Cancer – Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of cells usually occurring when normal cells undergo genetic mutation in a sustained manner and for prolonged periods. There is a failure on the part of the cells to stop dividing and growing and from undergoing a programmed death. There are nearly 200 different types of known cancers. Cancer causes include heredity; tobacco smoke; radiation; ultraviolet radiation from the sun; food toxins; and environmental chemicals. Cancer results when these causes bring about an increase in oncogenes and reduction in tumour suppressor genes, DNA repair genes, and self-destruction genes.

There are five main types of cancer which include: 1) Carcinoma, which results from skin and linings of organs and body systems [adenocarcinoma; basal cell carcinoma; squamous cell carcinoma; and transitional cell carcinoma] 2) Sarcoma, which develops in connective tissue [bone, cartilage, fat, muscle and blood vessels] 3) Leukemia, which develops in the bone marrow 4) Lymphoma and myeloma, which develop in the immune system and 5) Tumours of the brain and spinal cord [glioma, astrocytoma].

Cancer staging is done as per the TNM format (Tumour [T1-4 which indicates increasing severity]; Node 0-3, which indicates progressive migration; and Metastasis [0 or 1]). It is also done as Stages 1 to 4, which again indicate progressively increasing severity. Staging brings about a universal uniformity regarding assessment and treatment of cancer and understanding its prognosis. Treatment of cancer includes different modalities such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, hyperthermia, stem cell transplant, photodynamic therapy and laser.

In spite of multiple available, advanced treatment options, cancer treatment still has many limitations, and recurrence is a major issue. Surgery may not physically remove all the cancer cells; chemotherapy only affects cancer cells which are actively dividing; radiation therapy too does not succeed in destroying all cancer cell DNA; repeated mutations in cancer cells can make these resistant to even highly potent multiple drug therapy. After undergoing full remission with cancer treatment, recurrence is most common within the first two years; the chances of recurrence decrease significantly after five years of remission. Recurrence is very rare after ten years of remission; however – and this a rather unsettling thought – there are still a few cancers which may recur even after ten years of remission.

In this scenario, Ayurvedic treatment has a special role to play in comprehensive cancer management. Currently, it would be safer and more ethical to use Ayurvedic treatment as a complementary (add-on) treatment rather than an alternative (stand-alone) treatment. The current lacunae in cancer treatment can be completely filled up with Ayurvedic medicines. Ayurvedic treatment can significantly boost the immune system and help the body in its fight against the cancer cells. Herbal medicines and herbo-mineral combinations can reduce cancer cell mutations and destroy abnormal cells. Concurrently given Ayurvedic treatment can reduce the known side effects of modern treatments, improve treatment response, help prolong remission, and also help prevent recurrence.

Ayurvedic medicines act on specific organs and body systems; hence Ayurvedic treatment can provide highly targeted cancer therapy as well as protect organs from irreversible damage. This treatment can also be used to turn the tide in cases of drug resistance or failure of modern treatment, or where the side effects of modern medicines necessitate withdrawal of these medicines. Ayurvedic treatment is also very useful in advanced cancer with multiple metastases, or patients with end-stage cancer, to help control the disease, improve quality of life, and improve survival.

It is important to note that maximum benefit can be derived from Ayurvedic treatment if it is started at the earliest, with the first detection and diagnosis of cancer. Most individuals tend to look for Ayurvedic treatment after exhausting all modern treatment options, when the patient is already in the terminal stage, and there is no time for Ayurvedic medicines to work. It is also equally important to avoid self medication or to fall prey to quacks. The same medical regime will not work for all types of cancer; different patients with the same type and similar severity of cancer may respond differently to the same medicine. In fact, even an individual cancer patient on treatment cannot be given the same medicines indefinitely; regular supervision and periodical assessment is required to modify the treatment based upon the progression of the cancer, the response to treatment, and the presence or appearance of co-morbid factors and treatment adverse effects. Treatment decisions for cancer are obviously not simple.

