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Advanced cancer treatment

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Advanced cancer treatment

Advanced cancer that cannot be cured can often be treated. The physical symptoms it causes can almost always be controlled. The goal of treatment should be clear at any stage of cancer. You should know if the goal is to cure cancer, slow its growth, and help you live longer, or ease its symptoms. Sometimes this can be confusing because some of the treatments used to cure cancer can also be used to slow its growth or ease symptoms.

This is a summary of the common treatments used for advanced cancer.

Treatment decisions

Treatment options for advanced cancer depend on where cancer started and how far it has spread. As a general rule, cancer that has spread will require systemic therapy such as chemotherapy or hormone therapy. Systemic therapy is a treatment that is administered orally or administered in the blood to reach cancer cells throughout the body. Still, they may also be needed to help prevent or alleviate certain symptoms.

Some people believe that there is nothing left to do if cancer cannot be cured and therefore discontinue all treatment. However, radiation, chemotherapy (and other medications), surgery, and other treatments can often slow cancer growth and help control symptoms. Also, relieving symptoms such as pain, constipation, upset stomach, and vomiting can help you feel better. You can almost always do something to help maintain or improve your quality of life.

The goal of any cancer care is to provide you with the best quality of life possible. You will want to feel as good as possible for as long as possible. This is a very personal matter. Talk to your team of cancer professionals about what’s important to you. Tell them what you want to be able to continue doing. You have the right to make decisions about your treatment planning.

Some people may want to continue cancer treatments for as long as there is a chance that they will be helpful. Other people may decide that the side effects or other problems caused by aggressive cancer treatments outweigh the possible benefits. Therefore, they may no longer want to undergo this type of treatment. This may be difficult for some of your loved ones to accept, but you have the right to make this decision. It often helps to include loved ones in making these difficult decisions. Either way, you must make the decisions that are the best and most realistic for you and your situation.

Surgery for advanced cancer

Surgery is not often used to treat advanced cancer, although it can be helpful in some cases

Surgery to relieve symptoms and improve your life

Surgery can help you feel better and be more active. It can help you live longer, even if cancer has spread too far to be cured. For example, sometimes cancer can block (block) the intestine. This can cause a lot of pain and can be dangerous if the intestine is completely blocked. Surgery may be done to bypass the obstruction or to put a tube through it so that the intestine can work again. Another option is surgery to allow the intestine to drain out of the abdomen into a bag

Surgery to stop the bleeding

Surgery can be done if the cancer is causing bleeding in the stomach, intestine, or airways. Often, the doctor will first identify the source of the bleeding with an endoscope (a thin, flexible tube with a camera inside). The endoscope can be passed through the mouth or through the rectum. (Medications are administered to the patient to help them sleep while the procedure is performed.) The doctor can stop the bleeding by burning the bleeding vessel and closing it with a tool that goes through the endoscope. If this is not possible, surgery to stop bleeding may be an option.

Another way to find a source of bleeding is by using angiography. For this test, a long, thin tube called a catheter is placed in a large artery (such as the one located in the groin) and is led into the arteries of the intestines or lungs. A dye is placed through the tube that allows the doctor to locate the blood vessel that is bleeding. Substances can often be injected through the catheter to stop bleeding.

Surgery to stop the pain

Sometimes a tumor may be pressing on a nerve, causing pain. Pain can be relieved by killing the nerve by injecting a substance, cutting the nerve, or removing the tumor.

Surgery to prevent or treat broken bones

Cancer that spreads to the bones may be weakening them, causing fractures that tend to heal very poorly. If a bone appears weak in an imaging study, surgery may be done to place a supporting metal rod into it to help prevent a fracture. Most often, this is done on the thigh bone. If the bone is already fractured, surgery can ease pain and help a person become more active.

Surgery to treat cancer that compresses the spinal cord

If a tumor is compressing the spinal cord, this can lead to loss of control and muscle function below the tumor level, and sometimes to paralysis. Surgery may need to be done to remove the tumor and stabilize the bones in the spine so that the person can walk and continue to perform.

Ablation techniques for advanced cancer

Placing a needle or tube directly into a tumor and using heat, cold, or a chemical to destroy it is called ablation. It is most often used for cancer that has spread to the bones or liver, although it can also be used in other areas. It is usually used when only a few tumors are causing problems.

