Thursday, March 20, 2014

Exercise: An Integral Partner in Cancer Treatment and Cancer Recovery

As a cancer exercise specialist I continuously have the pleasure of facilitating people to launch retaliatory attacks on cancer with exercise. Addressing, fixing our biochemical terrain, and so much more...
The right exercise, in the right amount, can help regulate all of these biochemical saboteurs.
Glycemia: Let us all count the ways... but really our muscle mass is the real hero here... taking sugar out of the blood stream into the muscle... just as strength training is a diabetics best friend. Sugar feeds cancer. Exercise reduces Insulin resistance, lowering levels of blood insulin, a growth factor, discussed further below.
Inflammation: Again our muscle mass is key here to control the inflammatory chemicals secreted by cancer cells. A sedentary lifestyle allows protein loss from body tissues. Inflammatory responses are like wildfire without exercising the muscles, leading to muscle wasting and destruction of the immune system. Cachexia is an unfortunate side effect of many cancer treatments, exercise is the best retaliatory defence.
Oxidative stress: Now here we do have to be very careful of balance, slow and steady wins this race. The right type and dosage of exercise produces enzymes that reduces free radicals. However, too much exercise can produce free radicals.
Besides the regulation of these terrain setters, exercise also provides many other profound aspects of cancer recovery:
Surgery and radiation: tightness, muscular imbalances, postural implications, scar tissue... just a few of the expected inevitabilities, especially if amputation was necessary. The proper combination of strength and stretching can restore the body and in many cases surpass pre surgery levels of strength, flexibility, range of motion and cardio respiratory status
Exercise during treatment: Studies agree as harrowing as treatment can be, exercise can increase stamina, strength, self esteem, and control pain, which are all often debilitating during treatment.
Maintaining a healthy body fat level is front and center for cancer recovery. Depending on the cancer an increase in adiposity (breast, prostate, colon) can dangerously threaten recovery. Consistent physical activity and exercise is critical here.
Blood Coagulation: yet another serious threat to cancer recovery and immune function. Being sedentary cripples the clotting system. Exercise increases blood circulation and makes the blood more fluid. Our power pump muscles (various leg muscles) force blood to travel back to the heart. This is why the advice of "bed rest" is really an enemy of illness. Improved circulation delivers more oxygen and nutrients to tissues, and reduces the chance of embolisms.
Exercise can also boast enabling greater NK cell activity - Natural Killer cells from our immune system. Exercise also increases macrophages, anti cancer compounds from immune cells.
An effective exercise program will also allow the cancer patient proper sleep, another crucial component to recovery. Just 30 minutes of aerobic exercise can drastically reduce treatment fatigue and improve quality of sleep dramatically.
Exercise improves absorption of nutrients which is often compromised in cancer treatments.
And to me personally, the coolest part of exercise and cancer... the appropriate form of exercise before chemotherapy treatments can dramatically increase the effectiveness of treatment, by actually altering the permeability of cell membranes.
Exercise provides hormonal balance, controlling stress responses and Growth factors including estrogen, insulin which promote breast, ovarian, endometrial lung, prostate cancers and other solid tumor cancers.
Diarrhea is a common side effect of radiation. Aerobic exercise can reduce this potentially deadly side effect by 25%.. If constipation is the issue, the right exercise can decrease bowel transit time.
Lymphedema is the swelling that occurs when lymph fluid builds up in the soft tissues of the limbs. This is a very painful possible complication of cancer surgeries, especially breast cancer. Careful exercise is a precise science & art in both the prevention and relief of lymphedema.
Exercise programs must be individualized to each particular patient. Depending on the type of cancer, and the biochemical and metabolic status of the patient, exercise protocol will vary. Are we most concerned with cachexia, excess adiposity, motivating the person, cardiac fitness, depression, anxiety, minimizing side effects of treatment... all of these plus many more factors will impact how we individualize the fitness program.
Shira Litwack, Medical Fitness Professional... proud creator of thousands of health enthusiasts & corporate health cultures world wide...
In Person & Telephone/Skype Health Coaching, Lifestyle & Weight Management Health Coach, Fitness & Nutrition for chronic illness recovery & self empowerment, addiction recovery, weight loss surgery coach

Hot Drinks Are The Major Causative Factors Behind Cancers Of Mouth, Throat And Esophagus

