Articles on alternative cancer treatments

Follow This to Keep Away Heart Ailments and Cancer

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
A balanced diet is important to keep away lifestyle diseases. There are no proven ways to prevent cancer, but you can reduce your risk of getting it. To lower your risk of Heart Disorders and heart attack, you should try including the following in your daily routine.Diet Alterations to Reduce the Risk:No single food or supplement can prevent cancer or heart disease from developing. Eating a healthy balanced diet may lower your risk of developing cancer. A balanced diet will help make sure your body gets all the nutrients it needs. A healthy balanced diet contains:• Plenty of fruits and vegetables: try to eat at least five portions a day • Cereals and pulses. Choose wholegrain foods whenever possible as these contain more fibre • A mix of some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein. • Dairy foodsA reduction in cancer risk has no direct link with any specific type of food but Heart Ailments require some diet alterations along with a balanced diet. Some diet alterations that should be adopted even by a healthy person to maintain heart health and reduce heart risks are:• Foods low in saturated and Trans fats. Saturated fats are found in some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods. Trans fats are found in many fried and processed foods. Both types of fat raise your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol levels. • Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. Fat found in fish and olive oil. Omega-3 fatty acids lower the risk of heart attack, in part by helping prevent blood clots. • Foods high in fiber. Fiber is found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. A fiber-rich diet not only helps lower your bad cholesterol level, but also provides nutrients that may help protect against CHD. • Foods low in salt and sugar. A low-salt diet can help you manage your blood pressure. A low-sugar diet can help you prevent weight gain and control diabetes and pre-diabetes.Include Physical ActivityYou don't have to be an athlete to lower your risk of Heart Disorders. The more active you are, the more you'll benefit. The General recommendation of physical activity is: • Adults should do at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week. • Children should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day. A great way to encourage physical activity is to do something as a family. • Maintain a Healthy WeightBeing overweight or obese can increase your risk of Heart Disorders and cancers, such as: • bowel cancer • pancreatic cancer • esophageal cancer • breast cancer if you are a woman who has been through the menopause • cancer of the womb (uterus) • kidney cancerFollowing a healthy diet and being physically active can help you maintain your weight. To lose weight, you need to watch your daily calorie intake and indulge in some physical activity. Quitting Smoking and alcohol consumptionSmoking can raise your risk of CHD and heart attack and worsen other CHD risk factors. Children who have parents who smoke are more likely to smoke themselves. Reducing smoking greatly cuts the risk of developing lung cancer.Drinking alcohol is known to increase your risk of some cancers, including: • mouth cancer • pharynx and larynx cancer • oesophageal cancer • colorectal cancer in men • breast cancerKnow your bodyIt's important to know your body and recognize any changes, such as lumps or unexplained bleeding in case of cancer, and chest pain or congestion in case of Heart Disorders. You should not hesitate to get it checked by a physician.Managing StressStress is a major factor for heart diseases and cancer. Find outlets to relieve your stress. Talking to close ones about your feelings or concerns can greatly help relieve stress. Learning how to cope with stress can improve your emotional and physical health. Regular physical activity, a balanced diet, and deep breathing also can help relieve stress.

How Cancer Scare Can Change Your Life

Dr. Sandeep Nayak, Surgical Oncologist
Coping with cancerReceiving a diagnosis of cancer is probably one of the worst things happening to anybody. But, it need not be that scary. You are not alone. When you are diagnosed with cancer you are facing a total new and unknown world. Whether this is your first time with cancer, or you’re experiencing a recurrence, it’s most important to remember that you are not alone. There are many like you who are going through this treatment and successfully so. Take Emotional HelpEveryone deals with a cancer diagnosis differently. You could approach the others suffering from cancer to understand what they go through and prepare yourself for the future steps. It is better to approach a group than an individual as they provide you a broader perspective. There are many help groups that are actively involved in such activities and help new patients to cope with their disease.  You will be vulnerable at this time and it is important to avoid, as far as possible to make any key decisions about your treatment, while you are in the state of shock. Most people report that they could not retain or remember what the doctor told them.Treatment of Cancer.Many don’t know that cancer can be treated and in many cases it can be cured. Your doctor would advise you a combination of surgery, chemotherapy (injections) and radiotherapy. Sometimes other forms of treatment are advised. It is important that you go through all the subjected treatment without skipping any. It may take a few months to complete all of it. Hope for Cure.While cancer may be one of the biggest challenges you will ever face, there are reasons to be hopeful. Treatments for cancer has become more sophisticated and health professionals continue to deepen the understanding of cancer.Cure is possible for many cancers today. And beside medical treatments you have many other resources to draw on as well for your healing, e.g. complimentary medicine, integrative medicine, alternative therapies, yoga. Your Cancer Mentor, friends, family, your spiritual community or and other follow patients and survivors also there for you, to support you throughout your healing journey.

