Categories
Cancer

Cancer industry not looking for a cure; they’re too busy making money

It may sound ridiculously cynical to some, but there are many who believe that cancer is too big a business (meaning too lucrative) to ever actually cure. And they say the proof is in the numbers.

As noted by Your News Wire, if any of the existing low-cost, natural and alternative cancer treatments were ever to be approved, then the healthcare industry’s cornerstone revenue producer would vanish within months.

And Big Pharma isn’t about to let that happen. The industry is what is keeping us from a real cancer cure.

Consider how big a business cancer has become. In the 1940s, before all of the technology and innovation we see today, just one out of every 16 people was stricken with cancer; by the 1970s, that ratio fell to one in 10. Today, one in two males are at risk of developing some form of cancer, and for women that ratio is one in three.

Adds Health Impact, “We have lost the war on cancer.” The site notes further:

“The cancer industry is probably the most prosperous business in the United States. In 2014, an estimated 1,665,540 new cancer cases diagnosed and 585,720 cancer deaths in the US. $6 billion of tax-payer funds are cycled through various federal agencies for cancer research, such as the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The NCI states that the medical costs of cancer care are $125 billion, with a projected 39 percent increase to $173 billion by 2020.” 

The belief among skeptics is that treating cancer has become an industry in and of itself, employing too many people while producing far too much income to permit a cure to be found (or approved). Indeed, the current research on cancer medications is based on the presumption that the disease will grow (as will the market), not get smaller.

A 2010 documentary entitled, Cut Poison Burn, by filmmaker Wayne Chesler, presented a number of powerful facts regarding corruption in the business of conventional treatments for cancer (surgery, chemotherapy and radiation) in the U.S. Here are a number of quotes taken from the documentary that reveal why we’re no closer today than ever to a cancer cure, as reported by Your News Wire:

“From 1920 to the present time, we have made little progress in the treatment of adult cancers. So, a person who gets prostate cancer or breast cancer today will live as long as a person who got it in 1920.” – Charles B. Simone, M.MS., M.D., Founder, Simone Protective Cancer Center.

“Why are people terrified when they hear the word cancer? Because they know it [conventional cancer treatment] doesn’t work.” – Dr. Julian Whitaker, M.D. Founder, Whitaker Wellness Institute

“Everyone should know that most cancer research is largely a fraud.” – Dr. Linus Pauling 1986, Nobel Laureate

There are more, including the U.S. government’s own admission in patenting someone else’s potential cancer cure, that current treatments “are themselves carcinogenic” and may actually promote recurrences of cancer.

But you get the point: There is no real incentive to cure something that generates so much employment and profit; just imagine all of the cancer treatment specialists and their staff members who would be out of a job if this disease was ever cured.

As Natural News founder Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, has said, there is nothing in “modern” cancer treatment that results in true healing. The law and public policy have been established to prevent cures:

“Treating cancer with anything that actually works has been entirely outlawed in the United States, where ‘healing has become a crime,’ say independent observers. The conventional cancer industry isn’t interested in curing the disease; it’s interested in profiting from its continuation.”


SOURCE: Natural News


Categories
DYSLEXIA

20 Things Only Parents Of Children With Dyslexia Would Understand

Dyslexia. It’s a word many parents dread when they hear it in reference to their own children. What their “lay” minds take in is that they have a child who will face struggles throughout his/her schooling and in life. Dyslexia never goes away. There is no medication to mitigate the symptoms; worse, it is an invisible disability which (if undiagnosed) subjects the sufferer to lots of misunderstanding and criticism for things over which s/he has not control.

As parents research their child’s dyslexia and receive information from the experts, they come to understand many things that they want others to understand as well. Here’s 20 of them.

1. They read differently.

The brain anatomy of a dyslexic child is different. The area that understands language operates differently than the average individual’s. The brain has to translate symbols on the page of a book (for example) into sounds. The sounds then have to be combined to make meaningful words. The parts of the brain that do this are not as well developed with dyslexia, so affected children will have to engage different parts of their brains to compensate. Part of this compensation is enhanced by specialized reading programs which are research based and multi-sensory, as well as by audio books that allow kids to keep up with their classmates in school.

