Posted by: jeanne | December 16, 2014

tamoxifen has a long term effect on breast cancer

good for the breast, bad for the uterus.

here’s the whole article, copied from the guardian:

Breast cancer drug tamoxifen has long-term effect, study finds

Researchers say preventive effect of tamoxifen is highly significant with reduction in breast cancer rates of around a third
Cancer therapy
Endometrial cancer, a known side effect of tamoxifen, was 3.8 times more common in the tamoxifen group. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA

The preventative effect of the breast cancer drug tamoxifen is maintained for 20 years, reducing rates of the disease by about 30%, according to a study.

The authors of the research, led by Queen Mary University of London and funded by Cancer Research UK said the results “substantially improve the benefit-to harm ratio” for use of the hormonal drugs, which many complain have a number of side-effects, by women at high risk of breast cancer.

Professor Jack Cuzick, lead author of the paper, published in the Lancet Oncology on Thursday, said: “Tamoxifen is a well-established and effective treatment for certain breast cancers, but we now have evidence of its very long-term preventive benefits. The preventive effect of tamoxifen is highly significant with a reduction in breast cancer rates of around a third, and this impact has remained strong and unabated for 20 years. We hope these results will stimulate more women, particularly younger women, to consider treatment options for breast cancer prevention if they have a family history of the disease or other major risk factors.”

During the study, 7,151 women aged from 35 to 70-years-old, at high risk of the disease – primarily with a family history of breast cancer – received, at random, either a 20mg daily dose of tamoxifen or a matching placebo for five years, the period for which the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says the drug should be taken.

After completing treatment, their health was monitored with an average follow-up time of 16 years.

The results, presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, revealed that 350 women developed breast cancer in the placebo group compared to 251 of those taking tamoxifen, a reduction in occurrence of 29%. Oestrogen receptor (ER) positive invasive cancer, which account for two thirds of all breast cancers, were reduced by 35%.

The estimated risk of developing breast cancer was 8% in the tamoxifen group, compared to 12% in the placebo group, equating to 22 women being treated with the drug for every one breast cancer case prevented after 20 years.

Women who took hormone replacement therapy during the five years of tamoxifen treatment had a significantly lower benefit compared with those who did not. In addition, endometrial cancer, a known side effect of tamoxifen, was 3.8 times more common in the tamoxifen group during the five years of treatment (15 tamoxifen versus four placebo), but there was no increased risk in the follow-up period.

The reduced incidence of breast cancer with tamoxifen did not translate into a reduction in breast cancer specific deaths (31 tamoxifen versus 26 placebo) the researchers found. In addition, five women receiving tamoxifen died from endometrial cancer compared to none in the placebo group.

Cuzick, head of the Centre for Cancer Prevention at QMUL, said the number of breast cancer deaths was still small compared to the number of cases. “We will need to continue monitoring these women for a further decade to get a clearer picture of the impact of tamoxifen on death rates,” he said. “Some of the side effects of tamoxifen are also cause for concern and need continued monitoring – specifically the increased occurrence of endometrial cancer.”

The most common side effects of tamoxifen are menopausal-type symptoms, such as hot flushes and sweating. Other people feel sick or suffer indigestion or put on weight. Less common are depression, headaches, blood clots and vision problems.

Dr Julie Sharp, head of health information at Cancer Research UK, said the study had confirmed the “long-lasting effect” of tamoxifen but added: “All these drugs have side effects so it’s important that women at high risk of breast cancer talk through their choices with their doctor to work out the best option for them.”

Posted by: jeanne | December 31, 2013

tall blue beings with wings

i have a story to tell about this. something like 15 years ago when my marriage broke up, i spent a lot of time and money getting various forms of psychic readings and healing sessions with various people.

around this time i began to feel very alienated.

from hating myself for much of my life, i had decided that i really loved myself and loved my life, and this is what prompted me to leave a fairly dry marriage. and the various healings and advisings were part of my process.

i did a lot of past life therapy with a wonderful therapist. i found several lives of interest and importance to me, things that helped to explain why i am the way i am. i learned to trust the images that came to me, rather than dismissing them as obvious fantasies.

i did a healing with someone who did lots of stone and crystal work on me while i lay under a tented cloth.

i did a healing with someone who had the balls to yell at god for fucking things up here on earth, and learned that i could do that too if i chose.

i did a session of tragering with someone who wasn’t experienced enough to deal with me, and she damaged my neck.

