Cancer Treatment Information and Resources

A place for cancer patients and caregivers to go for support
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Symptoms of Mesothelioma

The term “Mesothelioma” in medical terms is defined as form of cancer that proliferates at a very fast rate after it has been diagnosed, which affects the mesothelial cells in the body. After detailed study of this disease by several scientists all over the world, it has been concluded that in most of the cases the reason is the direct contact with loose asbestos particles. This disease is generally known to be derived from an abnormality that arises from inhaling the loose asbestos particles suspended in the air for a very long time. The chances of the patients, diagnosed of mesothelioma, have very bleak chances of survival which is not more than one or two years and if it has been detected long back and rigorous medication has been started on the patient then the patient is likely to live for about five years.

There are three types of mesothelioma but the symptoms of the diseases depend on their kinds. The symptoms vary from one-another but the general symptoms that are found in patients suffering from different types of mesothelioma are weight loss, chest pain, loss of appetite, short breath , plain cough and cough with blood. Diagnosing mesothelioma in its initial stages is not possible because symptoms surface very late and that, these symptoms are no special signs indicating the particular disease but are common for other diseases too.

Generally the symptoms of mesothelioma resemble to that to any other normal lung diseases. Most of the symptoms arise in the lungs, where the mesothelial cells covering the lungs and the cavity between them are affected due to prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibers. Consulting with the physician is very necessary from time to time and necessary test must be conducted to detect the disease.

The main symptom of mesothelioma is a constant pain in the chest which is followed by short breaths and difficult breathing because of accumulation of fluid in the chest, which makes breathing all the more difficult. Some of the other symptoms of the disease include abnormalities in the lungs, which can be diagnosed under proper supervision of the doctor with a chest CT-scan.

Basically, the disease of mesothelioma advances in four stages. In the first stage, begins the formation of the tumor in the area of lining of the lung and doesn’t exceed from one side of the lung. And then in the second stage the tumor extends to other organs in the chest cavity, such as heart. Then in the third stage its extents to the other abdominal organs affecting all the other organs too. Finally in the fourth and the last stage the tumor extends to all parts of the body and affects all the parts adversely. These are some of the symptoms of the disease of mesothelioma, by which the disease can be tracked in the initial stages of its occurrence.

DISCLAIMER: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

Since natural and/or dietary supplements are not FDA approved they must be accompanied by a two-part disclaimer on the product label: that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

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Your Must-Know Guide To Prostate Cancer

Early prostate cancer is confined to the prostate gland itself; most of the patients with this type of cancer can live for years without any problems. Men have traditionally been less likely to seek medical attention than women, especially for minor problems which often serve as warning signs for more serious underlying illness. The second leading cause of cancer deaths among men in the U.S. is from prostate cancer.

Like other cancers, the cause of prostate cancer is not known; it appears to be more common in African American men and men with a family history of the disease. Prostate cancer is simply a malignant tumor of the prostate gland. In most men, prostate cancer grows very slowly; most men will never even know they have the condition.

Most prostate cancer symptoms, although associated with prostate cancer, are more likely to be connected to non-cancerous conditions. There are other symptoms that may not be mentioned here. Blood in the urine or semen and frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs can be symptoms of cancer.

Weak or interrupted flow of urine and painful or burning urination can be symptoms to watch out for. One of the most common symptoms is the inability to urinate, get checked right away. If cancer is caught at its earliest stages, most men will not experience any symptoms.

A urinalysis may indicate if there is blood in the urine, which may or may not be related. A chest x-ray may be done to see if there's a spread of cancer. CT scans may be done to see if the cancer has metastasized (spread).

There is a newer test called AMACR that is more sensitive than the PSA test for determining the presence of prostate cancer. Another test usually used when prostate cancer symptoms are present is a digital rectal exam (DRE) performed by the doctor, proctologist or oncologist. A PSA test with a high level can also be from a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland.

Medications can have many side effects, including hot flashes and loss of sexual desire. Surgery, radiation therapy, and hormonal therapy can interfere with libido on a temporary or permanent basis. Thoroughly discuss all your treatment options and concerns with your doctor and other health professionals; it never hurts to get a second or even third opinion or more if necessary – don't be afraid to ask.