2. They cannot overcome dyslexia by reading more.

Those who do not understand dyslexia (including some teachers) think if parents just read to their children more, and if elementary aged children are just forced to read more, somehow the dyslexia will be “cured.” Nothing could be further from the truth. While reading to a dyslexic child has great benefits (I.E. information, exposure, stimulation of imagination), it will not help him/her become a better reader. Likewise, forcing a dyslexic child to just read more, in a traditional manner, only leads to frustration, anger, and behavioral issues. It is the equivalent of forcing an adult to go to a job every day at which s/he cannot perform the tasks and is not ever given the training to acquire the skills to perform them. How long would that adult remain on that job?

3. They are not lazy or unmotivated.

The undiagnosed dyslexic kid is often labeled as these things both in the classroom and at home. However, remember to consider the following issues:

– They may not hear multi-step instructions. While the 2nd and 3rd instructions are being given, their brains are still processing the first

– In school, during reading class, they are still de-coding the first sentence while classmates have moved on to the 5th or 6th.

– It takes them far longer to complete worksheets and tests. When they do not get things finished, the teacher may be inclined to keep them in from recess to make them finish. What they don’t understand is that this child is exhausted from the effort just to complete what he has, and needs a break just as much as his peers.

4. They often need tutoring outside of school.

If the tutoring is designed for kids with dyslexia, some studies have shown, the brain actually changes (this is called neuroplasticity) and “rewires” itself, resulting in enhanced reading skills. For the older student, facing essays and papers for which research must be completed, as well as the normal rounds of standardized testing that come at specific milestone points in schooling, tutoring for reading, writing, and test taking must continue. Private tutoring services that have specialists for kids with learning disabilities are numerous in both the United States and in the UK. With their help and their special approach, children with dyslexia can pass any type of exam, including 11 plus mock exams easily.

 5. They don’t “see” the world backwards.

Yes, they occasionally reverse letters and words, but that is because those words and letters appear differently to them on the printed page. What they view in the world, they often see holistically (rather than in detail). They have a grand ability to see what is “out of place.” Carol Grieder, a molecular biologist with dyslexia, won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 2009 because as she looked at DNA molecules through a microscope, she saw something that should not be there. She discovered a new and extremely important enzyme that is today the subject of cancer and aging research. In this case, her dyslexia was a wonderful “gift” to the world.

6. They need “ear reading”.

This is the term advocates and parents use for audio books. While the obvious benefit is that are able to stay up to date with their classmates in all content areas (textbook publishers all offer their publications in audio format), they are also able to conduct research and to complete book reports/reviews. Another benefit is an increased vocabulary and the ability to “hear” good grammar.

7. They need accommodations in school, at all levels.

While they may not always qualify for an IEP, there are other individual plans that can be put into place that allow for longer assignment and test-taking time, modified assignments (e.g. half of the spelling word list), and orally provided exams.

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Categories
Graves disease

Advice/Information for Family and Friends of Graves’ disease patients

Do’s and Don’ts for family and friends of Graves’ disease patients.

