Personalizing Your Treatment Plan with Cancer Panels

 

No two people are alike; and no two cancers are alike.  This explains why two people with the same cancer diagnosis can respond differently to the same treatment regimen. This is the basic premise behind precision medicine and individualized treatments.

 

Now imagine a room filled with top oncology experts and scientists.   In this room, a 3 hour conversation takes place about one individual’s cancer diagnosis.  Various treatment approaches- both conventional and novel are discussed and debated.  The end result: the treating physician is given treatment recommendations created just for that cancer patient by renowned oncology experts.  Talk about personalized medicine at it’s best!  Watch one patient’s perspective on Cancer Panels in the above video.

 

Panels can be set in as little as two weeks and are typically led by Dr. David Sidransky, renown oncologist and researcher.  The panel also reconvenes at a later date via teleconference to review the cancer patient’s progress and other developments.  If necessary, the panel will make additional treatment recommendations and suggestions. For more information, visit Cancer Panels website.

What Everybody Ought to Know About Fertility Preservation & Cancer

Chemotherapy and radiation can harm your fertility or cause sterility.  For women, certain therapies can cause ovarian damage or failure, early menopause, genetic damage to growing eggs and other reproductive problems.  For men, treatments can cause damage to the testes and interfere with sperm production.

With that said, not all cancer treatments harm fertility.  The likelihood that this will occur depends on several factors, including type of cancer, treatment regimen, and age at the time of treatment.  Fertility issues can be a temporary or permanent side effect of treatment.  They can also occur immediately or at some point after treatment has ended.

Fertility preservation is an option for those cancer survivors who hope to have children naturally at some point in the future.  Ask your oncology team about your infertility risks and consult a reproductive specialist if possible.

 

Get the Facts on Fertility Preservation

In most cases, decisions on fertility preservation need to be made before treatment begins.

There are several incredible resources created to help cancer patients and survivors make sense of fertility preservation:

  • MyOncofertility.org is a fantastic resource for patients and their parents and partners whose fertility may have or will be impaired by cancer treatments. This site provides answers to cancer-related fertility questions, guidance for talking to physicians about fertility concerns, and assistance in finding a local fertility preservation specialist.
  • Fertility Preservation Patient Navigator (powered by MyOncoFertility) is a super helpful, interactive tool that allows you to explore options for family building before, during and after cancer treatment.
  • Fertline (866-708-FERT) connects patients with a fertility preservation program and refer them for consultations or procedures.

 

Financial Assistance for Fertility Preservation

Fertility preservation can be expensive but there is financial assistance available.

  • LIVESTRONG Fertility Discount Program provides access to discounted sperm banking services for qualified men.  To learn about this program for men, click HERE.  LIVESTRONG also offers assistance to qualified female applicants by providing access to fertility medications and discounted services from reproductive endocrinologists across the country.  To learn about this program for women, click HERE.
  • The Heart Beat Program offers eligible female patients select fertility medications at no cost.  For more information on this program, click HERE.

 

What if you’ve already finished treatment and are now thinking about starting a family?

If you’ve already finished cancer treatment and are thinking about fertility for the first time, talk to your oncologist.  Discuss your past cancer treatment and any possible effects on your fertility.  If you are at risk of being infertile, your oncologist can refer you to a fertility specialist for help.

7 Tips to Nourish Your Body During Chemo

 

Good nutrition is important- especially if you have cancer. The challenge for many is that chemotherapy can wreak havoc on your ability to eat. Common side effects of chemo include mouth sores, nausea and loss of appetite. Chemo can also temporarily damage taste buds causing foods to taste metallic or cardboard-like.

The inability to eat, for whatever reason, can lead to malnutrition. When cancer patients become malnourished, they feel weak, tired and may be unable to receive the treatments they need to get better.

 

Follow these tips to give your body the nutrition it needs to stay strong and fight the cancer:

1. See A Dentist.

Chemotherapy can cause changes in the lining of the mouth and reduce saliva production leading to painful mouth sores and infections. It can also exacerbate any existing dental problems you had prior to cancer treatment. Visit your dentist before treatment begins (if possible) and throughout treatment to reduce the severity and frequency of these complications.

If you get mouth sores, try to eat blended soups and smoothies. Avoid any strong spices like ginger and red pepper flakes.

 

2. Get Your Protein On.

Chemotherapy often depletes white blood cell counts making cancer patients more prone to infection. Eating protein-rich foods will give your body the fuel it needs to build up its immune system.

Try making this delicious, protein-rich Moroccan Chicken recipe.

