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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:17 am 
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Cancer changed me physically and emotionally, says Kylie Minogue

KYLIE Minogue says cancer changed her mentally and physically, and she is still dealing with the effects almost five years after beating it.

Minogue was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and underwent chemotherapy. She is now approaching the five-year all clear date.

But the 42-year-old says the disease changed her in many ways.

"My face has gone through a lot of changes," Minogue told Britain's Sunday Times Magazine.

"If you look back before I was ill, there was nothing of me. I didn't realise it at the time, but in a way I looked much older than I do now.

"All of me is just fleshier now, but my face changed. It filled out, it puffed up with the drugs.

"It's not puffed now, but then it was because of the chemotherapy and steroids."

Minogue is still on medication, but will go off it in less than a year when she will have been cancer-free for five years.

She said taking the drugs had meant worrying about her weight for the first time in her life.

"I still take medication, and there are a lot of women who stop taking the medication because they just can't stand the side effects," she said.

"You definitely put on weight. Weight was never an issue for me. Before, I could just eat anything."

The Aussie pop star, who calls London home these days, said she has also learnt to be easier on herself and not get too stressed.

The medication makes her tired, but she tries to stay positive.

"Well, I'm here, and that's what I have to remember when I start to get down about it," she said.

Minogue released her new single, All The Lovers, last week and it is getting airplay around the world.

In the video for the sexy song the former Neighbours star shows off a svelte figure in a shredded white shirt with a black bra and underwear.

She said the original plan was to wear long flowing dresses, but the director had other ideas.

"I was not expecting to be wearing that kind of outfit ever again," she said.

"But when I got there, the director said: 'I think of you and I think hot pants'."

Photos of Minogue in the revealing outfit made the front page of newspapers in the UK.

"Now it gets written about because I'm in that age group - 'She's in her 40s and she's still got it'," she said.

"I'm in that age range where you're spoken about like that, and I'm like, 'Shut up, because at some point it won't be'."

Minogue will release her new album, Aphrodite, on July 5 and is planning on touring again next year.

She said it feels like the older she gets the better she is at what she does.

"If I didn't tour again I would think, 'Oh no, I have finally just found my stride'," she said.

"I'll be in the old people's home trying to do a high kick down the corridor."

http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/ca ... 5879258711

[comment - I'm justifying inclusion of this story as personal experience collectively can form useful data. I have never been a fan, but you have to admire the way she has gotten on with her life]


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:21 am 
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Daly City teacher who recently died of cancer in line for award

Jefferson High School teacher Zachary Swan somehow found the energy to engage his students even as he underwent chemotherapy for a rare form of cancer.

When he was physically unable to be at the Daly City campus, Swan e-mailed colleagues to have them check on his students' progress in both academics and athletics.

For his dedication to students, Swan could earn the title of top educator — albeit posthumously.

He died April 28 of neuroblastoma. He was just 28.

However, his name remains on the shortlist for the 2010 All-Star Teacher Award from the broadcasting network Comcast SportsNet.

In its fourth year, the award program recognizes middle- and high-school instructors in Northern and Central California who show teaching excellence, outstanding rapport with students and other attributes.

The winning teacher will be announced July 28 at a ceremony at AT&T Park before the San Francisco Giants take on the Florida Marlins. He or she will receive $10,000 for his or her school.

Swan taught physical education for three years at Jefferson High, a biography from the network said.

Those who knew Swan described him as an inspiration to students and colleagues for his personal strength and perseverance, the biography said. His class mantra was: "It doesn't matter if you fail or succeed, what matters most is that you try."

He helped students plot lifelong goals and encouraged them to become leaders in their communities, the biography said. He was also an avid Bay Area sports fan and assisted his school's football and basketball teams.

If Swan wins the award, Jefferson High plans to establish a scholarship in his name.

The other finalists are Stefanie Erlwein of East Avenue Middle in Livermore, Aaron Machado of Brownell Middle in Gilroy, Salvatore Morabito of De Anza High in Richmond and Olivia Rangel of Alvarado Middle in Union City.

Members of the public can visit the websites www.csnbayarea.com and www.csncalifornia.com to vote for who they think should be this year's star teacher. The online voting is open until July 9.

Meanwhile, a Comcast show Tuesday before a Giants game will feature Swan's mother, Maribeth Dunn.

http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula/ci_15290106

[comment - this teacher did what they thought was right even when undergoing intensive treatment - you have to admire that]


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:41 am 
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Web Exclusive: Standing Up to Cancer

Laura Ziskin says she failed at knitting and meditation, which friends told her would help calm her during her treatment for stage 3 breast cancer in 2004.

“Knitting was a real disaster,” says the 60-year-old film producer. Instead, Ziskin turned to what had always provided distraction and joy–her work. Ziskin says when she learned there were others in her industry who wanted to do something to raise money for cancer research, she signed on. The result: she became executive producer of a one-hour, live fundraising event called Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), which aired on the three major networks simultaneously in fall 2008.

Ziskin became an advocate after her own diagnosis, which was delayed by constant reassurances from physicians that nothing was wrong. She underwent a mastectomy that revealed 30 positive lymph nodes and one lymph node that, because of its location, could have meant she was stage 4 but was inconclusive. She underwent chemotherapy, had a stem cell transplant, and then radiation. It shocked her to learn that her prognosis was no better than women who received the same diagnosis 40 years ago.