  • First: Don’t run away from a person who has Graves’ disease/hyperthyroidism. When it comes to Graves’ disease, or any thyroid disease for that matter, it would separate the weak from the strong. Don’t be that friend or spouse that leaves. Help as much as you can, write, email, text, visit, stay there for the long haul. The longer thyroid disease stays, the lonelier it gets.
  • Don’t say things like “Oh, you are just having a bad day, tomorrow will be different”, ” You can’t do the things you use to do 20 years ago” or “If you just get up and move, get outside and do things, you’ll feel better.” That’s not helping folks!
  • Don’t’ share horror stories about people who became worse because they had their thyroid removed, got RAI, or pursued natural treatment. It’s not considered a happy ending, if the character of your story got worse, one or another way.
  • When it comes to a serious disease like Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s, there are no right words. Keep it simple: “I’m here for you!”. And mean it. Sometimes you don’t have to speak even, your presence is enough and matters more than any words. Keep in touch, even your friend/spouse with Graves’ disease is too tired to talk, or to spend time with you. Continue to be there for them.
  • Don’t offer medical advice or discourage the person from pursuing the course of treatment he or she was chosen. (Unless you are a medical professional and you’ve been asked for an advice). Whether you agree with their decisions or not, respect the choices they have made. It’s about their health, not yours.
  • Don’t blame the person for being sick with thyroid disease. It’s not their conscious choice. Don’t point that he/she is being sick because of smoking, not eating healthy, lack of exercise, eating too much red meat, stress or negative thinking. Seriously, don’t do that!
  • Don’t point out anything that isn’t flattering- like their bulging or protruded eyes (that hurts!), brittle nails, skinny bodies, overweight bodies or fine hair. Make sure that your words are necessary, helpful and kind. That matters!
  • HugDon’t be afraid of the person being sick: Graves’ disease or any thyroid disease is not contagious. Get in there and hug, hugs mean more than words!

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Categories
Alzheimer’s Disease

7 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

Every person with Alzheimer’s experiences the disease differently, but people tend to experience a similar trajectory from the beginning of the illness to its end. The precise number of stages of Alzheimer’s is somewhat arbitrary. Some experts use a simple three-phase model (early, moderate and end), while others have found a granular breakdown to be a more useful aid to understanding the progression of the illness.What Are the 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease?

The most common system, developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg of New York University, breaks the progression of Alzheimer’s disease into seven stages. This framework for understanding the progression of the disease has been adopted and used by a number of healthcare providers as well as the Alzheimer’s Association.

Here is a summary of the seven stages of Alzheimer’s based on Dr. Resiberg’s system:

Stage 1: No Impairment

During this stage, Alzheimer’s is not detectable and no memory problems or other symptoms of dementia are evident.

Stage 2: Very Mild Decline

The senior may notice minor memory problems or lose things around the house, although not to the point where the memory loss can easily be distinguished from normal age-related memory loss. The person will still do well on memory tests and the disease is unlikely to be detected by loved ones or physicians.

Stage 3: Mild Decline

At this stage, the family members and friends of the senior may begin to notice cognitive problems. Performance on memory tests are affected and physicians will be able to detect impaired cognitive function.

People in stage 3 will have difficulty in many areas including:

  • Finding the right word during conversations
  • Organizing and planning
  • Remembering names of new acquaintances

People with stage three Alzheimer’s may also frequently lose personal possessions, including valuables.

Stage 4: Moderate Decline

In stage four of Alzheimer’s, clear-cut symptoms of the disease are apparent. People with stage four of Alzheimer’s:

  • Have difficulty with simple arithmetic
  • Have poor short-term memory (may not recall what they ate for breakfast, for example)
  • Inability to manage finance and pay bills
  • May forget details about their life histories

Stage 5: Moderately Severe Decline

During the fifth stage of Alzheimer’s, people begin to need help with many day-to-day activities. People in stage five of the disease may experience:

  • Difficulty dressing appropriately
  • Inability to recall simple details about themselves such as their own phone number
  • Significant confusion

On the other hand, people in stage five maintain functionality. They typically can still bathe and toilet independently. They also usually still know their family members and some detail about their personal histories, especially their childhood and youth.

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Categories
Acid Reflux

Can Exercise Help My Acid Reflux?

Exercise and acid reflux

Acid reflux refers to the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus. When this happens, you may taste sour liquid in the back of your mouth. This backwash can irritate the lining of your esophagus and cause heartburn.

If you experience acid reflux infrequently, you likely won’t need to make any drastic lifestyle changes to relieve your symptoms. Taking over-the-counter (OTC) medications may be enough to soothe any discomfort.

If your symptoms are interfering with your daily life, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). You may need to make several lifestyle changes, as well as medication, to ease your symptoms. This may mean changing your workout routine.

