Cancer Update: Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Treatment Options

Summary:
This makes it very important for patients, their caretakers and their loved ones to talk to a physician about all available treatment options and to get access to the latest therapies.

Article Body:
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), a cancer affecting the lymphatic system, is the second-fastest-rising cancer in the United States. Incidence rates have nearly doubled over the past 30 years. It is estimated that 360,000 Americans are currently living with NHL, and about 58,000 new cases are expected to occur in the United States this year.

NHL is difficult to target and treat, as the disease can be found throughout the body in any blood-filtering tissue such as bone marrow. Patients typically have multiple relapses, meaning the cancer returns multiple times. This makes it very important for patients, their caretakers and their loved ones to talk to a physician about all available treatment options and to get access to the latest therapies.

NHL patients are traditionally treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. While these treatments destroy cancer cells, they also destroy surrounding healthy cells. Additionally, chemotherapy and radiation therapy can take up to five months to complete and may require patients to stay in the hospital.

An innovative class of drugs is harnessing the immune system to fight NHL. Radioimmunotherapy (RIT) is a promising area of cancer treatment that combines the specificity of monoclonal antibodies (similar to other antibodies the immune system makes to fight infection) with the cell-killing ability of radiation. When injected into a patient, these radiation-carrying antibodies seek out and bind to specific tumor cells, and then deliver radiation directly to those and surrounding cells.

Two RIT products have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are completed in just one treatment regimen, lasting 1-2 weeks, so patients don’t need to frequently return to their doctor’s office for treatment on a weekly or semiweekly basis. Coupled with the fact that RIT can be administered on an outpatient basis, these therapies provide more convenience for patients and their families. Recent studies have shown that NHL patients may benefit most from these therapies when they are used early in the treatment of NHL, prior to multiple courses of chemotherapy.

RIT delivers radiation to B-cells by recognizing and attaching to the CD20 antigen.

 

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Are Allergies and Asthma Related?

Summary:
Asthma is a chronic lung condition, characterized by difficulty in breathing due to extra sensitive or hyper-responsive airways.

Article Body:
When we hear of allergy and asthma studies, we often find them lumpted together. Is there really a connection between allergies and asthma? To get to the answer to this, we must first learn what allergies and asthma actually are.

Allergies are immune system reactions to things that others would find harmless. Certain foods, pollen, even dust are all considered allergens that can trigger an allergic reaction. The immune system produces antibodies that release chemicals

Asthma is a chronic lung condition, characterized by difficulty in breathing due to extra sensitive or hyper-responsive airways. During an asthma attack, the airways become irritated and react by narrowing and constructing, causing increased resistance to airflow, and obstructing the flow of air to and from the lungs. Common early warning signs of asthma include fatigue, coughing (especially at night), wheezing, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, runny nose, and itchy throat.

Allergies, on the other hand, are immune system reactions to things that most people would experience as harmless. Certain foods, dust, pollen … these are allergens that can trigger an allergy attack. When they’re encountered, the body’s immune system produces IgE antibodies to fight the allergen. These antibodies create the release of chemicals into the bloodstream, one of which (histamine) affects the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, and skin, causing the allergy’s symptoms.

So now that we have a better picture of how these two health conditions work, the question becomes … is there a relationship between allergies and asthma?

It’s true that those with certain allergies (usually allergies that affect the nose and eyes, such as dust mites, animal dander, mold or pollen) are more likely to develop asthma than say … those without allergies or those with allergies in other classifications, such as food allergies. But it’s also true that many of those with allergies never develop asthma at all.

In addition, there are other factors that can contribute to a person’s asthma. Unmonitored exercise, for example. Or other illnesses, such as colds or the flu.

Scientists aren’t sure what lies at the root cause of asthma. Various studies are looking at a variety of factors, including air pollution, obesity, and as strange as it might sound, even the lack of exposure to viruses and bacteria in childhood (which may prevent the immune system from growing stronger).

What we do know is that exposure to indoor allergens, pollen, animal dander, grass … in other words, allergy-related factors, are often found in asthmatics. Often, but not always. And it also appears that asthma tends to run in families. If both parents have asthma, there’s actually a 40% probability their children will develop the disease as well.

Current research efforts have been exploring the influence of environmental factors, genetics (as mentioned above), and even stress on asthma. This creates the potential to dramatically reduce a person’s asthma severity levels by altering his or her exposure to the aggravating factors. This can be particularly successful when the culprit is something that’s relatively easy to control. Dust, for instance. Or something only encountered in a work environment. Or, though it’s certainly much more difficult because of the emotional component, a family pet.

Unfortunately, the most common allergy that appears to have a direct influence on asthma is an allergy to dust mites. Eliminating these mites to the extent that it might make a difference in the severity of your asthma requires a major change in lifestyle and can often be quite expensive. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, only that it’s not as easy as simply staying indoors during the pollen season or switching to a less stressful job.

