Cancer Death Rates Drops In America

United States of America has recorded a decrese in cancer cases all across the country.

In the latest annual report on cancer in the United States, which was released on Tuesday in the journal Cancer showed that the country’s overall cancer death rates continued to decline.

It has declined in men, women and children in all major racial and ethnic groups, but some cancers including those of the liver, pancreas, and brain caused more deaths.

The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer showed that from 1999 to 2015, overall cancer death rates decreased by 1.8 per cent per year among men and by 1.4 per cent per year among women.

The report was a collaborative effort by the National Cancer Institute under the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Cancer Society and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR).

From 2011 to 2015, death rates decreased for 11 of the 18 most common cancer types in men and for 14 of the 20 most common cancer types in women, according to the report.

However, over the same period, death rates for cancers of the liver, pancreas, and brain and other nervous system increased in both men and women; death rates for cancer of the uterus increased in women; and death rates for cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx and soft tissue increased in men, according to the report.

Researchers suggest that the increase in liver cancer death rates is related to the high prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection among baby boomers, those who were born during about 20 years after the World War II, as well as to the high prevalence of obesity in the United States.

Obesity is also thought to have contributed to the increase in death rates from cancers of the uterus and pancreas.

The recent increase in oral cavity and pharynx cancer death rates among white men is thought to be associated with human papillomavirus infection.

The report also described five-year survival from 2007 to 2013 by cancer stage at diagnosis for four of the most common cancers: female breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung and bronchus cancer, and melanoma of the skin.

While five-year survival is high for early-stage disease for breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and melanoma, survival remains low for all stages of lung cancer, ranging from 55 percent for Stage I to 4 percent for Stage IV, the late stage.

“It’s encouraging to see progress in decreasing death rates for many types of cancer.

“Yet the fact that death rates from several cancers are still on the rise means we need to keep working to find strategies to encourage prevention and continue to make improvements in screening and treatment,’’ said Betsy A. Kohler, executive director of NAACCR.

The report revealed that incidence and death rates for all types of cancer combined were higher in men than those in women in every racial and ethnic group.

But it also said that overall cancer incidence, or rates of new cancers, decreased in men and were stable in women from 1999 to 2014.

For all cancer sites combined, black men and white women had the highest incidence rates compared to other racial groups, and black men and black women had the highest death rates compared to other racial groups, it showed.

Also, non-Hispanic men and women had higher incidence and death rates than those of Hispanic ethnicity.

“There continue to be significant declines in the cancer death rate with significant differences in rate by sex, race, and ethnicity,’’ said Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.

“We need to continue working to understand the reasons for the disparities and how to most efficiently continue supporting and, if possible, accelerate these declines,’’ said Brawley.

Blame Cancer, But Blame The Health System More

HEALTH REVIEW

FRANCIS EZEDIUNO

This is a wakeup call because the scourge of cancer in the whole of Nigeria is real; the government is simply not doing enough to tackle this disease headlong with all the will it got at its disposal.

Cancer is a very expensive ailment to manage and when a good majority of Nigerians are below the poverty belt, then there is need for government intervention at all levels of health care in this country to deal with this scourge.

Cancer has dealt a heavy blow to many Nigerians both rich and poor alike. It does not select its patients, it preys on both the rich and poor and mercilessly squeezes life out of its victims with the attendants pains associated with it.

Just take a look on the face of a cancer patient and see the level of pain, frustration and disappointment it portrays.

In a country where cancer is a death sentence, where do patients run to and what do their relatives and friends do in order to alleviate their pains.

According to information made available to OSUN DEFENDER, there are only four cancer radiotherapy [RT] machines in the country and these can be found at EKO Hospital, Lagos, University College Hospital [UCH], Ibadan, Oyo State, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital [ABUTH], Zaria, Kaduna State and National Hospital, Abuja.

Of all three, only the machine at the National Hospital, Abuja could be said to be functioning very well and so by implication, only one RT is serving the lot of cancer patients in the country.

Most of the cancer patients are at the mercy of many obstacles which present themselves as the peculiar Nigerian problem.

These problems are numerous to mention. If medical doctors are not on strike, allied health workers would be, if the system is not crying of corruption, funds made available for the supply, purchase of those delicate medical equipments are either being siphoned or used to buy substandard ones.

Reality is the diagnosis of cancer is not a sentence to death but because the Nigerian government is so insensitive to the health sector, many factors have combined to make this disease a death sentence.

In the whole of the South West, Nigeria, it is only at the University College Hospital, Ibadan in Oyo state that the RT machine can even be used for palliative treatment. Meaning, the disease would just be managed until the patient dies later.