“I produced the Academy Awards in 2007 and watched how the movie An Inconvenient Truth shifted the conversation in the country about climate change,” Ziskin says. “I am in the media business, and I should use the bully pulpit to push people.”

SU2C, www.standup2cancer.org, featured more than 100 celebrities who performed and educated the audience about cancer, ultimately raising more than $100 million for cancer research.

Ziskin says that before the event, she and the other co-founders of SU2C had determined that the greatest need was to accelerate cancer research results through collaboration.

“We wanted to fund translational research, the research that will be brought to patients the fastest,” Ziskin says. The research “Dream Teams” they envisioned would be multi-institutional and cross-disciplinary.

On May 27, 2009, one year after its launch, SU2C funded its first of five Dream Teams. It wasn’t a minute too soon for Ziskin, who had learned in April that her cancer had metastasized to her liver. She began a phase 1 trial of an investigational drug for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, already being studied with funding from SU2C. The drug is now in phase 2 testing. Ziskin, who continues to take the experimental treatment along with two other approved therapies, reports that her cancer is stable.

“I believe that I’ll go along and that this will stop working, and then I’ll have something else that will cure me,” Ziskin says, adding that she has had a biopsy of the liver tumor to determine its molecular profile, which may be useful if a new targeted treatment option is developed.

In the meantime, Ziskin says she is working on the next Spiderman movie and a new play about Enron, as well as the second SU2C live telecast scheduled for September 10. The projected profit from the second cancer fundraiser, she says, will be used to remove barriers to creativity and collaboration by enabling scientists with varying expertise from different institutions across the country—and in some cases internationally—to work together toward a cure.

http://www.curetoday.com/index.cfm/fuse ... le_id/1506


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:32 am 
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Olympic champ skater Scott Hamilton doing well after brain surgery

November 27, 2010 - Olympic champ skater Scott Hamilton doing well after brain surgery -

Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton is recovering well after brain surgery to remove tumor and a subsequent aneurysm.

Scott is a fighter, his friends and family said about the skating champion. While doctors removed his brain tumor last June an artery was nicked during the surgery.

The bleeding was stopped, but days later an aneurysm formed; fortunately, however, doctors were able to remove it through a non-invasive procedure.

"I tried to stay positive through all this," Hamilton told People magazine. "But in back of my mind, I felt, 'I'm getting knocked down and I'm not sure if I can get back up.' "

Years ago, Scott, who's now 52, also overcame testicular cancer and a pituitary gland tumor. With his family and friends by his side, he overcame this latest struggle and is now going strong.

"Scott was amazing through all of this; I've never seen him so strong" His wife Tracie said. Singer and friend Cheryl Crow said that "he looks strong now and he's got his wicket sense of humor back."

Another good friend, country star Brad Paisley, said, "He's a hero to me in the way he handles adversity and his positive outlook on life, no matter the circumstances."

Getting back to normal life, Scott is now at home in Franklin, TN with his family. He also raised over $1 million for cancer research with his annual Scott Hamilton CARES initiative on November 6.

http://www.examiner.com/celebrity-headl ... in-surgery


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:46 am 
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Can depression influence breast cancer survival?

(Reuters Health) - A diagnosis of breast cancer will inevitably sink a woman's mood, but those who are able to beat that initial depression appear to survive longer, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that women whose mood lightened in the first year after being told they had advanced breast cancer outlived those whose symptoms worsened by more than two years.

But they caution that the potential mind-body connection is still uncertain, and that it's far from clear that depression is at the root of the shorter survival.

Depression can burden the body in a number of ways that are linked with cancer progression -- from decreasing immune function to increasing inflammation, according to lead researcher Janine Giese-Davis, of the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.

"When these physiological changes become chronic, we believe that they may deplete the resources of the body, making it more difficult for patients to recover," she said in an e-mail to Reuters Health.

Earlier research has shown more than half of cancer patients suffer some kind of depression, with around 38 percent developing major depression; the rates vary depending on cancer site and stage.

In the new study, Giese-Davis and her colleagues identified more than 100 women in the San Francisco Bay Area who had recently received a diagnosis of breast cancer that had begun spreading to other parts of the body, so-called metastatic cancer.

They randomly selected about half of the patients to undergo supportive group therapy once a week. All the women received education materials and reported their depression symptoms at four, eight and 12 months.

The researchers found that half of those whose depression symptoms decreased over the first year lived at least another four and a half years, compared to just over two years for half of those with worsening symptoms.

Improvements in depression also raised the chances of survival beyond 14 years by as much as 68 percent, report the researchers in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

They didn't find a relationship between depression severity at the outset of the study and later survival, however, and neither group therapy nor antidepressant use appeared to affect how long women lived.

"Our results did not specify one particular treatment," explained Giese-Davis, noting that both therapy and medications can be effective. "The only thing that mattered was the decrease over time in depression symptoms."

While it is too early to be sure whether depression can truly shorten survival, she said, the finding does point to the importance of doctors, patients and their families being aware that chronic depression following an illness might take a toll.

"We do not advocate simply 'thinking positive,'" noted Giese-Davis. "It is normal for patients to feel sad, angry and fearful."

