Tag Archives: breast cancer chemotherapy

How To Detox Your Body After Chemotherapy & Radiation

 

Image Source: freedigitalphotos.net / zirconicusso

 How To Detox Your Body After Chemotherapy & Radiation

Although your body does a great job of detoxing all on its own – at least when you’re healthy – when you’ve been through chemotherapy and/or radiation, your body is overloaded with chemical residues.  It is important to detox after chemotherapy and/or radiation to get that residue out of your body – and you’re going to feel so much better if you do.

An overload of toxins is known to cause bloating, fatigue, headaches, poor memory, aching muscles, a suppressed immune system (which is the very thing you’re relying on to keep you well), even halitosis (bad breath). Toxic buildup within the body can also be a problem if you have had lymph nodes removed because our lymphatic system acts as another method of waste removal, and this toxic buildup can worsen the side effects of lymphedema.

Once chemotherapy and radiation are finished and these strong treatments have done their work, the body is filled with toxins.  Radiation can damage healthy cells and create toxic buildup and if you think about it, even cancer cells themselves become toxins as they wither up and die from the treatments. The body does its best to get rid of all this, but I certainly felt the difference after a good bowel cleanse subsequent to chemotherapy, and many others have reported the same.

Make sure you’re strong enough to undergo cleansing, however.  Consult with your physician or naturopath before embarking on cleansing.  You might find it necessary to wait a number of weeks or even months if you are too weak but the sooner you get started detoxing, the better you will feel.  Even if you are too weak, you can still increase your water intake, do some gentle exercise and begin juicing (for more on juicing, keep reading).

How To Detox Your Body After Chemotherapy & Radiation – 10 Tips

1.  Colonic Hydrotherapy – Colonic hydrotherapy can be of assistance not only after chemotherapy but also during to help alleviate the terrible constipation that often results from chemotherapy.  Your medical staff may argue the efficacy of chemotherapy (I had one nurse tell me that we are designed for wastes to move ONE way and we shouldn’t go against that!) but it really helps tremendously.  I went through a course of colonic hydrotherapy post-chemo and found it to be a gentle and effective method for toxin and waste cleansing.  There’s nothing new about colonics – Egyptians were using it for constipation centuries ago.  If you’d like to read one person’s experience with it, click here.

2.  Drink Plenty of Water, Herbal Tea – This is the most natural way to detox your body after chemotherapy.  Make sure your drinking water is filtered (and preferably not obtained from plastic water bottles) to help keep you safe from herbicides, pesticides, and other assorted nasties that our water can often contain.  We used to hear that drinking 8 glasses of water per day was essential, however, newer studies have shown that as long as you are sipping away on water all day you are probably getting what you need.  Put in a slice of lemon for some additional flavor, cleansing qualities and antioxidant protection.  Herbal teas are also wonderful to help the cleansing process, particularly dandelion tea which is a liver tonic.

3.  Juicing, Juicing, Juicing – It seems like I am always touting the benefits of juicing organic vegetables and fruits but their importance for health cannot be overstressed.  Make sure you have a great juicer though, as not all juicers are designed to keep the living enzymes within your expensive organic produce alive!  Here’s a great one, this is the one I use (and it’s a great price).  Live juices can help to heal, rejuvenate, and flush away toxins. Fresh vegetable and fruit juices are the cleansers, energizers, regenerators, and blood builders of the human body.  Try any combination of beet (great blood cleanser), kale, spinach, carrot, cucumber, apple, ginger and pineapple (both great anti-inflammatories, so that makes them anti-cancer as well).  Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are full of antioxidants and help to cleanse the blood of impurities.  See my page Diet and Cancer for some data on why certain vegies and fruit are good for cancer. I have loads of articles on my website about the benefits of juicing, so be sure to check them out as well.

4.  Circulate Your Blood – Something as simple as bouncing on a rebounder (one of those mini trampolines) for 10 minutes a couple of times per day helps to get your heart pumping, blood circulating and toxins flushing out of your body.  Best done BEFORE a meal or juicing, however!  Walking, cycling, hiking, dancing, yoga – all of these are great to get the body moving and detoxing.  Make sure you drink plenty of filtered water after exercising.

5.  Fiber – Fiber helps to grab onto toxins in your digestive tract.  Fiber soaks up toxins rather like a sponge, speeds up elimination, helps with cleansing.  Natural fiber is available from fruits, vegetables and whole grains, however there are also plenty of fiber products on the market which you could add to your health regimen.  One particularly good one is freshly ground organic flaxseed.

6.  Herbal Medicine – There are many herbs and essential oils which will assist you in detoxing after chemotherapy and radiation.  Milk thistle is a particularly good herb for liver cleansing.  I would definitely recommend seeking the advice of a qualified naturopath before using herbal medicine, however, because they are specifically trained in herbal medicine and since herbs can sometimes have drug interactions you would want the best guidance possible for your particular needs.

7.  Eating Organic Food – Because at this stage you are working towards detoxing and keeping well and healthy, your best bet is to avoid processed and sugar-laden foods as these will not assist the detox process.  Eating plenty of organic fruits, vegetables and lean meats like fish or chicken is much more conducive to keeping your system clear of any further toxins.  Google “raw food recipes” for some really great suggestions and recipes that appeal to you.

8.  Epsom Salt Baths – There is something so restorative about a hot epsom salt bath!  Hot water opens the pores and assists perspiration to take toxins away.  Epsom salt is actually magnesium sulfate, and these two minerals help generate enzymes that clean up the body.  To make it a totally revitalizing experience, add lavender essential oil for its calming effects, or ginger which also helps to open the pores and is a good natural anti-inflammatory.  If you don’t have epsom salts, baking soda is also useful and it helps to neutralize the effects of radiation.  This is another place where water filtration is important because if you live in an area where the water is highly chlorinated you are soaking all that chlorine up into your body through the skin.  Chlorine and breast cancer are linked, see this article from globalhealingcenter.com.  For a great recipe on a particular sort of detox bath, see my article How To Detox In Your Bathtub.

9.  Detox Your Household – You might not think about this, but if your body and skin care products are laden with toxins you are taking all of those into your body via the skin as well.  If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin or hair.  I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t mention the importance of using organic body products and cosmetics when you are detoxing your body.  There are several good brands out there, contact me if you need help finding good ones.

