Category Archives: Self-help & Prevention

Top Ten Reasons To NOT Sign A Cancer Petition

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I sincerely applaud and appreciate the efforts being put forth to find a cure for cancer and to treat those afflicted with it. But we can and need to do more. I started an on-line petition and I sincerely thank those who have e-signed it.  You can read some of their heartfelt responses here.

However, the petition needs more signatures to get the attention of the United States Congress. It needs you.  I understand some may be apprehensive about signing. However, others don’t for reasons I find hard to grasp.  So in an homage to David Letterman…  

These are the top ten reasons I have gathered as to some people’s hesitance:

10 – I know there is about a 50% chance that me or someone I love one will get diagnosed with cancer, but do I really want to risk getting spam email if I sign this petition? (If you think spam is annoying, you are living a charmed life.)

9 – Hey I vote once every four years in presidential elections, what more do you want from me? (Just a little. And this is for you and anyone you care about.)

8 – First it was a friend of mine emailing me something about the environment, now helping to stop cancer?  When will it end?  (If you get diagnosed with cancer maybe sooner than you think.)

7 – Petitions and blogs like these seriously mess with my ability to live in denial, and I will not encourage them by signing this petition! (Unfortunately, denial won’t prevent or cure cancer.)

6 – Hey we all have to die sooner or later, right? (True, but it can be later and not sooner, and not in a painful gruesome way that crushes your spirit, mutilates or disintegrates your body, and takes you from your loved ones far too soon.)

5 – I’m busy now, I’ll look it over later and sign. And by later I mean never! (Well that sucks.)

4 – Lung cancer is only something that affects smokers. (Tell that to the 16 to 24,000 people who die each year who don’t smoke.)

3 – We don’t need this petition, the only reason so many people die from cancer is because we’re living longer. (Then please explain why cancer is the number 2 cause of death for kids aged 5- 14 and adults aged 35-44, and the number one cause for adults 45 to 64. Didn’t realize 45 is sooo old. And 64? That is six years younger than full social security benefits. Better not wait to collect.)

2 – “They” are trying their best. This says the spouse of the doctor who doesn’t wash his hands before surgery killing his patient with an infection. (Hospitals certainly don’t need oversight despite medical error being the number three cause of death in America, right?  See this post about misleading cancer statistics.)

1 – Stop bugging me ! I’m busy right now! I have to change my default picture on Facebook! (On the bright side I think most hospitals get wifi these days so God forbid you or a loved one gets cancer you can continue to update your Facebook peeps from the hospital. And with a brave fight I’m sure you’ll get lots of “likes” and “shares” too… So there is that.)

Sorry for the sarcasm and if any of the above offends you, but when you consider that someone is diagnosed with cancer every 30 seconds and that more people have died from cancer than ALL U.S. wars combined…

war-death-vs-cancer-death

…you’ll agree that if more can be done than more should be done.  You’ll note the number of cancer deaths in the image above stops in 2005.  Sadly those numbers continue to increase each year. 

Please. Please consider taking better care of yourself, get appropriate screenings, and at least read and hopefully sign and share this petition to get congress to hold oversight hearing regarding the prevention, treatment and cure for cancer. Let’s makes sure we’re doing all we can.  There are so many lives we can save and or improve, but it won’t happen without you.

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Material placed on this Web site by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is for the purpose of providing information only. It is not intended as the practice of medicine or the provision of medical services. This site does not provide medical or mental health advice. Coming Together To Fight Cancer makes no representation, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information. The content provided by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your provider or other healthcare professional with any question regarding any medical or mental health condition.

The Coming Together To Fight Cancer website provides links to other non-Coming Together To Fight Cancer sites. Coming Together To Fight Cancer has no control over these sites and makes no representations whatsoever about the accuracy of the information they contain. The fact that Coming Together To Fight Cancer links to another site does not mean that Coming Together To Fight Cancer endorses or accepts any responsibility for the content of that site. If you choose to access any site for which Coming Together To Fight Cancer provides a link, you do so at your own risk.

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When It Comes To Your Health You Deserve A Dream Team

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Okay real quick, if I were to ask basketball or even non-basketball fans, who is the best player in the world today, I bet a vast majority would answer within a few seconds, LeBron James.

If I were to ask who the best NFL quarterback is today, the answer might be split between two or three players, like New England’s Tom Brady, and Green Bay’s Aaron Rogers. Indeed, we do know our athletes. Similarly, if I were to ask questions about who are the biggest box office movie stars, we could probably narrow that list down pretty easily too.

Okay real quick, who is the best colorectal cancer doctor in the country? Or which is the best hospital for breast cancer? How about name a top ten doctor or hospital for lung cancer? Top twenty? Fifty? A sports fan wouldn’t want the fiftieth best pitcher in the league starting on his fantasy baseball team, why would you want the fiftieth best surgeon operating on your ass? Or your lung, liver, brain, esophagus, thyroid or breast?

It is true that to make it to the major leagues of any sport you have to be a great athlete. Similarly, to be a doctor you have to have put in a lot of work and demonstrate some measure of intelligence or retained knowledge. But just like there is a huge gap between someone barely hanging on in the major leagues of a sport, to the good, great, and best of the best athletes in the same sport, so to is there a difference in doctors and hospitals.

If you were putting together a baseball dream team with the obvious objective of being in a position to win as many games as possible, would you want an average pitching staff or a great one? A starting pitching rotation is generally made up of five pitchers. The first one is known as the staff’s “Ace”. Many baseball experts suggest, you cannot win a championship unless you have a legitimate Ace.

For the purposes of cancer, think of the Ace as your Surgeon, or Oncologist. Yes there are lots of average or good ones…But in a fight for your life, do you want an average or good one?  Or do you want the best possible option you can find? Do you want an Ace? Sounds like easy and obvious questions to answer in theory, but ones I am guessing many don’t put into practice.

Simple math tells us that the better doctor is less likely to make a mistake. If a baseball pitcher makes a mistake and leaves a pitch over the plate, maybe a guy gets a hit or even a home run. This mistake could possibly cost the pitcher one game. A cancer doctor makes a mistake and you could possibly die or have serious complications. And just in case you are thinking well how often do doctors or hospitals make mistakes? Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. 

Think all human bodies and surgery’s are the same? Here is a link to a random article I came across while working on this blog: What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Surgery.

But cancer care is usually about more than surgery. (And may not include surgery.) Depending on the type and stage of cancer a person has, a cancer dream team should be made up of a variety of different doctors and specialists. Here is a list to consider provided by the American Cancer Society.

Bigstock_ 26534702 - Time To Plan

(c)Ivelin Radkov/bigstockphoto.com

 

So if you agree that finding the best possible hospital and or doctor is important but aren’t sure how to go about the search, here are some links to consider.

US World News ranks the best hospitals in the country for cancer for adult and pediatric. You can also contact the national and local American Medical Association.

Health Insight hospital rankings by state are here.

It will cost a few bucks, but consumer reports rates hospitals here.

Medicare.Gov offers some information on medicare approved hospitals.

To find a cancer center you can go to the National Cancer Institute.

Rare cancers can be of particular concern.  God forbid one strikes, you want to know how many times a surgeon you may be considering has performed a procedure, as success and failure rates can hinge upon experience. Again, would you want a rookie pitcher pitching game one in the world series? A doctor may be older but if he or she only performs the procedure you need three times a year, he or she is the equivalent of being a medical rookie.

Please don’t assume you don’t have the time, insurance coverage, or resources to explore this. If it turns out that you don’t have the time or resources to go out-of-state or get to the best, you may still be able to consult with the top hospitals/doctors, by sending them copies of test results and scans, and get a much-needed second opinion. Further, maybe they can link you to a provider they know of that is in your area that may still be an upgrade over who you are currently seeing.

I really like and trust the primary doctor I have seen for about 15 years, doesn’t mean he knows the best surgeons or oncologists. I will listen and consider whatever his recommendations are, but blindly trust? Never… Not if and when the stakes are that high. I think my loved ones and I am worth an extra phone call or two and some research if and when we are in that situation. What about you? God forbid you ever need it but if you do, are you worth an extra phone call or two?

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For more information on this topic and questions to consider asking, and more, see my previous post: If A Doctor Says You Have Cancer

More links to consider:

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Material placed on this Web site by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is for the purpose of providing information only. It is not intended as the practice of medicine or the provision of medical services. This site does not provide medical or mental health advice. Coming Together To Fight Cancer makes no representation, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information. The content provided by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your provider or other healthcare professional with any question regarding any medical or mental health condition.

The Coming Together To Fight Cancer website provides links to other non-Coming Together To Fight Cancer sites. Coming Together To Fight Cancer has no control over these sites and makes no representations whatsoever about the accuracy of the information they contain. The fact that Coming Together To Fight Cancer links to another site does not mean that Coming Together To Fight Cancer endorses or accepts any responsibility for the content of that site. If you choose to access any site for which Coming Together To Fight Cancer provides a link, you do so at your own risk.

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Responses To Petition About Cancer Oversight

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So it has been about a month since I started this petition urging congress to hold oversight hearings into the prevention, treatment, and cure for cancer. I want to sincerely thank again all of those who have responded so far, and those who went one step further and shared the petition with others.

Your signing means a lot to me personally. But more importantly, every e-signature, your e-signature, brings us one signer closer to hopefully making a big difference in fighting a disease that will have 1 in 2 men and 1 and 3 women hit with the words no one wants to hear… You have cancer.

For those who have not read or signed the petition, I would like to share just some of the email responses* I have received from people who have. (I edited out some of the personal condolences to me about my moth

I have lost friends and family to cancer, and the questions raised and transparency requested on your site make good sense. Thank you for forwarding. I will sign the petition… D.C.

Of course I signed your petition. Gladly. I too lost my Mother to this horrible disease. In 1977, my precious Mother was only 37 years old and Ovarian cancer robbed her of her life and dreams and left her 5 children without a mother… J.R.

Done. I support this wholeheartedly. I contracted breast cancer in 2003 and was told it was 8-10 years old… O.W.

