It is clear. The same things that reduce health risks in the general population reduce the risk of recurrence as well as the chance of developing a second new cancer for survivors.  The evidence is based on over 100 studies released between 2006 and 20121.  Sounds good, yes? Yet, survivors are no more likely to adopt a healthier lifestyle than the general population even though we are at greater risk.  As a survivor, I find this concerning.  As a Certified Wellness Coach and Pilates trainer, I want to help.

We can control the environment we create in our body. We do not control our genes or other factors that cause the cellular mutations that lead to cancer. Yet, maintaining a healthy internal environment reduces our chance of “turning on” the processes we can’t control and may lead to cancer.

So what are those things that will reduce risk in all populations? The key recommendations from the 2012 Guidelines include:

    • Get regular aerobic and resistance exercise;
    • Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, low in red meat and saturated fats,
    • Use other weight-management strategies, such as portion control, to reach and maintain a healthy weight.


This is not new, nor is it sexy or easy. But aren’t the best things in life worth a bit of effort? Aren’t you worth the investment?

When we were an agrarian society, the average person could burn up 2,000 calories during the work day. It was physically, demanding work. We were built for it. There were no gyms, just hard work. Pilates, an exercise methodology, that strengthens the deep internal abdominal muscles that support our posture, was unnecessary. Aerobic conditioning was chasing the chickens or the horses that got loose. And we could eat more of the real food that was produced, not processed.

Today an average worker sitting behind a computer or a steering wheel only uses about 700 calories per work day. This sedentary lifestyle has created a new disease called “sitting disease” resulting from muscular inactivity, not lack of exercise. This lack of muscular activity can result in weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, some cancers and musculoskeletal problems.

So here is the bottom line: MOVE! Move as soon as you can, in any way you can, as often as you can. Listen to your body. It will tell you when you have done enough and when you need more. Walking is a great place to start moving. Start small – around the living room is perfect until you build strength and stamina. Add some speed to your walk, or squats and keep on building from there.

Movement teaches the brain that we have control which is both empowering and liberating. Moving becomes its own reward. Cancer makes us so aware of our limitations. Exercise and movement gives us some control and confidence back. What would it mean to you to feel better and recover quicker?  It is never too late. How are you going to take your next step?

By Lauryn Sires

Posted in Cancer Education, Daily Matters, Diet, Exercise, Lifestyle and Fitness, Nutrition, Risk Reduction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why is it important to choose safe cosmetics during cancer treatments? As a consumer, the average woman uses 16 personal care products before she leaves her bathroom. The average man uses 6. That is a lot of exposure to the thousands of ingredients used in cosmetic products today.  Are we as savvy at reading cosmetic ingredient labels as we are our food labels? As a huge supporter of Oncology Esthetics and being a Certified Oncology Esthetician myself, skin care ingredients are important to me.

Today more people choose organic when they can. Why? Because we want to know what we are putting in/on our bodies. We don’t have to wait until our bodies are in crisis mode to seek clean products. However, in the cosmetic industry, organic products are not currently well regulated. So what should you look for in skin care as a consumer?

Start with the COSMOS-standard Certified Organic seal. This seal is internationally recognized as a new measurement in how we will define Certified Organic in our personal care products going forward. You can trust the cosmetic companies who have earned the COSMOS seal, because of the strict requirements to obtain it, as well as recertify each year.

While there is a long list of ingredients one should avoid if you are a healthy individual, the stakes are higher if you are health challenged. A person undergoing cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiation, often have many skin issue including dry skin, lesions, cracked skin, and rashes. Many cancer survivors complain of residual skin concerns due to the many medications prescribed.

Whether health-compromised or in good health, you want to look for a skin care system that will handle four key elements. These ideal skin care products should focus on inflammation, address bacteria, deliver anti-oxidants, and provide moisture to protect the skin’s lipid barrier. You want to avoid petroleum-based products and reach more for water-in-oil emulsions for the best barrier protection, which helps prevent water loss.