10.  You Must Rebuild Your Immune System – Since your immune system is your first line of defense against cancer and all other diseases, you must rebuild it because the chemotherapy and radiation treatments will have blasted the hell out of the very thing you are relying upon to stay well.  Yes, your body may eventually do this on its own, but the process is generally quite slow and we don’t want to give any open doors to stray cancer cells.  Here’s my page on how to build immunity quickly so that it’s very strong:  8 Ways To Build A Super Strong Immune System.

I know that’s a lot of things to think about, but if you are determined to get well and stay well, incorporating even just two or three of these suggestions into your life will be very helpful.

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New Chemotherapy Drug for HER2+: Genentech’s T-DM1

In June of this year, the results of a new study were released by Duke Cancer Institute for a breast cancer drug known as T-DM1 which is made by Genentech, a unit of Roche, who sponsored the trial.

I didn’t write an article about it at the time because I wanted to do a little more research.

How T-DM1 Works

T-DM1 is designed for those who are HER2 positive, meaning that their tumors have high levels of a protein called HER2.

T-DM1 works a little differently than most chemotherapy drugs.  It consists of toxins that are linked to proteins called antibodies.  The antibodies latch onto cancer cells and deliver their toxic payload directly into the cancer cells.  This is termed an antibody-drug conjugate.

More specifically, to make T-DM1, trastuzumab, the T in the name, is attached to DM1, a toxin more potent than the typical chemotherapy drug.

The trastuzumab latches onto cells with the HER2 protein protruding from their surface and is taken inside the cells.  Once inside, the antibody degrades and sets the toxin free. Although the toxin is still connected to the linker, it is still able to kill the cells.

According to the research, by doing this, side effects are supposedly reduced.

Study Results

The T-DM1 trial involved 991 women with metastatic breast cancer whose cancer was getting worse despite previous treatment with the drug Herceptin (also a Genentech drug) and taxane.  Half of the women in the study got T-DM1 and the other half received two drugs that are now commonly used for such patients — Tykerb, also known as lapatinib, and Xeloda, also known as capecitabine.

According to the study results, T-DM1 delayed the worsening of disease by about three months.  For those who received T-DM1, the median time before the disease progressed was 9.6 months, compared with 6.4 months for those getting the two other drugs.

While it is too early to state that T-DM1 prolonged lives (because not enough time had elapsed since the beginning of the trial and the release of the results), researchers were pretty confident that it would be beneficial.

T-DM1 Side Effects

I have been active in several breast cancer forums and I know of a few women who have been on the T-DM1 trials.  Here’s what some of them have had to say about side effects of T-DM1:

  • Neutropenia – neutrophils are a class of white blood cells in your immune system and neutropenia means a low count of neutrophils
  • Significant aching and stiffness of muscle and joints, pain and cramping – worse in hands and feet
  • Mouth sores, dry mouth
  • Drippy nose, sometimes bloody
  • Liver enzyme elevation
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Fatigue
  • Lung inflammation
  • Heavy periods (if not menopausal)

I thought you might like to know.  To me, that list of side effects sounds a whole lot like most chemotherapy drugs but if they are keeping people alive and giving them hope, that’s always a good thing.

I’ll get excited when researchers come up with effective drugs that don’t have side effects.

Reference articles:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/03/health/research/in-study-drug-delays-worsening-of-breast-cancer-with-fewer-side-effects.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&ref=health&src=me&adxnnlx=1344974462-qxirhUkbLGWgXzcVl83Qww

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trastuzumab_emtansine

http://healthyliving.msn.com/diseases/breast-cancer/is-tdm-1-a-miracle-drug-for-advanced-breast-cancer-1

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If You Are Contemplating Chemotherapy, You Should Know About the Chemosensitivity Test

chemo drugsHere in America, if you are contemplating chemotherapy, you may or may not be offered the chemosensitivity test.

In Germany, chemosensitivity tests are routinely conducted in order to determine which chemotherapy drugs should be utilized for a specific cancer patient.

Because some tumors may resist certain chemotherapy treatments, some oncologists are choosing to test tumor cells in advance of treatment rather than prescribe a standard chemotherapy combination without knowing whether it would be effective for your particular tumor.

Tailor-Made Treatment

The tests, called chemotherapy sensitivity and resistance assays (CSRAs) are relatively new  and are carried out for many types of cancer.

The CSRA is a laboratory test that is done on a single cell in a test tube (in vitro) or on a clump of tumor cells (in vivo), usually taken from a biopsy tissue sample.  The test assesses how many cancer cells are killed by a particular drug, or by a combination of drugs, and how many cancer cells are unaffected by the treatment.

When your oncologist examines these test results, he/she can then treat you more effectively, knowing which chemo drugs your cells respond to.  Two more added benefits are that you don’t lose any time being blasted with drugs that don’t work for you and you don’t have to be debilitated by the side effects of drugs that won’t kill your cancer.

There Are 5 Qualifying Factors

As of writing this article, I am aware of 5 qualifying factors before you will be considered for a chemosensitivity test.

  1. You have to find an oncologist that will order the test
  2. You need to be strong enough to undergo chemotherapy
  3. You need to have access to a lab or facility that does the assay
  4. You must have a solid or fluid tumor
  5. You must be willing to undergo a new biopsy to get a fresh tissue sample for testing

Insurance Companies and Clinical Trial Results – Two More Problems

Not all insurance companies will cover the cost of the chemosensitivity test, which as close as I could tell runs around $800.  Aetna Insurance considers chemosensitivity assays “experimental and investigational because there is insufficient evidence that these assays influence management decisions such that clinical outcomes are improved.”  I guess Germany doesn’t count.

It appears that independent clinical trials are still underway here in America and because of that this test is not standard, and it will not be offered to every patient until doctors are convinced of its accuracy and value.

It’s Just My Opinion, But…

If the chemosensitivity test assists oncologists to tailor make a chemo regimen that is going to be the most effective for our specific cancer, why wouldn’t the insurance companies pay for this?  It could conceivably lead to less chemo treatments and a patient who is actually ALIVE at the end of the treatment regimen (as opposed to one who won’t be paying any more insurance premiums due to being 6 feet under!).

I think that if toxic chemotherapy is going to continue to be the standard of care (which many consider outdated and prehistoric) they need to step up the clinical trials and get these results back as quickly as they can so that ALL can be given these tests and ensure they have the best response rate to the chemotherapy drugs and the greatest chance at beating cancer.