Be aware that some men chose natural treatment options and forgo any surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. Urinary incontinence can be one of the possible complications of surgery. The conventional treatment of prostate cancer is often controversial.

Hormone manipulation is mainly used as a treatment to relieve symptoms in men whose cancer has metastasized (spread). In patients whose health makes the risk of surgery unacceptably high, radiation therapy is often the chosen conventional alternative. Some drugs with numerous side effects are being used to treat advanced prostate cancer, blocking the production of testosterone, called chemical castration; it has the same result as surgical removal of the testes.

An oncologist, a cancer specialist, will usually recommend treating with a single drug or a combination of drugs. Anyone considering surgery should be aware of the benefits, risks and the extent of the procedure. Medicines can be used to adjust the levels of testosterone; called hormonal manipulation.

For an easy fiber boost, mix in two tablespoons of ground up flaxseeds in raw applesauce, from 2-3 apples, made in your food processor. Consider taking cod liver oil or fish oil supplements every day. For natural treatment for the prostate make an appointment with a naturopathic doctor, called a naturopath; ask around for referrals.

Making a ginger tea, by adding a thin slice or two of fresh gingerroot to hot water, is helpful to many people I know. Supplements that help any disease or ailment include vitamin B12 — the methylcobalamin type not cyanocobalamin, and sub-lingual — dissolves slowly under the tongue; and vitamin D3 – especially if you can't get a daily dose of 15 to 20 minutes of sun on your arms and legs so you can make your own vitamin D3. Use flaxseed oil or walnut oil in your daily dark green salad.

Make smoothies with fruit only, using a base of two bananas, adding a cup of frozen or fresh blueberries and mango chunks or substitute any other fruit and add an energy boost of two tablespoons of coconut oil; add one or two leaves of kale for another highly nutritional boost. Eat at least one, preferably two organic apples with the skin on every day. Make highly nutritious raw applesauce using a food processor and put in 3-4 cored pesticide-free apples, with the skin on, and mix for a minute; so much better for you than canned highly processed applesauce and add 1/4 tsp. cinnamon or two tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseed for another boost.

Evidence indicates that many patients detect cancer at an earlier stage because of annual screening, so make sure to get a good exam. Just about all men with prostate cancer survive at least five years after their diagnosis, 93% survive at least 10 years, and 67% survive more than 15 years. Once diagnosed you may be want to join a support group whose members share their experiences and problems.

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Prostate Cancer – Know What To Look For And What You Can Do

The prostate gland is located directly beneath the bladder and in front of the rectum. About one man in six will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, but only one man in 34 will die of the disease. Prostate cancer is simply a malignant tumor of the prostate gland.

Many men, especially those later in life have made the decision with their doctors to simply watch and wait. About 80 percent of men who reach the age of 80 have prostate cancer. At an advanced age, the risks of surgery for prostate cancer or other more radical treatments may actually be worse than the disease.

One prostate cancer symptom is difficulty starting urination or holding back urine. Having one or more cancer symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have prostate cancer. One of the most common symptoms is the inability to urinate, get checked right away.

The need to urinate frequently, especially at night is another symptom. There are other symptoms that may not be mentioned here. Some men will experience symptoms that might indicate the presence of prostate cancer.

A urinalysis may indicate if there is blood in the urine, which may or may not be related. A PSA test with a high level can also be from a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. Another test usually used when prostate cancer symptoms are present is a digital rectal exam (DRE) performed by the doctor, proctologist or oncologist.

A chest x-ray may be done to see if there's a spread of cancer. A bone scan can indicate whether the cancer has spread or not. A number of tests may be done to confirm a diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer that has spread (metastasized) may be treated conventionally with drugs to reduce testosterone levels, surgery to remove the testes, chemotherapy or nothing at all. Since prostate tumors require testosterone to grow, reducing the testosterone level is used to prevent further growth and spread of the cancer. Medicines can be used to adjust the levels of testosterone; called hormonal manipulation.

Treatment options can vary based on the stage of the tumor. Besides hormonal drugs, hormone manipulation may also be done by surgically removing the testes. Surgery, radiation, hormonal therapy and chemotherapy all have significant side effects; know fully what they are before you proceed.

