Posted by: alisalliance | July 5, 2021

Time for the Next Chapter

July 5th 2021 the non-profit cancer patient advocacy organization Ali’s Alliance Inc. will end its online presence and begin terminating its legal existence.

Ali’s Alliance Inc. was founded slightly over ten years ago to connect cancer patients, cancer survivors and caregivers with the most current and relevant resources available regarding treatment and support close to home.

We believed better information would lead patients and caregivers to better outcomes and ultimately a better quality of life.

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage anyone diagnosed with cancer to first of all get a second opinion.  Mistakes happen and there are maligned actors in healthcare.  Second, recruit an advocate (healthcare buddy) to attend appointments with you, take notes and ask questions. It is very difficult to make informed well thought out decisions when your consciousness is drifting in and out of your emotional brain stem.  Consider quality of life not just quantity of life.  Many treatments will prolong your time in treatment, not necessarily the life you want to lead.

Try as we might Ali’s Alliance Inc. has failed to find sustainability and the time has come to move on.  As we close this chapter I would like to thank the many steadfast supporters of this effort.

Thank you Kelly Seitz (along with Charlie and Barbara), Susan Schwed, Paul Ramkissoon, Ann B. Paton, William Weinstock Jr., David Trumpler, Margaret Chatham, Mary Jean Houlahan, Mary Cowan, Lori Herrala, Kelly Buist, Gregg Fields PhD., Michal Lobsinger and all those individuals have lent a hand over the years.

Additionally, I want to thank two very special powerhouse individuals who are no longer with us.  Thank you and God’s speed to Sherry Shive and Derek Felbinger.

Posted by: alisalliance | January 22, 2020

Death by Sweetness !

Death by Sweetness!

David J Cowan Sr

Ali’s Alliance / The Cancer Directory



Sugar is bad for you, specifically refined sugar. Year after year, decade after decade the evidence increases to the point there is no doubt. Refined sugar whether white, brown or high fructose corn syrup is one of the most harmful substances found in the modern American diet. The harm it does is compounded by the insidious way it is bound into most of the processed foods we consume daily including most of the foods we feed our children daily. The harm done becomes essentially evil when one considers how much is known about sugar and the fact that corporate leaders and boards knowingly shovel this substance into the market place and remain unaccountable. What the processed food industry is doing should be considered criminal. Sugar may well be the asbestos or tobacco of the twenty-first century. The FDA does nothing because of the vast amounts of money involved and many doctors and other clinicians ignore or choose to be ignorant of the facts because of their overwhelming workloads, or plain lack of interest.


During the early spring of 2010 my wife Alison was in the hospital losing weight and having difficulty staying hydrated. These symptoms were the result of chemotherapy administered in February of the same year. Her oncologist, concerned about the continuing weight loss ordered the hospital dietician to send a supply of Boost™ or Ensure™ to her room along with her meals and anytime she requested. I questioned the doctor about the amount of sugar in the products, but he insisted the calories were more important than the sugar. To say I was concerned and questioning would be an understatement. I’d read articles about how cancer fed on sugar and I’d seen first hand the results of her PET Scans.


If you’ve never seen or had a PET scan you should understand that two days before the scheduled scans, the patient is denied carbohydrates or sugar of any kind. When the patient arrives for the scan they are asked to confirm they’ve had no sugar or carbs and a baseline scan is performed for comparison to the final scan. Once the baseline scan is complete the patient is given a significant dose of radioactive sugar water intravenously. The radiation enables the machine can to where the solution goes and the sugar is essentially food or fuel for the cancer cells. The cancer takes up sugar at a rate several times (some say 200x) that of normal body cells. The resulting scan shows where the radioactive sugar water is collecting and identifies cancer cells and tumors. (1)   Whether sugar causes cancer is still a matter of some debate, but the fact that cancer feeds on sugar is generally accepted and is certainly a concern. At the time of Alison’s treatment I did not know enough to challenge the doctor’s orders or search for alternative products. Those alternatives are coming on the market now.


Glucose is the simplest form of sugar and provides energy and fuel to the body’s cells for most processes. Naturally occurring sugars (fructose) are found in fruits, vegetables and dairy products. They digest slowly and encourage the body to feel full longer as it uses the fuel. Refined sugar (sucrose) is extracted from sugar cane and sugar beets through a mechanized process and produces a product that breaks down very quickly in the body causing spikes in blood sugar and insulin production. Additionally, the blood sugar spikes so rapidly the consumer does not feel full until long after the stomach is full, which can lead to overeating, obesity and possibly other chronic health issues.  In the decade since 2010 there has been study after study linking sugar to cancer and other chronic health problems,(2) yet doctors and oncologists continue to prescribe or recommend these highly processed chemical concoctions, like Boost™ or Ensure™ to patients. One study cited on WebMD indicates that sugar sweetened beverages may increase the chances of developing Esophageal cancer by almost 70% (3).  Whether you accept the idea that overuse of sugar causes cancer or not there seems to be an accepted judgment that body fat and obesity have a direct link to thirteen different cancers(4) and over consumption of sugar will lead to obesity in most people.   The cancer risk aside, obesity and lack of exercise are major causes of Type 2 diabetes and that disease will certainly complicate dealing with all other health concerns.