You can imagine a situation where, there is no RT machine in the whole of Osun State; the three teaching hospitals in the state; OAUTHC, Ile-Ife, LTH Osogbo and State of Osun Teaching Hospital, Osogbo. The scenario is that, if a patient is diagnosed of the disease after going through the numerous tests, depending on the stage of the disease, some course of treatment like surgery could be carried out in the state but in the case of advanced treatment, such a patient will be referred to the UCH, Ibadan or better still LUTH or LASUTH in Lagos.

The irony is, in these hospitals, no connection, no radiotherapy, patients just resort to prayers for the repair of the radiotherapy machines and in others helping patients to see doctors is a lucrative business

200 Million People, Four Radiotherapy Machines

According to recent investigations carried out by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting [ICiR], “there are only four functioning radiotherapy machines all over the country to serve an estimated 200million Nigerians, yet the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recommendation is one RT machine per 1million people, meaning Nigeria should ordinarily have roughly 200 RT machines.

To put the situation in perspective, 17 of Nigeria’s 20 teaching hospitals cannot offer radiotherapy to cancer patients.

“Painfully, of the four radiotherapy machines available all over Nigeria, only the one at the National Hospital Abuja’s is useful for curing cancer; all other three cannot. They are only useful prolonging a patient’s life; more like ‘you’re going to die anyway but let’s try not to make you die too soon”, explained Dr. C. W. Chidiebe, a cancer control advocate and Executive Director, Project Pink Blue.

“The radiotherapy machines at Zaria and Eko hospital are cobalt machines. I have interacted with so many medical physicists, clinical oncologists and radiation oncologists, and they will tell you that the beam produced by cobalt radiotherapy machines is not sufficient to prevent spread or even ensure any treatment or therapy; it is just good for palliative care only; that is the situation whereby you’re no longer trying to achieve cure but just to prolong the patient’s life.”

Researchers Developing Pills That’d Make Cancer Easily Detectable

University of Michigan (UM) researchers are developing a pill that make breast cancer easily detectable when exposed to infrared light.

 

“It’s actually based on a failed drug,” said Greg Thurber, UM assistant professor of chemical engineering and biomedical engineering, in a news release posted on UM website.

“It binds to the target, but it doesn’t do anything, which makes it perfect for imaging.”

The researchers attached a molecule that fluoresces when it is struck with infrared light to this drug.

Then, they gave the drug to mice that had breast cancer, and they saw the tumors light up.

The targeting molecule has already been shown to make it through the stomach unscathed, and the liver also gives it a pass, so it can travel through the bloodstream.

The move could also catch cancers that would have gone undetected.

By providing specific information on the types of molecules on the surface of the tumor cells, physicians can better distinguish a malignant cancer from a benign tumour.

Moreover, using a dye delivered orally rather than directly into a vein also improves the safety of screening.

Tens of millions of women are screened every year in the U. S. alone.

According to a study out of Denmark last year, about a third of breast cancer patients treated with surgery or chemotherapy have tumours that are benign or so slow-growing that they would never have become life-threatening.

The research has been published in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

Excess Body Fat Exposes You To Cancer Risks- Study

A new research as shown that excess body fat may put people at risk of having 18 types of cancer.

The Chinese research, conducted over four years, is based on Body Mass Index (BMI) calculations involving 40 million samples.

BMI is calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. According to the WHO,
a BMI between 19 and 24 is considered normal and healthy, while a BMI between 25 and 29 is overweight, and a BMI over 30 is obese.

Researchers from Zhejiang University announced that a higher BMI would significantly increase the risk of
18 cancers, and the types of cancer most sensitive to weight gain are endometrial cancer and esophageal
cancer.

For each five-point increase in BMI, the risk of endometrial cancer and esophageal cancer increases by 48 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively.

Researchers also found that there was a gender difference in obesity-related cancers. Women with higher BMIs are more likely to suffer from brain and kidney cancer than men.

The research, led by Professor Wang Fudi and Professor Min Junxia, was published recently in the “International Journal of Cancer.”

According to the WHO, about 2.2 billion people, or one-third of the world’s population, are overweight or obese, including more than 100 million children and 600 million adults.

“To prevent cancer and other chronic diseases, people must control obesity through good dietary habits
and more exercise,” said Wang.

Cancer Of The Cervix: What Women Should Know

Everywhere, we see the consequences of neglect, be it corrupt governments, health hazard, abuse or death and accidents.

Neglecting to take care of our health includes failing to provide sufficient supervision, nourishment, medical care or other needs for which the victim is helpless to provide for him/her/itself.