I appreciate your efforts and I wish you tender mercies, joyous memories and strong resolve to continue campaigning against the disease…E.C.

Thank you for creating this! I signed!… V.B.

Hi Jeff! Thank you so much for bringing this petition to my attention. I’ve signed it and will be sharing it as well! So sorry for your loss. That is simply tragic. My heart goes out to you & all cancer victims. Best of luck!! …M.R.

Hi Jeff, I feel for you and your mother. I lost 7 significantly close family members to cancer and heart disease. I am currently fighting breast cancer. I signed the petition. Best regards…. C.H.

No prob-I lost my dad & sister to cancer as well-whats your email I will send you my book… D.L.

I will sign the petition you sent me and will share so others see it and sign it as well. I wish you the best of luck and really appreciate you are reaching to fight for a cure… R.U.

I agree 100% and signed the petition. I also think that the billions of dollars to cancer “research” that people raise money for is questionable, in particular I’d like to know where that research is in terms of progress… S.H.

Cancer is a terrible thing and I’ve seen it take the life of more than a few. A girlfriend’s father included when she was just in her early 20’s. Why in this day and age we haven’t made major headway in treatment is a very hard question. I’d be honored to sign your petition and re-post it…. D.J.

Hey Jeff!! yeah, cancer has affected my family on so many levels. I’m so happy to know that you’re leading this needed crusade against, what has become a drawn-out process to cure cancer. the root causes are not clear yet either (is the food we eat? the water? the air? the chemicals in everyday life?) and the way to treat it is still so clunky. for all the money pouring in, you’d think there’s be more progress… H.C.

Unfortunately, cancer is not just in the rear view mirror. It is beside us and in front of us. It’s not hypothetical, and it does not negotiate.  We can do more, and be more, so much more efficient. And it’s not about money. Knowing this. Knowing what’s ahead in terms of pain and suffering for millions of people in the years to come motivates me.  I hope it does you too.

Please read, share and spread the word about this petition. If nothing else take some time to learn about ways you can prevent cancer. Do this for yourself and for the people you love.

You have the power to help do what one respond-er to the petition hopes for:

Thanks man I appreciate it. I pray this petition of yours goes viral… J.W.

Please help make it so…

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*Many of the responses included a sentence of condolence about the loss of my mother. I appreciate them but edited most of them out to get to more of what may matter to you. I used their initials in case they prefer anonymity.

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Material placed on this Web site by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is for the purpose of providing information only. It is not intended as the practice of medicine or the provision of medical services. This site does not provide medical or mental health advice. Coming Together To Fight Cancer makes no representation, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information. The content provided by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your provider or other healthcare professional with any question regarding any medical or mental health condition.

The Coming Together To Fight Cancer website provides links to other non-Coming Together To Fight Cancer sites. Coming Together To Fight Cancer has no control over these sites and makes no representations whatsoever about the accuracy of the information they contain. The fact that Coming Together To Fight Cancer links to another site does not mean that Coming Together To Fight Cancer endorses or accepts any responsibility for the content of that site. If you choose to access any site for which Coming Together To Fight Cancer provides a link, you do so at your own risk.

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How Many People Have Died As A Result of Dr. Oz’s Show?

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Seriously, this is a question I am asking that I do not know the answer to.  Recently there was a big deal made out of a study that purported half of the information on Dr. Oz’s show is either wrong or lacks scientific evidence.

Dr. Oz has a very popular TV show that does have a lot of viewers so I get him being a target and do not mind Oz being held accountable for the content of his show; especially if he is making unsubstantiated claims of “miracle” cures that viewers believe.

Keep in mind, I am a proponent of complimentary and alternative medicine, and I view western medicine (all medicine actually) with a healthy dose of skepticism.  However, it is one thing to put forth information that gives people an alternative and something to think about or look into further, and it is another to prey on their weakness, fear, dreams, etc, and lead them to an as yet unproven conclusion.

What I do not want to see is the Oz situation used to “debunk” or place too big of a stain on alternatives that challenge the mainstream.  There are times and situations where I have been comfortable with and benefited from treatments that have yet to be proven by science and or offer anecdotal evidence at best. But that was my choice to evaluate the information and put it to use. Honest information is all people can ask for.

Having said that I find the disproportionate and selective scorn aimed at Dr. Oz, and the alternative field, important to point out. Not that we should hold the Dr. Oz’s of the world less accountable but that we should hold everyone equally accountable.

In fact, given that one of medicines most important creeds is, “do no harm”, one would think there would be a correlation between that which causes harm and the efforts to point it out, stop it, and or correct it.

Harm being a thing to be avoided is why I asked and want to know how many people have died from watching the Oz show because there are other harms going on in America that do not get enough attention from congress, the traditional and social media, or get quite the glee from the scientific community that Oz and his miracle diet herbs do when shown they do not work or are not backed by science.

Yes it appears Dr. Oz likely needs to be reined in, but consider the below:

Bigstock_ 26485289 - A child-proof medicine bottle top with the words Is the Cure Worse Than the Problem_ illustrating th

(C)iqoncept/bigstockphoto.com

 

  • Prescription Drug Deaths Keep Rising: CDC“Deaths from prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin nearly quadrupled between 1999 and 2011, according to statistics released today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
  • List of largest pharmaceutical settlements: “Glaxo’s $3 billion settlement included the largest civil, False Claims Act settlement on record,and Pfizer’s $2.3 billion settlement including a record-breaking $1.3 billion criminal fine.”

When you click on the pharmaceutical settlement link, notice the false claims listed as the alleged legal violation leading to the settlement.  Sound familiar? Perhaps some think that these settlements are proof that the government is doing a good job?  Meh, these fees amount to pennies for drug companies that factor these losses in as the cost of doing business.

Am I finished?  Nope:

  • Misdiagnosed Cancer Not Uncommon: “Mistakes can occur on any biopsy, but especially tissue from the skin, prostate, breast and female reproductive tract.”  “Misjudging how fast or how far the cancer had spread could dramatically affect a patient’s care.”
  • In U.S., hospital-acquired infections run rampant“The first report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is based on a 2011 survey of 183 hospitals in 10 states. In that year alone, there were approximately 721,800 infections in 648,000 patients. Around 75,000 of these patients died that year as a result of a health care-associated infection.”

And lastly, there should be special layer of hell reserved for doctors like this man:

Do we think he is the only doctor in the country doing this?

The first thought that comes to my mind after reading the above is, why are we talking about Dr. Oz again?

I don’t mean to make light of the brew haha against Oz.  Again, the point is not let him off the hook. Rather that we have much, MUCH, bigger issues to focus on and get angry about, and do something about, than Dr. Oz. The difference in the degree of harm from the above links compared to Dr. Oz (and other alternative outlets)is immeasurable… and so to should the attention, effort and action, be to stop and or correct them.

If nothing else my dear reader, with all sincerity, regardless of whose advice you seek, especially for all serious conditions, if time and situation permit, please get a second opinion and research any hospital you are considering being treated for.  Points of interest are for their record of medical errors and success.

Doctors and healers of all stripes have at least one thing in common with the rest of us… They’re not perfect.

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Material placed on this Web site by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is for the purpose of providing information only. It is not intended as the practice of medicine or the provision of medical services. This site does not provide medical or mental health advice. Coming Together To Fight Cancer makes no representation, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information. The content provided by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your provider or other healthcare professional with any question regarding any medical or mental health condition.

The Coming Together To Fight Cancer website provides links to other non-Coming Together To Fight Cancer sites. Coming Together To Fight Cancer has no control over these sites and makes no representations whatsoever about the accuracy of the information they contain. The fact that Coming Together To Fight Cancer links to another site does not mean that Coming Together To Fight Cancer endorses or accepts any responsibility for the content of that site. If you choose to access any site for which Coming Together To Fight Cancer provides a link, you do so at your own risk.

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Misleading Cancer Statistics?

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After my mother passed away from a rare and torturous form of cancer, cholangiocarcinoma, I told my uncle I was interested in doing a documentary about cancer. My uncle sympathetically responded, “Jeff they’re already doing so much, cancer raises a lot of money, there is awareness commercials…” and so on.

Having been so hands on during my mother’s illness, I reached the conclusion that we can be doing so much better as far as preventing and curing cancer. Further, that there is more the public should know, and if they did, it might galvanize them to the cause; which in turn would spark the government to do more, affecting the scientific community, and leading to better results.

This brings me to an article The American Cancer Society recently released with the following headline:

Facts & Figures Report: 1.5 Million Cancer Deaths Avoided In 2 Decades

The “fact” that supports this claim, according to the ACS, is: “Annual statistics reporting from the American Cancer Society shows the death rate from cancer in the US has fallen 22% from its peak in 1991”.

So, death rates falling by 22%, and 1.5 million deaths avoided? Sounds pretty good. Maybe my uncle is right? And truly beneath the surface there is some good that makes those numbers possible… However, Chris Wark does an in-depth analysis of how numbers like these are arrived at that reveal them to be not as promising as they sound. I encourage you to watch this video (based on a similar ACS article from the previous year) and see how he breaks it down.

Chris uses data and screen shots from the ACS, and The National Cancer Institute, so despite his “alternative” background that may be a turn off to some, Wark (from ChrisBeatCancer.com) relies on mainstream data to illustrate his points.

What concerns me about the ACS article, that was also distributed by other outlets such as The Huffington Post, FOX News, ABCNewsRadio, Twitter, etc., is the numbers the article leads off with may convey a narrative that implies we are doing far better than we are.

It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that any progress in the fight against cancer is good progress. And most of the time I would agree with that sentiment. But not if that incremental progress stands in the way of what could and should be bigger progress.

If cancer was a political issue there would be far more attention by the media, and scrutiny of all the data. For example, if a status report on the facts and figures about the economy, war on terror, response to the Ebola virus, use of guns, social security, etc., was released, whichever political party was in power would likely spin the numbers or statement in as positive of a manner as possible. The party not in power would present different numbers and or the same numbers differently in trying to show a negative picture.