Once you’ve accepted the idea that sugar is not good for you or anyone in your family you’ll need to become aggressive in identifying and eliminating sugar from your daily life. Sugar is sneaky stuff and is found in many naturally occurring foods such as fruits, vegetables and breads. The good news is that naturally occurring sugars found in fruits and vegetables are slow to digest and relatively slow to enter the blood stream. Sugars released from carbohydrates such as bread, donuts, bagels and brownies are quick to break down contributing not only to roller coaster blood sugar levels but consumption of many empty calories and the obesity mentioned above. The worst offenders of all are the mass-produced sugary beverages such as Coke™ and Pepsi™ with approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar in a 12 oz. container. Shockingly Mountain Dew™ tops out the field at 12.5 teaspoons of sugar in a 12 oz. container (5).


AS concerning as the amounts and sources of sugar are, the real danger lies in the way that sugars act in the brain. Research over the last decade shows that refined sugar and the sugar derived from the carbohydrates in modern wheat products interact with the dopamine receptors in the brain giving consumers a “high” not completely different from the high achieved with opioids. Not the same “rush” obviously, but the same reward response that leads to addiction. Try depriving yourself of any sugar or refined carbs for a week, not only will you feel extreme cravings but, if you give in to the craving you will find it all but impossible to stop within the same seating or episode. The above describes addictive behavior and we are doing this to our children. According to current data from the National Institute of Health 32% of young people are obese or overweight. This is a national health nightmare in the making and we’re doing it to ourselves.





(5) sugar contents referenced on GOOGLE & Quora





Posted by: alisalliance | December 19, 2019

What Choice do I have ?

The world is spinning; you don’t feel as though you can think. Everything is emotion and the emotion is fear.

Our modern medical (allopathic) system is passably accurate in determining which part of your body is malfunctioning. The same system is wonderfully creative in treating the symptoms of the malfunction with drugs and even has additional drugs to treat symptoms (side effects) of taking the first drugs, but outside of trauma medicine that is pretty much where their talent ends. Clinicians in our modern systems have almost no talent for delivering bad news and about the same inclinations for discussing underlying causes. Additionally physicians rarely attempt to deal with the impact of bad news or help the patient process the information. Doctors and clinicians in our modern world rely almost entirely on their credentials and the god like authority we grant them. A position of authority cultivated from our earliest years when our mother’s gave over or shared their position of trusted caretaker with the local physician who poked, prodded and dispensed potions to cure our ailments.

It makes little difference what the diagnosis is, cancer, chronic heart disease, diabetes or one of the many auto-immune diseases that are epidemic in our society. The medical doctor or specialist is going to tell you that there are one or two options for treating your condition and they have the best toolbox for curing or managing your condition. The sad truth is the clinical person delivering the news probably believes what they are telling you, but there are other approaches and options with a long history restoring health and doing a better job of respecting the patient. Since the mid-1800’s the AMA (American Medical Association) has been working diligently and relentlessly to own the marketplace when it comes to healthcare, but the fact is they fundamentally treat symptoms and not the underlying cause(s) of what ails you.

The alternative healthcare market place is populated by many healthcare professionals who will approach treating you with tools and methods from a variety of schools of thought, and almost all of them are more likely to treat you as a whole person and consider your beliefs, lifestyle and habits more than are the mainstream physicians. All doctors know that most ailments that affect the human body will cure themselves in seven to ten days if you give yourself rest, fluids, and proper nutrition. And please don’t think anyone is suggesting that life-threatening or chronic conditions can be cured with bed rest, but many chronic or life-threatening conditions can be mitigated with similar care and life-style changes. We just need to give ourselves the space and time to let the body do its work. When it comes to many life threatening and chronic conditions alternative medicine can help you create the conditions in your body to heal quicker and better with less chemicals and a better quality of life.

