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Study Suggests 47% of All Britons Will Develop Cancer in Their Lifetime by 2020

Study Suggests 47% of All Britons Will Develop Cancer in Their Lifetime by 2020 | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
Analysis by Macmillan Cancer Support points to ageing population as main driver and warns of 'herculean challenge' for NHS
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

The incidence of cancer has risen by more than a third over the past 20 years. In 1992 about one in three people (32%) who died that year in Britain had had a diagnosis of the disease. By 2010 that had increased to 44%, a jump of 38%.

Rates of cancer are rising so much that by 2020 (only 7 years from now) almost half of all Britons will develop cancer in their lifetime.

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15 Ways to Cancer-Proof Your Life

15 Ways to Cancer-Proof Your Life | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
Whether your risk of cancer is monumental or blessedly average, we know you want to protect yourself.
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

Published in Prevention Magazine, this article has some good basic advice.

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Mammography Helps Some People But May Lead Others to be Treated Unnecessarily

"...screening review shows startling over-diagnosis and lack of truthful information:

Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

This article brings to attention the often discussed topic of ‘over-diagnosis’ - http://www.naturalnews.com/040655_mammograms_breast_cancer_over-diagnosis.html

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Using the Immune System to Treat Cancer

Using the Immune System to Treat Cancer | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
The drugs work by unleashing the immune system to attack cancer cells, much as it attacks bacteria or other foreign invaders in the human body
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

Drugs that focus on using the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells have become a promising field of research. This is the field of immunotherapy and predictions are that it could turn out to be the dominant therapeutic approach to cancer in the coming years. Stimulating and harnessing the body’s defense system may certainly be preferable to the current chemotherapy approach, which in many cases devastates an already compromised immune system.

Like all drugs, immunotherapy also has risks and possible side effects. The immune system is a powerful protector of our health. However we already know what can go wrong if there is an inappropriate immune response from the body. There are many diseases associated with immune system response, such as Crohn's disease, type 1 diabetes, lupus, Graves' disease, pernicious anemia, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, primary biliary cirrhosis, etc.

Let’s hope that the successes achieved already with immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer leads to continued positive outcomes.

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Two Studies Challenge Avastin’s Effectiveness

Two Studies Challenge Avastin’s Effectiveness | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
The findings could lead the F.D.A. to revoke the drug’s approval for the treatment of glioblastoma, a rare brain cancer.
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

Questions are being raised about the drug Avastin following two new studies of its effectiveness. This will likely affect its $6 billion annual sales for Roche, and strikes a blow against the confidence of the general public in drug companies.

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The Social Oncology Project Report 2013

A report analyzing trends in online communications about cancer. Features analysis from the proprietary MDigitalLife physician database.
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

“Digital communication tools have become increasingly important in oncology, yet little effort has been put into quantifying the type and volume of online conversions. The MDigitalLife Social Oncology Project seeks to put those discussions in context.”

The internet and social media have given rise to an astronomical increase in the amount of data and information available publicly. In the area of oncology these platforms have also brought about similar increases. In 2012 23,459 oncology papers were published. That represents an average of 64 papers published everyday.

One wonders how such volumes of information can be read and made useful. Traditional magazines and newspapers are not equipped to deal with such large volumes of information being produced on a daily basis. What I and many others are doing by reviewing and distilling this information onto various platforms, blogs and websites is helping to solve this problem. Social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others, as well as blogs have enabled information to be narrowed down and focused into special-interest groups in different ways.

The report analyzing trends in online communications about cancer has been done and made available on Slideshare, by W2OGroup - http://www.slideshare.net/WCGWorld/the-social-oncology-report-2013 . It is an interesting report and shows that communications about cancer are greatly influenced by social events and celebrity publicity.

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New Skin Cancer Drugs Approved

New Skin Cancer Drugs Approved | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
SILVER SPRING, Md. -- Two new drugs for metastatic or inoperable melanoma, dabrafenib (Tafinlar) and trametinib (Mekinist), were approved by the FDA on Wednesday.
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

The FDA has just approved two new drugs for melanomas that have spread.