We also see checks and balances play out in a court of law. There would a lot more people in jail if there was no such thing as a defense lawyer… Or a lot more people free if there were no prosecutors.

Fear Of Crisis With Businessman Like An Ostrich

(c)alphaspirit/bigstockphoto.com

But I want to get back to politics because politicians of all ilk, when they want the public to do nothing, to accept the status quo, and trust that they are doing a good job, they are the ones that put a shiny bow on everything. Oh they may trot out some cliché like, “we still have more work do”, but that is usually followed up with “but things are going in the right direction” and “now is not the time to change course”. Conversely the other side would point to the dangers of not changing course, and use fear in an effort to motivate action. Maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

In the struggle against cancer people hear the dollars being allocated to research cancer, hear of the “promising new cures” that are on the way, and hear numbers like 1.5 million deaths avoided, and my concern is they think it is okay to just leave it be. The people in charge are doing what they can. Well the people in charge in this instance is the billion dollar cancer industry. Like the political party in power, the billion dollar cancer industry may want you to think they have it under control: don’t look under the hood, move along, nothing to see here.

Unlike politics or a court of law, there is not a powerful counteracting force to spark the public or instigate debate. Yes there is an alternative and complimentary community that is slowly growing and may someday rise to a level where they can be heard on mass, but that day is not today. And just like political parties will do everything they can to make their rivals look foolish and irrelevant, so to will many in the mainstream in the cancer industry do so to those in the alternative world who would challenge their ways.

This isn’t about conspiracy theories. There are a lot of good, in fact great people at ACS and within the cancer mainstream devoting themselves to preventing, fighting and curing cancer. Conversely people in the alternative community don’t all wear halos. But nearly 600,000 people are projected to die from cancer this year. Homeland security was formed after less than 3,000 U.S. Deaths due to 9/11.  Since 1991 there may have been 1.5 million deaths avoided but there were approximately 11 to 12 million deaths due to cancer that were NOT avoided. By comparison, if you total the amount of U.S. Deaths from ALL wars, from the revolutionary war in 1775, WWI, WWII, to the war on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq, everything! That total is less than 1.35 million. A tragic number in its own right, but one that pales in comparison to cancer. I’m not suggesting we should do less to prevent war, or terrorism.  I am saying we should do a lot more to prevent and cure cancer.

The presentation of 1.5 million deaths avoided reminds me of one of those car commercials where they talk about some big sale and how much money you can save. Well despite the balloons in the commercial and booming voice, even with the sale, the price of the car is oftentimes too high. Today the price we are paying for cancer is still way to high… And now nearly 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women are diagnosed with it. As Wark points out, with so many more people being diagnosed with cancer, many of them earlier because of detection techniques, and many of them with non deadly cancers, of course survivor numbers are going to look better. But as has so often been said, looks can be deceiving…And statistics can be misleading…

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Material placed on this Web site by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is for the purpose of providing information only. It is not intended as the practice of medicine or the provision of medical services. This site does not provide medical or mental health advice. Coming Together To Fight Cancer makes no representation, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information. The content provided by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your provider or other healthcare professional with any question regarding any medical or mental health condition.

The Coming Together To Fight Cancer website provides links to other non-Coming Together To Fight Cancer sites. Coming Together To Fight Cancer has no control over these sites and makes no representations whatsoever about the accuracy of the information they contain. The fact that Coming Together To Fight Cancer links to another site does not mean that Coming Together To Fight Cancer endorses or accepts any responsibility for the content of that site. If you choose to access any site for which Coming Together To Fight Cancer provides a link, you do so at your own risk.

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Cancer Needs A Ray Rice Video

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Domestic violence and child abuse are not new issues. And yet due to the NFL’s Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson situations, they have been thrust into our collective consciousness. Society tends to not want to talk about such things. They’re unpleasant, and under the guise that these issues are private matters between couples and family they have been dismissed. Or as a result of lack of proof, (think “he said, she said”) we have allowed ourselves to fall into an uncomfortable denial.

However, more and more, social media, videos and pictures that offer indisputable proof, have changed that by periodically shocking us into their realities.

The Ray Rice video leaves nothing vague or left to the imagination. Ray Rice knocked out his then fiancé Janay Palmer. Cultural values of raising a child aside, the pictures of Adrian Peterson’s child show abuse. We understandably judge those who commit the acts. We also judge their bosses/owners with the Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings respectively, and the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, for being too lenient. Fair enough.

I would like to see even harsher judgment for the lawyers, judges, and politicians responsible for making and enforcing laws, and public policy, so that more than the spouses and children of football players are protected going forward. And I am hopeful we will. Why? Because Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson put faces to these otherwise dormant issues. Their “private” issues have forced the rest of us to deal with it and have a national conversation. Something many passionate people and groups have fought for, for many years.

The result has been an evaluation of how we educate, enforce and prosecute these crimes. Stricter enforcement and more education can result in perhaps hundreds or even thousands of fewer victims of domestic violence and child abuse.

If only cancer had its version of a Ray Rice video. One where we saw what a cancer victim goes through. Of course you couldn’t capture it all in one short clip or a few pictures.

  1. There can be the clip where everything goes right yet we still see the pain, suffering, body withering away and death.
  2. There can be the one with hospital or doctor negligence or honest mistakes.
  3. There can be the one with the unbearable side effects of drugs.
  4. There can be one where a patient can’t get access to drugs that could help but are not FDA approved.
  5. There can be the one where non-mainstream potential cures are being blocked by mainstream interests…
  6. And dare I say it there can be one possibly exposing immoral or unethical behavior by a pharmaceutical company or other power wielding entity…

If that is too conspiratorial for you, think about the information that the tobacco industry withheld from the public and how they spiked cigarettes with nicotine making them more addictive.

Think about the NFL and “league of denial”, what they knew about concussions and the damage they caused leading to what could be a billion dollar settlement with former players.

Pharmaceutical Products

(c)Denis Pepin/bigstockphoto.com

Is it possible that with the blind faith most of us afford the billion dollar cancer industry, and the entities that profit from it, that everything isn’t on the up and up?

Finally, all of these videos should end with the chilling statistic that the rate of cancer diagnosis is 1 in 3 for women and 1 in 2 for men…

These videos should shock and outrage the public. They should do so to the point where just like the NFL has been forced to reevaluate its lenient stance on domestic violence, and just like the commissioner is being held accountable for what did he know and when did he know it, we the people can hold the pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and government et al, accountable for the state of treatment, prevention, and the search for a cure for the number one killer in the world… Cancer.

Given the death and rate of diagnosis of cancer I think we need and deserve more oversight. But that doesn’t seem to be forthcoming.  I don’t wish cancer on my worst enemy… But if and when a famous person(s) comes down with cancer maybe they can make video… Maybe Michael Moore can make a controversial documentary with ordinary people that will get attention.

If increased education, and oversight lead to better prevention, better care, faster cures, and reduced cancer death rates in America by 10%, that would save close to 60,000 lives a year. It shouldn’t take a video, but hey whatever it takes.

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Update: On CBS’ 60 Minutes: The Cost of Cancer Drugs

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Material placed on this Web site by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is for the purpose of providing information only. It is not intended as the practice of medicine or the provision of medical services. This site does not provide medical or mental health advice. Coming Together To Fight Cancer makes no representation, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information. The content provided by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your provider or other healthcare professional with any question regarding any medical or mental health condition.

The Coming Together To Fight Cancer website provides links to other non-Coming Together To Fight Cancer sites. Coming Together To Fight Cancer has no control over these sites and makes no representations whatsoever about the accuracy of the information they contain. The fact that Coming Together To Fight Cancer links to another site does not mean that Coming Together To Fight Cancer endorses or accepts any responsibility for the content of that site. If you choose to access any site for which Coming Together To Fight Cancer provides a link, you do so at your own risk.

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5 Obstacles To Finding A Cure For Cancer

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Since I was a child I can recall reading news of hope for a cure for cancer being on the way. We don’t seem to go too long without reading about this study or that study showing preliminary promise to finding the cure. After paragraphs of promising exposition we read the inevitable bit about testing being years away before we can try it on humans. Years pass and the promising news of yesterday doesn’t pan out as hoped, and gives way to the latest “shows potential” research.

I don’t mean to be cynical; I understand things like promising new research, the number of cancer survivors going up, and breakthroughs, even small ones, being newsworthy and cause for appreciation and hope. But reality says:

  • Deaths by cancer are still going up.
  • Death by cancer is still the second leading cause of death in the U.S., and first leading cause worldwide.

And despite the increased survivors, and despite the breakthroughs and continuing stories of hope:

So what are the big challenges with finding a cure? Here is a look at five obstacles:

5 – Cancer is not one illness.

Cancer is one word that encompasses 100’s of diseases or variations. For a far better scientific explanation than I can offer, Click here.

4 – How much energy is actually going into looking for cures?

Many doctors will tell you that most chronic cancers are incurable. The best outcome is to put cancer in remission.  “The big three”, chemotherapy, radiation and surgery are NOT cures. They are disease or symptom management. They are the primary accepted ways to treat cancer according to western medicine. Improving those methods may improve cancer management. They may increase life expectancy (in some cases the cancer may never return), and as valuable as this is, again, they are not “cures”.

They do not treat the cause of the cancer; rather they seek to destroy the result (tumor). Each option presenting serious potential health risks and side effects of their own. In the case of chemo and radiation they can cause, you guessed it, cancer.  Surgery risks include: infection, blood clots, respiratory failure, and death.

In addition, much of the diagnostic technology, x-rays, cat scans, and pet scans are also potentially cancer causing.

How much time, money, and research is being spent towards symptom management versus cure? What diagnostic tools are being advanced that are not potentially cancer causing?

Of course most situations are unique in terms of type and stage of cancer, as well as the age and health of the person diagnosed.  You have to weigh the risks and rewards of any treatment and consult with your doctor when making decisions.  For many with cancer, the risks of the above are worth it because the science (and their doctors) tells them it gives them to best chance to survive or extend life.

