Monday, August 27, 2012

What Is Lymphatic Cancer (Lymphoma) and Its Treatment Effects?

Lymphoma is the cancer of lymph nodes. Like all cancers, it is the uncontrolled growth of cells in the vicinity of lymph nodes. Lymph nodes can be viewed as stopping points of lymphatic system. Lymphatic system basically carries fighting soldiers to whatever areas of your body whenever the body area is invaded or requires help to fight foreign intruders. The lymphatic system is a network of 'highways' starting from below the chin to the back of the neck, to underneath the armpits and then to the groin area and connects to the spinal cord.

Lymphoma develops as lumps at the node areas, typically behind the neck, armpits and groin areas. Not all lymphomas grow in detectable areas. Once a lump develops careful monitoring is required. Whenever a lump occurs, it can be caused by

1) viral infection, which can be easily cured by a course of antibiotics and usually last only a week or two,
2) Tuberculosis, which detected at early stages can easily be cured, and which will require more specialized medical care and treatment,
3) Cancer, which can only be confirmed by a biopsy. If there are several lumps that have been growing for some time, it is vital to get the lumps checked out by a Hematologist. Hematologists are specialized doctors dealing with blood disorders. Lymphoma is considered as a blood disorder. For other types of cancer, one would go to an oncologist.

Other noticeable signs are cold sweats at night, lost of appetite, drastic weight loss and lethargy. Sometimes these signs do not appear as in my case except for the lumps on base of the neck.
Like many other cancers, lymphomas are quite complicated and have different types and subtypes but generally lymphoma can be divided into two broad categories, namely Hodgkins and Non-Hodgkins. Hodgkins lymphoma is much more curable and the prognosis is very good.

Conventional treatment applies for Lymphoma - surgery and radiation - if the cancer is fairly isolated typically only in stage 1 (more on staging later). Chemotherapy followed by radiation for cancer that is not so widespread in the body. If the cancer is in a fairly advanced stage as in stage 3 and 4, then a full course of Chemotherapy treatment is required, as was in my case.

Staging in lymphoma is different from other types of cancer. Stage 1 is cancer found on one part in one section of the body either above or below the diaphragm. If the cancer has appeared in more than one place on same side of the diaphragm, then it has gone to stage 2. Stage 3 means the cancer has spread to the abdomen and groin areas above and below the diaphragm. Stage 4 means that the cancer has been detected in the bone marrow. Stage 3 is already considered advanced stage.

Once a biopsy has confirmed that a tumour is cancerous, a CT scan is usually performed to stage the cancer. In lymphomas, a bone marrow tap is usually done to check if the bone marrow carries the cancer as well. CT scans are also performed at regular intervals during Chemotherapy to determine the treatment's efficacy. If the current treatment is not effective, doctors will switch to another Chemotherapy regimen. At the end of the treatment, a final CT scan and PET scan are conducted to confirm absence of cancerous cells. The words "No cancerous cells detected" are the sweetest words one can ask for.

Chemotherapy treatment can last between six to eight months and a month more to recuperate from the onslaught of Chemotherapy. Most people will give up work to focus on the treatment. As in my case, Chemotherapy was once every two weeks. The first week immediately after Chemotherapy is the worst.

Most of the time, I was too weak to keep awake. As time passed, strength returned and by the second week, I could manage a short walk. After that the whole process starts all over again.
Towards the end of the Chemotherapy, the body would have been pretty badly savaged by the Chemo poison. One often lands up feeling very different after Chemotherapy, and it takes months to get back toany normalcy. The speed of recovery from Chemotherapy really depends on one's physical and mental strength.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Myeloid Leukemia Definitions, Classifications And Symptoms

Myeloid leukemia is a group of diseases whose characteristic changes are seen in the bone marrow and blood, where tumor cells infiltrate the blood system; sometimes these cells even spill into the circulating blood other tissues. The concept of myeloid leukemia is from the action of immature white blood cells being produced in excess and therefore inhibiting the production of the normal blood cells. These cells are called myeloid cells; they by their action in the blood disturb the function of the blood cells.

This leukemia has both tumors which are kept untreated to those that are diagnosed and treated immediately, ranging from rapid fatality to those which are slow in growing. Therefore on the basis of their treatment course they are divided into acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).

AML is seen more in men than in women and more prevalent in people older than 65 than in people of younger age. CML is also greater in men than in women but its incidence always increase slowing and the people's age increases and gets to the peak of occurrence in mid forties from where there is rapid rise in CML occurrence. Anyway the incidence of CML decreased slightly in the past two decades.

The etiology of myeloid leukemia is depended on the type, AML is related with risk factors such as hereditary (other resident blood disease in the family history; DIC) exposure to occupational chemicals, intense exposure to radiation which may be as a result of therapeutic reasons and even some drugs, but there is nothing relating the cause of ML to viral infection in any way.