Clinical experience since the last three decades has consistently proved that Ayurvedic treatment for cancer can be safely given concurrently with modern treatment modalities, provided both are done by qualified practitioners from their respective fields. Ayurvedic treatment can make a significant difference in the final outcome while treating cancer. Ayurvedic treatment thus has a definite role to play in cancer management.

Cancer Treatment Risks and After Effects

Fighting cancer and getting well is in itself a battle won! As you start a new phase of your life, understand the risks and side effects of the treatment that you had taken for the treatment. This will help you cope with any expected or unexpected side effects that you may observe at a later date. These side effects could be either physical side effects or social and emotional side effects.

Let us look at the most common side effects of cancer treatment so that you are well aware and can cope with them when they strike.

Fatigue

Cancer survivors most commonly complain about fatigue. This is generally due to the treatment medication and procedures used. They make you feel tired and no matter how much you sleep, you feel the fatigue. If you experience excessive fatigue make sure that you contact your doctor. You will be recommended some exercise and relaxation skills.

Secondary cancers

For all the cancer patients, there is always a possibility of the cancer re-occurring. There is also a possibility of patients developing secondary cancers. These can arise from the treatment of the original cancer.

Dental problems

Chemotherapy has a negative impact on teeth enamel. This introduces long term dental problems. High dose of radiation can change tooth development and develop gum diseases. Tooth decay and tooth loss are other common risks. Some serious side effects also include soreness or ulcers in the mouth.

Diabetes

Some of the high intensity drugs used in cancer treatments are known to cause the blood sugar levels to drop. It is however unclear whether this actually leads to diabetes. They are however at a higher risk of developing diabetes.

Hypothyroidism

Another important risk factor is the development of thyroid related ailments. The symptoms to look for include weight gain for hypothyroidism and constipation, dry skin and sensitivity to cold.

Learning and Memory

Learning and memory problems could be one of the after effects of cancer. The original cancer itself affects learning and memory skills.

Certain types of cancer treatments could damage the organs surrounding it. While surgically removing the cancer or by other therapies, there is a possibility of organ damage. This type of organ damage could have long term effects on the lives of patients post cancer treatments. For example, some cancer treatments are harmful for the heart. They cause heart failures. Symptoms to look out for are breathlessness, coughing and chest discomfort. Some drugs are also known to damage the lungs. Some chemotherapy drugs are known to damage the liver. Yet some others are known to damage the kidneys. If you observe any of these symptoms, make sure that you contact your doctor so that they can suggest remedies before the situation worsens.

After cancer treatment, pain is inevitable. So make sure that you understand all the side effects and how to handle them from your doctor. You will have a long list of do’s and don’ts after the treatment. Follow them religiously for a better quality of life later.

Are Clinical Trials Important to Cancer Research?

The battle against cancer hasn’t slowed down in 2015. Many new treatment options are surfacing that couldn’t have come to fruition if it weren’t for professionally orchestrated clinical trials. Experts continue to conduct trials on willing patients, hopeful that they’ll be a part of the next big discovery.

Eradication of cancer is a common goal worldwide and will continue to be so until a cure is found.As the disease grows and changes, that is proving to be quite difficult. Still many strides have been made and the survival rate is higher than ever.

There are many reasons for clinical trials, which are necessary in order to advance in the pharmaceutical realm of treatment. Learning about the process may help those who are considering becoming part of one of these trials better understand them and make an informed decision.

Is the New Treatment Safe?

This is the main purpose for conducting clinical trials. Before being used to treat Cancer, a drug must be proven safe as the liability of the company producing it is at stake. Safety concerns must be answered; however there’s an understanding no procedure or treatment is completely without risk. Anyone who reads a bottle of medications knows this, as the risks are clearly stated. The man question is if the benefits outweigh the risks. Clinical trials take years and years to complete. In fact, there are many phases.