Foods That Keep Cancer at Bay

Dr. Priyam Sharma, Dietitian/Nutritionist
The dreaded 'C' word can attack in many ways, but did you know that your body too, has its ways to prevent and fight cancer? Follow these five simple dietary changes to build up immunity, resistance, and longevity.  Wholesome grains By choosing whole grain and bran over white flour, you'll be making a small change with a big benefit.The high fiber content will cleanse the system and keep your insides fighting fit.Fit and fruity A bowlful of fruits, like apples and pears with their skin on, add to your fiber intake. Most fruits contain phytochemicals and antioxidants that are cell-friendly.Blessed broccoli Broccoli is a particularly heroic one, full of protective enzymes. Not only does it detoxify against dangerous elements, it also fights bad bacteria. Just don't overcook and kill the nutrients!Beat the meat Regular intake of red meat is an absolute no-no. They're full of fat and very heavy to digest. White meats like chicken and turkey are the smarter choices. Better still, go fish! Oils to go with The lower the fat content the better, so go for olive or canola oil rather than normal vegetable or sunflower oil. Limit deep fried food or cut it out completely if you can.       An overall healthy diet will keep you a few steps ahead of cancer. Eating right will reduce the risk of many other diseases and ailments too. It's worth developing a taste for the right foods; they could save your life.  

Don't Believe in These 6 Hyped Cancer Myths!

Dr. Sandeep Nayak, Surgical Oncologist
Try a Google search on ‘cancer’ and you’ll be hit with millions of web pages. And same is the case with YouTube videos. Not only does an online search brings up a wealth of credible information about the disease and its treatment, but also pages spreading common myths and misconceptions. So how do we know what’s accurate when some of these myths can sound perfectly logical?Certain popular notions about how cancer starts and spreads—though scientifically wrong—can seem to make sense, especially when those ideas are rooted in old theories. But wrong ideas about cancer can lead to needless worry and even affect good prevention and treatment decisions. It is always advisable to check the source of the article. Medical professionals writing an article or blog on their specialties would always be more reliable than an unknown source. Here are some common cancer myths and misconceptions:Myth 1: Cancer is a man-made, modern diseaseCancer is not just a ‘modern’, man-made disease of Western society. Cancer has existed as long as humans have. There is evidence of cancer in historical scriptures and archaeologists have found remains of people who died of cancer thousands of years ago. Our lifestyle and longevity might have increased the risk of cancer.Myth 2: Superfoods prevent cancerBlueberries, beetroot, broccoli, garlic, green tea… the list goes on. Despite thousands of websites claiming otherwise, there’s no such thing as a ‘superfood’. It’s a marketing term used to sell products and has no scientific basis. These foods rich antioxidants may reduce the risk, but cannot completelyprevent it.  Myth 3: ‘Acidic’ diets cause cancerThis is biological nonsense. True, cancer cells can’t live in an overly alkaline environment, but neither can any of the other cells in your body. There’s no good evidence to prove that diet can manipulate whole body pH, or that it has an impact on cancer. However, it is true that the acid secreted by stomachhas a role in reducing cancer risk. Myth 4: Cancer is a fungus – and sodium bicarbonate is the cureProponents of this theory say that cancer is caused by infection by the fungus candida, and that tumours are actually the body’s attempt at protecting itself from this infection. As far as we are aware, there have been no published clinical trials of sodium bicarbonate as a treatment for cancer. We do wish it was that simple.Myth 5: There’s a miracle cancer cure…From cannabis to coffee enemas, the internet is awash with videos and personal anecdotes about ‘natural’ ‘miracle’ cures for cancer. Some wild fruits have been portrayed as miracle cure for cancer. Medical science specialises in extracting the chemicals available in naturally occurring in the environment to see the effect on cancer cells and make to available to patients. Many of the treatments available to days have been derived from naturally occurring chemicals. Myth 6: Alternate medicine can cure cancer without side effect…Contrary to popular belief, alternate medicines are not side effect free. Many of the products used in alternative medicine have heavy metals which are poisonous and can affect the function of vital organs. The naturally occurring chemicals in plants that have medicinal property need to be extracted to give best results. When these products are administered without purification, the other chemicals in the product can cause severe side effects.Modern medicine may still be lagging behind in the treatment of some cancers. However, what is provided by modern medicine is tested, researched and documented. It is important that the patients don’t take treatment based in myths and loose valuable time when cancer could be cured. 