A common type of ablation, radiofrequency ablation (RFA) uses a needle that carries an electric current. The end of the needle is placed inside the tumor. Ultrasound or CT can be used to make sure the needle is in the right place. An electrical current passed through the needle heats the tumor to destroy it. RFA is usually done while the patient is under general anesthesia (fast asleep without pain).

In another type of ablation, the probe that was placed in the tumor is used to freeze it, destroying the cancer cells. Other methods could use alcohol to destroy cells or other ways to heat the tumor (such as laser-induced interstitial thermotherapy).

Radiation therapy for advanced cancer

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors. In advanced cancer, radiation therapy is often used to shrink tumors to relieve pain or other symptoms. This is called palliative radiation.

Sometimes a combination of different types of radiation is used.

Radiopharmaceuticals

Radiopharmaceuticals are a group of medicines that contain radioactive materials (such as radio-223 or strontium-89) that have been dissolved in liquids and can be administered through a vein. These travel through the blood and are carried to areas of the bone that contain cancer. The radiation released by the drugs destroys cancer cells and relieves bone pain, but does not cure cancer.

If cancer has spread to many bones, this type of treatment may work better than when using external beam radiation, which only treats a small area.

Other radiopharmaceuticals are not only attracted to the bones but can be used to treat certain types of cancer, even when they have spread to other places. For example, radioactive iodine (I-131) can be used to treat most types of advanced-stage thyroid cancer.

Medications to treat advanced cancer

The following is general information about the types of medications that can be used to treat advanced cancer. For more information about medications to treat your type of cancer, read our information on that specific type of cancer.

Chemotherapy

With chemotherapy (chemo), drugs are used to kill cancer cells. Medications are usually given intravenously or taken orally. Once the drugs enter the bloodstream, they reach the entire body. This treatment is often helpful for cancer that has spread widely. By reducing the size of cancer, symptoms can be alleviated. Even chemotherapy can prolong the life of some people with advanced cancer.

Hormonal therapy

Hormone therapy drugs block the actions of certain hormones or reduce their production. This treatment is most often used for breast and prostate cancer, although it can also be used for some other cancers.

For example, estrogen is a hormone that causes the growth of many breast cancers. Some medications can lower estrogen levels or block the effect of estrogen on breast cancer cells, which could stop their growth and even cause tumors to shrink. In the same way, male sex hormones (called androgens) cause the growth of most prostate cancers. Medications that lower androgen levels or block their effect can help stop or slow the growth of these cancers.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy boosts the body’s immune system or uses synthetic versions of immune system protein to kill cancer cells. There are many types of immunotherapy that are used to treat patients with advanced cancer.

Medicines to treat cancer that has spread to the bones

Some types of medications may be especially helpful if cancer has spread to the bones.

Clinical studies

Clinical trials are carefully controlled research studies conducted with patients who volunteer to participate. If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, start by asking your doctor if clinical trials are conducted in the clinic or hospital where you work. You can also contact our clinical trial compatibility service for a list of clinical trials that meet your medical needs. This service is available by calling 1-800-303-5691.

Clinical trials are one way to access the most advanced cancer care. In some cases, they may be the only way to gain access to newer treatments. It is also the only way for doctors to learn better methods of treating cancer. However, they are not suitable for all people..

 

HEALTH

What You Should Know About Colon Therapy?

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Colon Therapy

If Doctors say it doesn’t help, why does it? There are many studies that have shown Colon Hydrotherapy yields no evidence of treating various diseases, and there is just as much evidence proving harm from Colon Hydrotherapy. Colon Hydrotherapy cannot claim to be a cure for a disease, but the environment it creates in the colon is definitely capable of helping assist in healing and attainment of health check Farid Zarif ND for further details.

Are there any methods of therapy that could be misinterpreted as “Colon Hydrotherapy” that we currently use and that have harmful effects?

Yes. There are different ways that people attempt to cleanse their colon every day. Enemas and laxatives have been on the market for many years. Laxatives are habit-forming and dehydrating. Some laxatives contain chemicals that may cause an imbalance with our natural enzymes and hormones. Ingesting laxatives too frequently may cause the loss of peristalsis (the muscle contractions that move waste) and may force an individual to continue using laxatives to have bowel movements. Most laxatives are osmotic in some way, which means they draw water from surrounding areas in your body into the intestines to carry waste out. This is extremely dehydrating, causing more constipation unless fluids are replenished.

Enemas, like laxatives, should only be used occasionally and it is very important to be careful and follow directions. With enemas, there is a lack of control when it comes to the pressure of fluid intake. This can be damaging. Using enemas can stretch the last portion of the colon, the sigmoid to the rectum, and can cause problems with our natural ability to get rid of waste. I do believe enemas are useful and can be done correctly.