i did the first level reiki initiation, and it worked, even tho i didn’t believe in it. but then i got supersensitive to electric fields and couldn’t use my laptop after that. and i also had a dream that warned me not to take any more authority figures over me. no more teachers. i stopped doing reiki by name (which after all is only energy, even tho they try to trademark it and charge for it).

i went to a seer who told me i wasn’t in karma anymore (meaning i was now god, and had to make the sun come up every day), but if i was interested in coming back to karma they had a nice life planned for me.

it was right before the seer told me i was out of karma (and so he couldn’t read me) that i began to realize i wasn’t really human. i was a tall blue being with wings. and there were a very few of us on this earth, and we were spaced evenly around the earth to keep things in balance, so i would never meet the others. i was hoping to meet one and form a pair so i wouldn’t feel so lonely.  my role on the earth was to be a sort of psychic cop, to find those who assumed spiritual authority over others (teachers, gurus) and judge them. and i always found them wanting – total assholes, actually. my job wasn’t to do anything about them (karma will take care of that), but just to observe them and render judgment.

but this was a thankless, joyless job, and i didn’t really want to be god and make the sun come up every day (which of course is a metaphor),  so i gradually stopped identifying with the tall blue being and came back into karma.

i went to the seer knowing i was a tall blue being, and he couldn’t read me because i was no longer human.

sometime around then i got cancer. 911 happened and the country turned to war instead of soul searching, and i just gave up all hope and asked god to take me. and i heard god say ‘ok’. it was a shimmery kind of sound. i immediately changed my mind, but it wasn’t that simple, and i had to learn a whole host of things in order to heal myself. and that was 12 years ago, and i’m still here with renewed purpose. i’ve adopted a quantum consciousness, realize there’s no black and white, no right and wrong, but all things mixed together depending on who and how and why. it’s complicated, and not the point of this story.

anyway, years passed and i only thought about the tall blue beings with wings when i was meditating.

i have this meditation where i go up thru various levels above the earth, and install and tinker with my little patch of responsibility for the earth. the metaphor includes netlike structures at various distances out from the earth – the first level is jittery with energy and i don’t stay there.  the second level used to be less crowded, but now it’s like huge apartment blocks in low orbit, and my little spot is buried in the middle of everybody else’s. the third level used to be only a few people putting structures in. i had a little space with an armchair where i installed a fairly large crystal and charged it to do whatever it was supposed to be doing.

i hadn’t been to this level for a few years, and when i went back it was becoming the same kind of apartment block – endless corridors, lots of concrete, lots of noise. so i knocked a hole in the wall and took out one whole side of it so that i could see the peaceful surrounding space again. i reset the crystal. the last time i visited, the other night, in fact, others had been there to enjoy the view, and there was trash i had to clean up.

i’d been flying on to the fourth level for some time. this is the space between worlds, just underneath the flight lanes connecting the planets and the stars, and several years ago i discovered to my delight that even tho there were only a few blue beings with wings on the earth, there was a collection of them at the metaphorical lagrange point, where gravity is equalized (neutralized) by the balance of the planets.  they don’t come any closer.

i flew over and greeted them, but didn’t really ask them anything, just hung out with them for awhile, feeling the love. i would like to know what they’re doing there, but rather than interrogating them (on the off chance that my ego would supply the answers) i just greeted them and went back to what i was doing. usually i drifted off to sleep at that point, and didn’t really have the opportunity.

now, when i go to the fourth level, i have installed a long flagpole structure from my premises on the third level, and just left it like that without building anything. i’m not sure i want to be part of a huge buildup of energy, the way it happened on the third level. i’m not sure there’s supposed to be anything jutting out into the flight lanes between planets and stars.

the blue beings are tall and thin, with blue bodies and black hair, and their wings are insignificant. not the magnificent wings of our stereotypical angels, and not bird wings, and not bat wings. when i was doing reiki, i asked the ‘master’ about them, and all he wanted to know was whether they were nordics or reptilian, but they were neither. and all the searching i had done on the internet (tall blue beings with wings, blue angels, blue ETs) turned up nothing.

then i became interested in ayahuasca, because if i’m going to die (and who isn’t) i still have some in depth work that needs to be done because i’m still full of anger and conflicts, and this dilutes my ability to do good. so i asked around for some time, and suddenly last summer someone in my town knew someone who was into that and my name got forwarded to a group that has the shaman come in once every few months for a ceremony.