A new therapy is on the forefront that recruits the body's own immune system cells to destroy tumors that could become a new way to treat men with advanced prostate cancer — if the FDA approves the highly individualized treatment. Side effects of chemotherapy drugs depend on which ones you're taking and how often and how long they're taken. The approaches to treatment include: just ever watchful waiting to see whether the cancer is growing slowly and not causing any symptoms.

The conventional treatment of prostate cancer is often controversial. Recent improvements in surgical procedures have made complications occur less often. Anyone considering surgery should be aware of the benefits, risks and the extent of the procedure.

Supplements that help any disease or ailment include vitamin B12 — the methylcobalamin type not cyanocobalamin, and sub-lingual — dissolves slowly under the tongue; and vitamin D3 – especially if you can't get a daily dose of 15 to 20 minutes of sun on your arms and legs so you can make your own vitamin D3. For natural treatment for the prostate make an appointment with a naturopathic doctor, called a naturopath; ask around for referrals. If you're not already doing so, make a serious effort to watch your diet closely.

For snacks, choose raw nuts without salt instead of lifeless roasted nuts. Studies done on antioxidant vitamins question their value when not contained in food; it's clearly better to consume these antioxidants in living foods because they may also need to work with other nutrients present in the foods to work properly. Many men have lowered their PSA levels by eating a diet of living foods.

Eat a lot of fruits and veggies every day, not just a token banana or apple. A good dietary, natural treatment approach is to avoid all acidic inflammatory foods; those are foods that aren't alive. Some foods and beverages to avoid that are inflammatory are: caffeine, salt, sugar, meat, dairy products, additives, soft drinks, white flour, white rice, alcoholic beverages, fast food, processed vegetable oils, and refined, packaged and processed food.

Evidence indicates that many patients detect cancer at an earlier stage because of annual screening, so make sure to get a good exam. The one thing that you should not do however is rely on information obtained from the Internet to make your final decision; double-check everything. Make sure to read everything you can about natural and conventional treatment online and offline.

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Prostate Cancer Symptoms – Get Informed Now

The fact is about one man in six will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, but only one man in 34 will die of the disease. Maybe you have just been diagnosed with prostate cancer and don't know what to do; the first thing to do is don't panic – generally it is slow-growing – next change your diet to living foods. The male hormone testosterone contributes to the growth of cancer.

Some facts: Prostate cancer is deadly, but because it is slow-growing can be cured if it is caught early enough. About eighty percent of men who reach the age of 80 have prostate cancer. The main job of the prostate gland is to make seminal fluid, which is the milky substance that transports sperm.

Some men will experience symptoms that could indicate the presence of prostate cancer. Blood in the urine or semen and frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs can also be symptoms of cancer. And there are other symptoms that may not be mentioned here.

Because prostate cancer symptoms can mimic other diseases and disorders, men who experience any of these symptoms should undergo a thorough workup to determine the underlying cause of the symptoms. And having one or more cancer symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have prostate cancer. If cancer is caught in its earliest stages, most men will not experience any symptoms.

A chest x-ray may be done to see if there is a spread of cancer. Your doctor may use one or two of the most common tests for prostate cancer detection. A urinalysis test may indicate if there is blood in the urine, which may or may not be related.

Keep in mind that experts report that PSA tests are not reliable; they are looking for better ways to diagnose prostate cancer. A prostate gland biopsy usually confirms a prostate cancer diagnosis. And when a digital rectal exam is performed it often reveals an enlarged prostate with a hard, irregular surface.

Surgery, called a radical prostatectomy, usually removes the entire prostate gland and some of the surrounding tissues. Thoroughly discuss all your treatment options and concerns with your doctor and other health professionals too; it never hurts to get a second or even third opinion or even more if necessary – don't be afraid to ask. Other medications used for hormonal therapy, with side effects, include androgen-blocking agents, which prevent testosterone from attaching to the prostate cells.

Be aware that some men chose natural treatment options and forgo surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. Treatment options can vary based on the stage tumor is in. Prostate cancer that has spread (metastasized) may be treated conventionally: with drugs to reduce testosterone levels, surgery to remove the testes and/or chemotherapy or nothing at all.