What’s the purpose of cleansing the colon?

The truth is, we have cleansed our colon since 1500 B.C. It was more common for royalty to be regularly given enemas. Physician’s back then had discovered that death starts in the colon and that food is the culprit. Our body needs to properly digest and balance intestinal bacteria in the digestive tract. Your colon can become out of balance because of lifestyle choices. Proper cleansing has been a goal of the human race for thousands of years.

What exactly is Colon Hydrotherapy?

Colon Hydrotherapy is a modernized version of the enema. The goal is the same, but it differs in that it is perfectly safe and reliable. In Colon Hydrotherapy, temperature-regulated water is introduced into the colon at an extremely low PSI. All of these settings are very controlled and precise. If you can imagine turning your sink on a little past the point of a drip, where the drops connect to form a slow and steady line, this can give you an idea of the water pressure in a colon hydrotherapy session. It is between 1/8 and 1/4 PSI on a “fill”.

The water slowly makes its way through the entire large intestine (About 5 feet). This whole time the intestine is being hydrated and toned. Stool that has been trapped can now loosen and make its way out. The client can let the therapist know when they are ready to empty. There is a gentle feeling of fullness that lets your body know when it’s ready to release. Then the therapist will set the device for removal. Water and waste is emptied out of a separate, larger waste tube using the pressure coming from your own body. No suction is used to empty the colon.

Many therapists practice this type of therapy in different ways. I was trained to use bodywork and massage. There are specific points on the body that can help release waste and improve the flow of energy through various organs as well as the colon. You might find a therapist out there that you don’t like. This shouldn’t make up your mind about Colon Hydrotherapy.

Since it is not a widely accepted therapy, there are bound to be times when someone does not have the proper training. If you went to get your nails done, and the manicurist cuts you and does a horrible job, do you swear off manicures as a dangerous and unhealthy practice? Probably not, the person you got must have been trained poorly or not suited for the job. Be smart about where you receive a colonic, and make sure they are checking for contra-indications like severe cardiac disease, cirrhosis, severe anemia, and severe diverticulitis to name a few.

How often is too much?

Since Colon Hydrotherapy hydrates and tones the walls of the intestine, it is safe for periodic use. It had been a steady passage from alternative to mainstream for colonic irrigation – but that could change after researchers have rubbished the treatment’s benefits, and cautioned about its side effects – including cramps, nausea, vomiting and renal failure.

The process, rebranded from the agricultural sounding colonic irrigation to less intrusive “colonic hydrotherapy”, has become less taboo over the last two decades, having become popular with celebrities desperate to lose weight.

During a normal 45-minute session, which currently costs between $122-$180, about 15.85 gallons of filtered water is used to flush the colon, after which users supposedly benefit from increased wellbeing, better skin, smoother bowel movements, and feeling lighter.

But a new, comprehensive review of research has chronicled the side effects suffered by some users of “the internal bath”, from cramping to renal failure – when the kidneys fail to adequately filter toxins and waste products from the blood.

Medics at Georgetown University School of Medicine, who examined 20 studies published in medical literature during the last decade, expressed concerns over the treatment’s regulation.

They concluded, in a paper published in the Journal of Family Practice, that while there was little evidence of the much-vaunted benefits from the treatment, there were “an abundance of studies noting side effects of using cleansing products including cramp, bloating, nausea, vomiting, electrolyte imbalance and renal failure”.

The same was true of other less intrusive colon treatments which can be widely purchased on the internet, they said. The paper’s lead author Ranit Mishori, a specialist in family medicine at Georgetown, said: “There can be serious consequences for those who engage in colon cleansing whether they have the procedure done at a spa or perform it at home.

“Colon cleansing products in the form of laxatives, teas, powders and capsules… tout benefits that don’t exist.” She added that some treatments had also been associated with aplastic anemia (where bone marrow does not produce sufficient new cells to replenish blood cells) and liver toxicity.

The doctors also expressed concerns colon cleansing services were being offered at some spas and clinics by operators claiming they are “colon hygienists” but who had little or no medical training. They concluded, in a paper published in the Journal of Family Practice, that while there was little evidence of the much-vaunted benefits from the treatment, there were “an abundance of studies noting side effects of using cleansing products including cramp, bloating, nausea, vomiting, electrolyte imbalance and renal failure”.