The drugs are dabrafenib (Tafinlar) and trametinib (Mekinist) which target BRAF V600E mutations that occur in about half of melanoma tumors. Dabrafenib is an inhibitor of the BRAF gene when it carries the so-called V600E mutation. Trametinib inhibits a target known as MEK and is effective primarily against melanomas carrying either the V600E or V600K mutations.

The drugs were approved as standalone drugs for use separately and not together. Based on a trial in 250 patients, dabrafenib prolonged progression-free survival by 2.4 months. In a trial of 322 patients trametinib prolonged progression-free survival by 3.3 months. Both of the drugs come with a list of side-effects.

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Terminal Stage 4 Lung Cancer Patient Cures Her Cancer Using Diet

News report originally broadcast by Channel 8 in Cleveland, Ohio. A woman diagnosed with stage IV cancer was given only weeks to live by the medical establis...
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

Many natural and holistic treatments for cancer are based on changes to diet that eliminate all meat, dairy, sugar and caffeine.

Instead they promote consumption of wholegrains, fresh vegetables, natural and plant-based foods.

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Inexpensive, Non-Invasive Test for Breast Cancer

Inexpensive, Non-Invasive Test for Breast Cancer | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
Medical researchers have developed a new screening method that uses urinalysis to diagnose breast cancer – and determine its severity – before it could be detected with a mammogram.
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

A simple urine test for high concentrations of biomarkers (metabolites called pteredines) in the urine has been developed by Dr. Yinfa Ma, a Professor of Chemistry.

The test known as P-Scan is now going through validation process in the hope it will be approved by the FDA.

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Using the Immune System to Combat Cancer

Using the Immune System to Combat Cancer | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
The Immunocore team engineered a range of TCRs to bind very tightly to cancer cells and equipped them with the ability to activate non-cancer specific T cells.
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

Clinical trials are underway in the UK and US using a new approach to allow the infection-fighting immune system to destroy cancer cells. Our white blood cells are part of our immune system and help the body fight infection. One type of white blood cell, called T cells, directs and regulates immune responses, and attacks infected cells.

A special T cell, called killer T cell, directly attacks other cells carrying certain foreign or abnormal molecules on their surfaces. The killer T cells are especially useful for attacking viruses because viruses often hide from other parts of the immune system while they grow inside infected cells. The killer T cells, via receptors on the cell surface called T cell receptors (TCR), recognize small fragments of these viruses peeking out from the cell membrane and can launch an attack to kill the infected cell.

Researchers at Cardiff University, together with a biotech company, have been able to engineer molecules that bind to the surface of cancer cells marking them for destruction by the killer T cells. This has the effect of redirecting the killer T cell, which normally targets and kills viruses, to directly target cancer cells instead.

This new class of drug is named ‘ImmTACs’ (Immune Mobilising mTCR against Cancer). Exploitation of T cell receptors (TCRs) in treating cancer has been minimal. So potentially this research may open up an entirely new field of medical treatments.

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Biological “Switch” That Determines Cancer Cell Fate Discovered

Biological “Switch” That Determines Cancer Cell Fate Discovered | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
Cornell Chronicle: Daily news from Cornell University
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

A team of researchers made up of engineers, biologists and doctors discovered a “switch’ inside colon cancer stem cells that determines the fate of the cell in terms of whether it should proliferate, leading to metastasis, or spread of cancer cells, or not to proliferate.

The “switch” is controlled by microRNA, a molecule thought to be dispensable in normal tissue. Its role in cancer has been largely overlooked until now.

This could be a major step forward in understanding cancer and devising new therapeutic approaches.

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Cancer Percentage Increase in Younger Age Group Far Higher Than in Older Age Group

Cancer Percentage Increase in Younger Age Group Far Higher Than in Older Age Group | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
The latest UK cancer incidence statistics for common cancers presented by age at diagnosis. Read more.
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

The recent Angelina Jolie double mastectomy announcement has raised the profile and awareness of cancer. As a result I have seen many comments and been in several discussions about cancer.

