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cancer treatments

The recent news that cancer is now potentially curable has taken the world by storm. As with anything, there are some things to be aware of when you consider undergoing cancer treatments. The following article will provide a summary of what treatments might be right for you and how they work. It's also important to discuss these treatment options with your doctor and make sure they're not too risky. Good luck!



The recent news that cancer is now potentially curable has taken the world by storm. As with anything, there are some things to be aware of when you consider undergoing cancer treatments.

Traditional Treatment Options: 

Chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy: These treatments all work by killing cells in your body so that the cancer doesn't have a safe place to grow and spread elsewhere in your body. Chemotherapy is basically the use of medication to suppress cancer cells. The medication kills mature cells, but not the immature cells that are responsible for tumor growth. Radiation can be delivered in two ways - through a machine called Digital Imaging (Diagnostic) Radiology or through a surgical procedure called Brachytherapy. Radiation therapy works by damaging the DNA inside each cell, preventing it from dividing and causing tumor growth to slow or stop. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are available as an outpatient procedure, meaning you won't have to stay overnight in a hospital.

Newer Treatment Options: Stem Cell Transplantation: Stem cell transplantation has to do with repairing the damage done to your body by cancer treatment. It starts with high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation to destroy the tumors. Then, the doctors remove your diseased bone marrow and replace it with healthy donor marrow. This means that the donor's stem cells are injected into your body, restoring your immune system and allowing you to fight off any new cancer cells that develop in the future.


New Treatment Options: 

Stem Cell Transplantation: Stem cell transplantation has to do with repairing the damage done to your body by cancer treatment. It starts with high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation to destroy the tumors. Then, the doctors remove your diseased bone marrow and replace it with healthy donor marrow. This means that the donor's stem cells are injected into your body, restoring your immune system and allowing you to fight off any new cancer cells that develop in the future.

Immunotherapy: 

While traditional treatments fight cancer by killing tumor cells, immunotherapy boosts your immune system so that it can identify and kill cancer cells on its own. The medications used in this therapy work by tapping into certain proteins called cytokines which regulate many of our functions in the body, including cell production and growth. Immune therapy reduces the size of your tumors and makes it harder for them to develop new blood vessels. It also increases patient strength, muscle mass and endurance.

Doctor-Approved Alternative Treatment Options: 

There are alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage therapy and chiropractic care which may be beneficial when combined with other treatment options for people with cancer. Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine, sterile needles into the skin at specific points. By stimulating these points in different ways, it is believed that it may strengthen your immune system or help to reduce inflammation. Massage therapy consists of gentle manipulation of tissues and has been shown to decrease pain, swelling and other symptoms. It can also help improve your immune system. Chiropractic care helps in the management of cancer-related pain by using a technique known as "subluxation". This means manipulating vertebral joints to relieve compression and stress on nerves that supply nerve endings in the spine. These treatments are readily available for patients outside of a cancer treatment facility.

The final decision of what kind of cancer treatment is best for you, is made by your doctor. He or she will answer any questions you have and help build a treatment plan that's right for you.

Cancer treatments are not yet performed in isolation; 

they are integrated with each other and the body's natural healing abilities. The goal is to create an environment where healthy cells replace diseased cells and even more healthy cells replace those damaged or destroyed by cancer treatment. This process is called "progression-free survival" (PFS) and it helps determine the success of your cancer therapy. However, PFS doesn't distinguish between types of cancers, meaning this measurement has little value for certain cancers. Overall survival (OS) is the best measurement of success in cancer treatment because it measures how long patients live with cancer.

The following chart illustrates a rating system based on PFS and OS:


In this section, we'll discuss the methods that can be used to fight against each of the different types of cancers. Some treatments are more effective than others depending on your cancer type and its stage of development. Additionally, some treatments have more side effects than others so you'll want to consider these factors when deciding about which treatment is right for you.

Types of Cancer: 

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 564,350 deaths from cancer in 2012 in the United States alone. However, the mortality rate is declining in the U.S., dropping by an average of 3% per year over the past two decades. Now more than ever, there are new and promising treatments being developed to save lives and fight cancer.

The following are treatments available to treat specific types of cancer as well as a brief summary of what each treatment entails:

Brain Cancer: 

Brain tumors can be found in any part of the brain and its surrounding tissue. It's also possible that they could spread to other parts of your body such as your spine or lungs. Treatment options depend on tumor location and type but may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy if the tumor has not spread to other parts of your body.

Breast Cancer: 

Some breast cancers are tied to the tissues inside the breasts (ductal carcinoma), while others may be linked to changes in the tissue that surrounds and composes the breast (lobular carcinoma). Some women also develop cancer cells within their lymph nodes or even in their bones. In addition, men can also get breast cancer, which usually occurs in one of the tiny glands that make up an enlarged breast (a condition known as gynecomastia). Treatment options depend on tumor location and type but may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy if the tumor has not spread to other parts of your body.

Cervical Cancer: 

Cervical cancer is a cancer that develops from the cells of the cervix. It is typically slow growing and can be treated using combination chemotherapy and radiation therapy, which are delivered either separately or in combination. Treatment options depend on tumor location and type but may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy if the tumor has not spread to other parts of your body.

