Research Suggests Meditation May Help Cancer Patients

Cancer and Meditation

Cancer and Meditation

For many years now, spiritualists and alternative medicine devotees have suggested that meditation can help a person beat cancer. In a world first, some research may have demonstrated that meditation can alter cells within the human body and play a role in battling cancer.

The canadian-based research, “Mindfulness-based cancer recovery and supportive-expressive therapy maintain telomere length relative to controls in distressed breast cancer survivors“, has been published in the journal Cancer. It indicates that meditation and yoga can alter cellular activity of cancer survivors.

Protein caps at the end of chromosome called telomeres stayed at the same length in cancer survivors who meditated or took part in support groups over a 3 month period. This is contrasted with people who did not participate in support groups or meditation, and saw a shortening of their telomeres. Telomeres determine how quickly a cell ages.

The question here is what role telomeres play in regulating disease. There is some evidence that longer telomeres can help protect people from diseases like breast cancer.

There was already evidence that meditation, mindfulness and support groups could make you feel better, but this is the first mind-body link discovered for these practices.

88 breast cancer survivors took part in the research. The average age of the participants involved was 55. One third of the group was asked to attend a weekly 90 minute support session and to practice meditation or yoga for 45 minutes each day.

Another third just used the support group to talk about their emotions. The third group attended a single seminar about stress management and was not asked to meditate.

The people who used the support group and meditated had lower stress levels and maintained their telomere length. The control group saw a shortening.

This is very exciting research for people who have advocated for meditation and mindfulness. While we don’t know exactly what role telomeres play in human health just yet, we do know that maintaining telomere length is positive for human health.

NFL Continues to Raise Money for Breast Cancer

NFL Supporting Breast Cancer

NFL Supporting Breast Cancer

The NFL is continuing with it’s annual breast cancer awareness month, which occurs every October. The campaign is designed to increase breast cancer awareness and raise money for breast cancer research. The breast cancer awareness campaign began in 2009. In the United States, breast cancer remains the 2nd most dangerous form of cancer for women.

Similar campaigns have been started in other countries with the rugby league competition in Australia also raising awareness and funding for breast cancer research.

NFL players and fans wear pink to the games in October, leading to the stunning sight of a crowd awash in bright pink. The NFL most definitely has some work to do as it attempts to repair it’s reputation after damage domestic violence incidents from players.

The games in October include cancer survivors honored at half time and player gear auctioned off to support cancer research. It’s not a small amount of money either, with the event raising over $7 million since it began.

The more funding breast cancer research obtains, the close we are to a cure for this terrible disease. While enjoying the games this month, make sure to donate some money and talk to the women in your family about breast cancer.

Preventing Hair Loss from Chemotherapy

Dignacap

Dignacap

When most people are first diagnosed with cancer and informed they will have to undergo various forms of treatment including chemotherapy, they are flooded with anxiety and fear. Most people are worried about surviving if it is a dangerous form of cancer, and worried about their family coping, but they are also worried about the short term effects of the chemotherapy cancer treatment. Everyone has seen how much chemotherapy can wear a person down and one of the most noticeable side effects is hair loss.

Well a product which helps prevent hair loss during chemo may soon be available in the United States! Researchers in the United States are currently testing the effectiveness of a head cooling system called “DignaCap”, which has been available in Europe for more than a decade. The Food and Drugs Administration has not approved the treatment yet, but researchers are hoping their trials help sway the FDA to approve it in 2015.

The DignaCap system provides a cold scalp freezing treatment during chemotherapy treatments that prevents the chemicals reaching the scalp and killing the hair follicles. The treatment has been shown to prevent hair loss in patients with early stage breast cancer in European studies.

Dr Tessa Cigler is heading up the research trial at the Weill Cornell Breast Center which is specifically looking at the DignaCap device and it’s effectiveness. The device was developed in Sweden and was first launched in 1999 in the European market.

In addition the research at the Weill Cornell Breast Center, researchers in California and North Carolina are looking at the device and and will present their findings to the FDA shortly.

Dr Cigler says of the DignaCap: “Cold-cap therapy is empowering, It allows women to maintain their self-esteem and sense of well-being, as well as to protect their privacy.” Without these caps, 100% of the women lose their hair by the second treatment.