The victim may be a child, physically or mentally disabled adult, animal, plant, or inanimate object. All are subjugated to one common thing which is ignorance/carelessness.

Cervical Cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in developing countries with highest incidence in parts of Africa and parts of South America. Approximately 500,000 new cases and deaths which amount to 250,000 are recorded each year. Around the world, one woman dies of cervical cancer every two minutes.

Women in developing countries are the worse affected as they suffer disproportionately from the burden of cervical cancer and account for over 80% of cases.

It is the most common cancer in women in Northern Nigeria (due in part to the practice of early marriage) second only to breast in the south.

Overall, it is the second most frequent cancer in women, after breast cancer, occurring most commonly in women over the age of 30 and is the second most frequent cancer among women in Nigeria after breast cancer, with an estimated 10,000 women dying of cervical cancer annually.

If current trends continue, by the year 2050, there will be more than one million new cases of invasive cervical cancer annually.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) 16/ 18 / 45 / 31 are responsible for 80% of invasive cervical cancers worldwide. HPV is transmitted through sex, and it can cause an infection in the cervix (the neck of the womb).

This virus has a very high transformational effect on the epithelial cells of the cervix especially before the age of 18 years as this is the age where these cells undergo a transition to a more protective form of cell type.

Thus, early age at first sexual intercourse is a great risk. Engaging with multiple sexual partners or a male partner with multiple previous sexual partners also heightens the risk for HPV infection.

Other risk factors include exposure to oral contraceptives for greater than 3-5 years and high parity.

The infection usually doesn’t last very long because your body can normally fight it, but an HPV infection can change cervix cells into pre-cancer cells.

Most cells with early pre-cancer changes go back to normal on their own and if detected can be treated. But if they are not found and treated, the pre-cancer cells can lead to cancer.

Cervical cancer screening is a method of preventing cancer by detecting and treating early abnormalities.

Early detection and treatment can prevent 75 per cent of cancers developing but, like other screening tests, it is not perfect.

Early detection through screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions remains the best possible protection against cervical cancer.

Evidence shows that utilization of screening for prevention is very poor in Nigeria (South-East, North-Central, South-West, North-West).

A summary from the colposcopy units across tertiary health facilities in the country showed that only about 3,000 women were screened from 2005-2007.

The lack of policy on cervical cancer screening, public awareness, network formation, commitment from the government and communities and less operational research has mitigated on the overall success in Nigeria and Africa.

The decline in cervical cancer incidence and mortality in the developed world is attributed to successful mass cervical screening strategies.

Women between the ages of 15 and 44 are the most at risk for cervical cancer. Many of these women are mothers who will leave behind dependent children.

Although, there are no statistics specifically for Nigeria, it is estimated that about 21.5% of women in the general population of the West African sub region have been infected with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) at a given time, which is a significant risk factor for cervical cancer.

Of all the cancers, cervical cancer is the only one that has both an effective vaccine and screening program that can prevent disease and death.

Sadly, none of these are available to Nigerian women apart from in projects by Society for Family Health (SFH) and others. In a country as wealthy as Nigeria, this cannot possibly be acceptable.

Governments of all levels must seat up and formulate policies that will help to mitigate thus health issue because,  “a stitch in time saves nine”.

While we build high speed trains, new airports and stadia, maybe it is time to refocus on the things that matter the most, the lives of Nigerian especially our women.

Poor, rural women, who make up the majority of cervical cancer victims, are particularly unable to access screening and testing services.

Furthermore, women who are screened often can’t complete treatment or follow-up, citing unawareness of the significance of their symptoms, bad medical advice, or economic problems as main barriers to completion.

Because of the painful and dehumanizing death associated with the disease, women with cervical cancer are sometimes considered a ‘nuisance,’ and are left to die alone.

Overall, data suggest an urgent need for community screening and education programs to control and prevent cervical cancer.

We must raise our level of commitment to securing the lives of our women from the ravaging scourge of this near to total preventable Monster.

 

Natural Cancer Treatments (II)

Enzymes in our body are responsible for stimulating normal biological functions which aid in the removal of toxins from the body and also stimulate anti- inflammatory and anti-cancer agents. You may remember your high school science teacher diagraming the several conditions which must be met for enzymes to function appropriately and so you may also recall that enzymes function at a preferred pH.

 

The typical American lifestyle consists of chronic conditions which degrade these optimal working environments which enzymes function. From the air we breathe, food we eat and lotions we apply we offset the normal pH of the organs in our body and contribute to the development of cancer.