Almost every community throughout the United States has alternative healthcare providers, sometimes called holistic, naturopathic or functional medicine, and they come offering a number of different treatment modalities. The primary difference being they treat the whole person and not the just the symptoms. Modern clinical or mainstream (allopathic) medicine has made tremendous progress in treating our ailments, but they treat the human body as a broken automobile. This is fine if you have a broken arm or other trauma and even wonderful if you have a disease born of a specific pathogen that has a high mortality rate. But it breaks down when you begin to see whole populations failing because the underlying cause is epidemic to the culture.   A great example would be Type 2 diabetes. I’ve had clinicians tell me that Type 2 diabetes is the most curable disease in the United States. One cures this disease by getting up and moving (exercise) and by eating less of the wrong foods. Modern clinical medicine knows this, but in league with the large drug companies who would rather create chemical potions to help the body live with high levels of blood sugar than to educate and encourage people to change their life styles. Another area is in heart and breathing issues. Modern medicine will treat a patient with drugs to mask the symptoms or consequences of the deficiency while the alternative medicine practitioner will encourage the patient to change the conditions that caused the problem in the first place and might offer naturally occurring substances in the forms of teas, powders or ointments to help bridge the transition to better living situation. Don’t mistake the fact that whether naturally occurring or created in a laboratory drugs are drugs and will alter the body’s function, but natural remedies properly offered are unlikely to have the horrible lists of side-effects common to the products offered by the large pharmaceutical companies and are generally only intended as a temporary bridge to achieving a better underlying condition not to create a chronic dependency.

Another area of primary concern is in cancer care. Often when a person is diagnosed with cancer they are presented with menu of treatment protocols and informed that the offered protocol is the only way to treat the cancer and anything else is likely to result in death. This information is put forward before the patient-survivor has had any chance to digest the diagnosis they have just received. When questioned about alternatives, the doctor will often come back to the conversation like the closer in a car dealership hammering their view is the only course not likely to end in death. The fact is, the doctor does not want to be questioned and certainly not by someone without their knowledge of biology, chemistry and mechanical understanding of the human body. The first thing that needs to be acknowledged is when the words “You have cancer” were said, the person’s brain receiving that information immediately went into fight or flight mode and any rational thinking went out the window.   I’ve personally spoken with several women diagnosed with cancer who flatly said they heard nothing after receiving the diagnosis and all they were thinking about was “who will raise my children?” Patients receiving a cancer diagnosis should be given time to process the information, they should be encouraged to seek a confirming second opinion and they should be encouraged to enlist an advocate. Someone willing to come to appointments, treatments and other related conversations to listen, record, and ask questions on their behalf. No one should have to listen to treatment options and protocols with a gun to their head and any uncertainty about what they are facing. It is not commonly known but there are Registered Nurses who specialize in oncology and who are available to help navigate and explain treatment options. Unfortunately the cost of these paid advocates is generally not covered by insurance.  Clinicians will argue the financial burden is too great to spend that amount of time with any patient or that they may lose a patient to another doctor. That might be a possibility, but if the doctor worked to achieve trust and to build a rapport with the person, then the patient would likely return. If you’re a competent and empathetic clinician the business side of things will all work out in the end regardless. The point being, any but the most compassionate and empathetic follow-up is simply wrong. In addition to a gentler more compassionate delivery of devastating news the doctor or clinician should proceed into a discussion of the likely effectiveness of any suggested treatment for the patient’s demographic, there should also be a discussion of likely side-effects for the patient’s demographic and finally there should be a frank discussion of the impact on the patient’s quality of life. In many cases the impact on quality of life is so serious the patient my chose not to proceed, choosing instead to enjoy the time they have left. This should be their choice. I’ve seen recent data that shows an increase in survivability for lung cancer from 9-11 months to 30-36 months. What the data does not show is the 20-24 months in treatment including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy with almost no increase in quality months of survivorship. If the patient-survivor had chosen to work on their underlying health and physical strength they may have achieved more, better quality of life instead of living out their time as a lab rat and conduit for insurance monies flowing to the medical community. These outcomes are unknowable, but should be in the purview of an informed patient.

We must understand there is more than an either or choice between mainstream clinical medicine and alternative holistic medicine. There is an emerging school of thought referred to as Integrative care. The integrative care model seeks to take from all available protocols and assemble a course action best suited to the patient’s healing and quality of life.

