Tag Archives: cancer

NHS patients waiting months for vital bowel cancer tests, figures show

Patients with one of the most lethal forms of cancer are having to wait months to have vital diagnostic tests, in a new sign of the relentless pressure on NHS services.

People suspected of having bowel cancer are facing waits of three months for tests when they should have them within a maximum of six weeks, the latest NHS waiting time figures show.

In March almost half the patients referred for the disease to Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust had to wait more than the six weeks set out in the NHS constitution. In all 144 (49.3%) of the 292 patients that month had to ensure waits of several months, and 39 of them were kept waiting for more than 13 weeks.

Campigners warned that patients could die as a result of the delays in patients undergoing either a colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy, the two tests used to detect bowel cancer.

Prof Colin Rees, vice-president of the British Society of Gastroenterology, said: “By testing the right people at the right time we can save lives and stop people dying needlessly.”

In March 24% of hospital trusts in England missed the six-week target for colonoscopy, which meant that 1,121 patients were kept waiting. In the same month, 18% of hospitals breached the six-week target for flexi-sigmoidoscopy.

Deborah Alsina, chief executive of Bowel Cancer UK, said the waiting times “present a worrying picture for patients”. She identified a lack of diagnotic staff as a key problem and lamented the latest of several delays in Health Education England publishing a plan, first promised in 2015, to boost the NHS cancer workforce.

About 41,000 people a year in the UK develop bowel cancer and around 16,000 die from it. It is Britain’s fourth most deadly cancer after lung, breast and prostate.

Meanwhile, NHS performance against its key waiting times targets is now the highest it has been for five years, NHS Englnd’s latest statistics show.

During 2015-16, 2.5 million people were not treated within four hours of arriving in A&E, and a total of 362,687 patients did not receive planned care in hospital – usually an operation – within 18 weeks.

Another 26,113 waited longer than 62 days for supposedly urgent cancer treatment after being referred by their GP, while 985,583 people with a life-threatening condition waited more than the maximum eight minutes for an ambulance to respond to an 999 call.

“These figures reveal the dismal human cost of the NHS crisis,” said Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman. “Millions of patients are waiting in distress and anxiety, but Theresa may doesn’t care.”

Responding to the latest monthly statistics, a Conservative spokesman said: “These figures show A&E performance has improved a great deal since the equivalent time last year. Waiting times for an operation again got shorter in March, and crucially patient outcomes continue to improve. Breast cancer survival is at its highest ever level.”

The figures came as the Health Foundation warned that the care patients receive is under threat because of the NHS’s unprecedented financial squeeze.

In a report, the thinktank says: “It is difficult to see how the intense financial pressures on all NHS and social care services will not threaten the quality of care in the near future if nothing changes.

“As OECD analyses have shown, the UK’s performance on quality is middling when compared with other OECD countries, but then so are our funding levels.”

Pfizer to give out breast cancer drug free while awaiting NHS decision

A drug described as one of the most important advances in treating breast cancer in the past 20 years is to be given to women in the UK for free while the medicines regulator decides whether it should be available on the NHS.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s provisional decision in February that palbociclib should not be routinely funded on the NHS in England was decried by patients but its final appraisal has been paused for the drug manufacturer Pfizer to present further clinical data.

In the meantime, Pfizer has said it will make palbociclib available free of charge. The drug in combination with another can stall the growth of the cancer for about 10 months in comparison with existing treatments.

Fiona Hazell, director of policy and engagement at the charity Breast Cancer Now, said: “This is an unexpected lifeline for thousands of women living with this type of breast cancer. We are delighted that Pfizer have listened to our campaigners and have found a way to enable patients to access this first-in-class drug in the short term.

“While only an interim measure, more than 16 women every day could have their lives changed by this drug during this window. Palbociclib can offer a large proportion of patients with incurable metastatic breast cancer significant extra time before their disease progresses – time that can be truly invaluable to them and their loved ones.”

She said anyone who thought they might be eligible should speak to their doctor, but also urged Nice to reach agreement with Pfizer on making it available on the NHS to anyone who needed it.

At the time of the draft guidance that recommended palbociclib be rejected, Dr Nicholas Turner, team leader in molecular oncology at the Institute of Cancer Research and consultant medical oncologist at the Royal Marsden in London, described the drug as “one of the most important advances in treating the most common type of breast cancer in 20 years”.