 

Nutrient dense foods like broccoli are abundant in enzymes such as quinone reductase and glutathione-S-transferase which enable the body at removing debris. Enzymes especially promote the healthy function of organs constantly inundated with toxins such as the liver, stomach, intestines and lungs.  Lemon and lime provide these organs with organic acids which help buffer pH and natural enzymes which promote the body’s natural abilities to metabolize nutrients.

 

Enzyme Therapy:

Enzyme therapy has been found to be so effective at relieving the toxic burden on our bodies that enzyme therapy is used to treat individuals who have undergone chemotherapy in order to reduce symptoms of pain, vomiting, fatigue and nausea.

 

Systemic enzyme can be used to treat cancer by boosting natural immune system defenses such as cytokines, macrophages and natural killer cells which target abnormal growing cells and inhibit further synthesis. Effective systemic enzyme supplements you may consider are wobenzyme and protoenzyme.

 

  1.  Budwig Protocol

Numerous testimonies surround the ability of the Bud wig Protocol to treat and even cure cancers including cancer of the lung, prostrate, breast, ovaries, pancreas and even brain. It is a protocol which in part combines organic low fat cottage cheese with flaxseed oil into a mixture called quark along with lifestyle changes which limit the body’s toxic burden. This mixture is believed to prevent and heal cancer and has been researched since 1952 by world leading experts in fats and oils. But how does cottage cheese and flaxseed oil treat cancer you ask?

 

The concept is that dead cells in our body lack a charge which stimulates proper cellular function. Flaxseed oil is highly abundant in electrons and saturated fats that when combined with a sulfur protein in cottage cheese, a chemical reaction takes place and allows the electrons to enter these “dead” cells to be recharged. These electron rich unsaturated fats improve respiratory enzyme function, brain function and cardiac health and stimulate all glands in the body. The Bud wig Protocol diet attracts oxygen into our cells and in this oxygenated environment kills off cancer cells.

 

Dr. Bud wig advised her patients suffering from cancer to consume quark up to 8 times daily and possibly for up to 6 months in order to treat severe and possibly terminal cancers. The following is a recommended recipe to create quark:

Mix 2 tbl cottage cheese with 1 tbl flaxseed oil. Preferably, use an immersion blender to combine the two ingredients until a creamy texture results and no visible oil appears separated from the mixture. Consume immediately.

 

  1.  Detoxification:

There are major detoxification pathways which your body can undergo to promote healing from cancer. Some of the best strategies to promote the removal of toxins from your body and increase healing are as follows: Infrared saunas, Hydrating with lemon water, Eating an anti-inflammatory diet, Coffee enemas, Dry brushing, Good oral hygiene, Castor oil packs, Exercise.

 

In order to successfully remove toxins from your body, you must also heal your emotional health as well. Receiving an aromatherapy massage stimulates the lymphatic system, eases your mind and improves overall health. Essential oil have even been shown to boost the health of cancer patients and relieve anxiety and stress.

 

  1.  Sunlight

The proper functioning of the body’s glands is critical to removing toxins from our body necessary in treating cancer. Dr. Budwig advocated that the sun is a natural source of photons which creates a magnetic field and attracts electrons. She also believed that sunlight exposure stimulates glandular function of the pancreas, bladder, salivary glands, liver and gall bladder.

 

The sun’s rays do not only stimulate vigor and vitality, but they heal the body from the inside out. Consider the idea that each individual’s body acts as an antenna source to capture the sun’s natural photons. Naturally, the electrons in our body become energized and better equipped to heal. Sunlight boosts immunity which better equips the body from defending against foreign invaders and cancer growth.     TO BE CONTINUED

 

Skin Cancer Surgery: Banky W Narrates Ordeal

Nigerian rythm and blues singer, Bankole Wellington, popularly known as Banky W, has undergone a third cancer surgery.

The Made For You crooner, on his Instagram page on Thursday, shared his journey with the disease for over 10 years.

Banky W, in the post, which displayed pictures of his fiancée, Adesuwa Etomi, by his side in the hospital, was full of gratitude to God.

He thanked Adesuwa, famed for her role in Wedding Party, for staying by his side and also urged his fans not to panic, as his story is, according to him, that of survival.

He wrote, “A wise man once said this, ‘Scars. A sign that you had been hurt. A sign that you had been healed.’ Scroll through the pictures to see mine.

“I’m sharing these because they’re proof of what God has brought me through and because, somewhere out there, I know there’s someone who needs to hear this.