An integrative plan for treating cancer might involve a surgical intervention followed by de-stressing through mindfulness training, a nutritional plan and appropriate exercise. One thing that is often not considered is survival versus survival with a good quality of life. Frequently in cancer care the treatment is worse than the disease, a fact not often talked about. Cancer treatments can be brutal and often follow on care is prescribed because it fits the framework of best practices. Every medical specialty has its trade association that lobbies and advocates for its members, but they also establish the protocols for “best practices”, an industry euphemism for cover your butt. Best practices accomplish two things in cancer care, they assure that no patient or patient’s family can come back and say the doctor didn’t do everything possible and ensures there are very few insurance dollars left on the table. The short version is the doctor will do everything possible to treat the patient, even if it kills them or makes them so miserable they wish they were dead. Alternative medicine and the integrative treatment model seek to support and build up the patient by acknowledging and treating the mind, body and spirit of the individual. After receiving a cancer diagnosis patients should be encouraged to be part of their treatment plan creation. The more the patient is involved and believes in the course of action the more likely it is to be effective. A patient survivor who does not believe in the course of treatment is going to be a nervous wreck wasting energy worrying about a future that has not manifested yet. Henry Ford once said something like, “…if you believe you can, or believe you can’t you’re likely correct.” This is particularly true in the case of cancer care and treatment. Regardless, a patient who is calm and committed to a particular course of action is going to be calmer and more assured and enjoy a far superior quality of life than the patient who frets about everything and jumps from one treatment modality to another never letting anything work to its potential.

Another aspect of medical care that should be discussed is the competing interests we face in dealing with illnesses from colds and flus to serious chronic conditions. Are we trying to achieve wellness and good quality of life or are we trying to avoid the economic impact of sickness? Individuals living and working in the United States who wake on any given morning with cold or flu symptoms are encouraged to mask those symptoms with a variety of over the counter medications or to run to an Urgent-care to obtain anti-biotics so they can get to work or go to school without regard to the potential downside risks of sharing whatever “bug” they have, and without regard to the real possibility that they may be prolonging their illness and with no consideration for the disrespect we show ourselves. The manifestations of illness are our body’s way of communicating with us. We should not only respect ourselves enough to listen, but give ourselves the time and rest necessary to restore our health.

Medical care in the US is a mess and the weakest voice in the arena is that of the patient. Partly this is because the patient has surrendered their place at the top of the medical food chain, but mainly it is because that place has been taken from them. The AMA has worked hard to dis-credit other healing schools of thought calling them voodoo or pseudo-science while at the same time trying to maintain the notion that what they do is practice without certain outcomes. Like having your cake and eating it too. Insurance company clerks (bureaucrats) make care delivery decisions everyday based on printed volumes of best practices with no medical training at all and no contact with the patient, a practice that is in fact practicing medicine without a license. Insurance companies purchase pharmacies and then create other bureaucratic positions called “Pharmacy Benefit Managers” who have the power to decide that the medication the doctor prescribed for the patient is too expensive and substitute another medication and to compound that insult by repeating the process several times in what is referred to as “fail first protocols”. In many states they can do this up to three times before the patient is given the medication that was originally prescribed, and it’s not uncommon for the patient to pass away while this process unwinds. Insurance companies coach doctors on how to structure their practices in a fashion that will allow them to run a successful business, but makes certain that the patient will have little or no time to have a conversation with their doctor and guarantees the patient will not have time to digest the information given them in time to ask meaningful questions about their condition or the treatment dictated. Doctors spend years in medical schools (but only those schools approved by the AMA) learning their trade and then once in practice get most of their continuing education from the large pharmaceutical companies whose only interests is in dispensing chemical concoctions designed to create chronic users. If one takes a minute to look at healthcare in the US from a high vantage point it becomes obvious quite quickly that all the competing interests have a lot on their minds, but the least of it is in the interest of the patient.

The alternative health care community is largely the opposite side of that coin. The relationship with the patient is the most important thing, the efficacy of the treatment and the patients quality of life are of the utmost importance. Treating the whole person, mind, body and spirit, is the underlying principle and designing a protocol that the patient understands and buys into is significant part of the conversation.

If you have been diagnosed with a condition that requires medical attention and you are not comfortable with the guidance you are being given consider talking with someone from the alternative medical community. Go online and look for natural healers, functional medicine practitioners, homeopaths or traditional Chinese medicine doctors. If your problem is not something they can help they will tell you. In all cases remember you are entitled to understand what you are dealing with, what the contributing underlying causes are and what you can do to mitigate them, what the likelihood is that the recommended treatment will be effective and the impact on your quality of life. Many life threatening conditions will be treated with a combination of western medicine and supportive treatment from the alternative community.

Finally, be aware that insurance companies will not typically cover the cost of alternative healthcare and this is something you should address with your elected government officials. Why is it that government officials, insurance bureaucrats and pharmacy employees are in positions to make decisions about how you spend your healthcare dollars, but you are not.

You may be frightened when first diagnosed with a serious condition, but you can be involved and take charge of your healthcare, if you chose to.

