Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Cancer Prevention

In mid June, 2011 I had a partial lobectomy which has been challenging to recover from.  Video assisted Thoracic surgery (VATS) is referred to as minimally invasive surgery. I call it "laparascopy for the lungs".  It was only minimally invasive on the outside and for my doctors.  On the inside; way more complicated.

I am left with a lingering cough which I am told will go away.  I am also told that as this surgery heals I will not feel the diminished lung capacity except at the high end of aerobic exercise.  That is not my main worry. 

Having had two major surgeries chemotherapy and radiation in a year changed me.  Frankly, I am much clearer emotionally about fear and death.  (Dying slowly is a problem dying quickly is not).  My quality of life remains excellent although I have been shy about exercising much and tend to rest more in the afternoon. 

The really exciting stuff is the anti-cancer plan that I have undertaken.  This is a grey area of mainstream medicine.  Taking a wait and see approach with frequent scans is not good enough for me. I would much rather avoid the life-saving heroics of event management (chemo. radiation, surgery).  Prevention is way more murky.  You only know for sure it is working when something doesn't happen.  However, it is not all shooting in the dark.  There are plenty of blood tests (not the standard tumor markers), that give ideas about the underlying cancer promoting terrain.  There is also the lens of genetic profiling of the tumor to see what the tumor is under or over expressing to promote its growth so that can be targeted.  This was part of my reasoning for doing surgery versus radiation for the lung nodules.  It is also the way herbs can collaborate with drugs to have a more broad cancer targeting strategy than uni-targeted pharmacologic agents.

Currently I am without any sign of disease (NED).  I also have a statistical 50-50 percentage risk of the disease returning.  This is a motivating factor to understand what real prevention can look look.  Currently I am on three drugs.  Celebrex for its effect on cancer, tetra thio molybdate to chelate copper and soon I will be on the MTOR inhibiting drug Rapamycin (Sirolimus) at half strength with grapefruit juice.  Grapefruit juice makes many drugs toxic because it slows down their processing through the CYP3A4 enzyme pathway.  However, if you lower the dose of the drug than this problem is avoided.  At the very least it is a way to save money by getting more "miles per gallon" of the drug. 

I am also taking a pile of targeted supplements to work on my overall vitality and the underlying terrain of how the cancer may grow.  This is part is about correcting what is out of balance and about optimizing aspects of cancer fighting immune function and fortfying adaptive reserves.  For a small part of what I am taking see my recent post on curcumin.  

It is worthy to note, there are  financial issues with prevention.  Chemo. radiation, surgery are pricey but covered by insurance.  Taking a few drugs at half strength, including one that is not patentable and is only purchased from a compounding pharmacy is not enough money to keep a hospital running or interest big pharma to generate the big research dollars.  Yet there are still plenty of effective anti-cancer strategies that fall out of that expensive comb.  They are just not so well known.  There is also a lot out there taking advantage of desperate people.  I have found the experts that really know this stuff and I am being treated and trained by them.  As you can imagine I have a passion and close personal interest in this field.  Donnie Yance founder writes about it this way:
Collaborative Oncology: An Introduction to the Eclectic Triphasic Medical System (ETMS), a Clinical Holistic Approach to Cancer Care Utilizing Botanical and Nutritional Medicine as Targeted Therapies.  This approach presents a multi-lens investigation, which examines the patient‟s constitutional energetics, endogenous and exogenous factors, and specific biomarkers from blood, pathology and tissue testing. This information is used to strategically design protocols to alter the individual‟s biological terrain, including gene behavior and expression, so that it is conducive to health and vitality while actively suppressing disease

He goes on to say:

The Eclectic Triphasic Medical System (ETMS) is an innovative system by which healthcare practitioners implement more effective, comprehensive treatment plans fortheir patients with chronic illness or cancer.  The beauty of the ETMS is that it provides a framework for supporting the patient using the fullest degree of botanical, nutritional, and biomedical principles. Without overlooking the human being‟s constitution and environmental influences—or their unique manifestation of disease—the ETMS aims for balance and harmony in executing optimal care. It was designed as a way to employ the oldest healing principles in conjunction with the most cutting-edge science in both assessment and treatment. This approach inherently relies upon the broadest assessment tools on behalf of patients‟“whole” health, and accordingly applies the most appropriate therapeutics.

Strategies I am employing include:  chelating copper.  This is an unpatentable anti-angiogenic strategy.  Another one is chelating stored iron.  Cancer cells sequester iron far more than normal cells.  Yet another is herbal strategies to prevent cancer from Chinese Medicine and support various aspects of the cancer fighting immune system.  One important approach to prevention is not just to fight cancer but to get healthier.  It does sound obvious.  The flashy and exciting part of prevention may be the genetic testing and then applying a combination of drugs and natural treatment strategies to the findings, but the bread and butter of  regulating digestion, improving blood sugar control, getting enough sleep, staying calm and modifying excesses in the diet to improve overall wellness are also important.

I am doing all that I can to ensure a long and healthy life.  In the meantime the road is clear If you know of people that need help with cancer prevention or side effects of treatment have them contact me.