“For those who’ve been wondering why I’ve been away (for) so long, I had my third surgery on a rare strain of skin cancer tumours in my shoulder last month. The first two times were over 10 years ago, then it recently resurfaced. But this isn’t a sad story as much as it is a reminder and a testimony.

“A reminder that you should never take life for granted. You only get one shot. Some people went to sleep and never woke up. Many others have lost the battle to cancer and other illnesses. Many are still fighting. You never know when your time will be up. So, don’t waste another minute.

“It’s also a testimony about the goodness of God. I think I had to go through this again to remember how merciful God is to me. Lord knows I don’t deserve it, but He saves me time and again, anyway. I keep saying I need to write a book. I really do.”

Experts say skin cancer is by far the most common type and it is curable with early detection and treatment. However, it could recur.

Source: Punch Newspaper

6 Natural Treatments That May Relieve Cancer

Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells divide without control and can invade nearby tissues. Cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems.

This may arise from numerous physical problems including the lack of oxygen to cells, a weakened immune system, excessive acidity and the toxic accumulation of carcinogens (or DNA mutating substances). Many of these problems can be treated and therefore so may cancer itself. Treating cancer naturally is possible and requires a committed approach to healthy lifestyle changes.

The following 10 treatments have been shown to naturally relieve cancer symptoms and limit the spread of tumor cells.

  1. Ketogenic Diet

A ketogenic diet is rich in healthy fats and low in carbohydrates.  This diet stimulates the production of  ketones in the body through a biological process that circumvents the use of respiration within the mitochondria. Diets which heavily burden the mitochondria with energy synthesis increase the risk of free radical formation and also increase the rate of mutations within cells.  These mutations can lead to various cancers such as: Colon cancer, Lung cancer, Breast cancer.

Instead, a ketogenic diet reduces the amount of energy which must be supplied from the conversion of glucose found in both simple and complex sugars and therefore also helps alleviate symptoms of individuals with metabolic conditions. Cancer cells thrive off of the energy created from glucose fermentation.  Glucose fermentation is also called anaerobic metabolism due to the lack of oxygenation, pastured beef and dairy products, organic poultry, good fats such as coconut oil and avocado, low carbohydrates fruits and vegetables such asasparagus, cabbage, lemon and limes are all ketogenic approved foods with cancer protective properties. A ketogenic diet has been shown to significantly delay the progression of tumors and increase survival rate periods by more than 50 per cent

  1. Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber

A synergy of health benefits further results when a ketogenic diet is coupled with hyberbaric oxygen chamber therapy. Results involve a decreased rate of tumor growth, improved state of ketosis and lower blood glucose concentration.

A hyperbaric oxygen chamber helps to remove two of the major physical problems which contribute to cancer: lack of oxygen to cells and excessive acidity. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment reduces cellular hypoxia, or the deprivation of oxygen to cells and therefore also decreases acidic conditions.

Unlike cancer cells, healthy cells cannot flourish without an adequate oxygen supply. Hyperbaric oxygen chamber therapy is an effective strategy to increase the oxygen flow to all cells and organs and also buffer PH of your body’s environment to better equip cells to maintain their normal functions.

  1.  Juicing Greens & Eating Sprouts

Juicing is a highly effective strategy to flood a tumor ridden body with powerful nutrients and antioxidants which equip the immune system in the fight against cancer. Juicing fruits and vegetables aids the digestive tract with a plethora of phytonutrients which can be easily absorbed at a higher rate than the same raw or cooked foods when consumed.

Eating sprouts is another great way to naturally boost the anti-cancer properties of cells by supplying them with a rich abundance of natural antioxidants that inhibit cancer growth. Only a small concentration of sprouts from vegetables such as kale, broccoli and cauliflower is required daily to contribute protective properties.

Sprouts support natural enzyme processes and cellular protective properties including the fight against inflammtion, free radicals and cancer. Nutrients found in sprouts include: Vitamins such as K and C, Amino acids, Minerals, Beta-carotene, chlorophll, gluthatione, sulforaphane in particular helps stimulate the body’s natural detoxification pathways to remove toxins and prevent the accumulation of further carcinogens. Quercertin is yet another nutrient found in sprouts which has been shown to promote apoptosis, or cell death and inhibit the continued spread of cancer.

Although juice is most dense in nutrients and cancer protective properties when fresh pressed and immediately consumed, preparing juice in advance is also advantageous. Be sure to store juice in an airtight container and in a dark part of your fridge to ensure optimal nutritional benefits. Both light and air oxidize foods immediately after being cut and should be minimized.

