Last year my family and I received shocking news of my Mom being diagnosed with cancer. The cancer is Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The doctors stated it was at stage four. My family and I were all in shock and feared the worst.
I immediately start thinking of how this could be happening when Mom already had Parkinson’s disease and was eating very healthy and taking vitamins that were some of the best products in the country. I was hoping that Mom would go the alternative route but my Mom and Dad’s friends all encouraged them try chemotherapy.
Mom was doing well until she thought she could get up and cruise around like she normal does. She is quite the busy body! A lady on the go if you will. She would get exhausted and fall over at times. We did what we could to talk her into resting.
After four doses of chemotherapy, the doctor found her cancer to go into remission. We were all relieved but we do know this kind of cancer can return and someday prove to be fatal. One is left to wonder if you do get a cancer diagnoses, is this a death sentence? Are there cancers that are not fatal but only painful or bothersome?
I found that there are more than 100 types of cancer, characterized by abnormal cell growth. There are many different causes, ranging from radiation to chemicals to viruses; an individual has varying degrees of control over exposure to cancer-causing agents.
Cancer cells, and how they grow remain unpredictable, and in some cases are mysterious. Even after seemingly effective treatments, crafty cancer cells are able to hide out in some patients and resurface later. Below is a list of fatal cancers.
- Lung and bronchial cancer: 792,495 lives
Lung and bronchial canceris the top killer cancer in the United States. Smoking and use of tobacco products are the major causes of these cancers, and it strikes most often between the ages of 55 and 65, according to the National Cancer Institute. There are two major types: non-small cell lung cancer, which is the most common, and small cell lung cancer, which spreads more quickly. More than 158,080 people are expected to die of lung and bronchial cancer in 2016.
- Colon and rectal cancer: 268,783 lives
Colon cancergrows in the tissues of the colon, whereas rectal cancer grows in the last few inches of the large intestine near the anus, according to the National Cancer Institute. Most cases begin as clumps of small, benign cells called polyps that over time become cancerous. Screening is recommended to find the polyps before they become cancerous, according to the Mayo Clinic. Colorectal cancer is expected to kill more than 49,190 people in 2016.
- Breast cancer: 206,983 lives
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women in the United States, after skin cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can also occur in men – there were nearly 2,000 male cases between 2003 and 2008. The cancer usually forms in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple or the glands that produce the milk in women. Nearly 40,890 people are expected to die from breast cancer in 2016, according to the NCI.
- Pancreatic cancer: 162,878 lives
Pancreatic cancer begins in the tissues of the pancreas, which aids digestion and metabolism regulation. Detection and early intervention are difficult because it often progressives stealthily and rapidly, according to the Mayo Clinic. Pancreatic cancer is expected to claim nearly 37,000 lives in 2016, according to the NCI.
- Prostate cancer: 144,926 lives
This cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in men, after lung and bronchial cancer, according to the NCI.Prostate cancerusually starts to grow slowly in the prostate gland, which produces the seminal fluid to transport sperm. Some types remain confined to the gland, and are easier to treat, but others are more aggressive and spread quickly, according to the Mayo Clinic. Prostate cancer is expected to kill about 41,780 men in 2016, according to the NCI.
- Leukemia: 108,740 lives
There are many types of leukemia, but all affect the blood-forming tissues of the body, such as the bone marrow and the lymphatic system, and result in an overproduction of abnormal white blood cells, according to the NCI. Leukemia types are classified by how fast they progress and which cells they affect; a type called acute myelogenous leukemia killed the most people – 41,714 – between 2003 and 2007. Nearly 24,400 people are expected to die from leukemia in 2016.
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma: 104,407 lives
This cancer affects the lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, and is characterized by larger lymph nodes, fever and weight loss. There are several types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and they are categorized by whether the cancer is fast- or slow-growing and which type of lymphocytes are affected, according to the NCI. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is deadlier than Hodgkin lymphoma, and is expected to kill more than 20,150 people in 2016.
- Liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer: 79,773 lives
Liver cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer around the world, but is uncommon in the United States, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, its rates in America are rising. Most liver cancer that occurs in the U.S. begins elsewhere and then spreads to the liver. A closely related cancer is intrahepatic bile duct cancer, which occurs in the duct that carries bile from the liver to the small intestine. Nearly 27,170 Americans are expected to die from liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer in 2016, according to the NCI.
- Ovarian cancer: 73,638 lives
Ovarian cancer was the No. 4 cause of cancer death in women between 2003 and 2007, according to the NCI. The median age of women diagnosed with it is 63. The cancer is easier to treat but harder to detect in its early stages, but recent research has brought light to early symptoms that may aid in diagnosis, according to the Mayo Clinic. Those symptoms include abdominal discomfort, urgency to urinate and pelvic pain. Nearly 14,240 women are expected to die of ovarian cancer in 2016, according to the NCI.
- Esophageal cancer: 66,659 lives
This cancer starts in the cells that line the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach) and usually occurs in the lower part of the esophagus, according to the Mayo Clinic. More men than women died from esophageal cancer between 2003 and 2007, according to the NCI. It is expected to kill 15,690 people in 2016.
Thankfully cancer is not a death sentence. In fact, there are no cancers that have a 100-percent mortality rate. Yes, some cancers, like pancreatic cancer, have lower survival rates, but many cancers have extremely successful treatment rates. Even better, many are even preventable. In some instances, like prostate cancer, which is more prevalent as you get older, it’s even possible to coexist with cancer without it killing you-or you killing it.