so i went to an orientation meeting. now, i hadn’t been around organized newagers for some years, because i reached the conclusion that they’re as conformist as all the other organized groups, and just as gullible. but i went to this meeting and was shocked by what a sausage fest it was.

the men were in charge, were respected, were knowledgeable. the women were decorative and servants. it was that simple, to my eyes, tho to themselves they all looked very advanced and egalitarian. to me it was as sexist and restrictive as any fundamentalist religion. and the guys hit on me, really obviously relishing fresh meat. so my back went up, and i didn’t relax and try to make friends, and left the gathering with a bad taste in my mouth. that’s when i decided to organize a ceremony myself, with mainly women, thru other channels.

i read an ayahuasca novel by graham hancock, called entangled, which features a tall blue being (with wings) who is an angel that created the world and all the beings on it (so, god). so i asked him about it, and he only said “there is a persisting mythos about the Blue Angel, in many different cultures.”

and then i read something the lipstick mystic (whose site seems to be under attack at the moment) wrote about how our whole perception of angels and god is backwards, how they are actually prison guards and torturers, extradimensional vampires. this went pretty well with what i’d already concluded. after all, xianity is a death cult, which is why the right wing republican xians worship a gun toting jesus. and looking at the shape of the world we live in, it’s fairly clear to me that our xian god is at best a demented younger sibling of whatever god we assume is all powerful and good. so when i read the warning about angels, and read further some warnings about the demons that work with ayahuasca, my hackles went up, i realized she was right on the money, and all my desire left me to do powerful psychoactive drugs (especially in the company of sausages who wanted to make me while i was vulnerable).

so that’s my story. everybody is god, i don’t need teachers, i can heal myself. patriarchy is evil.

by the way, i have a wonderful life now.

Posted by: jeanne | December 31, 2013

the clitoris

timthumb picture-9.png1_

these beautiful pictures are images of the clitoris. look how cowlike it seems from the front (the cow being an ancient female symbol). and look how it surrounds the vestibule of the vagina.

i don’t have anything to add to these pictures, except to remark on how everything we thought we knew was wrong.

Posted by: jeanne | September 8, 2012

vagina ++good

reposting naomi wolf’s article

The brain science of the vagina heralds a new sexual revolution

Finally, women have the neuroscientific knowledge to liberate their bodies from patriarchy’s social control and culture of shame

My new book, Vagina: A New Biography, has just come out in the UK – to a whirlwind of reaction. Why write about the vagina? And why now?

The main answer is that new neuroscience, which has been very little reported outside of scientific journals, is providing truly revolutionary new information about what the vagina is and does – information that, in my mind, makes our entire way of seeing that organ, which is regarded generally, in this culture, as merely a sex organ – obsolete. New information in related fields is also transforming, or should transform, our understanding of sex itself for women.

The main headline, in my view? The new science has established a radically new insight: that there is such a strong brain-vagina connection in women that many of the neuroscientists whom I interviewed called it “a single system”. More remarkably, few of us know that when a woman has an orgasm – and, even before that, when she feels empowered to think about pleasurable sex, anticipate it, focus on how to get it, and feels in control of and knowledgeable enough about her body to know she can probably reach orgasm during sex – her brain gets a boost of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Then, in orgasm, opioids and oxytocin are also released. This experience does not just yield pleasure, a fact that is well known; it also yields specific states of mind.

Dopamine is what I call the ultimate feminist neurotransmitter: it yields motivation and goal-orientedness, trust in one’s own judgement and, most notably of all, in my mind, confidence. (Cocaine, for instance, powerfully stimulates release of dopamine – hence the crazy confidence and sociability of coke users, at least under the influence, responding to that boost). Opioids give the brain the sensation of ecstasy or transcendence; and finally, oxytocin – which can be released both when a woman’s nipples are being stimulated and during the contractions of orgasm – creates a sense of bonding, caring and intimacy. Oxytocin has been shown in studies to give people with heightened levels an advantage in reading the emotions of faces.

So, given this chemical bath, it is fair to say that the vagina is not just a sex organ at all, but a powerful mediator of female confidence, creativity and the sense of the connections between things.

Realizing the nature of this brain-vagina connection led me, as a feminist, to have the next obvious insight. If female anticipation of pleasurable sex, and female orgasm, led to this kind of mood-alteration – among many other newly-documented outcomes I report on in the book – this also explains why female sexuality, and the vagina in particular, have been controlled, abused, targeted, derided and shamed. And why women have been mystified and kept in ignorance of their own sexual responses – for five millennia, certainly in the west. The dopamine loop also, of course, explains why some cultures practice cliterodectomy and infibulations – practices that we should now understand alter not simply the body and sexual functioning, but the influences on the female brain itself.