Depending on your workout regimen, exercise can either help or hurt your acid reflux. It all depends on the type of exercise that you’re doing and how you take care of your body before and after your workout.

What can exercise do for acid reflux?

Pros

  1. Doctors generally recommend weight loss as a first line of defense.
  2. Exercise can help you lose extra body weight that may be making your symptoms worse.

Maintaining a healthy weight is a good way to reduce or relieve acid reflux symptoms. If you’re carrying extra body weight, it can push against your stomach and affect your lower esophageal sphincter. This can make the symptoms of acid reflux worse.

According to a 2013 studyTrusted Source, weight loss is often the first line of defense against acid reflux. You should exercise and also follow an acid reflux-friendly diet.

A healthy diet and exercise can relieve your symptoms and reduce the likelihood of any GERD-related complications. This approach can improve your overall health and increase your quality of life.

Risks and warnings

Cons

  1. High-impact exercise, such as running and weightlifting, may make your symptoms worse.
  2. Eating before a workout can also trigger acid reflux.

When it comes to acid reflux, exercise may be a double-edged sword. According to a 2006 studyTrusted Source, intense exercise may make GERD worse.

Certain exercises can decrease blood flow to your gastrointestinal area. This can cause gastric fluids to pool, leading to inflammation and irritation. Restrictive body positions can also put pressure on your stomach and chest, which may trigger symptoms.

These movements include hanging upside down and bending for extended periods.

Gulping air during high-impact exercise may also relax the lower esophageal sphincter. This can force acid into the esophagus.

High-impact exercises that may cause heartburn include:

  • running
  • sprinting
  • weightlifting
  • gymnastics
  • cycling
  • jumping rope
  • stair-climbing

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Categories
Osteoporosis

10 Things You Should Know About Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is one of the most common diseases in the country, affecting more than 10 million Americans with another 30 million at risk.

Top 5 Things to Know about Osteoporosis

1. What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease in humans and it literally means “porous bones.” It is characterized by decreased bone strength and an increased susceptibility to fractures. Bone strength is a measurement of your bone density and bone quality. The clinical diagnosis of osteoporosis is made when an individual falls from standing height and sustains a fracture.

The World Health Organization (WHO) diagnosis of osteoporosis can be made by a specific bone mineral density (BMD) value done by the very low radiation exposure test called Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) which is covered by Medicare and most insurance plans. Often times, osteoporosis is considered the silent disease because you cannot feel your bones degenerating and 2/3 of fractures in the spine have no pain.

2. Men get Osteoporosis Too

Although women are affected earlier and more commonly than men, 1 in 5 men will be affected by osteoporosis and when they are, they are more likely to experience a fracture; additionally, mortality is far greater in men than women for similar fractures.

1 in 3 women will be affected and typically start to see signs of the disease 10 years earlier. Ethnicity and body size also increase your risk for osteoporosis. White and Asian women and those with low body weight or family histories of osteoporosis are also at higher risk.

3. What’s so Bad about Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis itself merely causes your bones to become weak and brittle, the results however mean increased risk of fracture. When fracture occurs, many other issues ensue:

  • Days in the hospital increase
  • Risk of refracture increases
  • 28% of women and 37% of men who suffer a hip fracture die within one year
  • 15% – 25% of those who suffer hip fracture require admission to a nursing home.

4. Bone Density Loss is a Normal Part of Aging

At age 40 we start to lose bone mass and density. For women this process typically accelerates after menopause to a rate of 1.5% to 2% per year and is due to a change in hormones. In men, the loss of bone mass and density is usually due to a drop in physical activity. On occasion, men will also have hormonal changes as they age that leads to a loss of bone mass and density.

5. Prevention Should Start Early

Prevention of osteoporosis should start early, we reach our peak bone mass and density between the ages of 25 and 30. To keep our bones healthy, we can do simple things like exercise, eat well, ensure that we are getting enough vitamins and minerals, and keep an eye on our overall health. After 40 our bones will naturally begin to weaken—it is important to build them up as much as we can to prevent letting our bones get to the critically weak levels of osteoporosis.