If more chemotherapy is decided upon after the first round of chemotherapy, most men receive further doses on an outpatient basis at a clinic or physician's office. Impotence can be a potential complication after a prostatectomy or after radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is used primarily to treat prostate cancers classified as stage A, stage B or stage C.

Hormone manipulation is mainly used as a treatment to relieve symptoms in those men whose cancer has metastasized (spread). The approaches to treatment include ever watchful waiting to see whether the cancer is growing slowly and not causing any symptoms. Also surgery, radiation therapy, and hormonal therapy can interfere with libido on a temporary or permanent basis.

Cancer-fighting nutrient-dense living diet ideas: make smoothies with fruit only, using a base of two bananas, adding a cup of frozen or fresh blueberries and mango chunks or substitute any other fruit and add an energy boost of two tablespoons of coconut oil; add one or two leaves of kale or handful of spinach leaves for an additional highly nutritional boost. Use a little flaxseed oil or walnut oil along with your extra-virgin olive oil in a huge daily dark green salad. If you are not already doing so, make a serious effort to watch your diet closely.

Put two tablespoons of unbleached, unrefined and undeodorized virgin coconut oil in your smoothies; coconut oil is plant-based, not animal-based and is actually good for us. A good dietary, natural treatment approach is to avoid all acidic inflammatory foods; foods that are not alive. Consider taking cod liver oil or fish oil supplements every day and or sun for vitamin D generation.

Many men have lowered their PSA levels by eating a plant-based diet of living foods. Make highly nutritious raw applesauce using a food processor and put in three or four cored pesticide-free apples with the skin on, and mix for a minute or so; much better for you than canned highly processed applesauce and add 1/4 tsp. cinnamon or two tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseed for another big boost. Drink plenty of pure filtered water too, a minimum of a quart a day.

If you have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer, choose the option that's best suited to you and your continuing good health. Evidence indicates that many patients detect cancer at an earlier stage than ever before because of annual screening, so make sure to get a good exam. And make sure to read everything you can about natural and conventional treatment online and offline.

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Think Of Skin Cancer When Doing Household Jobs

I know it from experience. Bruises on my hands do not heal. They have not for the last 13 years and no matter what, they will stay. I look like an alien at times with my broken skin. You think putting on a rubber glove is helpful? Well, no.

The condition of my skin got worse after sweating in the glove. Rubber and heat are a killer combination for sensitive skin.

What is there to be done? Once you have missed the great chance of your life of keeping a housemaid, or simply build a self-cleaning house, you are at risk of allergenic materials getting in touch with your body’s primary and largest protective system, your skin.

One could write a whole encyclopedia on the causes of skin cancer. It varies from individual to individual as to which chemical, or substance causes allergic reactions. It is malignant, and rapidly leads to death. This cancer normally develops in the outer layer of the skin, known as the epidermis. Therefore, the tumor is clearly visible, making diagnosis slightly easier than in other cases of cancer.

The skin has numerous kinds of cells and two significant layers. The epidermis is the top layer of skin containing flat, scaly, cells, which are called squamous cells. They are located on the surface. The epidermis also contain basal cells, which are round cell that give color to your skin, these are the melanocytes.

Mainly, there are three types of skin cancer each of them named after the cell affected.

Read the rest of this article…

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Can What You Eat Really Affect Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is something we are all well aware of. The dangers are constantly around us, and we are led to believe that the only way we can possibly get skin cancer, is if we expose our skin to too much sunlight without wearing protection.

However, there are some studies which claim that what we eat can also have a drastic effect on our chances of developing the condition. On the other hand some studies say that our diet cannot affect the condition. So what are we supposed to believe? Can our diet really affect our chances of getting skin cancer? Or is it just a load of rubbish?

Skin Cancer and Our Diet

There is also some kind of research going on in order to find links between our lifestyle and cancer. We all know that our diet affects our skin, but did you know that your diet could also affect skin cancer?