Prostate Cancer - Risk Factors, Signs And Treatment

Dr. Anish Kumar Gupta, Andrologist
What is Prostate Cancer?Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. When cancer starts in the prostate, it is called prostate cancer. What Is the Prostate?The prostate is a part of the male reproductive system, which includes the penis, prostate, and testicles. The prostate is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). It produces fluid that makes up a part of semen. As a man ages, the prostate tends to increase in size. This can cause the urethra to narrow and decrease urine flow. This is called benign prostatic hyperplasia, and it is not the same as prostate cancer. Men may also have other prostate changes that are not cancer.What Are the Risk Factors?Research has found risk factors that increase your chances of getting prostate cancer. These risk factors include:Age: The older a man is, the greater his risk for getting prostate cancer.Family history: Certain genes (the functional and physical units of heredity passed from parent to offspring) that you inherited from your parents may affect your prostate cancer risk. Currently, no single gene is sure to raise or lower your risk of getting prostate cancer. However, a man with a father, brother, or son who has had prostate cancer is two to three times more likely to develop the disease himself.Race: Prostate cancer is more common in some racial and ethnic groups than in others, but medical experts do not know why. Researchers are trying to determine the causes of prostate cancer and whether it can be prevented. They do not yet agree on the factors that can influence a man’s risk of developing the disease, either positively or negatively.Some drugs lower the risk of getting prostate cancer, but whether they can help lower the risk of dying from prostate cancer is still unclear. Regular use of multivitamins has not been proven to increase or decrease the risk of early or localized prostate cancer. Talk to your doctor about multivitamin use.What Are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?Different people have different symptoms for prostate cancer. Some men do not have symptoms at all.Some symptoms of prostate cancer are:Difficulty starting urination.Weak or interrupted flow of urine.Frequent urination, especially at night.Difficulty emptying the bladder completely.Pain or burning during urination. Blood in the urine or semen.Pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn’t go away.Painful ejaculation. If you have any symptoms that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away. Keep in mind that these symptoms may be caused by conditions other than prostate cancer.Should I get screened for Cancer Prostate ?Informed Decision Making - Most urologists support informed decision making. Informed decision making occurs when a man:Understands the nature and risk of prostate cancer.Understands the risks of, benefits of, and alternatives to screening.Participates in the decision to be screened or not at a level he desires.Makes a decision consistent with his preferences and values. We need better ways to screen for and treat prostate cancer. Until we make these discoveries, and even when we do, men and their families will turn to trusted health care professionals to help them make informed decisions.How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?If your prostate specific antigen (PSA) test or digital rectal exam (DRE) is abnormal, doctors may do more tests to find or diagnose prostate cancer. Transrectal ultrasound: A probe the size of a finger is inserted into the rectum, and high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) are bounced off the prostate to create a picture of the prostate called a sonogram. This test may be used during a biopsy.Biopsy: A small piece of tissue is removed from the prostate and looked at under a microscope to see if there are cancer cells.Gleason score: This score is determined when the biopsy is looked at under the microscope. If there is a cancer, the score indicates how likely it is to spread. The score ranges from 2–10. The lower the score, the less likely it is that the cancer will spread.Staging If prostate cancer is diagnosed, other tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the prostate or to other parts of the body. This process is called staging. Whether the cancer is only in the prostate, or has spread outside the prostate, determines your stage of prostate cancer. The stage of prostate cancer tells doctors what kind of treatment you need.How Is Prostate Cancer Treated?Different types of treatment are available for prostate cancer. You and your doctor will decide which treatment is right for you. Some common treatments are:Active surveillance. Closely monitoring the prostate cancer by performing prostate specific antigen (PSA) and digital rectal exam (DRE) tests regularly, and treating the cancer only if it grows or causes symptoms.Surgery. A prostatectomy is an operation where doctors remove the prostate. Radical prostatectomy removes the prostate as well as the surrounding tissue.Radiation therapy. Using high-energy rays (similar to X-rays) to kill the cancer. There are two types of radiation therapy—External radiation therapy. A machine outside the body directs radiation at the cancer cells or Internal radiation therapy (brachytherapy). Radioactive seeds or pellets are surgically placed into or near the cancer to destroy the cancer cells. Brachytherapy is not available in IndiaHormone therapy. Blocks cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow.Other therapies used in the treatment of prostate cancer that are still under investigation includeCryotherapy. Placing a special probe inside or near the prostate cancer to freeze and kill the cancer cells. Not available in India.Chemotherapy. Using special drugs to shrink or kill the cancer. The drugs can be pills you take or medicines given through your veins, or, sometimes, both.Biological therapy. Works with your body's immune system to help it fight cancer or to control side effects from other cancer treatments. Side effects are how your body reacts to drugs or other treatments.High-intensity focused ultrasound. This therapy directs high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) at the cancer to kill cancer cells.Many kinds of complementary and alternative medicine have not been tested scientifically and may not be safe. Talk to your doctor before you start any kind of complementary or alternative medicine.Which Treatment Is Right For Me?Choosing the treatment that is right for you may be hard. Talk to your cancer doctor about the treatment options available for your type and stage of cancer. Your doctor can explain the risks and benefits of each treatment and their side effects.Sometimes people get an opinion from more than one cancer doctor. This is called a “second opinion.” Getting a second opinion may help you choose the treatment that is right for you.

