Sunday, November 20, 2011

Guest Post Kicking Cancer's Ass and Staying Healthy by Trevor Bradshaw

Here is a guest post by Trevor Bradshaw. He is an aspiring writer, a health nut, and brother to a cancer survivor who is very passionate about writing about cancer and health.
Kicking Cancer's Ass and Staying Healthy
There is probably no other word that invokes fear in people as much as that of cancer. Since it is so often viewed with an air of fatalism, those who successfully battle the disease are beating the odds. Regardless of whether someone is currently undergoing cancer therapy or is in remission, an important goal is to stay as healthy as possible. A critical way of doing this is to take care of the immune system.

The body’s own immune system is capable of kicking cancer’s ass all by itself. The complex organization of organs, cells, and compounds has caused a lot of interest in the scientific community. In particular, the
T-cells are capable of targeting specific antigens on the surface of cancer cells and destroying them. 

In fact,
doctors at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a new type of gene therapy that is proving to be highly effective in curing leukemia. Many other conventional therapies implement immunotherapy, which involves using the immune system to combat cancer. 

Since many of the chemotherapeutic agents used in traditional treatment kill off both healthy and diseased cells, it makes sense that staying healthy during and after cancer treatment is dependent upon building a strong immune system. So what affects the immune system? Here are five common considerations:

• Although no one is sure of the exact cause, the immune system becomes weaker and less efficient as people age. 

• A
diet lacking in fruits and vegetables is a primary cause. In addition to the standard recommendations, many cancer survivors become proponents of the raw diet concept. There is a lot of supporting evidence that suggests a relationship between cooked or processed food and the immune response.

• High levels of stress will weaken the immune system. According to the Harvard Medical School, experiments involving laboratory animals showed that stress reduces antibodies and decreases lymphocyte production. Stressed animals were also twice as likely to die. This makes it worthwhile to pursue healthy ways of mitigating stress. Mediation is one way to do this.

• Herbs and other supplements play a huge role in staying healthy during cancer treatment and afterwards. These should be approached with caution, as many of the ingredients can interact with medications. Homeopathic and Chinese medicine practitioners offer a variety of supplements that boost cell production. Many have scientific studies that back up their claims.

• As probably one of the hardest things for cancer patients to deal with,
exercise also makes a huge difference in how well the immune system functions. The disease process itself, as well as the treatment, leaves cancer sufferers with little energy. It is best to begin slowly and work up to a tolerable level. 

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