Archive for March 30th, 2009

ANTI-CANCER DIET: FIGS, FLAXSEED OIL AND GREEN BEANS

Figs

Research has indicated figs can shrink tumours involved in various cancers. Research on humans suggests figs are capable of shrinking tumours by an average of 39 per cent and can induce remissions in 55 per cent of cancer sufferers . The main active ingredient found in figs and fig extracts is benzaldehyde.

Figs may counteract and treat many of the side effects associated with chemotherapy and radiation treatment. One nasty side effect of cancer therapy is lassitude (lack of energy) and damage to the mucosal lining of the mouth, throat and digestive tract. Figs contain demulcents, substances that soothe irritated mucous membranes in the mouth, throat and respiratory system. This little fruit is rich in potassium, iron, copper, calcium, sodium, phosphorous, magnesium and  complex vitamins. If you want to put some pep you’re your step, eat a small handful of figs. Their rich fructose content is able to boost energy levels.

Flaxseed/Linseed Oil

Flaxseed oil or linseed oil is the only diet oil permitted in the orthomolecular treatment of cancer patients. Flaxseeds are extremely rich in both alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid, magnesium, zinc, Â vitamins, potassium and fibre. Flaxseed oil may alleviate the side effects and inhibit the further development of many forms of cancer.

Adding flaxseed to the diet is able to increase the body’s production of energy, thereby improving stamina. It is able to improve liver function, prevents atherosclerosis and asthma, alleviates depression, assists dry and flaky skin and accelerates the healing of bruises.

Flaxseed oil or flaxseeds may help to prevent the development of cancer in the small intestine and may be a major component in anti-tumour activity. It is believed to prevent breast cancer, prostate cancer, hormone-induced cancers and metastases.

It maintains the flexibility of red blood cells, prevents fatty degeneration in the liver, lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels and strengthens brain activity.

Flaxseed oil is a phytoestrogen (a plant containing estrogen-like qualities) that has been proven to protect against heart disease and certain types of cancers. Flaxseed oil combined with a protein, like cottage cheese, stimulates the oxygenation processes in the body harming dangerous cancer cells. This miracle medicine can be incorporated easily into your daily diet.

Green Beans

Green beans are excellent for the heart, providing fibre, protein and complex carbohydrates. They are very rich in high powered anti-cancer agents called phytochemicals and protease inhibitors. Beans stimulate colon bacteria to give off volatile short chain fatty acids, which decrease the ‘bad’ cholesterol, lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of developing colon cancer.

Green beans are a rich source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is an antioxidant that protects against free radical damage, protects the body against infections and promotes healthy skin and clear eyesight. Fresh green beans also supply vitamin E, vitamin Ñ, Â vitamins, folic acid, iron, magnesium, calcium and manganese. Lightly steam beans or eat them raw, add to a salad to receive the full nutritional benefits from this magical green medicine.

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THE IMMUNE SYSTEM AND CANCER: LYMPHATIC SYSTEM

The immune system is one of the most complex and amazing systems in the human body. Its primary role is to protect the body against infection and prevent the development of disease and cancer. It is designed to isolate or destroy cancerous cells, which exist in each person’s body from time to time. Suppression of the body’s immune system over a long period of time can result in cancerous growths.

Support and enhancement of the body’s immune system is one of the most important keys in achieving resistance to disease and preventing and treating cancer. It is our first line of defense against tumour formation and cancer development.

The immune system is composed of lymphatic vessels and organs (lymph nodes, thymus, spleen, adenoids, appendix and tonsils), bone marrow, white blood cells (neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, phagocytes), specialized cells residing in various tissues (macrophages, mast cells etc.) and specialized chemical factors. Following is a basic description of the immune system’s important components:

Lymphatic System – Lymph, Lymphatic Vessels, Lymphatic Tissue and Lymph Nodes

The lymphatic system produces white blood cells that fight disease and help the body to detoxify wastes. The space in between the cells is called the interstitium and the fluid contained within these spaces is called the interstitial fluid. This fluid flows into the lymphatic vessels and becomes the lymph – the fluid that flows through the body in lymphatic vessels. Lymphatic vessels transport lymphocytes and lymph around the body and drain waste products from the tissues. The lymphatic vessels transport the lymph to the lymph nodes, which filter the lymph. The lymph nodes serve two functions:

1. They remove foreign materials from lymph fluid before it enters the blood stream.

2. They are centres for the production of immune cells, particularly lymphocytes.

The cells responsible for filtering the lymph are called macrophages. These cells engulf and destroy foreign bacteria, old red blood cells and cellular debris. The lymph nodes also contain B-lymphocytes, the white blood cells that initiate antibody production in response to disease producing organisms.