The suns UV levels are apparently a good source of vitamin D for our bodies. Whilst that may be true, there are people that go off into the sun without adequate protection, thinking that Vitamin D will help them reduce the risk of skin cancer, as well as other cancers, and that they will not be harmed because Vitamin D is good for them.

However, whilst it is true that the sun does help our bodies to have a higher Vitamin D production, it is still well known for giving us skin cancer. This means that we need to get our Vitamin D from other sources, for example in our diets.

It is thought that fatty diets increase our risk of developing skin cancer. Studies have been done on mice, where scientists have underfed a group of them, exposed them to chemicals which promote skin cancer, and they have found that fewer underfed mice developed the condition compared to the other group of mice who did not have their calorie intake reduced.

So this showed that somehow, eating healthier and having a calorie restricted diet, somehow helped to promote a protective hormone, which stopped some of the mice developing skin cancer. However, the studies have not shown fully which gland produced the hormone, so those tests are currently incomplete.

There is no denying that the diet plays a big part in our skin condition, and it is more than likely that it does in fact affect our chances of developing skin cancer. So what foods should we be eating?

Oily fish is extremely good for the skin and fish such as salmon can really help to cut chances of skin cancer down. This is because the omega three fatty acids help to repair DNA damage caused by the cancer.

Eating oily fish three times a week has been proven to reduce a persons risk of burning in the sun right down after a month, and after three months, the risk of burning in the sun is further reduced by up to 33%.

However, whilst they may help to cut down the risk, they are still no match for fierce sun levels and sun protection should still be worn.

It is thought that a healthy diet is your best defense against all forms of cancer, and eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is definitely the way to go! Cutting down on salty and sugary foods is also definitely a good idea, as is increasing the amount of calcium you get daily.

Overall there is research to say that diet affects skin cancer, and research to suggest that it does not. If you are unsure your best bet is to simply eat healthier anyway. Eating healthy is good for the skin whether you are trying to prevent skin cancer or not.

Trying to get at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day is what you should be aiming for, and also cutting down on really fatty foods. If you are unsure about anything you can always consult a doctor or nutritionist and they will be able to give you more advice.

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Poisons in your Home? The List.

Are Any of these listed on Products in your Home?

SLS SLES
Propylene Glycol
Fluoride in any form
Aluminum
Talc
Alcohol
Phthalates
DEA

Just make a quick check. You will want to check again later I'm sure, after I fill in the rest of those descriptions.
The rest of this story:

These are not the result of my opinion or belief or guesswork.
This information is substantiated by Research confirmed by OSHA, FDA and Medical groups around the Globe.

*Sodium Lauryl or Laureth Sulfate (SLS or SLES)
Used As: (Engine De-Greaser, Garage Floor Cleaner) In many Shampoos, toothpastes.

*Propylene Glycol
Used In: (Anti-Freeze for Trucks and Cars)
Used In: Moisturizers, hair conditioners, wrinkle creams, Baby Wipes, Baby Lotions.
(Did he say Baby Products?)

*Fluoride
Used In: (toothpaste, drinking water).
May Contribute to
Brittle Bones as we get older.
Many 'Broken Hips' are related to Brittle Bones.
Read the WARNING LABEL ON YOUR TOOTHPASTE
about 'If swallowed, contact a poison control center immediately'.

*Aluminum compounds (clorhydrate etc.)
Used in Anti-perspirants, deodorants.
Linked to Possible Alzheimer's, Breast Cancer.

*Talc
Used In: (Deodorants, Baby Powder). Yes, baby products again.
Linked to Cancer.

*Alcohol
Used In: (Mouthwash) Some are 40 Proof or more.
Also used in some Cold Medications.
Links to oral or throat cancer.

*Phthalates
Used In: Beauty care products – hair spray,
deodorant, nail polish, perfume.
Linked to liver, kidney, lung damage.

*DEA
Used In: (Shampoo, bubble bath, shaving cream)
Phased out (Banned) in Europe.
Linked to Liver, kidney cancer.

Just a quick thought.
Have you or a friend ever quit smoking?
Did you use a patch? (Nicotine?).
Have you ever used a small patch to alleviate
'sea-sickness or car-sickness'?

Amazing how these 'Compounds' are so effective even though they are only applied to your skin.
Some of these facts are more shocking than others.
The FDA has been aware of this for quite awhile.