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Categories
Lyme disease

Justin Bieber: Singer reveals he has Lyme disease

  • Singer Justin Bieber revealed he recently received a diagnosis of Lyme disease.
  • Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that can cause fever, rash, joint pain, fatigue, and neurological problems.
  • Another common symptom people with Lyme disease experience is depression, which can appear both before, and linger long after, the illness is treated.
  • This can result in delayed diagnosis of Lyme disease for those who are already living with depression or other mental health conditions.

Singer Justin Bieber revealed last week that he recently received a diagnosis of Lyme diseaseTrusted Source, a tick-borne illness that can cause fever, rash, joint pain, fatigue, and neurological problems.

Bieber, 25, shared the news in an Instagram post, where he addressed comments people have recently made about his appearance. He also said in the post that he has a “serious case of monoTrusted Source” that’s affected his brain function, energy, and overall health.

TMZ reports that Bieber’s Lyme disease caused depression and other symptoms, and that it went undiagnosed for much of last year.

Lyme symptoms can last for weeks or months

Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-borne diseases in the United States. The bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi mainly causes it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 30,000 AmericansTrusted Source contract it each year.

Many, but not all, people with B. burgdorferi develop a circular rashTrusted Source — which sometimes appears as a “bullseye” — within 3 to 30 days after being bitten by a tick carrying this bacterium.

Without prompt treatment, the bacterium can migrate from the bite area to other areas of the body, in particular the nervous system, heart, and joints.

This can lead to a range of persistent symptoms, including fatigue, night sweats, stiff neck, headache, disrupted sleep, and depression. These symptoms can last for months or years.

Some studies estimate that 10 to 20 percent of people still experience symptoms even after treatment with standard antibiotics. This condition is sometimes known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS).

Depression common among those with Lyme disease

Symptoms like fatigue, depression, anxiety, and brain fog aren’t unique to Lyme disease. But studies have found that 8 to 45 percent of people with PTLDS have depression.

Dr. John Aucott, director of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center in Baltimore, says depression among people with PTLDS tends to be mild to moderate in severity, with major depression uncommon.

In a 2017 study in Frontiers in Medicine, Aucott and his colleagues found that people with well-documented PTLDS had higher levels of depression — along with fatigue, pain, and poor sleep quality — than healthy participants.

Although major depression is less common in people with PTLDS, those with moderate to severe depression have a greater risk for suicidal thoughts.

Complicating matters, it’s not always easy for doctors to tell the difference between depressive symptoms that occur with Lyme disease and major depressive disorder.

“Our recent symptom surveyTrusted Source could not distinguish Lyme and depression,” Aucott said. “Especially the vegetative symptoms, such as fatigue, sleep disruption, etc.”

However, one study found that people with PTLDS have more difficulty with memory-related tasks compared to people with major depression. And these memory problems can occur alongside language and attention difficulties.

Inflammation link between Lyme and depression

So, do people with Lyme disease have depression because they have a chronic illness, or because of changes to their brain caused by the disease?

“We think both mechanisms are likely,” Aucott said.

In particular, researchers have been looking at inflammation caused by infection with B. burgdorferi as a possible cause of Lyme symptoms like fatigue and brain fog.

Aucott and his colleagues recently used PET imaging to scan the brains of 12 people with PTLDS.

They found higher levels of a protein called translocator protein (TSPO) in eight different regions of the participants’ brains compared to the brains of healthy people. This protein is a marker for brain inflammation.

Although the results will need to be replicated in larger studies, they fit with other researchTrusted Source linking chronic inflammation with depression.

For Allie Cashel, president and co-founder of Suffering the Silence, an online community for people living with chronic illness and disability, the link between the long-term symptoms of Lyme disease — or any chronic illness — and mental health makes sense.