While the etiology of chronic myeloid leukemia has no distinct relation with cytotoxic drug effect and there is also no evidence connecting it with any viral infection, but cigarette smoking by studies has shown to increase its progress into severe crisis, therefore living with Chronic myeloid leukemia and smoking becomes dangerous. Only large dosage of radiation has any adverse effect for CML formation.

The symptoms of ML are also depending on the type, whether it is AML or CML. For AML patients are presented with some nonspecific symptoms which begin either slowly or abruptly and the symptoms are leucopenia or leucocytosis, thrombocytopenia. These symptoms are usually due to anemia in such patients. Other symptoms of are fatigue, anorexia and weight loss and easily getting bruised with excessive bleeding.

While in CML the symptoms are at first insidious therefore it is difficult to diagnose a patient based but symptoms, such patients are usually diagnosed during normal medical checkup, or others come to the hospital with complaints fatigue, weight loss, symptoms relating to splenomegaly such as early satisfaction during eating, left upper quadrant pain, infections, thrombosis or sometimes bleeding.

When chronic myeloid leukemia progresses symptoms worsened with bone and joint pain, significant loss of weight which will require increasing the dose of the drugs used for treatment. Chemotherapy is used as treatment of myeloid leukemia but when this fails bone transplant is done.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Products We Use That Help Eliminate Side Effects

I would like to start by saying this is in no way meant to solicit you to buy the products we used for our little Emma. I am writing this to give you insight into what we did and what worked for all the side effects we were told would be part of her treatments.

Here is our story. On July 2, 2010, my wife took Emma (who was 4 ½ at the time) to a doctor's appointment because she looked a bit pale and we noticed a few spots on her neck that were not normal. Our doctor called a pediatrician and they advised us to get blood work done as soon as we could. This happened at our local hospital at 4pm and by 6pm we were back at the hospital where we were told that she had high risk B-cell ALL (an extremely high white blood count). Our lives changed in an instant as you are all aware. By 9pm, my wife and daughter were on their way to BC Childrens Hospital to start her treatments immediately.

For work, my wife and I operate a home based business as Independent Herbalife Distributors (an International company in the Health and Wellness industry). I am telling you all this to show a few things. This disease has no prejudice as it will afflict anyone; young, old, healthy or ailing. Emma has never had any major ailments and very few simple colds ever since she was born. We started her on natural children's supplements, and she voluntarily started having a morning shake every day. This turned out to be a good thing because while she was in the hospital, she did not want to eat "real" food but we were able to keep her strength up with the good nutrition in the shakes. Of course we made sure with the doctors that what we were giving her was not conflicting with any of the medication she was getting.

Secondly we were able to keep working as our business is done on the internet, over the phone and other simple methods, which meant we did not have to take time off our "jobs" or leave them altogether to be with Emma during this time. We have heard about so many others that had financial hardships and job issues because of this. After speaking with other parents of children at the hospital and clinic, as well as others from our church that had children with the same affliction, we made the decision to have all Emma's treatments done where the care is the best, at BC Childrens Hospital. This meant that we needed to move off the island which was a tough but necessary move. Again we were able to do this with very little disruption to our business (which means our income as well), while always being available for Emma.

So here is what we have been doing for Emma over the past 9 months - I cannot believe it has been that long already - and what has been happening. Every morning she has a Herbalife meal replacement shake made from ½ cup water and 1 cup milk. As lack of appetite is one of the side effects, we needed to make sure she was getting the appropriate nutrition for the day and as these provide it, we were glad that she would still have them. Another good thing is that while she is on steroids, she does not gain as much weight due to cravings caused by them. This shake has also given her a lot of energy which the doctors are very impressed about. Another side effect is nausea and constipation. For this, she is having Herbal Aloe Concentrate - which comes in regular or Mango flavor which she goes between depending on her tastes which changes when she has chemo treatments. This is a liquid that you drink which protects and heals your insides as well as prevent other internal issues. During one hospital visit, she was getting a high dose of Methotrexate and they decided to give her a stool softener and against our better judgment, we agreed. She developed blisters and burns on her bum due to this so bad that they prescribed Morphine for the pain. We increased the doses of Aloe, applied Vaseline and kept her clean, and within three days it was all cleared up. The doctors and nurses continue to be amazed at Emma's lack of side effects and at how well she handles her procedures. She is active and normally has a smile on her face, however she has the odd days where she gets tired and moody due to the drugs.

My suggestion for all that are either going through treatments or have someone they love going through, that they find themselves these products: A healthy meal replacement shake that tastes good and has a good amount of nutrients for the day. You need to keep your strength up and proper nutrition is key to this. A liquid Aloe product that you can take as it will settle your stomach and help prevent nausea and constipation. The aloe will also help with mouth sores that can accompany the chemo tablets you take at home. We are willing to answer any questions concerning what has worked for us as well as any other nutritional questions you might have, just send me a message at and my wife and I will get back to you.