Of course, new treatments are coming along all the time, and considerable research is currently dedicated to finding ways to modify, abolish or diminish the affect allergies have on the body. It’s believed that with the successful control of allergies can come the successful control of asthma, particularly in younger sufferers.

In the meantime, here’s what we know … asthma can be triggered by allergic reactions, but it can also be triggered by nonallergic reactions. Most asthma attacks result from exposure to allergens such as pollen, household dust, and mold. These attacks can be influenced by indoor or outdoor environments. Because a majority of asthma sufferers are affected by some form of allergies, it’s worth the effor to work closely with your doctor to try to identify and control all potential allergens within your influence.

 

Alcohol rehab – the 12 step program

Summary:
The twelve-step program is the term used for the procedure of the patients` recovering from various addictions and compulsions, such as alcohol and drug dependency. The main base for this recovery system and strategy is sharing the experience with the other patients and acknowledging their condition, in order to make the actual therapy possible…
Article Body:
The first step of the program refers to the addition of the alcohol dependency and acceptance of the fact that the patient is powerless to alcohol, which leads to significant and unwanted life changes. After admitting the problem, the patients deal with admitting that they can recover from the unwanted condition and leave healthy lives again, due to a power “greater than themselves”. The third step of the program concentrates upon this “greater power”, which is associated with God; the patients accept that God can lead their lives and behavior, by guiding their wills in the right direction.

After the first steps that admit the problem and the power to change it, the patients are asked to make a morel introspection of themselves, in order to discover their needs and expectations regarding their problem. Admitting their mistakes to themselves, to God, to their family and friends represents the step that follows and which is the base of a process that accepts that patients are capable, as humans, to commit wrongs. This process, which is expressed in the steps from 5 to 9, includes asking for help from the “greater power” in order to remove the shortcomings, but also, it implies listing the persons that were affected in the past by the patient’s wrong means and asking them for understanding and forgiveness. Making direct amends to relatives and acquaintances is represented in step number 9 and it is the base for the further conduct, as patients are thought to continue observing their inner self and promptly admit their mistakes.

The last 2 steps of the Alcoholics Anonymous program refer to improving the contact that the patients established with God and constantly praying and asking for knowledge to entirely overcome their condition. Step 12 basically refers to the accomplishment of a spiritual awakening, as a result of the recovery steps and accepting and willing to teach other alcoholic patients to discover and overcome their problem. The ending result of the twelve-step program in alcohol rehab is sharing the experience, believes and behavior means with the others, in order to prevent further collapses and live a healthy life. Full body detox treatments are the most sought after toxin removing remedies that help people rebalance their bodies, achieving a very good health condition. Lots of doctors are recommending to their patients to follow a full body detox treatment in order to get healthier and of course, to ease the healing treatments they must take for recovering from different diseases. A general cleansing diet is recommended to be done from time to time even for people who don’t seem to suffer from any chronic or profound maladies because the effect of a full body detox may prevent the development of many diseases and also it increases the body’s immune system.

 

Hemorrhoids – Description, Symptoms and Treatment

Summary:
Hemorrhoids are a relatively minor medical problem which is however, both uncomfortable and quite embarrassing. Read on, and find out about the symptoms and the various treatments.

Article Body:
What are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids (or piles are they are more commonly known) are simply the veins in your anus which have become distended (swollen with blood). This is very similar to varicose veins, where the vein becomes large and lumpy, only these veins are around the anus which makes it a bit more embarrassing.

The vein swelling can affect the part of the anal canal just above the sphincter where it is less well supported and protected causing Internal Hemorrhoids. Or it can affect the veins at the lower end of the canal causing External Hemorrhoids. Either of these types can exhibit the same kinds of symptoms and are generally quite uncomfortable in most cases.

Hemorrhoids affect approximately 50% of the population and appear to be distributed evenly across both male and females although anecdotally, it appears that pregnant women are quite susceptible to this condition.

What are the symptoms of Hemorrhoids?

There are a number of symptoms of Hemorrhoids which as is usual with most medical symptoms could be any one of a number of medical conditions. The best advice anyone could receive if they’re not sure, is to see a doctor as soon as possible. Some of the other conditions which have similar symptoms to Hemorrhoids range from things like threadworm and colon cancer. It is always best to go to your doctor and find out that you have nothing to worry about than to not go and only find out when the condition has become a lot worse than it could have been.

The main symptoms of Hemorrhoids are

Passing bowel movements are painful.

You have an itchy anus.

There are one or more painful or tender fleshy lumps in the anus area.

There is a feeling that your bowels are never empty.

Normally these symptoms are at worst uncomfortable and don’t stop you from conduction your day to day business. However, in a few rare situations, they can be very painful if they are associated with a splitting of the anus (known as an anal fissure).