The ICR and Breast Cancer Now both urged Pfizer to reduce the price to allow it to be offered on the NHS. Nice said at the time that a full course of treatment would cost £79,560 and the benefits were “still not enough to make palbociclib cost effective at its current price”.

It estimated that about 5,500 people in England – out of 45,000 new diagnoses of breast cancer each year – would potentially be eligible for treatment with the drug.

Results of a trial in 666 women with advanced breast cancer, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago last June, showed that taking palbociclib in combination with letrozole increased progression-free survival for a median 24.8 months compared with 14.5 months for letrozole alone.

The free programme is expected to be open for a maximum of five months – closing six weeks after Nice issues final guidance on the drug, or on 30 September, whichever is earlier – with access being dependent on individual NHS trusts signing up to the scheme.

Pfizer said women who took up the offer would receive the full duration of treatment, regardless of Nice’s final decision.

A spokeswoman for the company said: “Pfizer believes women with metastatic breast cancer deserve access as soon as possible to this innovative medicine that has been shown to significantly increase progression-free survival.

“Acknowledging calls from physicians and patient groups across the UK for timely access to palbociclib, Pfizer has made the decision, in this instance, to provide palbociclib free of charge whilst the appraisal process continues.”

Manchester cancer hospital fire ‘may have destroyed vital research’

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Cancer Research UK institute likely to have lost millions of pounds of life-saving equipment in blaze, says its director

Years of research and millions of pounds of life-saving equipment are feared to have been destroyed in a devastating fire at a cancer hospital in Manchester, its director has said.

Prof Richard Marais, the head of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, said researchers had been able to save 25 years of clinical samples, but other vital work was lost in the “heartrending” blaze at Christie hospital.

Continue reading…

Thousands of cancer patients denied wish to die at home

Tens of thousands of people with cancer are dying in hospital every year even though they would rather spend their final days at home or in a hospice.

Although only 1% of cancer patients say they would prefer to die in hospital, 38% do, according to research by Macmillan Cancer Support, equating to 62,000 people a year across the UK.

A lack of health services outside hospitals, such as district nurses, to support people in their homes in their last days has been cited as a key reason behind the discovery.

But Macmillan said “a crisis of communication in the UK when it comes to death” and especially cancer patients’ reluctance to talk about their feelings, including their death, was preventing people achieving their own preferences. .

“There is a stark difference between a ‘good’ and a ‘bad’ death. We want everyone, where possible, to have a death that’s pain-free and in the place of their choosing. This is where the power of talking about death in advance is crucial,” said Adrienne Betteley, the charity’s head of health and social care.

Macmillan’s research, among 2,005 people who had been diagnosed with cancer, revealed that three in four had thought about the fact that they might die from the disease and one in five thought about it constantly or often.

However, 35% of those questioned had not spoken to anyone else about how they were feeling and just 8% had discussed matters with any of their health professionals.

Macmillan suggests people with cancer more readily relay how they are feeling, especially about where they want to die.

“The only certainty in life is that we will all die. What is less certain is where and what experience we will have when it happens. It’s only by talking about dying that we can agree what is really important to us, and put plans in place to make that happen,” said Lynda Thomas, Macmillan’s chief executive.

Amanda Cheesley, the Royal College of Nursing’s professional lead for long-term conditions and end-of-life care, said: “This country sadly still has serious work to do when it comes to end-of-life care. We must help patients to express their wishes, but we also need to make more options available in the first place. Declining numbers of community and district nurses and a lack of social care mean too many have to stay in hospital whether they want to or not.

“The nursing shortage is making a bad situation worse. With fewer nursing staff on wards, many are unable to facilitate discussions about death, and two-thirds of nurses say they don’t have the time to deliver the high-quality care that dying patients need.”

Cancer Drugs Fund condemned as expensive and ineffective

The Cancer Drugs Fund, set up by the government to pay for expensive medicines that the NHS would not normally finance, failed to benefit patients and may have resulted in some of them suffering unnecessarily from toxic side-effects, experts say.

An analysis in a leading cancer journal has found that the fund paid out £1.27bn from 2010 to 2016 – an amount that would have paid for an entire year of mainstream cancer drugs for the NHS.

But medicine it paid for was not worth the money, the report concluded. The analysis in the Annals of Oncology journal looked at 29 cancer drugs approved for 47 different types of treatment (known as indications), some of which were approved to treat more than one cancer. They found that only 18 of the 47 treatments prolonged the patient’s life, and then only by an average of three months.