Here are a few Certified Organic ingredients to look for in your skin care products, especially moisturizers, body creams, and oils:

  • Safflower Seed Oil – rich in natural Vit E which prevents TEWL (trans-epidermal water loss)
  • Sunflower Seed Oil – a natural source of Vit A which prevents skin infections and helps retain moisture in the skin.
  • Linseed Oil - which expedites healing and assists with tissue repair.
  • St. John’s Wort Extract - has anti-inflammatory properties. Has shown positive results in soothing atopic dermatitis. Astringent and antiseptic.
  • Rose Flower Water – Calms, cools, protects skin from bacterial and fungal infections. Very hydrating.
  • Arnica – antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti inflammatory properties.
  • Shea Butter - mimics our own skin oil. Very hydrating. Rich in natural Vit A and E. Offering anti-oxidant protection and barrier protection.
  • Edelweiss – anti-inflammatory, antibacterial. Contains Chlorogenic, which is able to neutralize free radicals.
  • Olive Oil – Nutrient rich anti-oxidants in Vit A and E. Contains squalene (natural moisturizer).
  • Sea-Buckthorn – rich in unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidant properties. Harmonizes the lipid layers in the skin.

Remember, your skin is the largest organ, weighing in at approximately 8 lbs and covering about 22 sq ft. Allow it to do its job, but give your skin the gentle nutrients and moisture it needs before/during/and after all oncological treatments. Keep it simple. Find a Certified Oncology Esthetician in your area, or one you can consult with over the phone.

To your skin health!

By Maxine Drake


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I often recommend healing baths—including steam, vapor baths, and herbal diaphoretic therapy—to my patients as part of their protocol. The Eclectics, as well as other traditional healing systems prior to Eclectic Medicine, utilized a wide range of water therapies for healing in a practice called hydrotherapy. The vapor, or steam bath, constitutes an important part of the Thomsonian system of practice. Samuel Thomson said this about the vapor bath, “it diffuses warmth through the system, equalizes the circulation, imparts electricity to the blood, and increases the sensibilities of the system to the impressions of medicine.”


Enjoy A Healing Bath
A form of the vapor bath that I have implemented into my practice is an aromatic Epsom salt vapor bath. I use Epsom salts, essential oils, or herb teas in the bath, along with hot water to raise the thermal level, which induces hyperthermia. I also have the person prior to, or during the bath, drink a hot diaphoretic tea blend to assist the body’s natural elimination through the skin and mucous membranes. This process raises the innate resistance ability of the immune system.

The purpose of combining alteratives, diaphoretic teas and hyperthermia is to strengthen our defenses and improve our eliminative functions. I find these healing baths to be a simple and highly effective “home remedy.”

The following are a few of my favorite baths:

Aromatic Epsom Salt Bath

Soak in a tub of hot water (106 to 108 degrees F.), with 2 cups of Epsom salts added until your body temperature increases to about 101 degrees. Monitor your pulse rate prior to the bath, as well as during treatment; your pulse should remain under 92 beats per minute. The bath should be about 15 to 20 minutes long. It is optional and not traditional to add essential oils, but I do and find it compliments the treatment. I often recommend lavender for a relaxing bath; 10-20 drops is sufficient.

Mustard Powder Bath

This potent stimulating and heating bath can be used either as a full body bath to ease cold and flu symptoms, or as a footbath for lowering a fever. Add 1-2 tablespoons of dried powdered mustard to the hot bath and stir well to dissolve. Essential oils such as eucalyptus and peppermint can be added to help clear congestion and improve breathing. Start with 5 drops of essential oil (too much peppermint can irritate skin), stir well with your hand, and add a few more drops as necessary (I generally use 10-20 drops).

Herbal Diaphoretic Therapy

I often recommend a tea blend of the following herbs: elder flowers, yarrow, peppermint, linden, chrysanthemum, and boneset. These herbs are traditionally used to stimulate diaphoresis (perspiration). Drink 1-2 cups of this tea hot prior to and during the bath to induce diaphoresis and enhance immune response.

By Donnie Yance
cancer detox

Posted in Daily Matters, Emotional Health, Lifestyle and Fitness, Mind Body Spirit | Tagged , | Leave a comment

If you Googled “most important vegetables to eat”, you would find leafy greens at the top of every list. And there are some pretty good reasons for that.