Rather, she said talking openly about those feelings could be helpful, and that overcoming depression will "improve your quality of life, your social relationships, healthy behaviors, and your ability to follow through on your doctor's recommendations."

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6BE4Z920101215

[comment - depression and stress definitely effect your survival chances]


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:17 pm 
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Michael Douglas cancer cure announcement is a cruel medical hoax

(NaturalNews) Today the mainstream media is gleefully announcing that Michael Douglas has been "cured" of throat cancer. Yes, they use the "cure" word, as if to imply the cancer is gone and will never recur. Michael Douglas himself announced he has "beat cancer," and various cancer survivor groups are celebrating Douglas as a "cancer survivor."

Sadly, tragically, it's all a cruel medical hoax. Michael Douglas is not a cancer survivor but rather a chemotherapy survivor. His doctors have poisoned his body's vital organs -- brain, liver, kidneys and heart -- with extremely toxic chemicals that cause permanent, long-term damage. Yes, along the way a cancer tumor shrank in size, and yet even that observation is no cure either. Why? Because cancer tumors grow right back, usually within five years in the case of those with a history of smoking and drinking.

Mainstream media promotes chemotherapy

Yet, by parading Michael Douglas as an example of a cancer "cure," the mainstream media is cruelly and unjustifiably functioning as the marketing branch of the conventional cancer industry, publicizing a blatantly false message that "chemotherapy cures cancer." This will have the effect of causing yet more cancer patients to sign up for toxic chemotherapy treatments which will, sadly, kill many of them.

In this way, the mainstream media has made Michael Douglas the poster boy for quack medicine and fraudulent cancer "cures." That's not his fault, of course: He's just trying to cure cancer the best way he knows how, and he no doubt believed the lies and deceptions his cancer doctors were trained to tell him. But the media is turning this into almost a celebration of the cancer industry. And that is extremely irresponsible, given how many people don't survive chemotherapy, even when far safer and more natural therapies are readily available that really do cure cancer (but which have been outlawed in America).

The cancer industry is based on deception

If you really get down to the bottom of the issue here, the cancer industry is much like the financial industry (Wall Street) in that it is based on lies and misinformation. In order to stay in business, it must continue to promote those lies, which include messages like "There's no such thing as a cure for cancer" unless you use their toxic poisons, in which case they readily use the word "cure." But you're not really cured because 70% (or so) of people who get chemotherapy for throat cancer are dead within five years.

Whereas, in the natural realm, people who pursue radical changes in lifestyle and who undergo live foods juicing therapies, Gerson therapy and other holistic approaches to cancer are literally cured to the point where their bodies stop metabolizing cancer. They literally cure their own cancers out of health, not poison. And because of that, they survive a very large number of years thereafter.

Not every person is cured through the use of natural therapies, of course. Many people, for their own reasons, are unable to give up smoking cigarettes, or eating refined sugar, or consuming diet sodas or whatever substance probably contributed to their cancer in the first place. A genuine "cure" for cancer requires absolute commitment to a healthful lifestyle, including the complete avoidance of cancer-causing chemicals in personal care products (cosmetics, deodorants, perfumes, etc.), in foods (processed meat), in medicines and so on. It also requires a real nutritional overhaul of the body that boosts levels of vitamin D, selenium, zinc, vitamin C and plant-based anti-cancer nutrients such as those derived from raw cruciferous vegetables.

None of these things, however, were explained to Michael Douglas. The conventional cancer industry isn't in the business of "educating" patients. It's so much easier to just poison them and bill their insurance companies for the poison. Then, for those who live through the suffering of the poison, they announce a (false) "cure" and congratulate them on being "cancer survivors."

Why chemotherapy treatment is a crime

It is cruel beyond measure to engaged in such celebration of the medical harming of a human being. Chemotherapy should be criminalized, not celebrated. It is a kind of "medical violence" being committed against human beings who are, 100% of the time, actually harmed by it. Remember that chemotherapy chemicals are derived from the chemical weapons of World War I (Mustard Gas in particular). What was once used on the battlefield to murder soldiers is now dripped into the veins of cancer victims and called "medicine."

The immediate side effects tell the real story of the dangers of chemotherapy to anyone paying attention: Extreme muscle loss, vomiting, hair falling out, a loss of brain function, sexual function and healthy sleep. These are not signs of people healing. These are the signs of people who are being poisoned. This should be obvious to any intelligent observer.

That some people manage to survive these poisons is not a testament to the poisonous treatment itself but rather a demonstration of the amazing ability of the human liver to detoxify the human body, even against an onslaught of chemical weapons administered by oncologists. And yet, even the liver has its limits, and after chemotherapy, most peoples' livers are permanently damaged to some degree, setting them up for yet more medical procedures, pharmaceuticals and possibly even a liver transplant (ka-ching!).

Yes, it's no exaggeration to say that chemotherapy's greatest benefit is to the doctors and hospitals who depend on repeat business to stay profitable. Send a chemo patient home after a round of treatment, and you can be sure they will be back before too long, suffering from something else you can treat and bill.

Such is the sad, toxic legacy of our so-called "scientific" system of modern medicine, where profits consistently override the best interests of the patients.