“When somebody is sick for a long period of time, their mental health is going to suffer,” Cashel said. “If someone is mentally ill for a long period of time, their physical health is likely going to suffer as well.”

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Categories
Uncategorised

20 things you didn’t know about stroke, that may save a life

Stroke is a leading cause of preventable death, but lack of awareness, education and resources are major barriers to stopping it. During May, American Stroke Month, the American Stroke Association, the world’s leading voluntary organization devoted to saving people from stroke, reveals 20 important things you probably didn’t know about stroke, in recognition of its 20th Anniversary:

  1. There are different types of strokes: ischemic, hemorrhagic and transient ischemic attack (TIA). An ischemic stroke is a clot-caused blockage in an artery to the brain, while a hemorrhagic stroke occurs when an artery ruptures in the brain. A TIA or “mini stroke” is caused by a temporary blockage. Eighty-seven percent of all strokes are ischemic.
  2. During a stroke, nearly 120 million brain cells die every hour. Compared with the normal rate of cell loss in brain aging, the brain ages 3.6 years each hour without treatment. The sooner the patient gets medical care, the better their chances of recovery.
  3. About 66 percent of the time, someone other than the patient makes the decision to seek treatment – recognizing the warning signs and sudden symptoms of stroke to receive treatment fast, could help save a life.
  4. F.A.S.T. is an acronym used to teach the most common warning signs and sudden symptoms of stroke. F.A.S.T. stands for (F) face drooping, (A) arm weakness, (S) speech difficulty, (T) time to call 9-1-1. Less than half of the population is aware of the signs.
  5. Stroke symptoms can also include sudden numbness, sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, sudden severe headache with no known cause and sudden trouble walking.
  6. Calling 9-1-1 and arriving at the hospital in an ambulance is the fastest way to get treated quickly during a stroke emergency. Driving to the hospital is a common mistake people make, that can result in longer wait times before the patient receives medical care.
  7. Patients who have an ischemic stroke, may have a treatment window for mechanical clot removal within six hours to up to 24 hours in certain patients with clots in large vessels.
  8. Alteplase (also known as tPA) is a drug used to dissolve a blood clot that causes stroke. Stroke patients who arrive at a hospital within 90 minutes of symptom onset and qualify to receive tPA are almost 3 times more likely to recover with little or no disability.
  9. TeleStroke is videoconferencing, similar to Facetime and Skype, connecting patients with neurological experts separated by distance. TeleStroke Units are increasing access to acute stroke care in rural areas and improving patient outcomes.
  10. Having a stroke increases the risk of a second one (1 in 4 survivors have another stroke). Prevention is crucial because second strokes can be more debilitating than first strokes.
  11. In some ischemic stroke cases, the cause is unknown (cryptogenic stroke). It’s a challenge to prevent a second stroke, when the cause of the first one is unknown. The patient should work with their healthcare team to find the root cause.
  12. Stroke survivors stopping their aspirin regimen can up their risk of having another stroke, possibly due to increased clotting levels from the loss of aspirin’s blood-thinning effects. Following an aspirin regimen can help prevent stroke in some survivors.
  13. First-ever ASA rehabilitation guidelines call for intensive, team approach. For the first three months after a stroke, the brain is ready to learn. This ability for our brains to adjust is known as neuroplasticity and it plays a crucial role in recovery.
  14. Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke is an in-hospital program that promotes adherence to the latest scientific guidelines to improve quality of stroke care. The program has expanded from 24 hospitals in 2003 to more than 2,000 hospitals to-date.
  15. In the Stroke Belt, an 11-state region in southeast U.S., the risk of stroke is 34 percent higher for the general population.
  16. More strokes are happening to people in their 30s and 40s.
  17. High blood pressure is the most common controllable cause of stroke. Recent guidelines redefined high blood pressure as a reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher. A normal reading would be any blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg and above 90/60 mm Hg in an adult.
  18. Nearly half of all adults in the U.S. (an estimated 103 million) have high blood pressure.
  19. Other stroke risk factors: obesity, diabetes, cholesterol, smoking and family history.
  20. Eighty percent of strokes are preventable. Eating healthfully, being physically active and controlling risk factors are important lifestyle changes that can help prevent and beat it.