They are one of the richest sources of nutrition and are the number one food you can eat regularly to help improve your health and boost weight loss.  This is because leafy vegetables are full of fiber along with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (plant chemicals) that help protect you from heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. Many of these vegetables even help slow down the aging process.

What are leafy greens?

Some of the most common include kale, collards, Swiss chard, mustard greens, arugula, Romaine, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, dandelion, broccoli, spinach, turnip greens, cabbage, watercress and broccoli rabe.

If you notice, most of them are in the cruciferous family of vegetables that offer the most bang for your plant-based buck.

Cooking Greens

Although it can be a little intimidating to prepare greens if you’re coming home from the grocery store with a bunch of Bok Choy for the first time, don’t let that stop you! Once you learn a few simple preparation tips, you’ll soon be cooking up a “leafy-green” storm.

You have some preparation options by trying a variety of methods like steaming, boiling, sauteing in oil, water sauteing, preparing a pressed salad and waterless cooking.

Steaming creates gray, bitter greens (concentrates bitterness) – so strong tasting greens (turnip & mustard greens, kale, broccoli rabe, collards) are better boiled or blanched. Boiling a large amount of water takes time. And if you ever wondered if you lost lots of nutrients in the water cooking this way, you’d be right! So it’s best to boil or shallow blanch in a small amount of water. Use approx. 2 cups water for up to 1 lb. greens. Boil water, add chopped greens, cover and cook until tender. It can take from 3 – 10 minutes depending on the type of green.

You also want to cook at high temp to preserve nutrients, color and taste.

If your greens turn out too bitter using two cups water, try more water next time. You can control the bitterness of the greens this way. Then drain the greens and sauté if desired. or use in recipes. Make sure to drink any remaining cooking water – called “pot likker”. It contains many of the minerals and vitamins lost in the water.

Milder greens (spinach, chard, beet greens) can also be cooked this way, but because they are mild tasting and cook quickly anyway, they can be steamed or wilted in a skillet.

Boiling makes greens plump and relaxed. Steaming makes greens more fibrous and tight, which is great for people who are trying to lose weight.

Once cooked:

  • Drizzle greens with some vinegar and tamari
  • Sprinkle with lemon or orange juice
  • Toss with some toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds for an Asian flair
  • Sauté’ some red onions, add a little brown rice syrup and grated lemon zest
  • Sauté’ with garlic and olive oil and add some sun-dried tomatoes
  • Toss with your favorite healthy dressing
  • Add them to soups, serve over grains

Some greens can be eaten raw in salads: arugula, watercress, romaine, chicory, spinach, escarole, etc.

You can also prepare a Pressed salad - a wilted vegetable dish that gives the freshness of a raw salad but is processed with salt or vinegar to break down the tough outer cellulose layer which can make raw vegetables difficult to digest. Use ½ tsp sea salt or umeboshi vinegar per cup of salad. Rub the salted greens with your hands until liquid starts to be released. Then either set aside for 20 minutes or place a plate with a weight on top. Pour off the fluid that accumulates. Pressing eliminates a lot of the liquid in the raw veggies which can make us feel cold in winter. The secret is to slice the veggies very thin.

Try Chinese (Napa) cabbage, kale. Also add daikon radish, cucumber, carrots, celery.

When most people hear “leafy-green vegetables”, they probably think of iceberg lettuce. But the ordinary, pale lettuce in restaurant salads doesn’t have the power-packed goodness of some other greens. Get into the habit of adding these leafy green vegetables to your diet as much as possible.

Try it out for a month and see how you feel.

By: Christine Scalfo, Food for Living

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Many of the newer chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer are called targeted therapies. Lapatinib, for example, is used for the treatment of many breast cancers.

These therapies target the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) protein, which act on certain parts of cancer cells to block the growth and spread of cancer. They work by affecting the processes that make normal cells become cancer cells and cause tumors to grow.

