Cancer

cancer patients chair yoga

Ommm: People with cancer practice chair yoga for bone benefits

Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments can take a toll on your bones and overall strength, so some patients are turning to chair yoga to boost their bone health and balance. Things like bone health ‘seemed trivial compared to cancer’ We heard about chair yoga in this New York Times article, “Chair yoga for my funny bones.” The author, Susan Gubar, began practicing chair yoga after she recovered from a fractured pelvis following years of ovarian cancer treatment. “I had no idea that cancer treatments put patients at risk for osteoporosis,” says Gubar, whose treatment included chemotherapy, radiation and steroids. A new diagnosis of osteoporosis and a vitamin D deficiency “made me realize how often I ignore health issues because they seem trivial compared to the mortal threat of cancer. Stress tests, dental work, cholesterol checks: who cares? Just dealing with cancer had been enough for me. Clearly that had to change.” Gubar says she used to love walking but says she gave it up because she now walks stooped-over with a walker and has neuropathy in her feet (also from chemo). Her physical therapist and a friend from her cancer support group urged her to try chair yoga – now she’s hooked. Small studies have …

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Tips for Lung Cancer Surgery Recovery

5 Tips for Life After Lung Cancer Surgery

Your body just went through a significant afront, and returning to regular life at home after lung cancer surgery can be daunting. Hopefully, you have a support network in place to help you adjust. But, if you could use an extra hand on your back as you recover, we are here to remind you that you are not alone in this. Our members are walking the walk alongside you – many have blazed the trail ahead. Including PLM member and lung cancer survivor Jacquie1961: read her story if you need encouragement today. If you’ve had a lobectomy, the most common form of lung cancer surgery, your body is getting used to functioning with less lung tissue. That’s a major operation, and healing will take time. To help your recovery along, we recently asked the PatientsLikeMe community to share their recommendations for getting through the recovery process. We’ve gathered some helpful post-surgery pointers members have shared. (Reminder: Visit PatientsLikeMe to join in the discussion in our Lung Cancer Forum.) Find Comfortable Clothes Many members have mentioned that the side effects of a lobectomy or other lung surgery can be more intense than they expected. They found that they were incredibly sensitive …

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A possible Parkinson’s disease/melanoma link? Time for a skin check

Now that summer has passed, have you had your skin examined? Studies have shown that people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) may have an increased risk for melanoma, so skin screenings are extra-important. Take a look at recent research and get some tips on monitoring your moles and skin. Studies show… A 2017 Mayo Clinic study found that people with either PD or melanoma are four times as likely to receive a diagnosis of the other disease. The researchers say the PD drug levodopa (which some people believe may play a role in melanoma risk) is not likely a factor in the PD/melanoma connection, according to McKnight’s. They found that the majority of melanomas were diagnosed before the diagnosis or treatment of Parkinson’s disease, so taking levodopa doesn’t appear to be a risk factor. Future research should focus on genes, immune responses and environmental exposures that could cause the relationship, the researchers say. Know your “ABCDEs” Check out the Skin Cancer Foundation’s “ABCDEs of Melanoma” (click here to see images of examples), and make an appointment right away if you spot any of these warning signs: A = asymmetry. Malignant moles tend to have an odd shape. B = border. The edges of an early melanoma may be …

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Chemo brain

“Chemo brain”: 3 surprising findings from recent research

“Chemo brain” — the term for cognitive problems associated with chemotherapy treatment — appears to be very common, but doctors only started paying attention to it in the late 1990s. A 2012 study that finally helped elevate chemo brain as a serious and widespread issue estimated that up to 75% of breast cancer survivors experience “cognitive deficits—problems with attention, concentration, planning, and working memory—from 6 months to 20 years after receiving chemotherapy.” Read on to learn some of the surprising findings from recent research on chemo brain. 1. Treatments beyond chemotherapy may cause chemo brain. “From many sources of data, we now know patients experience impairments not just after chemo, but after surgery, radiation, hormonal therapy,” and other treatments, oncologist Patricia Ganz, M.D., tells the National Cancer Institute. Immunotherapy may also cause cognitive dysfunction, according to MD Anderson Cancer Center. 2. Cancer itself may cause some chemo brain. A 2015 study found that people with lung cancer have mental impairments and changes in their brain even before treatment. For example, patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) had “verbal memory deficits” (e.g., trouble remembering words) and damage to the brain’s white matter (which some consider “the subway of the brain”). A 2017 animal study also showed that cancer itself can impact the brain, possibly because …

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Health news: What’s making headlines in June

In case you missed it, check out this round up of some of the stories making headlines in June…   Parkinson’s disease: Apple Watch will now be able to monitor PD: Tech developers announced this month that the Apple Watch will now be able to track two common PD symptoms — tremors and dyskinesia — and map them out in graphs to help doctors (and patients) with PD monitoring. Fill me in. Study points to an “overlooked driver” of PD — Bacteriophages: What are bacteriophages or “phages”? Viruses that infect bacteria. New research shows that people with PD may have an overabundance of phages that kill “good” bacteria in the microbiome or gut, which could mean a new target for treating PD. More on the study. Lupus: How common are cognitive issues with lupus? Very. A doctor specializing in lupus research says nearly 40% of people with SLE have some level of cognitive impairment, such as trouble with attention, recall and concentration — so doctors should monitor it early and often. Read his Q&A. Lung cancer: Drug may replace chemo as initial treatment for many with NSCLC: New clinical trial results of the immunotherapy drug Keytruda show that it can be a more effective first treatment than chemotherapy for …

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Marijuana/lung cancer: New reporting on potential risks/benefits of cannabis