Many of the drugs were approved by the fund on the basis of clinical trials that aimed only for what is called “progression-free survival”, where there is no sign in a scan or test that the cancer is growing. But patients often did not live any longer because the cancer would come back suddenly with lethal force.

The experts from London, Bristol and New York said that, from the patient’s perspective, increased progression-free survival might not be a benefit at all, since it not infrequently came with toxic side-effects.

Prof Richard Sullivan, of the institute of cancer policy at King’s College London, one of the authors, said the Cancer Drugs Fund had been “a massive health error”.

It was set up in 2010 because of the public outcry whenever the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) turned down a new cancer drug for NHS use on the grounds that it was not cost-effective. The establishment of the fund was one of David Cameron’s election pledges. But, said Sullivan, although it was clear from Nice’s assessments that many of these drugs were not good value for money, neither doctors nor scientists nor the cancer charities spoke out against it.

“In science, we demand levels of evidence, but public policy is opinion-based, not evidence-based. You can’t have that in health. Populism doesn’t work,” he said.

Sullivan said that, wrongly, drugstook precedence in most people’s thinking over other treatments. Surgery can be curative and is the most important treatment and radiotherapy is also a valuable tool.

The paper, by Dr Ajay Aggarwal of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and colleagues, warns that other countries that may have been eyeing the Cancer Drugs Fund as a way to deal with the huge problem of soaring costs should think again. “Despite significant expenditure, there remains no evidence that the CDF has delivered meaningful value to NHS patients,” it says. “We recommend the avoidance of similar “ringfenced” drug access schemes in other countries.”

In 2016, as the costs of the fund span out of control, NHS England took action to wind it down in its current form. The CDF conducted its own assessment of the trial evidence behind the drugs it was paying for and struck off 24 of the 47 treatments – just over half of them because they offered insufficient value for money.

“Eighteen of these reversals were based on evidence that existed prior to the introduction of the fund, suggesting wastage of resources, but equally that drugs were given that were ineffective and probably resulted in unnecessary toxicities for patients,” said Aggarwal.

The fund has since reopened, but is now a supportive pot of money to enable evidence to be collected on the performance of promising new drugs. That sort of data should have been collected from the beginning, but was not, say the experts. Hard bargaining with pharmaceutical companies has brought down the prices that they are charging for these drugs.

The Institute of Cancer Research, which has carried out trials on many important cancer drugs, did not defend the fund. “The old Cancer Drugs Fund was always just a sticking plaster and we welcomed its overhaul because it was too expensive, unsustainable, and provided little certainty to patients and their doctors,” said Prof Paul Workman, the institute’s chief executive. “The new, more evidence-based system, where Nice appraises all cancer drugs, should address some of the issues highlighted in this study.

“But while we support the rigorous drug evaluation that Nice carries out, it’s essential that the new system continues to offer fast access to the most innovative and exciting cancer drugs. We need Nice to reform the way it evaluates drugs to place greater emphasis on how innovative they are, to ensure patients are not denied the most promising treatments purely because of their cost.”

But breast cancer charities, which have been strong supporters of the fund in the past, said there was still a need for extra money for cancer drugs. “While the old Cancer Drugs Fund was far from perfect – poor management and a distinct lack of data meant it was left in chaos – it did offer an avenue for people with incurable secondary breast cancer in England to access new treatments unavailable on the NHS,” said Danni Manzi, head of policy and campaigns at Breast Cancer Care.

“It remains a constant uphill battle for people living with incurable breast cancer to get the drugs they so desperately need. Now facing changes to funding systems, including cost caps, women tell us they are even more anxious about getting treatments to give them priceless extra time with loved ones.”

Purple Cabbage Juice That Beats Hypertension, Cancer, Removes Toxins & Heals Gut Naturally

If you don’t like to juice green cabbage, try juicing the purple cabbage instead. Purple cabbage has a vibrant beautiful color when juiced and tastes quite sweet, unlike green cabbage which can be a tad more bitter. Cabbage is absolutely loaded with goodness. It contains powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s wonderful for heart health, helping to reduce cholesterol by binding bile acids in the intestine. The lactic acid in cabbage also acts as a potent colon cleanser.

This recipe is a master healer to the gut and digestive system, beats hypertension, prevent cancer and loaded with phytonutrients known to guard against cancer and cleanse your kidneys too.