In the book, I survey the cultural history of the vagina also. When you put the history together side by side with these astonishing new discoveries about the neuroscience of female desire, you comprehend, as one reader put it, “the whole story of why the vagina must be targeted and shamed in one big lie.”

The, to me, mindblowing insights from this cutting-edge science do not end there: I learned that a strong body of data now show that the harm or injury of “nonviolent” rape goes far beyond what we (or the courts) have realized. Rape or sexual abuse that women may have experienced can change minute aspects of their bodies’ and minds’ very functions. It can alter, for example, the operation of their baseline autonomic nervous systems, so that raped women in one study (by Rellini and Meston) have different physiological responses to erotic videos and even to physical exercise than a control group of women who have not been so traumatised. Further; a researcher named Dr Burke Richmond has found a constellation of seemingly unrelated medical symptoms – from “phobic postural sway”, which allows a woman literally to be more easily pushed over, to tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and perceptual problems such as vertigo – which last for years after a “nonviolent” rape.

These and other outcomes should radically alter the way the crime of rape is perceived and prosecuted. The new science establishes that in terms of harm, there is no such thing as a nonviolent rape. This should change the way rape is treated: the talking cure, for instance, often is not enough.

The new science offers some remarkable positive insights. These are especially in a situation such as ours in which, 40 years after “the sexual revolution”, studies show that 30-40% of western women self-report “hypoactive sexual desire”. In other words, they are just not that into it, probably because they are not having reliably good enough experiences with it. About 30% also report being unable to reach orgasm regularly during lovemaking. The good news from the new science is that we have misunderstood women’s anatomy and pleasure; with better knowledge, we might address the issue of women’s unsatisfactory sexual experience.

Scientists, for instance, have found a “neural arm” – horrible language, but our vocabulary is very impoverished – in the female pelvis, which they had not known existed. This has led to a reassessment of the previous assumption that the clitoris and “g-spot” were separate entities: instead, they form the north and south of the same neural structure. (This explains why over 90% of women reached orgasm – in lab conditions, with strangers – when both parts of their bodies were stimulated at the same time.) Drs Barry Komisaruk and Beverly Whipple have recently found that when you stimulate different parts of a woman’s vagina, cervix or clitoris, she experiences different emotions and the touch activates different brain functions. Komisaruk has also identified a new center of sexual sensation in women, at the mouth of the cervix.

These scientists have also found that female “pelvic innervation” (that is, neural wiring) is very different from male pelvic innervation: women have eight or or so tangles of “neural termini” all over their pelvises – from vaginal walls to clitoris to perineum and anus and so on, and every woman is different. The male system is simpler and more regular. So female and male sexual response, in spite of what Masters and Johnson believed, is not identical – and a lover of women does well to identify that specific woman’s responses, unique to her, rather than assuming he or she “knows what works” from general past experience.

Also amazing, to me, is the discovery of Dr Jim Pfaus of Concordia University in Canada of the role played by female sexual pleasure and desire in mate selection (from experiments in lower mammals). It was liberating to me to witness in his lab how obvious it was that evolution, or Nature (call it what you will), had so valued female desire. It put the issue beyond the contested realm of culture and value judgments. As he put it, his lab rats had never heard themselves be called “sluts”.

Most powerful to me of all of this transformative information is the fact that I now know how powerfully the vagina affects female consciousness, confidence, risk-taking and autonomy. These insights answer so many questions. Rather that asking “why the vagina? Why now?”, I am now more inclined to ask: why the repressive patriarchal silence about such important information? And why tolerate it any longer?

Posted by: jeanne | June 4, 2012

testing a new cancer drug

Cancer Therapy That Boosts Immune System Ready for Wider Testing

ScienceDaily (June 2, 2012) — Two clinical trials led by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers in collaboration with other medical centers, testing experimental drugs aimed at restoring the immune system’s ability to spot and attack cancer, have shown promising early results in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer, melanoma, and kidney cancer. More than 500 patients were treated in the studies of two drugs that target the same immune-suppressive pathway, and the investigators say there is enough evidence to support wider testing in larger groups of patients.

Results of the Phase I clinical trials will be published online June 2 in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (Abstracts #2509 and #2510).