I wish Douglas the best possible outcome

Personally, I am saddened by the way in which the cancer industry exploits human suffering for its own profit. I am saddened to see such a fine individual as Michael Douglas have his health destroyed by chemotherapy. He deserves better. He deserves holistic medicine to remind his body that he already knows how to cure his own cancer if he is just given the opportunity and education.

I genuinely hope Michael Douglas is cured of cancer through chemotherapy. Perhaps he will be one of the rare miracles who somehow escapes the toxic effects of being poisoned by doctors. But history tells me that is a statistically unlikely and foolish hope, and that Douglas will be battling cancer yet again inside of five years.

I can only hope that he awakens to the world of natural healing and seeks a more natural route while that option remains available to him. In either case, even if he chooses conventional chemotherapy again, I wish him the best outcome and hope that his own biology can help him heal as quickly as possible. It saddens me beyond belief to see people being harmed by the conventional cancer industry. I am convinced that one day, chemotherapy will be outlawed. Until that day comes, it will continue to claim innocent victims who suffer and die at the hands of quack oncology.

http://www.naturalnews.com/030987_Micha ... ancer.html


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:16 am 
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Jim Stynes' cancer battle goes on

JIM Stynes has had another round of brain surgery in his courageous fight against the aggressive cancer.

The Melbourne president was operated on at The Alfred this week after doctors discovered tumours around his brain.

It is believed they removed at least two.

The operation was a success, but he will still need to rehabilitation.

In April surgeons removed about five tumours from around Stynes' brain.

The legendary Melbourne Demons champion revealed he was fighting cancer in 2009 after a lump was found in his back.

He has undergone a combination of alternative and conventional cancer therapy, such as surgery, radiotherapy and drug treatment, to fight the disease.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victor ... 5992590741


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:45 am 
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Actor's cancer sheds light on prevention

Actor Michael Douglas says his tumor is gone, and he's beat throat cancer.

Possibly true? What does that mean for his lifespan? And what does his open discussion about this type of cancer mean for others?

"The cancer that he has does have a potential for cure," says Dr. Jack Jacoub, medical oncologist at Memorial Care Cancer Institute at Orange Coast in Fountain Valley, Calif.

But more important, Jacoub says, is what Douglas' cancer does to make the public aware of throat and neck cancer and the ways people can avoid it.

Douglas told Matt Lauer in an interview: "The odds are, with the tumor gone and what I know about this particular type of cancer, that I've got it beat."

He'll have monthly checkups, but now he's into quantifying the impact of the disease on his life. "It's put a timeline on my life," he says. "I'm 66 now. You know, I'm fortunate I've got a mother who's 88. She'll kill me. She may be 87. My father's 94. So, you know, I feel good about these genes. But it's definitely a third act. And so you're a little more conscious of your time and how you choose to spend it."

Jacoub weighs in on a few questions:

Q: Are there warning signs, lifestyle signs, for throat and neck cancer?

A: We know this cancer almost always develops in the mouth and the back of the throat. We also know there is a stage where this tumor is related to long-term alcohol and tobacco use as well as the human papillomavirus.

People are well versed in the two major risks - tobacco and alcohol. But they need to know about the virus, which usually is transmitted through sexual contact. This virus also is implicated in other forms of cancer, including cervical and anal cancers.

There is now a vaccine for young girls to prevent cervical cancer and one for boys who could develop anal cancer through this virus. The vaccine is for ages 9-26. We believe the vaccine, over the next few decades, could lead to an eradication of cervical cancer.

It also could prevent head and neck cancer, although it is not approved for that potential. Patients should talk to their doctors about this, particularly if they are at high risk with sexual behavior involving multiple partners.

Q: Why is the vaccine only for younger people?

A: Typically this cancer is caused by a virus that takes a long period of time to develop. Older people are unlikely to benefit as the virus probably has already taken hold.

Q: Let's get back to Michael Douglas. What's ahead for him and other survivors of throat and neck cancers?

A: Every cancer center has its own evaluation form. But typically treatment begins with methodical examinations on a monthly basis. Over five years, these reduce to every four to six months.

Short- and long-term side effects from the therapy need to be watched.

The thyroid gland is near the area of radiation. Common manifestation of problems here is fatigue.

Also, there are mouth and dental issues. He will have dry mouth because the salivary glands are affected by radiation.

He needs time to get back his strength. There could be changes in his voice due to radiation treatments, which is an issue for an actor in the public eye.

But effective treatments could return him to normal function within a year.

Q: It sounds as if there are many more specialists involved in head and neck cancer treatment than, say, breast cancer. Why?

A: The cancer needs to be evaluated by all specialties - speech therapist, medical oncologist, nutritionist, radiation oncologist and dentist.

This is a difficult cancer to treat because of where it develops. The head and neck are difficult because of the location.

The most common place it develops is the oral pharynx, and that's where I suspect Douglas developed his cancer. That means in the back of the mouth - the walls, tongue and tonsils are most common areas.

During the course of therapy, because the lining of the mouth and the back of the throat are impacted, the patient often has a hard time swallowing and needs a feeding tube to maintain nutrition and weight.

The prognosis is better over the years, of course. And those longevity genes definitely are a plus for Michael Douglas.

http://www.centredaily.com/2011/01/28/2 ... ntion.html


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:42 am 
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Abdul-Jabbar shows film, says cancer at 'minimum'

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A few days after putting a comment on his Twitter account that he was cancer free, basketball great Kareem Abdul–Jabbar said Thursday that it was a "misstatement."