Purple Cabbage Juice Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

3 plums
1/4 small purple cabbage
1 beetroot (beet)
2 sticks of celery
1 orange

DIRECTIONS:

Wash all produce well.
Remove the stones from the plums.
Chop the desired amount of cabbage; I used a small purple cabbage.
Peel the orange.
Juice ingredients.
Pour over ice and enjoy!

Why Are These Ingredients BENEFICIAL?

Plums

-Fight against infectious agents, counter inflammation and free radicals.
-Vitamin A found in plums is also known to protect from oral and cavity cancer.
-Eating three servings of this fruit daily can lower the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.

Celery

-Beneficial to the digestive tract.
-Great sources of antioxidant and phytonutrients.
-Provides a fair amount of dietary fiber.

Purple Cabbage

-Purple cabbage is rich in these antioxidants which has also been found to make skin supple and clear.
-Purple cabbage is an alkalizing food. It helps regulate the pH in our system.
-Cabbage aids in digestion and elimination Cabbage can dramatically lower bad cholesterol and helps lower blood pressure.

Orange

-Rich in Vitamin C, B6, A, E, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
-Aids in digestion.
-Purify blood naturally.

Beets

-Super Antioxidant for a Long, Healthy, Pain-Free Life
-Beetroot ingestion can be one of the useful means to prevent lung and skin cancer.
-The betalains in beets have been used in certain treatments of depression.

Sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/410758-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-red-cabbage-vs-green-cabbage/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1082903/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080307081409.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7700983

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Geary Andrew

Bachelor of Science, Psychology, Minor in business and liberal arts. I’ve written about health for more than a decade. Veteran freelance writer with expertise in health, wellness, parenting and lifestyle issues. I am passionate about educating and empowering people to achieve and maintain optimal health and is committed to providing the highest quality health care.

Cancer symptoms often missed by GPs in England, study suggests

Thousands of people diagnosed with cancer in A&E every year have visited their GP three times or more with symptoms, research has shown.

The study found that 71% of all patients diagnosed in accident and emergency departments had seen their GP at least once with symptoms that turned out to be cancer. The remainder had never visited their GP.

Of the group that did see their GP with symptoms, 41% had sought help three or more times while 59% had seen their GP once or twice.

Some of these had difficult-to-spot cancers, such as lung cancer or multiple myeloma, and tended to be younger or female.

But the group also included people with common cancers such as breast cancer. The study found that 31% of patients with breast cancer had visited their GP three or more times, 41% with bowel cancer had visited three or more times, and 37% with prostate cancer had visited three or more times.

People who are diagnosed with cancer as an emergency have a worse prognosis than those diagnosed at an earlier stage. The quicker a cancer patient can get a diagnosis, the better their options for treatment.

The study, said to be the most comprehensive to date, was published in the British Journal of General Practice. The authors, including from University College London, the University of Cambridge and Public Health England, analysed 2010 data from 4,637 people diagnosed in A&E.

They found those patients who had never been to their GP tended to be older, male and living in the most deprived regions of England.

Patients in A&E diagnosed with common cancers who had visited their GP three times or more may be presenting with atypical symptoms, the authors said.

A previous study, including by three of the same authors, found those patients who saw a GP three or more times before being referred for cancer tests were more likely to be dissatisfied with their overall care.

They also have less confidence in the doctors and nurses who go on to treat them, that study found.

Dr Georgios Lyratzopoulos, one of the lead researchers based at UCL, said: “These findings tell us that some patients diagnosed as an emergency might not be acting on ‘red flag’ symptoms which could have prompted them to visit their GP.

“There’s also a host of other factors that may be at play. For example, many elderly patients may find it difficult to get to the surgery or have other conditions which would prevent them from seeking an appointment, such as dementia.

“This highlights the need to explore all the reasons why cancers are diagnosed late, including what happens outside GP surgeries.

“It also shows that late diagnosis is more complex than it’s often presented to be, as there are multiple reasons why cancers are spotted late.”

Dr Julie Sharp of Cancer Research UK said: “Campaigns like Be Clear on Cancer have boosted the public’s awareness of cancer signs and symptoms. But this study shows that there are multiple reasons that affect how and when a cancer diagnosis is made.

“We need to continue to increase awareness of cancer signs and symptoms and help break down the barriers preventing people from seeing their GP earlier. GPs need better access to the right tests and referral routes if we want to see this number reduced.”