Don’t forget there are other sources of protein besides meat. Eggs, nuts, dairy and beans are also rich in protein. Adding unflavored protein powder to smoothies and soups will give you an extra protein boost.

 

3. Stay Hydrated.

Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day- especially the day before receiving chemo. Fluids help flush the chemicals through your body and ease nausea. If the thought of drinking water makes you feel sick, try chilling it with cucumber slices or fresh lemons or buy a pre-flavored mineral water.

 

4. Keep Food Tasty.

Chemo can wreak havoc on your taste buds, making foods and drinks taste yucky. Renowned cancer nutrition expert Rebecca Katz suggests the following advice to keep food tasting yummy…

  • If the food you are eating has a metallic taste, add a little sweetener like maple syrup or agave nectar and a squeeze of lemon.
  • If the food you are eating tastes too sweet, try adding 6 drops of lemon or lime juice. Slowly add more until the sweetness tastes muted.
  • If the food you are eating tastes salty, try adding ¼ teaspoon lemon juice.
  • If the food you are eating tastes bitter, add some maple syrup or agave nectar to sweeten it.
  • If everything tastes like cardboard, add sea salt. A little spritz of lemon can also help.

 

5. Eat A Rainbow.

The more colorful your meal is, the more likely it will be filled with cancer-fighting nutrients. Eating a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables every day also helps naturally build up your immune system and improve memory.  (The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)

Try making Smoky Chickpea, Red Lentil & Vegetable Soup.  It’s delicious, nutritious and colorful. The chick peas and lentils add a hearty dose of protein. It takes only 30 minutes to make and you probably have most, if not all of the ingredients, sitting in your pantry.

 

6. Practice Food Safety

Anyone can get sick from eating “bad” food. But cancer patients, whose immune system is already weakened from chemotherapy, are even more susceptible to infection from food. Practice safe food handling. Keep things clean, wash your hands often, and avoid unpasteurized dairy and juice and raw and undercooked foods, such as meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood. For more food safety tips during cancer treatment, click here.

 

7. Talk to a Professional

If you have any questions or concerns about your nutritional needs, maintaining your weight or the inability to tolerate certain foods, talk to your oncologist, nurse or professional dietician. The American Cancer Society’s guide “Nutrition for the Person With Cancer During Treatment” is loaded with lots of helpful information. Also visit the Pearlpoint Cancer Foundation for more tips and information on combating nutritional side effects caused by cancer treatment.

 

Do you have any nourishing tips you’ve learned along the way? If so, please share them with us. Knowledge is power!

 

More Inspirational Quotes for Anyone Touched By Cancer

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Sometimes we read an inspirational quote or hear a speech (like the one I posted yesterday from Stuart Scott) that lift our spirit and give us perspective.  Simple words of wisdom from someone who has shared a similar journey can give us hope and strength- two much needed weapons in the fight against cancer.  Here are 18 inspirational, hope-filled quotes for cancer fighters,  cancer survivors or anyone who needs a little pick-me-up.  Why only 18?  The number 18 symbolizes “life” & “good luck” in Judaism.

 

1.  “No one is guaranteed a tomorrow… not me, not you, not a person with cancer. So let’s make the best of today.”~ Alan Stoller

2.  “Cancer is a word, not a sentence.” ~John Diamond

3.  “There are so many people out there who will tell you that you can’t.  What you’ve got to do is turn around and say ‘watch me'”. ~Author Unknown

4.  “We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up or fight like hell.” ~Lance Armstrong

5.  “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” ~Cayla Mills

6.  “Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul.” ~Jim Valvano

7.   “You beat cancer by how you lived, why you lived and in the manner in which you lived. So live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you.” ~Stuart Scott

8.  “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” ~Dale Carnegie

9.  “Never, never, never give up.”  ~Winston Churchill

10.  “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” ~Winston Churchill

11.  “Strength is born in the deep silence of long-suffering hearts; not amidst joy.” ~Felicia Hemans

12.  “Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” ~Christopher Reeve

13.  “It’s not the years in your life that count.  It’s the life in your years.” ~Abraham Lincoln

14.  “Scars are tattoos with better stories.” ~Author Unknown

15.  “When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

16.  “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'” ~Mary Anne Radmacher

17.  “At any given moment you have the power to say this is NOT how the story is going to end.” ~Author Unknown

18.  “Don’t lose hope, when it gets dark the stars come out.” ~Author Unknown

Do you have a favorite quote or saying that inspires you?  Please share it with us.  What you say might just brighten someone else’s day. ;-)

 

Stuart Scott’s Inspirational Speech

 “You beat cancer by how you lived, why you lived and in the manner in which you lived. So live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you.”- Stuart Scott

 

In July, 2014, Stuart Scott, world renown sportscaster and ESPN SportsCenter Anchor, was presented with the Jimmy V. ESPY Award for Perseverance for his ongoing and inspirational fight against cancer.  His acceptance speech was one of the most moving and incredible speeches I’ve ever heard.  His message was simple…. never give up and live life to the fullest with the help and support of those around you.  Personally I listen to this speech whenever I feel down… and then… I get back up and start living life as best as I can.