This Is One of the Most Common Yet Unspoken Side Effects of Breast Cancer Treatment

Ms. Samara Mahindra, Dietitian/Nutritionist
What is Lymphedema? The lymphatic system consists of a fluid called lymph, which flows throughout our entire body for detoxification (think of your very own drainage system!). But this system is mostly compromised when one undergoes cancer treatment i.e, radiation and surgery of lymph nodes, which commonly leads to lymphedema. Lymphedema is localized fluid retention and tissue swelling caused by a damage to the lymph nodes. It’s one of the adverse effects of treatment which can happen to both men and women.Even though it’s a side effect of treatment, many doctors fail to educate cancer patients about the occurrence and the prevention of lymphedema. The patient is totally lost when it occurs suddenly.In women, it’s most prevalent in the upper limbs after breast cancer surgery, in particular after an axillary lymph node dissection, occurring in the arm on the side of the body in which the surgery is performed. Between 38% and 89% of breast cancer patients suffer from lymphedema due to axillary lymph node dissection and/or radiation.Many people also need radiation therapy in the chest area and/or underarm because of the cancer spreading. Radiation can cut off or damage some of the nodes and vessels through which the lymph moves, resulting in the blockage of lymph which causes swelling.Stages of LymphedemaThere are four stages in lymphedema:Stage 0 is a condition where the transport capacity is decreased but the remaining lymph vessels manage to push the lymph through and the swelling is not visible.Stage 1 is the reversible stage where the swelling is evident in the arms and legs.Stage 2 is the irreversible stage in which there is thickening and hardening of the soft tissue and excessive swelling occurs.Stage 3 is called lymphostatic elephantiasis. Over here, there is severe hardening of the tissue and swelling which leads to irreversible complications. The volume of the swelling in Stage 2 and 3 can be decreased if treatment is initiated at the right time.Therefore, implementing lymphedema exercises on a regular basis is essential to healing.What exercises can be done?Many research studies have found that exercising regularly i.e, doing yoga, aerobics and mild stretching will decrease the chances of recurrence of lymphedema. The Lymphatic system is between the muscle and the skin, so by expansion, contraction and bouncing the lymph gets stimulated and pumped everywhere.This breast cancer awareness month, we at CARER are trying to raise awareness about the least spoken side effect of treatment, lymphedema. To know more about CARER visit us at has a segment which addresses Lymphedema and has provided you with a lymphedema exercise chart that can be followed and practiced at home because exercising with the right guidance is more effective and beneficial and those who should practice the Lymphedema exercises regularly are the following:Patients who have recently had their lymph nodes removed.Patients who have recently had their lymph nodes irradiated.The exercises which we have provided are simple and easy to do at home. We focus on both upper extremity as well as lower extremity lymphatic exercises along with neck, pelvic, shoulders and arms, which is where the lymphedema occurs. As a lymphedema compression garment is essential, we have also gone one step ahead and provided you the resource of where you can buy the compression garments. Proxima is a specialist in providing its clients with proper attire to protect you from lymphedema or manage and control symptoms. Proxima Speciality Healthcare Since being founded in 2010, has grown into the India’s leading manufacturer and distributor of custom made and readymade medical grade compression garments.The best solution to lymphedema is to plan a lymphedema exercise chart and to follow it regularly. You can also consult a lymphedema exercise specialist to get a personalised exercise chart specifically for you. It’s important for you not to take this side effect of treatment lightly and implement the right measures to make sure you are at no risks of lymphedema.