Posted by: alisalliance | June 8, 2015

Take Precautions During Cancer Treatment in Warmer Weather


Source: National Comprehensive Cancer Network

Warm weather beckons most people to spend more time outdoors. But, whether you are on a much-needed vacation or just enjoying the summer months, if you or someone you love is living with cancer, heat, sun, and outside activities can present certain challenges. With planning and proper precautions, however, you can still enjoy outdoor fun on warm, sunny days.

Sun Exposure
Certain forms of chemotherapy can make patients more sensitive to the sun. A classic example is 5-fluorouracil, says Michael Naughton, MD, Assistant Professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Even if you are not receiving this form of chemotherapy, though, you may more sensitive to the sun.

Planning ahead can make your time outdoors safer and more enjoyable:

  • Try to limit your sun exposure between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm, which is when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and reapply it often, especially after sweating or swimming. It is also a good idea to ask a doctor to recommend a sunscreen for sensitive skin if your skin is irritated anywhere from radiation therapy.
  • Dress for sun protection, and bring portable shade such as an umbrella if possible.
  • Protect your head. If you’ve lost your hair due to chemo, wear a hat.
  • If you have undergone radiation, know the boundaries of where you were exposed. This area will be the most sensitive to sunburn, especially during the first year after treatment.
  • Keep any surgical scars covered from the sun. “Surgical scars may be especially sensitive to sun damage,” says Dr. Naughton. If you can’t keep them covered by clothes (or a hat), apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, generously and frequently.

Dr. Naughton also cautions, “Patients should also remember that clothes, especially light T-shirts, do not offer complete protection, and sunscreen should still be worn.”

Summer and Entertaining
Picnics, pools, and parties are abundant during warmer weather. Picnics and other outdoor parties can be a great chance to visit with friends and family, but your body’s reaction to treatments or medications may present challenges when you are not at your own home.

If you are going to an outdoor party or picnic:

  • Call ahead to make sure that shade is available, or bring your own, and stay in the shade as much as possible. Take breaks from the heat and seek air conditioning, especially if you start to feel overheated.
  • Wear lighter colors and fabrics and loosely fitting clothing.
  • Heat can cause or worsen hot flashes. Drink cold beverages and also seek shade and indoors when possible.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid too much alcohol. Try drinking sports drinks like Gatorade or even Pedialyte to replenish your body’s electrolytes.
  • Cancer patients may have changes in taste, as well as changes in digestion, says Dr. Naughton. Be prepared for problems such as acid reflux, nausea, and diarrhea by talking to your doctor about what you can do before the party.
  • Be careful of picnic fare. Terri Ades, RN, MS, ACON, Director of Cancer Information with the American Cancer Society, says specifically that low white cell counts from cancer treatment can make a person more susceptible to food-borne bacteria. Make sure food is well-chilled and not left out in the heat.
  • After swimming in a pool, wash off the chlorine right away so that it doesn’t dry and irritate your skin.
  • If you have a low white blood cell count, you should avoid public pools and beaches to reduce your risk for infection from water-borne bacteria.

Indulging in warm-weather treats such as ice pops, watermelon, and lemonade can help you stay cool, but Dr. Naughton also says people with cancer, especially those who received more intense therapies, such as stem cell transplants, need to take precautions in terms of fresh fruits and raw vegetables. Because you are at higher risk for infection, fruits and vegetables must be washed thoroughly and all bruised or broken areas removed before eating. Fruits that grow on vines, such as grapes and berries, should be avoided because mold and bacteria can collect around the stem and cause infection.

Heat can worsen cancer-related fatigue. “Most patients with fatigue, despite the cause, will find symptoms more pronounced in extreme levels of heat,” says Monique Williams, adult nurse practitioner at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center in Ann Arbor. She recommends several strategies to combat fatigue in warm weather:

  • Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Keep fluids on-hand.
  • Eat small, frequent meals.
  • Listen to your body. Rest if you feel tired.
  • Try to stay in an air-conditioned space or limit the amount of time you are exposed to heat.
  • Dress appropriately in lightweight clothing.
  • If you have any symptoms such as muscle cramps, trouble breathing, confusion, fever, seizures, nausea, or vomiting, seek medical care immediately.
  • Exercise can help combat fatigue, but recognize your limits. You may not be up to the same strength and activity level that you were used to. Swimming is a good source of light exercise that will keep you cool, help reduce strain on joints, and soothe aching muscles.

How Cancer Patients Can Beat the Heat
If you are being treated for cancer, you are more vulnerable to heat-related problems than you were before treatment. Make every effort to stay cool, and understand that the combination of sunlight, heat, and medications may cause photosensitivity reactions to occur quickly, possibly more quickly than you expect. Being aware of your medications and having a plan in place in case of emergency, whether you are at home or are traveling, can make the warm weather most enjoyable.


