Recurrence Rollercoaster – #2 Headless chicken

A quick re-cap for newcomers to this blog:  I was diagnosed with breast cancer (Stage 1) and spent approximately 1.5 years doing alternative treatments, but the tumour kept growing so I had a mastectomy.  I woke up from the mastectomy to find my left arm paralysed because of nerve damage (to the brachial plexus) caused by tractioning of the arm during surgery.  I had to have further surgery to release the nerve and because of that, I had no conventional adjuvant treatment.  Nine months after the mastectomy, the cancer recurred.  This is a summary of the options I was exploring after the recurrence.

We all want tidy endings to healing journeys.

We’re programmed through myths and story-telling and Hollywood Blockbusters, to expect tidy endings, happily-ever-after fairy-tales.

With the recurrence, it was as if the story I was writing for my healing wasn’t coming through. I know loads of people who have done the surgery- chemo-radiotherapy route and the cancer vanishes and they live happily ever after, in remission for the rest of their lives.

But I was on a different story track.

Writing this with the luxury of retrospect, I was running around like a headless chicken trying to find ways to get rid of the cancer.

chicken

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 1 August 2014

News from the world of Breast Cancer and Cancer, extracted from Google Alerts, for the week ending 1 August 2014.

No real surprises this week, just the weekly melange of suspect carcinogens – foam cups and oral contraceptives [at this rate we might as well stop eating and drinking!] and breakthroughs [on rats] – enjoy!

foamcups

1.  Do foam cups contain cancer-causing chemicals? Leading panel says styrene may be a ‘human carcinogen’

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 25 July 2014

The latest cancer developments from Google Alerts, with a bias towards breast cancer, for the week ending 25 July 2014.

This week’s top 2 features offer potential cures for cancer which either don’t cost very much (aspirin) or are already being used in other ways (marijuana/cannabis).

marijuana

image credit: mexicoinstitute.wordpress.com

Aspirin was originally derived from willow bark, which has been used as a painkiller since the time of Hippocrates.  Aspirin reduces inflammation, and that may play a role in inhibiting the growth of tumors — perhaps by slowing the development of new blood vessels that nourish them, or by fighting old cells that keep growing when they should be dying off. It may also inhibit estrogen production, and we know that estrogen fuels the growth of most (but not all) breast cancers.

And yet, until now, there have been no randomized trials (the gold standard of research) of aspirin use among women with breast cancer – a travesty.  The solution:  don’t wait for the boffins to rubber-stamp aspirin, just take it.

As for cannabis (or rather in its concentrated form, cannabis oil), just google cannabis oil and cancer, or Rick Simpson Oil and you’ll be overwhelmed by the number of scientific studies.  Unfortunately, unlike aspirin, cannabis oil is not available in your local friendly pharmacy, and in many countries, its use is illegal.

1.  Grandfather, 63, claims he cured his cancer with ‘Breaking Bad’ style homemade CANNABIS OIL

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 27 June 2014

The weekly round-up of news developments from Google Alerts, for Breast Cancer and Cancer, for the week ending 27 June 2014.

A surfeit of news articles this week, so I’ll just draw your attention to the first two:  the first is a study on how limiting carbohydrate intake could cut down breast cancer recurrence in women with certain types of tumours.  The question is:  how do we find out whether or not our tumours are IGF1 receptor positive?  It would go far in helping out sort the tricky diet dilemma for all breast cancer patients.  There are a plethora of diets out there, some very high in carbs (e.g. Gerson with its juices) and their passionate advocates.  However, what works for some women may not work for others, and this study underlines the fact that limiting carb intake (which is the foundation of many cancer diets) may not be effective for some.

The second article comes with a warning:  distressing photos.  A study on weedkiller and GMO corn causing tumours in mice has been confirmed as accurate.   The study was first published two years ago and caused an uproar and withdrawn, it has since been reviewed and republished.  I’m just puzzled that not more has been made of this study.  Methinks Big Pharma may be behind this news mask.

bread

Poison or Food? image credit: telegraph.co.uk

1.  Limiting carbs could reduce breast cancer recurrence in women with positive IGF1 receptor

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 20 December 2013

Updated March 2016 – For more information on GcMAF, please join the GcMAF and GcMAF Cancer forums on Facebook – they are closed groups, so you have to wait for your membership to be confirmed.  They contain up-to-date information on sources of GcMAF, and also feedback and contributions  by people who are using GcMAF.

