Monday, August 18, 2008

Cancer Update from John Hopkins

This information is being circulated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as well.
Please circulate to all you know; Cancer update
John Hopkins - Cancer News from John Hopkins

No plastic containers in micro
No water bottles in freezer.
No plastic wrap in microwave.
A dioxin chemical causes cancer, especially breast cancer.
Dioxins are highly poisonous to the cells of our bodies. Don't freeze your plastic bottles with water in them as this releases dioxins from the plastic.
Recently, Edward Fujimoto, Wellness Program Manager at Castle Hospital , was on a TV program to explain this health hazard. He talked about dioxins and how bad they are for us.
He said that we should not be heating our food in the microwave using plastic containers...
This especially applies to foods that contain fat. He said that the combination of fat, high heat, and plastics releases dioxin into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body. Instead, he recommends using glass, such as Corning Ware, Pyrex or ceramic containers for heating food... You get the same results, only without the dioxin. So such things as TV dinners, instant ramen and soups, etc., should be removed from the container and heated in something else.
Paper isn't bad but you don't know what is in the paper. It's just safer to use tempered glass, Corning Ware, etc.

He reminded us that a while ago some of the fast food restaurants moved away from the foam containers to paper. The dioxin problem is one of the reasons. Also, he pointed out that plastic wrap, such as Saran, is just as dangerous when placed over foods to be cooked in the microwave. As the food is nuked, the high heat causes poisonous toxins to actually melt out of the plastic wrap and drip into the food. Cover food with a paper towel instead.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

41 Secrets Your Doctor Would Never Share

If You Only Knew ...
Reader's Digest offered two dozen doctors a chance to tell it like it really is, and general practitioners, surgeons, shrinks, pediatricians, and other specialists took the challenge. Some wanted to be anonymous; some didn't care. But all of them revealed funny, frightening, and downright shocking things that can help you be a better, smarter patient.

We're Impatient

• I am utterly tired of being your mother. Every time I see you, I have to say the obligatory "You need to lose some weight." But you swear you "don't eat anything" or "the weight just doesn't come off," and the subject is dropped. Then you come in here complaining about your knees hurting, your back is killing you, your feet ache, and you can't breathe when you walk up half a flight of stairs. So I'm supposed to hold your hand and talk you into backing away from that box of Twinkies. Boy, do I get tired of repeating the stuff most patients just don't listen to.

--Cardiologist, Brooklyn, New York

• I was told in school to put a patient in a gown when he isn't listening or cooperating. It casts him in a position of subservience.
--Chiropractor, Atlanta

• Thank you for bringing in a sample of your (stool, urine, etc.) from home. I'll put it in my personal collection of things that really gross me out.
--Douglas Farrago, MD, editor, Placebo Journal

• One of the things that bug me is people who leave their cell phones on. I'm running on a very tight schedule, and I want to spend as much time with patients as I possibly can. Use that time to get the information and the process you need. Please don't answer the cell.
--James Dillard, MD, pain specialist, New York City

• I wish patients would take more responsibility for their own health and stop relying on me to bail them out of their own problems.
--ER physician, Colorado Springs, Colorado

• So let me get this straight: You want a referral to three specialists, an MRI, the medication you saw on TV, and an extra hour for this visit. Gotcha. Do you want fries with that?
--Douglas Farrago, MD

• I used to have my secretary page me after I had spent five minutes in the room with a difficult or overly chatty patient. Then I'd run out, saying, "Oh, I have an emergency."
--Oncologist, Santa Cruz, California

• Many patients assume that female physicians are nurses or therapists. I can't tell you how often I've introduced myself as Dr. M. and then been called a nurse, therapist, or aide and asked to fetch coffee or perform other similar tasks. I have great respect for our nurses and other ancillary personnel and the work they do, but this doesn't seem to happen to my male colleagues.
--Physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor, Royal Oak, Michigan

• The most unsettling thing for a physician is when the patient doesn't trust you or believe you.
--Obstetrician-gynecologist, New York City