Source: NCCN

Posted by: alisalliance | June 7, 2015

June is National Dairy Month – Dairy Health Benefits

shutterstock_178802588So you know that dairy foods are number one for bones and teeth. But did you know having enough milk, yogurt and cheese can be good for your heart, blood pressure and weight?

Milk, cheese and yogurt are naturally full of important nutrients such as calcium and protein. The unique package of vitamins and minerals they provide means these dairy foods have some pretty important health benefits!

In fact, studies show that consumption of milk, cheese and yogurt is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and colorectal cancer – some of the main causes of death in the World. Dairy consumption is also associated with a healthy weight and has been shown to play an important role in sport and exercise performance.

Because of these great health benefits, it is recommended that we include milk, yogurt, cheese and/or alternatives (mostly reduced fat) every day as part of a balanced diet.

In addition to these health benefits, milk and milk products taste good, are convenient, are affordable and most importantly provide three of the four nutrients that are often deficient in Americans’ diets: calcium, vitamin D and potassium. For that reason, the USDA recommends that adults consume three servings per day.

Pouring a glass of milk with meals, adding cheese to salads and sandwiches, and snacking on yogurt are easy ways to satisfy these recommendations and create healthy eating habits for the whole family.

Posted by: alisalliance | June 7, 2015

Physical Activity Benefits Lung Cancer Patients, Survivors

shutterstock_198678062Author: Murry W. Wynes, PhD.

Exercise and physical activity should be considered as therapeutic options for lung cancer as they have been shown to reduce symptoms, increase exercise tolerance, improve quality of life, and potentially reduce length of hospital stay and complications following surgery for lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States with an estimated 160,000 deaths each year and worldwide there are 1.4 million deaths. In the last two decades lung cancer therapy has improved, but the overall 5-year survival rate is still quite low at 17%. Lung cancer patients experience many debilitating symptoms including difficulty breathing, cough, fatigue, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and pain. A third of long term survivors, those 5 years from diagnosis, experience reduced quality of life and report lower physical and health scores compared to healthy patients – given the incidence of lung cancer and the associated costs. An inexpensive and relatively easy cancer therapy to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life, like physical activity, could be beneficial, especially for therapy, but clinicians underutilize exercise as a therapy, in part due to the lack of evidence-based consensus as to how and when to implement increasing physical activity.

Dr. Gerard A. Silvestri, Dr. Brett Bade, and colleagues at Medical University of South Carolina have reviewed the safety, benefits, and application of increasing physical activity and exercise in lung cancer with the goal to summarize the effect on improved lung cancer outcomes. Their results are published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, the official journal of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC).

The authors found that most lung cancer patients (regardless of stage) want physical activity advice directly from a physician at a cancer center before cancer treatment and exercise guidance may increase compliance with a dedicated program.

Physical activity reduces risk of cancer development in multiple cancer types including lung. Large trials showed exercise’s association with reduced all-cause mortality and that self-reported moderately vigorous physical activity led to lower risk of all-cause and cancer-specific mortality. Multiple trials have shown that increased activity reduces symptom burden and that exercise interventions may have beneficial effects on quality of life, physical function, social function, and fatigue.

Perioperative exercise in lung cancer patients appears to be safe with improvement in operability, operative risk, post-operative complications, as well as increase exercise capacity. Preoperative interventions may be more beneficial than post. Non-surgical advanced-stage lung cancer patients may benefit from increased physical activity by improving exercise tolerance and symptom burden, though the location, duration, and intensity to be recommended is not clear.

Chronically-ill cancer patients have different exercise limitations than their healthy counterparts and other concurrent diseases and high symptom burden adds challenges in how best to study and implement physical activity programs in lung cancer patients. Low-intensity regimens such as daily walking or step-counting may provide a safe mechanism to increase physical activity while identifying an individual patient’s activity limits. Both supervised and self-directed programs have potential benefit, though how to choose one versus the other is not yet clear.

The same benefits of increased activity observed in lung cancer patients, especially improved symptoms and quality of life, appear to apply to lung cancer survivors as well.

The authors conclude “clinicians should (at minimum) consider physical activity early, counsel against inactivity, and encourage physical activity in all stages of lung cancer patients and lung cancer survivors. This review shows uniform recognition that exercise and physical activity are safe for those with lung cancer, patients are requesting increased activity counseling, and multiple studies and reviews show potential clinical benefit in quality of life, exercise tolerance, and post-operative complications. Further, we know that inactivity in cancer patients is associated with worse outcomes.” However, “there are still large gaps in the published literature to be addressed and these could be filled with large definitive prospective trials that evaluate the benefit of exercise in lung cancer patients.”