“Based on the positive response rates to these drugs and longevity of many of these responses, we believe that new clinical trials should move forward,” says Suzanne Topalian, M.D., professor of surgery and oncology at Johns Hopkins. Preliminary analysis shows that, among responding patients who were followed for more than one year, responses were maintained for more than one year in two-thirds of those treated on one trial and in half of those in the other trial.

The immune-based therapies tested in the two clinical trials, both made by Bristol-Myers Squibb, aim not to kill cancer cells directly, but to block a pathway that shields tumor cells from immune system components able and poised to fight cancer.

The pathway includes two proteins called programmed death-1 (PD-1), expressed on the surface of immune cells, and programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1), expressed on cancer cells. When PD-1 and PD-L1 join together, they form a biochemical “shield” protecting tumor cells from being destroyed by the immune system. Another protein involved in the pathway and also expressed by cells in the immune system, programmed death ligand -2 (PD-L2), was originally discovered by Johns Hopkins investigators.

To make cancer cells more vulnerable to attack by the immune system, investigators tested each of two drugs — BMS-936558, which blocks PD-1, and BMS-936559, which blocks PD-L1 — in separate clinical trials conducted at multiple U.S. hospitals. The drugs are given intravenously in an outpatient clinic every two weeks, and patients can remain on the treatment for up to two years.

The PD-1 blocking drug was tested in 296 patients with various advanced cancers who had not responded to standard therapies. Of those patients receiving the anti-PD-1 therapy, 240 who started treatment by July 2011 were analyzed for tumor response. Significant tumor shrinkage was seen in 14 of 76 (18 percent) non-small cell lung cancer patients, 26 of 94 (28 percent) melanoma patients and nine of 33 (27 percent) kidney cancer patients.

In this trial, some patients experienced stable disease for six months or more, including five of 76 (seven percent) lung cancer patients, six of 94 (six percent) melanoma patients and nine of 33 (27 percent) kidney cancer patients. The investigators say that additional clinical studies will be needed to determine the drug’s potential impact on survival.

“This level of response in patients with advanced lung cancer, which is typically not responsive to immune-based therapies, was unexpected and notable,” says Julie Brahmer, M.D., associate professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins.

The anti-PD-L1 therapy also showed responses among 207 treated patients. Five of 49 (10 percent) non-small cell lung cancer patients, nine of 52 (17 percent) melanoma patients, and two of 17 (12 percent) kidney cancer patients responded.

“The positive results from both drugs give us a good indication that the PD-L1/PD-1 pathway is an important target for cancer therapy,” says Topalian.

The anti-PD1 therapy caused serious toxicities in 41 of 296 (14 percent) patients. Many of the toxicities were immune-related, including colon inflammation, thyroid abnormalities and three deaths from pneumonitis (lung inflammation). The investigators say they are working with colleagues across the country to develop better methods for early detection and effective treatment of pneumonitis. Other less severe toxicities included fatigue, itching and rash. The anti-PD-L1 therapy caused nine percent serious toxicities and no deaths.

Among patients receiving anti-PD-1, tumor samples collected from 42 study patients before they received the experimental therapy were evaluated at Johns Hopkins Medicine for molecular markers that may correlate with clinical response. The investigators found PD-L1, the partner protein to PD-1, in 25 of the 42 samples. Nine of the 25 patients with PD-L1-positive tumors experienced tumor shrinkage as compared with none of the patients with PD-L1 negative tumors.

“These early results indicate that PD-L1 expression in pretreatment tumor biopsies may correlate with clinical response to anti-PD-1 therapy, but more work needs to be done to confirm this, ” says Brahmer.

The two therapies targeting the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway are in the same class of so-called “antibody therapies,” which are made of proteins that target and bind to certain molecules on the cell surface. Other antibody therapies include such drugs as Erbitux, Herceptin, and Rituxan.

“We have just scratched the surface of laboratory and clinical research on these drugs,” says Topalian.

Ultimately, they envision boosting the effectiveness of the therapy by combining it with other anti-cancer agents, including cancer vaccines.

Funding for the clinical studies was provided by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ono Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. Research support was provided by grants (CA142779 and CA006973) from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Melanoma Research Alliance.

Posted by: jeanne | May 28, 2012

asthma/cancer drug

this is interesting.