This Is How We Can Deal With the Physical Changes Cancer Has on Our Bodies

Ms. Samara Mahindra, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Most cancer treatments, specifically radiation, surgery or chemotherapy has major physiological side effects on the body, some of which are fatigue, vomiting, infections and fluctuations in weight. Along with this, it can bring about skin discolourations, hair loss, brittle and discoloured nails, taste changes and many more. Such changes are highly distressing side effects of treatment but can be dealt with in the right manner.Here is how, but before that…What does chemotherapy do?Chemotherapy drugs make your skin dry or cause rashes, while nails become brittle, discoloured and cracked. The major effect is loss of hair. In some traditions and cultures, it’s compulsory that the women have long hair and hence losing it might affect one’s cultural identity, however there is no reason to be embarrassed or let the physical attributes of treatment take a bigger toll on your emotional well-being than needed.What can you do?Use a hypothermia cap (also called as cold cap or cooling cap) during or after treatment which is a therapeutic device used to cool the human scalp. Worn tight on the head, hypothermia caps are made of a synthetic fabric such as neoprene, silicone or polyurethane and filled with a coolant agent such as ice or gel which is frozen to a very cold temperature (-25 to -30 degree Celsius).Hypothermia caps may be useful to prevent hair loss during some kinds of chemotherapy infusions, specifically when taxanes or anthracylines are used. It should not be used when cancer is present in the skin of the scalp or in people with lymphoma or leukemia.You can also wear wigs, hats and turbans which can be very fashionable and affordable. Go to a wig specialist before you begin chemotherapy, so that he/she can suggest a wig for you after your treatment that looks just like your natural hair.CARER program has taken all of this into account and has introduced a grooming section, where our hairstylist and makeup specialist Sabrina Suhail teaches you how to draw eyebrows and tie a trendy turban by yourself.To know more, please visit our website-  CARER Program.What does radiotherapy do?Everyone who undergoes radiotherapy is at risk of skin damage during or after treatment. Radiotherapy is nothing but high energy radiation that shrinks tumours and kills cancer cells by burning them and hence the skin around the area is also affected. The skin is irritated with moderate to severe burning and while the skin eventually heals in most cases, it will not remain as elastic as before. This usually occurs around 10 to 14 days after starting treatment, but can happen later in treatment or after it has been completed.What can you do?After your treatment, it’s necessary that you take care of your skin. You’ll be given specific skincare instructions by the therapeutic radiographers in your hospital.They advise you to do the following:Wash the treated area gently with warm water using a mild and gentle soap. Pat the skin dry with a soft towel.Use a non-perfumed deodorant.Use a water based moisturiser to keep the skin soft.If you want to use anything else on the skin in the affected area, discuss this with your therapeutic radiographer first.Avoid exposing the treated area to extremes of temperature such as hot water bottles, heat pads, saunas or ice packs during treatment.CARER program has provided you with a short and easy to do make-up tutorial by specialist Sabrina Suhail to teach you how to deal with skin discolourations.Its normal to be affected by the physical changes that treatment brings about, but remember such changes are not permanent. There are many options available out there to deal with this effectively and because your emotional well-being is key to your recovery, we made sure we dedicated an entire segment to grooming on the CARER Program. Furthermore the necessary step that can be taken is to consult a hair and skin specialist, talk to therapeutic radiographers or consult a dermatologist. We would be glad if you can also get back to us incase you need to further assistance.“Personality is what makes somebody beautiful” Francois Nars.(How to deal with the physical changes one goes through with surgery and what can be done, will be addressed in detail in our next blog post, so keep an eye out!) 

On World Cancer Day 2016: Let Us Understand Cancer Better!