The point I am trying to make in this post is that we can do better. And that the status quo is not working as well or as fast as it can or should.

3 – Can we turn back the clock?

Two Hands Preserve A Green Tree Against A Thunder-storm

(C)galdzer/bigstockphoto.com

The current rate of cancer diagnosis stands at 1 in 2 for men and 1 in 3 for woman.  This compared to 1 in 20 in the early 1900’s. Prevention is currently the best cure.

In addition to relevant screening tests, prevention relates to diet, exercise, lifestyle habits such as smoking, hygiene products we use, and home cleaning products. And on a larger collective scale, the environment and the air we breathe. Here we do have some more power.

However, it will take revolutionary action to make a difference on a large-scale. As a society we have no problem taxing the heck out of cigarettes and while cigarettes are a major risk factor, it is not the only one.

These things not only affect cancer statistics, but heart disease, diabetes and obesity as well.

Obstacles here, include billions of dollars spent on marketing to manipulate us to do and eat things that may not be good for us.  For example, much like the tobacco industry targets kids to get customers hooked when they’re young so they will have customers for life, so to does the food industry.

But there is also a level of personal responsibility here.  And this is one obstacle we can reverse on an individual and collective level.

2 – Lack of political will.

Yes, there is the President’s Cancer Panel, but collectively, politicians either do not care or do not care enough about finding a cure for cancer. Politicians care about the issues that can get them votes: The economy, taxes, terrorism, healthcare, access to birth control, immigration, gay marriage, gun control, abortion, etc..

Most of these issues combined don’t wreak the havoc that cancer does in terms of lives lost, emotional devastation, and financial cost to us as individuals, and as a nation.

Further, and by extension, all the media pundits who support one political party or the other generally only report on things when “their” side is doing well on one of these topics.  Or, when the other side is doing bad. Nothing quite stirs the partisans up like a good “gotcha” moment.

Cancer is an issue without political claim or stake by either the democrats or republicans so there is nothing to be gained (politically) in the eyes of FOX news, MSNBC et al by reporting on it or demanding that we do more to stop cancer.

Believe me, the second they can pin the lack of cure on a party or get votes out of it, the talking points will be coming to fast and too furious to keep up with.  Investigations, bi-partisan committees and oversight hearings would ensue, and politicians would have to speak to the threat and what they think we should do.  (I go into the political aspect in more detail in a blog about the politics of fear.)

Finally, lack of political will leads right to…

1 – Public apathy…

It is up to us to make finding the cure for cancer a much bigger issue and priority than it currently is.

  1. There should not be a presidential debate about domestic issues that doesn’t address what a candidates thoughts are on the problem and what his or her administration will do.
  2. We need more oversight about what is being done in the fight against cancer.
  3. More accountability to how money is being spent, and what the pharmaceutical companies are researching and doing.
  4. We need more oversight into hospitals and the reason for all the accidental deaths that occur there.
  5. We need to look into the advertising practices of the food industry and consider restrictions or warnings to potentially cancer causing or contributing foods or diets like we have done with tobacco and alcohol.  Simultaneously, we need to promote more cancer awareness in terms of its prevalence and in terms of lifestyles that prevent and promote the killer.
(C)bloomua/bigstockphotp.com

(C)bloomua/bigstockphotp.com

Now is a time with social media where the public can galvanize and make a difference that would have been more challenging in the past.

The Ray Rice episode is instructive from the point of view of witnessing how fluid the National Football League’s stance has been on domestic violence.  After being excoriated for only giving Rice a two game suspension for domestic violence they quickly revisited their policy and made it stricter for future offenders.  When the video of Rice hitting his fiancé was released, they quickly revisited their two game suspension of Rice and suspended him indefinitely. When Commissioner Roger Goodell’s version of events was contradicted, they called in the former head of the FBI, Robert S. Mueller, to lead an investigation into the NFL’s handling of the situation.

This would not have occurred without the public, the media and social media’s influence. This would not have occurred without the TV show TMZ, which released the Rice video, if TMZ didn’t operate separately from big business (the NFL), and from the government. (The legal system gave Rice a slap on the wrist and now that may be investigated.)

If the media were to apply this same level of passion and outcry about cancer… If someone like Harvey Levin of TMZ or Wikileaks would release incriminating videos or documents, and if we the public were to be more assertive, and less apathetic, we could demand and get more oversight.  We could demand and get more accountability.  We can force cancer to become an issue where politicians would have to account for where they stand.

By decreasing apathy, we increase political will, this in turn would hopefully create of sooner bring about:

  1. More oversight.
  2. More awareness.
  3. A more efficient consumer friendly system.
  4. Better prevention.
  5. Reduction in side effects for those diagnosed.
  6. Less complications.
  7. Safer and more effective treatments.
  8. A cure.

Now isn’t that worth paying attention to?

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Material placed on this Web site by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is for the purpose of providing information only. It is not intended as the practice of medicine or the provision of medical services. This site does not provide medical or mental health advice. Coming Together To Fight Cancer makes no representation, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information. The content provided by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your provider or other healthcare professional with any question regarding any medical or mental health condition.

The Coming Together To Fight Cancer website provides links to other non-Coming Together To Fight Cancer sites. Coming Together To Fight Cancer has no control over these sites and makes no representations whatsoever about the accuracy of the information they contain. The fact that Coming Together To Fight Cancer links to another site does not mean that Coming Together To Fight Cancer endorses or accepts any responsibility for the content of that site. If you choose to access any site for which Coming Together To Fight Cancer provides a link, you do so at your own risk.

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Respect Science But Do Not Worship It

 Why I Avoid GMO’s, Sugar, and Processed Foods

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Worship is typically a word associated with religion. So is faith. In the absence of proof, to believe in something requires faith. So it is ironic to apply the same warning to what many consider to be the anecdote to faith and religion: science.

The mission of science is noble. An objective process (ideally peer reviewed) to uncover truths and dispel myths.

Indeed, there have been many great scientific discoveries in a variety of academic fields that have been to the benefit of humankind. In no way is the purpose of this blog to diminish the very important role science plays in advancing medicine, health and many other disciplines.

However, the scientific process doesn’t equal perfection. In addition, the application of the scientific method is not without flaws and limitations.  When we see extremism, dogma and lack of inclusion (prejudice) in religion, we call it by its name. So too must we not follow (worship) science to the point where we are blind to its shortcomings and the fact that it is endeavored by subjective individuals capable of bias.

What is “proven” by science today can be disproved tomorrow, and then proven again the day after. From caffeine, to cholesterol, meat, vegetarianism, gluten, medicines, supplements, exercise, and on and on, science is inexact. Yet, its prophets and devotees sometimes speak with an arrogance as if they or their deity is infallible.

I exaggerate to make a point but an inference I have gleaned from blogs and message boards too often is:

“If science says it is so it must be true. And if science doesn’t say it is so, or merely hasn’t said it yet, it cannot be true”.

And for those who use science as the be-all end all, when science says what they don’t want it to, they “debunk” and “myth bust” using “better” science. And so it goes, back and forth on a multitude of issues including the genetic modification of food (GMO’s).

Perish my unenlightened thought, but there have been times when I have tried things based on anecdotal evidence. Sometimes it has worked and others it hasn’t.  Science simply cannot prove or disapprove everything I will need or want to act on in my lifetime or when I may need to make a decision about something. Further, there have also been times when I have followed scientific advice only to be disappointed.  But I digress…

Bigstock_ 26288576 - a glass head filled with many tablets. photo icon for drugs, abuse and addiction tablets.

(C)ginasanders/bigstockphoto.com

Let’s look at pharmaceutical drugs. Some are put on the market, they’re effective, and then they’re not effective. And in some cases they are taken off the market because they are dangerous.  In addition, big pharma has had to pay big money due to criminal or civil liability. To my science is infallible friends: How is this possible with almighty science? Because even if science is perfect, (which it is not) the purveyors are not.

How many passes does science (or scientists) get as far as being wrong, betraying us, or simply not having a satisfactory answer to a pressing need, before we simple folk can look elsewhere for answers and or at least inclusion in the conversation?  (Especially since many things are not scientifically studied due to their lack or patent and or revenue potential.) And before there is some humility to the scientific process and their results?

This brings me to GMO’s, sugar and processed foods. A facebook friend tagged me when he posted this video.The headline is, Neil deGrasse Tyson Annihilates Anti-GMO Argument.”  Um, not even close. Tyson, an astrophysicist and scientific speaker, talks about how the fear of GMO’s is typical of an emerging science and that us common folk don’t understand it so we reject it. He then uses artificial selection  and farming cultivation to assert that genetic modification has always gone on and is nothing new.

PENSACOLA, FL - 25 MAY: Protesters in Pensacola, FL gather on Ma

(c)CherylCasey/bigstockphoto.com

Agricultural modifying and biotech modifying are not the same nor as time-tested when it comes to the application to food. For someone like Tyson to equivocate them and to say “oh well you’ve been eating GMO’s for centuries” and to “chill out” is kind of insulting and not very, dare I say, scientific. Today’s GMing is not your father’s GMing. Another inference in Tyson’s “chill out” moment is because we didn’t know about older forms of modification (or foods weren’t labeled in the past as GMO) Tyson and the smart people presume we have abdicated our right to know now. Really?

That logic is flawed. However if diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and acid reflux weren’t trending in the wrong direction, they may have a point, but they are not. They have increased by staggering numbers. So whether it is restaurants now listing calories, fat, sugar, and sodium information on their menus and websites, or GMO labels on food; with these health conditions out of control, we are entitled to and should demand more information. The status quo clearly is not working.

Both sides of the GMO argument can roll out studies and scientists to make their case. In addition to GMO’s, sugar and processed foods are also being called on the carpet for their contribution to ill-health and disease. With billions of dollars at stake, you do not have to search too far or too hard to find a conflicting article about what these items can do and contribute to. And once again you will hear how the scientific evidence doesn’t support… yada yada yada.