Does cancer hurt? This depends on where you have it. With the majority of cancers, people do not experience pain as a first symptom. The cancer cells themselves are not painful, but when they make a tumor that presses somewhere, for example on the spine, or blocks an airway or passage, this can be painful. If the disease is advanced and has spread to the bones, then pain may be a symptom.
How does cancer kill?
Cancer at an early stage does not kill. Only when cancer is advanced then it can become fatal. Not all cancers kill and some have survival rates of more than 90 per cent.
The way cancer causes death varies according to what type it is. Some cancers kill you by interfering with your body’s vital functions. Cancer can take over an organ, such as the lung, causing it to collapse and preventing you from breathing properly.
Or it may cause a blockage in the digestive system that stops your body from absorbing vital nutrients. If it reaches the liver or bones, it upsets the body’s delicate chemical balance, leading to unconsciousness and eventually death. Cancer may also make you immobile.
This causes you to develop infections such as pneumonia, which the body is too weak to fight. However, the pain-control options available mean that those with cancer should not die in pain.
How many stages of cancer are there?
Most types have four stages. Generally speaking your prognosis is better the earlier the cancer is diagnosed.
Stage One – localized cancer, it is contained where it started.
Stage Two – usually means that the tumor is larger than in Stage One, but can also mean that there is evidence of cancer in nearby lymph nodes. This would indicate that cancer cells have spread and therefore already entered the bloodstream, increasing the risk of cancer developing elsewhere in the body.
Stage Three – the cancer is larger than in Stages One or Two. There are cancer cells in the lymph nodes in the surrounding area. It may have started to invade surrounding tissues or organs.
Stage Four – also called secondary or metastatic cancer. It has spread and there is evidence of it in other organs in the body. You can live with Stage Four cancer but it is often a case of managing rather than curing the disease.
The bottom line is that cancer doesn’t always kill. But you can give yourself a big advantage with smart prevention strategies and early detection. Diet plays a multitude of roles in the development of cancer.
The first is exposure to ingested substances that initiate cancer (carcinogens). The second is exposure to substances in the diet that can either enhance or inhibit the growth of the cancerous cells.
These include compounds that influence our immune system as well as those that have a direct effect on cancer cells. If you are challenged by cancer, consider adopting the following suggestions:
- Use mind/body techniques such as guided imagery and meditation, and energy medicine modalities like Therapeutic Touch and Reiki to enhance your treatments of choice.
- Stay active. Regular exercise is an essential part of staying healthy. Engage in gentle physical activity as often as you can.
- Get support. Join a support program for people with cancer. The inspiration and hope you’ll find there is priceless.
- Have faith. Don’t underestimate the role of your spiritual life in the healing process.
Nutrition and Supplements
Population studies – those that carefully examine the risk of health conditions in different groups of people – have clearly identified environment and lifestyle as major factors influencing the development of cancer. Diet has ranked second only to smoking as a controllable aspect of lifestyle linked to cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Prevention has published these compelling statements:
- Eating right, plus staying physically active and maintaining a healthy weight, can cut cancer risk by 30 to 40 percent.
- Recommended dietary choices coupled with not smoking and avoiding second-hand smoke have the potential to reduce cancer risk by 60 to 70 percent.
- As many as 375,000 cases of cancer, at current cancer rates, could be prevented each year in this nation through healthy dietary choices.
- Eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day could by this act alone reduce cancer rates more than 20 percent.
Treatments for cancer, either conventional, alternative or a combination of both, can be enhanced by some simple lifestyle, diet and nutritional supplement strategies.
- Get plenty of antioxidants through foods or supplements.
- Always discuss any changes in diet with your health care practitioner.
- Have one to two servings of soy foods each day. The simplest soy food to include may be soy milk as a beverage or ingredient in a smoothie. Also try edamame (whole green soybeans), canned soybeans, tofu, roasted soy nuts and soy nut butter.
- Eat generous amounts of vegetables and moderate amounts of fruit. Choose organic whenever possible to minimize exposure to pesticide residues that may put an extra detoxification load on the liver. Consider juicing to easily ingest several servings without feeling too full.
- Drink green tea several times a day. Remember that decaffeinated versions are available and quite delicious.
- Concentrate on omega-3 fatty acids either through foods or supplements. The foods that are rich in this healthy type of fat are walnuts and flax seed, and cold-water fish like salmon and sardines.
- Limit alcohol consumption. In virtually all studies that have looked at alcohol consumption and risk of cancer, regular consumption is linked with increased cancer risk, especially breast cancer.
- Avoid harmful radiation, UV light, and carcinogenic chemicals.
- Asian mushrooms – These types of mushrooms contain strongly cancer-protective substances.
- CoQ10 – A natural antioxidant, which has been shown to increase survival in some forms of cancer.
- Folic acid – Can help reduce the risk of breast cancer.
- A vitamin B-complex – Folic acid (with B12) can help prevent cancer of the colon.
- A balanced calcium-magnesium formula – Can be an effective weapon against colon cancer.
- Lycopene – A powerful antioxidant that is particularly good at protecting against prostate cancer.
- Selenium – Fosters healthy cell growth and division, and discourages tumor formation.
- Vitamin D – Reduces risk of prostate, colorectal and other forms of cancer.
So it is good to know that not all forms or stages of cancer are fatal and there is hope in smart prevention strategies and early detection. So often we hear the word cancer and then often just collapse under the weight of that word. I hope this information finds hope for you and others you know that may be struggling with any form of cancer.
Thank you for reading!
Neil Saint Angeland
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