Many women report that one of the hardest aspects of undergoing chemotherapy is that every time they look in the mirror, they are reminded of the disease that is currently attacking their system. Additionally some women report that losing their hair impacts their confidence and quality of life.

The cap is room temperature when placed on the patients head 30 minutes prior to the chemotherapy treatment beginning. The internal coils in the cap are attached to a refrigeration unit that cools the cap to 37 degrees. The cooling cap is kept on the entire time that the chemotherapy treatment is running and a further one or two hours after the chemo treatment is complete.

Patients have to also be gentle with their hair, so avoid excessive hair washing, excessive brushing and harsh chemical treatments. It is an exciting development for women who have enough of a battle without feeling additional anxiety about their appearance while undergoing chemotherapy.

New Insurance Laws Affecting Cancer Centers

Cancer Insurance Changes

Cancer Insurance Changes

In an alarming new development, it turns out that under the new health care program currently being rolled out by the Obama administration, some cancer hospitals are not included in the insurance coverage.

A number of doctors, hospital administrators and insurance regulators discovered the issue in recent months are are now spreading the word.

Associated Press recently reported on the exclusion of these hospitals. As an example of what they found – the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is excluded by five out of the eight insurers in the Washington Insurance Exchange. The MD Anderson Cancer Center has indicated that it is available in only half of the plans in the Houston area and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering facility in New York is only included by two of the nine insurers!

Only four nationally recognized cancer centers contacted by Associated Press indicated that universal access was available to their treatment centers with all plans included their facilities in their coverage.

Insurance companies previously listed these prestigious cancer centers as a major selling point for their policies. Now they are more focused on keeping costs down so are stripping some of the more expensive elements from their policies.

The importance of this issue is that not only might people miss out on their preferred treatment center, they might in fact miss out on the best possible treatment for their illness, including access to medical trials of new cancer drugs.

For people who have a history of cancer in their family, they might be able to plan ahead and make sure their plan includes some of the more renowned cancer treatment centers. However for most people, to whom cancer is a horrible surprise – they might suddenly realize their insurance plan does not include the best outcome for them.

So what can you do to obtain the best insurance for your family? Shop around and read the fine print. Additionally, if you know where the best cancer treatment facility in your area is, you can contact them for a list of insurance plans that include their facility as a treatment location.

That all makes Barack Obama’s health care plan seem a bit lack luster right? Well the good news is that under he Affordable Health Care act insurers can no longer turn you away people with preexisting health problems, or charge them more for having those conditions before being insured. That is incredible news for people who have a history of dealing with cancer.

Because insurers are now being super competitive when it comes to price, they are trimming what they can. That means if you have very specific health care requirements or you are concerned about a particular ailment like cancer, you need to look at the policies in fine detail.

Insurance companies are required to be very clear with you about their policies as well, so ask as many questions as you need to, to get the assurances you need. Cancer survivors and anyone with a family history of cancer needs to pay particular attention to their policy.

If your workplace is choosing your insurance for you, it might be a problem you can’t easily solve.

Zach Sobiech Dies

Zach-Sobiech

Zach-Sobiech

Sad news today as Zach Sobiech, the Minnesota teenager who viral on Youtube with a song he wrote about fighting cancer, has passed away. Zach was only 18 and had Osteosarcoma, an aggressive malignant neoplasm from primary bone cancer.

Zach was only diagnosed 4 years ago and wrote the song “Clouds” that became a hit on Youtube, to say goodbye to his friends and family.

The Children’s Cancer Research Fund issues a press release announcing Zach’s death on it’s website, writing: “Zach was at home and at peace with those he loved most. Zach’s life ended just as he lived, embraced by the love of his family, friends, grace and music”

One of the reasons the video reached such a high level of popularity was the a celebrity tribute that featured stars including Jenna Fischer, Jason Mraz and Ashley Tisdale. It featured the celebrities singing along to Sobiech’s song Clouds.

Zach’s relatives ask that any donations be forwarded to the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Foundation, which helps children fight cancer.

Checkout “Clouds” video below:

Supporting Your Partner Through Cancer

Spouse with Cancer

Spouse with Cancer

Finding out that your partner has breast cancer is not only extremely traumatic for them, but for you too. In months following a diagnosis there will be many ups and downs and the partner of a woman afflicted with breast cancer will have a lot to deal with.