Finally, take 7 minutes out of your busy day and watch this interesting You Tube video – Burton Goldberg interviews Professor Michael Geising, a German Molecular Oncologist from Munster, Germany.  Dr Geising advises “only 15-20% of chemotherapies are successful. The other 80% not only don’t work, but 60% of them actually make the cancer more aggressive by allowing it to develop resistance mechanisms.”

Research strongly suggests that when patients receive the most effective treatment, matched to their cancer profile, they survive longer.  Ask your oncologist about the chemosensitivity test.  In fact, insist on it.

References:

http://www.aetna.com/cpb/medical/data/200_299/0245.html

http://breastcancer.about.com/od/newlydiagnosed/a/chemosensitive.htm

http://csn.cancer.org/node/237389

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Coenzyme Q10 – Beneficial for Breast Cancer or Not?

viamins in handIs Coenzyme Q10 Beneficial for Breast Cancer or Not?

Back in 1996 when my mother was going through breast cancer that had moved into her bones, I encouraged her to see a naturopath.  I knew that she needed additional nutritional support – my father had just passed away and I knew she wasn’t eating as well as she could be.

The naturopath made a big list of vitamins she should take, among them was Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).  Though I had been studying naturopathy myself at the time, I hadn’t learned about CoQ10 yet.

He said that preliminary studies had indicated CoQ10 had cardioprotective properties for breast cancer patients and that it helped the immune system.  His concern for my mother was that CoQ10 helped to protect the hearts of study animals that were given the anticancer drug doxorubicin (Adriamycin) which can cause damage to the heart muscle.  It turned out that she was given another chemotherapy drug, but that’s another topic for another day.

What Exactly is CoQ10?

CoQ10 is a compound that is made naturally in the body, however it has been found to be lacking in those whose immune function is under attack, typically cancer patients and HIV/AIDS patients, and also the elderly because as we age, our bodies appear to make less CoQ10.

A coenzyme helps an enzyme do its job. An enzyme is a protein that speeds up the rate at which natural chemical reactions take place in cells of the body.  The body’s cells use CoQ10 to make energy needed for the cells to grow and stay healthy. The body also uses CoQ10 as an antioxidant.  An antioxidant is a substance that protects cells from chemicals called free radicals.  Free radicals can damage DNA.  I apologize if I got too basic there, but I wanted everyone to understand the importance of this nutrient.

I was interested and wondered since CoQ10 occurs naturally in the body, what is the supplement made from?  Further research found that it is made using fermentation with special strains of yeast.

Does It Actually Work?

The problem is the studies have thus far been too small to show definitive answers.  Animal studies found that CoQ10 boosts the immune system and helps the body fight certain infections and types of cancer, however, there have been no well-designed clinical trials involving large numbers of patients to study the use of CoQ10 in cancer treatment.

There have been some clinical trials with small numbers of people, but the way the studies were done and the amount of information reported made it unclear whether benefits were caused by CoQ10 or by something else.

The Studies on CoQ10 and Cardioprotection

Recent studies on CoQ10’s cardioprotective properties during administration of the chemo drug doxorubicin (Adriamycin) have been conflicting, which surprised the heck out of me.

One very recent study (April 2012) concluded that although CoQ10 does not alter the ability of doxorubicin to prevent the growth of cancer cells (good news), further studies would be “reassuring before a large-scale clinical testing of CoQ10 [could be recommended] as a cardioprotective drug” (Lack of Effect of Coenzyme Q10 on Doxorubicin Cytotoxicity in Breast Cancer Cell Cultures, Greenlee H, Shaw J, Lau YK, Naini A, Maurer M, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA).

The Good News

Despite the lack of scientific studies and actual PROOF positive that CoQ10 can be of assistance to cancer patients (and why would “big pharma” spend the money on such studies when CoQ10 is easily obtainable from any health food store), what we DO know about CoQ10 makes me a believer that it should be included in our daily arsenal against disease and most natural therapists I’ve consulted agree.

The good benefits of CoQ10 (the things we do know) are:

  • CoQ10 is required for your cells to produce energy, and is an integral part of helping cells take fat and other substances and convert them into usable energy
  • CoQ10 can help protect your body from free radical damage
  • CoQ10 offers powerful antioxidant protection
  • CoQ10 can boost your heart health
  • CoQ10 can help you reduce the signs of normal aging
  • CoQ10 supports your nervous system (which takes a beating during chemotherapy)

I take CoQ10 daily for my health regimen and I feel good about doing so (despite the lack of scientific research!).  I know it’s working and doing its job.  If you need a good, reputable source for CoQ10, contact me.

References:

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/coenzymeQ10/patient/page2

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22544232

http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/CoenzymeQ10.html

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/12/12/coq10-fights-obesity.aspx

http://www.everydayhealth.com/health-questions/coq10/what-is-coq10-made-from

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Got Chemobrain? These Essential Oils Will Help!

Got Chemobrain?  These Essential Oils Will Help!

When I was going through chemotherapy, all of the people in my cancer support group who were also undergoing chemo were complaining about chemobrain – and it was clear that they were forgetful, vague, preoccupied, and befuddled!

While I had it to a certain degree, for me it was much more manageable and manifested itself as a slightly sort of foggy or vague feeling.

Finally someone asked me why I seemed to be doing so much better than the others and I confessed I really didn’t know.  And then it hit me several days later while I was in the bathroom applying my essential oils.  Of course, it was the essential oils that I use daily, and I knew that no one else in my support group was doing that.

Certain essential oils have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, which is a naturally occurring barrier in your brain created by brain blood vessels that prevents many substances from leaving the blood and crossing the capillary walls into the brain tissues.  It’s a defensive mechanism designed to protect your brain from harmful chemicals.

I’ve used essential oils as my “first aid kit” for over 13 years.  See my page Essential Oils For Overall Health And Specific Health Problems.  I continue to use them to this day.