We should consider our body’s lymph system as the ‘rubbish removal’ company. Put simply, the macrophages are the ‘garbage workers’ that collect and break down the wastes and employ other staff to make your internal city clean and disease free, the lymphatic vessels are the body’s ‘rubbish removal highways’ and the lymph nodes are ‘the garbage sorting dumps that remove the bad rubbish, keeps the goodies found in the rubbish and act as the hub for garbage workers (immune cells) waiting for a suitable job in the body’s rubbish removal company’.

Adenoids

The adenoids are an organ of the immune system that is found at the rear of the nose. It is made up primarily of lymphatic tissue. B-Lymphocytes are stored here in preparation to attack antigens (the enemy).

Appendix

The appendix is made up mostly of lymphatic tissue and helps the immune system by beginning some defense actions.

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CANCER: EMOTIONAL OVERLOAD

Feelings and Emotions Experienced in Stages during Diagnosis, Treatment and Recovery from Cancer

When I first discovered I had cancer, I was in total disbelief. All that kept circulating through my mind was, ‘That’s impossible, they’ve made a mistake. I’ve always been so healthy. I couldn’t possibly have cancer’. I had always associated cancer with ‘sick’ people or ‘unlucky’ people. I couldn’t have been further from the truth.

As time went on and I went through different stages of my treatment, I found myself also slipping into different types of emotions. Cancer doesn’t involve just one emotion, it is a rainbow of emotions all affecting us to different degrees, and at different times during our treatment and recovery.

Orthodox cancer treatment is aggressive and surgery can be mentally and physically uncomfortable. Radiation treatment and chemotherapy often causes more discomfort and pain than the initial disease. Treatment can extend over a number of weeks, months or even years and the patient is forced to deal with an array of emotional reactions caused by the treatment, as well as many physical and emotional side effects. It is difficult to convince yourself you are recovering when you feel so sick. It’s hard to be so optimistic, as everyone says when you feel much worse now than when you were first diagnosed. It seems in your mind and heart that this pain will never end. It’s hard to imagine ever feeling normal again, although this is a wish you hold closest to your heart.

Shock and Disbelief

Shock is the first emotion or feeling experienced upon the realization that you have cancer. When the doctor informs you, coldness rushes through your body, your spine tingles and it feels like your heart is being stabbed. Part of you wants to just fade away into the darkness and disappear forever. Very little desire is felt to talk to anyone, hear anything or to make any decisions. Your mind and body goes numb. There is very little anyone can do to ease your pain.

Shock is also felt by some family members and accompanies the feeling of disbelief. It is not unusual to want to panic, as we so often associate cancer with death and running out of time. It is important not to panic. In the majority of cases you do have time to make decisions, to make changes and decide which path is best suited to your healing. It may all seem so overwhelming and daunting in the beginning, but as time passes you will adapt mechanisms and attitudes to cope with the changes. It is natural to face the possibility of death and in facing the possibility of death, we also learn to face the probability of living!

The only thing that can help at this stage is simply patience – you must wait until the feelings pass. Shock, fear and panic in any situation, whether it be news of an accident, death of a loved one or loss of something precious to us, is natural and is released from our lives in time. One thing is sure, nothing in life is permanent. As time passes, life changes and our feelings of shock, grief and disbelief also pass.

We must remember that we do not all operate on the same emotional timetable. One family member may feel the need to talk, while others may feel like becoming private or introspective. It is important to let the person who has cancer decide the right time for discussion. For the family and friends involved, love, compassion, understanding and patience are needed to help the person involved feel secure and loved. If the person realizes they have plenty of support and understanding from precious loved ones, it can help bring the person out of shock faster than expected. Remember that it is a stage that all persons involved with cancer must go through. For the loved ones involved, just be patient and be there when everyone is ready to talk and open up.

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CANCER: CHEMOTHERAPY AND ITS SIDE EFFECTS

Kidney Damage

This is a side effect, which is closely monitored by regular blood testing of creatinine levels before onset of treatment. Some of the chemotherapy drugs, particularly Cisplatin, can cause permanent kidney damage if not monitored correctly. It is important to drink adequate amounts of water and to eat kidney-supporting foods.

Lethargy/Tiredness

Chemotherapy treatment tends to deplete energy levels. This is cumulative as the drugs build up in your system. Often the doctor tells you if you have plenty of energy after the first session of treatments this will determine your energy later. This is generally not true. Energy levels get worse with more and more treatments.