As a comparison, Tyson and others can correctly point out that organic food becomes processed food when we stick it in the freezer. But common sense tells us (as I’m sure scientists like Tyson know) that frozen organic broccoli is not the processed food we are speaking of when we raise concerns about processed food and health. More specifically, it is those frozen, canned or boxed goods with the paragraphs of preservatives, sugar, artificial colors, sweeteners, etc., that are getting our attention.

But here is the rub. If we go back to 1900, prior to frankenfood, prior to MODERN DAY GMO techniques, prior to the mega processing of food, and when people were consuming an average of 90 pounds of sugar a year instead of the 168 pounds being consumed as of 2012, we see much, much, MUCH lower incidents of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, acid reflux and so on than we do today.

So the smart people can scream no (or not enough) scientific evidence till they’re blue in the face, and call me a “Quack” or whatever, but I choose to do my best to gravitate towards the lifestyle that lends itself to less mind numbing painful, traumatic, and oftentimes deadly, and financially crushing, disease.

This begs the question where should the burden the proof reside when it comes to scientific evidence? In this era where cancer is approaching pandemic proportions, I don’t want to hear there is no scientific evidence that X causes (or contributes) to cancer. If you’re going to change something from what we are reasonably assured DOESN’T cause or contribute to cancer, to something new, than that new thing better be scientifically proven beyond a reasonable doubt to not cause cancer or contribute to it in any way at a higher rate than what it is replacing.

MonsantoGovtGiven that drugs are put on and off the market and so-called scientific fact or thought is reversed, my choice is to proceed slowly and skeptically when the FDA approves something. In addition, there are so many conflict of interest connections between GMO giant Monsanto and the U.S. government (see illustration above), my choice is to not be a guinea pig or what comparably amounts to being an involuntary member of a massive clinical trial.

I’m not a scientist but it turns out science has already addressed this burden of proof issue, and it is called the precautionary principle (PP).

One noted scholar and distinguished professor of risk engineering at New York University is Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Taleb emphatically thinks the PP applies to GMO’s. Not for GMO’s danger as a food, but for their effect on the environment and ability to wipeout life on earth. You can read a description of his paper here. You can read the unedited PDF here.

Others will criticize Taleb or debate what the standards should be when applying PP. With regard to GMO’s and their effect as a food, I look at the PP in two ways:

  1. As a means to determine what forms of genetic engineering (they are not all the same) are allowed to be unleashed on the public (and the earth).
  2. For the engineering that is allowed, does the public have the right to make an informed choice and apply, if they choose to, the PP to food that has been genetically modified?

Other countries are banning GMO’s altogether, but in America, land of the free and of supposed transparency, apparently you’re a radical, a loon, or a quack if you want to know what food products are GMO and what are not.

One argument I have heard against labeling is that it will scare people off from an otherwise harmless product. This, in part, is why big food producers have spent millions to fight labeling requirements.

All one has to do is look at the good old surgeon general’s warning on a pack of cigarettes to see the lunacy of this. This warning first appeared in 1965 as “cigarettes may be hazardous to your health”. In 1967 it was changed to: “are dangerous to your health”. This warning didn’t exactly put the kibosh on the tobacco industry when it came out, and it was an actual WARNING.

However, the desire for labeling is neutral. Just because something says GMO or NonGMO doesn’t say anything good or bad about it otherwise. But it let’s consumers know what is what. The longer Monsanto and the Grocery Manufactures Associate (GMA) fight it, the more negative attention they bring to their own cause. The more they give off the impression they have something to hide.

But let’s expand the discussion to those other countries I alluded to. The blogger who posted the video with Tyson is quick to take a shot at the “Food Babe”. The FB is a health blogger on the rise in popularity. So is NaturalNews.com, run by “The Health Ranger”. These sites are popular and anti-GMO. They are easy targets for the pro GMO crowd as they lack scientific credentials. However, I do not think that Russia is consulting the Food Babe over its GMO policy. Nor is the European Union dialing up The Health Ranger. Many countries either ban or have far stricter policies for GMO’s than the U.S.. And countries like Russia and China are not exactly noted for caving into public sentiment to formulate policy.

So rather then mock the Food Babe, Mrs. IFL Science blogger, explain how these other countries and scientists are all either quacks or have zero valid reasoning to either question, ban, partially ban or require labeling of GMO’s.

So, what is my agenda in all of this?  After all that is one of the first places people look to discredit when they lack reason.  Well, I am not selling anything or have any motive other than I would like to see the end of cancer and these other major health issues. If that leads me to be a little a too cautious in certain actions or beliefs so be it.  Of course this motive in and of itself doesn’t make me right, but it should be one less fallacy for someone with an opposition opinion on GMO’s to distract you with.

Further, my mind isn’t closed to a future of GMO’s. I do see its potential and something to be studied so long as it can be done safely and responsibly. But for now I choose to avoid them. Currently, enough foods are labeled NonGMO or are organic that if a food is not labeled I assume it is modified.

For your consideration, science, or evidence based information, is important when examining a topic. Some matters will be more black and white than others.  Many areas will be various shades of gray.  It is here where when considering how to evaluate scientific “facts” or research into your life I suggest:

  • Looking beyond the headlines and remember that the devil is in the details.  You must also consider the source of the material and what is their angle/ what do they have to gain?
  • Getting opinions, or referrals and doing research on multiple sites.
  • As in politics, looking beyond ad hominem attacks such as “Quack”…
  • Considering anecdotal evidence if it comes from a trusted source and there is no danger in trying it.
  • Don’t marry yourself to one idea or way of thinking, one day the other side might ultimately be proven right.

Even when done correctly, as powerful as science can be, it offers statistics, probabilities and general results, you are a unique individual with at times too many variables for a general study to factor in.  So the more meaningful question is not what is the evidence, it is how does the evidence apply to you?

Respect science.  Absolutely.  But if you want to worship something.  If you want to be loyal to something.  Worship and be loyal to truth.  The rest will fall in to place.  I guess that last sentence requires a leap of faith.  Given our limited knowledge… Most things do.

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Material placed on this Web site by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is for the purpose of providing information only. It is not intended as the practice of medicine or the provision of medical services. This site does not provide medical or mental health advice. Coming Together To Fight Cancer makes no representation, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information. The content provided by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your provider or other healthcare professional with any question regarding any medical or mental health condition.

The Coming Together To Fight Cancer website provides links to other non-Coming Together To Fight Cancer sites. Coming Together To Fight Cancer has no control over these sites and makes no representations whatsoever about the accuracy of the information they contain. The fact that Coming Together To Fight Cancer links to another site does not mean that Coming Together To Fight Cancer endorses or accepts any responsibility for the content of that site. If you choose to access any site for which Coming Together To Fight Cancer provides a link, you do so at your own risk.

fight-cancer

Is It Worth The Risk?

NBA Star Paul George’s Injury, While Unfortunate, Is Not Life and Death.

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While playing in a scrimmage for Team USA on August 1st, NBA all-star for the Indiana Pacers, Paul George, broke his leg in a brutal way. It was “gruesome” and required immediate surgery. George will miss an entire NBA season.

Players who looked on were mortified and stunned. News traveled fast. It was trending. People cried. People voiced and tweeted their support. I was listening to the August 4th podcast of an ESPN show called Numbers Never Lie and one of the hosts, Michael Smith, posed a question many others have as well: “Is it worth the risk?”

Is it worth it to risk an NBA season, money, a chance to win an NBA championship, personal legacy, and career, for exhibition games? Apparently reigning MVP Kevin Durant no longer thinks so as he has since voluntarily withdrawn from the team. I’m not faulting Durant. KD cites exhaustion for his exit, but the timing is a bit of coincidence.

In fact, other common thoughts shared throughout the sports world are:

  • That such an injury is a “sobering reminder” of how fleeting an athlete’s career can be.
  • That it can end at anytime.
  • That if you haven’t seen the injury, you probably don’t want to, as it would be a disturbing image to forget.

Here is where I am going to veer off course. I did not see the injury live. But I did not hesitate or have a problem watching it. Not because I am unsympathetic. I am. And I sincerely wish Paul George a speedy and full recovery.

However, when I hear the question is it worth the risk as it relates to a statistical improbability to most, I can’t help but think of the same question, is it worth the risk, as it relates to a statistical probability to many. And the statistical probability I am speaking of is cancer. One in three women and one in two men in the United Stated will get diagnosed with cancer.

Cancer is beyond gruesome. It is often physical and mental pain and anguish taken to another level.  Traumatizing, not only for the patient, but their loved ones as well. The pain of George’s injury, will pass, he will heal. By comparison to cancer, both in odds of occurring and overall pain and suffering, it is a blip.

Yet the collective horror for cancer isn’t there. The “sobering reminder” isn’t there. Yes, there is a lot of money given to cancer and there are some great non-profits doing great things for cancer awareness, and to fight the disease, but the collective interest, media coverage, analysis and scrutiny about what to do and how to proceed isn’t there.

Recently it seems like concussions in the NFL gets more attention than cancer.

  1. Why are there so many concussions?
  2. Who is at fault for the concussions?
  3. What can we do to stop the concussions?
  4. Are we doing do much or too little to make the game safe?
  5. Would you let your kids play football given how dangerous it is?

Where is this public angst and discussion for cancer? Broken legs and concussions are serious business… but if you watch a loved one go through:

  1. The pain and agony of cancer.
  2. Of having hope dashed by setbacks and complications.
  3. Of losing their mind to dialysis.
  4. Of starving themselves.
  5. Of hospital mistakes.
  6. Of feeling mutilated by surgery.
  7. Of financial ruin.
  8. Of fighting with all they have only to eventually lose the desire to live.

Watch these things and all of a sudden you may find watching a broken leg to be not so challenging or dispiriting.

