Tag Archives: Living With Cancer

Tips for Coping with a New Cancer Diagnosis

Do you Have or Know Someone Who is Currently Experiencing a Hard to Treat Cancer? There is Hope!
Do you Have or Know Someone Who is Currently Experiencing a Hard to Treat Cancer? There is Hope!

When you receive a diagnosis of cancer, your mental and emotional adjustment can make a difference during your course of immuno oncology treatment. Unfortunately, most people have no frame of reference for coping with such news.

The American Cancer Society offers helpful tips for coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis and continuing to live life to the fullest.

Follow Your Own Path

Your situation is unique. Others may offer ideas of what has worked for them, but don’t feel obligated to follow them to the letter. View these tips as suggestions and try out different methods to find your own best solution.

Learn About Your Cancer

Knowledge is power. The unknown is often more frightening than the reality, so take time to educate yourself about your type of cancer and the various treatment options that are available.

Stay Active

The link between exercise and mood is well-documented. Physical activity stimulates production of endorphins, which are natural mood elevators. Consult with your doctor to make sure you’re not overdoing it.

Let Your Feelings Out

Many people believe that fear, anger and other negative emotions must remain hidden, but that can make your situation even harder to bear. Talk to friends and family, join a support group or try an artistic outlet such as writing or painting.

Be Kind to Yourself

Make a point each day of doing something that makes you happy, whether it’s meeting a friend for lunch or simply meditating for 15 minutes.

Issels®: Immuno Oncology Personally Created for You

Our non-toxic immunotherapy programs are individually designed to meet your specific needs. Contact us to learn more.

Cancer Treatment and the Impact on Cognitive Ability

Immunotherapy is Changing Cancer Treatment Again in Exciting New Ways
Cancer Treatment and the Impact on Cognitive Ability

Effective cancer treatment sometimes involves dealing with side effects and secondary symptoms. Here are some things you need to know about the possible effects of cancer and its treatment on cognitive abilities.

What Is Cognition?

Simply put, cognition is “the mental process of learning and understanding.” Cognitive thinking is what allows you to focus, process new information, solve problems, perceive spatial relationships and communicate via speaking and writing.

Cognitive Problems Related to Cancer

Problems involving learning and memory are common signs of cognitive impairment due to cancer. Specific problems can include:

– Inability to complete tasks

– Failure to recognize familiar objects

– Loss of focus and concentration

– Difficulty with money management, such as paying bills

– Lack of motivation

– Disorganized behavior and/or thinking

Other Factors Contributing to Cognitive Problems

States of mental and physical well-being are deeply intertwined. Cancer patients and survivors may find that the following issues also impact cognitive abilities:

– Age

– Overall weakness or frailty

– Drug and alcohol use

Chemotherapy and other cancer treatment

– Other diseases or illnesses

– Being postmenopausal

Restoring Cognitive Abilities

Researchers are studying the use of certain drugs in treating cognitive problems, but a pharmaceutical solution is still in the future. Many patients have found these natural methods to be helpful:

– Movement therapy, such as tai chi or yoga, that emphasizes the mind-body connection

– Learning new ways to absorb information

– Using calendars, tech devices or other tools to stay organized

– Activities such as gardening or caring for pets that establish focus

Integrative Non-Toxic Cancer Treatment at Issels®

Our personalized cancer treatment methods avoid the common side effects that can affect your overall wellness. Contact us for more information.

Living with Cancer – the New Normal for Some Patients

Living with Cancer - the New Normal for Some Patients
Living with Cancer – the New Normal for Some Patients

Not so long ago, a diagnosis of cancer was the worst news a patient could hear. Flash forward to today when, thanks to remarkable improvements in cancer treatment, patients are learning to live with the disease as their “new normal.”

Liz Burke: One Woman’s Story

In TheJournal.ie, an Irish news website, a woman named Liz Burke shared her experiences in honor of Daffodil Day, a fundraiser for the Irish Cancer Society. Liz was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007.

After a lumpectomy, Liz underwent a course of chemotherapy followed by another of radiotherapy. She demonstrated her sense of humor by relating a story about purchasing a wig to cover her baldness and finding it one day in the mouth of her Jack Russell terrier.

Two years later, Liz’s doctor discovered that breast cancer cells had metastasized to her liver. This triggered another nine months of chemotherapy followed by two years of maintenance, but the good news is that the tumors became inactive.

Finally, one more blow. After five years, the breast cancer metastasized again, this time resulting in a brain tumor. Liz had surgery to remove the tumor and radiotherapy treatment afterwards.

“People Survive Cancer”

These days Liz follows a regular schedule of MRIs, CT scans and weekly infusions. Her message? “People can live quite happily alongside cancer.” Liz believes we’re lucky to live in a time when so much progress is being made with new and effective cancer treatment.