“We must aggressively continue our efforts to reduce stroke, especially in multicultural communities and to reach people at younger ages,” said Mitchell S.V. Elkind, M.D., a professor of Neurology and Epidemiology at Columbia University and chair of the American Stroke Association. “If people are not aware of how to prevent, treat and beat stroke, they can’t take advantage of the progress made over the last twenty years to save lives.”

Categories
Multiple Myeloma

10 Things You Need To Know About Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a treatable but incurable blood cancer that typically occurs in the bone marrow. It is a relatively uncommon cancer, affecting approximately 30,000 new people each year. Difficult to diagnose until it is in the advanced stages, it is mainly treated with chemotherapy and stem cell therapies. But the survival rate is increasing, especially as advances in treatment are being discovered. Here are the ten things you need to know about the disease.
  1. What is multiple myeloma?
  2. Risk factors and causes
  3. Symptoms
  4. Positive results from targeted therapies
  5. Tom Brokaw is living with the disease
  6. How it’s diagnosed
  7. Stages and classifications
  8. It’s treatable, not curable
  9. There’s an international support network
  10. The survival rate continues to increase

Please note: nothing can replace the care of your clinician or doctor. Please do not make changes to your treatment or schedules without first consulting your healthcare providers. This article is not intended to diagnose or treat illness.

1. What is multiple myeloma?

Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that typically occurs within a bone due to the presence of malignant plasma cells. Under normal circumstances, plasma cells develop from B cells—a type of cell that the immune system uses to fight disease or infection. When B cells react to an infection or disease, they change into plasma cells, which are responsible for creating antibodies to help fight germs. These plasma cells are found mainly in bone marrow.

Sometimes, after plasma cells develop, they can begin to grow out of control and create a tumour called a plasmacytoma. These tumours generally develop within a bone but can occasionally be found in other body tissues. When a person develops more than one of these tumours, they have multiple myeloma.

2. Risk factors and causes

Unlike many other cancers, there are very few known risk factors associated with getting multiple myeloma. These factors are listed below.

  • Age: The majority of diagnoses are in people who are more than 45 years old (96 percent), and more than 63 percent of diagnoses are in people older than 65. Less than one percent of cases are in people younger than 35.
  • Race: For reasons unknown, it is more than twice as common in African Americans than in Caucasian Americans.
  • Gender: Men are at a slightly higher risk than women.
  • Family history: A person with a parent or sibling who has the disease is four times more likely to get the disease, too.
  • Obesity: Being overweight or obese increases the risk.
  • Having other plasma cell diseases: A person with solitary plasmacytoma (a single tumour), or someone diagnosed with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, which is a plasma cell disorder that does not normally cause problems, is more likely to later develop multiple myeloma.
  • Radiation: People exposed to radiation are at a higher risk.
  • Workers exposed to ionising radiation have been shown to have an increased risk of the disease as well, according to a study conducted at US Department of Energy facilities.
  • Workplace exposure: Some studies have shown that workers in indutries such as agriculture, leather, petroleum and cosmetology, and workers exposed to chemicals such as asbestos, benzene and pesticides are at an increased risk.

Researchers do not have a clear understanding of what causes multiple myeloma, though they have made progress into better understanding how specific DNA changes can cause plasma cells to mutate. Studies show that abnormalities in genes called oncogenes, which promote cell division, develop early in the growth of plasma cell tumours. Studies also show that myeloma cells have abnormalities in their chromosomes; specifically, research has revealed that pieces of chromosome 13 are missing.

Research also shows that in approximately half of people diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a translocation has occurred. This is when ‘a part of one chromosome has switched with a part of another chromosome in the myeloma cell. Scientists have also discovered that people with plasma cell tumours have abnormalities in other bone marrow cells, which might cause too much plasma cell growth.

