busy with physical activities, hobbies or volunteering.

• Body changes can cause physical and emotional roadblocks regarding sex and intimacy. Don’t be embarrassed to talk to your doctor for help. These problems can often be resolved.

At Issels®, Each Patient Is Special

We understand that your situation isn’t like that of anyone else. Our immunotherapy for cancer treatments are individually tailored to address your unique needs. Contact us today to learn why Issels® is a leader in state-of-the-art immunotherapy for cancer programs.

Taking Care of Yourself: Stress-Reduction Techniques Help with Cancer Pain Management

Reduce Stress

Patients undergoing cancer treatment come to understand the close connection between their mental and physical well-being. Some people are turning to a 95-year-old Japanese stress-reduction technique to relieve the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.

An Old Answer to a Current Problem

Reiki is a relaxation method that has been compared to “acupuncture without the needles.” While the patient lies flat, a Reiki practitioner places her hands on crucial areas of the body to improve the flow of energy and promote healing.

Many cancer patients who have undergone Reiki find that it helps them cope with anxiety, nausea and other common side effects of treatment. Some have talked about experiencing an overall feeling of calmness.

A Cancer Patient Speaks About Her Experience with Reiki

When Lewisburg, PA resident Erin Yust Brown was diagnosed with breast cancer, she recalled the comments of fellow yoga students regarding the benefits of Reiki. As Brown explains, the process treats the whole body as one, as opposed to the more limited approach of cancer treatment.

Brown’s practitioner, Nancy Giutini, refers to Reiki as “energy medicine” and uses the same methods that date back to its origin. Giutini emphasizes that Reiki is not a cure, but it’s been found to help patients by providing pain management and stress relief.

Personalized and Integrative Cancer Treatment at Issels®

Just as Reiki addresses the needs of the body as a whole, our immunotherapy cancer treatments focus on enhancing the body’s natural defenses. Contact us today to learn more about how we have helped a remarkable number of cancer patients achieve long-term remission.

 

Taking Care of Yourself: Important Safety Reminders About Your Cancer-Compromised Immune System

Keep in Mind Your Immune System

When you’re undergoing cancer treatment, it demands the full attention of your immune system, leaving the door open for bacteria and other germs to sneak in. Use these food-handling tips to reduce the risk of disease and infection.

Food Preparation

  • Wash hands thoroughly with warm, soapy water before and after food prep and before eating.
  • Keep foods at the proper temperature. Hot foods should be above 140° F, while cold foods should be below 40° F.
  • Don’t thaw proteins at room temperature. Use a microwave or place them in the refrigerator with a pan to catch drips.
  • Defrosted foods should be used right away and never refrozen.
  • Don’t take chances. If any foods look, feel or smell strange, dispose of them immediately.
  • Wash produce under running water using a vegetable scrubber. Don’t use soaps, bleaches or other chemical cleaning products.

Cooking

  • Always use a clean spoon when tasting foods while cooking.
  • Don’t guess when cooking meat. Use a food thermometer for accuracy. Beef should be cooked to 160° F while poultry should be cooked to 180° F.
  • If your microwave doesn’t have a turntable, rotate the dish a quarter-turn a couple of times during cooking to ensure that food is evenly heated.
  • When reheating leftovers, cover food with a lid or plastic wrap and stir frequently.

Immunotherapy at Issels®: Personalized Non-Toxic Cancer Treatment

Our immunotherapy treatment programs are designed to boost your immune system, allowing it to fight cancer naturally. Visit our website to learn more about how our state-of-the-art cancer treatment has helped many patients achieve long-term remission.