Medical marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD) are getting a lot of media coverage — so what’s the latest, as it relates to lung cancer? See two recent high-profile articles that weigh the possible risks and benefits of cannabis for cancer and respiratory disease. And add your perspective. (Psst, checkout past PatientsLikeMe write-ups on medical marijuana and CBD for some background.) Risk factor or treatment? Earlier this year, U.S. News & World Report published an article called “Is Marijuana a Risk Factor or a Treatment Option for Lung Cancer?” reported by online CBD resource CAHI. Some key points? Marijuana smoke has many of the same toxins as cigarette smoke, so it could harm the lungs. But the doctors and researchers behind a 2017 report say they have not found conclusive evidence showing that smoking cannabis causes lung cancer (some doctors note that it’s difficult to study because many who’ve smoked marijuana have also smoked tobacco, and there are fewer people who are heavy or habitual cannabis users). However, if it turns out that smoking cannabis isn’t as bad for your health as people first thought, then it comes as no surprise to find out that you can easily buy it online on sites like firethc. The 2017 report did …

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CyberKnife, VATS + other surgical and less invasive treatments for lung cancer

Surgery is among the most common treatments for people with lung cancer. Let’s take a closer look at various types of surgery for lung cancer, as well as emerging non-surgical and minimally invasive treatments, like CyberKnife or “SBRT,” cryosurgery and “VATS.” Huh? Read on… we’ll explain. Common types of lung cancer surgery Before we explore some of the newer and less invasive treatments, let’s review the most common surgical treatments for lung cancer these days. These are the most frequently reported treatments on PatientsLikeMe (to access the links below, join the community or login): Lung lobectomy – In this procedure, a surgeon removes the entire lobe of the lung that contains a tumor. The right lung has 3 lobes, and the left lung has 2 lobes. See members’ evaluations of this treatment here. Lung wedge resection – This procedure involves removing a small, wedge-shaped portion of the lung (containing cancer), along with a certain amount of healthy tissue that surrounds the area. See treatment evaluations here. Pneumonectomy – Also called “radical pneumonectomy,” this means surgically removing an entire lung. Read treatment reports here. Lung segment resection – This procedure usually removes more than a wedge resection would but not the entire lobe of the lung. See treatment reports here. Check out additional treatment …

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What’s in your “chemo bag”? Gearing up for lung cancer treatment

Chemotherapy is one of the most common treatments for lung cancer, so the community on PatientsLikeMe is chatting about what’s helpful to pack in a bag for chemo appointments (join PatientsLikeMe to take part in this lung cancer forum discussion). Everyone’s experiences, side effects and preferences are different, but here are some items that people who’ve had chemotherapy say they’ve brought with them: Sweatshirt and other comfy layers, in case it’s cold in the clinic (tip: a v-neck shirt and a hoodie with a zipper can offer easier access, if you have a central line or port Fuzzy socks and/or close-toed shoes A favorite blanket and pillow from home — although the clinic probably has these on hand, it can be nice to have your own Toothbrush and toothpaste, in case you get a bad taste in your mouth (sometimes called “metal mouth”) Anti-nausea aids, like ginger candy or “pregnancy lollipops” Bottled water or whatever you like to drink (some people say iced green tea settles their stomach) — to help you stay hydrated and prevent dry mouth Hard candy to suck on (fruity, minty or whatever you like) Snacks to graze on (some clinics provide snacks, while others just provide water and coffee)… food is …

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2 immunotherapy treatments in the news: Imfinzi and Keytruda update

Two immunotherapy treatments — Imfinzi (durvalumab) and Keytruda (pembrolizumab) — have made headlines recently in relation to lung cancer treatment. What’s the latest? Here’s an update. Expanded FDA approval for Imfinzi The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved Imfinzi as a bladder cancer treatment in 2017. Imfinzi is marketed by AstraZeneca. In February 2018, the FDA approved Imfinzi for some lung cancer cases — specifically for patients with “stage 3 non-small cell lung cancer [NSCLC] who are not able to be treated with surgery to remove their tumor, and whose cancer has not gotten worse after they received chemotherapy along with radiation (chemoradiation),” the American Cancer Society (ACS) explains. A few more details on Imfinzi, according to the ACS: The goal of treatment with this drug is to keep the cancer from getting worse for as long as possible (researchers call this “progression-free survival”). The new approval for Imfinzi was based on a randomized clinical trial of 713 people, which found that those who received the drug had an average progression-free survival of 16.8 months compared to 5.6 months for those in the trial who did not receive it. Imfinzi is a “checkpoint inhibitor” drug that targets and blocks the PD-L1 protein to …

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Health news: What’s making headlines this month

Let’s stay on top of the latest health news — in case you missed it, check out this round up of some of the stories making headlines in May. ALS May is ALS awareness month: Later this month, advocates from across the U.S. will head to Capitol Hill to meet with their legislators. Check out how you can get involved and join the fight against ALS. Congress passes $3 billion increase in NIH funding: $140 million of the increase will go to the BRAIN Initiative research projects that contribute to the knowledge and understanding of ALS. More info. Lupus May is Lupus Awareness Month: Nearly two-thirds of people know little or nothing about lupus beyond the name, according to the Lupus Foundation of America, which is promoting the “Go Purple” campaign. Get ideas for boosting awareness. A link between the “mono” virus and lupus? A new study published in Nature Genetics shows that the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) — known for causing mononucleosis — may increase the risk of lupus and six other autoimmune diseases by changing how some genes are expressed. Check it out. Parkinson’s Disease “Suspect” Parkinson’s drug faces scrutiny: Following reports of hundreds of deaths and adverse events, the FDA is re-examining the safety of Nuplazid (pimavanserin), which …

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