NHS advice states colonic irrigation is still a complementary therapy, and “there is currently no medical or scientific evidence to prove its effectiveness”. However, it says, the procedure is usually safe. As colonic treatments are mostly undertaken in private, statistics on the number of users are hard to establish.

Anecdotally, doctors have said patients admitted to hospital following colonic irrigation have been diagnosed with a perforated colon – obtained during the procedure caused the tip that injects the water or from overpressure causing failure of a weak spot in the colon wall.

Scottish surgeon Sir William Arbuthnot-Lane, who worked at Guy’s hospital in London, is credited with pioneering treatment for constipation in the early 1900s.His work led him to advocate eating fruit, vegetables and bran cereals as a way to control bowel problems.

His views were dismissed by doctors and media authorities at the time, leading him to ask to have his name removed from the medical register in order to promote the New Health Society, the first organized body to deal with social medicine, in 1925 to publicize his views on healthy diet and life.

Dr. Mishori added there were other ways to increase well-being. She said: “Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, get six to eight hours sleep and see a doctor.”

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The impact on painkillers on your gut

Bobby Jansson

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The impact on painkillers on your gut

Alongside food, oxygen, water, painkillers are also a staple for living nowadays. We have to battle stress-induced headaches, sports-injuries, awful toothaches, infections and whatnot in the daily routine. With old age, things become even worse. Painkillers, on the other hand, bring the much-needed relief in life.

However, with pros comes cons. Painkillers are, after all, medicines and hence they too carry with them side effects that have implications for health in general and gut in particular. The problem starts when painkillers are overly relied upon and consumed in large quantities. Moderate usage and following the dosage guidelines make the painkillers safe to use.

Type of painkiller is important too!

The impact on the body is determined by the type of painkiller chosen. Different types have different potencies and strengths, which then determines the impact on the body as well. The stronger they are, the graver is the impact of their overindulgence on the gut. Following are some commonly used painkillers and their effect on the stomach:

Acetaminophen:

Commonly known as Tylenol, Paracetamol, Panadol etc., this painkiller is perhaps the most frequently used. This over-the-counter painkiller is also present in some of the cold medicines, that too, can sneak into the daily regimen, leading to overconsumption.

 The perhaps most profound impact of acetaminophen is on the liver. It is amongst the leading causes of liver failure and toxicity. Common symptoms of this condition include vomiting or nausea with swelling and tenderness in the liver. It is imperative for people who liberally take this painkiller and experience these symptoms to visit a liver expert like Prof. Dr. Altaf Alam for timely intervention.

Moreover, in large doses, it can also lead to nausea and stomach cramps as well.

Opioid analgesics:

Opioid analgesics are not an OTC drug. Being a prescriptive painkiller, the chances of its abuse are less, but its impact is severe even when taken within the required dosage. Used for chronic pain management, many people are even unable to complete their regimen, such severe is the impact. It leads Opioid-induced bowl dysfunction that gravely impacts the gastrointestinal health.

The symptoms of OIBD include nausea, vomiting, reflux and bloating. It also decreases the rate of digestion, leading to discomfort. But the most profound impact is constipation. Hard stools get extremely painful to pass. Incomplete evacuation also causes further problems.

NSAIDS:

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are aimed at pain relief and also decreasing inflammation as well. It is very frequently used due to its anti-inflammatory properties as well. It’s different types with different repercussion for the body.

Aspirin

Aspirin comes with a lot of long-term side effects for the gut, and health in general, if and when taken in large quantities. It leads to bleeding in the stomach. Aspirin also leads to the formation of ulcers in the stomach.

Ulcers are the sores in the lining of the stomach. NSAIDS leads to the stripping away of the protective mucosal layer of the stomach. Acid then is able to attack the stomach tissue, leading to the formation of ‘holes’ in the lining.

Although ulcers are easy to treat, undetected ulcers can be dangerous. Moreover, ulcers also lead to a lot of pain and discomfort. Symptoms of this condition includes perpetual stomachache, decrease in appetite, weight loss, heart burn, nausea, bloating etc.

Ibuprofen

Although, Ibuprofen is better than aspirin as it leaves the body quicker, nonetheless, long-term ibuprofen usage also leads to health issues. It causes stomachache, ulcer, acidity, vomiting and nausea.

Naproxen

Another NSAID with implications for gut health is naproxen. It is available both as OTC and prescription pill. Its side effects include indigestion, heartburn, stomachache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.