Dr. Sahil Chheda, Dentist
World Cancer Day is celebrated annually on 4th of February to deepen our understanding of this killer disease. This year the campaign focuses on Target 5 of the World Cancer Declaration that is to reduce stigma and dispel myths about cancer with the tagline, "Debunk the myths".There has been enough research to validate that food acts as the most promising ammunition to fight the battle against cancer. Keeping in with this year's campaign we bring to you six common queries.1) What is the most common cause of cancer?Cancer is the abnormal growth of cells. There are around 100 types of cancer. The most common types of cancer are - Men: Lung, esophagus, stomach, oral and pharyngeal cancers. Women: Cervix and breast cancers.Cancer has many possible causes, the prominent ones being -Genetics: Certain cancers run in families. For example, certain mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes greatly increase a person's risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.Smoking: Cigarette smoking accounts for around 30% of all cancer deaths. It is linked with increased risk of these cancers - lungs, larynx, oral cavity, nose and sinuses, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, cervix, kidney, bladder, ovary, colon, rectum and acute myeloid leukemia. Chewing of tobacco, a carcinogen, is linked to dental caries, gingivitis, oral leukoplakia, and oral cancer.Diet and Lifestyle: Research shows that a poor diet and not having an active lifestyle are the key factors that can increase a person's risk of developing cancer.Three things to keep in mind in order to stay cancer free:- Get to and stay at a healthy weight throughout your life.- Be physically active on a regular basis.- Make healthy food choices with a focus on plant-based foods.2) What are the foods that up the risk of developing cancer?Some cancers like that of the stomach have a more direct relationship with food. Foods which should be consumed in moderation to avoid the incidence of cancer are -Processed meats such as bacon, sausages, lunch meats and hot dogs.Choose fish, poultry, or beans instead of red meat (beef, pork, and lamb).If you eat red meat, choose lean cuts and eat smaller portions.Prepare meat, poultry, and fish by baking, broiling, or poaching rather than by frying or charbroiling.3) What are the preventive foods that guard against cancer?In accordance with the most common types of cancers that our country suffers from, the following foods can help:Oral Cancer: A diet rich in green and yellow vegetables and proper oral hygiene has been shown to offer protection against oral cancer.Breast Cancer: Reduction of high calorie foods, increased intake of fruits and vegetables and regular physical activity is preventive.Lung Cancer: Avoid tobacco and stay free from environmental pollutants. Increase intake of vegetables, fruits and beta carotene.Stomach Cancer: Diets high in fruits and vegetables particularly raw vegetables, citrus fruits, and possibly allium vegetables (onions, leeks, garlic etc.), foods with high levels of carotenoid, high vitamin C intake and consumption of green tea helps prevent stomach cancers.4) What foods help in healing cancer and how?Good nutrition is a key to good health. Foods which are rich in Vitamin C, Beta-carotene and Lycopene are known to protect DNA from damages. Research proves that these foods help in healing cancer -Apple: Apple contains quercetin, epicatechin, anthocyanins and triterpenoids which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help to lower the risk of cancer specifically Colorectal cancers. The apple peel is the most nutritious as the majority of Quercetin (80%) is found in it. Other cancers in which apples are known to heal are lungs, breast and stomach.Blueberries: Blueberries have great antioxidant power, due to the presence of many phytochemicals and flavonoids like Anthocyanins, Ellagic acid and Urolithin. These are known to decrease free radical damage to DNA that leads to cancer. They also decrease the growth and stimulate self-destruction of mouth, breast, colon and prostate cancer cells.Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Green Cabbage, Cauliflower, White Turnip, Kale, Green Collard: The Glucosinolates present in them is converted into isothiocyanates and indoles on consumption, which decreases inflammation, one of the risk factors of cancer. Beta-carotene promotes cell communication that helps control abnormal cell growth.Cherries: Both sweet and tart cherries are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. The dark red color comes from anthocyanins, which are antioxidants.Cranberries: They are high on dietary fiber and vitamin C. They're very high in antioxidant power, most of which comes from phytochemicals like anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins and flavonols, ursolic acid, benzoic acid and hydroxycinnamic acid. Proanthocyanidins and ursolic acid decrease growth and increase self-destruction of several types of cancer in cell studies.Grapefruit: An 18th century hybrid of the pummelo and sweet orange. It is grown mainly in the Americas. Its name derives from the fruit's appearance as it grows: grape-like clusters on trees. Grapefruit contains these naringenin and other flavonoids like limonin and other limonoids, beta-carotene and lycopene (pink and red varieties). Foods containing lycopene lower the risk of prostate cancer.Green Tea: Since ancient times, tea has been used as both beverage and medicine. Both black and green teas contain numerous active ingredients, including polyphenols and flavonoids, which are potent antioxidants. One class of flavonoids called catechins has recently become