There’s an organization that offers cancer survivors free photo sessions and free prints, throughout most of the world.
They are called Shoots for a Cure, and if you go to their website you will see pictures of a three-year-old child in remission, sleeping with his head resting on his mother’s shoulder. Images of couples in parks, smiling. And a strong-jawed woman wearing boxer gloves.
The portraits and accompanying text posted on this site tell victory stories of people who’ve just finished treatments, or are nearly done. Or they capture survivors living life as they push through chemo or radiation.
“I would encourage people to consider doing this, even though this is not an easy time for them,” says Pamela Carey, a Shoots for a Cure photographer.
“If things are going well, you want to always remember how strong you are and what you are capable of overcoming. And if things don’t go well, families will need those pictures. It’s like freezing special moments.”
For Bettina Camcigil, her photo shoot was about reclaiming her past and celebrating her present. She did it in a unique way. Read More
We hear talk about optimal pH levels, which is about balancing our body’s alkalinity and acidity. And there’s a buzz around whether we should eat an alkaline diet for best pH levels. Some researchers say our bodies naturally regulate pH to keep us alkaline; others say we need to watch what we eat. Then there is the question, can an alkaline diet reduce our chance for cancer or recurrence? I spoke to Carol Johnston, associate director of the Nutrition Program at Arizona State University, for her take on alkaline diets.
“The body does automatically balance pH, but at the expense of bone. If the pH of fluids is lowered (becomes more acidic), bone breaks down, and it releases carbonate to neutralize these fluids,” says Carol. She advises an ongoing acidic state weakens bones over time.
Still, while research shows an alkaline diet is good for bone as we age, Carol is not among scientists who are convinced of a cancer and alkalinity connection. But an alkaline diet pumps us in other ways. Read More
She calls herself “Olbat”—(as in “Ole Bat”)—not because of her age, but because she loves the mysterious, night creatures.
“Bats are fascinating, smart and kind. And they bring us medicines by pollinating and dispersing seeds,” says Barb Graham. She’s been mesmerized ever since she took a jaunt to a sanctuary called Bat World, en route to her son in Texas.
If it’s intriguing and new to her, whatever it is, it might hook the 78-year-old woman—even more so since she was diagnosed with lung cancer.
“I’ve always been curious, always gone the way the wind blows. But especially now. I figure if I like something, I might as well learn about it, or try it.”
One of Barb’s first bucket list conquests was the Kawasaki Vulcan she bought at age 75. Read More
Cancer is personal, but still the subject comes up in business—especially at work. We have at least some control over boss’ and co-workers’ reactions—to hopefully get treated the way we want. Bud Bilanich author of 19 books on life and career, and career coach to Fortune 100 companies, shares ideas—including how he approached his business world after he got thyroid cancer.
“I was open with my clients. I had to change up my schedule for surgery, so I thought it was best to take this approach. I have good relationships with them, and being vague wouldn’t be in keeping with how I manage myself and my business.”
Bud suggests anyone who’s faced cancer does the same, whether or not they get the reaction he did when he broke the news, which was a robust round of applause.
“Two days before my surgery, I was running a seminar out of town. As I walked to the podium the woman who introduced me mentioned what was around the bend for me. The reaction was, ‘He’s meeting his commitment in the face of something traumatic,’” says Bud.
What if you don’t get a standing ovation when you announce your diagnosis, or when you explain what may need to be different now? Read More
You may have heard it: green tea pumps your immune system, and if you drink enough, it has cancer-fighting ability. Growing data suggests white tea may be even more powerful.
White tea has been shown to destroy organisms causing infection and other diseases (Pace University Milton Schiffenbauer) and to be especially concentrated in polyphenols, which destroy cancer-causing free radicals (making it harder for damaged DNA to repair itself and up cancer risk).
“All teas may have significant health benefits, but white and green are the ones I want to make sure that people are drinking; they are most abundant in potent cancer-fighting polyphenols,” says Donald I. Abrams, MD, UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine.
What’s the difference in taste? Read More
Of the thousands of cancer survivors Dr. Kathryn Schmitz talks to, low- grade pain and fatigue are the most common barriers to their exercising.
“But these are actually reasons to do it; physical activity usually lessens pain, makes you stronger, and at least gives you more control. It’s also associated with better survival rates,” says Dr. Schmitz, the lead investigator in the PAL trials, showing exercise benefits cancer patients with lymphedema—people who’d heard, stay out of the gym and off the track.
But when do you need to back off? And when do you press on the accelerator?
Before answering that question let’s see how exercise can help with pain. Read More
If you’re an older cancer patient or someone you love is, know that you typically must consider other existing conditions when choosing the best cancer care plan. This article will talk about what to take into account, and finding your best fit.
“The care plan should depend on patients’ goals—whether it’s cure, to extend their lives, and/ or manage symptoms,” says Dr. Lodovico Balducci, an oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center and program leader of Moffitt’s senior program.
How to know if older patients should consider cancer drugs … Read More
Eating right may not be at the top of your priorities list when you’re going through cancer treatments. You’re just trying to get through the days and weeks. Here are ideas for nourishing ourselves, and painlessly, while we deal with some of the “gifts” treatments lay on us.
If you get mouth sores
Eat soft, bland foods that are cold or room temperature. Protein shakes, soups, pureed vegetables, fruits and scrambled eggs are great, too, says Simone Gloger, registered holistic nutritionist at Dukan Diet. Simone also suggests frozen fruit as a cool, soothing substitute for popsicles.
Grated ginger in pureed soups or made into a tea may help. Dry, whole grain bread, crackers and baked potatoes settle the stomach. “Outside of these recommendations and the vitamin B I (vitamin B deficiency leads to nausea), if a patient still isn’t feeling like eating, I suggest favorite comfort foods! This will discourage protein energy malnutrition and cachexia (a metabolic state where the body breaks down),” says Simone.
When foods taste different … Read More
We’ve heard it repeatedly: we can lose or manage our weight by nixing old habits and picking up better ones. Easier said than done, especially after cancer. Treatments add water weight, but they also slow our livers, and the liver is our fat-burning organ. So I talked to Simone Gloger, registered holistic nutritionist at Dukan Diet, for tips on saying goodbye to old ways painlessly—and for making new ideas stick.
Replacement diets (like a bar or shake to substitute a ‘regular’ meal) teach us what a portion looks like, and help us realize that being stuffed is not synonymous with being satisfied. Simone recommends shakes.
“Replacement drinks are easy to prepare and usually easier to digest. They provide a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals in a calorie-controlled meal,” says Simone, though she advises to check labels for sugar and preservatives, especially with non-liquid products.
For more nutrients and to ease constipation from medications, you can include frozen fruit, green leafy vegetables and good fats like chia seeds or flax seeds for omega 3 fats.
How can I trip the switch that tempts me to go with bad ideas? Read More
by Janet Egerton
Enjoy this guest blog by one bold woman.
Surviving cancer is one of the greatest triumphs anyone could face. Being a long-term survivor of a terminal cancer called mesothelioma, I should know.
Many doctors are amazed I am still here and to be honest I am amazed myself. I have no idea how I keep dodging the bullet of doom, and I hope that I will continue to do so for years to come.
My journey started badly in 2000 when I was struck down with mesothelioma, although at that time and for another four years it went undiagnosed. Young women (well nearly young I was 40) didn’t get what was then considered An Old Man’s Disease.
So my diagnosed journey commenced on 26th August 2004, when I was given a name to blame all my pain on, mesothelioma. We had to ask for the spelling as neither my husband nor I could pronounce it.