"You're never really cancer free and I should have known that," Abdul–Jabbar said. "My cancer right now is at an absolute minimum."

The 63–year–old Abdul–Jabbar, a six–time NBA Most Valuable Player, was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia in 2008. He spoke Thursday at Science Park High School, after the screening of his new full–length documentary about the Harlem Rens basketball team, "On the Shoulders of Giants."

"It's not life–threatening," he said, "at this point in my life."

Abdul–Jabbar said when he was first diagnosed with leukemia, he didn't know what to think. He feared the worst.

"I thought I might be dead in a few months," he said. "I had a good friend (actor Bruno Kirby) who was diagnosed with leukemia and was dead within 30 days. I really had no understanding of what I was dealing with."

With the help of a medication called Gleevec, CML can be monitored better, and the chances for recovery are improved. Abdul–Jabbar is a spokesman for Novartis, the company that produces Gleevec.

"Medical science has made great strides over the last 20 years," he said. "People in my position are able to live their lives to the fullest. I'm very grateful for that. I'm lucky that they caught it in enough time, and I've responded well to the medication. If not for the success that medicine has made, I might be part of a much different story right now."

The basketball star turned author wrote a book about the Harlem Renaissance Big Five, also known as the Harlem Rens. They were a basketball team comprised of African–Americans who fought to be a part of the game, only to be set back by the racism that plagued the United States before World War II. The book chronicles the Rens as they made their way toward playing in the first non–segregated championship in 1939 against a team from Oshkosh, Wis.

Abdul–Jabbar's book became a documentary that was shown to approximately 1,000 Newark high school students on Thursday. A panel discussion followed.

"The film has all the things I love," Abdul–Jabbar said. "It has basketball, jazz music and the history of African–American people. I think the film came out really well. I'm happy with it. I spoke with various educators and they believed that New Jersey would benefit from seeing it. It seemed to me that they were interested in it."

Perhaps it's the start of something special for Abdul–Jabbar.

"The main reason why I did the film is that it is enabling me to make the transition from a jock," he said, "and give me credibility as a scholar and a filmmaker. I'm going to continue to make that work."

Abdul–Jabbar made sure to get his message across to the nation's youth. On Wednesday, the film was shown to students at the Schomburg Center in Harlem, where Abdul–Jabbar grew up.

"You're the main reason why I did what I did with this film," Abdul–Jabbar told the students. "I want to challenge you to make Newark and New Jersey a better place. I hope to read about you doing good things in the future. So go forth, do your thing and be successful."

Abdul–Jabbar has scheduled another screening next week in Los Angeles.

http://topnews360.tmcnet.com/topics/ass ... inimum.htm


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:27 pm 
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Venezuelan Beauty Queen Shocks Nation With Bald Truth of Cancer Battle

A former Venezuelan beauty queen's candid photographic diary showing her bald and recovering from cancer was credited with a surge in the number of women in the South American country seeking breast examinations, The Guardian reported Monday.

Eva Ekvall, a 28-year-old Miss Universe finalist and TV news anchor, was urged to chronicle her battle against the disease after being diagnosed with advanced cancer in February a year ago.

Prominent Venezuelan photographer Roberto Mata suggested keeping a record of the treatment and domestic life with her husband and newborn daughter.

"In the beginning, I wasn't sure if I looked good or not. Then I realized that wasn't the point. I wasn't supposed to look good, I had cancer," said Ekvall, who completed treatment in October and is now in recovery.

She continued her TV work, wearing a wig and heavy makeup to disguise her private battle. But she said she was distressed by her dramatic physical changes.

"It's painful to look at yourself in the mirror," she said. "Your face gets swollen. You lose every single hair in your body, your eyebrows, your eyelashes. You become some weird animal or something. You don't recognize yourself. That was scary, especially because my job has to do with my looks. I had to look decent and not appear sick."

But now her stark images, released in a book, were said to be helping to push the nation's women to deal with a subject that was traditionally swept under the rug.

"There's a huge taboo around breast cancer," Ekvall said. "But in this country, people get their boobs done every day, so I don't understand how breast cancer can be a problem when everybody's showing their breasts."

She added, "The pictures were very shocking because nobody had ever seen me that way. Nobody had seen me bald, without makeup. So I knew they would be shocking."

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/02/2 ... er-battle/


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2011 7:50 am 
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Suzanne Somers, Cancer Expert

This week, “Dateline” on NBC devoted an entire hour on Sunday evening to allow the actress Suzanne Somers to express her rather unconventional beliefs about cancer.

It is not the first time a major media outlet has given air time to Ms. Somers, whose journey into the medical realm has been featured on a variety of news programs, talk shows and entertainment channels. A few years ago, Oprah Winfrey invited Ms. Somers on her show to share the secrets behind her youthful appearance — a complex regimen of unregulated hormone creams and some 60 vitamins and supplements.

But is it entirely outrageous that respected media organizations continue to give the “Three’s Company” sitcom star a platform to dispense medical advice? Not really, in a world in which celebrities have become among the most recognizable spokespeople — and sometimes experts — about various diseases.

