Some basic cancer information

Age-standardised death rates from Malignant ne...

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I think it important to spend a few words on some basic cancer information as I think it is useful before delving deeper into cancer research or general cancer understanding.  I think that there are a lot of misconceptions and myths floating around in the e-space as well as on the streets.  The problem with scientists and doctors like myself is that we are not used to speaking a common language about your subject.  We are used to writing grants, giving presentation, and training advanced students in the subject of cancer that we forget how to make it simple.

One of the reasons I stopped doing research in cancer recently and start my own cancer education/empowerment websites and blog is that I believe that it is more important to reach out to the millions and millions of people with little to no scientific background and help them to understand cancer.  www.cancermadesimple.com  Why is this important?  For one, cancer is now one of the top killers in the world as we are living longer, perhaps getting exposed to more and more environmental toxins, and that we can now pick up cancer much better than we did in the past.  The second reason is that as high as 1 in 4 of the general population is now estimated to get cancer in their lifetimes.  That means we are all going to be directly involved in the management of someone with cancer or getting the disease ourselves.  I do not mean to scare you and sound like a doomsday announcer, I just think it is smart to be honest.  The third reason, related the second is that getting a handle on the basic principals of cancer and cancer biology will help you feel better when you are talking to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care professional.  You will feel in better control and hopefully slightly less scared about the disease.  Finally, another benefit of knowing more is that you will be able to look at all the information on the web and elsewhere on cancer preventions, cancer drugs, cancer free diets, and so forth in a more critical fashion.  You may discover after you have a better understanding about what cancer really is, how your immune system is involved, and all sorts of other things that many of these products probably will not help and might even be a waste of money.  Indeed you might find a really good product that may help a lot. 

So now for a few facts:

Cancer is not one disease….it is more than 200 different conditions

Cancer is not infectious…you CAN NOT pass cancer on from one person to another.

There is no such thing as a 100% cure, although with some cancers you can get very close to that number.

Cancer treatment is not an exact science….it is based on good (sometimes) clinical information and research investigation done over many years, but we still need to learn a lot more and we still don’t understand many fundamental questions.

Cancer treatment can include more than what your hospital (traditional) may provide which is usually surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.  There are now many MANY alternative medicine alternatives and even naturopathic medicine. In fact, some of these are becoming so well liked by patients that there are now a number of hospitals that try both…they are called integrative medicine hospitals.

Ok, well that’s enough for today.  I do encourage ALL of you to empower yourself now and learn more about cancer.  It is much better to learn when you are not under the emotional burden of the disease itself.  Find out what cancer is all about, how prevention works, how your immune system works and does not work, and so much more! 

See my website at CANCER MADE SIMPLE for more details. 

For free newsletters and other books and relevant information please see the contact section of Cancer Made Simple

 Thank you so much for reading!

Dr. C

The cancer doctor

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I attended an excellent seminar the other day….it was brilliant.  It was about how someone who was pronounced permanently neurologically damaged and disabled and with no hope of recovery overcame his disorder and survived.  He refused to accept it and he talked about how he healed himself during this event.  Now, as a scientist who likes definitive evidence before I accept things as fact, this was difficult to swallow.  However, there was nothing I could do but listen and learn.

It taught me  a lot.  First of all, I don’t understand much about self-healing, but I am absolutely certain that this is a possibility and there is something real here.   I certainly don’t recommend everyone stop seeing their medical doctors and stop taking medicine and just apply positive thinking and transcendental connection to heal him/herself.  However, when someone tells you NO…there is no cure, you have three months left, or you will never walk again…the LAST thing you should do is listen.  Don’t! 

What do I mean?  Remember, your doctor or healthcare professional is just that…a professional.  But, he/she is not god, he/she is not perfect, he/she relies on data that is currently available, and even some biases about basic biology/medicine or even long-standing assumptions.  BUT….these are not always perfect or even 100% rock-solid.  They are based on generalized data over hundreds of patients (if you are lucky) or rational guesses based on experience (at the very least).  But, assumptions, even scientific ones, can be wrong or can be inaccurate or can be not clearly understood…just accepted (please see below for an example of what I mean). What I am trying to say, is that when the doctor says NO you are not going to make it…then you say to him and most importantly to yourself…’Yes I am’.  HELL YES I am! 

Positive thinking, a healthy attitude, connection with your inner self that allows  you to self-heal, or seeking alternative therapies, etc…..they just might save your life.  Are there guarantees? No, there are none.  But, I tell you what…if you give up and you listen to what “everyone..even the experts” say (e.g if  they tell you or your loved ones that they will not make it) then you will probably fulfil their words….so DO NOT give up.  Keep up hope and explore your options.  

Examples of why science/prevailing wisdom is not always right.