It is generally accepted by most people that the rate of cancer increases with age. This is due primarily to the fact that as we age, our biological processes and cells that we use to fight off cancer deteriorate. So if that is the case it is logical to assume that the older we get the greater risk of cancer. When comparing cancer rates today with those of 100 years ago many people argue that today people live longer and therefore cancer rates increase in older people.

I decided to look a bit closer myself and downloaded some published statistics about cancer rates from a UK organization called Cancer Research UK (http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/cancerstats/incidence/age/ ).

I chose to analyze the statistics of incidence rates by age-group in Great Britain in the years 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2008 (the most recent year available). That is a span of 28 years. The age-groups were 0-39, 40-59, 60-74, 75+. My expectation was to see an increase in cancer rates in older people that stood out above the rest of the age-groups. This is what I found according to the numbers from 1980 to 2008 indicating the incidence of cancer by age-group per 100,000 of population in that age-group:
- 0-39 age-group: increased by 43% (from 30 to 43)
- 40-50 age-group: increased by 18% (from 337 to 399)
- 60-74 age-group: increased by 27% (from 1,106 to 1,409)
- 75+ age-group: increased by 25% (from 1,892 to 2,373)

It is quite clear that the highest rise in the percentage incidence of cancer is in the age-group 0-39 at 43%. This is contrary to popular opinion. If we assume the figures and my calculations are correct, then it seems to indicate that there is a higher percentage increase in cancer incidence amongst people who are at an age when their body should be at the peak of health, rather than when they are older and perhaps less healthy.

If I have missed something here, or miscalculated, I apologize. But if I haven’t then it certainly warrants further analysis. It makes me recall the saying attributed to the 19th-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

 

Perhaps someone could point out if I have miscalculated or misinterpreted.

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Never Give Up!

Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

Sometimes we may not know how long the 'storm' in our life is going to be. But please don't give up on yourself.

Remember that giving up makes defeat permanent.

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Blood Test for Colon Cancer

Blood Test for Colon Cancer | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
Most people would rather deliver a speech naked than get a colonoscopy (and some would argue there’s not much difference).
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

According to a study published in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, the future of colorectal cancer screening may lie in the development of biomarkers for the disease.

Researchers found that their simple blood test detected cancer correctly 87 percent of the time and was right about those without cancer about 95 percent of the time. When they looked only at early – or stage I – disease, the test caught the cancer 92 percent of the time.

If this is confirmed and proven effective it is likely that it could replace the traditional and invasive colonoscopy. Colonoscopies are credited with reducing deaths from colorectal cancer, but according to Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, there is no indication that the tests actually save more lives than a lower tech, less invasive alternative: the stool test. Colonoscopy became much more popular than the alternative stool test simply because “the basic idea of it was so appealing,” according to Dr. Welch.

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A Promising Nontoxic Cancer Therapy

A Promising Nontoxic Cancer Therapy | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
A combination of dietary and hyperbaric oxygen therapies effectively increased survival time in a mouse model of aggressive metastatic cancer, a new research team found.
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

A study combining two non-toxic therapies, the ketogenic diet and hyperbaric oxygen therapy, has been shown to be effective in treating metastatic cancer in mice. This may have some major implications for the treatment of human cancer.

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet originally devised to treat epilepsy. It forces the body to burn fat, rather than carbohydrate, which the liver converts into fatty acids and ketones. The ketones are a source of energy to the brain, in place of the usual carbohydrates in food converted into glucose. So the ketones replace glucose as the energy source. This creates a physiological change in the body from the use of glucose to fatty acids and ketone bodies for energy. As cancer cells rely on glucose it is logical to assume that they will suffer without an adequate supply of glucose.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases the amount of oxygen in the tissues, which saturates the tumors with oxygen. As cancer cells are affected by oxygen it is logical to assume that they will suffer as a result of an increased supply of oxygen.