  1.  Fermented Foods

Fermented foods are loaded with healthy bacteria which play a major role in regulating the health of your entire body and mind. Individuals who harbor harmful microbes in their gut micro biomes are at an increased risk of metabolic disorders, disease and various cancers. Some of these cancers include: Colorectal carcinoma, pancreatic cancer; and Gallbladder cancer.

Fermented foods contain a type of bacteria known as bacteriodetes which produce a product called butyrate necessary for health. Butyrate has anti-cancer properties and also performs enzymatic responsibilities in assisting the gut in breaking down starches. Some of the best fermented foods which you should incorporate into your daily diet include grass-fed yogurt, kefir, coconut water kefir and cultured vegetables such as sauerkraut.

  1.  Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a critical component of central nervous system responsible for both development and function. Vitamin D continues to astound researchers in its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities and is associated with reducing autoimmune complications through limiting natural killer cell secretion during certain conditions such as a woman’s pregnancy.

Perhaps one of the most important functions of vitamin D is its ability to regulate inflammatory pathways associated with cancer and is especially crucial in the proper development of an immune system regulating protein known as GcMAF.

Vitamin D is required for the body to synthesize GcMAF. GcMAF influences the ability of tumor cells to proliferate and for the very same reason also can reverse the effect of certain cancers including breast cancer. Clinical studies support the ability of GcMAF to treat symptoms of a variety of cancers including bladder, ovarian, head and neck and other lymphomas.

  1.  Turmeric

Clinical studies have shown that herbs like curcumin which is created from turmeric are powerful anti-inflammatory agents and can treat cancer symptoms. In fact, these studies show that turmeric exhibits similar inflammation prevention control as do synthetic drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin and over 570 research studies support the ability of curcumin to have anti-cancer properties.

This spice makes an easy addition to a meat marinade or to your favorite sauces especially those rich in good fats such as grass-fed milk which increases its absorption. Curcumin increases the concentration of other important antioxidants such as glutathione and exhibits a strong anti-inflammatory effect on cells by limiting the damage of oxidative stress to organs.

Canadian Doctors Assist 2,000 to Die

Nearly 2,000 people with incurable diseases were helped to die by Canadian doctors in the first year since the country legalised medically-assisted suicide.

From the time Ottawa passed the legislation in June 2016 to June 30, 2017, 1,982 people ended their lives in this way, according to Health Canada in a report published on Friday.

Most had cancer, the agency said.

Extrapolating from the data collected for the first half of 2017, the number of assisted deaths is expected to rise but remain at less than two percent of all deaths nationwide this year — “consistent with international experience,” it said a statement.

Doctor-assisted suicide in Canada is reserved for adults with serious health problems who want to end their suffering, and consists of a lethal injection in hospital or at home.

Days after the law was changed to allow for the practice, it was challenged in court in an attempt to expand it to include Canadians who suffer from a wasting disease but who are not facing imminent death.

These include people suffering from spinal muscular atrophy, multiple sclerosis, spinal stenosis, locked in syndrome, traumatic spinal injury, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.

Canadian bishops have instructed their clergy to deny religious funerals for deceased persons who chose a doctor-assisted suicide.

Cure for Cancer: Understanding Herbal Claims Versus Chemotherapy By Franka Osakwe

  • Herbal Therapy Needs Further Examination, Clinical Trials-Durosinmi-Etti
  • Chemotherapy Cannot Differentiate Cancer Cells From Normal Ones-Salako
  • Breast Cancer, Most Common In Nigeria

When Roger McCreath, was diagnosed with prostate cancer, his world nearly grinded to a stop, but he gave no room for that to come to pass. Instead, he battled the scourge using a cocktail of herbal and conventional treatments.

Roger, now a holistic health coach, and owner of Roger McCreath Health, in the United States, who told The Guardian how he overcame cancer, said natural herbs and therapies can be used as supportive treatment options during cancer treatment.

“Having lived through my own cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment, I can attest to a combined treatment regiment-conventional and holistic. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and treated with radiation therapy, and I also utilised holistic herbs to support my treatment regimen.

“I used traditional herbs from the Maroons of Jamaica, such as chaney root, black nerve wys, sarasparilla, cayenne, myrrh, ginger, herbal bitters and turmeric,” he said.

McCreath continued: “In addition to the above, I practiced daily meditation to improve mindfulness and facilitate healing,” he said.

Although there has not been significant clinical trials to demonstrate the efficacy of herbal treatment, the cancer survivour advised the use of a combination of conventional and holistic treatment for best result.

