Cancer Treatment, Coping, and Support

Source of lots of resources on fighting cancer.

Merck has an excellent Web site called MerckEngage that deals with cancer.

Here are some helpful links:

Click the image to read a lot more from MerckEngage.

 

Being Tired All the Time

Advice about always being tired.

Last year, we looked at how to Increase Your Energy When You’re Too Tired to Workout. Now, we examine being tired all the time. This is something that I regularly face. How about you?

As Ana Lopez writes for Sharecare:

“Do you often feel exhausted with more than your run-of-the-mill fatigue? Hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, may be to blame. We talked to endocrinologist Parveen K Verma, DO, FACE, of Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, New Jersey, to learn more about hypothyroidism and how it’s treated.” 

What is hypothyroidism?  Dr. Verma: “It is a problem with the thyroid gland, a gland in the base of your neck that controls metabolism. It can be caused by an infection and may be a transient problem … that gets better without treatment. It may also be the result of an autoimmune disease,  where the thyroid doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone.”

What are symptoms of hypothyroidism? Dr. Verma: “Typical symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, decreased energy, depression, dry skin and hair,  and constipation. A lot of people just feel like everything has closed down. For women, they may have fertility issues or abnormal menstrual cycles.”

When should I see my healthcare provider? Dr. Verma: “If common things that cause fatigue (not getting enough sleep, nutritional issues, multitasking) have been ruled out and you don’t feel better after a few weeks, then you should seek a medical evaluation. An initial workup may include a discussion about sleep habits, nutrition, work schedule, personal stressors, and blood work that looks for things like anemia or other metabolic problems, such as hypothyroidism.”

How is hypothyroidism treated? Dr. Verma: “The typical treatment is to use a form of thyroid hormone called levothyroxine. There are some other formulations that are considered more natural, such as Armour Thyroid. To decide which would be an appropriate choice for you, discuss your options with your primary care doctor or endocrinologist.”

To read a lot more, click the image.

https://www.sharecare.com/health/hypothyroidism/article/tired-all-the-time-is-that-normal
 

Health Care Coverage by Age Category

Uninsured rising. Young adults losing coverage.

For many of us, good medical care is essential. But, in fact, how much does the use of health care insurance vary by age category? The answer : A lot!!!

According to Katharina Buchholz, writing for Statista:

“The number of Americans who have no healthcare insurance increased again in 2018, the first time since 2010, which was the year the Affordable Care Act went into effect. From 2017 to 2018, the number of people with no health care plan rose most steeply among those 35 to 64 years old.” <a

According to the CDC, it is young adults in the age group of 19 to 34, however, who are most likely to be uninsured in the U.S. In 2018, 14.3 percent of 19-to-25-year-olds and 13.9 percent of 26-to-34-year-olds had no health insurance. After 2010, the share of uninsured Americans decreased in all age groups.  Recently, public healthcare enrollment has declined due to eliminating 90 percent of the ACA’s advertising budget in 2018″

Take a look at the Statista chart.

 
Health Care Coverage by Age Category
 

Profits and Cancer Drugs

Drug prices expected to keep rising.

How do YOU feel about this: profits and cancer drugs? We know that many related drugs are quite expensive — and often required by us!! And in many cases, the situation is getting worse. 😦

As Katharina Buchholz reports for Statista:

Worldwide cancer drug sales are way ahead of those of other drugs. And the revenue generated by them will grow even larger by 2024. This is according to a report recently released by consultancy Evaluate, which analyses trends in the pharmaceutical sector. As per Evaluate’s calculations, oncology drugs reached US$123.8 billion in sales in 2018, more than double that of the next item on the list, drugs treating diabetes with US$48.5 billion dollars in sales. By 2024, cancer drug sales are expected to almost double to US$236.6 billion dollars.”

“Cancer drugs are extremely pricey. Therefore, they generate high revenues, with costs of a cancer treatment at above US$100,000 per patient. Cancer rates themselves are also rising with humans increasing their lifespans. Money funneled into cancer research means new medications coming out, which improves cancer treatment but might also increase its price as pharmaceutical companies charge a premium for the newly researched and released drugs.”

Take a look at the following chart.

Profits and Cancer Drugs
 

The Value of Vitamin D in Cancer Care

Fresh research to help us live longer.

Earlier this month, we posted about Be Careful with Supplements. Nonetheless, some supplements may be valuable in cancer care. One of them seems to be Vitamin D.

A recent study by researchers at Michigan State found that:

“Vitamin D, if taken for at least three years, could help cancer patients live longer, say researchers. New findings suggest that the vitamin carries significant benefits other than just contributing to healthy bones. A paper on the work was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting.”

