Conventional, alternative and complementary therapies in the treatment of cancer

There’s an interesting and thought-provoking article just out in The Guardian, published in London, by an oncologist who practises in Britain’s National Health Service. It raises important questions about why some people opt for untried, untested ‘therapies’ as against trialled remedies of proven efficacy.

You can read the full article here.


Tiredness after Breast Cancer

Over the years since our group was formed (back in 2001), we’ve had many people commenting on the perennial problem of tiredness after breast cancer treatment – and not only in the immediate aftermath, but many months and sometimes years after.


Heartsease pansies

I recently retrieved the excellent article printed below, which appeared originally in the Leben Wie Zuvor quarterly Bulletin. It was written by a wonderful woman named Professor Christa Cerni, a research scientist in the field of oncology, for many years a regular contributor to the Bulletin and an inspiring speaker at Leben Wie Zuvor conferences and seminars.

Here’s what she wrote – and if you’re one of those people still suffering from fatigue, months or years on, I hope it will offer some comfort: Continue reading

Cancer, Heroes and Battles

spring tulips by Sue StyleA friend recently shared this article from the Huff Post blog. If you’re one of those who are uneasy with or burdened by terms like “hero”, heroine”, “battle”, “fight”, “winning” and “losing” that seem always to come up in any discussion involving cancer, you may like to read it. It’s tough, clear-eyed, full of sound sense and well worthwhile. As the author, Kevin Lankes, observes:

“There are no heroes when it comes to cancer.  There are people who live, and there are people who die.  Sometimes there are reasons, sometimes there aren’t.  Sometimes it makes sense.  Mostly it doesn’t.”

Thanks to Elaine for sharing this thoughtful piece.

Angelina Jolie’s Preventive Mastectomy

Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a double mastectomy, which she explained in her recent essay in the New York Times, has drawn praise and criticism in almost equal measure, provoking intense debate in the cybersphere – and within our own group.

One of our members forwarded me this thoughtful article from WebMD, which underlines the difficult choices facing women who find out they have a high risk for breast cancer because of a genetic mutation.

This headline news has worried and unsettled many people. However, as the WebMD article points out, Jolie’s medical situation is extremely unusual, comparable with only a tiny minority of breast cancer cases.

If you too have been worried and unsettled by the news and need a fuller understanding of the issues, don’t hesitate to speak to a specialist (your GP, oncologist, gynaecologist). They are best placed to talk through the issues with you and to help you put the matter into perspective.

The Ceramic Tea Set

IMG_7101-2A longstanding, honorary member of our group has decided she needs to focus more on her growing psychotherapy practice, and that it’s time to move on. We shall miss her, her wise counsel and gentle support, but we know we’ll stay in touch. As a goodbye, she left us this lovely story – more of a fable, really, about embracing the past and the present, and living life to the full. Continue reading

How to Read Health News – Some Tips

scan of original 1939 poster Keep Calm & Carry On, from Wikipedia

scan of original 1939 poster Keep Calm & Carry On, from Wikipedia

Ever been de-railed by some terrifying health headline (well, okay, who hasn’t?)?. Have a look at this article (click on the link here ),  forwarded to me recently by a wise woman (aka my daughter). It was originally published by the NHS in Britain and is reproduced online by the US National Library of Medicine.

It begins:

If you’ve just read a health-related headline that has caused you to spit out your morning coffee (“Coffee causes cancer” usually does the trick), it’s always best to follow the Blitz slogan: “Keep Calm and Carry On”. On reading further, you’ll often find the headline has left out something important, such as, “Injecting five rats with really highly concentrated coffee solution caused some changes in cells that might lead to tumours eventually. (Study funded by The Association of Tea Marketing)”.

Full of good sense with a nice bit of Brit humour, well worth reading – let me know if it strikes any chords with you, and if you found it helpful.

Cancer and Nutrition

Swiss chard in the market at Freiburg-im-Breisgau

The subject of nutrition crops up regularly in our group and there’s always discussion about ‘the best diet to beat cancer’. Here’s a piece just up on Zester Daily that offers some suggestions. The author admits that it’s a complex subject and there are no simple how-to’s or answers. But, she writes, “I feel great, am rarely sick and have a powerful sense of control over my body”.