“There are many herbs that can be used to support a cancer treatment regimen. As holistic healers, we look at the whole person; the body, soul, mind…when we see a problem in the body, there is always going to be a problem in the mind, and it’s just our subconscious expressing itself…so, I believe that chemotherapy can cure to an extent, but true healing comes in treating the source,” McCreath said.

He added: “When we talk about chemotherapy and radiation, the danger is the killing of good cells, because science has not perfected the treatment.”

Even though experts have warned that there is need to be cautious when using some herbs along with some chemotherapy drugs to avoid interactions, through clinical trials, some natural herbs have been found to have cancer killing properties, which is why the idea of complete healing, using these herbs, would sound like melody to cancer patients desperately searching for a cure.

Nowadays, the Internet is awash with claims of cure for cancer using natural herbs and other unconventional therapies. Interestingly, some of these claims condemn outright, chemotherapy and radiotherapy describing them as western scams and very harmful to the body.

But how true are claims that cancer sufferers can depend exclusively on herbs for cure, without recourse to chemotherapy and other conventional healing methods?

A consultant in Clinical and Radiation Oncology, Professor Francis Durosinmi-Etti, said chemotherapy is not a scam, but not all types of cancers respond to chemotherapy alone.

Durosinmi-Etti, who is also Chairman, Cancer Aid Foundation (CAF) Nigeria, said some other additional types of treatment have to be given alongside chemotherapy, such as radiotherapy, surgery, hormone therapy, in order to eliminate the cancer cells completely.

The medical practitioner, who is also President, Cancer Education and Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria (CEAFON), added that some herbal therapies may complement conventional treatment.

He, however, warned that some herbs have been known to interact with some drugs, hence the need to always consult a physician when taking any herbal treatment.

Explaining the use of herbs in cancer cure, Durosinmi-Etti said, “Some of the chemotherapy drugs we currently use for treating cancer are derived from plants; flowers or even the bark of some trees. However, herbal therapy as we know it in Nigeria needs to be further examined and clinical trials carried out. I have no doubt that we will be able to demonstrate the effectiveness of some of these herbs, though I have no personal experience of using our local herbs in treating cancer. We need to carry out proper studies to evaluate some of these herbs. Who knows whether the common green grass we trample upon everyday may provide the cure for cancer. We need to carry out studies and I am personally interested in collaborating with others, especially our local herbalists in this field of research.”

For cancer patients tinkering with the idea of abandoning chemotherapy and the conventional treatment completely for herbal cure, Dr. Durosinmi-Etti, sounds a note of warning against taking such a dangerous route.

“I will not advise anyone to depend on herbal drugs as cure for cancer alone, because there’s no proven evidence yet regarding these herbs. This has often prevented patients from reporting early at the hospital. By the time they come around, it is already too late to manage. Nowadays, we have targeted therapies, which will find and block the pathways of the tumour, which is why patients need to present early for treatment,” he noted.
Clinical studies done on some common herbs and spices such as ginger, aloe vera, milk thistle, cloves and tumeric found them to contain substances that can help wrestle cancer.

One study done on licorice root (glycyrrhiza glbra), found that the root actually stopped the proliferation of breast cancer cells in humans. It was also said to provide protection from DNA damage often caused by carcinogens. Licorice root is said to contain polyphenols that encourage apoptosis (automatic death) in cancer cells. However, Licorice root has been linked to some side effects such as high blood pressure, and muscle weakness.

In hospitals today, chemotherapies are mainly used to attack cancer, alongside other treatments forms, such as radiotherapies and surgeries. Chemotherapy, which is the use of chemicals to destroy cancer cells has been found to have some side effects, which includes destroying some good cells in the body.

In spite of these limitations, a Consultant Radiation and Clinical Oncologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Dr. Omolola Salako, said chemotherapy is an effective and available treatment option in many cases of cancer such as breast cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, but the downside of chemotherapy is that it cannot differentiate cancer cells from normal cells.

“Chemotherapy targets fast dividing cells, which is peculiar to both cancer cells and some normal cells, like the skin and blood cells. The effects of chemotherapy on the normal cells leads to side effects, such as hair loss, low blood levels, etc. However, if administered by a cancer specialist, these side effects can be controlled effectively. Many patients achieve control of their disease, and a few achieve complete cure because of chemotherapy,” she said.

According to her, chemotherapy is often administered through many routes – by mouth, intravenously, etc, and is not a scam.

Asked if the herbal therapy can work against cancer, she said: “Chemotherapy drugs are made from natural plants. Natural herbs have shown promise in providing relief for symptoms, managing side effects, and helping with supportive care, but herbs as the sole option in cancer management has not been authenticated by scientific research; hence, it is not practiced in cancer treatment centres. A lot of research, investment, and collaborations are required to explore and establish the benefits of herbal/traditional medicine in cancer management.”