Both the ketogenic diet and hyperbaric oxygen therapy are non-toxic and may protect healthy tissues while damaging and therefore eliminating cancer cells. Many natural and holistic cancer treatments use this logical strategy based on elimination of sugar and carbohydrate and increased oxygen. So this will be an interesting therapy to watch as research progresses.

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Health Care for Cancer Survivors

Health Care for Cancer Survivors | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
After Teresa Levitch underwent successful chemotherapy and radiation for the cancer attacking her immune system, she believed her health problems were over.
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

Chemotherapy and radiation, the base weapons used to attack cancer even when other, newer medications are used, can carry severe side effects that last for years. The medical world is only now beginning to react to the physical and emotional toll survivors live with after their cancer is controlled.


The cancer survivor program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York is a center established to provide care to cancer survivors. Research suggests survival centers, like the one at Sloan-Kettering, have the potential to fill a big treatment need. Only one in five oncologists said they provided a treatment summary that included a follow-up plan to breast and colon cancer patients after successful treatment, according to a survey of over 1,100 oncologists and 1,000 primary-care doctors presented at the clinical oncology society meeting.


The same survey shows that only a third of primary-care doctors who work with cancer survivors said they routinely received any type of treatment summaries from oncologists, and just 13 percent said they received follow-up plans.

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Vinegar Used to Diagnose Cervical Cancer

Vinegar Used to Diagnose Cervical Cancer | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
A new study suggests that vinegar can be used in developing countries as part of a low-cost screening tool to detect early signs of cervical cancer in women who don't have access to the routine Pap tests that have cut death rates in wealthier...
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

In developing countries such as India that don’t have the resources to implement standard Pap-smear testing for cervical cancer, they have a simple, effective and low cost alternative.

It is called VIA (visual inspection with acetic acid), and uses a combination of acetic acid and water which is much the same as vinegar. When this sterilized liquid is applied to the cervix healthy tissue remains unaffected and does not change color. However any potentially cancerous lesions will change to a white color and can be visually seen.

A study using this method was conducted over a 12-year period, and found that deaths from cervical cancer were significantly lower among women who were screened using this method.

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New Approach to Lung Cancer Treatment

New Approach to Lung Cancer Treatment | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
A new drug delivery system for treating lung cancer allow chemotherapeutic drugs to be inhaled, thereby delivering the drug where it is needed while reducin...
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

Researchers from Oregon State University (OSU), Rutgers University and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey have developed a new transport delivery method for anticancer drugs for lung cancer.

The new method uses nanoparticles as the carrier, inhaled into the lungs. The nanoparticles contain the chemotherapeutic drugs. This innovative method means that the amount of the drug delivered to the lungs increases significantly - from 23 percent via injection, to 83 percent using the inhalation approach. Using the conventional injection approach the drugs tend to accumulate in the liver, kidney and spleen before they can be delivered to the site of the lung cancer.

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Diaana G. Loopez's curator insight, May 31, 2013 10:17 PM

Es muy interesante el tema de medicina en general, pero en especial, me enfoco en oncología.

Diaana G. Loopez's curator insight, May 31, 2013 10:33 PM

Nueva droga para tratar el cancer!!!

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Cost of Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer

Cost of Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
According to the Genetic Literacy Project, the publicity surrounding the decision by Angelina Jolie to undergo a double mastectomy has raised a disconcerting question—could genetic testing actually be harmful to your health?
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

The genetic test for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations can indicate a higher likelihood of contracting breast cancer, and there has been much press about this lately.

The test itself is simple and costs just a few dollars. However it seems that the AMA believes that patients cannot be trusted with direct access to their own results. So they insist that counseling and follow-up consultations are mandatory. The AMA and a few members of Congress have suggested that consumers might, in the words of one congressman, “jump off a building” after finding out that they might have a genetic predisposition to a disease. Supposedly, a counselor would preclude such spontaneous actions. I personally find it difficult to accept this logic.

