Everyone knows that exercise is required to maintain a healthy body, but few people are aware of the extensive research demonstrating a specific preventative link between exercise, cancer, and other illnesses. There is no doubt that regular exercise gives you more energy, makes you feel better, lowers your stress levels, and helps prevent ill health. The physiological effects of regular exercise are multiple.
BBC News Report – “Exercise ‘halves cancer risk’.”
University of Minnesota Cancer Center – “Cancer Risk Reduction: Exercise and Cancer.”
American Cancer Society – Some excellent suggestions on staying active, fitting in fitness, and making exercise work for you.
American Cancer Society – “Exercise to Stay Active: Find out how much activity is healthy during treatment and create an exercise program that’s right for you.”
About.com – “Exercise as a cancer treatment.”
Mercola.com – A useful article relating exercise to specific forms of cancer on Dr Joseph Mercola’s nutritional supplement shop and health information site.
Charity Wire – Reports on “a survey commissioned by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) revealing that a high percentage of Americans are unaware that regular exercise can reduce the risk of cancer. In contrast, the great majority know that eating vegetables and fruit can contribute to the body’s defense against the disease.”
Cancer Vaccines & Dendritic Cell Vaccines
The possibility of creating cancer vaccines has arisen from observations that even advanced cancers are sometimes reduced or even completely disappear when the patient suffers a viral or bacterial infection. It is presumed that when the infection stimulates the patient’s immune system, cancer also gets zapped. Cancer vaccines (containing tumor cells or antigens) seek to stimulate the patient’s immune system into producing T-cell lymphocytes, which destroy cancer cells and prevent relapses of cancer. Unlike other vaccines, cancer vaccines cannot be used preventatively, but only to attack existing cancers. Vaccines are prepared in a number of ways, sometimes from breakdown products of cancer cells found in the patient’s urine.
“Dendritic cells are professional antigen-capturing and -presenting cells of the immune system. Because of their exceptional capability of activating tumor-specific T-cells, cancer vaccination research is now shifting toward the formulation of a clinical human dendritic cell vaccine.” (Peter Ponsaerts et. al)
HowStuffWorks – “How Cancer Vaccines will Work.” A short and clear overview.
MedIndia – “Provenge – Dendritic cell vaccine for Prostate Cancer.” A short news article.
Dove Clinic – “Dendritic Cell Therapy Vaccines: A Promising New Approach to the Treatment of Cancer.” A readable technical overview by Dr Julian Kenyon.
Dove Clinic – An observation study by Dr Julian Kenyon of 32 consecutive cancer patients who were given a dendritic cell vaccine.
Dove Clinic – Home page of Dr Julian Kenyon’s UK integrated medicine clinic in Winchester and London, where dendritic cell vaccines are used, together with other therapies and diagnostic tools.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
Photodynamic therapy, also called photochemotherapy, phototherapy, or photoradiation therapy, is based on the discovery that cells or organisms treated with a photosensitizing agent can then be destroyed by means of light. PDT involves the use of a photosensitizing drug, which is either applied to the skin or injected intravenously. After two or three days, when the drug has been absorbed throughout the body, though more selectively in cancer cells, low-level, fixed-frequency laser light is focused on the tumor, causing the drug to react with oxygen. This forms free radicals or other substances which kill the cancer cells or destroys the blood vessels that feed the cancer cells. PDT may also trigger the immune system to attack the cancer cells. The actual laser treatment can take between 5 to 40 minutes, depending on the area being treated.
Since PDT is only useful for treating tumors or pre-cancerous tissues where laser light can reach, it is not always practical. This usually restricts PDT to areas on or lying no more than half an inch beneath the skin, or in the accessible lining of internal organs, especially the larynx, esophagus, lungs, stomach, colon, rectum, and bladder. Treatment of prostate, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers is still in the experimental stage. Large tumors are more difficult to treat with PDT because the light does not penetrate deeply enough.
In cases where PDT can be used, studies have shown it to be as effective as surgery or radiation therapy. The advantages are that the patient does not have to undergo surgery; cancer can be very precisely targeted; the treatment can be repeated on the same site (unlike radiation), and the patient can generally be treated as an outpatient. The major drawback with some PDT drugs is that because they spread throughout the body, the skin and eyes become very sensitive to bright light for up to six weeks, even up to 90 days, requiring special precautions. PDT can also cause burns, swellings, or pain in …