Judith Brodie, acting chief executive of the charity Beating Bowel Cancer, said: “It’s concerning that the study shows 41% of bowel cancer patients who are diagnosed as emergencies had previously sought help from their GP three or more times.

“A bowel cancer patient’s chance of being successfully treated drops dramatically if they are not diagnosed until a late stage so more must be done to ensure that the public is aware of the symptoms and how important it is to get them checked out as soon as possible.

“Knowledge of the disease will also give them the confidence to persevere with their GP if they feel their symptoms are not being taken seriously enough.”

Twelve essential oils that fight cancer and boost immunity

One-third of American’s are seeking alternative medicine for either their sole medical treatment or for complementary medical treatment.  People are often incorporating vitamins, fish oil, probiotics, melatonin, deep breathing, yoga, or chiropractic care into their natural health arsenal.  It appears that natural health care trends are only projected to keep growing. (1)

One-third of Americans are seeking alternative medicine

The organic food market is expected to grow 14 percent between the years of 2013-2018 and the global essential oil market is expected to reach 11.67 billion dollars by 2022. (2,3)

Essential oils have been utilized in numerous cultures for decades to help remedy disease.  Essentials oils may have gained their appeal through their pleasant scents but will maintain their longevity due to research and the growing demand for alternative medicine.

Different varieties of Frankincense oil found to kill bladder cancer, breast cancer and skin cancer cells

The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences found that different types of frankincense oils are effective at killing cancer cells.  Boswellia carteri has been found to target cancerous cells in bladder tumors, killing them and leaving healthy cells alone.  Boswellia sacramay is thought to be effective in breast cancer prevention as well as for advanced breast cancers.  Boswellia sacrais is an effective and non-invasive treatment for basal cell carcinoma. Boswellia carteri and Santalum album both kill cancer cells in different ways, when combined they form a strong alliance to annihilate cancer. (4)

Twelve essential oils that help fight cancer, boost immunity and improve health and well-being

Frankincense oil is not the only effective oil for cancer.  Consider adding the following 12 oils to your collection in order to boost your immune system and help your body fight infection and disease.

  1. Black Pepper: Use for asthma, sinus congestion, chronic indigestion, cold,  respiratory infections, obesity, improper metabolism, urinary problems, cholera, headache, intermittent fever, toxic remains in the system, and cancer. (5)
  2. Cinnamon: Eighty studies have investigated cinnamaldehyde’s ability to inhibit tumor cell death and cancer cell apoptosis. (6)
  3. Clove: Clove oil contains 30x more anti-oxidants than blueberries which helps reduce free radical damage. (7)
  4. Oregano: Oregano’s active ingredient, carvacrol, shown to have anti-tumor effects on metastatic breast cancer cells. (8)
  5. Cardamom:  Cardamom essential oil shows to have chemopreventative and anti-tumor effects. (9)
  6. Fennel: Fennel contains terpenoid anethole, which has both estrogenic and chemopreventive effects. (10)
  7. Frankincense: Kills bladder cancer, breast cancer, and skin cancer cells. (4)
  8. Clary Sage: Clary Sage contains sclareol which has anticancer effects against breast cancer cells. (11)
  9. Melaleuca (Tea Tree): Tea tree oil was found to fight non-melanoma skin cancer in mice. (12)
  10. Helichrysum: Studies show that helichrysum oil lowers inflammation, fights against free radical damage and has corticoid-like effects. (13)
  11. Rosemary: One study concluded that a 1 percent rosemary essential oil was able to deactivate more than 90 percent of ovarian and liver cancer cells. (14)
  12. Thyme:  A 2010 study found that thyme oil was effective against breast cancer, lung cancer,a nd prostate cancer cells. (14)

Seeking out a licensed aromatherapist or medical practitioner can help you better understand how to use essential oils, their purposes and how they can promote your own personal well-being.