Here are my favorites for battling the effects of chemobrain:

1.  Frankincense – used in religious ceremonies for thousands of years, frankincense has wonderful medicinal properties – it has potent anti-disease properties, it is an immune stimulant, good for respiratory infections, it helps promote meditation, improves attitude and uplifts spirits.

frankincense Frankincense resin

2.  Sandalwood – it grows in India, it has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine for skin revitalization, meditation and yoga.  It also has potent anti-disease properties, it enhances sleep, stimulates the pineal gland in the brain which is the center of emotions and is responsible for melatonin production.  Sandalwood was mentioned in Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica (A.D. 78), which was Europe’s first medical guide and became the standard reference for herbal treatments for over 1700 years.

sandalwood Sandalwood log

3.  Palo Santo – found in South America, used by the Incas to purify and cleanse, to repel mosquitoes, for fevers, infections and skin diseases.  Its name means holy or sacred wood.  It is one of my favorite oils.  It also has anti-disease properties, good for arthritis, respiratory problems and breathing it deeply opens your brain!

palo santo tree Palo Santo Tree

4.  Peppermint – this is especially good for digestion.  I used it when going through chemotherapy because it helped ease excess stomach acid.  Put a drop of peppermint oil in a glass of water – it will not only wake up your brain, it will relieve the icky tummy that chemo causes.  It also improves your sense of taste by stimulating the trigeminal nerve.

NA003490 Peppermint

5.  Lavender – calming, relaxing, balancing, lavender is another anti-disease oil, it helps with respiratory infections, it’s an anti-inflammatory, great for mosquito bites, burns, skin conditions, so many things.  University of Miami researchers found that inhaling lavender oil increased beta waves in the brain – the beta waves are what come out to play when you are in an ultra-relaxed state such as meditation or sleep.  I love deep breathing lavender – it has such a profound effect on the nervous system.

lavender2 Lavender fields

Regular use of essential oils – whether it be through inhalation, diffusing, bathing, or massaging them into your body promotes health in so many ways.  Battling chemobrain is one of many uses for essential oils.  Just beware of the source because not all oils are created equally.  Use a a medicinal grade essential oil! For more info, see my page: Essential Oils for Overall Health and Specific Health Problems.

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Member No 267494

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Useful Chemotherapy Side Effects Worksheet

bald womanThe American Cancer Society has put together a terrifically useful Chemotherapy Side Effects Worksheet which I have attached here (just click the blue link below).

Chemo Side Effects worksheet

What I liked about it was that if you keep it handy, you can take note of anything odd or troublesome AS IT HAPPENS because trust me – if you don’t write it down, you can easily forget about it when the doctor asks how you’re doing at your next visit.  They don’t call it “chemobrain” for nothing. So print out the Chemotherapy Side Effects Worksheet and keep it nearby for easy reference.

I will keep it on my Useful Links page as well, just in case you need another copy.

By the way, if you’re having problems with constipation, here’s a link to my recent blog where I share my favorite herbal (it helped me a lot!).

If you have any questions or need any help, you can contact me.

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Natural Remedies for Chemo-Related Constipation

Toilet sittingNatural Remedies for Chemo-Related Constipation

Going through chemotherapy and having constipation is NOT fun.  I mean, it’s not bad enough that you’re going through chemotherapy, you’ve lost your hair, now you gotta have this problem too?  I can SO sympathize with you.

Just so we’re clear, you are considered to be constipated if you have fewer than three difficult bowel movements in a week.  Which is not much!

My oncologist gave me a couple of recommendations but I wasn’t crazy about them – they were all pharmaceuticals and I prefer to use the things that nature has provided us (which is why it took me four months to make my decision about doing chemotherapy!).

So I searched further afield (let’s face it, I was motivated!) and found some more natural things to help.  When I had my next office visit with him, he asked how I was doing with the constipation and I told him I had a good herbal formula that was working for me he exasperatedly said to me (laughing) “Do you listen to anything I tell you?”  I guess he wasn’t used to having patients do things their own way.

My List of Recommendations for Constipation

  • Eat foods high in fiber like nuts, bran, vegetables, legumes, freshly ground flaxseed, whole wheat breads and pastas, and fruits
  • Drink 2-3 liters of non-alcoholic fluids (water, juices) each day, unless you are told otherwise by your doctor
  • Avoid sodas, coffee, alcohol and caffeine-containing drinks, which can have a diuretic effect and worsen constipation
  • Exercise 20-30 minutes most days of the week, as tolerated, and if okay with your doctor.  A lot of patients find that walking for exercise is convenient and easy to do
  • Take 2 tsp of freshly-ground flaxseed two-three times per day
  • Try drinking a glass of lukewarm or hot water just after you wake up. The warmth helps stimulate your intestines so that they start moving
  • Try my herbal formula (recipe below)
  • If you hate the herbal (and some will), try the Prune, Fig & Raisin tea recipe below

My naturopath in Perth, Sue Bartoll, made a herbal formula for me and she’s been kind enough to share the recipe. You will still probably want or need a naturopath or herbalist to blend this for you.  You may have to convert milliliters to ounces but most measuring devices have both these days.

Constipation Herbal

40 ml Senna

30 ml Golden Seal

40 ml Fennel

50 ml Butternut

5 ml Ginger

40 ml Liquorice

Dosage 5mls 2 x day with water or juice. Start with 2.5mls twice a day and increase over the next 2 days to full dosage. Sue says: “Please note that everyone is individual and may require another prescription that is appropriate for the person’s symptoms.”

Prune, Fig & Raisin Tea

Cut up about 12 organic figs and place them in a saucepan together with about 12 organic prunes and 2 tbsp organic raisins.  Cover with 1 liter (4 cups) of filtered water and simmer for about 30 minutes.  If desired, lemon juice may be added to vary the flavor.  Drink the tea before breakfast and dinner time.  You can make this ahead the night before and refrigerate.

Why Constipation Occurs with Chemotherapy

Because anticancer drugs are made to kill rapidly growing cells, they also affect normal, fast-growing cells such as blood cells forming in the bone marrow and cells in the digestive tract (i.e., mouth, stomach, intestines, esophagus), reproductive system, and hair follicles. Some anticancer drugs may affect cells of vital organs, such as the heart, kidney, bladder, lungs, and nervous system.

The anti-nausea drugs and steroids used during chemotherapy can also cause constipation.  It may take a few days after your infusion before your bowels return to normal.  Diarrhea can also occur as the microflora in the bowel is destroyed by the chemo drugs.

I noticed that “things” just seemed to grind to a halt the day after my infusions, which was very uncomfortable.  Once I started taking the above herbal though, it helped me a lot.  I found it helped for me to take the herbal the day before an infusion and then to continue it until things normalized, usually 2-4 days later.

