A Community for Cancer Fighting Back

Skin Cancer

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Breast Cancer

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Lung Cancer

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Prostate Cancer

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Is CBD Oil Safe For Cancer – The Uses, Benefits And Side Effects

CBD Oil Safe For Cancer

CBD (Cannabidiol) oil is currently popular for healing properties. However, most are wondering whether this famous elixir could be just another snake oil? Hence, cancer patients must know everything there is to know about CBD oil for cancer before trying it out.

CBD is a chemical extracted from Cannabis Sativa, also popularly known as hemp. CBD oil, therefore, comes from cold-pressing whole hemp seeds. CBD oil can be found everywhere these days, even at your local pharmacy, grocery store, or even the yoga studio.

However, does CBD oil really affect cancer patients? Can it treat, let alone cure cancer? Can it relieve cancer symptoms?

Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD isn’t a psychoactive agent, and so you’re less unlikely to experience drowsiness, mental confusion, or hallucinations that come with THC. 

Currently, there is no evidence that CBD oil can successfully cure cancer. Despite the general belief, it is also hard to say whether CBD oil can help alleviate cancer symptoms or chemotherapy effects. The studies on this are pretty mixed, and very few are standardized.

How CBD Oil Could Help with Chemotherapy

Most cancer patients opt to take CBD oil after undergoing chemo. CBD oil is a more friendly option because smoking medical marijuana during chemo isn’t advised due to potential carcinogens. Luckily, in addition to CBD oil tinctures, edibles, vaporizing, and suppositories are still options.

Anyone choosing to use cannabis during chemo should be careful not to overload the system, especially with the first dose. Like most medications, it’s always best to start small, track the effects as you work your way up to a dosage suited for you. Some of the chemo side effects CBD oil aids in include:

Pain

Patients going through chemo experience so much pain. Some hurt almost everywhere. In their skin, bones, blood, and pain are inescapable. Patients experience a constant war in their body every waking moment, usually exhausting. Luckily, CBD oil has proven to have the ability to stop the pain in the patient’s body, bringing relief from stinging toes to aching headaches.

Nausea

Patients undergoing chemotherapy also experience nausea. Nausea makes it challenging to eat, which worsens their battle against cancer even more difficult. Luckily, due to CBD’s activity with CB-1 cannabinoid receptors in the brain, it has anti-nausea effects.

Weak Immune System

Chemotherapy could damage the bone marrow, making it impossible for the body to produce the blood cells it needs. CBD has an immune system boosting and suppressive properties. While pure THC could weaken the system, CBD helps regulate it. 

CBD could help balance the patient’s immune system, especially when the immune system is attacking the body. Since chemotherapy weakens the immune system, CBD would suppress the immune cells making it stronger for the body to keep a balance.

Loss of Appetite

Chemotherapy can stop your stomach lining from regenerating, which could bring states of nausea. Hence, loss of appetite is no surprise with chemo. While CBD helps deplete nausea, it also helps with gastrointestinal issues. It can help slow down harmful overactivity in your brain, calm your digestive tract, and even boost your appetite. 

Skin Changes

Specific skin changes can happen due to chemotherapy. Skin changes like itchiness, rashes, acne, and dryness from chemo can be painful and very annoying. CBD could help by regulating cell health in your skin, making it healthier.

CBD also helps balance out the oils that keep the skin from drying out or breaking out. If you have rashes from inflammation, CBD oil could help calm down the reacting cells and bring you relief.

Constipation

Cancer patients may experience constipation during chemotherapy. Eating foods that have a lot of liquids or high in fiber can help soften stool making it easy to pass. However, taking CBD could help make a significant difference because CBD helps relax the bowels, efficiently eliminating constipation.

Remember, each cancer affects the body differently. Hence, if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, research in the particular type of cancer before adding CBD oil to your chemotherapy treatment. Also, talk to your oncologist before taking CBD. 

Fill in Resources

Cbdinstead.com 

mdanderson.org

Prostate Cancer Staging and Outlook | Other Ways to Assess Risk

Prostate Cancer Stages and Other Ways to Assess Risk

Prostate cancer affects the prostate gland that produces semen and protects the sperm’s function. It is the second most common type of cancer among American males.

The American Cancer Society expected that around 174, 650 people in 2019 would have a new prostate cancer diagnosis, and an estimate of 31, 620 people were expected to die from the disease.

I discovered in the early stages, the outlook for prostate cancer can be good because it’s highly treatable when effective treatment is administered early.

There are different ways of staging prostate cancer. Cancer staging is when an oncologist decides how far cancer cells have progressed and how they’re spreading. The simplest way doctors stage cancer is by looking at how far cancer has spread from the original site.