Sources included:

(1) http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/11/health/feat-alternative-medicine-study/

(2) http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Markets/US-organic-food-market-to-grow-14-from-2013-18

(3) http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/essential-oil-market-size-to-reach-1167-billion-by-2022-grand-view-research-inc-531216151.html

(4) https://www.cancertutor.com/are-essential-oils-the-missing-link-to-cancer-prevention/

(5) http://ayurvedicoils.com/tag/health-benefits-of-black-pepper-essential-oil

(6) http://drericz.com/cinnamon-essential-oil-for-cancer-diabetes-and-more/

(7) http://draxe.com/clove-oil-uses-benefits/

(8) http://www.naturalnews.com/046004_oregano_oil_cancer_growth_norovirus.html#

(9) http://drericz.com/fight-cancer-and-nausea-with-cardamom-essential-oil/

(10) http://foodforbreastcancer.com/foods/fennel

(11) http://roberttisserand.com/2010/04/is-clary-sage-oil-estrogenic/

(12) http://www.mypureradiance.com/thousand-year-old-oil-beats-cancer/

(13) http://draxe.com/helichrysum-essential-oil/

(14)http://www.thealternativedaily.com/herbal-essential-oils-cancer-cells/

Lynn Griffith

Lynn is a licensed therapist who enjoys cooking, creativity and enjoys helping other’s learn how to care for their minds and bodies through healthy eating.  Lynn has wrote for The Raw Food World News and is currently in the process of building her own website focused on managing mental health through nutrition and wellness.

Obesity blamed for sharp rise in kidney cancer in UK

Obesity is to blame for a surge in kidney cancer in the UK, causing an extra 20,000 cases in the last 10 years, according to a leading charity.

Cancer Research UK says that new cases of kidney cancer have risen steeply, by 40% over the past decade.

Obesity and being overweight are implicated in about a quarter of kidney cancers, with smoking linked to another quarter, but while the numbers of people smoking has dropped, obesity continues to rise. The charity’s projections show kidney cancer cases climbing by a further 26% by 2035, which would make it one of the fastest growing types of cancer.

Kidney cancer kills half of those who develop it within 10 years. It is rare in people under the age of 50 and can be halted if caught early – usually by surgery to remove all or part of a kidney. It is often not picked up in time, however, because there may be no obvious symptoms early on.

There are about 11,900 cases of kidney cancer in the UK each year, 7,400 in men and 4,500 in women. About 4,300 people die from the disease each year.

Campaigners are concerned that few people realise obesity is a major factor in developing many types of cancer, including stomach, pancreatic and breast cancer.

“It’s concerning to see kidney cancer cases rising like this. Being overweight or obese is linked to 13 types of cancer, including kidney which is becoming more and more common,” said Dr Julie Sharp of Cancer Research UK.

“Similar to smoking, where damage to cells builds up over time and increases the risk of cancer, damage from carrying excess weight accumulates over a person’s lifetime.”

The symptoms of kidney cancer – when there are any – include blood in urine, a persistent pain below the ribs in the lower back or side, and a lump or swelling in the side. Kidney cancer is sometimes picked up during urine tests carried out for other reasons.

Sarah Toule of the World Cancer Research Fund said that maintaining a healthy weight was extremely important. “In fact, if everyone was a healthy weight, around 25,000 cancer cases could be prevented every year in the UK,” she said.

”There are simple ways people can help maintain a healthy weight, such as cutting out high-calorie food and drinks and doing at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.

“The government also plays a vital role in ensuring strong measures are in place to help the healthy choice be the easy choice. These include restricting junk food marketing to children and reducing the amount of sugar found in everyday products.”

Adam Freeman, a 46-year-old lawyer and father of four from south London, was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2013. He had surgery to remove a kidney and is now cancer-free.

“When it comes to my lifestyle, I would say that the little devil on my one shoulder won over the angel on my other, so I ducked exercise and ate badly a bit too often.

“Now, since my diagnosis, I try to listen to the angel rather than the devil on my shoulder. I have tried to make things more habitual and rarely skip exercise or make bad food or drink choices. I regularly cycle to work to try and keep fit, and I have also started doing yoga.

“Of course it’s challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle when you are juggling a career and family. I am only human. I’m a husband and father to our four children and my career can be demanding.

“But that’s why things have to be a habit so it becomes part of your daily life. We talk much more as a family about healthy choices, particularly trying to make the children aware of how much sugar is in drinks and breakfast cereals. We try and reduce the amount of temptations in the house.”

Life with Cancer and the Steadfast Courage in the Face of Death

When I was first diagnosed ( Karen’s Journey ) I couldn’t help myself but to feel afraid, somehow I felt shame for feeling this emotion because I thought as a believer of God I had to be strong in every area of my life despite the challenges I may face. After all the word of God says in His perfect love there is no fear. Could it be then that I really didn’t know of His love? Or perhaps, I’m a normal human being with normal emotions? God gave us emotions right? Let me tell you… Yes!! It is normal to feel afraid!! Now, the question is… what do we do in the midst of that emotion? Do we allow it to paralyze us or do we move from it? So many questions and yet, the bible, pastors, therapists, family, relatives, friends, colleagues, will have their own very unique answer to this complex question. Would they all coincide that Steadfast Courage is a must?