3. Symptoms

The early stages of multiple myeloma may not have any symptoms, and even when symptoms are present, they may be similar to those that occur with other conditions. Below are some of the common symptoms of the disease:

  • Fatigue
  • Bone pain and/or bone fractures
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased/decreased urination
  • Increased risk of infections
  • Confusion
  • Loss of appetite/weight loss
  • Restlessness that is later followed by significant fatigue and weakness
  • Problems with kidney function

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Categories
Gastric Bypass

9 Things I Wish I Knew About Gastric Bypass Surgery Before I Had It’

“I wasn’t hungry, but I still wanted to eat.”

Elizabeth Wolinsky was 29 in early 2011 when she decided to have LAP-BAND surgery. Although she wasn’t suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, or any other obesity-linked conditions that lead many women to consider bariatric surgery, she was tired of the number on the scale. “I’ve struggled with weight my entire life it’s always been something I wanted to do,” she says.

Unfortunately, the procedure—which creates a smaller stomach “pouch” by placing an inflatable band around the upper portion of the stomach—didn’t turn out exactly as she hoped. While she did lose a lot of weight, about a year and a half later the band eroded into her stomach. In other words, her body tried to reject the band by building up scar tissue around it, which is one of the possible (yet rare) risks of the surgery, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. “I couldn’t eat or drink anything because there was all this scar tissue building up around the band,” says Wolinsky. “It was making the band really tight, and I threw up for weeks.” In the middle of 2013, she had emergency surgery to remove the band.

Within eight months, Wolinsky regained all weight she lost—and then some. At 345 pounds, “I’d had enough,” she says. “I had a long conversation with my doctor about gastric bypass versus the band, and after doing a lot of research, I knew 100 percent that I wanted to do it.”

Despite the complications with her prior surgery, Wolinsky says she wasn’t too worried. With gastric bypass, the size of the stomach is decreased by creating a small pouch where the top portion of the stomach is divided from the rest of the stomach, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. The small intestine is then divided and connected to the new stomach pouch.

In October 2014, she underwent a laparoscopic gastric bypasswith the same bariatric surgeon in Atlanta who removed her band.

Now, having tried out both types of surgical weight loss methods, here are a few things Wolinsky wishes she knew about gastric bypass and its side effects before she did it.

1. “The pain isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”

From the outside, gastric bypass is more intense than lap band surgery: After all, they’re actually detaching a part of your digestive system. “I thought [it] would be a lot more painful and a lot longer recovery period,” says Wolinsky. “And while the recovery was longer, it wasn’t more painful. As far as surgeries I’ve had, it was pretty easy.”

2. “Being pumped full of air hurt the most.”

In any minimally-invasive laparoscopic surgery (like gastric bypass), doctors don’t cut you wide open. Instead, they insert small surgical tools into a tiny incision and use a camera to operate from the outside. In order to see and maneuver around, they pump some carbon dioxide into your body around the part that’s being operated on. So in the case of gastric bypass, it’s pumped into your stomach and intestines. Although the gas is let out before the incision is closed, inevitably, a tiny bit gets trapped inside. So patients are asked to keep moving immediately after surgery to help the body move the air out. “Even though you just got out of surgery and you’re tired and in pain, you have to keep walking,” says Wolinsky. “You feel the air travel upward, toward your shoulder. It’s 10 times more painful than your body actually healing from surgery.” Working out all of the CO2 took a few days. “I’m really goal-oriented, so I just breathed deeply and thought about my goal to get through it,” she says.

3. “There was a tube hanging out of my stomach for a week.”

For a week after gastric bypass surgery, many patients have a bag hanging outside of the body connected to a thin tube attached to the stomach; this allows any excess fluids to drain from the abdomen, according to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. And every day you have to clean it, Wolinsky says. “It’s excruciatingly difficult,” she says. “It’s such a gross and painful feeling, knowing it’s attached to an organ in your body and you can see it.” Fortunately, Wolinsky’s aunt is a nurse and helped her to clean the port until it was removed.

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