Typically, breast cancer is identified once it becomes symptomatic—when swelling or a lump becomes noticeable. By that time, the cancer might have spread beyond the breast tissue and into lymph nodes en route to other places in the body.
Newer methods, like microRNA testing, seek to spot tumor growth before it becomes apparent. But, a new study led by researchers at Oxford University might make early detection easier than it’s ever been.
The research, recently published in the journal Metallomics, looked at the relationship between zinc and cancerous tissue and could one day lead to an early detection blood test based on a zinc biomarker. “What we have is an indication that a biomarker exists,” explains lead author Fiona Larner, a postdoctoral research associate in earth sciences at Oxford University.
Perhaps 10 or even 20 years from now, Larner envisions a blood test administered during regular physical exams to test for the biomarker. Doctors would use a positive result as an indication that further screening might be necessary.
The pilot study looked at zinc in the blood of 10 people—five healthy and five with breast cancer. Instead of simply detecting the concentration of zinc in a sample, as a standard hospital test would do, Larner’s test works at 100 times the resolution and detects differences in mass among zinc isotopes. Weight variations happen when atoms of an element have different numbers of neutrons. Cancer tissue might take on one type of isotope over another (a “light” or “heavy” version), leaving more of that one in the bloodstream. Larner’s team found that zinc isotopes in breast cancer tumors were lighter than those in the blood and [...]
Unbeknownst to most, a Copernican revolution has already taken place in cancer theory. Today, the weight of evidence indicates that plants and not chemicals are the solution for reversing the global cancer epidemic.
Our understanding of what causes cancer has undergone something akin to a Copernican revolution in the past decade. Biological fatalism has been the predominant force in medicine over the past half century, where most conditions including cancer were believed predestined ‘in the genes,’ and therefore impossible to reverse. Instead of looking for root cause resolution of disease (RCRD), we resigned ourselves to ‘finding it early’ and in the case of cancer, when doing so (even when it was benign), we waged war against it, quite literally using weapons grade materials (mustard gas- and nuclear materials-derived agents). Now, however, in this post-Genomic era, factors above (epi-) the control of the genes – epigenetic factors – are taking center stage; these include environmental exposures, stress, nutritional factors, and various lifestyle-based variables that are within the ambit of our control and volition, and which are often reversible.
In other words, cancer is now being understood as epigenetic dysfunction, a direct and even adaptive response to the post-industrial, carcinogen-saturated environment, in addition to a diet of faux, mostly chemically-produced ‘food,’ combining to produce an environment – ‘inner terrain– within the body ideal for cancer promotion.
Indeed, in a new study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology titled, “The use of plant-derived bioactive compounds to target cancer stem cells and [...]
Alex Pietrowski, Staff Writer
Valerie Warwick spent 17 years as an oncology nurse and has recently made a major life change, quitting her job, and beginning her new mission of helping people to understand the link between nutrition and surviving cancer.
What would possess an oncology nurse to give up a lucrative career as a cancer nurse to speak out publicly on behalf of nutrition and natural medicines to cure this modern plague?
During her youth, her father had throat cancer and her mother suffered terribly from multiple sclerosis, and at 20 years old she was caring for both of her parents. In those days cancer treatments were very invasive and after her father had much of his neck and throat cut away to ‘heal’ him, he died leaving a lasting impression on Valerie. With a long family history of nursing, she decided that since she was still caring for her mother, she might as well become a nurse herself, and began her medical studies.
After finding a permanent position in an oncology ward, she quickly began to question the methods being used, but justified what she was witnessing by telling herself that this was the cutting edge of cancer care and that after time better methods would be discovered and implemented.
“How can you be giving poisons to people and expect them to heal?” – Valerie Warwick
In 2008 her best friend was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, which was devastating, and Valerie knew that any treatment offered by her doctors would not cure her, but would instead cause her to suffer horribly. Just as many concerned people do when a loved one is facing this end, looking for any answer, she began researching everything she could find about alternative therapies, treatments, nutrition, and natural cures.
She discovered that diet may be more critical to health than the medical establishment had acknowledged, and began a personal transformation to improve her own health. She quickly realized the impact of diet in her own life, although, sadly she was unable to provide guidance for her friend who died a year and a half later after suffering through the horrifying conventional treatments of colon surgery, cutting out half of her liver, radiation and chemotherapy.
Thus began a serious paradigm shift in her understanding of how to survive cancer. As she started to hear more stories of people’s success with alternative therapies, she started to look at patients differently, and what she discovered that what most patients really need, first and foremost, is better nutrition. She says that many cancer patients were so nutritionally depleted that they were literally starving to death, and that their bodies have nothing to work with in order to heal. Additionally, she realized that their immune systems were being destroyed by conventional treatments, in a double-whammy that guarantees that most cancer patients will not survive.
She tells her story in this timely and i [...]
Two-thirds of women who have lumpectomies for breast cancer are receiving radiation treatment that lasts nearly twice as long as necessary, a new study reports.
The conventional, longer treatment lasts five to seven weeks. But four rigorous studies and guidelines from a leading radiology society conclude that three to four weeks of more intense radiation is just as effective.
Women overwhelmingly prefer the shorter course of radiation, studies have found. It is also less expensive.
Even though 60 to 75 percent of women with breast cancer have lumpectomies — a total of about 140,000 to 160,000 women — doctors and health insurers say relatively few are receiving the shorter treatment because it takes time to change ingrained medical practices, especially when a procedure has been used for decades and the new one offers no additional medical benefit. Its advantages are saving time for patients, and money for the health care system and insurers.
“If a physician is doing five to seven weeks of radiation for 25 years, particularly if the physician is not a specialist and not in an academic medical center, you will be a bit leery about going to something new,” said Dr. Bruce G. Haffty, a professor and chairman of the department of radiation oncology at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. “You are comfortable with the outcomes, patients are satisfied. Now you’ve got something that perhaps costs a bit less, but you wonder: Is it as effective?”
In the new study, published Wednesday in JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, two University of Pennsylvania doctors, Ezekiel J. Emanuel and Justin E. Bekelman, and their colleagues analyzed data from 14 commercial insurance plans involving 15,643 women who had their breasts irradiated after lumpectomies.
Radiation is used after women have lumpectomies because it reduces the odds that another cancer will arise in the breast, and it improves the chances of survival.
The researchers considered two groups of women who had radiation therapy and asked how many had received the shorter course. One [...]