If These Occur, See Your Doctor Right Away

Sometimes, chemo-related constipation can get out of hand.  If you get any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away:

      • Pain in your stomach
      • Fever
      • Unable to pass gas
      • Nausea, and/or vomiting along with your constipation
      • If you have not had a bowel movement in three days despite following the above recommendations
      • If your stomach looks swollen and/or feels hard to the touch

References:

http://cancer.stanford.edu/information/cancerTreatment/methods/managing_effects/organs.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/359781-diet-for-constipation-chemotherapy/

“Better Health Through Natural Healing” by Ross Trattler, Harper Collins Publishers

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Dr John Lee Hated Tamoxifen, He Advocated Progesterone

 

Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com and lusi
Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com and lusi

Dr John Lee Advocated Progesterone

Dr John Lee, a rather amazing renegade Harvard educated doctor, internationally acknowledged as a pioneer and expert in the study and use of the hormone progesterone, and on the subject of hormone replacement therapy for women, absolutely hated tamoxifen, a well known breast cancer drug.

He stated “In my opinion, progesterone alone opposes the undesirable effects of estrogen very effectively, and if oncologists understood this they would be prescribing progesterone for their breast cancer patients instead of tamoxifen and Femara.

Dr Lee was worried about the harmful side effects of tamoxifen and said that it doesn’t address the underlying issues of DNA damage and lack of progesterone, which he felt were some of the root causes of breast cancer.   In 2002, Dr Lee co-wrote “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer – How Hormone Balance Can Help Save Your Life“, along with David Zava, Ph.D. and Virginia Hopkins.

Partly based on what I read in this book, I decided against Tamoxifen.  I just wasn’t willing to risk the side effects.

Instead, Dr Lee advocated hormone balancing and treating imbalances with natural progesterone rather than synthetic estrogen (which you won’t be given anyway if you’ve had breast cancer).

An Interesting 2001 Study

There was an interesting article on Dr Lee’s website (johnleemd.com) where he discussed the results of a study done in 2001:

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center released study results in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (July 2001) showing that women taking tamoxifen for treatment of first breast cancer are more likely to develop estrogen receptor-negative tumors in the other breast. These tumors are particularly aggressive and difficult to treat with conventional medicine.

The study looked at 9,000 women who survived breast cancer, about half of whom were being treated with tamoxifen. Some 27 percent of the tamoxifen group had estrogen receptor-negative tumors in the other breast, while only 4 percent of the tamoxifen-free group developed estrogen-negative tumors.

It’s frustrating to me that this huge study didn’t look more closely at the relationship between progesterone receptors and tamoxifen. Estrogen and progesterone are dependent upon each other for keeping their respective receptors active. In other words, estrogen is needed to maintain progesterone receptors, and progesterone is needed to maintain estrogen receptors. Thus, a drug like tamoxifen that blocks estrogen would be likely to severely down-regulate progesterone receptors, which would in turn down-regulate estrogen receptors, which would of course create a hormone receptor-negative milieu in the breasts.

The researchers said that this study should not discourage women from using tamoxifen, but to me it’s just one more reason to run from it. Tamoxifen also increases the risk of uterine cancer, blood clots and eye problems, and its benefits don’t last beyond about three to five years.

In Memoriam

Dr Lee passed away in 2003 but his work lives on.  From his website: “Dr. Lee s colleagues, family, and friends will carry on his legacy, as will the millions of others whose lives he touched over the years. We know that many of you will write, asking What can we do? The most meaningful way to remember John R. Lee, M.D. and carry on his work is to educate others, one-to-one, and give them the gift of optimal health, as he gave us.

That’s what I’m doing here – my best to educate others.

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Survivor Rejects Oncologist’s Advice to Take Tamoxifen in Favor of Special Diet

To Take Tamoxifen or Not…. That is the Question

I wanted to share with you this great article I read today about Vicky Sewart, a 4-year breast cancer survivor who has rejected her oncologist’s advice to take Tamoxifen in favor of a special diet.

Here’s a link to that article.  It’s a great article, I hope you’ll read it.

I did exactly the same thing 7 years ago.  It’s nice to have company.

I’m not passing any judgment whatsoever on those who have decided to take Tamoxifen, I just know that for myself and my body it wasn’t the right thing to do.  I wasn’t willing to risk any of the side effects that the drug engenders, there are too many of them.

This may not be a good course of action for everyone, I’m not saying that either.  My whole desire here is just to inform – to let you know that in some cases doctors don’t know everything there is to know about the healing power of certain nutrients in our food.

My Biggest Hope

My biggest hope is that the field of oncology will begin to pay attention to and take on some of the wisdom that natural medicine has to offer.

I loved the part of the article that stated “Her experience will now form part of an academic study into how lifestyle can affect the body’s response to cancer.”  There are lots of these studies being done already. 

Just go to the pubmed.gov website and put the words “turmeric cancer” in the search field and you’ll get 20 studies that say curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) is effective against all kinds of cancer cells. 

The most interesting and newest study just published on June 14, 2012 says “The findings indicate that curcumin is of potential value for the chemoprevention of breast cancer, especially in breast cancer with Skp2/Her2 overexpression.”  Cycle arrest and apoptosis in MDA-MB-231/Her2 cells induced by Curcumin, Sun SH, Huang HC, Huang C, Lin JK, Eur J Pharmacol. 2012 Jun 14. [Epub ahead of print].

Come on, oncologists.  Your way isn’t the only way.  Get with the program!

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Tips, Tricks and Support for Hot Flashes


Yesterday I discussed hot flashes and promised to provide you with some support, so here it is.  In case you didn’t read yesterday’s blog, here’s what basically happens to trigger a hot flash.

Low Levels of Estrogen and a Wonky Thermostat

When the hypothalamus (located in your brain) senses a drop in estrogen levels, this confuses the hypothalamus, which among other things is your body’s “thermostat”, and makes it think  “This body is too hot!”

The brain responds to this by sending an all-out alert to your heart, blood vessels, and nervous system: “Get rid of this heat!”  The message is transmitted by the nervous system’s chemical messengers and the message is delivered instantly, causing your heart to pump faster, the blood vessels in your skin to dilate to circulate more blood to radiate off the heat, and your sweat glands release sweat to cool you off even more.

This heat-releasing mechanism is how your body keeps you from overheating in the summer, but when that process is triggered by a drop in estrogen, your brain’s response can make you very uncomfortable.  Some women’s skin temperature can rise quite a few degrees during a hot flash.