Once the results from the test are available, the follow-on diagnosis, counseling and consultations are what actually cost the majority of the several thousand dollars you need to pay to have the test. In fact because the BRCA genes gave been patented by Myriad Genetics, it is them that insist the only way you can be tested is by agreeing to this diagnosis and counseling regimen. The AMA and some Congress members are obviously in support of this approach.

With the general trend towards empowering and educating patients, and reducing the costs of healthcare it seems rather ludicrous that anyone would support the enforcement of consultations and counseling to have a simple blood test.

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Original Screening Missed 72 Cases of Breast Cancer

RE-READING of more than 50,000 digital breast screens taken in South Australia has found 72 cancer cases which were "potentially detectable" at the initial screening.
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

Health officials in Australia noticed an unusual fall in breast cancer detection rates between September 2010 and June 2012. So they ordered a review of 53,104 digital screening mammograms.

The review identified a further 72 cases of breast cancer that were potentially detectable at the time of the initial screening.

This is a reminder of the potential for human error, which can be life-threatening.

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New Discovery in Cancer Cell Development

New Discovery in Cancer Cell Development | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
Protein preps cells to survive stress of cancer growth and chemotherapy
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

A protein known as transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) is considered a tumor suppressor in early cancer development. However researchers were surprised to discover that TGF-β has also been found to promote cancer once a cell changes into a pre-cancerous state.

This discovery may lead to new ways to stop the progression of pre-malignant cells.

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Should Human Cancer Genes Be Owned and Controlled by Legal Monopolies?

Should Human Cancer Genes Be Owned and Controlled by Legal Monopolies? | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
Gayle Sulik says the reason the BRCA1 gene mutation test for breast cancer risk is so expensive is that a company owns the gene and sets the price.
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

The BRCA1 and BRCA2 human genes were patented by Myriad Genetics back in 1998. Therefore as the “owner” of those genes it is the only company that can legally conduct tests for mutations of them. Myriad Genetics has created a test for mutations of those genes trademarked “BRACAnalysis”. So if anybody wants to test for mutations of BRCA1 and BRCA2 it can only be done using that trademarked test. No freedom of choice, no competitive pricing, and in reality it is a gene that is part of you.

This situation makes me wonder what the world is coming to when companies can patent the products of nature. It is also happening with our food supply.

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A Compound Found in Parsley, Celery, Fruits and Vegetables Found to Alter Cancer Cells

A Compound Found in Parsley, Celery, Fruits and Vegetables Found to Alter Cancer Cells | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
New research suggests that a compound abundant in the Mediterranean diet takes away cancer cells' "superpower" to escape death.
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

Research into this compound, apigenin, highlights the benefits of nutrients in maintaining health. Nutrients from the foods we eat interact with hundreds of proteins and molecules in our body, and are essential to keep us in a balanced state of wellness. In contrast, most pharmaceutical drugs target a single molecule.

 

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Understanding Cancer from a Holistic Perspective

Dr Bruce Lipton PhD - cell biologist, former medical lecturer, and world-acclaimed author of three books on the New Biology - talks to David Holden on the tr...
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

The announcement of Angelina Jolie’s preventative surgery is still on my mind. Whether it is the right or wrong approach is a personal decision. But to decide, I feel you need all of the facts. So I have put this together for your further knowledge and understanding by paraphrasing Dr. Bruce Lipton, one of the pioneers of the new biological sciences and who I believe explains things extremely well.

The effectiveness of conventional medicine in dealing with cancer is dwindling. There is a misunderstanding of how biology works in the context of cancer, due to conventional beliefs about genetics and the emphasis on genetics and heredity as the primary mechanism behind cancer. Having a cancer gene does not mean you have, or will have, cancer. It simply means that you may have a predisposition to cancer.

Cancer is not necessarily all about the genes. For example, identical twins have the same genetic makeup. However there are many cases of one twin having cancer and the other not. In fact less than 10% of cancer is due to heredity factors. Environment and lifestyle account for the remaining 90%. So most of us are not victims of our heredity!