New College Scholarship Announced for Breast Cancer Survivors

diamond-ring-education

I’d like to introduce you to a new scholarship program for breast cancer survivors- The Triumph Over Breast Cancer Scholarshipcreated and funded by Icing On The Ring. This $1000 scholarship is open to any student who is currently fighting breast cancer, in remission from breast cancer or has beaten breast cancer. Additional requirements include:

  • Applicant must be either currently accepted to or attending an accredited university.
  • Applicants must have a minimum 2.8 GPA.
  • Applicants must submit an official copy of their transcript.

How to Apply

Complete the Icing On The Ring Triumph Over Breast Cancer Scholarship online application.  The deadline is November 30, 2014 (scholarship will applied to the upcoming spring semester).

A second scholarship will be awarded for the Fall 2015 semester- the deadline for that scholarship will be July 31, 2015.

The scholarship winner will be determined solely by a selection committee based on the written essay and application criteria listed above.

For more information, visit Icing On The Ring Triumph Over Breast Cancer Scholarship website.

Pesticides & Food

This infographic was created by Garrick Dee of JuicingWithG, a blog that’s all about juicing. The information presented here was taken directly from the Environmental Working Group’s website.

For more information on when to buy organic produce vs. conventional produce, click HERE.

Dirty Dozen Infographic

 

Reliable, Relevant Cancer Info Delivered Straight to Your Inbox

 

Medivizor provides personalized, reliable medical information to people coping with serious or chronic medical conditions.  Medical conditions currently supported include breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, lymphoma, melanoma and prostate cancer as well as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and infertility.

It’s similar to a google alert but much, much better.  Medivizor‘s FREE service scans hundreds of clinical reports; selects the ones most relevant to you; interprets the content; and notifies you of the findings in simple terms that even a 10th grader can understand.

Research has shown that patients who take an active role in their health care tend to have better outcomes.  The information Medivizor provides enables users become more knowledgeable about their medical condition.  Users learn about cutting edge research relative to their condition, possible treatments, clinical trials, lifestyle tips and more that they can discuss with their doctors.

SAMPLE ARTICLE I RECEIVED ABOUT breast cancer:

Breast cancer staging: one lymph node or several?In a nutshellThis paper compares the benefits and risks of axillary lymph node dissection compared to sentinel lymph node dissection.Some backgroundBreast cancer can spread to nearby lymph nodes (organ that is involved in the immune system that is found throughout the body). Generally, for patients with no cancer in their lymph nodes, sentinel lymph node dissection is performed to stage the cancer. This involves removal of only the first lymph node to which the cancer is most likely to spread, to determine the severity of cancer. For patients with early invasive breast cancer and metastatic disease (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body), axillary lymph node dissection is undertaken. This involves removal of several lymph nodes to determine the severity of cancer.Methods & findingsThe authors studied women with breast cancer that had spread to the sentinel lymph node. Data from 10 previous articles were combined and studied.From three studies, there were similar survival rates between patients who had sentinel lymph node dissection alone and complete axillary lymph node dissection.In one study, 1.6% of patients who had sentinel lymph node dissection compared with 3.1% of patients who had axillary lymph node dissection experienced return of breast cancer. However, another study reported that significantly more women who underwent a sentinel lymph node dissection alone had higher rates of cancer return. Women who had sentinel lymph node dissection alone had similar disease-free-survival (period without symptoms of disease) rates compared with women who had complete axillary lymph node dissection.

The studies also evaluated the risks associated with each option. Compared to patients who had complete axillary lymph node dissection, those who had sentinel lymph node dissection alone had a 70% lower risk of lymphedema (swelling in the limbs) after 6 months, 74% lower risk of limited range of motion75% lower risk of pins and needles in arms and a 42% lower risk of wound infections.

The bottom line

The authors concluded that for some women with early invasive breast cancer, sentinel lymph node dissection can be an alternative to axillary lymph node dissection.