the focus of widespread study for their anti-cancer potential. Tea is the best source of catechins in the human diet, and green tea contains about three times the quantity of catechins found in black tea. In laboratory studies, green tea has been shown to slow or completely prevent cancer development in colon, liver, breast and prostate cells. Other studies involving green tea have shown similar protective effects in tissues of the lung, skin and digestive tract.Winter Squash/Pumpkins: They contain Alpha and Beta carotene which is converted to Vitamin A inside the body. The yellow pigmented lutein, zeaxanthin helps to filter high energy ultra violet rays that can damage our eye's lens and retina. Lab studies suggest that dietary intake decreases the chances of skin cancer related to exposure from sun. Walnuts: The major actives found in walnut are - Elligtannins, Gamma-tocopherol, Alpha-linolenic acid, phytosterols and Melatonin. Laboratory studies show that consuming walnuts helps in breast cancer, colon tumor and prostate cancer. The studies also show decreased damage to DNA by regular consumption of walnut.5) Do all chemicals, preservatives and additives in foods cause cancer?Additives serve a wide variety of uses. For example, preservatives protect foods against deterioration and prevent growth of fungi and bacteria. Other additives help improve the texture and consistency of foods, keep them flowing freely when poured, or prevent them from drying out. Flavourings restore taste losses or can enhance the flavour or aroma of food. Emulsifiers ensure that oil and water in foods do not separate. Some commonly used preservatives which are doubted to have a relation with cancer are - Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite.Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is a phenolic antioxidant which prevents rancidity of fats and oils in food by protecting against lipid oxidation. High levels of BHA is found to create stomach tumor in laboratory animals. Some other chemicals which are found in canned foods and are known to perpetrate cancer are -Bisphenol A(BPA) can be found in reusable plastic food containers and the lining of food and beverage cans. Research shows that BPA exposure is linked to breast cancer, and has been shown to interfere with chemotherapy treatment for the disease.Phthalates can be found in some plastic food containers and are considered as endocrine disruptors. Phthalate exposure has been linked to early puberty in girls, a risk factor for later-life breast cancer.Some pesticides and herbicides used on foods we eat have been labeled as human or animal carcinogens.Zeranol: Commonly found in the beef industry processing, it mimics an estrogen like action in the body and has been found carcinogenic in laboratory animals. This chemical is banned by the European Union.Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is used to produce food packaging. It was one of the first chemicals designated as known human carcinogen and has been linked to increased mortality from breast cancer and liver cancer among workers involved in its manufacture.6) A lot is being talked about the Mediterranean diet and its anti-cancer properties. How helpful is the diet? The Mediterranean diet got popular in 1990's for its protective qualities against heart ailments. Later it was found to be effective for other lifestyle disorders and cancer. Instead of accepting all the dishes that are offered in the name of a Mediterranean diet we should look for some basic concepts for which this cuisine is revered. These are - good to control weight gain, bad cholesterol and blood sugar.A typical Mediterranean diet includes - abundant plant foods, fresh fruits, olive oil, cereals, wine, moderate consumption of fish, poultry and low amounts of red meat. The main benefit of this type of a diet is that it reduces inflammatory changes and oxidative stress in the body. By reducing inflammatory changes and delaying the age related changes in body it increases longevity and improves health. At least 7 types of cancers are related to obesity and in that context a Mediterranean diet helps to maintain a healthy glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. The biological mechanisms for cancer prevention associated with the Mediterranean diet have been related to the favourable effect of a balanced ratio of omega 6 and omega 3, essential fatty acids and high amounts of fibre, antioxidants and polyphenols found in fruits, vegetables, olive oil and wine.7) Five tips that one should follow for a healthy lifestyle.Include fibers in your diet for healthy bowel movements. Regular bowels are important for detoxification.Regular exercise is most important to boost immunity and avoid metabolic disorders like diabetes, hyper cholesterol, obesity, thyroid, hypertension etc. Yoga, pranayama are good for reducing stress, improving flexibility and correcting posture.Nuts provides a good source of energy and other nutrients which are helpful. They help in the reduction and maintenance of weight. Nuts are advisable for controlling bad cholesterol. Nuts like walnut, almonds and pistachios are good for diabetics, hypercholesterolemia.Intake of fruits and vegetables provides necessary antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. These help to neutralize the oxidative stress in the body and avoid damages to DNA, ageing.Regular detox through green and herbal teas helps to maintain the balance in the body. Spa and Ayurveda therapies like body massages, shirodhara, chooran svedanam help to relax the body and mind. Lymphatic drainage therapy is also helpful to cleanse channels and get rid of toxins from the lymphatic system.