For instance, localized cancer is when the cancer cells remain within the prostate gland, where they started. When cancer has spread, possibly nearby lymph glands and to adjacent tissues and not to other body parts is called regional cancer. However, when cancer spreads throughout the body, affecting other organs like the liver and lungs, it’s referred to as distant cancer.

Symptoms and Treatment of Prostate Cancer

Symptoms of prostate cancer may not appear in the early stages. However, as the tumor grows, the person may start to experience the impact. Some of the symptoms that could appear include:

·     Erectile dysfunction

·     Changes in the urination patterns

·     Blood in the semen or urine

Luckily, effective treatment is possible for prostate cancer if the diagnosis is received early. When a diagnosis is made, your doctor may discuss treatment options with you. Some of the factors that could affect your treatment decision include:

·     Your overall health and age

·     The grade and stage of the cancer

·     Your personal preferences

Stages of Prostate Cancer

Stage 1

This is when the tumor is small, but there are cancerous cells affecting only one area. In this stage, PSA and Gleason scores (both factors used to assess cancer cells) are low. At this stage, there might not be any noticeable symptoms.

An ultrasound and a digital rectal exam (DRE) might also not reveal the tumor. In this stage, the grape group is 1, the PSA is below 10, and the Gleason score is lower than 6. With routine screening, men can successfully detect cancer and make early treatment possible.

Stage 2

While medical tests might not reveal the tumor, your doctor may detect any changes during a rectal ultrasound or a DRE as this stage progresses. In this stage, cancer hasn’t spread beyond the prostate gland.

An early-stage two tumor is grade 1; in the later phases of the stage, the grade could rise to 3. The PSA score is between 10-20, and the Gleason score is 6, with the potential of growing to 7-8.

Stage 3

In stage 3, cancer has spread beyond your prostate gland. Cancer could have reached the glands that secrete the fluid that makes up the semen, also known as the seminal vesicles.

However, cancer hasn’t spread to the rectum and bladder. The PSA may be more than 20. The grade group at first is 1-4 and could be as high as 9-10 by the end of stage 3.

Stage 4

In this stage, cancer has spread to other nearby organs like the rectum, bladder, or lymph nodes. It could also potentially have spread to distant organs like the liver and bones.

At this stage, the cancer is called metastatic prostate cancer because cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Here the grade group, PSA levels, and Gleason score can be any number. 

Your Treatment Options

With a diagnosis, you should first attend regular health checks for regular monitoring. It may also be necessary to remove your prostate gland. Chemotherapy is also an effective treatment. Your doctor will prescribe drugs meant to kill the cancer cells either in the specific area or throughout the body. However, chemotherapy will target both your healthy and unhealthy cells resulting in adverse effects.

Radiation therapy includes introducing radioactive material where the cancer is present or directing an external beam of radiation at the affected area to help reduce the size of the tumor and hopefully kill the cancer cells after surgery. There are also other forms of treatment therapies you can consider with your doctor’s consultation.

The Importance of Breast Cancer Support in Breast Cancer Patients

breast cancer support

Whenever a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer, the first important goal is to administer the best care possible. Even though the focus initially lies in medical and surgical therapy, supportive care is equally essential to deliver optimal medical treatment.

Caregivers and families of breast cancer patients need to continually support their patients during their treatment to help the patient maximize the treatment benefits and help them cope with the best way possible the effects of breast cancer.

Breast cancer support aims to help improve the patient’s quality of life by covering different areas of supportive care like educational needs, physical or symptom control needs, psychological support, social support, rehabilitation support, spiritual support, end of life and bereavement care.

It is crucial to recognize that supportive care needs are not the same for every patient. They tend to differ as per the stage of the disease, whether early, advanced, or metastatic, the individual social and cultural context, the age of the patient, or as per the individual’s perceptions. Moreover, during the course of the disease, needs may change.

The social support aspect of cancer care is also equally crucial for the patient. It involves interaction with people dealing with the impact of breast cancer on their personal relationships or who have similar experiences.

This kind of support is crucial in helping patients cope with any arising fears or worries. Breast cancer patients are at a risk of depression and anxiety, which makes psychosocial support all the more critical. 

Supportive care during and after the patient’s cancer treatment is vital and should be readily available, accessible, and affordable for all patients and their families too. However, contrary to this, most supportive care needs are not met due to the low priority in systems experiencing scarce resources.

Supportive care for breast cancer patients is as important as breast cancer awareness. Breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, is the most common cancer amongst women, except for skin cancers. The ACS had estimated that about 41,760 women would die from breast cancer last year.