Each phase of a clinical trial is set up to answer particular questions all while keeping the test subjects safe and comfortable. Each treatment is tested in about three or more phases before determining it is okay to put on the market. The phases of a clinical trial are:

• Phase 0: Exploring if a new drug can actually work
• Phase 1: Is the treatment safe in general?
• Phase 2: Does it actually work to treat cancer?
• Phase 3: Does it trump what is already available for treating cancer?

These are the basic phases. After these are conducted, the drug is submitted for FDA approval via a new drug application, or NDA. Then the fourth phase comes into play once approved.

• Phase 4: What else needs to be known?

In phase 4, thousands of test subjects may be used. Safety over time is looked at, as well as quality of life and overall cost.

Does it Work for Humans?

Unfortunately only 5 % of adults will participate in clinical trials, while 60 % of children do. This makes it quite time consuming to conduct the trials when there aren’t enough test subjects. This is why many companies that conduct these trials are beginning to move to other regions, such as South America.

If only they’d take a look at the statistics, they may change their tune as the survival rate for childhood cancer has risen exponentially.

In these regions there are many more willing participants, as they consider it free treatment. If the trial works in humans, and it is better than what is currently being used to treat cancer professionals will consider the side effects and how it works in different groups of people, or different strains of the disease. It’s certainly an in depth process.

A Small but Important Part

Though clinical trials are but a small part of the entire process to make a treatment available to those suffering from cancer, it is still one that can’t be skipped. From discovery, there are many steps that follow. First, the treatment must be created, then purified, described and lab tested before being moved to clinical testing on humans. On average, new treatments go through about six years of testing and very few drugs that go through the processes are actually able to be tested on humans.

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Cancer Causing Lunch?

It is time to look at some facts. The latest edict handed down by The World Health Organization is causing a great lot of agitation and confusion. The general public tends to take what “World,” “National,” “Global,” and “US” organizations write and then disseminate (word for word) as gospel. When faced with information that potentially stands to change something as intimate as eating habits, some discernment is called for.

First let us determine what the WHO actually said. The organization DID NOT give us any dietary recommendations. The 22 scientists on the board looked at data from 800+ studies before concluding that they feel there is a link between eating red meat or processed meat (hot dogs, cold cuts) and some cancers. They then classified these meats as Class One human carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). It is noted that cigarettes and alcohol are in this same class.

It was found that there is a sugar molecule present in beef, lamb, bison, and pork that is not present in poultry, fish, fruits, and vegetables. It causes an immune response in humans as this sugar is not present in us either. The immune response is met with antibodies that the human host uses to fight foreign invaders causing inflammation. This inflammation, over time, is a known contributor to tumor growth. This translates in to the understanding that two pieces of bacon tomorrow at breakfast or a steak for dinner tonight are not likely to be the cause of your immediate demise. However, eating a breakfast with sausage, a BLT at lunch, and a bison steak for dinner every day of your life may have a negative impact on your health.

So how does one remain or get healthy? It has been long recommended that a daily diet consisting of vegetables/fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and tofu, fish, poultry, and eggs, a serving or two of dairy, and eaten sparingly, red and processed meat is a good one. Limiting salt, butter, refined grains, and sugary drinks is also recommended as wise choices. Exercise is now listed as a basic and fundamental part of a human’s daily diet. It is necessary to maintaining and regulating the body one is born into. The only foods considered to be unnecessary, and, therefore, to be avoided are those containing trans-fat from partially hydrogenated oils. This list of foods includes margarine, deep fried anything, shortening, microwave popcorn, frosting, and crackers.

In conclusion, a person can discern that eating a diet predominantly high in red and processed meats has been shown to cause an inflammatory response by the human body. Further, this inflammatory response, if chronic, has been shown to contribute to the growth of certain cancerous tumors. By limiting our intake of processed and red meats, avoiding partially hydrogenated oils (trans fat), and increasing the intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, seeds, nuts, and water one can eat lunch without worrying whether or not their food could be causing them to develop cancer.