Issels®: There IS Life After Cancer

Many of our patients at Issels® have similar stories of hope and recovery. Visit our website to read and hear their testimonials.

New Research Shows Alcohol Use Increases Cancer Risks

Doctors have long cautioned against poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking, that increase the risk of cancer. In a study that may hold implications related to immunotherapy for cancer, scientists have discovered how alcohol use causes DNA damage in cells.

Harmful Effects of Alcohol on DNA

Cancer Research UK partially funded a study conducted by a research team at Cambridge. After mice were given diluted alcohol, also known as ethanol, they experienced genetic damage as a result of acetaldehyde that forms when the body processes alcohol.

Using chromosome analysis and DNA sequencing, the researchers found that acetaldehyde causes DNA within blood stem cells to break. Once the chromosomes rearrange, the DNA sequences are permanently changed.

According to Professor Ketan Patel, lead author of the study, DNA-damaged stem cells can lead to the development of cancer. This damage is sometimes random, but consumption of alcohol increases the risk.

Can Alcohol-Related DNA Damage Be Prevented?

The body uses enzymes called ALDH as well as DNA repair systems to protect against alcohol-related damage. In the study, mice who lacked essential ALDH suffered four times the amount of DNA damage as mice with the enzyme, indicating that faulty defense mechanisms increase the risk.

Professor Patel warned that even intact alcohol defenses are no guarantee against developing cancer. In addition, Professor Linda Bauld of Cancer Research UK pointed out that alcohol contributes to more than 12,000 cancer cases in the UK each year.

Non-Toxic Immunotherapy for Cancer at Issels®

Our integrative programs are individually created to include gene-targeted therapies and other treatments that address a patient’s specific needs. Contact us for more information.

Some Types of Immunotherapy Can Cause Serious Side Effects

Some Types of Immunotherapy Can Cause Serious Side Effects
Some Types of Immunotherapy Can Cause Serious Side Effects

In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two new forms of cancer immunotherapy for use with certain types of blood cancer. While these treatments show great promise, scientists are also working to control their potential side effects.

Cancer Immunotherapy and CAR T-cells

Kymriah from Novartis is designed to treat a form of leukemia known as ALL, which is the most common cancer that affects children. The other new treatment, Kite Pharma’s Yescarta, is for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Both treatments incorporate CAR T-cell therapy, which uses the power of the body’s immune system. Specialized white blood cells known as T-cells are removed from a patient’s body and engineered to include a receptor designed to identify and attack cancer cells. The “new” cells are replicated and reintroduced to the patient’s system.

Dealing with Side Effects

Kymriah and Yescarta are one-time-only procedures that don’t have the common side effects normally associated with chemotherapy and radiation. But scientists have discovered that the treatments have some potential side effects of their own.

CAR T-cell therapy essentially supercharges the immune system, which can result in cytokine-release syndrome. The cells under attack release proteins called cytokines, setting off a massive inflammatory response including extreme fevers and seriously low blood pressure.

Fortunately, the side effects can be managed in a hospital or clinical setting. Researchers are seeking a way to make the therapies useable in a variety of settings.

State-of-the-Art Cancer Immunotherapy from Issels®

Our non-toxic, personalized cancer immunotherapy programs have helped numbers of patients achieve and maintain long-term remission. Contact us to learn more about Issels® and our record of successful cancer treatment.

Dealing with Family Members Who Don’t Agree to Your Treatment Choices

Dealing with Family Members Who Don't Agree to Your Treatment Choices
Dealing with Family Members Who Don’t Agree to Your Treatment Choices

Whether you opt for cancer immunotherapy or more traditional treatment methods, some family members may disagree with your choices. With open and honest communication, you can all work together to make sure you get the support you need.

Tips for Discussing Cancer Treatment

When a family member objects to your chosen form of cancer treatment, it’s usually caused by concern for you and fear of the unknown. Experts suggest the following tips for maintaining productive and positive discussions.

– As the patient, you are the one who will be directly affected, so your wishes should be considered first. You should also feel free to change your mind if circumstances change or you get new information.

Talk about your priorities in choosing a particular course of treatment. Knowing what’s important to you will help others understand your decision.

– People may be uncomfortable talking about cancer and treatment options for a wide variety of reasons, including fear, lack of knowledge and religious beliefs. Ask a member of your healthcare team or an experienced counselor to be involved in the discussions.

– Identify problems that may arise during treatment so everyone is prepared.

– Find out from your doctor which decisions are urgent and which ones are less pressing. This helps reduce the amount of pressure that family members may feel.

Cancer Immunotherapy with a Personal Touch

Dealing with cancer is frightening for patients and their families. At Issels®, we refuse to let the disease rob you of your individuality. Our treatments are tailored to address your personal situation and needs.

Contact us to learn more about our non-toxic cancer immunotherapy programs.