And Ms. Somers is just the latest in a long line of critics, celebrity and otherwise, who have challenged mainstream cancer therapy. In the 1940s and 1950s, for example, an insurance salesman named Harry Hoxsey recommended a botanical treatment made from roots and bark. A well-known physician, Dr. Andrew Ivy, promoted krebiozen, which was derived from the serum of horses. Thousands of cancer patients spent substantial money on these nostrums, both of which were worthless. At the time, Dr. Morris Fishbein, editor of The Journal of the American Medical Association, called the people who promoted them “cancer quacks” and labeled them “vicious” and “unprincipled.”

That these alternatives to traditional cancer treatments gained popularity after World War II is not surprising. In that era, cancer surgeons and radiation therapists became extremely aggressive in their efforts to remove or kill every last cancer cell. These treatments were extremely toxic, and most patients died anyway. Cancer patients were understandably searching for alternatives.

By the 1970s, celebrities were going public with their cancer stories, including the former actress and diplomat Shirley Temple Black and the first lady Betty Ford, both of whom were candid about their breast cancers. But it was the case of another celebrity with cancer, the actor Steve McQueen, that again focused attention on unorthodox therapy. In March 1980, The National Enquirer accurately reported that Mr. McQueen was undergoing treatment in Mexico for mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung, that his doctors had termed incurable.

Later that fall, one of Mr. McQueen’s Mexican doctors held a press conference in which he announced that the treatment, consisting of dozens of vitamins, minerals and pancreatic enzymes, a reputed anticancer substance from apricot pits known as laetrile and detoxifying coffee enemas, was curing Mr. McQueen. It was not true. Mr. McQueen died of his cancer the next month. Nevertheless, thousands of cancer patients retraced his path to Mexico in search of a fruitless cure.

Now comes Ms. Somers, who, after receiving surgery and radiation for her breast cancer in 2001, declined chemotherapy in favor of a drug made from mistletoe extract.

Ms. Somers has since written a book, “Knockout,” which relates her experiences with cancer and promotes several modern unorthodox physicians, including Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski and Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez. Dr. Burzynski, based in Houston, has treated more than 10,000 cancer patients with naturally occurring proteins that he calls antineoplastons. Dr. Gonzalez, who practices in New York City and has gained notoriety for his use of coffee enemas, uses a regimen similar to that given to Steve McQueen, although without the laetrile. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved either treatment, although the agency has given “orphan” drug status, a designation used to foster research of rare diseases, to antineoplastons for the treatment of certain brain tumors. And the National Institutes of Health provided a $1.4 million grant to study Dr. Gonzalez’s cancer protocol.

The most compelling thing about Dr. Burzynski and Dr. Gonzalez are the patients they label as “cured.” When I interviewed Dr. Gonzalez for a book on famous patients, I met several who had been told by mainstream oncologists that they had incurable cancer but who were very much alive five, 10 or even 20 years later.

Yet it is hard to know what to make of these anecdotes, however powerful they are. Medicine relies on formal scientific studies, and neither antineoplastons nor Dr. Gonzalez’s regimen has been proved to be of value. Indeed, a recent study published in The Journal of Clinical Oncology showed that pancreatic cancer patients on average survived nearly 10 months longer with standard chemotherapy as opposed to what Dr. Gonzalez prescribes.

It may be that patients who experience long-term survival after unorthodox treatment were given faulty diagnoses or had cancers that regressed by themselves, a known phenomenon. Or it may be that the type of patient who has the time and money to pursue these alternative treatments is a healthier patient to start with. It is impossible to be sure.

So why does Ms. Somers promote these unproven therapies? She said she believes that oncologists do not inform end-stage cancer patients about nontraditional options, and that such people deserve to know.

Here Ms. Somers may have a point. Although oncologists are surely under no obligation to promote therapies they believe are useless or harmful, patients — especially those who want to explore every possible avenue — have the right to know that there are unorthodox cancer therapies that some people believe are helpful.

But not without several caveats, and that is where Ms. Somers, and many of those in the media who discuss her books and views, have failed. Ms. Somers says she is promoting hope, but false hope benefits no one.

Many people with end-stage cancer are, understandably, desperate, and thus potentially vulnerable to a sales pitch — even an expensive one. But here is a case when an informed patient may truly be a wiser patient. Perhaps if doctors were more willing to address the fact that these nontraditional treatments exist, and share what we do and don’t know about their effectiveness, an actress like Ms. Somers would have less influence, and science would speak louder than celebrity.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/2 ... ss&emc=rss

[comment - I have quoted survivor Sally White before, when she said about their being no such thing as false hope only hope. I understand the authors scepticism about Somers authority, but she is entitled to voice her opinion - what value we choose to give that opnion is up to us.

Given that medicine does not have a cure for cancer, at least he is sympathetic for the reasons people search for alternatives. He is wrong I believe to dismiss the opinions of an actress out of hand or ignore that through her cancer experience she couldn't have an intelligent opinion on cancer treatments.

You only have to look at the surge of interest in placebos to know that she might be onto something. However, if she believes 60 supplements and natural therapies alone can cure cancer, then I believe she is mistaken]


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:19 am 
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Beyond Tender Loving Care: 'TLCs' Promise Health and Happiness

ScienceDaily (Mar. 1, 2011) — Lifestyle changes -- such as getting more exercise, time in nature, or helping others -- can be as effective as drugs or counseling to treat an array of mental illnesses, according to a new paper published by the American Psychological Association.