Source: International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer

Posted by: alisalliance | June 7, 2015

New Blood Test can Predict Future Breast Cancer


Research: Faculty of Science – University of Copenhagen

According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is one of the most common cancer in women both in the developed and less developed world, and in the long term the scientists hope that the new method will lead to better prevention and early treatment of the disease.

“The method is better than mammography, which can only be used when the disease has already occurred. It is not perfect, but it is truly amazing that we can predict breast cancer years into the future,” said Rasmus Bro, a professor of chemometrics in the Department of Food Science at University of Copenhagen. He stressed the method has been tested and validated only for a single population (cohort) and needs to be validated more widely before it can be used practically.

A new way of detecting diseases
Nevertheless, the method could create a paradigm shift in early diagnosis of breast cancer as well as other diseases.

“The potential is that we can detect a disease like breast cancer much earlier than today. This is important as it is easier to treat if you discover it early. In the long term, it will probably also be possible to use similar models to predict other diseases,” said Lars Ove Dragsted, a professor of biomedicine in the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports.

The method has been developed in cooperation with the Danish Cancer Society and the study was recently published in Metabolomics.

Food science showed the way
The researchers’ approach to developing the method was adopted from food science, where it is used for control of complex industrial processes. Basically, it involves handling and analyzing huge amounts of biological data in a holistic and explorative way. The researchers analyzed all compounds a blood sample contains instead of — as is often done in health and medical science — examining what a single biomarker means in relation to a specific disease.

“When a huge amount of relevant measurements from many individuals is used to assess health risks — here breast cancer — it creates very high quality information. The more measurements our analyses contain, the better the model handles complex problems,” continued Professor Rasmus Bro.

The model does not reveal anything about the importance of the single biomarkers in relation to breast cancer, but it does reveal the importance of a set of biomarkers and their interactions.
“No single part of the pattern is actually necessary nor sufficient. It is the whole pattern that predicts the cancer,” said Professor Dragsted.

A metabolic blood profile describes the amounts of all compounds (metabolites) in our blood. The scientists measured metabolic blood profiles for this project. When you are in a precancerous state, the pattern for how certain metabolites are processed apparently changes.

While a mammography can detect newly developed breast cancer with a sensitivity of 75 per cent, the new metabolic blood profile is able to predict the likelihood of a woman developing breast cancer within the next two to five years with a sensitivity of 80 per cent.

Based on population study
The research is based on a population study of 57,000 people followed by the Danish Cancer Society over 20 years. The participants were first examined in 1994-96, during which time their weight and other measurements were recorded and they answered a questionnaire. They also provided a blood sample that was stored in liquid nitrogen.

The scientists used the 20-year-old blood samples and other available data from 400 women who were healthy when they were first examined but who were diagnosed with breast cancer two to seven years after providing the first sample, and from 400 women who did not develop breast cancer.
The method was also used to test a different data-set of women examined in 1997. Predictions based on the new set of data matched the first data-set, which indicates the validity of the model.


Source: Faculty of Science – University of Copenhagen

Posted by: alisalliance | May 14, 2015

Our Top Hats and Tea Cups Event was a HUGE Success!

Top Hats and Tea Cups eventWe are excited about and appreciate the support we received from our recent Top Hats and Tea Cups event. From our sharp-witted emcees and powerful keynote speaker, Dr. Mark Rosenberg, M.D., to the beautiful display of hats from our cancer survivor models, this event was a great success, raising nearly $20,000.

We need your help to achieve the goal of growing our online, geographically searchable database of resources and support for cancer patients, their families and caregivers. Whether you’re in the initial phase of shock, in the battle, or handling the aftermath of cancer, our resources take out the stress of searching multiple places and thousands of online listings.

Top Hats event

Tops Hats

Top Hats and Tea Cups

Visit our Facebook page to find more photos of the Tea event.

Posted by: alisalliance | May 14, 2015

7 Health Benefits of Broccoli

BroccoliBroccoli is known to be hearty and tasty vegetable which is rich in dozens of nutrients. It is said to pack the most nutritional punch of any vegetable.

Here are some of the benefits of broccoli:

1.Cancer prevention: Broccoli shares these cancer fighting, immune boosting properties with other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.

2. Cholesterol reduction: Like many whole foods, broccoli is packed with soluble fiber that draws cholesterol out of your body.

3. Reducing allergic reaction and inflammation: Research has shown the ability of kaempferol to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances on our body. Broccoli even has significant amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, which are well know as an anti-inflammatory.