Why science has been wrong before….in 1954 Roger Bannister broke the world record for the one mile sprint when he ran it under 4 minutes.  As documented in an article in 1999 (Pittsburgh Times) “For years, the 4-minute mile was considered not merely unreachable but, according to physiologists of the time, dangerous to the health of any athlete who attempted to reach it.”  Doctors and scientist were almost unanimous in their agreement that it could NEVER be done.  Roger did not agree with them.  Please remember that the earth was flat for years and years and people were severely punished for thinking otherwise. Scientists/theologians/philosophers for hundreds of years insisted that the earth was the center of the universe…Copernicus dissagreed.

Thus, please note…the pervailing thoughts of today might be wrong tomorrow…scientists and doctors can only tell you what we have been conditioned to tell you and what the prevailing ideas are today!! Many times they are correct, but they can also be wrong!  We are all humans!

For more specific information on cancer itself…please see Cancer Made Simple!

Complexity of cancer

Main symptoms of cancer metastasis. Sources ar...

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Did you know that cancer is not one diseases….it’s actually a collection of over 200 different diseases? 

A person who has cancer A and another person who has cancer A, may have totally different types of that same cancer, respond to the treatment completely different from one another, and even cheat death and survive with that cancer for years while the other individual may have only a few months.

Almost every tissue/organ in the body can potentially be subjected to cancer.  Drugs work well on some tissues and thus some cancers but not others.  Blood cancers are treated quite differently from solid cancers.  Surgery can be effective if solid cancer are caught early.  Transplants can work wonders for many blood cancers.  To make it more complex, some blood cancers can become solid cancers.  Many lymphomas fit in that category.

Cancer caught early is SO MUCH easier to treat than cancer caused late. Brain cancer in general is much harder to treat than prostate cancer and other common solid tumor cancers.  Cancer cells can move from their primary location (e.g breast) to a secondary location (e.g. bone) where they almost always become MUCH more serious and harder to cure. 

It’s information like this that you can readily learn, not the specifics of all the treatments that your health care provider have to offer that will help to empower you and allow you to communicate well with your doctor, etc.  Isn’t it nice to know simple information that applies to almost all cancers than specific details that are so complex and only applicable to a certain subset of cancers. ALthough the latter is important, it is what your dr is specialized in  knowing…its the general information that you really should gather on your own so you can then understand the more specific complex stuff.

If you agree with me….come to my web site and see what kinds of information you can find.  Empower yourself and learn! 

Dr. Charles – Cancer Made Simple

Lung Cancer

Special Offer, Lung Cancer

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This month is Lung Cancer Awareness month….

Not many people know but LUNG CANCER kills more men and women in the United States every year than any other cancer.  For some reason research for this disease is funded at a lower level than other cancers which kill far fewer people.  More than 160,000 Americans will die this year from lung cancer – more than will die from breast, colon and prostate cancers combined.

One reason may be the perception that people have which is that Lung Cancer Kill people who smoke and this is a lifestyle choice and thus it should be dismissed.  However, this is a bit unfair…drunk driving kills more people on the roads and yet we still care about people who drink alcohol.  The vast majority of people drink in the US and we still take care of their livers when damaged and so forth, despite the fact that drinking is a lifestyle choice. 

My point is that yes, by far the majority of deaths associated (but not all) are due to smoking and that is a choice that people have.  However, smoking is still promoted (but less now than before) by advertisers, tobacco is still harvested and modified to make cigarettes in the US, and smokers are people too.  This very difficult habit to break is still affecting people.  Our neighbors, our friends and our own relatives.  Why should we NOT fund cancer research to help these people who get lung cancer….even if they displayed poor choice in smoking? 

Anyhow, happy Lung cancer day.  Can you imagine if we are able to save even 1/3 of the people who die from lung cancer in the US and elsewhere in the world…from dying?  Wow, not that would be a great success! 

Thanks for reading…Dr C

Please check out more infor about cancer in general at cancer made simple

The Cancer Saga continues

This blog concerns itself with general cancer topics from the perspective of a cancer medical researcher and teacher (medical school professor).  I have taken a break for some time due to travels to the US, Japan, and Malaysia and am back home now in Singapore and ready to start contributing a few times a week like I was doing before.

To recap what has been discussed over the last several months…we have discusses the following in past posts:

1. Cancer Stats in Singapore and the US,  2 Transplants and their role in Cancer,  3. Diet and Cancer  4. alternative treatment and cancer (several blogs on this)  5. Cancer myths 6. Cancer therapies in general, 7. And many other important and relevant issues!

Please see some of my old posts if any of these topics interest you.

My next post will be about the issue of statistics and what they can and most importantly CAN NOT DO (or usually do NOT do) for people who want to know more about cancer and chances for survival after cancer.

For now, thank you for your support!  I really encourage you to ask me questions you might have  about all aspects of cancer.  I would encourage you to support me by going to visit my cancer made simple homepage!

Thank you…Dr. Gullo