From A Birthmark To A Cancer Diagnosis
Popeâs ordeal started with, of all things, some routine deck maintenance.
A mark on the edge of his left foot heâd assumed for years was a birthmark started bleeding as he was working. He figured it was nothing, but to be on the safe side, he decided to get it checked out.
He got the call as he was driving down from his home north of Seattle to California to meet his newborn granddaughter in July 2012. He pulled over to talk to the doctor.
The news that he had cancer, and that it was serious, was so hard for him to process that he didnât tell his daughter during his visit to meet her new baby girl.
âYou canât wrap your mind around the enormity of it,â he said.
Popeâs doctors found that his cancer had already begun to spread, so they removed the lymph nodes near his tumor in an attempt to block off its escape routes. He enrolled in a trial of a then-experimental drug designed to amp up his natural anti-cancer immune response. It seemed to work for a few months, but then his doctors spotted the cancer sneaking up his leg. Those spots were removed, but three months later, more cancer was found. Surgery again. Then another clinical trial in which his affected leg would be barricaded off with a tourniquet and pumped full of high-dose chemo.
But the pre-trial scans found that the cancer had reached his pelvis. It had escaped all his doctorsâ attempts at keeping it contained.
What Will Happen After Treatment
Youll be glad when treatment is over. For years after treatment, you will see your cancer doctor. Be sure to go to all of these follow-up visits. You will have exams, blood tests, and maybe other tests to see if the cancer has come back.
At first, your visits may be every few months. Then, the longer youre cancer-free, the less often the visits are needed. After 5 years, they may be done once a year.
Having cancer and dealing with treatment can be hard, but it can also be a time to look at your life in new ways. You might be thinking about how to improve your health. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 or talk to your cancer care team to find out what you can do to feel better.
You cant change the fact that you have cancer. What you can change is how you live the rest of your life making healthy choices and feeling as good as you can.
Natural Cures For Melanoma
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer which is rare but very serious. Medical professionals say that melanoma can occur in skin that appears very normal to the eye, spreading very fast to affect large parts of the body. This is the reason why remedies should be applied fast for curing melanoma. Know about natural cures for melanoma. However, avoid using herbal treatments if you have sensitive skin. Also avoid venturing out in the sun too frequently if you have a family history of melanoma as UV radiation is the main cause for development of skin melanoma.
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Precautions To Be Taken Before Using Natural Home Remedies:
Yes, they are several precautions that need to taken by you before you use the below-suggested techniques. It is strictly advised that you first get your lesion/sore checked out by a dermatologist. Firstly, you may not know what kind of lesion you are self-treating. Trying to identify this lesion by yourself and categorizing could be a gargantuan task!
They are several symptoms and signs of the lesion belonging to one of the above-stated types of cancer, however, skin cancer lesions can present unusual features which baffle dermatologists.Using their tools like a magnifying glass and handheld imaging devices they are still sometimes not so sure. The only medical method to identify skin cancer is to send the tissue from the site to a biopsy.
Secondly, you might waste your precious time figuring out what kind of skin cancer youve got, the disease might gain the upper hand here. Delaying any treatment, i.e. conventional or traditional will only lead to you worsening the condition. Of the three significant cancers, melanoma spreads on a rapid rate. If you dont have any time to identify what kind of cancer youve got. It is very strongly recommended that you visit your dermatologist when you develop these symptoms.
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A Sense Of Empowerment
Our online research of melanoma yielded an interesting fact. A series of new treatments had gone through clinical trials and been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. They were called immunotherapy drugs, and they were showing amazing results in certain people with melanoma, including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. We had no idea whether I would benefit from these drugs or if my insurance would pay for them, but we kept hearing more about their successes in both clinical trials and the real world.
The moment I was approved for treatment with nivolumab and ipilimumab was when hope came alive for Elvira and me. We had never really lost hope, but we knew the odds were stacked against us. Now, we felt that I had a chance against this diagnosis.
Immunotherapy is so powerful because it does not fight the cancer directly. Instead, it prompts the patients own immune system to recognize and destroy the cancer cells. Once those drugs were coursing through my system, my immune system was actually doing the hard work. It was incredibly empowering to realize that my own body was no longer a bystander in my cancer treatment. It was working with a singular purpose: to rid my body of cancer cells.
Locally Advanced Or Advanced Melanoma
With locally advanced cancer, it might not be possible to remove all the cancer cells with excision surgery, so you may need more surgery or other treatments.
