Vitamin C Could Provide Help for Cancer Patients

We’ve all heard the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but new research suggests that another fruit should also be on our radar. Scientists in Great Britain found that Vitamin C — found in great volumes in oranges — can provide significant help for cancer patients. Instead of buying oranges in bulk, however, researchers suggested introducing the vitamin in a more direct way. They injected patients with very high doses of Vitamin C — about 500 times more than what they would get by increasing their consumption of oranges, kale, peppers and other Vitamin C-rich foods. Researchers found that this method was actually able to combat cancer 10 times more effectively than some cancer drugs. The vitamin, comprised of ascorbic acid, prevents the breakdown of glucose in cancer stem cells, which stops the mitochondria from thriving. The process ultimately starves the stem cells, which are vital to the growth of a tumor. The benefits of Vitamin C for cancer treatment have been studied for decades, but this is the first study to specifically examine the impact on cancer stem cell growth. Researchers involved with this trial said the results were “promising” and could signal a new course of help for cancer patients, especially when combined with chemotherapy. But, the study is not without controversy, or critics. Some scientists have cautioned that previous studies on Vitamin C have shown the nutrient can trigger a process that damages DNA, and others suggested it could actually interfere with some elements of chemo. Most importantly, researchers emphasized that, since the study focused on injectable Vitamin C, cancer patients need to...

Exercise Can Provide Help for Breast Cancer Patients Against Recurrence

Exercise is one of the most universal recommendations for reducing health risks. From diabetes to heart disease to joint problems, breaking a sweat has been shown to help protect people from an array of health conditions. It’s also being looked to by those who are on the mend from medical issues, particularly people who have conquered a cancer diagnosis. Benefits of exercise A new study is touting exercise as providing the greatest amount of help for cancer patients in their recovery process. The Canadian-based research focused on female survivors of breast cancer, examining the impact of a range of lifestyle factors on the patients’ risk for recurrence or death. Women were able to significantly reduce their risk of breast cancer returning, and of a recurrence being fatal, by incorporating workouts into their routines. Those who had at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week, or 75 minutes of intense activity per week, showed the best results. While exercise can offer help for cancer patients looking to stay on the right track, getting active after major surgery or treatments like chemotherapy can be both a physical and emotional challenge. Researchers suggested health-care providers can be particularly influential in explaining the benefits of exercise to their patients and working with them to develop routines that fit into their daily lives.  Other helpful choices Weight management often goes hand in hand with exercise, and the researchers not surprisingly found that as well in this study. The report indicates that weight gain of at least 10 percent after a breast cancer diagnosis enhances both recurrence and mortality rates. Obese...

Therapy, Lifestyle Tools Can Provide Help for Cancer Patients with Depression

The focus after a cancer diagnosis is often on improving a patient’s physical health. While remission should be the number-one priority for cancer patients, achieving that physical goal can’t overshadow the need for adequate mental care as well. A new resource guide from the American Cancer Society and National Institute of Mental Health emphasizes that mental-health awareness can provide help for cancer patients on their road to complete healing. Cancer patients may be at risk for depression for a number of reasons: Diagnosis and subsequent treatment has limited the ability to engage in previous routines and activities Physical changes impact self-confidence and esteem Uncertainty about the future can create fear and anxiety The guide suggests a number of nontherapeutic and therapeutic exercises that make mental-health help for cancer patients a reality. Nontherapeutic tools: Exercise appropriate to one’s physical capabilities A diet tailored to the patient’s needs by a nutritionist A strong network of family, friends and others who can provide support and help for cancer patients adjusting to the changes caused by diagnosis Therapeutic tools: Anti-depressant medications prescribed by a patient’s doctor Collaborative therapy like support groups One-on-one therapy with a psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker Cognitive-behavioral therapy to teach a patient how to manage emotions and responses Physical health may be at the center of a cancer patient’s vision, but incorporating strategies for improved mental health can make that goal a bit clearer. Learn how we can help lower stress financially. Life Credit CompanyWe are a licensed consumer lender that is dedicated to providing financial assistance for patients who are facing serious illness. With a Living Benefit Loan,...