Watch those things and ask yourself despite varying degrees of evidence for causality in the list below, until we know more, is it worth the risk to:

Smoking erases life

(c)pelooyen/bigstockphoto.com

  1. Smoke cigarettes?
  2. Consume too much sugar?
  3. Not get enough exercise?
  4. Ignore the environment & breathe in polluted air?
  5. Eat fast food & junk food?
  6. Abuse Alcohol?
  7. Ignore calls from all sectors to eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables? (Preferably organic)
  8. Get too much unprotected sun exposure?
  9. Consume GMO’s?
  10. Get upset over the little things?(and most things are little things)
  11. Use potentially cancer causing hygiene and cleaning products?
  12. Not get cancer screenings and routine checkups?
  13. Not have more oversight on hospitals?
  14. Not have more oversight over pharmaceutical companies?
Acceptance or Denial

(c)rnl/bigstockphoto

Cancer, the world’s leading killer, with an out of control increase in the rate of diagnosis; we should be forced to look at it. To look at it in horror the way we do at the uncommon injuries that occurr to basketball players like Paul George. We should discuss and analyze it and make changes where need be like we do with concussions in football.

It should be a sobering reminder that life can end or face ungodly trauma at any time. And after looking and reminding ourselves then we should ask ourselves about what isn’t and what is worth the risk.

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Material placed on this Web site by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is for the purpose of providing information only. It is not intended as the practice of medicine or the provision of medical services. This site does not provide medical or mental health advice. Coming Together To Fight Cancer makes no representation, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information. The content provided by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your provider or other healthcare professional with any question regarding any medical or mental health condition.

The Coming Together To Fight Cancer website provides links to other non-Coming Together To Fight Cancer sites. Coming Together To Fight Cancer has no control over these sites and makes no representations whatsoever about the accuracy of the information they contain. The fact that Coming Together To Fight Cancer links to another site does not mean that Coming Together To Fight Cancer endorses or accepts any responsibility for the content of that site. If you choose to access any site for which Coming Together To Fight Cancer provides a link, you do so at your own risk.

fight-cancer

 

World War C

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Recently, I watched the Brad Pitt movie, World Word Z. In response to the lack of response to the zombie outbreak, one of the characters said:

“The problem with most people is that they don’t believe something can happen until it already has. It is not stupidity or weakness, it is just human nature. We don’t respond to a threat until we have it and when we have it, it is too late.”

This is a simple statement that sounds good, and can quite often be true.  However it can be equally true that people over respond to some threats while not responding enough to others.  “Human nature” is complicated and can be manipulated to have contradictory responses in seemingly similar situations.

But the quote did get me thinking about cancer and two groups I can divide the public into:

One group is composed of the majority of the population. This group, as the World War Z character suggests, are not interested in responding to the cancer threat. Not only are they not concerned with aggressively fighting cancer, they are not too concerned with preventive measures. I do not doubt that many of these people have family or friends in their lives that they love with all of their heart. Or that they value their own life.

However, they have abdicated their control for one reason or another. Maybe they think it will never happen to them. An understandable position in the early 1900’s when the rate of cancer diagnosis in America was as high as 1 in 33. However, it is naïve to think that way now given that the rate is 1 in 3 for women and 1 in 2 for men. Given that cancer is the number one cause of death worldwide.

A man is wrapped in red tape reading fear representing the paral

(c)iqoncept/bigstockphoto.com

Another reason is fear and denial. They don’t want to think about death, cancer, or any other form of chronic illness. Again with the rate of increase, of not just cancer, but heart disease, diabetes and other maladies, this is a luxury we do not have.

Then there are those who are so busy and feel the pull of the different directions of their life that they don’t have time to worry about it. Work, relationships, kids, and bills… life has enough stress in it already and they don’t want to deal with it. They feel like they can’t control it anyway, or know who to listen to with all the contradictory information out there. So they decide to say screw it. Maybe not consciously but that is the result. The reality is they may be screwing themselves.

The second group is infinitely smaller. They are passionate and devoted to the cause of curing and preventing cancer. They may not always agree about the means or the method, but they are fighting. And while some may be driven by greed, many have their heart in the right place.

So the question is. How do we get more people from the first group and into the second? To be as concerned and active about cancer prevention and finding a cure as we are about social media and terrorism?

One way is to understand that by fearing, denying and avoiding dealing with cancer we are empowering it and making it stronger. This isn’t esoteric theory, this is statistical fact supported by years of increase in the rate of cancer diagnosis.

Simple psychology also says that to avoid something out of fear makes it more likely to come true. Avoid studying for a test for fear of failure, and you are more likely to fail that test.

From an evolutionary perspective, fear works when it gives us pause or caution about a potential threat. It gives us a chance to consciously acknowledge and respond to it. The response goes a long way to determining if we overcome and conquer that fear or succumb to it.

The evolutionary alternative of confronting or “fighting” a fear is known as “flight”.  Flight might work against a slower or dumber mammal but not against cancer. In other words, flight is proving not to be an effective strategy or viable option against cancer. Therefore, as one of my favorite childhood TV characters Mr. Spock would say, logic dictates that we fight it.

Sure, you can wait to see if you ever get cancer before you fight it, but by then, it can be too late.  Or even if you survive it, it can still come with a great physical, emotional and financial cost.  Costs that perhaps could have been avoided if the threat was dealt with (or eliminated) sooner by employing preventive measures.

When we avoid any stress, that never takes it completely away. That stress will still find a way to manifest in our personality and lives. It will consciously and or unconsciously stalk us. And when that stress comes home to roost, and at a time NOT of our choosing, it often does so with a greater vengeance than if it was dealt with sooner or in a set of circumstances where we took initiative and or control.

Again, in the case of cancer, by dealing with it sooner, you can potentially avoid it altogether. Beat it before it ever has a chance to wreak havoc on your body or on the body of someone you love.

I recently attended a lecture at UCLA by David Kessler co-author (with Elizabeth Kubler Ross) of the book Life Lessons. One of the things he talked about is how all fears trace back to the fear of death. He inferred, if you overcome that fear you can eliminate or mitigate all others.

A worthy exploration for World War C.

fear

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Material placed on this Web site by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is for the purpose of providing information only. It is not intended as the practice of medicine or the provision of medical services. This site does not provide medical or mental health advice. Coming Together To Fight Cancer makes no representation, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information. The content provided by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your provider or other healthcare professional with any question regarding any medical or mental health condition.

The Coming Together To Fight Cancer website provides links to other non-Coming Together To Fight Cancer sites. Coming Together To Fight Cancer has no control over these sites and makes no representations whatsoever about the accuracy of the information they contain. The fact that Coming Together To Fight Cancer links to another site does not mean that Coming Together To Fight Cancer endorses or accepts any responsibility for the content of that site. If you choose to access any site for which Coming Together To Fight Cancer provides a link, you do so at your own risk.

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Major League Baseball Should Ban Smokeless Tobacco

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TonyGwynn1The sports world stands united in its mourning of “Mr. Padre”, Tony Gwynn. Lauded as being one of the all time great hitters and an even better person, Gwynn was taken far to young, at the age of 54, and will be missed. A winner, and a first ballet hall of famer, he lost his four-year battle to cancer on June 16th, 2014. Gwynn believed his use of smokeless tobacco was to blame for his cancer.

To Major League Baseball’s and the MLB’s player’s associations credit, according to Jacque Wilson of CNN, in 2011: “MLB implemented rules related to smokeless tobacco products. Worried about the message it was sending to young fans, MLB collaborated with the Major League Baseball Players Association to prohibit teams from providing tobacco to players.”

However, Wilson goes on to report: “Yet the players’ union stopped short of banning tobacco use on the field.”

This next step needs to occur. This brings us back to the never-ending reference to the Charles Barkley commercial and whether or not athletes are or should be role models.

First of all, there are two different questions inherent to this debate:

1- Should athletes be role models? Probably not.
2- Are athletes role models? No question they are.

It is inescapable psychology. People who children look up to  can influence their behavior. Fair to say with interest in autographs, and sales of team jerseys and memorabilia, athletes are people who children look up to.  If this dynamic of idolizing didn’t exist, sport wouldn’t be as popular.  The league and the players benefit and profit immensely from the admiration and loyalty of its fans.

Yes parents and teachers bear far greater responsibility, but that should not completely absolve athletes and leagues from their responsibility to their consumers.  There is no foolproof way around heroic persona’s, and the influence star players can have on youth.  And good for MLB and the union for stepping up to the plate and taking the steps it did it 2011. Now the union needs to go one step further and ban it from the field of play altogether.

If players want to use it on their own time that is their business, but the league and the union are right to be worried about the message. And considering the skyrocketing rates of cancer diagnosis, they should be more worried about the consequences of smokeless tobacco and of the influence its players have on youth, and eventually the consequences to the players themselves.

In addition to the ban, MLB and the union should offer more access to programs that educate and help players quit. It should be mandatory only to players who violate a new ban, but voluntary otherwise.

As for the argument about whether or not a union or a league can ban something that is over the counter and legal, that is specious at best. Work place rules have been in existence since before I was born and can vary depending on the particulars of the business.  This would not be any different.  Some examples or work place rules include:

  • No smoking.
  • No use of cell phones.
  • Dress codes and uniforms.
  • No food or beverages other than water in the work area.
  • Personal conduct.

If the New York Yankees, can have rules for the length of hair and beards, MLB and the union can ban cancer causing tobacco use.  Bottom line is there is no need to throw a pity party for players if they can’t chew tobacco for a few hours while at work.

Ideally, the union would agree to a straight ban. But change can be challenging, and people can be stubborn and in denial. Athletes in particular can be superstitious. So perhaps at minimum baseball can phase it out.

Many years ago the National Hockey League made all new players wear helmets. Players who were in the league prior to the rule change had a choice. Eventually, when the last players who received a grandfather clause giving permission to not wear a helmet retired, all players wore them.

Since smokeless tobacco is already banned at the minor league baseball level you can say that the process has already started.  A rule can be made banning it for all players entering MLB starting 2015.  Not ideal, but a compromise position.

Baseball created a culture conducive to fostering this habit.  It did so prior to knowing the harm, but now that it knows, it’s the responsible thing to take steps to eliminate it.

