INTRODUCTION: WHY CANCER COMES BACK (Source: NIH- National Cancer Institute)
When cancer comes back after treatment, doctors call it a recurrence- or recurrent cancer. Finding out that cancer has come back can cause feelings of shock, anger, sadness, and fear. But you have something now that you didn’t have before—experience. You’ve lived through cancer already and you know what to expect. Also, remember that treatments may have improved since you were first diagnosed. New drugs or methods may help with your treatment or in managing side effects. In some cases, improved treatments have helped turn cancer into a chronic disease that people can manage for many years.
Recurrent cancer starts with cancer cells that the first treatment didn’t fully remove or destroy. This doesn’t mean that the treatment you received was wrong. It just means that a small number of cancer cells survived the treatment and were too small to show up in follow-up tests. Over time, these cells grew into tumors or cancer that your doctor can now detect.
OUTSMARTING CANCER WITH SELF-AWARENESS Dr. Robert L. Bard
Once you do enough Google-searching (especially key words like "CANCER PREVENTION", "STAY IN REMISSION"), you'll learn how to come up with a simple plan to keep cancer away- or increase the likelihood of beating cancer with the comprehensive Early Detection & Prevention plan. In each case, much can be done to prevent the current stage. The first step is to GET MORE FAMILIAR WITH YOURSELF.
• Be aware of your genetic lineage: risk of cancer increases upon heredity. The first place to look is within your own DNA or family history. Many cancers tend to travel down generations. It can also have the tendency to skip one generation and appear in the next one.
• Periodic Checking of your body for any anomalies like lumps, bumps, discolored bruises or growths. Self-checking is the first base. Also stay on top of unusual feelings like frequent headaches, unique pains and strains- anything that feels out of the ordinary. Take nothing for granted when it comes to your body.
• Know your environment: Many health issues are known to be caused by environmental toxins. Where you sleep, eat and work could be affecting how you feel later. Some health hazards are fairly visible and apparent while others may need some historical research in your area where there may have been potential chemical wastes or spills in the past. If you know of such issues, further research, demographic studies, protective measures and targeted checkups may be your next step.
Some of the main tips to Recurrence Prevention include:
Eat a healthy diet
Maintain healthy weight
Exercise regularly Get enough vitamin D
VIGILANT PREVENTION FROM A 3X CANCER SURVIVOR By: Vanessa Silva
My name is Vanessa Silva. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 after my father was first diagnosed with breast cancer where he was identified as BRCA2 positive. It recurred again in 2014, and then the cancer came back in 2016. During my first bout, I pushed to do my part and changed the way I lived starting with the way I ate. I exercised, I stopped eating meat and I did everything by the book... and sure enough, I was told I was cancer free! So after five years, I felt it was safe to go back to old habits and eat the things I missed the most – including meats. I was still working out, but admittedly, junk food managed to creep its way into my system.
What was confusing to me was that this time, I was so diligent about prevention- not having any meat, and constant juicing and exercising. I feel as if my body produces cancer cells much faster than a regular person. I just have to be more vigilant with checking myself.
I try to make sure that I'm stress-free, that I don't put myself in situations that would make my immune system just crash. My doctor and I are both very diligent about checkups and often do sonograms at the slightest concern. I see my breast surgeon every six months. And now, she's finally pushed it to a year, so I'm so happy with that. I think, meat plays a huge part in all of this because of the hormones that are being injected into them. I do my best to buy products that say Non-Hormones, No Antibiotics, etc., however, how much of that is true. I was convinced that I needed to stop eating meats all together and to stop putting all of these processed products into my body and start eating a much healthier diet.
Eventually, I would like to become a vegan, but I know there's so many things that I really enjoy eating, like eggs and cheese. But slowly, I've been pulling away from eating eggs. It's been a year since the last time I’ve eaten eggs, but cheese is a hard one to quit. I'm just trying to eat a more "clean" foods-- a lot more vegetables, a lot more fruits, and making sure that I wash them, and they're organic.
Organic and gluten-free was the way to go for me! I don't drink dairy milk anymore only almond milk. I'm really trying NOT to introduce the bad stuff to my children. Two of them are already grown, I really try to give my youngest one ZERO red meat except maybe once a month. Sometimes, it's turkey or chicken, but even that, we've really pulled away from. I try not to be as restrictive with them because they're young, and they should make their own decisions later, however, I want them to be knowledgeable of what they put into their bodies. Zero sugar is hard to do but we try to stay away from candy, donuts and pastries.
As my reality has been defined to stay proactive, I continue thinking HEALTHY every way possible. I know cancer is lurking, seeking the next opportunity to return and with a life plan of ABSOLUTE VIGILANCE, I'm fighting harder each day!
METASTASIS: RECURRENCE WITH A VENGEANCE By: Kirby Lewis
In 2012, I was diagnosed with stage two (male) breast cancer.Standard operating procedure was having me undergo a mastectomy to my left breast.It came with all the physical impact of treatments and surgery but I wasn't too worried about the outcome. I was sure that it wasn't going to kill me because I found that most people don't die from stage one, two or three.
Then, by 2016, I had recurrence. As a lot of people know, recurrence is about 30% of early stagers. I sensed the first time that it was going to come back-- and that when it did, it was going to be metastatic. Metastasis is when those rogue cancer cells that are in the area of the breast tissue decide to venture out into another neighborhood of the body. When that happens, they tend to go to the liver or the pancreas or, the kidneys or the bones or even the brain. I had metastases in both lungs and in my spine so it was quite alarming.
Through a battery of testing, it was unnerving to find out how fast it went from being non-present in my body to being everywhere- in my lungs and in my spine. Basically, I was looking at a six week period where I went from clear lungs, clear scans and within six weeks, my, my lungs lit up like Christmas trees.
I think that what people can learn from this is that you should never take the changes in your body lightly. Do self exams. And if you find something that is unusual, go have it checked out. It's $50 for a doctor visit and that's $50 well spent rather than buying a coffin. If your body has propensity to turn on those cancer cells, flip that switch, then (my thinking is that) it's likely that it is going to come back in some other form. And I hope that it doesn't. When someone is designated cancer free, I would love for them to think that that's it. But they do need to be diligent. And they do need to be cognizant and aware of the fact that the possibility will always exist.
Dr. Bard received the 2020 nationally acclaimed Ellis Island Award for his lifetime achievement in advanced cancer diagnostic imaging. He co-founded the 9/11 CancerScan program to bring additional diagnostic support to all first responders from Ground Zero. His main practice in midtown, NYC (Bard Diagnostic Imaging- www.CancerScan.com) uses the latest in digital imaging technology and has been also used to help guide biopsies and in many cases, even replicate much of the same reports of a clinical invasive biopsy. Imaging solutions such as high-powered sonograms, Power Doppler Histogram, sonofluoroscopy, 3D/4D image reconstruction and the Power Doppler Histogram are safe, noninvasive, and do not use ionizing radiation.
GRACE DAVI, Public Health Research Consultant at The RightWriters Group Grace dedicated her life's work to intense reporting and data analyses of Cancer-related environmental issues. In addition to content work Grace is also a public advocate for health and safety projects in professional areas and support programs for Infection Prevention branches of health care. Grace launched her career as a researcher/reporter by pioneering collaborative lab projects in the New York waterways by providing public awareness about contaminants and leaching into county and state aquifer. She combined this experience with 4+ years working with oncologists and cancer immunologists as an editor in medical education. Today, Grace is one of the editors and co-publishers of health related publcations, websites, newsletters and journals including prevention101.org and ImmunologyFirst.org
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