Reducing Sugar Consumption Could Provide Help for Cancer Patients

Sugary drinks are easy to find, affordable to buy and enjoyable to taste — but they could also be dangerous to our health. Nearly 16 percent of adults in a recent study reported high-sugar intake from sugar-sweetened beverages, including sodas, teas, fruit juices and energy drinks. The study specifically explored the link between such drinks and cancer risk, finding that people who had been diagnosed with cervical cancer were much more likely to have had a history of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages than other cancer survivors. People with no cancer history actually reported a higher sugar intake than cancer survivors, though researchers noted that age and gender could also influence that statistic. Demographic data was also evaluated, with researchers finding higher sugar-intake levels among young people, men, black people, those who are obese, smokers, low-income individuals and people lacking a college education. So how does this information offer help for cancer patients? First, researchers suggested the data provides a never-before-seen picture of just how severe the country’s dependence on sugar-sweetened beverages is. Understanding the problem is an important step in addressing it. The public has increasingly grown aware in recent years about the connection between sugary drinks and diseases like cancer, diabetes and obesity. This new research illustrates the need for enhanced education programs for specific populations, especially cervical-cancer survivors. Intervention programs aimed directly at women facing and those who have conquered cervical cancer is another important help for cancer patients looking to stay on the track to health. The information can also be used to target populations like lower socio-economic males, who report high levels of sugar intake. Public-health...

Ways Spirituality Can Provide Help for Cancer Patients

Spirituality is often a taboo topic, which many people avoid talking about out of uncertainty regarding others’ feelings on the subject. However, for some people facing a cancer diagnosis, spirituality can provide help for cancer patients through comfort and peace in a time when it is needed most. According to a report in the Washington Post, having faith in a higher power can have real results for people dealing with disaster. For instance, those who relied on spirituality in the trying days following Hurricane Katrina had better mental-health outcomes than those who didn’t report strong ties to their faith. That stat continued a few years later after floods hit South Carolina; those who “surrendered” to spirituality were found to be more resilient and better able to cope. Spirituality can also be a help for cancer patients, many of whom are left wondering after a diagnosis why they were afflicted, what their future holds and what will happen to them and their families if the worst happens. Some of the anxiety over not having answers to those tough questions can be alleviated by spirituality, as such faith typically dictates that a higher power, not us, is in charge. Giving up the control, then, may make some people more at peace with their diagnosis, lowering stress levels, which can even contribute to better health outcomes. Some people, however, are turned off by the idea of spirituality, perhaps mistakenly associating it with religion — an area that can be politically or morally charged. It’s an important distinction to make, as religion is traditionally a communal exercise, while spirituality is a more individualized...

Nutrition is Important After Diagnosis

After a cancer diagnosis, most patients aren’t likely thinking about what they’re going to have for dinner — but research suggests that it should be a priority, as proper nutrition can provide a wealth of assistance for cancer patients. Why is Nutrition Important? Cancer patients face many challenges in properly nourishing their bodies. Treatments like chemo or radiation may leave them feeling too sick to eat, the disease can wage war on a patient’s energy that can steal their appetite and they may even grapple with side effects like mouth sores that make eating difficult. According to the National Cancer Institute, many cancer patients face anorexia and cachexia, or wasting, after a diagnosis. Despite all those obstacles, good nutrition is vital to recovery. Many patients suffer from a lack of calories and proteins, both of which are important to building up the immune system and fighting off disease. NCI also cautions that some cancer treatments are more effective when the patient is well-nourished, and good nutrition has been shown to prolong patients’ lives. Resources for Nutrition Finding out what to eat, how much of it to eat and even when to eat it is no easy task, especially when dealing with health challenges. Luckily, there are a number of online resources that offer assistance for cancer patients looking to get their nutrition on track. The NCI has a helpful guide, Nutrition in Cancer Care, that offers comprehensive information about nutrition. Here, patients can find tips on which cancer drugs interact with which foods, how certain treatments may impact nutrition and which foods are best to combat certain symptoms. It...