What is the treatment for Hemorrhoids?

In most instances, Hemorrhoids can be treated successfully without any professional medical intervention. Despite that though, as I mentioned earlier, it is always best to consult a doctor if you’re unsure or the condition lasts for more than a couple of weeks.

Some examples of the treatment for hemorrhoids are to eat a lot of foods rich in fibre. This can help to prevent constipation which can aggravate the condition.

Closely related to constipation, is to avoid straining and to use soft toilet tissue. Then wash the area with warm water.

From all pharmacies, you should be able to buy some creams over the counter called Corticosteroids which contain a local anaesthetic and will soothe the pain and discomfort. They are not recommended for long term use though.

There are three other treatments which all require you to visit a medical practitioner.

The first is where a chemical is injected into the hemorrhoid which causes them to shrivel up.

The second way, is called Banding. Where a rubber band is placed around the base of the hemorrhoid. The Hemorrhoid then shrinks and eventually falls off.

The final option is surgery called hemorrhoidectomy which is only conducted very rarely as less traumatic methods named above are used. This option would normally be used on internal hemorrhoids which are very large.

 

Cancer – Courage and Love

Summary:
Everyday we hear of people dealing with incredible sadness and loss and we wonder; how do they do it? Where do they find the courage the strength? We may even ask ourselves how we would cope under the circumstances. Sadly, we only become aware of the answer, when tragedy visits us and our own lives are thrown into turmoil.

Article Body:
Cancer – Courage and Love By Lorraine Kember

Everyday we hear of people dealing with incredible sadness and loss and we wonder; how do they do it? Where do they find the courage the strength? We may even ask ourselves how we would cope under the circumstances. Sadly, we only become aware of the answer, when tragedy visits us and our own lives are thrown into turmoil.

When some one we love is diagnosed with a terminal cancer, life as we knew it changes forever. Suddenly we enter a new world, a world filled with helplessness, despair and fear of the unknown. We no longer walk aimlessly around shopping Malls; we walk the Hospital corridors and sit in chemotherapy waiting rooms and are shocked by the number of people afflicted by cancer. We can not help but wonder if one day we too may be a patient and we fear for our own mortality.

Sitting in a Chemotherapy ward is an experience not to be forgotten. Cancer has no respect for gender, age or wealth. There are people from every race, color and creed; rich, middle class and poor; and none of this makes the slightest difference. They are all untited in their suffering, fellow human beings on the same sad journey.

One can not bear witness to the incredible courage of those who have cancer, without being deeply affected. My husband’s courage in the face of his terminal mesothelioma cancer held me in awe and I decided to do everything within my power to help him.

I learned about the stages and symptoms of his disease; the pain he would experience and ways to bring it under control, so that I could work with his doctors, to achieve for him, the best possible quality of life for what ever time he was granted. It was incredibly hard to wake each day with the knowledge that my husband was dying; my anticipatory grief often overwhelmed me but somehow I managed to carry on. One day a lady said to me, “You are such a strong woman.” and I wondered what had made her say that. I didn’t feel strong, I felt like I was breaking.

Despite a prognosis of three to nine months, my husband survived for two years and was not bed bound until three short days prior to his death. My journey beside him as he traveled to the end of his life, has taught me many things, above all the true meaning of love and the strength of the human spirit.

Deep within ourselves there is strength and courage to sustain us in times of personal tragedy. I have come to realize that during my husband’s illness, I was indeed strong. I may have staggered with the burden of my grief but I did manage to help my husband achieve a quality of life few thought possible considering the nature of his disease. And, thanks to the expertise and dedication of the Palliative Care Team, I was able to fulfill my promise to him that he would not die in hospital. His death at home was as loving, sharing and peaceful as anyone could wish for.

I have witnessed courage; that of my husband as he battled his disease and of my own as I stood beside him, determined to improve the quality of his life. The knowledge that I was successful in this has brought me much peace. My husband’s illness and death have wounded me deeply yet I have emerged far stronger than ever before and gone on to achieve things I never thought possible.

My experience has taught me not to take life for granted and to live each day with thanks for the wonderful gift that it is. I have witnessed death; my awareness of the fragility of life, despite the strongest of wills strengthens my determination to grasp everything life offers me, with both hands.

 

Chickenpox

 

Summary:
Chickenpox is highly contagious and most young children will catch it sooner or later. The blisters itch like mad and we have a treatment that will help.
Article Body:
Chickenpox is one of the ‘classic’ childhood diseases. Most children will catch it sooner or later.

Chickenpox is an airborne disease and is very contagious. The symptoms are:

-general mild flu like symptoms (headache, fever, tummy ache, and loss of appetite);
– followed a day or two later by hundreds of itchy, fluid filled blisters.