Emotions?

You may be wondering why is this woman talking about emotions on this site? Very simple! Emotions play such a significant role in our everyday life consequently these emotions have a great impact in our over all health. I have personally found a great void in the medical community addressing this very important area of life. Somehow doctors have been trained to separate this vital component of health and detached it from patients healing practices and protocols.

My healing journey has embarked me into a journey of self discovery and I believe this is true for most cancer patients regardless of their treatment preference. Somehow we focus a great deal on our physical being, which of course must be addressed but how about our emotional health? It is known that our emotions have perhaps a greater impact on our health than what we eat. One of the doctors on my team whom I greatly admire once said “A negative thought can kill you faster than a bad germ. One of the main things to detoxify is your mind” (Dr. Antonio Jimenez, 2014).

I am not a doctor nor do I claim to know what is right or wrong for any cancer patient needing medical advice. However, as a cancer thriver myself I can say that I prefer to believe and hope that things can change for me in my reality. Believe I can heal and hope I will live a long life as it was intended by God the creator of the universe.

Settling?

Why should I settle for what the doctors say or what the medical reports reflect. We ALL have an expiration date on our lives and what matters is how we choose to live daily now. I reject fear as it drains my immune system and it puts me in an unnecessary anxiety mode. Think about it… Does fear change the medical report or the doctor’s opinion on your life? Of course not. But what if your positive thoughts and words you intentionally choose to speak over yourself are filled with Steadfast Courage? This choice alone will have an immediate impact over your situation. What if you choose to be vigilant in your emotional awareness just as you are with your diet, exercise, therapies, supplements, relationships, etc. What if you choose to face death with Steadfast Courage? What if you choose to overwhelm your circumstances with hope and faith vs fear? And even if things don’t change for you, would you spend your remaining days alive as an slave of fear?

YOU CHOOSE

You choose what will fill your mind and heart and allow it to take over you… Thankfulness, Peace, Hope, Love … No cancer can ever take that away from you. I don’t claim to be fearless but it is a daily choice I must make to live in gratitude, peace, joy, love and in hope. I have been told that I am an idealist and I don’t live in reality. To be honest if reality means to live in fear, anxiety, hopelessness, faithlessness, unhappiness, pressured with time and allowing life to happen instead of living life, well than yes I am an idealist. I choose to create this other reality for me filled with joy peace hope and love, I choose to believe I can heal. I believe you and I are powerful people and we must choose Steadfast Courage in the Face of Death.

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Karen Berrios

Blogger

After much thought I took the path less travelled, a path on which I strongly believe the Lord is walking right alongside of me.

I started my healing path in 2014 as a 41-year-old wife, mother of three and business owner. I’m still holding these titles as I travel on my new cancer journey. The C diagnoses has given me an invitation to live again, allowing me to learn so much about myself, health, relationships, lifestyle and of course this awful disease… cancer…

I decided to start a blog to share my experiences with you. Of course, many of you may ask why? Why would this woman make herself open and vulnerable to thousands of strangers on the internet? Simple! An amazing invitation was given to me, to embark myself into a healing journey, not only to bring back physical order but to heal my mind and soul, to develop and grow into a new season of change. Although I don’t have all the answers and I don’t have it all together, I want to share, ignite and declare the works of that healing light that dwells in all of us.

No, I cannot say that I am completely “cancer free.” But things are definitely moving in the right direction. Tumor has shrunk, and blood flow to it has been reduced. Looking at my blood work through the eyes of the (conventional) medical community, I can say that my immune system is stronger and my level of tumor markers is lower. I know in my heart that I’m on my way to discover, heal and fully live in thankfulness for every blessing I have, embracing the journey with joy and hope and intentionally loving people everyday of my life. I don’t know how it is all going to end but I know I can choose how I want to live today.

It is my hope and prayer that by sharing my journey, you and others can benefit from what I’ve learned and what I’m still going through. If you, too, are searching for answers, I want you to know that you are not alone, that I am right here with you. But most importantly I want you to know that the power to heal is within you.