Your body cools down when it shouldn’t, and you are miserable: soaking wet in the middle of an important work meeting or in the middle of what might have been a good night’s sleep.

Other Triggers

There are many triggers (as you probably know if you’re going through hot flashes)!  Drinking alcohol (we only wanted one glass of wine, and now we’re paying for it!), a hot cup of coffee, eating something sweet or sugary, hot or spicy food, sitting in a sauna, going to a hot, tropical place, stress (just try having a heated debate and NOT having a hot flash!), a hot bedroom… I’m getting a hot flash just thinking about having a hot flash.

I was Prescribed an Anti-Depressant

When I spoke to my oncologist about the severity and frequency of my hot flashes (mine were brought on prematurely by my chemotherapy regimen for breast cancer), he wanted to prescribe me an anti-depressant.  Apparently low dose anti-depressants work by intercepting the chemicals in the brain that transmit the hot flash alarm.

Being a natural therapist, I declined, preferring to handle the matter naturally instead of creating a whole new problem for myself with anti-depressant side effects.

In 2008 Henry Ford Health System oncologist, Dr. Eleanor Walker with the assistance of  acupuncturist, Beth Kohn, conducted a study with 47 breast cancer patients.  These patients were all on Tamoxifen or Arimidex to reduce cancer recurrence.   Hot flashes are a common side effect of these two drugs.  Half of the women received acupuncture treatment and half were given the anti-depressant venlafaxine (Effexor).

The study results: “Both groups exhibited significant decreases in hot flashes, depressive symptoms, and other quality-of-life symptoms, including significant improvements in mental health from pre- to post-treatment. These changes were similar in both groups, indicating that acupuncture was as effective as venlafaxine. By 2 weeks post-treatment, the venlafaxine group experienced significant increases in hot flashes, whereas hot flashes in the acupuncture group remained at low levels. The venlafaxine group experienced 18 incidences of adverse effects (eg, nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, anxiety), whereas the acupuncture group experienced no negative adverse effects. Acupuncture had the additional benefit of increased sex drive in some women, and most reported an improvement in their energy, clarity of thought, and sense of well-being.”  Here is a link to that study.

‘Nuff said.  See below for more info on acupuncture.

7 Easy, Low Cost Tips for Hot Flashes

  1. Spray mister with peppermint oil – keep it close to hand.  You just need a plastic or glass spray mister with a few drops of peppermint essential oil in filtered or distilled water.  The peppermint oil is very cooling and the fan is absolutely divine.  Instant relief.
  2. Ice water – sip away at it all day, helps to keep you cool (make the ice yourself from filtered water).
  3. Paper fold-up fans – I have one in my purse, and in every room in the house, tucked away in an accessible place.
  4. Take a cool shower before bed.
  5. Dress in layers – avoid wool, synthetics and turtlenecks.  Go for cotton, rayon, linen, hemp – breathable and much cooler.
  6. Eat a healthy diet – eat a diet loaded with whole grains, legumes, fresh vegetables and fruits, flax seeds (grind them just before you add to salad or cereal), cold-pressed olive oil, coconut oil, non-farmed salmon.
  7. Avoid these – sugar, alcohol, carbonated drinks (they deplete calcium from your body), caffeine (stimulates an already over-stimulated nervous system).

If all else fails, I usually stick my face in the freezer for a few minutes (LOL…)

Special Hot Flash Breathing Exercise

Try to do this twice a day for 10 minutes (it helps to set a timer).  Women who did this exercise regularly not only experienced fewer hot flashes but also reduced stress levels.

You can also do this when you first feel a hot flash coming on – stop what you are doing, find a quiet place, and practice this breathing exercise until you are feeling comfortable again.

  • Sit in a comfortable, quiet place.
  • As you breathe, keep your rib cage still. You will be lowering and raising your diaphragm (takes some practice) to empty and fill your lungs.
  • Inhale for a count of  5, pushing your stomach muscles out at the same time.
  • Exhale for a count of 5, pulling your stomach muscles in and up.
  • Repeat this cycle of breathing until you feel cool, calm and relaxed or the 10 minutes is up.

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (“TCM”) has a few centuries of tradition for treating hot flashes. Since there are all sorts of hot flashes (you know what I mean, there are hot flashes and then there are HOT FLASHES!), the Chinese have descriptions and remedies for all of them.

Before treating you, a TCM doctor will take a full history and will pay close attention to your tongue and your pulse.  With that information they can then determine whether you’re suffering from a “hot” menopause or a “cold” menopause and will treat you accordingly.  Treatment generally involves acupuncture and/or herbal medicine.

Acupuncture helps to move your CHI (aka Xi – your inner wind, energy, or spirit).  Skeptical?  Don’t be.  I’ve tried it, it definitely helps.

Chinese herbs – common to most TCM herbal remedies for menopause is dong quai.  I would recommend having your TCM doctor make up the herbal for you, don’t self-treat with Chinese herbs.  Make sure if you have had breast cancer you tell your TCM doctor your complete history.

Western Herbs

Women have found many Western herbs effective in treating hot flashes over the centuries.  They include American ginseng, evening primrose oil, hops, licorice root, red raspberry leaves, sage, spearmint, damiana, motherwort, chasteberry (also known as Vitex), black cohosh, and wild yam.

These herbal remedies can be very effective at reducing hot flashes but their relative safety in women who have had breast cancer is not completely known.  Please use herbal medicine with great caution, always have an herbalist or naturopath’s advice, and let your oncologist know what you plan to do.

Other Hot Flash/Menopause Remedies

I’ve tried Remifemin and a few other menopause formulas.  All of them seemed to help with frequency and intensity of hot flashes, but so far nothing I’ve found helps remove them entirely.  I’m trying a new product called Menoquil and I’ll let you know the results of that in a few weeks.

Warnings for DHEA and Pregnenolone

DHEA is a “parent hormone” produced by the adrenal glands near the kidneys and in the liver.  It is changed in the body to a hormone called androstenedione, which is then converted to estrogen and progesterone.  DHEA is thought to support memory, libido and mood.  

Pregnenolone is the precursor hormone to make estrogen and progesterone.

There haven’t been enough studies to prove conclusively whether they are safe for women who have had breast cancer.  Here’s a link to an article by webmd.com discussing DHEA.

Hypnosis for Hot Flashes

The American School for Hypnosis has a great article on using hypnosis to treat hot flashes.  I’m going to try it!