Once you have had chickenpox the virus is with you for life but kept in check by your immune system. However, the virus can flare up later in life in the form of shingles, especially if you undergo a period of stress.

Most cases occur in children younger than 10 and the disease is usually mild. Older children and adults often develop a more severe case of chickenpox.

Chickenpox can cause serious complications:

– a secondary infection of the blisters may occur if these are scratched and this can cause scarring.

– newborns are at risk of severe infection if the mother is not immune (i.e. she has not previously had the disease).

– other, rare, complications include encephalitis; Reye’s syndrome; and cerebellar ataxia.

Treatment:

As it is a virus, chickenpox can not be treated by antibiotics. In most cases a chickenpox infection can be left to run its course, however, it is advisable to treat the blisters to reduce the likelihood of them being scratched. To this end, it is advisable to trim the nails of young children and place scratch-mitts on babies to minimise scratching and reduce the chance of scarring.

Calamine lotion will help to ease the itching as will baking soda (bicarbonate of soda). When our toddlers caught chickenpox a friend suggested adding a little water to baking powder to make a paste and applying that to the blisters. As our son passed his chickenpox on to me I can verify that the baking soda does work! It was more effective than calamine lotion at reducing the itching.

Antiviral medicines have been developed and can help the fight against chickenpox if the medicine is started within the first 24 hours of the rash developing. For most healthy children antiviral medicine is not required, but teenagers and adults who are likely to experience a more severe dose, may benefit.

Others who could benefit from antiviral medicine are kids with eczema, lung conditions such as asthma, and those who have been prescribed steroids.

 

Anticipatory Grief and On-going Sadness for Caregivers

Summary:
At one time the diagnosis of cancer, AIDS or COPD was a death sentence. Advances in medicine and treatment now sometimes place patients with these diseases in a chronic rather than acute condition, leaving the caregiver with a sense of on-going sadness, or “anticipatory grief.”

Anticipation in this context refers to the anticipation of an event in the future. Barring a miracle, the caregiver has a sure knowledge that death will occur in our loved one sooner rather than later. In anticipation of eventual death, the caregiver changes her focus from the hopes of a miracle cure to ensuring comfort and quality at life’s end.

Many of the caregivers I have worked with not only mourn the anticipation of death of a loved one, but also the end of their role in life. They are afraid of who they will become when they no longer bear the title of “wife”, daughter” or “caregiver.”

Article Body:
Anticipatory Grief and On-going Sadness for Caregivers
© Judy H. Wright, 2005 http://www.ArtichokePress.com

In 1969, Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross published On Death and Dying and later went on to launch the Hospice movement in America. Even though her studies focused more on those who were dying than the caregivers that were left behind, her work has had enormous influence on the understanding of various stages of death and grief.

She described five distinctive stages of the grief process:
• Denial
• Anger
• Bargaining
• Depression
• Acceptance

Although not everyone progresses through these stages in the same order and not everyone experiences each stage, the feelings and emotions identified seem to be universal.

At one time the diagnosis of cancer, AIDS or COPD was a death sentence. Advances in medicine and treatment now sometimes place patients with these diseases in a chronic rather than acute condition, leaving the caregiver with a sense of on-going sadness, or “anticipatory grief.”

Anticipation in this context refers to the anticipation of an event in the future. Barring a miracle, the caregiver has a sure knowledge that death will occur in our loved one sooner rather than later. In anticipation of eventual death, the caregiver changes her focus from the hopes of a miracle cure to ensuring comfort and quality at life’s end.

Many of the caregivers I have worked with not only mourn the anticipation of death of a loved one, but also the end of their role in life. They are afraid of who they will become when they no longer bear the title of “wife”, daughter” or “caregiver.”

The overwhelming burden of caring, worrying and dedication will end with the death of a loved one. What will fill the void? Have they been strong for so long that when death does occur, they will collapse?

Nature demonstrates that almost everything occurs in cycles. Each individual experiences an endless flow of beginnings and endings. Much of our fear and grief stems from our uncertainty about the new beginning and if we will be able to handle it.

The more we can trust that with every ending is a new beginning, the less likely we are to resist letting go of the old. We play a part in choosing what the new beginning will be. We do not need to rush into anything. We have worked hard and with love, and we deserve to rest and regroup.

Trust yourself and trust nature that you will be guided in your journey. Each one of us goes through the cycles of life in our own way. We can see each ending as a tragedy because we will no longer have daily exposure and experiences with our loved one, or we can see it as a new beginning for everyone concerned.

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This article may be re-printed in it’s entirety as long as full credit is given to the author, Judy H. Wright. For a full listing of books, articles and tele-classes on this and other subjects related to the journey of life, please go to: http://www.ArtichokePress.com or contact Judy H. Wright at 406-549-9813