She explained that cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence, but becomes one when access to treatment (radiotherapy, chemotherapy etc) is constrained by its availability and affordability, which is a common scenario.

“Thousands of homes today have someone living with cancer. Every year, more than 0.1 million people develop cancer, and over 70, 000 people die of cancer. The cancer burden is huge as it leads to disability, protracted time off work, loss of income, devastating effects and sometimes disintegration of families or premature deaths. The lost years of life, and productivity, caused by cancer is a drain on the economy. The total economic impact of premature deaths and disability from cancer in Nigeria has not been calculated, but we can estimate it to be in hundreds of millions of naira.

Salako, who is also the Executive Director, Sebeccly Cancer Care disclosed that, “The most common cancer in Nigeria is breast cancer. More than 50 per cent of all cancers in women is from the breast. The second most common is cervical cancer. The third, fourth, and fifth most common are liver, prostate, and colon cancers. Liver and colon cancers can affect both men and women, while prostate cancer only occurs in men,” she noted.

The cancer expert regretted that over 70 per cent of cancer patients do not go to the hospital on time, a development she said seriously limits their chances of getting a cure, even with the best cancer specialists, facilities or chemotherapy agents.

But one of the reasons why cancer patients run away from hospitals and conventional treatments is the high cost of treatment.

In confirming this, Dr. Durosinmi-etti said, “one drug for breast cancer could cost an estimated N1m. By the time you pay for 12 months, you must have spent about N12m. And this is apart from the money you will pay for the laboratory diagnosis and the radiotherapy.”

Although the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), has started taking up some of the costs, he said just very little have benefitted from the NHIS. “And even when there’s money, the machines are not working. The Federal Government needs to do more to see that the prices of these drugs are further reduced. Cancer is a major health issue in Nigeria. It is reaching epidemic proportions,” he said.

For solution to the increasing cancer cases in the country, Dr. Salako, said the implementation of a national awareness and screening for cancer, as prevention and early detection programme will prevent at least 30,000 cancers yearly in the country.

Also, there is need to optimise and equip cancer treatment centres to deliver quality and prompt care, and the implementation of a cancer care fund, either through the health insurance, or another financial mechanism, which will discount cost of care for patients, she added.

“In celebration of the Breast Cancer Awareness month, Sebeccly Cancer Care is launching her #TimeToScreen unit. This is a comprehensive cervical cancer screening and treatment centre. Screening services are free for all women, courtesy of the ACT Foundation and Access Bank. In addition, we are distributing a captivating movie called Purple Hearts, which tells the story of a couple, who after many years of waiting to conceive finally got pregnant. Their happy story was, however, complicated by a breast cancer diagnosis. It is a heart-warming and fun movie, which was made in partnership with Blue Light Productions.

According to the experts, changes in our lifestyles will help prevent many forms of cancer.

“By avoiding cigarette smoking, we can prevent 33 per cent of cancers related to tobacco smoking, avoiding or reducing alcohol consumption will avert three to five per cent of cancers. Avoiding harmful sun rays will prevent over 80 per cent of skin cancers in our albinos, who must be taught early in life that exposure to the sun is their greatest enemy. Lack of exercise, obesity are known and avoidable risk factors; avoiding multiple sex partners and having protected sex when inevitable will prevent cancer of the cervix due to Humanpapilloma Virus, while regular medical checks like self breast examination and other age-related breast examinations will help prevent breast cancer. Regular check and screening of the prostate gland by men will help reassure them, or if necessary, ensure early and curative treatment,” Dr. Durosinmi-Etti added.

Varsity Don Warns Against Oral Sex

A professor, Adegboyega Fawole of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, UITH, has warned that Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) has been found in the throat of people engaging in oral sex.

Mr. Fawole, who is of the Department of Gynaecology, UITH, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Ilorin on Tuesday that HPV was mostly sexually transmitted.

He said that the virus caused almost all cases of cervical cancer and could cause genital warts and anal cancer.

“Oral sex has been linked with an increased risk of acquiring HPV infection in the mouth and with an increased risk of developing oral cancers that are caused by HPV.

“However, sex in general has also been linked with these risks,” he said.

The gynaecologist warned that those engaging in oral sex were twice more likely to have oral HPV infection than those who did not engage in oral sex.

Mr. Fawole, however, said there was no need for individuals in monogamous relationships to restrict their sexual activities if the pair was in good health.

He called on people to always go for screening and check-up to guard against cancer of any kind.

(NAN)