With melanoma that has spread to other parts of your body , you may have a combination of treatments. For example, surgery and targeted therapies. The aim is to control the spread of the cancer rather than to cure it. You may have treatments as part of a clinical trial.
For locally advanced cancer, surgery can remove the mole or a larger area to reduce the risk that the melanoma will come back in the same area. If melanoma is found in your lymph nodes, these will be removed under general anaesthetic. This helps to prevent cancer spreading to other parts of the body. We have more information about surgery for melanoma.
Targeted therapies and immunotherapy
These treatments can help to target and destroy cancer cells or stop them from growing. Or they can help your bodys immune system to attack cancer cells. Find out more about targeted therapies and immunotherapy for melanoma.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to control cancer. It may be used if targeted therapies and immunotherapy are not good options for you. Chemotherapy can be given to control advanced melanoma. Read more about chemotherapy.
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A Sense Of Hopeand Luck
Thats how it played out. The prednisone had its own side effects for me, but nothing serious. The important thing was that it allowed me to start eating again. I was also getting acupuncture, which seemed to be helping as well. I had to start with easy-to-digest foods, but gradually I worked my way back to a fairly normal diet. When I met with my oncologist again, I had gained almost 10 pounds, and he was comfortable putting me back on the regimen.
That was more than 8 months ago. I’ve had 19 single-drug treatments since then and I feel better than I have at any time since I got sick. Elvira and I go on regular walks, play a round of par-3 golf every other week, and take bike rides. I eat whatever I like and occasionally have a glass of wine or a beer with dinner. My stamina isn’t great, but I’m out there again and loving every minute of it.
My most recent CT and PET scans and MRI taken in June suggest that the nivolumab continues work. I have no new cancer spots. The cancer is still present on my kidney, but it continues to shrink. Elvira and I are always nervous before and during these tests. Of course, we always hope for the cancer to be gone completely, but 1 year after my first treatment, I am still here and feeling better all the time. That’s enough for now.
We have hope, and I feel very lucky.
Driven By Basic Research
Research in a Stanford basic biology lab has provided a better understanding of why melanoma is so good at evading most treatments. In 2010, Irving Weissman, MD, the director ofStanfords Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, discovered that a subset of melanoma cells have a protein called CD271 jutting out of their surface.
To study these CD271-studded cells further, Weissmans research group turned to samples from patients melanomas, rather than mice with the cancer. Almost everybody uses a line of mice prone to melanoma thats been bred for so many generations it doesnt resemble anything you see in humans, he explained.
Weissman and postdoctoral scholar Alex Boiko, PhD, took the CD271-studded cells from human melanoma biopsies performed at Stanford and implanted them in immune-deficient mice. Almost three-quarters of the CD271-carrying cells took root in the rodents, causing melanoma. But less than one in 10 of the non-CD271-containing cells could do the same. CD271, Boiko and Weissman concluded, was a marker for cancer stem cells cells that are able to give rise to a new tumor.
And while immune approaches like Weissmans progress, research continues on the genetics underlying melanomas, aiming to find genes outside of the BRAF pathway that cause the other half of the melanomas. In his lab, Khavari is developing new strains of mice that have the same genetic mutations that can cause melanoma in humans.
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Uncharted Territory: Side Effects
Of course, there were potential complications, or side effects. My first 4 sessions were combination treatments, where the 2 drugs were given 1 right after the other in a process that took 3 to 4 hours. Afterward, I would be exhausted, good for nothing but lying on the couch and staring at the TVbut that was OK. I had a rash that became itchier over time, but that was OK, too. So was the growing nausea that kept me from eating much. It was like we were in a boat, rowing against the tide, but if we kept rowing, if we did not give up, we were confident we would find calmer waters and maybe even land.
It was the third combination treatment that rocked our boat. The queasiness I had been experiencing turned into full-blown vomiting. Eating became a chore and not a pleasure. Soon, I stopped eating solid food because it came right back up. Elvira made chicken noodle soup, but I could not eat the chicken or the noodles. I sipped the broth, but even that would not stay down. Neither would Elviras high-protein smoothies.
The doctors monitored my condition. Even as I fell from 150 pounds to 120 pounds, my oncologist, Dr. A., assured me that my vital signs were good. Also, my epidermal tumors, including the baseball-sized one under my right arm, had disappeared. We were encouraged, but my weakness and weight loss concerned everyone. I had been to the emergency room 3 times and once ended up in the hospital to receive extended hydration.