I would suggest getting yourself a little MP3 recorder (or some device where you can record your own voice) and record the script that appears on this webpage.  As they say, “What the mind can conceive the body can achieve.”

Biofeedback

I have read some discussion of biofeedback for relief of hot flashes but I don’t have any experience with it personally.  I mention it here in case you’d like to do more research on it.  It sounds like an interesting avenue to explore if nothing else I’ve listed above has worked for you.

If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey.

Hot Flashes and Our Ever-Suffering Husbands

I Lie Burning

Oh, the joys of being a menopausal woman.

One day you sense something strange is happening to your body.  It’s like all your veins and arteries from the waist up have suddenly dilated and a tiny flutter of heat starts from somewhere in the center of your being and begins to sweep up your torso, neck and face, leaving you feeling totally weird and slightly twitterpated.

Then it begins happening at night, waking you out of a sound sleep.  “What’s wrong?”, you think to yourself.  “Am I sick?”  But you don’t feel ill.  What the heck is happening?

Why Our Bodies Do This To Us

Both night sweats and hot flashes are virtually synonymous with menopause and they are completely harmless (so I’m told).  Outside of driving you NUTS because your sleep is so interrupted.

Hot flashes are triggered by the hypothalamus, which (among its many responsibilities) acts as a thermostat for your body.

In the simplest terms, when the hypothalamus perceives that there are insufficient hormones in the body, it increases its production of a particular hormone known as GnRH – and its voltage.   The resulting electrical excitation spills over to affect a region of the limbic portion of your brain that is involved in temperature control and that causes a reaction that produces rapid temperature increases in your body.  The capillaries in your body then dilate and your nerves become highly reactive.

Ever have that feeling of “Oh no!” that just precedes a hot flash?  That’s your nerves reacting to these chemical messages.

I find that “Oh no!” feeling hard to deal with.  I also know that suddenly wanting a drink of cold water can precede a hot flash.

Heightened stress tends to make hot flashes worse – sometimes all I need to do is think about something stressful and that brings on a hot flash!

Hot, humid weather also makes them worse.  On those days, it’s difficult to tell whether your sweat soaked brow is the result of the weather or your hot flashes!

Chemo-Related Menopause

For me, the hot flashes began about 30 days after I started chemotherapy for breast cancer, so it wasn’t a natural phase of getting older.

Chemo-related menopause is like hell on earth to begin with (or at least it was for me).  You go from being a fully functioning, “normal” (whatever that is for you) woman with regular periods to nothing but a heat-radiating, sleep deprived, cranky, wild eyed, grouch, ever on the lookout for the cool spot on the sheets.

I was having “tropical moments” every 45 minutes until my body got somewhat used to the chemical infusions and lack of hormones.

Conventional & Natural Therapies

The standard medical treatment for hot flashes is estrogen.  Unless you’ve had breast cancer.  Then they want to give you Tamoxifen (which I couldn’t fathom – why would I want to take an estrogen suppressor when I didn’t have any damn estrogen in my body in the FIRST PLACE????).

Because I’d read “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer” by Dr John R Lee, I knew that a decline of progesterone was also a factor.  I took myself off to a natural medicine doctor who specialized in women’s hormonal problems and he told me that because my tumor had progesterone-receptor positive cells on the surface, I wasn’t a candidate for progesterone either.  ***Sigh***

I have tried a myriad of natural things to cope with hot flashes and while some things decrease the severity and frequency, nothing seems to remove them totally.  I still have them 8 years later!

Tomorrow I’ll discuss the natural remedies I’ve found that assist with severity and frequency of hot flashes.  Who knows?  You might be the lucky one whom they help to completely eradicate hot flashes.

Our Ever-Suffering Husbands

I just want to pay a little tribute to our poor husbands or significant others here.

It can’t be easy living with someone who does blanket aerobics in the middle of the night (regardless of the weather), sprays herself down with a spray bottle of cold water mixed with peppermint oil, has to have the window open in the car even though it’s zero outside, flings off her sweater in the midst of the quiet part in a movie and rummages around in her purse until she finds her fold-out fan…

We do appreciate that it can’t be easy living with an overheated, sleep deprived maniac.

If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey.

Look Good While You’re Hair Challenged

Sassy Caps

SaSSy CaPS

I thought I’d finish off the week with something light-hearted and fun.

A friend of mine brought these beautiful one-of-a-kind caps to my attention this week and it reminded me of when I was going through chemotherapy.

I was living in a hot climate and sure as heck didn’t want to wear a wig so I found beautiful scarves, caps and earrings to wear and had so much fun with them!

Just because you’re hair challenged doesn’t mean you can’t be gorgeous (everyone who loves you will think you are anyway!).

SaSSy CaPS doesn’t have a website but you can contact them on their Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/sassydesignercaps?ref=ts

Click on the photos and you can see a lot more designs, all beautiful!

Have fun with your look!

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Ultimate Diet & Nutrition While Undergoing Chemotherapy and Radiation

Ultimate Diet & Nutrition While Undergoing Chemotherapy and Radiation
Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com and Mela

Today I’m sharing with you the ultimate diet and nutrition to help you while you are undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.

It is really important to keep your energy and nutrition levels high while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.  Try to drink plenty of filtered water throughout your day – it helps to flush toxins from your body and cleanses and protects your kidneys.

Wherever a fresh  juice is mentioned below, include any combination of carrot, kale, celery, beet, garlic (if you can stand it!), ginger, apple, pineapple, lemon, broccoli, lettuce, and wheat grass, made with your own juicer.

Always use organic produce whenever you possibly can, but if you live in an area where organics are not readily available, just make sure to wash everything thoroughly to remove any traces of pesticide residue.

Upon Rising

Every morning drink 2 glasses of filtered water with juice from a lemon half squeezed in

Glass of fresh juice

Breakfast

A second glass of fresh juice

AND

Cereal made from a combination of oat bran or quinoa, lecithin granules, psyllium, LSA mix (combination of linseed, soy and almond), dried apricots, prunes, chopped figs or chopped banana.  Use almond, coconut or soy milk with it.

