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  1. Hello, I'm Debra and was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer with plural infusion resulting in terminal cancer. I was diagnosed a year and 4 months ago which is a miracle because they expected me to survive less than 6 months unless the chemo responded. This cancer has very prognosis and my health status prior to my diagnosis is fairly poor. I also have a serious digestive disease that required the removal of my colon, rectum, anus and part of my small intestine. I had decided not to do any research or join any discussion boards on cancer because of the enormous amount of research I had done on my digestive disease. I know one thing everyone needs to connect with others who are living with similar diseases. I also want to spread awareness about the anticancer method that no one tells you. Why? because the medical industry doesn't profit from this information. Debra
  2. Hi everyone, happy Friday! Although the weekend is coming up do you still keep up with working out? Please comment below and share your best tips. Have a great weekend! -Cindy Physical Activity and the Cancer Patient: Flow with Tai Chi By Stephanie Lang | Reply Email Each month throughout 2015, we will feature a different physical activity on our blog. We hope to highlight a variety of activities in this series so that you can find your favorite ways to move your body! The past few physical activity blog posts focused on low impact activities like water-based exercise and pilates. Low impact exercise can broadly be defined as exercise that allows at least one foot to be in contact with the ground at all times. Low impact exercises are especially good for cancer patients and survivors because the movements tend to be less jarring on the body and joints, and less intense. This leaves room for slow reintroduction of activity after and during cancer treatment. This month’s blog post is on another type of low impact exercise known as tai chi. What is tai chi? Tai chi is a form of slow exercise and moving mediation with roots in Chinese philosophy. Tai chi does not require special equipment or space—it uses the body to flow through movements, keeping the muscles and joints relaxed the entire time. The motions may be named for animal actions or martial arts. Benefits of tai chi Even though tai chi is a low impact exercise, it can still improve muscle strength and flexibility, balance, and respiratory and aerobic conditioning. Tai chi has also been shown to reduce fatigue in breast cancer patients, improve pain, and enhance sleep quality. The mind-body features of tai chi are helpful for those affected by cancer and chronic disease because they teach people to respond peacefully and mindfully to the obstacles in their lives. Research findings suggest that practicing tai chi may improve balance and stability in older people and those with Parkinson’s, reduce pain from knee osteoarthritis, help people cope with fibromyalgia and back pain, and promote quality of life and mood in people with heart failure and cancer. Words to know Qi: an energy force thought to flow through the body Qigong (or chi kung): this means “breath work” or “energy work” and consists of gentle breathing to help relax the mind and mobilize the body’s energy; all styles of Qigong involve a posture, breathing techniques, and mental focus Yin and Yang: these are opposing elements that make up the universe; they need to be kept in harmony Experts in tai chi believe that disease results when the flow of Qi is blocked and when there is disharmony between the Yin and Yang forces. Tai chi exercises may balance these forces and promote the flow of Qi for improved health. On finding an instructor Tai chi instructors do not have to be licensed, and the practice is not regulated by the Federal Government or individual states. Various tai chi organizations offer training and certification programs—with differing criteria and levels of certification for instructors. Ask your health care provider or a nearby hospital to recommend a tai chi or qi gong instructor. When considering a class or instructor, ask about the instructor’s training and experience. Want a sneak peak at some tai chi movements and stretches? Check out The Arthritis Foundation’s website, which features a few videos that demonstrate tai chi, or browse the Tai Chi Health page for some fundamental and basic tai chi movement videos. Be sure to speak with your physician and heath care team before starting any new exercise regimen or making changes to your current routine. And tell your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use to manage your health. Stephanie Lang has an M.S. degree in Nutrition Education from Teachers College Columbia University. She is currently completing her dietetic internship to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Check out her food blog, Figs in My Belly, for more of her writing and recipes. References: Integrative Medicine: Tai Chi. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Website.https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/tai-chi Last updated February 25, 2015. Accessed September 1, 2015. The Health Benefits of Tai Chi: Harvard Women’s Health Watch. Harvard Health Publications. Harvard Medical School Website. http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-health-benefits-of-tai-chi May 1, 2009. Accessed September 1, 2015. Tai Chi: A gentle way to fight stress. Mayo Clinic Website.http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/tai-chi/art-20045184 June 25, 2015. Accessed September 1, 2015. Tai Chi and Qi Gong. NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health Website. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/taichi/introduction.htm Published June 2006. Last updated August 21, 2015. Accessed September 1, 2015. Image 1: http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/videos/tai-chi/ Image 2: http://taichihealth.com/wp/?page_id=875
  3. CindyA

    Move Every Day

    This is a great piece on ‪#‎lungcancer‬ survivor Jane Elterman. Jane participates in LUNGevity's Breathe Deep DFW event every November. Read and share! http://www.cancerfightersthrive.com/move-every-day/ Move Every Day Exercise can improve quality of life and decrease the odds of cancer diagnosis or recurrence. By Heather Stringer After 28 chemotherapy infusions, Jane Elterman could not even imagine integrating exercise into her life, despite gentle encouragement from her care team at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. At 49, Jane had been diagnosed with stage IV adenocarcinoma in late 2008 after going to the doctor for a simple neck ache. Jane, who lives in Carrollton, Texas, was in disbelief when she learned that cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, jugular vein and all five lobes of her lungs. Initially told that she had three to five months to live, Jane sought a second opinion at CTCA® Learning to be a survivor, however, has presented its own set of challenges. A year after she completed chemotherapy, Jane still suffered from neuropathy (tingling and numbness in her toes and fingers) and severe