• It really bugs me when people come to the ER for fairly trivial things that could be dealt with at home.
--ER physician, Colorado Springs, Colorado

• Your doctor generally knows more than a website. I have patients with whom I spend enormous amounts of time, explaining things and coming up with a treatment strategy. Then I get e-mails a few days later, saying they were looking at this website that says something completely different and wacky, and they want to do that. To which I want to say (but I don't), "So why don't you get the website to take over your care?"
--James Dillard, MD

• I know that Reader's Digest recommends bringing in a complete list of all your symptoms, but every time you do, it only reinforces my desire to quit this profession.
--Douglas Farrago, MD

Pills, Pills, Pills
• Sometimes it's easier for a doctor to write a prescription for a medicine than to explain why the patient doesn't need it.
--Cardiologist, Bangor, Maine

• Those so-called free medication samples of the newest and most expensive drugs may not be the best or safest.
--Internist, Philadelphia

• Taking psychiatric drugs affects your insurability. If you take Prozac, it may be harder and more expensive for you to get life insurance, health insurance, or long-term-care insurance.
--Daniel Amen, MD, psychiatrist, Newport Beach, California

• Ninety-four percent of doctors take gifts from drug companies, even though research has shown that these gifts bias our clinical decision making.
--Internist, Rochester, Minnesota

Bills, Bills, Bills

• Doctors respond to market forces. If the reimbursement system is fee-for-service, that results in more services. If you build a new CT scan, someone will use it, even though having a procedure you don't need is never a good thing.
--Family physician, Washington, D.C.

• I really do know why you're bringing your husband and three kids, all of whom are also sick, with you today. No, they are not getting free care.
--Douglas Farrago, MD

• Doctors get paid each time they visit their patients in the hospital, so if you're there for seven days rather than five, they can bill for seven visits. The hospital often gets paid only for the diagnosis code, whether you're in there for two days or ten.
--Evan S. Levine, MD

• Twenty years ago, when I started my practice, my ear, nose, and throat procedures financially supported my facial plastic surgery practice. Today, my cosmetic practice is the only thing that allows me to continue to do ear, nose, and throat procedures, which barely cover my overhead.
--Ear, nose, throat, and facial plastic surgeon, Dallas/Fort Worth

Free Advice

• Avoid Friday afternoon surgery. The day after surgery is when most problems happen. If the next day is Saturday, you're flying by yourself without a safety net, because the units are understaffed and ERs are overwhelmed because doctors' offices are closed.
--Heart surgeon, New York City

• In many hospitals, the length of the white coat is related to the length of training. Medical students wear the shortest coats.
--Pediatrician, Baltimore

• Often the biggest names, the department chairmen, are not the best clinicians, because they spend most of their time being administrators. They no longer primarily focus on taking care of patients.
--Heart surgeon, New York City

The Darker Side

• It saddens me that my lifelong enjoyment and enthusiasm for medicine has all but died. I have watched reimbursement shrink, while overhead has more than doubled. I've been forced to take on more patients. I work 12- to 14-hour days and come in on weekends. It's still the most amazing job in the world, but I am exhausted all the time.
--Vance Harris, MD, family physician, Redding, California

• In many ways, doctors are held to an unrealistic standard. We are never, ever allowed to make a mistake. I don't know anybody who can live that way.
--James Dillard, MD

• Not a day goes by when I don't think about the potential for being sued. It makes me give patients a lot of unnecessary tests that are potentially harmful, just so I don't miss an injury or problem that comes back to haunt me in the form of a lawsuit.
--ER physician, Colorado Springs, Colorado

• Doctors often make patients wait while they listen to sales pitches from drug reps.
--Cardiologist, Bangor, Maine

• It's pretty common for doctors to talk about their patients and make judgments, particularly about their appearance.
--Family physician, Washington, D.C.