Tonygwynn2

Whether Gwynn’s cancer was definitively caused by tobacco or not, in his memory, let Gwynn’s message serve as a wake-up call and impetus to progress and help to others. Both to athletes and the fans that follow them.  It would be a worthy legacy for an admired star.

Interested in some facts about smokeless tobacco and the cancer it causes? See this link from the National Cancer Institute.

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Other sources.

For a good podcast discussion on the topic, download the 6/18/14 episode of the Best of Mike and Mike on ESPN

MLB To Revisit Tobacco Policy

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Preparation: The Key To Success And Maybe Life

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We hear this a lot. “Preparation is the key to success”.  Whether it is:

  • A student getting ready for final exams.
  • A  sports team gearing up for a big game.
  • Someone who is nervous about making a public speech.

If you want to overcome nerves and anxiety and put yourself in a position to succeed and win, “be prepared”.

Further, there are a lot of situations in life where the odds of something occurring affects whether we take action or not.  The greater the likelihood that something we want to occur will happen, the more likely we are to act.  The less likely something we do not want to occur will happen, the less likely we are to take action to avoid it.  I call it math psychology.  With this in mind, let me ask you the following:

  • If there was a 1 in 2 chance it would rain today would you carry an umbrella? Maybe.  But far more likely than if the chance of rain were 1 in a 100. Right?
  • If there was a 1 in 3 chance you would get a flat tire today, would you take your tire to get checked out? Or make sure you had a good spare?  Or a paid up AAA membership?
  • If there was a 1 in 2 chance you would win a mega millions lottery, so long as you played it for five years, would you play it?
  • If there was a 1 in 2 chance you would forget an important birthday, would you write it down or set an email reminder?
  • If there was a 1 in 2 chance your child could be a pro athlete, would you encourage and support him in pursuing it?
  • If there was a 1 in 3 chance your home would have a flood,  would you make sure you had good flood insurance?
  • If there was a 1 in 3 chance there was going to be a plane crash, would you fly?
  • If there was a 1 in 3 chance eating a certain food would make you throw up, would you eat it?
bigstock-The-question-Are-You-Prepared--48446522

Image (C) iqoncept/bigstockphoto.com

If you’re a man in the United States, there is a 1 in 2 chance you will get diagnosed with cancer. 1 in 3 if you’re a woman.

  • Are prepared for it?
  • Are you engaging in activities and habits that will decrease or increase your odds?
  • Are you as knowledgeable about cancer and health as you are about: sports, gossip, or “what’s trending?”
  • Are you prepared like you might be for the rain, a flat tire, a job promotion, or a date?

If you’re not prepared to live than what are you prepare for?

Being prepared for cancer doesn’t mean turning over your life to it, obsessing about it, or not living for today. Be who you are, but have a plan, and be prepared. At least know how to access resources if and when you need them, and how to assemble the information you would need to make important life decisions.

The emotions, pressure, stress and anxiety that can accompany a cancer diagnosis may not leave a person in the best frame of mind or with the time to think everything through.  One decision can be the decision that makes a difference. A little bit of research and time spent in advance to be prepared may give you an edge to either avoid cancer in the first place, or to beat it, or better deal with it.

If you or someone you love or care about gets diagnosed you can read this blog about what to do next.  You can also read this blog about using social media to your advantage.  This  includes many potentially helpful links and twitter usernames.

A few more potentially helpful links I’ve looked at since then include:

http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/   http://www.oncolink.org/                                                         http://cancer101.org/

Many who do nothing until diagnosed, turn over all power and control to their doctor and or hospital facilities.  There are many great doctors but they are not perfect.  Further, according to an article posted on NPR.org: in 2010, 180,000 people died from bad hospital care.

I don’t mean to be “Dr. Gloom”, but there are errors you can catch and prevent if you are prepared.  There are also choices and directions you may discover that are not presented to you at the initial stage that you might have if you’re prepared.

A battle cry of many, including myself, who have lost a loved one to cancer is, “I wish I knew then what I know now”.  We say this because we believe we could have made more of a difference in that person’s life.

I hope you never have to deal with cancer.  But the odds say that a third to a half of the people reading this in 2014 will.  Being prepared just might be a big help if you do.

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Material placed on this Web site by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is for the purpose of providing information only. It is not intended as the practice of medicine or the provision of medical services. This site does not provide medical or mental health advice. Coming Together To Fight Cancer makes no representation, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information. The content provided by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your provider or other healthcare professional with any question regarding any medical or mental health condition.

The Coming Together To Fight Cancer website provides links to other non-Coming Together To Fight Cancer sites. Coming Together To Fight Cancer has no control over these sites and makes no representations whatsoever about the accuracy of the information they contain. The fact that Coming Together To Fight Cancer links to another site does not mean that Coming Together To Fight Cancer endorses or accepts any responsibility for the content of that site. If you choose to access any site for which Coming Together To Fight Cancer provides a link, you do so at your own risk.

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Avoiding Germs? But What About Pesticides?

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In part, thanks to comedian/host Howie Mandel, fist bumping is all the rage. For the uninitiated, a fist bump has replaced a handshake as a cool way for people to greet and avoid germs.

As a borderline germaphobe myself, I have no problem with it. There is nothing wrong with being conscious of germs and wanting to avoid catching a cold or flu. And, by the way, according to this blog you are four times less likely to do so by fist bumping as opposed to a handshake.

However, as much as I would like to avoid a case of the sniffles or even the flu, that pales in comparison to my concerns about pesticide use and my desire to avoid things like cancer and nerve damage.

Fruits and vegetables that are not organic may have pesticides used on them that are said to be:

  1. Carcinogenic – Which have the potential to cause cancer.
  2. Hormone disruptors – Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that, at certain doses, can interfere with the endocrine (or hormone system) in mammals. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders.
  3. Neurotoxins – A poison that acts on the nervous system.
  4. Developmental or Reproductive Toxins – It includes adverse effects on sexual function and fertility in adult males and females, as well as developmental toxicity in the offspring.

If someone with a cold were preparing food at a restaurant and not washing his hands, I’d want to know and avoid that restaurant. For me, the same holds true with what I view as chemical poison. Even if the dose is allegedly low enough that it is supposedly not dangerous, the site of someone wearing a HAZMAT suit and spraying what they would have me eat is disturbing.
Find out what's on your food at: whatsonmyfood.org
The website, What’s On My Food?,  “is a searchable database designed to make the public problem of pesticide exposure visible and more understandable.” On the site there are many foods you can look up to see what you are being exposed to when you eat non-organic.

The effect pesticides have on health is debated. The government allegedly regulates them to safe levels.  However with the rate of cancer diagnosis soaring from 1 in 20 to 1 in 3 for woman and 1 in 2 for men, it is hard to ignore areas where a potential cause or contribution to the cause of cancer exists.

MonsantoGovtFurther, with big corporations like Monsanto having influence with the government, I’m just not comfortable completely trusting the government’s results/acceptable levels of pesticides.  Are you?

An interesting observation I came across in looking over the What’s On My Food website is that frozen food seems to have less than its fresh counterpart. For example, spinach is listed as having 54 pesticide residues found by the USDA pesticide data program. Frozen spinach is listed as having 30.

Some other considerations for people on a budget: The Environmental Working Group puts out what they call the dirty dozen and clean 15… These lists include what are considered the most and least pesticide laden foods.

Also, Walmart is slated to start carrying a more affordable line of organic products.

Lastly, genetically modified foods are also something I seek to avoid. At this time eating 100% organic is considered an easy way to do that. Genetic modification is another area where we see Monsanto’s footprint and influence. The United States lags behind many other countries as far their allowance and use of GMO’s.  Another reason to be skeptical of their pesticide allowance.

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Material placed on this Web site by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is for the purpose of providing information only. It is not intended as the practice of medicine or the provision of medical services. This site does not provide medical or mental health advice. Coming Together To Fight Cancer makes no representation, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information. The content provided by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your provider or other healthcare professional with any question regarding any medical or mental health condition.

The Coming Together To Fight Cancer website provides links to other non-Coming Together To Fight Cancer sites.  Coming Together To Fight Cancer has no control over these sites and makes no representations whatsoever about the accuracy of the information they contain. The fact that Coming Together To Fight Cancer links to another site does not mean that Coming Together To Fight Cancer endorses or accepts any responsibility for the content of that site. If you choose to access any site for which Coming Together To Fight Cancer provides a link, you do so at your own risk.
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Hives, Vocal Cord Nodules, and Cancer?

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Have you ever taken one of those tests where they group three things together and ask you to pick the one that doesn’t go with the others? With hives, vocal cord nodules, and cancer, the answer would be cancer. But maybe not for the reason that you think.

You see we generally don’t say, “I have hives”, rather, I have food sensitivities or allergies, which causes hives.

I do have nodules on my vocal cords. But doctors don’t treat me for that. They treat me for acid reflux, which caused or resulted in the nodules.

In treating food sensitivities and reflux, I have never once thought about surgically removing the hives or the nodules. Never thought about poisoning them with chemotherapy, or burning them with radiation.

Put aside for a moment that these would be extreme measures for those given conditions. The fact is, assume I could surgically remove, poison or radiate as many hives as I wanted… if I continued to eat certain foods, the hives would come back.

What made me think of this is that I watched a preview trailer for a seven part docu-series about cancer called, The Quest For The Cures. The series will feature a combination of 29 doctors, researchers, experts and survivors that will talk about how to prevent and treat cancer. For a complete list of speakers, and to watch a preview video, and sign up to view the series for free, click here.

In a preview of the first episode I watched the question dealt with was: what is cancer? A summary of G. Edward Griffin’s answer is:

The mainstream view is cancer is a lump or a bump (tumor)…surgery gets rid of it, chemo poisons it, radiation burns it, and they try to get it all… that is the big question afterwards, “did they get it all?”