Integration of Acupuncture in Oncology

Dr. Sayali Arvind Kulkarni, General Physician
Integrative Oncology is the synthesis of mainstream care and non-pharmacologic, evidence-based complementary therapies for the control of cancer-related physical and emotional symptoms. Oncology acupuncture is a new and emerging field of research. Recent advances from published clinical trials have added evidence to support the use of acupuncture for symptom management in cancer patients.Acupuncture is defined as the insertion of one or several needles into the skin at particular sites (acupuncture points) for therapeutic purposes. Variations of this theme include the use of other means of stimulating acupuncture points: heat (moxisbution), pressure (acupressure),electrical currents (electroacupuncture), or laser light (laser acupuncture).Acupuncture's use in cancer patients has been recommended by the American Cancer Society (ACS) for the treatment of cancer and treatment-related symptoms. Pain, nausea, breathlessness, vasomotor symptoms and limb edema have all been found to respond to acupuncture.Acupuncture can also act against carcinogens (factors attributable to cancer development) through its ability to reduce stress and enhance immune function. Today several cancer centers have begun incorporating acupuncture for treating cancer-related symptoms such as pain and many patients have had significant results in the reduction of their symptoms. It may cause physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain. These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones, and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. It is proposed that in this way, acupuncture affects blood pressure and body temperature, boosts immune system activity, and causes the body's natural painkillers, such as endorphins to be released.For conditions where the cancer is detected early, acupuncture can maintain and promote the normal functioning of the body. Several studies have shown its ability to boost the immune system and encourage the growth of healthy functioning cells. This could be important forcounteracting the result of radiation and chemotherapy that tend to attack both normal and abnormal cells. An additional benefit of acupuncture is that it can induce a state of deep calm and relaxation and alleviate physical and emotional tensions.It is now routinely administered before, after and in between chemotherapy treatment sessions for control of nausea and emesis. Use of acupuncture helps in minimizing the use of standard, expensive multi-drug anti-nausea regimens with their attendant side effects for chemotherapy patients. Chronic disease process depletes the energy level in the organism. Acupuncture replenishes energy levels to the body and the diseased organs or part of the body. It also reestablishes homeostasis by re-balancing energy distribution and un-blocking energy flow. The acupuncture can provide a more durable, successful pain control and provide a sense of well being and increased energy to cancer sufferers, decreasing the malaise associated with any chronic diseases. Also useful in managing cancer-related pain. The use of acupuncture can reduce the need for narcotic drugs. This also means that acupuncture will minimize the side effects such as confusion, disturbed mentation, behavioral changes, nausea and severe constipation, the normal result of taking narcotics.The FDA approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners in 1996. The  US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that sterile, nontoxic needles be used and that they be labeled for single use by qualified practitioners only.Acupuncture is often used as an adjunctive therapy in anesthesia, in post-operative pain control, and in aiding and hastening recovery from the side effects of the various therapies. Acupuncture is effective for control of pain, of local swelling post-operatively, for shortening the resolution of hematoma and tissue swelling and for minimizing use of medications and their attendant side effects.Recent new developments for which it is felt essential as a modality of treatment includes-Pain and dysfunction after neck dissectionRadiation-induced xerostomia in head and neck cancerAromatase inhibitor-associated arthralgia in breast cancerHot flashes in breast cancer and prostate cancerChemotherapy-induced neutropenia in ovarian cancer.Some acupuncture techniques include the following:ElectroacupunctureA procedure in which pulses of weak electrical current are sent through acupuncture needles into acupoints in the skin.Trigger pointacupuncture: The placing of acupuncture needles in a place on the skin that is away from the painful part of the body. Trigger pointshave to do with referred pain, pain that is not felt at the site of injury, but is sent along nerves and felt elsewhere in the body.Laser acupunctureThe use of a weak laser beam instead of an acupuncture needle to stimulate an acupoint.Acupuncture point The use of a syringe and needle to inject drugs, vitamins, herbal extracts, or other fluids into the body at an acupoint.MicrowaveThe use of a microwave device attached to an acupuncture needle to deliver microwave radiation to an acupoint.AcupressureA type of massage therapy in which the fingers are used to press on an acupoint. In cancer patients, acupressure has been used to control symptoms such as pain or nausea and vomiting.MoxibustionA type of heat therapy in which an herb is burned above the body to warm a meridian at an acupoint and increase the flow of blood and qi. The herb may be placed directly on the skin, held close to the skin for several minutes, or placed on the tip of an acupuncture needle.CuppingA procedure in which a rounded glass cup is warmed and placed upside down over an area of the body, making a vacuum that holds the cup to the skin. Cupping is used to increase the flow of blood and qi. It is believed to open up the skin’s pores and allow toxins to leave the body.There have been few complications reported. Problems are caused by using needles that are not sterile (free of germs) and from placing the needle in the wrong place, movement of the patient, or a defect in the needle.Problems include soreness and pain during treatment. Feeling tired, lightheaded, or sleepy; and infections. Because chemotherapy and radiation therapy weaken the body's immune system, a strict clean needle method must be used when acupuncture treatment is given to cancer patients. It is important to seek treatment from a qualified acupuncture practitioner who uses a new set of disposable (single-use) needles for each patient.

Understanding Cancer Better

Dr. Sandeep Nayak, Surgical Oncologist
What is cancer?Cancer is the name given to a group of diseases that behave similarly. There is a wide range of cancers which are characterised by an uncontrolled division of body's cells without halting and thereby, spread into surrounding tissues pushing normal cells.Cancer can begin at any place in the human body, which is comprised trillions of cells. Regularly, human cells divide and shape into new cells as the body needs them. At the point when cells get senile or get harmed, they bite the dust, and new cells assume their position. When the organised procedure of cell growth fails, cancer begins. Cells turn out to be increasingly irregular in shape and size, and continue to survive even when they ought to die, and new cells are formed even when they are not required. These cells can multiply without any reason and may form what is called tumours. Cancerous tumours are harmful, which implies that they can spread into, or attack, adjacent tissues. Moreover, as these tumours develop, some cancer cells can escape and go to far off spots in the body through the blood or the lymph framework and shape new tumours a long way from the first tumours.Why worry about cancer?Cancers figure among the main causes of morbidity and mortality around the world, with roughly 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths every year. In the next two decades, it is estimated that the incidence of cancer will increase by 70% throughout the world. Among men, the five most common cancers in 2012 were lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach, and liver cancer.In women, the five most common cancers are breast, colorectal, lung, cervix, and stomach cancer.Around 33% of cancer deaths can be prevented by behavioural and dietary changes. The risks include high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, alcohol use.Read my blogs on early detection of cancer and cancer prevention to understand how to reduce your risk.