How To Cure Melanoma
This herb is the most effective natural remedy for melanoma. The extracts of astragalus have antioxidant, anti tumor and anti inflammatory properties that enhance the immune system of the skin and help in the buildup of anticancer skin cells. The herb is so effective that doctors suggest its use even when the condition of a patient is critical and he/she is undergoing chemotherapy.
We already know that turmeric is a very good antiseptic agent and can be used to cure and prevent skin ailments. An extract of turmeric known as curcumin has shown anti melanoma properties in medical tests. This extract must be taken with food or mixed with other medicines for daily consumption.
Cordyceps is a variety of mushroom that has been clinically tested to show results against the growth of skin cells that are affected by melanoma.Clean and cook cordyceps mushrooms properly before consumption to avoid allergy or rashes. The element cordycepin in cordyceps prevents the spread of melanoma.
The EGCG extract in green tea is an effective herbal treatment for melanoma. If melanoma is detected in your skin, drink at least three glasses of green tea everyday. You can also apply green tea extracts on the affected skin.
Tea Tree Oil
The terpinen in tea tree oil is a form of melameuca alternifolia. According to medicine, the latter is a component which stops the in-vitro growth of skin cells affected by skin cancer.
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Melanoma At Its Most Curable
Our authors recent research shows that melanoma in situ, the earliest form of the disease, is on the rise, especially among young men. Heres why this is bad news and good news, and what everyone needs to know to stay ahead of it.
H. WILLIAM HIGGINS II, MD, MBE, and DAVID LEFFELL, MD
Growing up in Texas, Jim was no stranger to sun exposure. A year-round athlete, he also spent many summers landscaping, and he was proud of his golden bronze tan. To achieve this look, he purposely burned during his first intense sun exposure in spring, thinking that would be a good start on maintaining a tan through the summer. He even frequented tanning salons during the winter to keep it going.
When Jims mother noticed a spot on his cheek shed never seen before, she pointed it out to him. It was dark brown, about the size of a pencil eraser, and it had an irregular shape. At first glance, it looked like a new freckle or mole. When it continued to grow, Jim became worried and visited a dermatologist. Just 29 years old, he was shocked when tests showed he had melanoma, a cancer that arises in the skins pigment-producing cells.
He was lucky, though. It was melanoma in situ: The tumor had not invaded beyond the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin. The earliest form of melanoma , it is the easiest to treat and almost always curable. If Jim had waited any longer before seeing the doctor, it could have been much worse.
Hesitancy To Discuss Cure
However, oncologists have traditionally had a hesitancy to discuss cure, Lichtenfeld told Medscape Medical News.
“Along with many other physicians of my generation, I have grown up with the concept that cure is a goal that everyone aspires to, but we also know that many cancers can remain dormant for years or even decades before they show up again,” he added.
“This is true, for example, with breast cancer, where patients can have recurrences 10 to 15 years after it was first diagnosed,” he said. “Thus, there is a reluctance among many oncologists to say that patients can be cured.”
As another example, he mentioned Hodgkin’s disease, which is now treated with chemotherapy and radiation, and many patients achieve long-term survival. However, an analysis he was involved with found that “even though we were seeing long-term survival and even though patients had survived 10-15 years with newer treatments they still had traces of disease in their body,” he explained. “We found that if they had died accidentally, there were still traces of Hodgkin lymphoma in their body, even though there was nothing that could be detected clinically, at least with the technology we had then.”
Another issue is quality of life, and this needs to be achieved along with a cure, Lichtenfeld commented.
The potential to cure patients is here today, but to achieve that, “we need to pay attention to the quality of care, access to care, and support of that care,” he added.
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How I Cured Skin Cancer
My name is Christine Ki and I am a naturopath who works in nutritional medicine and I do quite a lot of work with Dr Sandra Cabot. I have done a lot of research into mind body medicine over many years and yet I did not see this playing out in my own life until I was diagnosed with cancer of the skin in my upper right back above the shoulder blade in late February 2007.
It was not just any old cancer it was one of the worst types malignant melanoma and it was grade 4. After the diagnosis I was in a state of shock and thought why me? I dont smoke, drink or sunbake excessively. Then it hit me, I had just come out of a toxic relationship where I had been suppressed by fear. I consulted a surgeon who told me I needed to have a wide excision of the lesion and he wanted to remove the lymph nodes in my right armpit.
I decided to think about it and in the meantime I started to do raw juicing using many types of organic vegetables and I also began a supplement program of the following-
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.