Multiple mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety, can be treated with certain lifestyle changes as successfully as diseases such as diabetes and obesity, according to Roger Walsh, M.D., PhD. of the University of California, Irvine's College of Medicine. Walsh reviewed research on the effects of what he calls "therapeutic lifestyle changes," or TLCs, including exercise, nutrition and diet, relationships, recreation, relaxation and stress management, religious or spiritual involvement, spending time in nature, and service to others. His paper was published in American Psychologist, APA's flagship journal.

Walsh reviewed research on TLCs' effectiveness and advantages, as well as the psychological costs of spending too much time in front of the TV or computer screen, not getting outdoors enough, and becoming socially isolated. He concludes that "Lifestyle changes can offer significant therapeutic advantages for patients, therapists, and societies, yet are insufficiently appreciated, taught or utilized," The paper describes TLCs as effective, inexpensive and often enjoyable, with fewer side effects and complications than medications. "In the 21st century, therapeutic lifestyles may need to be a central focus of mental, medical and public health," Walsh said.

According to research reviewed in the paper, the many often unrecognized TLC benefits include:

- Exercise not only helps people feel better by reducing anxiety and depression. It can help children do better in school, improve cognitive performance in adults, reduce age-related memory loss in the elderly, and increase new neuron formation in the brain.
- Diets rich in vegetables, fruits and fish may help school performance in children, maintain cognitive functions in adults, as well as reduce symptoms in affective and schizophrenic disorders.
- Spending time in nature can promote cognitive functions and overall well-being.
- Good relationships can reduce health risks ranging from the common cold to strokes as well as multiple mental illnesses, and can enhance psychological well-being dramatically.
- Recreation and fun can reduce defensiveness and foster social skills.
Relaxation and stress management can treat a variety of anxiety, insomnia, and panic disorders.
- Meditation has many benefits. It can improve empathy, sensitivity and emotional stability, reduce stress and burnout, and enhance cognitive function and even brain size.
- Religious and spiritual involvement that focuses on love and forgiveness can reduce anxiety, depression and substance abuse, and foster well-being.
- Contribution and service, or altruism, can enhance joy and generosity by producing a "helper's high." Altruism also benefits both physical and mental health, and perhaps even extends lifespan. A major exception the paper notes is "caretaker burnout experienced by overwhelmed family members caring for a demented spouse or parent."

Difficulties associated with using TLCs are the sustained effort they require, and "a passive expectation that healing comes from an outside authority or a pill," according to Walsh. He also noted that people today must contend with a daily barrage of psychologically sophisticated advertisements promoting unhealthy lifestyle behaviors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating fast food. "You can never get enough of what you don't really want, but you can certainly ruin your life and health trying" lamented Walsh.

For therapists, the study recommends learning more about the benefits of TLCs, and devoting more time to foster patients' TLCs.

The paper recognizes that encouraging widespread adoption of therapeutic lifestyles by the public is likely to require wide-scale measures encompassing educational, mental, and public health systems, as well as political leadership.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 125115.htm

[comment - whether you mental health problems or cancer, it may not be just what what changes you make but that you take control and make changes]


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 7:08 am 
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No funding for Newton-John cancer centre

Singer Olivia Newton-John has lost a Victorian government guarantee for funding of her new cancer and welfare centre in Melbourne.

The former Brumby government committed $45 million to fast-track building of the the world class facility at the Austin Hospital.

However new health minister David Davis says finding the funding will be a huge challenge.

Construction of the cancer centre is well underway, with six of the eight storeys already built.

Around 2,000 Victorians are expected to receive cancer treatment at the centre when it opens in 2013.

http://www.skynews.com.au/businessnews/ ... 85356&vId=

[comment - I guess she has a big decision to make, which hopefully will not mean personal financial troubles down the track. Now that cancer is so endemic it is interesting how much money famous people are putting into finding treatments]


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:49 pm 
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Re-learning the lessons from Elizabeth Edwards’ death

Elizabeth Edwards died from stage 4 breast cancer (also known as metastatic breast cancer) on December 7th, 2010 at the age of 61. Ms. Edwards was a well-known public figure, notably the wife of former Senator John Edwards, and an accomplished lawyer, author, and health advocate. Her death inspired new discussions of Stage 4 breast cancer, finally shining a light on what has been a relatively invisible segment of the breast cancer community: the diagnosed who live from scan to scan, treatment to treatment, with the knowledge that neither medical progress nor positive attitude will likely keep them from dying from breast cancer.

Following Ms. Edwards’ breast cancer diagnosis in 2004, she quickly became a celebrity survivor. She expressed optimism about cure and continued to pursue an active personal and professional life. After learning in 2007 that she had a recurrence which had already spread to her bones, Ms. Edwards still looked for a “silver lining” despite the fact that her breast cancer was no longer considered to be curable. At that point, doctors called her breast cancer “treatable” – meaning that she would be in some kind of therapy for the rest of her life.

Ms. Edwards knew that she might not live to see her children grow up. Yet public discussions were hesitant to acknowledge this reality. I remember the PBS news report that featured clips from a press conference in which Edwards’ medical doctor, Lisa Carey of the University of North Carolina Breast Center, stated that many women with stage 4 breast cancer “do very well for a number of years.”