pain, she was exhausted by simple tasks like loading the washing machine or driving to the store and she needed at least two naps per day. Then, in 2013, she heard something that completely changed her mindset about the importance of overcoming these barriers to become more active: a naturopath at CTCA mentioned that exercising 30 minutes per day five days per week could reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. “It was a lightning bolt for me,” says Jane, now 56. “I knew I could not get rid of the cancer that was still in my lungs, but it was really important to reduce the risk of metastasis. I wanted to do whatever I could to be around for the major life events like births, weddings and graduations for the people I loved.” Inspired, she started by swimming a few laps in her pool. Although it was intensely painful to walk down the steps of the pool into the water, Jane kept swimming every day. After a month she noticed her endurance improving, and eventually she could swim continuously for 30 minutes. Next she braved the elliptical machine at the local gym. She cried most days during the first week from the neuropathic pain, but slowly that decreased. She then worked up to 30 minutes of walking on the treadmill, and now she looks forward to walking outside three to four miles per day with her two dogs. Her energy level is higher than ever, and she has even started job hunting for work in the nonprofit sector. Defining Exercise Although Jane’s journey included visits to the local gym, Physical Therapist Kelly Prater Whitmore, PT, CLT, is quick to remind patients that exercise can include a wide variety of activities beyond typical gym options. “Many people think they can’t exercise because it means lifting weights at the gym and running on a treadmill,” says Whitmore, who works at CTCA in Newnan, Georgia. “But exercise can be marching your feet, tapping your toes or doing exercises in a chair. It really depends on your level of strength and endurance.” The American Cancer Society recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week. Moderate intensity is defined as anything that “makes you breathe as hard as you do during a brisk walk,” which could include mowing the lawn, dancing, walking and golfing. Vigorous activities cause a noticeable increase in heart rate, faster breathing and sweating, which could include jogging, singles tennis and swimming. “For patients who have been diagnosed with cancer and are in some stage of treatment, it is best to meet with a medical professional before starting an exercise routine,” Whitmore says. “We evaluate their strength deficits and can tailor the program accordingly.” A typical program includes cardiovascular, strength and flexibility exercises with a physical therapist and a home exercise program to build on this, Whitmore explains. She typically offers several options for home exercises and suggests that patients pick the ones that work best for them. For example, someone could walk the aisles of a grocery store for 15 minutes before shopping for food, or complete 10 to 20 repetitions of an exercise during television commercial breaks. Although some patients express fear that exercising will increase their level of pain and fatigue, Whitmore teaches them that usually the opposite is true. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in April 2015 found that exercise decreased pain in breast cancer patients who were suffering from joint pain while taking aromatase inhibitors. The participants who increased their exercise time to approximately 160 minutes per week experienced nearly a 30 percent decrease in their pain levels, while women who did not exercise experienced a 3 percent increase in pain. Joints are more prone to become stiff, achy and painful when people are not moving because the muscles become weaker, which can cause more stress on the joints, Whitmore says. In addition to lessening pain, exercise can decrease other side effects from treatment, such as fatigue, bone loss, scar tissue, shortness of breath, insomnia, diarrhea, constipation, anxiety and depression, Whitmore says. An increasing number of studies also suggest that staying active can be an effective preventive strategy. According to the American Cancer Society, poor diet and inactivity are two key factors that can increase a person’s cancer risk. These factors have the potential to increase an individual’s amount of excess weight, which causes the body to produce and circulate more estrogen and insulin—hormones that can stimulate cancer growth. A French study published in 2014 found that postmenopausal women who exercised moderately for four hours per week in the previous four years had a 10 percent lower risk of breast cancer than women who exercised less than that. The researchers also found that risk-reducing benefits quickly disappeared if women stopped exercising. Now Is the Time Although it may be tempting to procrastinate when it comes to exercising, Whitmore encourages people at any stage of life—regardless of whether they have cancer—that any movement is better than no movement. When she graduated from physical therapy school 25 years ago, patients were discouraged from exercise during treatment, and the consequences of this became evident. “People would get so deconditioned that they felt it was harder to become active again than to overcome the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation,” Whitmore says. She acknowledges that cancer treatment has many phases, and consequently exercise routines will likely need to be modified as patients go through these phases. For Jane, moving every day has become an essential part of life that gives her serenity despite an uncertain future. “After feeling betrayed by my body, it was truly empowering to see myself continue to get stronger,” Jane says. “That sense of accomplishment helped me regain my confidence, and I even sleep better because I am not worrying about whether I will be around for the next special milestone.” No case is typical. You should not expect to experience these results. Research is ongoing into the role of exercise in cancer prevention and wellness during treatment. If you’d like to learn more, take a look at the following references cited in this article: 1. Irwin, M. L., Cartmel, B., Gross, C. P., Ercolano E., et al. (2015). Randomized exercise trial of aromatase inhibitor–induced arthralgia in breast cancer survivors. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 33, 1104–1111. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2014.57.1547 Abstract online: http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2014/12/01/JCO.2014.57.1547.short?rss=1 2. Fournier, A., Dos Santos, G., Guillas, G., Bertsch, J., et al. (2014). Recent recreational physical activity and breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women in the E3N cohort. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 23, 1893–1902. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-14-0150 Abstract online: http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2014/07/31/1055-9965.EPI-14-0150.abstract
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