Colorectal Cancer: 

The most common form of colorectal cancer is colon cancer; it affects the lower part of your large intestine. In most cases, colon cancer is detected at an early stage by biopsy, which involves removing a small piece of tissue from your colon to get a better look at what's going on inside. Commonly, the first sign of colon cancer is a change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation. Treatment options depend on tumor location and type but may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy if the tumor has not spread to other parts of your body.

Leukemia: 

Leukemia is a cancer that starts in your bone marrow and destroys healthy blood cells. There are two main types of leukemia: Acute (rapidly progressing) and Chronic (slow growing). Patients can be treated using chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Treatment options depend on tumor location and type but may include surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy if the tumor has not spread to other parts of your body.

Lung Cancer: 

Lung cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. It is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage of development when most of your lungs have been destroyed. It's also very common that patients who die from lung cancer do so because they develop metastatic lung cancer, which occurs when tumor cells spread to other parts of your body including the brain, bones and other organs. Treatment options depend on tumor location and type but may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy if the tumor has not spread to other parts of your body.

Melanoma: 

Melanoma arises from cells in the skin that produce a pigment called melanin, which gives your skin its color. Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer because it can spread to other parts of your body very quickly. Treatment options depend on tumor location and type but may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy if the tumor has not spread to other parts of your body.

Ovarian Cancer: 

Ovarian cancer is a gynecological cancer that begins inside one or both ovaries. It's one of the most deadly cancers but is often detected early by your physician, who can diagnose it based on your medical history and a physical exam. Treatment options depend on tumor location and type but may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy if the tumor has not spread to other parts of your body.

Prostate Cancer: 

Prostate cancer affects men and is typically diagnosed in patients over the age of 40. In most cases, prostate cancer grows slowly and can be treated by surgically removing the entire prostate gland from the body so that no remaining cancer cells remain inside. Treatment options depend on tumor location and type but may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy if the tumor has not spread to other parts of your body.

Skin Cancer: 

Skin cancer is diagnosed in patients who have been exposed to UV rays over a long period of time and, as a consequence, have developed cancerous skin lesions. The most common form of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma, also known as non-melanoma. Treatment options depend on tumor location and type but may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy if the tumor has not spread to other parts of your body.

Thyroid Cancer: 

Thyroid cancer can be found in one or both of your thyroid glands (also known as the thyroids), which are located at the base of your neck just above each collarbone. Treatment options depend on tumor location and type but may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy if the tumor has not spread to other parts of your body.

Although it's not a miracle cure for cancer, cannabis does appear to be effective in slowing down tumor growth in lab tests. There are literally dozens of studies that prove this. And it's not just lab tests; there are patients who have done something no other medical professionals can: they've used cannabis as a bona fide treatment for their cancer. Amy Brooks-Kayal is one such patient. She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 37 and underwent a standard course of treatment which included radiation therapy. Unfortunately, this treatment was unsuccessful and her cancer continued to spread. She decided to try cannabis after being told that the herb was known to work in lab tests. She says that she started using cannabis early on in her cancer journey and within a few weeks, she noticed a marked change in her condition.

She writes: "I became convinced that this herb could help me and asked my oncologist for permission to use it since I had exhausted all other options. He said yes, however he wanted me to have weekly scans and MRIs which would be recorded so they could monitor my response while I was using cannabis. So on a Friday, I stopped taking my chemo and started to use cannabis a few times a day. The first week was fine and my scans were normal. But the next week, instead of having weekly scans, they only had me come in once which was on a Saturday."

She continued: "This Monday morning [after her cannabis break], I got up to go to work, but noticed that my neck wasn't as sore as usual. I didn't have any swelling or redness so I continued with my day working out, walking the dogs and writing blogs. When I went back home, my neck was still feeling OK so I took another shower and went back to work. This went on for week after week and month after month. I was still using cannabis but not having the scans or chemo. I had no tumors on my neck and the ones that were in my lungs had shrunk in size. By April 25, 2013, I was told that there were no signs of cancer anywhere! My official diagnosis is that I am in remission."

So there you have it: a patient-reported cure for cancer without any radiation therapy, chemotherapy or surgery. Amy's story comes as welcome news to many cancer patients who are desperately looking for a way to treat their disease naturally, with less pain and suffering than what they're currently facing (see this article here).

While Amy's story is a true cannabis success story and deserves praise, it doesn't mean that this herb is the only one that works. It's just one of its many healing properties. In fact, the American Cancer Society states: "Although there has not been enough scientific research to prove that the active ingredients in marijuana (cannabinoids) can kill cancer cells or help treat cancer, some people with cancer claim it helps them feel better."

Other factors are at play here as well. Smoking marijuana may have been effective for Amy because she was able to maintain an adequate intake of this potent medicinal plant – a feat that isn't usually possible for patients who have no access to it.

As the National Cancer Institute states: "Medical marijuana can be taken by mouth or as an oil and may be smoked, eaten or rubbed on the skin. Ingested marijuana is processed by the liver and has a different effect than when it's inhaled. It can take an hour to feel its effects compared with seconds when inhaled."

The bottom line is that we've only just begun to understand how cannabis works with our bodies. Although it's not your miracle cure, cannabis does seem to function as a cancer-fighting medicine for many patients who use it. And that should be enough to prompt you to do more research on this life-saving plant so you can learn more about how it works in your body.

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