• Everyone thinks all doctors know one another. But when we refer you to specialists, we often have no idea who those people are. Generally, we only know that they accept your insurance plan.
--Pediatrician, Hartsdale, New York

• In most branches of medicine, we deal more commonly with old people. So we become much more enthusiastic when a young person comes along. We have more in common with and are more attracted to him or her. Doctors have a limited amount of time, so the younger and more attractive you are, the more likely you are to get more of our time.
--Family physician, Washington, D.C.

• Plan for a time when the bulk of your medical care will come from less committed doctors willing to work for much lower wages. Plan for a very impersonal and rushed visit during which the true nature of your problems will probably never be addressed and issues just under the surface will never be uncovered.
--Vance Harris, MD

• At least a third of what doctors decide is fairly arbitrary.
--Heart surgeon, New York City

• Doctors are only interested in whether they are inconvenienced -- most don't care if you have to wait for them.
--Family physician, Washington, D.C.

The Sensitive Side

• When a parent asks me what the cause of her child's fever could be, I just say it's probably a virus. If I told the truth and ran through the long list of all the other possible causes, including cancer, you'd never stop crying. It's just too overwhelming.
--Pediatrician, Hartsdale, New York

• Most of us haven't been to see our own physicians in five years.
--Physical medicine specialist, Royal Oak, Michigan

• When a doctor tells you to lose 15 to 20 pounds, what he really means is you need to lose 50.
--Tamara Merritt, DO, family physician, Brewster, Washington

• If a sick patient comes to me with a really sad story and asks for a discount, I take care of him or her for no charge.
--Surgeon, Dallas/Fort Worth

• Though we don't cry in front of you, we sometimes do cry about your situation at home.
--Pediatrician, Chicago

Shocking Stats
60% of doctors don't follow hand-washing guidelines.
Source: CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

96% of doctors agree they should report impaired or incompetent colleagues or those who make serious mistakes, but ...

46% of them admit to having turned a blind eye at least once.
Source: Annals of Internal Medicine

94% of doctors have accepted some kind of freebie from a drug company.
Source: New England Journal of Medicine

44% of doctors admit they're overweight.
Source: Nutrition & Food Science; Minnesota Medicine

58% would give adolescents contraceptives without parental consent.
Source: New England Journal of Medicine

Anatomy of a Doctor's Bill

Just how much of the $100 your doctor charges for taking 30 minutes to investigate your stomach pain goes into his pocket? After paying the bills, he gets less than half. The breakdown, according to Robert Lowes, senior editor at Medical Economics:

$3.50 for malpractice insurance

$3.50 for equipment, repairs, and maintenance

$6 for supplies, including gowns, tongue depressors, and copy paper

$7 for rent and utilities

$11 for office expenses, such as telephones, accounting fees, advertising, medical journals, licenses, and taxes

$28 for secretary, office manager, and medical assistant salaries and benefits

$41 Amount that goes into the doctor's paycheck

Over the course of a year, that adds up to $155,000, the annual salary of the average family physician. That number rose just 3.3% between 2002 and 2006, while expenses increased nearly 25% over the same period.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mesothelioma complementary and alternative medicine

In the ongoing quest for a cure for mesothelioma and other life-threatening illnesses, the debate over the validity and effectiveness of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) continues to stir up strong emotions.

Complementary medicine is used along with standard medicine, while alternative medicine is used in place of standard treatments.

Complementary and alternative medicine may include dietary supplements, megadose vitamins, herbal preparations, special teas, acupuncture, massage therapy, magnet therapy, spiritual healing, and meditation.

Not long ago, I shared Charlene Kaforey’s good news, when she discovered her mesothelioma mass had diminished by half after completing a first round of cancer vaccines, considered an alternative treatment.

Recent news has included reports of research ranging from the effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines in combination with chemotherapy, to the use of Chinese mushrooms in homeopathic treatment, to a study indicating traditional chemotherapy might enhance the effectiveness of cancer vaccines, which are currently in clinical trials.