With a degree in Business Marketing, a background in senior level management, I have learned a lot about people and what it takes for a business to succeed in different markets. Through all my experiences, I have done extensive customer service work, performed a lot of individual and group training as well as a large amount of different types of marketing. I would like to share my thoughts, ideas and comments to give you something to think about.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Childhood Leukemia - Detecting Leukemia in Your Child

Speaking of cancer it is human silent killer. It will attack uncontrollably if its number (cell) multiplies rapidly.

Once they form massively it gives negative effect on usual operation of the adjoining tissue. At this point of time there must be action on treating this problem. If this would not be treated well cancer cell would pass-through bloodstream reaching some body parts. This is what we call metastasis which is already very hard to control or to be cured.

We all have cancer cells scattered all over our body parts and no one spared of that silent killer. Young and old people can have it especially if our body immune system got weakens that could lower our resistance. Cancer problem on young generation are far more different than on older generations. The same medical procedures in fighting for it but different form when you look at it under the microscope. The chances are, younger generation responded better than the older one in terms of treatment.

Childhood and Adult Patients

Cancer is common on older people compared to younger people. Most likely mortality rate is higher on older people against younger ones. If we rate the chances of survival, 70% for the younger people and 30% for the elders. Sometimes it would goes up to 90% depends then on different types of cancer.

Reasons of Having Childhood Cancer

Cancer is not transmissible unlike AIDS. Disturbance to a cell's genes is one reason of cancer development.

On older people, one factor that contributed cancer is unhealthy lifestyle coming from different vices, carcinogen intake, too much sun exposure and a lot more. The reason of having childhood cancer is not yet known. There must be some reasons for this kind of cancer on our young generations but scientist never discovered yet what the cause is really.

Different types of Childhood Cancer

Leukemia: most common type of cancer on younger generation. There are more white blood cells than normal blood cells. These abnormal cell or leukemia developed earlier before reaching into maturity.

Different kinds of Leukemia

• Acute Lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL): The most common type victimizing usually children/young people. It would strike on bone morrow - which is our blood manufacturer. One common treatment is by Chemotherapy -a kind of drug that kills cancer cells. Another one is by radiotherapy - a high energy wave, like an x-ray. Survival rate of this kind of medication is greater than 70%.

• Acute myeloid leukemia (AML): Is less most common on younger generations though it can also be treated with chemotherapy and stem cell replacement. Chance of surviving is between 50% and 60%.

• Brain Tumors and Spinal Cord Tumors: This kind is second most common type of leukemia on affecting our younger children. In most cases casualty is greater than surviving from any form of medications because this is very hard to manage and be cured. It needs surgery as the first line of treatment and it depends on where the part of the central nervous system brains tumor grown-up. A series of chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions could inevitable happen as a sort of follow-up medications. There are few who would survive depending on the status of the tumor (stages 1, 2, 3,) and the type of tumor.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Is Lymphoma Curable?

Since there are many different lymphomas, the curability of each case will vary. When lymphoma is caught in an early stage, the cure rate is higher. However, the overall cure rate for all lymphomas, in both men and women, are quite high.

Cure Rates Based On Stage Of Detection

Localized (Still in one location, has not metastasized) - Accounts for 38% of all cases; 5-year survival rate is 82.1%

Distant (Metastasis has occurred) - 45% of all lymphoma cases are of this variety. 59.9% is the 5-year survival rate.

Regional (has spread to the regional lymph nodes - 77.5% is the cure rate and this type accounts for 19 of all lymphoma cases.

Unknown (Unstaged) - 67.5% cure rate accounting for 8% of cases.

There are a plethora of types of NHL (Non-Hodgkin lymphoma) and the possibility of cure is dependent on the specific diagnosis.

Prognosis can also be different even in the same sub type of NHL.

Even in an individual who has a well-categorized case of lymphoma, the survival rate and time can be hard to guess.

Is lymphoma curable for anybody?

Cure rates depend greatly on many factors.

Thus, the answer is yes and no because it depends on what type of lymphoma one has, what lymphoma stages it may be in, the lymphoma grade, the general health of the patient, response to treatment and of course a dash of luck.

For people with quick growing lymphomas types (for example, diffuse large B cell lymphoma), the lymphoma can be potentially resolved with combination chemotherapy. However, for those individuals who respond poorly to treatment or have an early relapse, the lymphoma can be deadly in a rather short period of time. The slowly growing lymphomas are incurable with regular chemo, yet patients can live with them for years and years.

Much of deciding how to treat a specific lymphoma is based on simply observing the patient closely to see how the disease progresses so that an appropriate course of action can be prescribed.

Lymphoma Treatment

Is Lymphoma curable with chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, bone marrow transplants, etc?

Typically, one or a combination of these treatments will be used, depending upon the factors discussed above. The symptoms of lymphoma in women will vary greatly but will not necessarily provide an indication of the level of advancement of the cancer nor the potential curability of the disease. Generally speaking, lymphoma has a better than 50% cure rate and this is certainly something to be grateful for.