Alternative doctors believe cancer isn’t caused by something… it is caused by the lack of something…a breakdown in the bodies normal ability to remain healthy…cancer is healing gone awry… For example, if you scratch yourself, you lose cells… cells re-grow until replaced… with cancer they keep growing and don’t turn off…

So the inference is that unlike hives and vocal cord nodules, by focusing on removing the “lump” or the “bump” a.k.a. the tumor, we are treating the manifestation and not the underlying condition.

I can imagine someone reading this thinking, “that is all well and good Jeff but cancer is life and death, and surgery, chemo and radiation offer a patient the best chance of survival.” This may well be true; the point here is with cancer reaching epidemic proportions we need to expand our thinking and approach to how we fight and prevent cancer. We need to pay more attention to the underlying cause or causes and again, to preventative measures.

Further, in terms of research, we can perfect surgery, chemo, and radiation all we want, and indeed they may (and have) extend and or save lives. And while that is a good thing, wouldn’t it be better to put an end to cancer altogether? Obviously yes. Especially when you factor in the other side of the coin and that these treatments can lead to things like infections and kidney failure that may cause death before the cancer. Or sadly and ironically they can cause a recurrence and secondary cancers.

Surgery and chemo and radiation are not considered cures even by the mainstream establishment. There is so much they admit to still not knowing.

We may not have proof beyond a reasonable doubt as to the cause(s) or cure for cancer but we do know for sure that the rate of diagnosis has skyrocketed from about 1 in 20 to 1 in 2 for men and 1 in 3 for women. And that it is the number two cause of death in America (projected to be number one). What is it about our behavior or environment that has changed or contributed to this increase?

If it is possible that man has contributed to global warming than what about cancer? What might our contribution be here?

If we knew in the 1800’s what we know today about cancer do you think technology (things that pollute our air and bodies) and diets, cleaning and hygiene products, would have developed the same way? I don’t think so. Do you?  Are these fair questions to ask and explore?

If yes, and we find actionable causes, than the next question is what are we going to do about it? In terms of changing individual and collective behaviors and allocating resources to research and test permanent non-toxic cures that cure or focus on the underlying condition and not the manifestation that results from it.

For these changes to occur more of us will have to get involved.

The slant for the series,The Quest For The Cures, appears to be focused on alternative/ non- traditional means of preventing, fighting and beating cancer.

While I am hopeful that the series presents as much science and verifiable data as possible to support any claims it makes, I also recognize that it takes about a billion dollars and ten to twelve years to gain FDA approval… So the lack of FDA approval in and of itself will not necessarily preclude me from giving credence to possible cures and preventative ideas. This FDA dilemma is an issue I will tackle on anther day.

The important thing for now is, as deaths and diagnosis from this killer disease continue to mount, is to at least recognize that the “traditional path” and “the big three” (surgery, chemo and radiation) should not and is not the only path we should be exploring.  We can and must do better.  Change starts with an open mind.

The Quest For The Cures, hosted by Ty Bollinger starts tomorrow, May 26th. For times, information on what each episode is about go to: http://thetruthaboutcancer.com/

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Material placed on this Web site by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is for the purpose of providing information only. It is not intended as the practice of medicine or the provision of medical services. This site does not provide medical or mental health advice. Coming Together To Fight Cancer makes no representation, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information. The content provided by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your provider or other healthcare professional with any question regarding any medical or mental health condition.

The Coming Together To Fight Cancer website provides links to other non-Coming Together To Fight Cancer sites.  Coming Together To Fight Cancer has no control over these sites and makes no representations whatsoever about the accuracy of the information they contain. The fact that Coming Together To Fight Cancer links to another site does not mean that Coming Together To Fight Cancer endorses or accepts any responsibility for the content of that site. If you choose to access any site for which Coming Together To Fight Cancer provides a link, you do so at your own risk.

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Making The Most of Social Media After a Cancer Diagnosis

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If and or when you or someone you love gets diagnosed with a disease you are going to have a lot of questions. And as mentioned in a previous blog, Doctors Aren’t Gods, it is inadvisable to blindly turn over your trust to a doctor. Even if you do, they may advise you about choices that you have, and the more and better informed you are, the better position you will be in to make a choice that is in line with your wishes.

If you google search things like cancer, heart disease or diabetes, you’ll get over 200 million responses in less than .3 seconds (assuming a good broadband/DSL internet connection). In about the same amount of time, I made a more specific request and searched for stage II lung cancer and received over 8 million results.

So, there is a lot of information out there. How do you organize and collate it?  First, if diagnosed with cancer, read this.  Next, you can start to organize information through social media. I’ll get to the usual suspects in a moment, but I want to mention a newer player first. Medivizor. Medivizor acts as your own personal e-Newsletter. You can sign up on their site for free, create a profile and input specific information about your age, gender, and diagnosis. Medivizor will then organize a listing of relevant articles for you to read and email you every time something new comes in to them.

As a newer site, it doesn’t have every type of cancer listed, but it is worth a look. In addition to cancer, it also covers heart disease and diabetes. So if you know someone dealing with those illnesses, please pass on the link to them if you think it appropriate. While Medivizor is promising, by no means is it all-inclusive at this point. I would still consider using other sources as well.

In addition to questions, you may have financial needs that only add to the stress of your illness. Another site you may not have heard is gofundme.com. This is a crowdfunding website where you can set up a site for free and raise money to help pay for your care. You can see a video demo of how it works by clicking here.

If you are already using sites like Twitter and Facebook and have hundred or thousands of “friends”, you may want to set up a new page just for your diagnosis. This way when you sign in, your news feed or listing of information, will only be related to your diagnosis, and you will not have to sort through the minutia of all of your “friend’s” postings.

When adding your diagnosis/ social media pages, I would suggest looking up U.S. News rankings for top cancer hospitals in the country. Remember, they have an overall list for cancer in general, and specific lists for different types of cancer. When you find the best for what you have been diagnosed with, check out their websites if they have one, and consider “following” or “liking” them on their social media pages. Many tend to send out (“tweet”) potentially helpful links to articles.

To help get you started, below are some websites, with their twitter names that could be of possible interest. Some I have been to, others I just looked up for this blog. So do your own research, you may know or find other cancer, social media, or crowdfunding sites that are better for you.  In some cases the websites might have great information for you but the twitter pages, not so much.  That is why I provided the links for both.

If you do not see your type of cancer represented below you can do your own internet search or call places like the American Cancer Society or MD Anderson and ask for recommendations.

No need to join hundreds of sites… But if you can find some specific to your type of cancer, i.e., lung or breast, and some for cancer in general, i.e., MD Anderson or John Hopkins, and check it periodically, you may find it helpful and time-saving.

It could help you stay informed on the latest information regarding:

  • Treatments
  • What to expect pre and post treatment
  • Cures
  • Financial and emotional support
  • Clinical trials
  • Palliative care, and more

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  1. American Cancer Soc @AmericanCancer
  2. Annie Appleseed – ‏@AnnieAppleseed (info. on natural cancer strategies)
  3. CancerCare@CancerCare (good for resources, help and support)
  4. Cancer.net@cancerdotnet
  5. Cancer News Network@cancer_network
  6. Cancer Survivors @Cancer_Buzz
  7. CancerSupportCm@CancerSupportCm
  8. CDC Cancer @CDC_Cancer (Center for Disease Control/ Cancer)
  9. The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation@curecc (bile duct cancer)
  10. City of Hope@cityofhope
  11. Coping with Cancer@COPING_cancer (magazine)
  12. CTCA@CancerCenter (Cancer Treatment Centers of America)
  13. CURE Magazine@cure_magazine
  14. ECAA@ECAware (Esophageal cancer)
  15. JohnsHopkinsMedicine@HopkinsMedicine
  16. Life with Cancer®@LifewithCancer
  17. LIVESTRONG@livestrong
  18. LLSusa@LLSusa (Leukemia and Lymphoma society)
  19. Lung Cancer Alliance@LCAorg
  20. Lung Cancer Network@LungCAN
  21. Mayo Clinic@MayoClinic
  22. MD Anderson@MDAndersonNews (Top ranked cancer clinic)
  23. Natl LGBT Cancer Net@cancerLGBT
  24. Navigating Cancer@NavCancer
  25. NCI Prevention@NCIprevention (National Cancer Institute)
  26. NIH@NIH (National Institute of Health)
  27. PanCAN® @PanCAN (Pancreatic cancer)
  28. Prevent Cancer@preventcancer
  29. Prostate Cancer Fdn –  @PCFnews
  30. SkinCancerFoundation@SkinCancerOrg
  31. Sloan Kettering@sloan_kettering
  32. Stand Up To Cancer@SU2C
  33. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  34. StopColonCancerNow@StopColonCancer
  35. Stupid Cancer@StupidCancer (for young adults)
  36. Susan G. Komen@SusanGKomen (Breast cancer)
  37. The Gerson Institute@GersonInstitute (diet based)
  38. UCLA Fights Cancer @UCLAJCCC
  39. Voices Brain Cancer@VABC

This website doesn’t seem to have a twitter account but for those interested in researching alternative/ complementary natural cures I thought I would add it to the list.  http://www.healingcancernaturally.com/

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This blog does not include links of information on or for message boards.  However this can be another valuable resource – communicating with people who have been through what you are going through.  Something to consider, however, you may want to independently verify any information you come across here.

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Material placed on this Web site by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is for the purpose of providing information only. It is not intended as the practice of medicine or the provision of medical services. This site does not provide medical or mental health advice. Coming Together To Fight Cancer makes no representation, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information. The content provided by Coming Together To Fight Cancer is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your provider or other healthcare professional with any question regarding any medical or mental health condition.

The Coming Together To Fight Cancer website provides links to other non-Coming Together To Fight Cancer sites.  Coming Together To Fight Cancer has no control over these sites and makes no representations whatsoever about the accuracy of the information they contain. The fact that Coming Together To Fight Cancer links to another site does not mean that Coming Together To Fight Cancer endorses or accepts any responsibility for the content of that site. If you choose to access any site for which Coming Together To Fight Cancer provides a link, you do so at your own risk.

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