The fine print

There could be publication bias and some studies had low strength of evidence.

What’s next?

Discuss with your doctor the advantages and disadvantages of both treatment methods.

Published By :

European journal of cancer

Date :

Mar 01, 2013

Original Title :

Sentinel lymph node dissection only versus complete axillary lymph node dissection in early invasive breast cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

 

Recipes to Nourish Your Body During Cancer Treatments & Beyond

Smoky-Chickpea-Red-Lentil-Vegetable-Soup

 
NOTE:  Eating protein-rich food like chickpeas and lentils gives your body the fuel it needs to build up your immune system which often times becomes compromised during cancer treatments.
Servings:  6

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • large carrot, diced
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked vegetables, frozen peas or chopped fresh greens (or any combination)

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, smoked paprika and cumin; cook, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn’t brown, about 2 minutes more.
  2. Add the broth, diced tomatoes, red lentils, thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer; cook for ten minutes. Add the chickpeas, cover the pot and cook 10 minutes more. Fish out the bay leaves, then transfer 2 cups of the soup to a blender and purée until smooth. Add the puréed soup back to the pot and stir. Taste; if you want the soup to be thicker, purée a bit more soup. Add the cooked vegetables, frozen peas or chopped greens and simmer until the soup is hot and the vegetables are warmed through. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

 

grilled-moroccan-chicken-platter

 
*NOTE:  This dish contains turmeric.  The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which functions as both an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant.  Studies have shown that turmeric or curcumin may be helpful in treating or preventing certain cancers.
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (or chicken tenderloins)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Place chicken breasts between 2 pieces of wax or parchment paper and, using a meat mallet, pound to an even ½-inch thickness. (Skip this step if substituting chicken tenderloins.)
  2. Mix all ingredients except chicken together in a small bowl or measuring cup. Place pounded chicken breasts inside 1 gallon zip-lock bag. Add marinade to the bag, press air out and seal shut. Massage marinade into the breasts until evenly coated. Place the bag in a bowl in the refrigerator (to protect against leakage), and let the chicken marinate for 5-6 hours.
  3. Clean grill and preheat to high. Place chicken breasts on grill, spooning marinade over top. Grill, covered, for 2-3 minutes per side. Do not overcook.

 

For more nutritious and delicious recipes like these, visit OnceUponAChef.com. Jenn is a classically trained chef and recipe creator. Whenever I’m looking for something new make, OnceUponAChef is the first place I go for tried & true, crowd-pleasing recipes.

Study Finds Cancer Diagnosis Can Lead to Mental Health Disorders

CancerDiagnosisMentalHealthMyLifeLine

 

For many people with cancer, connecting with others provides emotional support and inspiration during this challenging time.  In fact, research has shown that strong support communities can be beneficial to cancer outcomes.  To help cancer patients and their caregivers get the support they need, MyLifeLine.org provides free, personal websites to anyone affected by cancer.  FREE website features include the ability to connect with loved ones (as a group or individually); post updates; coordinate meals, rides and visits with online scheduling and reminders; and collect funds from family and friends to help off-set the costs of cancer treatment.  To learn more, visit MyLifeLine.org and check out the MyLifeLine.org blog.

 

The post below was written by MyLifeLine.org Cancer Foundation…  

“A study published last Monday in U.S. News and World Report, found that one in three people diagnosed with cancer experience a mental health disorder, such as anxiety or depression. Researchers in the study conducted interviews with more than 2,100 individuals with cancer between the ages of 18 and 75. This study reinforces the importance of the mental health of cancer patients—the core of MyLifeLine.org’s mission; to provide the online platform for social and emotional support for all people affected by cancer.

Here is a summary of the findings from the study published on Oct. 6 in the Health section of U.S. News and World Report:

  • About 32% of cancer patients experience a mental health disorder, while general population mental disorder rate is much lower at 20%
  • More than 40% of patients with breast, head and neck cancer and malignant melanoma had at least one mental health disorder
  • The lowest rates of mental disorder, around 20%, occurred among patients with pancreatic, prostate, stomach or esophageal cancers
  • Anxiety disorders is one of the most common mental health disorders affecting cancer patients
  • Breast cancer patients were twice as likely to experience a mental disorder than people with typically more fatal types of cancer, such as pancreatic or stomach cancer

MyLifeLine.org believes social and emotional support is as important as medical care in the face of a cancer diagnosis and provides anyone affected by cancer with a place to receive support for their mental health. Because every cancer patient should feel supported, every day MyLifeLine.org provides free, personal and private websites to help them easily connect with family and friends.”