Did you know that the regulations applied to the contents of our food and drugs do not apply to Cosmetics and Beauty products?
They aren't considered pharmaceuticals so they aren't as stringently tested and the processes used in manufacture aren't as closely monitored.

We've all heard the term 'by-products'.

Do 'unintended, undocumented by-products' accumulate?
If they do they may be in your liver, kidneys, bones, joints, or fat tissues.
This is not to say that the Manufacturers are negligent or malicious. It's just less expensive this way.
It's also not legally necessary to list ingredients if they are less than 1% of the content. (US anyway).

So, those Questions again.
NOT 'What do I TAKE to
(Feel Better, Lose Weight, regain my energy, regain my stamina, Enjoy My days again, make parts of my body larger or smaller.)'
The Question we should ask First HAS TO BE;
(What do I STOP doing?)

If you came Home and your Kitchen was flooding with the faucet running, overflowing onto the floor, through the house, would you first:
Grab a Mop?
Grab a Plunger?
Open the Doors to let the water out?
Or turn the faucet off.

The Questions That follow Are:
How do I educate myself?
What Questions do I ask NOW?
What do I eliminate?
What do I look out for from now on?
Are There Things I can do about this for my Family?

These Questions do have answers, answers that will effect the rest of your Life and that of your Family and Friends.

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More Young Adults Developing Cancer In Texas

According to the American Cancer Society, cancers such as colorectal, thyroid, and testicular are rising in individuals under 40 years of age in Dallas, Houston, throughout Texas, and in the rest of the nation. In addition, the National Cancer institute and the Lance Armstrong Foundation reports that cancer survival rates among that specific age group have not significantly improved in twenty years.

Dr. Karen Albritoon, director of adolescent and young adult oncology at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, asserts that research is crucial in determining why these cancers are rising among young people.

Trailing accidents, suicides, and homicides, cancer is the fourth-leading cause of death among young people. One reason that cancer may not be caught in its early stages is that neither the physician nor younger patients expects cancer to be a health problem.

In young women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, a tumor may be estrogen stimulated. In this case, physicians might recommend blocking the patient's menstruation after chemotherapy treatment or even removing the ovaries. But, because women in this age-bracket are still in child-bearing years, the decision is difficult.

In young men, testicular cancer is on the rise and research has uncovered why. Thyroid cancer is another puzzle, as the only known cause of this type cancer is radiation.

Some of the other problems arising among the under-40 age group are not health related, but are thought to be due, rather, to emotional, mental, and financial issues. This age group is more likely to be starting their family or a career.

Plus, many in this age bracket do not carry health insurance. Dealing with severe physical changes, such as losing hair and extreme weight loss, at a time when health and physical characteristics should be at their peak, and experiencing guilt feelings of becoming a burden to other family members, are depressing, and can be devastating to young individuals, especially cancer victims.

There are a number of sources, both online and in libraries, that offer information on breast, colon and lung cancer, as well as other types of cancers, including information on its signs and symptoms, including diagnosis, treatments, and prognosis. The American Cancer Society has loads of cancer resources that can guide you to other cancer information resources.

In addition, you will be able to find comprehensive guides about different types of cancer, treatment options, various cancer drugs, and learn how to get involved in groups promoting cancer awareness and education.

To find out more about ongoing research and current cancer information, check the National Institute of Health's cancer research group. They are an excellent source for cancer statistics, such as the occurrence of various forms of cancer, plus information regarding ongoing clinical trials, results of previous research, how clinical trials are performed, and how to locate a clinical trial in which you can take part.

To learn about cancer from more personal sources, join a local cancer support group or an online chat forum. Views and experiences of people with cancer or who've had cancer will be posted on their own personal websites. This is a great way to find out more about your situation and what to expect. Also talk with your primary care physician or gynecologist for information on various types of female concerns, including breast, uterine, ovarian, and cervical cancers. Just remember, if you or your loved ones get a diagnosis of cancer, there are a myriad of useful information resources that are easily available.

You'll discover that what affects your health also will eventually affect your bank account, and cancer is about as serious as it can get. With the incidence of cancer increasing, it's good to find out as much as you can about the disease.