Today, we have more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, including those still under treatment and those who finished treatment. With more awareness of this disease, more and more women are being screened for breast cancer.

As a woman, you should know how your breasts look and feel in order to recognize when any new changes present themselves quickly. We recommend getting regular clinical breast exams and mammograms, as they can help you detect breast cancer before you even have symptoms.

Some of the signs could be:

·     Thickening or swelling of all or part of the breast

·     Lump in the breast or armpit

·     Localized, persistent breast pain

·     Skin irritation or dimpling of breast skin

·     Nipple discharge besides breast milk

·     Redness, thickening, or scaliness of the breast skin or nipple

·     Any change in the shape or size of the breast

What Are The Risk Factors of Breast Cancer

The main risk factors include being a woman and getting older. Other uncontrollable factors that could increase breast cancer risk include family or personal history, menstrual period history, and breast density.

Other risk factors are lifestyle-related, including hormone therapy after menopause, the use of birth control pills, drinking alcohol, having children, not being physically active, and being overweight or obese. However, having either one of these risk factors doesn’t mean that you will develop breast cancer.

To lower your risk of breast cancer, you should:

·     Balance how much food you eat with high physical activity to avoid excess weight gain. When you get to a healthy weight, work to stay there.

·     Ensure you’re physically active. Get at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity, or combine both.

·     Avoid or limit your alcohol intake. The American Cancer Society recommends that they restrict their alcohol intake to one alcoholic drink a day.

Above everything else, having the support of others is a vital part of breast cancer survivorship. Taking part in a support group where patients both receive and give help will be an effective way of reducing the stress and anxiety that comes with a breast cancer diagnosis.

Luckily, it is okay to ask for support, and there are so many support groups out there who are willing to offer it to you at no cost. Breast cancer support groups are designed to get you the help you need to move forward with your life.

Fill in Resources

Foxchase.org

knowyourgirls.org

5 Lung Cancer Facts You Should Know

Lung Cancer

Every year, about 2.1 million people, both men, and women are diagnosed with lung cancer. In 2018 alone, lung cancer killed an estimated 1.8 million people.

Luckily, early detection can help save lives. According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer accounts for more deaths in both men and women than any other cancer even though the smoking rate has dropped in recent years.

As the name suggests, lung cancer begins in the lungs. Typically, lung cancer doesn’t cause signs and symptoms when in the early stages. Signs and symptoms tend to occur when the disease has advanced. They may include:

·     Coughing up blood

·     A cough that won’t go away

·     Chest pain

·     Shortness of breath

·     Losing weight without trying

·     Headache

·     Hoarseness

·     Bone pain

Here are five facts about lung cancer you should know:

1. A Combination of Different Factors causes it

While lung cancer is commonly associated with smoking cigarettes, lung cancer also occurs among people who don’t and have never smoked in their lives. However, smoking has been responsible for 80% of lung cancer cases; it is the 6th leading cause of cancer death in the world.

Leading causes of lung cancer among nonsmokers include:

·     Air pollution

·     Exposure to diesel exhaust, asbestos, and industrial chemicals

·     Exposure to random gas released from building materials and soil

·     Exposure to secondhand smoke

Despite all these factors that cause lung cancer, lung cancer is often a result of interacting factors. According to the National Institutes of Health, smokers exposed to radon gas are at an increased risk of lung cancer.

Smokers who are also exposed to asbestos also increase their chances of developing lung cancer. Occupational exposures like uranium, asbestos, and coke also increase a person’s risk of lung cancer.

2. CT Screenings Can Help Save Lives

The key to surviving lung cancer, as with other cancers, is catching it in its earliest stages to improve your chances of treatment. Unfortunately, lung cancer can be tough to diagnose early because the symptoms don’t appear until in the advanced stage.

Low-dose spiral CT (Computed Tomography) has proven to help reduce lung cancer deaths in those at higher risks of lung cancer. There was a 20% death reduction in lung cancer deaths, as per the National Lung Screening Trial among both former heavy smokers and current smokers who were screened with CT than those screened by chest X-ray.

3. There are Different Lung Cancer Types

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer. It makes up 80-85% of all lung cancer cases. Squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, large cell neuroendocrine tumors, and large cell carcinoma are considered part of this group.

Small Cell Lung Cancer

SCLC makes up 15-20% of lung cancer cases. This is a fast-growing type of lung cancer that rapidly spreads to other parts of the body.

Mesothelioma

This is a cancer type of organ linings. It can originate in the lungs, or the heart, abdomen, chest, and heart. It is commonly associated with exposure to asbestos.

Carcinoid Tumors

These are neuroendocrine tumor types that originate on either the lungs or the small intestines.