It can also lead to inflammation in pancreas, which leads to fever alongside stomachache and digestion issues. Naproxen can also lead to gastric ulcers.

Minimizing the danger

Living with pain is not easy and so painkillers are a necessary evil in most of the cases. Some helpful steps can be done to minimize the dire impact of their consumption on the stomach.

Always take as little as possible; do not always resort to painkillers. If the pain is tolerable or if you are eating painkillers to preempt the pain, change this habit. Moreover, it is important that you take them only and as long as the pain persists.

When taking any medicine, be watchful of the impact on your health, in case there is some reaction that aggravates the health. Also, be mindful of which medicines you are taking, in case they too, pack some painkiller, leading to the risk of overdosage.

Combination of painkiller is also important. Do not eat NSAIDS in combination, take them with an acetaminophen if need be, but don’t eat multiple NSAIDS at the same time. When you eat NSAIDs and other high-potency pain killers, take them with food so that stomach suffers as little as possible.

Most importantly, take painkillers at the discretion of the doctor. If you are suffering from bodily aches etc., visit a credible doctor like Assist. Prof. Dr. Mujahid Israr for help with pain management rather than chugging back painkillers like candy!

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How long do succulents live?

Umar Nisar

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How long do succulents live

It is a tough question because succulents are so diverse. There are thousands of different varieties with their own needs and habits. As a gardener, it is important to know the plants about their life span, how fast they grow, and what they need in terms of sun, water, pots, soil, and the like.

Lifespan of succulents

There are many plants with unknown ages, simply because they haven’t been observed in nature long enough. Here are a few succulents with known life spans:

Jade Plant (70-100 years), Hens and Chicks (3+ years),  Aloe Vera (5-25 years), Barrel Cactus (Centuries), Living Stones  (40-50 years),  Christmas Cactus  (30+ years). You can buy succulents online.

Some succulent plants have factors at play that drastically affect how long they live. For example, many hybrids, such as Echeveria Perle von Nurnberg, have short lifespans. Some succulents don’t live long but grow offsets to replace themselves. The main plant only lives around 3-4 years but sends out lots of offsets in a lifetime.

Aeonium kiwi is a monocarpic plant that dies after flowering. Depending on how fast the succulent matures, it may live for many years before it blooms. If the succulent begins to flower,  the best thing to  do is take some cuttings for propagation. It carries the generation forward. 

Growing condition of succulents

Succulents are typically slow growers. That doesn’t mean their growth is all the same, though. The majority of succulents cycle between dormancy and a growing season each year. Plant dormancy is very similar to hibernation in animals. During a certain season, succulents go into survival mode to make it through extreme weather conditions. They slow or stop their growth in order to conserve energy. Because of this, succulents usually don’t need as much water or sun while dormant. The growing season is when succulents get to work. This is when they’ll form new leaves, send out offsets, and flower. Succulents typically appreciate extra water, sunlight, and even fertilizer during this time.

Succulents native to the Northern Hemisphere usually go dormant during the winter and grow in the spring and summer. On the other hand, native southern plants typically shut down when it’s hot outdoors in the summer. Plenty of sunlight is needed. However, most species cannot tolerate direct sun. Indirect or bright, filtered light is usually the best. If it doesn’t receive enough sunlight, the plant may begin to fade.

The soil must be well-draining. There are many specialty succulent and cactus mixes that are perfect. A mix can be prepared by mixing one part potting soil with one part perlite. If the mix retains too much water, the roots will begin to rot. Fertilizer depends on the variety of  the succulent. Some appreciate multiple doses a year while others don’t need it at all. Plants that do need fertilizing usually prefer one that’s balanced or low nitrogen.

Keeping pests and diseases well away from the plants is crucial. Knowing the signs for common succulent pests such as mealybugs, aphids, and scale insects. Diseases are usually rare in succulents, but nearly all are prone to root rot. Prevent this by watering properly and keeping the stem and leaves dry.

It should be remembered that these care tips are general and vary from plant to plant. For the best instructions, it is better to know the succulent’s specific needs. Proper care definitely will be beneficial for the succulents. To really extend their life span though, the following things are to be done:

Keeping a consistent watering schedule, Using good quality soil, repotting into new pots as needed, acclimatization of succulents when moving them to a new location, taking good care of the roots, Propagation of plants so that it can live on through its descendants. 

A new succulent should be known very correctly, as its care can make a huge difference. So learning about that plant, track its progress. The succulent is dependent on its grower to a great extent as it can not speak out about its requirements.

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