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Dying? No Risky Drugs For You! Texas Faces The Reality Of Inaccessible Experimental Drugs

Apparently, one's schedule of death is more of the court's business than most would believe. On August 7th, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled against terminally ill patients' right to try experimental drugs in an effort to save their own lives.

Judge Thomas B. Griffith said the freedom to use medications not approved by regulatory bodies was not rooted in the traditions and history of the United States, and therefore could not be legally sanctioned. Self-defense clauses in the Bill of Rights "cannot justify creating a constitutional right to assume any level of risk without regard to the scientific and medical judgment expressed through the clinical testing process," said Griffith.

For states like Texas, this is big news. Chronic diseases like diabetes are on the rise, without a definitive cure in sight. While not officially classified as a terminal illness, diabetes was listed as the sixth leading cause of death in the state; its incidence increased twenty-seven percent in Texas in just five years — from 2000 to 2005. Approximately 1.3 million adults throughout Dallas, Austin, Houston and the rest of the state are currently diagnosed, and potentially fatal complications include cardiovascular disease (the number one killer of Americans), stroke, and hypertension. Amputations, eye disease, and chronic infections also occur.

Overall, a person with diabetes has a seventeen percent greater chance of being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, an eight percent higher likelihood of suffering a stroke, and is forty-three percent more likely to develop hypertension. If terminally ill patients cannot gain access to experimental treatments without being one of the lucky ones included in certain stages of clinical trials, then it can be assured that those with chronic illnesses, no matter the level of associated complications, will also be denied.

Perhaps even more striking, sufferers of lung cancer (which is also a problem in Texas), HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis would also be denied the choice, even though current treatment options either offer no cure, or only save a small minority of those diagnosed.

Most health insurance companies won't cover experimental treatments, but for many dying of an as-of-yet incurable illness, this is simply not the issue. It's that, coverage or no coverage, with or without the ability to pay, a drug that could save lives may exist, and may exist in enough quantity to provide treatment — but still — very few actually have access to it. With the only other option being death, many would rather take the risk of trying something.

The recent controversies over Vioxx, an arthritis medication found to increase the risk of certain heart problems, Avandia, a diabetic treatment believed capable of producing similar negative side effects, and Prilosec and Nexium, yet more seemingly innocuous drugs believed to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, could call statements like Griffith's into even more question. If the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not always shown the best judgment in releasing, or warning against, possibly dangerous drugs, it may also prove true that the same agency is not allowing access to possibly life-saving medications when it should, either.

The Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs first filed the case in 2003, challenging the FDA's right to restrict medications shown to have the potential of saving or prolonging the lives of terminally ill patients, but had not yet completed full clinical trials. Founder of the Abigail Alliance, Frank Burroughs, said the group was "dumbfounded that most of the justices tragically missed the merits of the case," and made promises to take the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Burroughs, who lost his daughter, Abigail, to cancer after a lengthy battle to gain access to medications that were then classified as experimental but were later approved, believes such drugs should be accessible to terminally ill patients after the first of three phases of clinical trial.

Joined by the Washington Legal Foundation, the Abigail Alliance argued that denying these patients the right to use experimental medications violated the Fifth Amendment, which states that one cannot be deprived of the right to life, liberty, or property without due process of law. Blocking such access means sufferers can not enact an adequate level of self-defense, said the Foundation.

Judge Judith W. Rogers, one of only two judges in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to rule for patients' right to choose, said it was "startling" that the "right to try to save one's life is left out in the cold, despite its [the 5th Amendment's due process clause] textual anchor in the right to life."

Opponents to open access to the medications, however, include more than just court officials. The National Organization for Rare Disorders, a patient advocacy group, responded by pointing out that drug companies would have less incentive to complete clinical trials to ensure the drugs were actually effective. There are reasons that not all experimental treatments hit the market.

The lifting of these restrictions would allow the industry to "profit from offering empty hope," said Robert Erwin of the Marti Nelson Cancer Foundation, another patient advocacy group.