4. Age Makes a Difference

Most people living with lung cancer got their diagnoses in the last five years. Most of these patients are older adults, which is why lung cancer is assumed to be a ‘senior disease.’ 86% of people with lung cancer, as per 2015 statistics, were at least 60 years old.

5. Early Detection is Key

With the low-dose CT screening, lung cancer can be detected in early stages, especially for those in the ‘high-risk’ category and improve their survival rate by 14-20%.

When it comes to lung cancer detection, the earlier, the better and the higher your chances of survival, if diagnosed with early-stage cancer, you can start treatment immediately because the disease is more likely curable when still in the early stages.

If you work in an industry like manufacturing, construction, or serve in the U.S military where the use of asbestos is common, or if you have one or more lung cancer risk factors, talk to a medical professional. Your doctor will help you determine whether or not you should be screened early.

Fill in Resources

Seattleacca.org

mayoclinic.org

How to Prevent Skin Cancer – Things To Know To Lower Your Risk

Skin Cancer

The most common type of cancer in the US is skin cancer. More than 3.5 million skin cancers are diagnosed annually in over two million people. The leading cause of skin cancer is Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, with the most dangerous type of skin cancer being melanoma.

Every year, new cases of skin cancer keep growing that breast, lung, prostate, and colon cancers combined. In fact, over the past 30 years, more and more people have suffered from skin cancer compared to other types of cancer combined.

In the course of a lifetime, one in five Americans is at risk of developing skin cancer. Considering that UV radiation also comes from sunlamps and tanning booths, we need to work harder in preventing skin cancer.

Soaking up in the sunshine, having a healthy glow, and getting your vitamin D, all sound great. However, all these also increase the risk of skin cancer. But should one become a night owl? No. you just need to figure out how to enjoy the sunshine and protect your skin at the same time.

How to Detect Skin Cancer

The sooner doctors can identify skin cancer, the sooner treatment can be administered to increase the chances of cure. The excellent news, skin cancer is highly treatable when detected in its early stages.

To detect it early, watch your skin for any new changes, especially in texture, color, and growth. Monitor any existing or new moles:

·     Asymmetry- are the moles uneven or asymmetrical in shape?

·     Border – notice any irregular borders around the moles?

·     Color- notice any moles more than one color?

·     Diameter – a mole bigger than a pencil eraser should cause concern

·     Evolved – has the mole gotten thicker or bigger?

If you notice any of these warning signs, have your doctor check it out. Do the same if you have a patch of skin seeming scaly, dry, and itchy, or if you have a sore that won’t heal.

What do Skin Cancers Look Like?

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) present themselves as raised pink areas on the skin that are crusted, shiny, scaly, or non-healing commonly on the sun-exposed surfaces of your skin.

Melanoma is typically black, brown, or multicolored. It often starts out as a flat spot and could stay like that for months or years, and then turn into a bump. You can develop melanoma anywhere on your skin surface, but the sun-exposed surfaces are the most common areas for melanoma. Don’t assume or neglect worrisome spots on your body, whether it’s at the bottom of your foot or behind your finger.

How to Prevent Skin Cancer

Even though skin cancer is commonly caused by sun exposure, remember that even on the cloudiest days, we’re still exposed to UV rays from the sun. Hence, it would be best if you protected your skin all-year-round. To keep your skin healthy and cancer-free:

Wear sunscreen daily

Don’t just reserve sunscreen for a long hike or a day at the pool. Apply sunscreen every day, whether it’s summer, winter, cloudy, sunny, or whether you’re indoors or out. Apply generous even on the areas mostly forgotten like the top of your head, top of your feet, your neck, and top of your ears.

Avoid Tanning

Tan is skin damage. Using a tanning bed or laying out to get tanned is merely choosing to damage your skin. You can get a sun-kissed glow from countless drugstore products without having a single ray touch or damage your skin. 

Choose Wisely When to be Outdoors

We recommend planning your outdoor activities outside 10 am and 2 pm. These are the peak times when the sun is most active. Try to spend as much time in the shade if you find yourself outside around these times.

Wear Protective Clothing

Lightweight clothing such as long pants and long sleeves can offer you extra protection from the sun. You should also consider getting sunglasses that block out both UVB and UVA rays, and buy a wide-brimmed hat. The reflection of the sun’s rays if you’re near water can be even more impactful.

To prevent skin cancer, be always readily prepared before going out in the sun to keep free of short-term burns as well as long-term damage. If you notice areas of concern on your skin, locate a dermatologist near you and have it checked.

Fill in Resources

Health.harvard.edu

cdc.gov