“‘Vitamin D had a significant effect on lowering the risk of death among those with cancer, but unfortunately it didn’t show any proof that it could protect against getting cancer,’ says Tarek Haykal, a lead author of the study and an internal medicine resident physician at Michigan State University and Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan.”

“Researchers looked at data related to disease prevention from more than 79,000 patients in multiple studies that randomly compared the use of vitamin D to a placebo over at least a three-year period. Haykal and his team zeroed in on any information that involved cancer incidence and mortality. ‘The difference in the mortality rate between the vitamin D and placebo groups was statistically significant enough that it showed just how important it might be among the cancer population,’ Haykal says. While these findings show promise, Haykal cautions that the exact amount of the vitamin to take and what levels are needed in the blood are still unknown. He also says that it’s unclear how much longer vitamin D extends lifespan and why it has this result.”

Click on the image to read the full paper.

The Value of Vitamin D in Cancer Care
 

Medicinal Plants as a Cancer-Fighting Tool

Bring Asian research insights to the rest of the world.

Did you know? Certain plants may help us fight cancer. Read on!!

According a report by the National University of Singapore:

“Researchers found the effects in leaves of the bandicoot berry (Leea indica), South African leaf (Vernonia amygdalina), and simpleleaf chastetree (Vitex trifolia). Three other medicinal plants also demonstrated anti-cancer properties. ‘Medicinal plants have been used for the treatment of diverse ailments since ancient times, but their anti-cancer properties have not been well studied,’ says Koh Hwee Ling, associate professor from the National University of Singapore’s pharmacy department. ‘Our findings provide new scientific evidence for the use of traditional herbs for cancer treatment, and pave the way for the development of new therapeutic agents.’ The findings, which appear in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, highlight the importance of conserving these indigenous plants as resources for drug discovery and understanding these natural resources.”

“The experiments involved preparing extracts of fresh, healthy and mature leaves of the seven plants, and testing the extracts with the cell lines of seven different types of cancers—breast, cervical, colon, leukemia, liver, ovarian, and uterine. The team opted to examine leaves as they can regrow without harming the plants—making it a sustainable choice, unlike using the bark or roots. The experiments involved preparing extracts of fresh, healthy and mature leaves of the seven plants, and testing the extracts with the cell lines of seven different types of cancers — breast, cervical, colon, leukemia, liver, ovarian, and uterine. The team opted to examine leaves as they can regrow without harming the plants — making it a sustainable choice, unlike using the bark or roots.”

Click the image to read more.

Medicinal Plants as a Cancer-Fighting Tool
Out of the leaf extracts of the seven plants researchers tested, they found the sabah snake grass (bottom right) had weak effects or no effect against almost all the cell lines they tested. (Credit: NUS)

 

Be Careful with Supplements

Choose your supplements wisely.

As part of our daily regimens, some of us take dietary supplements. BUT, we must be careful with these supplements.

In a very detailed and informative article, Markham Heid reports on issues related to supplement misuse. After just a short time, this article has received more than 11,100 likes!!!

According to Heid:

Background

“Earlier this year, federal authorities announced plans to strengthen oversight of the supplement industry. ‘The growth in the number of adulterated and misbranded products — including those spiked with drug ingredients not declared on their labels, misleading claims, and other risks — creates new potential dangers,’ said U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb in a February press release.”

“Heightened oversight is needed, Gottlieb argued, because expansion and change within the supplement industry has made it difficult for his agency to keep pace. ‘What was once a $4 billion industry comprised of about 4,000 unique products, is now an industry worth more than $40 billion, with more than 50,000 — and possibly as many as 80,000 or even more — different products available to consumers,” he said.”

BE CAREFUL!!!

“From multivitamins and botanicals to probiotics and protein powders, roughly three out of four Americans now take some kind of supplement on a regular basis. Since the days of palliative tonics and snake-oil salesmen, Americans have been readily lured by the promise of health or longevity in the form of a drink, pill, or powder. While the terminology has evolved — ’biohacking’ and ‘nutraceuticals’ are some of the buzzwords du jour — the implied benefits of most supplements still outpace or ignore the science. And despite recent studies that find supplements are frequently contaminated or that the best way to get nutrients is through food, Americans’ interest in supplements is only growing. And experts say many supplement users don’t recognize or appreciate the risks that accompany the use of these products.”

“The lesson here isn’t that supplements give people cancer. Rather, it’s that approaching supplements as though they’re all upside is a misguided and potentially harmful operating philosophy. When you swallow a capsule packed with concentrated amounts of a vitamin, nutrient, or other substance — a practice that did not become widespread until very recently — you can get into trouble.”

Click the image to access Heid’s full article.

Be Careful with Supplements

AN AUDIO SUMMARY

Click below to access a 15-minute audio summary from Heid.