Asthma Drug Prevents Spread of Breast Cancer, Study Finds

ScienceDaily (Nov. 3, 2010) — A drug commonly used in Japan and Korea to treat asthma has been found to stop the spread of breast cancer cells traditionally resistant to chemotherapy, according to a new study led by St. Michael’s pathologist Dr. Gerald Prud’homme.

“Tranilast, a drug approved for use in Japan and South Korea, and not in use in Canada or the U.S., has been used for more than two decades to treat asthma and other allergic disorders including allergic rhinitis and atopic dermatitis,” Dr. Prud’homme says. “Now, our study is the first to discover it not only stops breast cancer from spreading but how the drug targets breast cancer cells.”

Researchers grew breast cancer stem cells, which give rise to other cancer cells, in culture. The cells were injected into two groups of mice, including one group, which was also treated with tranilast. Dr. Prud’homme and his colleagues found the drug reduced growth of the primary cancerous tumour by 50 per cent and prevented the spread of the cancer to the lungs. Researchers also identified a molecule in the cancer cell that binds to tranilast and appears to be responsible for this anti-cancer effect.

Tranilast binds to a molecule known as the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), which regulates cell growth and some aspects of immunity. This makes the drug beneficial in treating allergies, inflammatory diseases and cancer.

“For the first time, we were able to show that tranilast shows promise for breast cancer treatment in levels commonly well-tolerated by patients who use the drug for other medical conditions,” Dr. Prud’homme said. “These results are very encouraging and we are expanding our studies. Further studies are necessary to determine if the drug is effective against different types of breast and other cancers, and its interaction with anti-cancer drugs.

Dr. Prud’homme says clinical trials in cancer patients may be possible within a few years. The study is published in the journal PLoS ONE.

Posted by: jeanne | April 25, 2012

cognitive? crs

altho i haven’t had chemo or radiation for my cancer, i also have problems with cognitive function.

Cancer Therapies Affect Cognitive Functioning Among Breast Cancer Survivors

Article Date: 24 Apr 2012 – 0:00 PDT

Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center and colleagues at the University of South Florida and University of Kentucky have found that breast cancer survivors who have had chemotherapy, radiation or both do not perform as well on some cognitive tests as women who have not had cancer.

They published their study in CANCER.

“Survivors of breast cancer are living longer, so there is a need to better understand the long-term effects of cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiation,” said study lead author Paul B. Jacobsen, Ph.D., associate center director for Population Sciences.

To carry out their study, the researchers recruited 313 women being treated by either chemotherapy or radiotherapy for early stage breast cancer at Moffitt Cancer Center and the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center. Those who had undergone treatment for cancer were tested six months after treatment and then tested again 36 months after having completed treatment.

They also recruited a control group of women who did not have cancer. These participants were also tested at six months and 36 months.

Participants in all groups were within five years of age, and breast cancer patients were matched with noncancer patients who lived in their same ZIP codes. Participants were tested cognitively with respect to processing speed (quick task completion under pressure), executive functioning (ability to shift cognitive sets and solve novel problems), the two domains expected to be most affected by chemotherapy. They were also tested with regard to verbal abilities.

“Our findings were partially consistent with prior research,” explained Jacobsen. “We found that chemotherapy-treated patients performed worse than noncancer controls in processing speed, executive functioning and verbal ability. These domains may be the domains most affected by chemotherapy.”

The also found test results for the radiotherapy group to be similar to the results of those in the chemotherapy group. Additionally, they discovered that the noncancer group improved in these cognitive abilities over time while the chemotherapy and radiotherapy groups did not. There were no differences in performance between the radiotherapy and chemotherapy groups, noted the researchers.

The researchers commented that they were fortunate for having included the radiotherapy groups because their results were so similar to the chemotherapy group. Had that group not been included, conclusions could have been drawn to suggest that the cognitive differences between the noncancer group and the chemotherapy group were specific to chemotherapy.

“Since patients report cognitive problems that interfere with their daily activities, early workups should include tests to determine cognitive functioning prior to treatment,” concluded Jacobsen. “Future research also needs to investigate factors that may affect both chemotherapy patients and those receiving radiotherapy. Providers may wish to communicate that such effects can accompany chemotherapy and radiation therapy.”