4. Powerful antioxidant: Of all the cruciferous vegetables, broccoli stands out as the most concentrated source of vitamin C, plus the flavonoids necessary for vitamin C to recycle effectively. Also concentrated in broccoli are the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, other powerful antioxidants.

5. Bone health: Broccoli contains high levels of both calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis.

6. Heart health: The anti-inflammatory properties of sulforaphane, one of the isothiocyanates (ITCs) in broccoli, may be able to prevent (or even reverse) some of the damage to blood vessel linings that can be caused by inflammation due to chronic blood sugar problems.

7. Diet aid: Broccoli is a good carb and is high in fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating.

Furthermore, a cup of broccoli has as much protein as a cup of rice or corn with half the calories.

Posted by: alisalliance | April 8, 2015

13 Reasons Tea Is Good for You

shutterstock_192530555Put down those saucer cups and get chugging — tea is officially awesome for your health. But before loading up on Red Zinger, make sure that your “tea” is actually tea. Real tea is derived from a particular plant (Camellia sinensis) and includes only four varieties: green, black, white, and oolong. Anything else (like herbal “tea”) is an infusion of a different plant and isn’t technically tea.

But what real tea lacks in variety, it makes up for with some serious health benefits. Researchers attribute tea’s health properties to polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) and phytochemicals. Though most studies have focused on the better-known green and black teas, white and oolong also bring benefits to the table. Read on to find out why coffee’s little cousin rocks your health.

  • Tea can boost exercise endurance. Scientists have found that the catechins (antioxidants) in green tea extract increase the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel, which accounts for improved muscle endurance.
  • Drinking tea could help reduce the risk of heart attack. Tea might also help protect against cardiovascular and degenerative diseases.
  • The antioxidants in tea might help protect against a boatload of cancers, including breast, colon, colorectal, skin, lung, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, ovarian, prostate and oral cancers. But don’t rely solely on tea to keep a healthy body — tea is not a miracle cure, after all. While more studies than not suggest that tea has cancer-fighting benefits, the current research is mixed.
  • Tea helps fight free radicals. Tea is high in oxygen radical absorbance capacity (“ORAC” to its friends), which is a fancy way of saying that it helps destroy free radicals (which can damage DNA) in the body. While our bodies are designed to fight free radicals on their own, they’re not 100 percent effective — and since damage from these radical oxygen ninjas has been linked to cancer, heart disease and neurological degeneration, we’ll take all the help we can get.
  • Tea is hydrating to the body (even despite the caffeine!).
  • Drinking tea is linked with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease. When considered with other factors like smoking, physical activity, age and body mass index, regular tea drinking was associated with a lowered risk of Parkinson’s disease in both men and women.
  • Tea might provide protection from ultraviolet rays. We know it’s important to limit exposure to UV rays, and we all know what it’s like to feel the burn. The good news is that green tea may act as a back-up sunscreen.
  • Tea could keep waist circumference in check. In one study, participants who regularly consumed hot tea had lower waist circumference and lower BMI than non-consuming participants. Scientists speculate that regular tea drinking lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome (which increases the risk of diabetes, artery disease and stroke), although it’s important to remember that correlation does not equal causation.
  • Regular tea drinking might also counteract some of the negative effects of smoking and might even lessen the risk of lung cancer (good news, obviously, but not a justification for cigs).
  • Tea could be beneficial to people with Type 2 diabetes. Studies suggest that compounds in green tea could help diabetics’ better process sugars.
  • Tea can help the body recover from radiation. One study found that tea helped protect against cellular degeneration upon exposure to radiation, while another found that tea can help skin bounce back postexposure.
  • Green tea has been found to improve bone mineral density and strength.
  • Tea might be an effective agent in the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases, especially degenerative diseases (think Alzheimer’s). While many factors influence brain health, polyphenols in green tea may help maintain the parts of the brain that regulate learning and memory.

Though most research on tea is highly positive, it’s not all definitive — so keep these caveats in mind before stocking up on gallons of the stuff:

1. Keep it cool. Repeatedly drinking hot beverages may boost the risk of esophageal cancer. Give tea several minutes to cool off before sipping.

2. The studies seem convincing, but a rat does not a human make. Chemicals in tea may react differently in the lab than they do in the human body. Tannins (and the other good stuff in green tea) may not be bioavailable for humans, meaning tea might not always benefit human health to the same degree as in lab studies suggest.

3. All tea drinks are not created equal. The body’s access to the good stuff in tea might be determined by the tea variety, canning and processing, and the way it was brewed.

The takeaway: at the very least, tea should be safe to consume — just not in excessive amounts. So brew up a batch of the good stuff — hot or cold — and enjoy.

Do you drink tea regularly? Have you noticed any health benefits? Let us know in the comments below!

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