Perhaps it simply comes down to a lack of faith — in Americans' ability to make conscientious, high-stakes decisions about personal health. It's difficult to believe that the issue is actually a constitutional one; after all, we have the legal right to do a lot of things that aren't particularly good for us and, in fact, make absolutely no attempt to better our livelihoods. Drinking too much alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and eating horribly unhealthy food is, for instance, all sanctioned. In other words, as Americans, we seem to have the privilege of killing ourselves in a slow, painful way, but not of attempting unconventional means to do the opposite.

Being aware of political issues affecting your health is an important part of taking care of yourself. Minding your health will certainly affect you as you age, and eventually your wallet.

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Texas Agricultural Workers May Be At A Higher Risk For Brain Cancer

Brain cancer risks increase with heavy exposure to pesticides, recent reports say. That's troubling news for states with large agricultural industries, like Texas, which not only employs millions of legal and illegal workers every year, but also has over 25% of its population going without health insurance.

French researcher, Dr. Isabelle Baldi, and colleagues from the University of Bordeaux compared 221 adult brain cancer patients with 442 similarly-profiled members of the general population without cancer. The study found that "agricultural workers with the highest level of exposure to pesticides (are) twice as likely to be diagnosed with brain cancer as those with no occupational pesticide exposure."

Baldi's study focused on France's famous Bordeaux region, which has one of the highest brain cancer rates in the world. Though she could not release specifics on which pesticides were used, the region, with its substantial vineyards, uses large quantities of fungicides.

According to an article released in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, gliomas, a type of tumor associated with brain cancer, are three times as likely to occur in exposed workers as those with no pesticide work exposure.

The study was also the first to produce statistically relevant data suggesting that those who treated their houseplants with pesticides were at a higher risk for brain cancer as well. Again, the cancer risk was approximately double, as compared with those who never used pesticides. Baldi warned that further research was needed to confirm this link, as no controls were in place for pesticide levels and reporting biases.

Previous research from other scholars found that pesticide exposure among farmers was linked with adverse effects on the brain, including Parkinson's disease.

All this only fuels the debate over organic, versus conventionally-grown foods, which is as hot a topic in Texas as anywhere else in the country. Recent reports that the average conventional crop is 13% lower in nutrient content than the same crop produced a few decades ago, also seems to add to the stack of evidence in favor of organic systems.

No one in Texas is immune to the risks these products pose. The state already experiences 13 fatal injuries for every 100,000 agricultural workers, which is twice the rate of all workers in Texas. Chronic diseases and cancer, however, may take years to develop. Considering that agricultural pesticide use has skyrocketed over the last several decades, the prevalence of brain cancer — and that of other brain disorders linked with these pesticides — may skyrocket in years to come. Such a surge has the potential to cripple an already perilously strained state healthcare system, especially when one-quarter of all residents are uninsured. And, if Baldi's preliminary findings on the cancer risk associated with household pesticide use proves correct, then everyone, including residents of cities like Dallas, Houston, and Austin, is in danger.

Just the ripple effect in the healthcare system alone may be cause for alarm. If an already strained system administers the necessary, expensive, and time-consuming treatments for uninsured patients with brain cancer, along with treating the rest of the state — with its usual high rates of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and other cancers — then those in need of care throughout the state will feel the effects of limited resources. There are only so many doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to go around; there's only so much public funding. Longer waiting periods alone for those with such serious diseases could prove deadly. And, unfortunately, this year has been a pivotal one for proving the ineffectiveness of our public system; the Commonwealth Fund confirmed only last month that lack of health insurance is linked with poorer quality of care in the United States.

So what do we do? Limit unnecessary pesticide use, first of all, whether you're a farmer, agricultural worker, or a green-thumbed city dweller. Look for alternatives, which are easily found in natural gardening and health food stores. Write pesticide companies and your Congressional representatives; state your concerns and let them know that serous investigations at this point are necessary. Information is the greatest chance we have of protecting ourselves and our children. Though Baldi's study was performed in France, many of the same, or similar, pesticides are used in several countries, including our own. If we figure out and cut off the dangers now, we may literally be able to save thousands, or even millions, of lives.

Being concerned about environmental toxins is just one part of taking care of your health. How you take care of yourself will certainly affect you as you age, and eventually your wallet, as well.

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