OR

Grilled or baked fish, preferably mackerel, tuna, cod, sea perch, dory or salmon

OR

Whole grain or rye bread with a thin layer of avocado, chopped tomato, sprouts and lemon juice for flavoring

OR

Energy/protein shake

Mid-morning

Any of the following:

Fresh juice diluted 50/50 with filtered water

Fruit if you feel especially hungry

Herbal teas including echinacea, red clover, chamomile, essiac tea, pau d’arco, chaparral, burdock root or dandelion

Lunch

Vegetable or miso soup (not canned) made with onions, garlic, ginger and vegetables of your choice

OR

Fresh vegetable salad (good ones to include: lettuce, carrot, bell pepper, tomatoes, celery, spinach, avocado, broccoli, cauliflower, green peas, green beans and cabbage)

AND/OR

Whole grain bread, rye bread or yeast-free pita bread with avocado spread onto it.  Add sun-dried tomatoes, lettuce, cottage cheese, grated carrot, grated beet and either salmon, tuna or tofu

Mid-Afternoon

Any of the following:

Fresh juice diluted 50/50 with filtered water

Fruit if you feel especially hungry

Herbal teas including echinacea, red clover, chamomile, essiac tea, pau d’arco, chaparral, burdock root or dandelion

Dinner

One source of protein, either organic chicken breast, turkey breast, fish (especially cod, mackerel, salmon, tuna, halibut or sardines), tofu or tempeh, or organic red meat (no more than 3 x week for red meat). Add protein source to steamed or raw vegetables (good ones to include: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, green beans, carrots, pumpkin, potatoes, spinach, brussel sprouts, turnips)

OR

Fresh vegetable soup

OR

Wild or brown rice with fresh vegetables and shiitake mushrooms

After Dinner

Fresh chopped fruit such as apple, banana, papaya, pineapple, berries, strawberries, kiwi, grapes, melon.  Sprinkle with LSA mix and lecithin granules.

Herbal teas including echinacea, red clover, chamomile, essiac tea, pau d’arco, chaparral, burdock root or dandelion

After chemotherapy or radiation treatment has ended, it is important for you to detoxify your body – see a naturopath for help with this.

Source:  Naturopath Katrina Ellis, in her book “Shattering the Cancer Myth” (which I admit is a somewhat inflammatory title, but I found this book to be an invaluable source of information while I was going through breast cancer and I highly recommend it and the author.)

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor to help you through this.

How To Look Gorgeous While Going Through Chemotherapy

How To Look Gorgeous While Going Through Chemotherapy

Look gwww.marnieclark.com/how-to-look-gorgeous-while-going-through-chemotherapyorgeous while going through chemotherapy?  I’m not joking, it’s definitely possible!  While the thought of losing your hair makes most women shudder, it can actually be a very liberating experience!

On the positive side, look how much time you’ll free up every morning not having to comb, brush, wash, dry, tease, gel, spray your hair into submission!

I thought I was going to hate being bald, but once I got over the negativity of the situation, I actually rather enjoyed it!

Once my hair started to fall out, I had my husband get out the electric clippers and buzz it all off (I looked kind of like Sinead O’Connor).  Then I went through my scarves and got good at tying them on my head in new ways.  I even went to a few stores and found some really amazing scarves – they were so beautiful, I felt really happy about wearing them.   Since it was summer in Australia while I was undergoing my chemo sessions, I didn’t want the discomfort of a wig.

Here’s a link to a good website where they’ll teach you how to tie a head scarf a couple of different ways.  I really like the chain knot wrap.

Then I discoverewww.marnieclark.com/how-to-look-gorgeous-while-going-through-chemotherapyd jewelry making and began to learn how to make really wonderful dangly earrings to pair with the scarves.  I had so much fun, I nearly forgot I was a cancer patient!  I highly recommend learning to do something creative while you’re undergoing chemotherapy – find something that you can get fired up about.  It really helps you get through the discomfort of the treatments.

Another thing you can do is go to a beautician and get a manicure – or a pedicure – or a facial – or learn to do your makeup a new way.  Take this opportunity to pamper yourself, have a little fun with it!

I’ve found a wonderful website with some beautiful scarves – click here to go to that site.  Once you’re there, find the link for the scarf page.  They have some that are 100% cotton that would be so comfortable to wear on your head during the summer.

  Have fun with your new look!

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor to help you through this.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids May Improve Chemotherapy for Metastatic Breast Cancer

Omega 3 Fatty Acids May Improve Chemotherapy for Metastatic Breast Cancer
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and Kittikun Atsawintarangkul

A recent study from France indicates that supplements of omega 3 fatty acids (DHA) may improve outcomes for patients with breast cancer metastases undergoing chemotherapy.

How DHA works

According to the French study, the omega 3 fatty acid known as DHA appeared to sensitize tumors to chemotherapy, making the chemotherapy that much more effective.

Omega 3 fatty acids (oils) have long been known to have an anti-inflammatory action within the body, among many other health benefits like improved cardiovascular health, brain and vision development of infants, and natural joint flexibility and mobility.  Omega 3 oils are the building blocks of every living cell in the human body. They are absolutely necessary for normal health and development. Without them, cells can’t function, renew, or maintain themselves properly.

A cell membrane made with building blocks that come primarily from saturated fat has a different structure and is less fluid than one which incorporates more Omega-3 oils. This loss of fluidity makes it difficult for the cell to carry out its normal functions and increases the cell’s susceptibility to injury and death.

Study Dosage

Women with metastatic breast cancer were given 1.8 grams per day of DHA for between 2-6 months, as part of their anthracycline-based chemotherapy regimen (FEC). The study noted that women with the highest DHA levels in their blood tended to have longer survival rates.

Best Source of DHA

The absolute best source of DHA comes from cold water fish like trout, salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna.  But they must be FRESH and come from safe waters, which is not always easily found these days. Some people really don’t like to eat fish, which poses a problem.

I’ve found a great source of DHA and it’s combined with EPA (another omega 3 fatty acid).  The company I’ve found uses only the highest-quality raw materials, you can rely on their purity and concentration.  This company’s scientists voluntarily joined with 23 other international companies, under the guidance of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, to work on developing standards for ensuring a supply of consistent, high-quality raw materials. Applying those standards, they start with high-quality fish oils from ocean fish like anchovy, mackerel, and sardines. They use a proprietary 6-step process to extract the Omega 3 fatty acids and purify them. Finally, they test the refined oil for purity, free from PCBs and other contaminants.  No one else does this.  Need more info?  Contact me.

Sources

British Journal of Cancer, Volume 101

Fats That Heal Fats That Kill” by Udo Erasmus

I send my love to everyone taking this journey right now. If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.