A round-up of this week’s latest medical developments, culled from Google Alerts.  Again, there’s a glut from the 2013 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, which is no bad thing.

At long last, and about time too:  cancer immunotherapy has been voted breakthrough of the year by Science magazine.  I’m looking forward to the day when all cancers can be prevented and cured by immune-boosting treatments, and cancer vaccines, and not surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy

Immunotherapy

image credit:  sciencemagazine.org

Scientists now prove that chemo-brain exists, a fact that people on chemo have known for ages.  Maybe this will mean chemo-brain will be taken seriously and more importantly, some cures will be in the pipeline.

Some interesting research on sugar and its role in cancer – the theory used to be that cancer cells were able to survive without oxygen, by converting sugar directly into energy.  New research has shown that increasing sugar metabolism in cells may be directly responsible for fuelling the growth of cancer cells.

A trial into the use of chemotherapy drug, 5FU (fluorouracil) shows that it did not add to the efficacy of treatment protocols using epirubicin and cyclophosphamide and paclitaxel (FEC +T).  I find this especially relevant because FECT is standard treatment for lymph-node positive breast cancer in the UK.  Does this mean the protocol will change?

Don’t forget to eat your tomatoes – not only is lycopene (the phytochemical contained in them) good for prostate cancer, it has now been shown to have a positive effect on the level of hormones that play a role in regulating fat and sugar metabolism in a trial involving post-menopausal women.

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 13 December 2013

A weekly round-up of Google Alerts on the latest medical developments in Breast Cancer.  I was puzzled as to why there was such a surge this week, and realised that it was due to studies being released at the San Antonio Breast Cancer symposium 2013 (http://www.sabcs.org/PressReleases/Documents/2013/b3c6acef3fe26baa.pdf)

There’s fantastic news that the aromatase inhibitor, anastrazole (aka Arimidex), can cut the risk of breast cancer in women by 50% and with fewer side-effects than drugs like tamoxifen.  But please note (and this is not being made clear in newspaper headlines), anastrozole is usually only used in post-menopausal women (because the ovaries in premenopausal women produce too much aromatase for the inhibitors to block effectively).  There’s also little discussion on the side-effects which may make it difficult for women to comply with taking the medication.

The FDA has issued a warning about nipple aspirate tests being used as a substitute for mammograms.  The message is:  they’re not reliable, and don’t.  They sound awfully like thermograms to me – I had a thermogram done about 3 days’ after my initial diagnosis, and the practitioner who conducted the test told me that without the mammogram, he wouldn’t have diagnosed breast cancer from my thermogram. (part of the issue is that the thermogram machines in the UK are not sophisticated enough to give the detailed results required for such diagnosis).

smart-bra

404 error … Windows cannot recognise the software … one or both servers is not working … please reinstall drivers … image credit: nytimes.com

1A.  Microsoft working on a smart bra that detects breast cancer and measures moods

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 8 November 2013

A summary of the latest medical developments in breast cancer from Google Alerts, for the week ending 8 November 2013.

It’s a strange mix this week, with the usual search for the causes of cancer in DNA and food and cholesterol, and drug therapy mixed with robots!

BreadAndPasta

photo credit: 123rf.com

1.  Diet rich in bread after the menopause can raise risk of breast cancer

OK, I know this is not the most earth-shaking news, but I’ve always been interested in nutrition and cancer.  When I was first diagnosed I was told to avoid anything with gluten.  Fortunately, I don’t need bread to survive, so I was able to tolerate the diet.  But it was just one of these blanket dietary bans, with no rationale behind it except that it caused inflammation in the body and gummed up the digestive system.  As for pasta – well, that was carbohydrate which would convert to sugar and fuel the cancer cells.

If we’re going to use GI to measure whether or not a food is appropriate, surely pasta (which is refined carbohydrates) is as bad as bread?

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