The problem, according to complementary medicine (CM) professor Edzard Ernst, in an editorial published recently in BMJ Clinical Evidence, is that “one side of the debate argues that there is no scientific evidence that can support CM, while the other side believes scientific evidence cannot be applied to CM.”

The danger, he says, is that waiting for absolute evidence might prevent someone from trying a therapy that could be beneficial, but siding with the idea that CAM simply cannot be proven may lead a patient into treatment that could cause more harm than good.

The National Cancer Institute’s Office of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM), which coordinates the Institute’s research program in CAM, has established a goal of evaluating data from CAM practitioners with the same rigorous scientific methods employed in evaluating treatment responses with conventional medicine.

Major categories of CAM therapies, as determined by OCCAM, include alternative medical systems (built upon complete systems of theory and practice, like traditional Chinese medicine or homeopathy), energy and electromagnetic based therapies, exercise therapies (like yoga), manipulative and body-based methods, mind-body interventions (like hypnotherapy), nutritional therapeutics, pharmacological and biologic treatments (like vaccines), and spiritual therapies (healing, prayer).

OCCAM is developing the NCI Best Case Series (BCS) program based on its evaluations of CAM therapies, in which it provides an independent review of medical records and medical imaging from patients treated with unconventional cancer therapies.

But whether or not alternative and complementary medicine can be proven effective, people will still seek it out, says Professor Ernst. The “almost insatiable hunger of patients” for CM has driven its importance, he says, despite criticisms, praise or skepticism from the medical community, scientists or politicians, and in spite of the fact that more often than not health insurance does not cover the treatments.

Obviously, this topic - and its accompanying debate - needs much more examination. I will be exploring it more in the future. Do you have an experience with complementary or alternative medicine? Share it with us!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pericardial Mesothelioma

There are three types of the asbestos related cancer known as mesothelioma: pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lungs, peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the abdominal region, and pericardial mesothelioma, which affects the heart. While the majority of those diagnosed with mesothelioma are diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, there are a small percentage of sufferers who are diagnosed with the rarest form of this cancer, which is pericardial mesothelioma.

Like the other forms of this asbestos related cancer, pericardial mesothelioma can take several decades to develop from the time of exposure, with the average latency period being between twenty and forty years. This means that those people who may have contracted this form of cancer while working with asbestos in the 1970s, may not even be aware that they have the cancer, as symptoms may not yet have developed.

Pericardial mesothelioma is where the lining that surrounds the heart and provides protection and lubrication is attacked by cancer cells. There are a number of symptoms associated with pericardial mesothelioma, including persistent coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, and palpitations. These are symptoms that you should look out for if you have worked with asbestos in the past, and should you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical assistance as early as possible.

As with the other forms of mesothelioma, the symptoms associated with pericardial mesothelioma can be very non-specific, and this means that they could easily be put down to one of a range of more common illnesses, which increases the risk of a misdiagnoses. If you have worked with asbestos, you should therefore make your doctor aware of this fact, as this can help to speed up diagnosis should these symptoms manifest.

Mesothelioma FAQ

What exactly is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that can affect the lung, abdominal, or heart regions of the body. Mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelium, which protects the major organs of the body. This form of cancer is the result of exposure to asbestos dust and fibers and can take twenty to forty years to develop. There is no cure for mesothelioma, although treatments are being discovered that can extend the lifespan of the sufferer slightly. Once developed, the average lifespan of the victim is around six to twelve months.

Are there different variations of this cancer?
Yes, there are three forms of mesothelioma: pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, and pericardial mesothelioma. Each of these affects a different part of the body. All types have the same long latency period, and all can kill within months of manifestation of symptoms.

What are the three variations of mesothelioma?
The most common form of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma, and this is the form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs. This is where fluid forms between the chest cavity and the lungs. Some of the symptoms relating to this form of mesothelioma include breathing and swallowing difficulties, shortness of breath, fever, coughing, weight loss and coughing up blood.