In the interview that followed with Dr. Julie Gralow of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the discussion of prognosis was similarly vague. Dr. Gralow rightly revealed that doctors have “no crystal ball” to see the future and that average survival rates cannot be used to predict an individual’s life span. However, she also circumvented the prognosis issue by using phrases such as “years of survival” and living out “long lives.” We heard about “terrific new therapies,” “great treatments…that don’t cause a lot of symptoms,” and and a new “era of personalized cancer therapy.” Dr. Gralow stressed that Ms. Edwards gives hope to those who are fighting metastatic breast cancer and that “her biggest issue is that she has a couple of young kids to raise.”

Immediately following Ms. Edwards’ death, Dr. Barron Lerner wrote a warm, thoughtful, and informative essay in The New York Times about the lessons society can learn from Ms. Edwards, including the limits of current treatments and the dubiousness of the term “survivor” that, while empowering in some ways can be misleading in others. For the 49,000 new people each year who develop what amounts to be a terminal breast cancer condition, the term can be empty if not infuriating. He acknowledged further that, “there was no way to sugarcoat the latest news.” Finally, some of the truths about metastatic disease were revealed without the sweetness and hype.

The Times continued its reporting of metastatic breast cancer a month later in “A Pink-Ribbon Race, Years Long,” which spoke about the limitations of medical progress for this segment of the diagnosed. Statements from notable medical doctors acknowledged that, despite the fact that stage 4 patients “enjoy a higher quality of life than patients did in the past, because treatments are better focused and have fewer side effects,” these treatments add only an “incremental amount to the length of life.” Likewise, according to Dr. Susan Love, “The average survival of women with metastatic breast cancer from the time of the first appearance of the metastasis is between two to three and a half years.” Although no one knows where an individual prognosis fits within average survival statistics, Ms. Edwards’ passage from breast cancer diagnosis (2004) to recurrence (2007) to death (2010) reveals this timeline with unsettling clarity.

Elizabeth Edwards’ journey with breast cancer tells a story of survivorship that is complicated and tragic. Except for its public character, it is not unlike those of the 40,000 women and hundreds of men who die from breast cancer every year. Though she could have been an outlier like the occasional woman who has metastases throughout her bones and is alive 20 years later, outliers do not negate the patterns. Stage 4 cancers of all types are the silent killers and, surprisingly, the least funded categories of cancer in terms of research.

Despite the lessons we can learn from Elizabeth Edwards, there is a strong societal push to see the cancer glass as half full, particularly when focusing on survivorship statistics as indicators of medical progress. Although there has been a 20 percent rise in cancer survivorship overall from 2001 to 2007, The New York Times reports that “the death rate from cancer…has stayed virtually the same as it was in 1950.” Yes, 65 percent of cancer survivors have lived at least five years since diagnosis, 40 percent have lived 10 years or more, and nearly 10 percent have lived 25 years or longer. In turn, 35 percent will have died in five years, 60 percent will have died in ten, and, for 65 percent of the diagnosed, cancer will be the eventual cause of death. A glass that is half full is also half empty.

I want to have hope for my friends and family members who are dealing with aggressive and late stage cancers. I even wish for miracles. But hope for a society wrestling with cancer wrests upon the clear acknowledgment that the only true indicator of medical progress overall would be a significant reduction in the number of deaths and vast improvements in quality of life. For the term survivor to have meaning in this situation there must be an understanding that at stage 4, the only way to “survive” breast cancer is to die from something else. As a society, we’ve got to do better than that.

http://blog.oup.com/2011/03/edwards-cancer/


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:05 pm 
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Baillieu Government agrees to fund Olivia Newton John cancer centre

OLIVIA Newton-John was elated last night after Premier Ted Baillieu finally signed on to complete her cancer hospital.

After months of speculation that the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre would be left empty, the Premier committed almost $45 million to fit out the Austin Hospital project.

It came the day the Herald Sun exposed the Coalition for failing to even consider backing the centre before last year's poll. But less than a year since she serenaded then-Premier John Brumby for his commitment, Ms Newton-John said she was now looking forward to working with Mr Baillieu to complete the hospital.

"I'm just absolutely thrilled that Mr Baillieu and (Health Minister David) Davis have come through - I believed that they would, but I didn't know it would happen so fast," Ms Newton-John said from her US home.

"I couldn't believe they would leave us half-finished like that. I had faith - it was a little scary at times.

"It's not about the politics, it's about the cancer centre and it being funded.

"Cancer affects everybody."

The breast cancer survivor has worked for eight years to make her dream centre a reality.

The Coalition had refused to guarantee the project since Labor's promise to back the final stage of the hospital evaporated with its election loss.

Mr Baillieu, announcing the funding, said he was being forced to fill in a budget "black hole" because Labor made its commitment without allocating any money for it.

"They started a hospital without a funding commitment," he said.

But Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said Labor's poll promise to fund the third stage was fully funded and costed in documents signed off by the state treasury.

Austin chief Dr Brendan Murphy said outpatients would be treated next year and wards open in 2013.

From where she is being treated for cancer, Osiris Tato is thrilled to see the cancer centre taking shape.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-n ... 6033439089


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