Posted by: jeanne | March 7, 2012

on being a not-victim

i haven’t posted anything personal to this blog for some time, because i haven’t been worrying about when my cancer will return.  i’ve been getting on with my life and following the urges that i used to repress, because cancer has taught me that time is short.  no matter how long it is. (and this is free information even to those who don’t face death with every twinge – time goes by faster every year, it’s not just a metaphor.)

one of the things i learned early in my dance with death was that i had to be ruthless with my health.  at first i had to be ruthless because i was fragile and had no stamina at all, and could be drained by the slightest thing.  so i would hang up on a family member who loves to call and make me feel bad about myself.  just hang up.  no arguing, no asking them to tone it down.  just click.  and when they called back and started berating me all over, click.  ruthless.  i don’t care what agenda you have, if it makes me feel bad, even slightly, i’m going to make you stop.  i’ll walk away.  i’ll put on the brakes and turn the engine off and sit stonily until you get out.  fucking ruthless.

and this is good.

i’ve been in abusive relationships most of my life (until i got cancer).  starting with a classically dysfunctional family of origin, thru 3 abusive long-term relationships – no, 4; and there was that string of 20-minute boyfriends, but they were just reminders.  at the moment i’m working up a piece of fiction that stars abusive characters and even abusive societies.  so i’m studying abusive relationships, abusive traits, authoritarians, narcissists, histrionic personality disorder.  all of which are pretty maddening to encounter.  we see the same thing in contemporary politics, and what’s going on right now really pisses me off.  so i’m dealing with a whole lot of angry energy.

because i’m facing all the abuse i’ve submitted myself to over the years.  and that makes me mad.

and today being a full moon, i had a big instance of being mad with someone very close to me who is all of those links above at the one time, and who, while whining about their innocence, was sticking the blade in and turning.

but i’m being ruthless, and i’m not putting up with it.  so the whining fell on deaf ears, and all the things that are my fault…lalalalalalala i can’t hear you.

it felt bad being there; i’d been roped into it at the last minute because it was an emergency, and i was being berated for not being supportive enough and not in quite the right way.

i didn’t argue, because it was falling on deaf ears.  people who are like all those links above will not accept, or hear, that they could be wrong, or that the bad things that happen to them (as a taste of their own medicine) could ever be their fault.  so it’s pointless to tell them how they’re wrong.  even tho they’re begging you to tell them what they’re doing to deserve such treatment from you (that treatment being when you just sit there and refuse to be drawn into the drama).  i tried, just to be fair, to voice what they might be doing wrong, but was immediately drowned out.

and my torment was cut short because while berating me, they were calling and texting others to come to the rescue, and had me drop them at a convenience store to wait for someone else to pick them up.

i had one hell of a wave of anger as i drove home.  and wondered how best to use it.

i have been advised by people who are just like all those links up there, that i am an angry and weak person, and also anxious, and i should take xanax to calm me down.  but i don’t really want to calm down except by spending the energy.  i don’t want it to eat away at me.  that nasty ache in the gut will kill you if you let it sit there.  breathe deep and shove out it thru your pores.

i did a lot of that on the way home.

and then i reflected about how numbing that kind of anger is the wrong way to get rid of it.  the energy of that anger can be turned to good, can be used as passion, can be used creatively.

but rather than come home and slash black paint  on canvas, i decided to write this blog post.

because when you have had cancer, and the cancer was a reflection of self hatred, then you just can’t afford to spend a lot of time doubting yourself, wondering if you were too hard on them, should give them a second chance – well, a hundredth chance.  you have to look at the bad feeling in your gut, and then look to see what triggered it.  and this particular bad feeling was someone who insisted that i give my power to them because they needed it more than me, because i am a bad person. specifically, i was being required to give unconditional support and approval to a bunch of behaviors that i find painful, stupid, and unthinking.

and of course this post lacks any kind of point because i’m pulling my punches, being vague, pretending. so i don’t hurt someone who might read it.  but this is a (see links) kind of person, and nothing i do is going to be good enough, so why am i only alluding?

because the anger has faded, and now i’m just tired.

Posted by: jeanne | March 6, 2012

an aspirin a day keeps the cancer away

well, here’s interesting news.  it’s good for cancer at a lower dose than you take for heart health.  now, where do you get nosh-aspirin?

Gas-filled aspirin is a potent anti-cancer drug

Updated 17:20 06 March 2012 by Andy Coghlan

Loading aspirin with gas dramatically boosts its cancer-fighting ability and might even blunt the harmful side effects of taking aspirin every day.

Aspirin has been shown to be effective in reducing the incidence of cancer: a trial last year showed that taking it daily for at least two years reduced the risk of colorectal cancer. Just 18 out of 427 people taking aspirin developed the cancer compared with 30 out of 434 on a placebo. But it can also cause ulcers and bleeding in the gut, which doesn’t necessarily make it a good option for healthy people.