The second most common form of this cancer is peritoneal mesothelioma, and this form of the cancer affects the mesothelium around the stomach and abdominal area. The pressure of the tumors against the abdominal wall creates a range of symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, abdominal swelling, loss of appetite, weight loss, chest pain, breathing problems, bowel obstruction, anemia, fever, and blood clotting abnormalities.

The rarest form of the cancer is pericardial mesothelioma, and this form of the cancer affects the protective lining around the heart. Symptoms of this form of mesothelioma include chest pain, persistent coughing, fever and palpitations.

Is mesothelioma difficult to diagnose?
Mesothelioma is a cancer that is notoriously difficult to diagnose for a number of reasons. Firstly, the disease has such as long latency period that there are no symptoms to diagnose for many years, which means that by the time a diagnosis is made, it is often too late for any form of effective treatment to be administered. Also, many of the symptoms linked to mesothelioma are very non-specific, which means that they could apply to a variety of other more common diseases, so misdiagnoses can easily be made.

What can I do if I develop mesothelioma?
Although there is no cure for this cancer, there are treatments available that can help to alleviate symptoms and even extend your lifespan. You need to ensure that you are monitored by your doctor every step of the way. You can also ask about support groups, where you will be able to get together with others in the same situation in order to come to terms with your illness. And finally, you should look into claiming compensation for your illness, which can be done through a specialized asbestos and mesothelioma lawyer.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Five worst Cancer causing foods

There are some foods that people who are at high risk for developing cancer should definitely avoid. Generally, says natural health researcher Mike Adams, they should avoid foods that contain ingredients known to cause cancer, such as refined sugars and grains , hydrogenated oils, and nitrates. But which foods are the absolute worst?

The top five cancer-causing foods are:

1. Hot dogs
Because they are high in nitrates, the Cancer Prevention Coalition advises that children eat no more than 12 hot dogs a month. If you can't live without hot dogs, buy those made without sodium nitrate.
2. Processed meats and bacon
Also high in the same sodium nitrates found in hot dogs, bacon, and other processed meats raise the risk of heart disease. The saturated fat in bacon also contributes to cancer.

3. Doughnuts
Doughnuts are cancer-causing double trouble. First, they are made with white flour, sugar, and hydrogenated oils, then fried at high temperatures. Doughnuts, says Adams , may be the worst food you can possibly eat to raise your risk of cancer.
4. French fries
Like doughnuts, French fries are made with hydrogenated oils and then fried at high temperatures. They also contain cancer- causing acrylamides which occur during the frying process. They should be called cancer fries, not French fries, said Adams .
5. Chips, crackers, and cookies
All are usually made with white flour and sugar. Even the ones whose labels claim to be free of trans-fats generally contain small amounts of trans-fats.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Malignant mesothelioma. Medical oncology: standards, new trends, trials--the French experience.

Clinical trials investigating new trends in the treatment of stage I and II malignant mesothelioma have shown both intra-pleural immunotherapy and systemic chemo-immunotherapy to be efficacious. Intra-pleural gamma-interferon (gamma-IFN) therapy was associated with tolerable toxicity and an overall response (ORR) rate of 19%, while treatment with intra-pleural recombinant interleukin-2 (IL-2) was more toxic, but yielded an ORR of 47% in phase I trial and 55% in a phase II study. The association of intravenous cisplatin and subcutaneous alpha-interferon (alpha-IFN) was also associated with an encouraging ORR of 40% and a median survival of 12 months. Treatment with cisplatin, alpha-IFN and mitomycin C was associated with moderate toxicity and an ORR of 21% and a median survival of 12 months. The association of cisplatin, alpha-IFN and IL-2 was, however, extremely toxic and resulted in an ORR of 15%. The majority of patients responding to intra-pleural immunotherapy and systemic chemo-immunotherapy had epithelial type mesothelioma. The most encouraging results obtained from trials investigating systemic chemotherapy were following treatment with cisplatin, 5-fluorouracil, mitomycin C and etoposide, where an ORR of 38% and an overall median survival rate of 16 months were achieved. Toxicity was mainly haematological and tolerable.