Although effective in the treatment of many cancers, EGFR inhibitors often result in adverse reactions in the skin, which occur in at least half of treated patients. They can leave patients overwhelmed with one more medical issue to contend with.

The dilemma is that normal skin cells also have a lot of EGFR. So drugs that target or block EGFR often affect these cells by turning off the signal for them to grow and making it harder for them to retain moisture.

The skin side affects include dry, dull, lifeless skin, many conditions related to aging. You may think the best approach to address these skin conditions would be the conventional anti-aging skin care products and treatments that are currently on the market. This may include exfoliation, skin peels, as well as moisturizers that have ingredients that increase cell turnover. However, it is important to consider how these skin care products affect skin function and whether they are appropriate for individuals undergoing cancer treatment, especially (EGFR), Epidermal Growth Factor inhibitors.

There are many conventional skin care products that oncology patients should discontinue using and even avoid completely. For instance, there is an increase use of EGFR in anti-aging creams, which are delivered to the skin through a technology called nanotechnology. Nanotechnology uses nucleic acid nanoparticles to penetrate the skin’s surface faster and deliver gene regulation technology directly to cells. These nanostructures are designed to stimulate epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a biomarker associated with wrinkles in aging skin.

In fact, manmade proteins, peptides and enzymes extracted from human stem cells are used to stimulate your own skin cells by sending messages telling them to produce skin cells. This is not only inimical to what the medical industry is trying to accomplish in retarding cancer growth, but has other hazardous implications to one’s over all health.

Due to their ultramicroscopic size, these nanoparticles readily penetrate the skin, especially when it is inflamed and raw, thus invading underlying blood vessels and getting into the general blood stream, producing systemic toxic effects. As medical EGFR inhibitors are designed to retard the growth of cancer cells, anti-aging creams are formulated to stimulate cell growth and thus could stimulate cells affected by cancer.

Many of the anti-aging products can also contain other toxic ingredients, such as allergens, toxic hormonal ingredients, and known carcinogens such as, Ethylene oxide,Dioxane, Nitrosamines, Formaldehyde, and Acrylamide.

Other skin symptoms may occur due to targeted therapies and they include scaly, flaky skin. When skin demonstrates flakiness we tend to think our skin needs exfoliating products and/or skin resurfacing procedures. However, in this case the stratified cells that loosely organize on the surface of the skin, as an attempt by the organ to protect and defend itself. Disturbing this natural defense formation would only make skin more vulnerable and susceptible to further complications.

There are several ways to reduce side affects and to support the skin if symptoms do occur. Start with simpler skin care routines and invest in cleansers that heal, not products that peel. Stay away from cleanser with moisture-stripping alcohols and sudsy sulfates, and instead use cleansers based with seed oils and pure botanical ingredient. Oils in cleansers won’t clog pores, but will lift dirt off the skin and help build up the lipid barrier, which contain the skin’s natural moisturizers.

Skins natural defense functions best when there is improved suppleness and enhanced moisture levels. This can be achieved with serums based with oils of Acai and Broccoli. These pure botanical oils are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation and hydrate skin by reducing epidermal moisture loss. They also prompt skin cells to produce natural occurring glutathione, which reduces oxidative stress.

Caring for the skin during medical oncology therapies is about achieving balance. We can achieve healing to our skin and our bodies by supporting its inherent healing capabilities. Skin care products used for these sensitive conditions should soothe the impact that disease has on the skin and the body, not overburden the body with toxicity and harmful ingredients. The ultimate goal is to provide a holistic approach for an optimal healing environment that enhances the body and skin health, thus supporting overall wellbeing and comfort.

By Anne Willis

Anne C. Willis, LE, CME, is the founder of De La Terre Skincare® and one of the industry’s most outstanding innovators in the world of holistic skin care. Ms. Willis lectures nationally regarding collaborative care for medical institutions and skin reactions incurred by patients receiving combined chemotherapy. Ms. Willis has been published in multiple international holistic and beauty publications. She is the director of Oncology Skin Therapeutics™ and is certified by the NCCAOM, bringing over 30 years of experience and knowledge to a new generation of skin therapist.

skin care for cancer patients

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