Conventional science says that all the control is within the genes. However the leading edge of biomedical science today indicates that the control is not within the genes, but above the genes. The term used being epigenetics. What actually controls and regulates the genes are the environmental signals that our genes are exposed to. These signals regulate the inner terrain of our body and are influenced by nutrition, pollution, radiation, toxins, emotions, and our perception of the world around us. All of these things are the source of the control that regulates epigenetics which in turn regulates our genetics.

So our cells adjust their biology to match the environment that we expose them to.

Between our perception of the world and the signals sent to the cells, is our mind. It is our mind that interprets many of the signals. In particular this relates to emotions and feelings of stress, attitudes, etc. So the cells obtain a reading of that part of the environment from our own mind’s interpretation of it. Therefore our cells will receive signals about what we (i.e. our minds) perceive. As we put stressors on the system we change the function of our biology and immune system.

Our stress response is designed for a ‘flight or fight’ situation, in which we don’t have any need for internal immune system functioning while under stress. Stress results in a shutting down of the immune system to conserve energy, and is a primary influence in almost all diseases today, particularly cancer. Our stress response was not designed for the world as we experience it today where we are subject to constant daily stress. The stress interferes with our chemistry, our digestion, and our immune system.

This means that if you take care of your environment, thoughts, emotions, and stress then your cells will respond, simply because there is a control mechanism at play that is higher than the cells. This has led to alternative ways of dealing with cancer that have much more satisfactory outcomes, rather than the conventional methods which essentially still follows the approach from the mid 1900’s of radiation and chemotherapy.

The old conventional medical model of dealing with cancer is based on Newtonian physics of the material, physical world which excludes what is not visible. Whereas contemporary science is based on Quantum physics where everything is related, based on energy, where even the non-visible, non-material, and non-physical world are critical, and where the material and physical worlds are simply another form of energy. To Quantum physics energy shapes matter and the physical world. So in effect Quantum physics focuses on the higher source of information, or the root-causes, rather than what may be perceived as the results or the symptoms.

To me the future of health lies in the union of the sciences of physics and biology, rather than medical science. Perhaps it is time for a new type of health practitioner. Doctors as we see them today are very well trained in understanding the body in its diseased state. Perhaps health and wellness practitioners of the future will be well trained in understanding the body in its healthy state. I believe these two distinct approaches should not be practiced by the same individual.

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P2P Consultants's comment, May 22, 2013 6:39 AM
great video. Really moving. Post is wonderful
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The Patient Revolution

The Patient Revolution | Cancer - Advances, Knowledge, Integrative & Holistic Treatments | Scoop.it
NotesCite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2614
Graham Player Ph.D.'s insight:

An article published in the British Medical Journal of May 14 (BMJ 2013;346:f2614) suggests that clinicians and patients need to work in partnership to improve healthcare, and challenge deeply ingrained and questionable practices and behaviors within today’s medical system. It suggests that today, disease and doctor-centric health systems are costly, wasteful, fragmented, and too often uncaring, and are provoking anger and discontent.

Criticisms include:
- Access to care, and its quality, varies markedly
- Most people in rich countries access a confusing smorgasbord of tests and treatments whose merits are hyped and harms underplayed
- Patients lack information on practice variation, the effectiveness of their care, and the extent of medical uncertainty.
- Practice is informed by an incomplete research base bedeviled with selection and reporting bias
- The preservation of institutional bureaucracies, as well as professional and commercial vested interests, has consistently come before the interests of patients.
- The healthcare industrial complex stands accused of losing its moral purpose

In the area of cancer and its treatment there is much scope for such criticisms, and I have heard many complaints over the years. Deeply ingrained practices and behaviors prevail in dealing with cancer patients and their disease.

I believe patients will have a greater voice in determining the future of the health-system. It may be a difficult pill to swallow for some in the medical profession. However for improvement to begin it is essential to hear the voice of the customers (patients), and include them in the processes for improvement.

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