Nobody in his right mind would be pouring boiling water on his garden plants, or in the mouth of his pet, not to mention into the mouth of his child and yet people drink scalding coffee or tea and they eat food, which is so hot, they would not be able to hold it in their hand.
Coffee for a take-out is normally served in double paper cups or the cups with a styrofoam ring around the periphery, that is the only way you can carry it without burning your fingers, and yet people do not seem to care about exposing the tissues in the mouth and throat to the dangerously high temperatures!
Teeth also sustain damage from hot drinks and hot food; dental enamel cracks, fillings begin to leak because the filling materials have a different thermal expansion properties, as compared to the bone.
Another deadly effect from "heating" your teeth is "cooking" the tissues in the pulp chamber inside the tooth. Most people know that there is a "nerve" inside the tooth; it is actually not just the "nerve" but vascularized tissue, whose capillary network supplies nourishment to the tooth bone. This tissue, like any other one, would die if heated to the temperature of forty two degrees Celsius. People who expose their teeth to high temperatures, are thus running very high risk of "cooking" the tissue inside the pulp chamber; a tooth can be intact, with no visible signs of damage, and yet it is dead; quite obviously, such teeth are a source of infection in the body, they also represent a dental emergency, as you have to treat the root canal without much delay. Dead bone is very fragile, such teeth have to be crowned, since they can break, and if a fracture extends into any of the roots, then a dental surgery is unavoidable.
Often people eat food, which is so hot, it would burn the mouth, and so they hold it between their teeth till it cools down somewhat. People, who are this careless are likely to have at least some of their front teeth dead.
Hot foods and drinks are major causative factors behind mouth cancer, throat cancer and cancer of esophagus; stomach can also be burned with hot drinks and food. The body has to keep rebuilding the damaged tissues, while more is being burned every day, as the mouth is being scalded many times every day. These are "ideal" conditions for developing cancer.
As one can well imagine, cancers of the mouth and throat are not operable, the treatments "of choice" are radiation and chemotherapy. When I was doing my hospital practice as a nursing student, I had a patient with esophagus cancer, the treatment was to replace it with a section of his own colon. I do not know how long he lived after that, I do not even know if he survived the operation, but, as one can well imagine, that patient would have to live the rest of his life on liquid foods, as his new esophagus could not, obviously, produce peristalsis (rhythmical contractions which propel food towards the stomach).
An Internet search for "cancer [of] mouth", "cancer [of] throat" would fetch many pictures that can profoundly shock even the most carefree people.

Tumor Facts - Can Benign Tumors Become Malignant?

First of all, it is important to understand the difference between a benign tumor, and a malignant tumor, and what it actually means to a cancer sufferer - as both have a significant bearing on the prognosis (life-expectancy) of a cancer patient. And, although both do have certain similarities, they have one major significant difference (the difference between life and death at a late-stage development).
Benign tumors - are not usually life-threatening, and are more of a nuisance than anything else (benign tumors are unlikely to cause the fatality of a patient as they do NOT have the ability to metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body. The cells of a benign tumor manufacture chemical adhesion (sticky) molecules which allow the cells to stick together, thus containing the tumor to one local site (the site of origin).
Malignant tumors - on the other-hand, DO have the ability to metastasize to other parts of the body: locally, via the bloodstream, or through the lymphatic system. This is due to the malignant tumor cells not being able to produce the same stickiness, as no chemical adhesion molecules are produced. Because of the lack of these molecules - cells easily breakaway from the main tumor (metastasis).
Can benign tumors become malignant?
Under normal circumstances, a benign tumor CANNOT become malignant. However, there exists a condition which falls between both benign and malignant (pre-cancerous). Pre-cancerous, is where a certain tumor may have the potential to become malignant; although, no actual uncontrollable cell growth is present as yet. Therefore, a pre-cancerous tumor is not actually life-threatening until this uncontrolled cell growth has taken place (if it takes place), and until the process from pre-cancerous - cancerous (malignant) is complete.
Benign, Pre-cancerous, and Malignant recap:
  • Benign is non-cancerous (not life-threatening) and usually responds well to treatment.
  • Pre-cancerous is non-cancerous (not life-threatening) and usually responds well to treatment (if deemed necessary), until such times when the tumor completes its process to become malignant (life-threatening). However, pre-cancerous tumors do not always transform into life-threatening malignant growths.
  • Malignant is cancerous (life-threatening) with the ability to metastasize to other parts of the body, and is more difficult to respond to treatment (sometimes little or no response will be the case (usually resulting in the mortality of a patient).