Loss of Appetite

This is a secondary side effect of nausea, vomiting, worry or stress. A yellow coating can become obvious on the tongue, which is slimy and has a foul taste. This often leads to a decrease in appetite.

Lung Damage/Shortness of Breath

Lung damage and shortness of breath is another side effect which is closely monitored. The effects of lung damage (primarily scarring of the lungs) are long term and may last for many years. If you experience any shortness of breath, tell your doctor immediately.

Nausea/Vomiting

This is the most common side effect related to chemotherapy. The nausea is due to the stimulation of an area in the brain known as the trigger zone (vomiting centre). Today doctors are using and testing much more potent anti-nausea drugs to combat the ghastly nausea and vomiting of chemotherapy which often leads to weight loss and malnutrition. Today’s most common anti-nausea drugs are Zofran and dexamethasone (a steroid). According to doctors, Zofran has revolutionized chemotherapy. It may make you feel better while the drugs are being put into you but hours after treatment, the nausea generally returns with a vengeance.

There are also a number of side effects related to the use of these drugs and steroids including constipation, pimples, thrush, exhaustion, weight gain/loss, fluid retention, emotional instability and sleeplessness. Doctors will often prescribe milder anti-nausea drugs after treatment like Maxalon. There are a number of different brands of anti-nausea medications, all giving a Band-Aid effect and carrying their own side effects. Maxalon can make you feel like a zombie.

Reproductive System

The rapidly proliferating structures of the reproductive system are particularly sensitive to the actions of cancer drugs. Many women who are still experiencing menstrual periods will experience irregular menstruation during treatment. In some women, menstruation stops completely. If this happens, hot flushes may also occur. Men may have decreased sperm numbers and motility. Some drugs used in chemotherapy may cause temporary and sometimes permanent infertility.

Feeling tired or unwell during treatment may also decrease your sexual desire and ability- I found my menstruation was perfect, both during and after chemotherapy. I believe this was due to a healthy, supportive diet rich in the appropriate nutritional supplements, herbs and natural therapies. Some combinations of chemotherapy drugs offer only a 30 per cent chance of fertility after treatment.

Weight Loss/Gain

Chemotherapy affects each person very differently. Some people may experience weight loss due to difficulty in swallowing or nausea, while others may experience weight gain due to the use of steroids in treatment.

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SOME COMMON MYTHS ABOUT CANCER AND CANCER PREVENTION

Cancer only happens to the elderly

Cancer can affect anyone at any age, even newborn infants. It is more common in the elderly, as cells become weaker as we age. This may be avoided if you keep your body in good condition with harmonious living techniques. However, we can all be affected by cancer, as there are many different causes and precursors that are not predetermined by age. We must be aware at any age.

Cancer is always a death sentence

In the past many cancers were deadly, as successful treatment was unknown. Today, cancer is becoming easier to detect and thus early treatment can be commenced. Advanced methods of treatment and a greater understanding of the causes of cancer also improves our chances to beat it. Even though cancer is becoming more common every year, more people are recovering every year. There is a vast array of options and useful information out there to assist in beating this modern-day illness. Natural methods of healing are also proving extremely successful in reversing cancerous growths.

Cancer only happens to negative, depressed people

Some of the happiest, most relaxed people in the world develop cancer. Our environment is becoming more toxic every year, radiation levels are increasing and additives in foods pop up everywhere. We are continually exposed to a deadly concoction of toxins, including car fumes, fluoride in drinking water and cigarette smoke, to name just a few. However, negative emotions can weaken the immune system, which will increase the possibility of developing cancer. Many people are simply negative or pessimistic by nature and venture through their entire lives without developing cancer. However, a positive attitude definitely plays a strong role in cancer prevention.

Cancer Prevention

Prevention is the most important tool we have in our fight against cancer. Some cancers are preventable, this is a proven fact. However, it can be difficult to prevent something if we do not know what actually causes it. Cancer is a condition in which cells grow abnormally. We do know that certain conditions lead to the onset and development of cancer. So how do we keep our cells in a healthy state and prevent toxins/carcinogens from affecting our cells and causing cancer?

Following a healthy lifestyle, incorporating a wholesome diet rich in antioxidants and regular exercise, with a positive attitude and stress-free living is a great way to start. Avoiding known carcinogens or cancer causing agents is very important.

It is difficult to completely avoid stress as we live in such a fast-paced society that a degree of stress is required, in order to live adequately. However, we can learn techniques to enable us to deal with and release stress much more effectively. One of the most important preventative tools is to avoid excess in your life. An excess of anything can lead to stress on your body’s cells, which will eventually lead to the onset of disease and possibly cancer.

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