It’s easy for it to all become overwhelming because it is such a demanding role, looking after their needs while also dealing with your own anxieties, fears and trying to stay positive. You might also have to handle abuse from your sick partner as they may go through a lot of pain and you are the one around them most of the time. As a partner of someone afflicted with breast cancer it’s actually important that you look after yourself and your partner equally. You don’t want to burn out and find yourself resentful of your partner.

There are a few ways to relieve the stress you feel, this article will detail a few of the best approaches to dealing with cancer diagnosis of loved ones.

The first thing you need to do is become very organised. Get a calendar and mark important upcoming dates in their treatment process and dates where important tests and results land. If there is a surgery, write down those dates and the estimated recovery time needed post surgery. You will have to take note of what dates you can be available and what scheduling conflicts you have. If you can’t be there to take your partner to chemotherapy, for example, it’s best to know of this well in advance.

Add other important dates to the calendar like birthdays, work conferences, school holidays, anniversaries. Basically you need to get a timeline and schedule for all of the big events onto paper. You do this to expose any conflicts and to give the family a sense of certainty. Knowing what important events are coming up in the next few months is extremely helpful and nothing is more panic inducing than trying to organize events on the fly and dealing with scheduling issues on the day.

Take that down to the next level and do weekly schedules on top of that. You need to be specific about times of appointments, when you need to pick up children, when you need to meet people etc. You need every appointment for the next 7 days to be planned out and noted. Again, you are looking for scheduling clashes and sorting them out well before they become a problem.

You should also look for help. Relatives, friends, colleagues and your boss might all be able to help you once they know your circumstances. Perhaps a relative can take your kids to soccer practice or the boss can give you more flexible work hours so you can make a chemotherapy appointment. You have to ask for help before people can offer it!

Another important tip is to make some time and space for yourself! You will suffer a lot of stress because your loved one is suffering through this terrible illness. So to give yourself a breather and relax, you should devote some time to yourself every couple of days. Either by yourself or with a group of friends. Make sure you include the time in the schedules that you have already made up because this is an essential activity. You need to rebuild your energy and the best way is to take a quick time out.

Help Battling Lung Cancer

Cancer Support Groups

Cancer Support Groups

To be informed you have any kind of cancer creates considerable mental hardship for the patient and their household, especially true when it comes to lung cancer for its a) very low survival rates and b) influence over the quality of daily life for whatever period they have left. Even during times when the sufferer survives the ailment, they’re going to likely have to endure surgical treatment to clear out portions of the affected lung and/or courses of chemotherapy/radiotherapy which additionally have various negative effects for instance persistent queasiness, thinning hair and anaemia.

Even so, daily life with cancer malignancy needn’t be a consistent routine of tragedy and gloom. On a yearly basis, around 12.7 million men and women are told they are troubled with some form of cancer, and a lot carry on living happy, gratifying day-to-day lives even during their treatment options.

To help them in protecting a high quality of life, and to provide aid and guidance where it’s required, there are numerous organizations that happen to be devoted to helping cancer patients and their loved ones through the trying times ahead. Here are a handful of of them.

Macmillan Cancer Support is a volunteer organised charity organisation that gives nursing and help to individuals coping with many forms of cancer and also fund raising in order to finance vital areas of the struggle with the condition (for example research and product development, psychological help and health care).

They are able to help with a very broad selection of details, from applying for money that will help take care of the cost of living with cancer to bereavement counselling for anyone left behind if the worst happens.

Marie Curie Cancer Care was created in 1948, and is a nonprofit organisation that seeks to supply free nursing care to terminally ill patients – offering them the opportunity to be cared for in their homes (something which few terminally ill cancer affected individuals are able to do).

The charitable organisation also finances study by numerous different research groups at British educational institutions who are perpetually aiming to find the underlying causes of (and potential control of) cancer.

Mywavelength is a free internet service that enables people with cancer to get in touch with and help one another by searching for those people who are suffering from the identical kind of cancer.

You are able to post on the MWL system when you require advice (or even people to speak with who could most likely identify with the challenges you are experiencing in a way that people without cancer can’t manage) and ask to be contacted over the site.