June 7th, 2011
By: S.L. Baker
Big Pharma’s drugs have failed miserably in helping female cancer survivors deal with quality of life problems that can linger for years after chemo and radiation treatments are finished. But now there’s help on the horizon — and it’s all natural and appears to be free of side effects. Study results just presented at the 2011 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago revealed a natural combination of nutrients and phytochemicals were healthy for female cancer survivors across the board with a wide variety of problems.
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center scientists were looking for a way to help women cancer survivors who often suffer from sexual problems following their chemo and other mainstream medical therapies. So the researchers tested a natural nutritional supplement (which has been marketed for the last decade to boost all around well-being and balance hormones); the supplement had already been shown in a small study conducted at Stanford University to improve sexual function.
The Wake Forest research team conducted a double-blind, placebo controlled study and found the all-natural supplement didn’t measurably improve sexual function in the cancer patients. But imagine the scientists’ surprise when the results of the study were analyzed. They found the herbal/vitamin blend produced incredible results in other areas of the women’s lives — reducing pain, relieving insomnia, stopping nausea and boosting energy.
The Wake Forest research, funded by the National Cancer Institute, used a supplement sold as ArginMax for Women which is made from a proprietary blend of L-arginine, ginseng, ginkgo, and 14 vitamins and minerals. Many of these natural ingredients have long been used in traditional medicine to boost energy and circulation and optimize hormonal balance.
For the study, scientists at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest Baptist, the Derrick L. Davis Forsyth Regional Cancer Center, and multiple other cancer centers across the country recruited 186 female cancer survivors who were at least six months past their last treatment for any type of malignancy. The trial was strictly controlled so that neither the research subjects nor the investigators knew who was receiving the supplement and who was being given a placebo pill.
At the start of the study and again at four weeks, eight weeks and 12 weeks after taking the supplement or placebo, all the women completed two standardized questionnaires that measured sexual function and quality of life. Dubbed the FACT-G questionnaire, it measures overall quality of life and has been used in research of all cancer types to evaluate physical, emotional, social and functional well-being.
Amazingly, every single cancer survivor who took the herbal/vitamin supplement was found to have a dramatic boost in measures of overall quality of life.
“The group taking the supplements experienced significant improvement in overall quality of life, particularly physical well-being,” Kathryn M. Greven, M.D., a radiation oncologist at Wake Forest Baptist and the lead investigator on the study, said in a statement to the media.
“Bothersome symptoms such as lack of energy, pain, nausea, and sleeplessness were all improved, as were measures of functional well-being, for example the ability to perform normal activities at home or work. Simply, they reported a greater enjoyment of life, without any additional side effects from the supplement.”
Edward G. Shaw, M.D., M.A., an oncologist as well as counselor and principal investigator for Wake Forest Baptist’s Community Clinical Oncology Program Research Base, was a co-researcher on the study. In the press statement, he noted that cancer survivors can suffer from persistent inflammation (also called chronic oxidative stress) for years after chemo, radiation and other mainstream medical cancer treatments. The result can be lingering fatigue that greatly reduces the quality of life. Dr. Shaw hypothesized that the herbal and vitamin ingredients in the supplement used for the study counteract this process.
“Beyond managing individual symptoms as they appear, the medical community has not been able to offer cancer patients more global symptom relief. This research is empowering for the community of cancer survivors,” he noted. “It is very exciting that we’ve found something that has the potential to affect and improve quality of life for female cancer survivors.”
October 27, 2009
Larry King Live Blogs
by Suzanne Somers
There is nothing more serious than cancer. I know this firsthand, having been diagnosed with it twice.
As I’ve said in interviews and written in my book, I believe there is a time and place for Western medicine, chemo-therapeutic drugs, and even radiation. When faced with the threat of cancer, I wanted to know about all my treatment options. Yet, during both diagnoses, I was never offered any healing alternative to the standard-of-care treatment—surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and harsh after-care drugs. Why? My interviews with some of America’s leading practicing, credentialed doctors—innovative Western-trained doctors and specialists—clearly demonstrate that there are options that have been proven effective in conjunction with or as alternatives to standard of care.
I make no claims of being a physician. I am a health seeker and a concerned layperson. My intent is not to tell anyone what to do when making this most personal decision. I hope to let people know there are options, and that there are therapies that can help cancer treatment be more successful if you do choose standard of care.
What is harmful about opening a dialogue between patients, doctors, and other healers, all of whom have the same aim—a cure for this killer disease? Why are these groups not talking to each other more? Wouldn’t you want to explore and understand all sides of a life-and-death issue before deciding what’s best for you? Where is the harm in giving people more tools, more information, and more options to consider?
When a life is on the line, none of us wants to succumb to lazy thinking.
Yours in health,
August 24, 2009
By David Gutierrez
Adults who underwent chemotherapy as children are at a significantly higher risk of developing cancer as adults, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Copenhagen, Denmark, and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Researchers examined the medical histories of 47,679 people from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden who had been diagnosed with cancer before the age of 20 between the years of 1943 and 2005. They found that those diagnosed with a childhood cancer ran three times the risk of developing cancer in adulthood as an adult of the same generation who had not had cancer as a child. This elevated risk held strong even into old age.
The generation most likely to develop second cancers was that diagnosed between 1975 and 2005, followed by those diagnosed between 1960 and 1975 or those diagnosed before 1970. Because the doses used in radiation treatment have steadily decreased over the years, while chemotherapy treatment has become steadily more aggressive, the researchers concluded that childhood chemotherapy is the most likely culprit for the increased risk of adult cancers.
“What we need now is two-fold: new treatment ideas to decrease the risk of later effects, and much better surveillance of childhood cancer survivors during adulthood,” lead researcher Jorgen Olsen said. “Cancer treatments don’t just increase the risk of other cancers, but can lead to all sorts of other problems — from cardiovascular to reproductive.”
Pediatric oncologist James Nicholson of Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge agreed that survivors of childhood cancers need to be carefully monitored for new cancers throughout their lifetimes.
“A study like this does raise awareness of the problem,” he said. “If it means alarm bells ring earlier when there are symptoms in people who were treated for cancer as a child that would be a very good thing.”