The gut lining protects itself from damage by producing nitric oxide and hydrogen sulphide. So Khosrow Kashfi at The City College of New York developed NOSH-aspirin, which produces both gases as it breaks down.

Aspirin is known to damage cancer cells, which is thought to be behind its preventative effect. To test the new drug, Kashfi’s team added it to cells from 11 types of human tumour, including colon, pancreas, breast, lung and prostate cancer.

“It turned out to be significantly more potent than aspirin alone,” says Kashfi. With colon cancer, for example, NOSH-aspirin was 100,000 times more potent than the original drug, causing the cells to stop dividing, wither and die.

It is not yet clear what caused the increased potency but the results suggest that lower doses would be needed to fight cancer than for regular aspirin.

Further work by Kashfi showed that the new compound appears not to be harmful to animals (Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, in press). In mice with human colon cancer, daily doses for 18 days reduced tumour size by 85 per cent with no gut damage. “We could be looking at a human trial within two years,” he says.

“I welcome anything that promises to retain the health benefits of aspirin with fewer side effects,” says John Burn at Newcastle University in the UK. “But you have to be cautious whenever you consider giving people who are healthy something for a long time,” he says.

Journal reference: Medicinal Chemistry Letters, DOI: 10.1021/ml300002m

Posted by: jeanne | January 7, 2012

using low level electric waves on cancer

this is very promising.  looks like they’re using a tens unit, but i’d have to do more research, like reading the actual report instead of this article, which i’m reposting, as it is important.

Hopes rise for new cancer treatment after tests with electromagnetism

Robin McKie

The Observer, Saturday 7 January 2012

Early trials on patients with advanced liver cancer show low-level fields could shrink tumours

Scientists have used low-intensity electromagnetic fields to treat cancer patients in trials which they say could lead to the development of a new type of anti-tumour therapy.

Patients hold a spoon-shaped antenna in their mouths to deliver a very low-intensity electromagnetic field in their bodies. In trials of patients with advanced liver cancer, the therapy – given three times a day – resulted in long-term survival for a small number of those monitored, the team has reported in the British Journal of Cancer. Their tumours shrank, while healthy cells in surrounding tissue were unaffected.

However, the scientists – from the US, Brazil, France and Switzerland – also stressed that the technique was still in its infancy and would require several years for further trials to take place. “This is a truly novel technique,” said the team’s leader, Professor Boris Pasche of the University of Alabama, Birmingham. “It is innocuous, can be tolerated for long periods of time, and could be used in combination with other therapies.”

Pasche added that he had obtained permission from the US Food and Drug Administration to carry out trials on large groups of patients and was talking to companies in the US, Asia, South America, Russia and Europe about raising funds for future research.

In 2009, Pasche and his colleagues published results in the Journal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research which showed that low-level electromagnetic fields at precise frequencies – ranging from 0.1Hz to 114kHz – halted cancer cell growth in small numbers of patients. Different cancers responded to electromagnetic fields of different frequencies. Cells in surrounding, healthy tissue were unaffected.

The exact mechanism for this process was not explained in the paper. However, results of recent experiments by the team – using cancer cell cultures in the laboratory and published in the British Journal of Cancer – suggest that low-level electromagnetic fields interfere with the activity of genes in cancer cells. In specific cases, this affected the ability of cancer cells to grow and divide. The spread of tumours halted and in some cases they began to shrink.

“This is extremely exciting,” said Pasche. “We think the technique could also be used to treat breast tumours and possibly other forms of cancer.”

The use of electromagnetic fields was also welcomed, cautiously, by Eleanor Barrie of Cancer Research UK: “This research shows how specific low frequencies of electromagnetic radiation can slow the growth of cancer cells in the lab. It’s still unclear why the cancer cells respond in this way, and it’s not yet clear if this approach could help patients, but it’s an interesting example of how researchers are working to find new ways to home in on cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.”

The use of electromagnetic fields to treat tumours may seem surprising given recent controversy over claims that fields generated by mobile phones and electricity pylons can trigger cancers and leukaemia. However, Pasche stressed that the intensity of the fields used in his team’s experiments were between 100 and 1,000 times lower than those from a mobile phone. “In any case, the evidence produced from major studies of users of these phones does not suggest there is a clearly identifiable risk posed by these electromagnetic fields,” he said.

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