Cancer 101

Cancer Incidence Stages of Cancer
I saw this in a doctor’s office and thought it was very educational on Cancer.



The first diagram has a brief definition of cancer and the incidence of cancer type for males and females.



The second explains the stages of cancer, I through IV, and is shown in the small intestine, as an example. 



This stuff is so scary and horrible. 



The “C” word…we should never hear it, say it, or know from it anymore!



G-d should help us find a cure to rid this world of this disease.



Save us from that which afflicts us, and send us a complete healing of body, mind, and soul, Amen!!!



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Cure Cancer B4 It Kills Again

Stop Cancer 2 Stop Cancer
Nice seeing these signs and slogans against cancer posted today in Washington, D.C.



Looking at the 2014 statistics, there were almost 1.7 million new cases and almost 687 thousand deaths in the U.S. alone for cancer including of the brain/nervous system, female breast, colon/rectum, Leukemia, liver, lung/bronchus, non-hodgkin lymphoma, ovary, pancreas, and prostate.



Way too much suffering and death from cancer…we must fight this killer. 



Whatever we can do to raise money, caring, and empathy…we should do. 



Run, walk, give, support, remember…even just hold someone’s hand. 



Thank you American Cancer Society and everyone out there helping to find the cure. 



“14 million cancer survivors are celebrating birthdays this year.”



Won’t it be miraculous when everyone is a survivor in a world without cancer anymore. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Have You Ever Seen A Shark With Cancer?

Have You Ever Seen A Shark With Cancer

For a long time people have learned from the animal kingdom.

We learn how to fly from birds, how to swim from fish, how to fight from lions and tigers, and so on.

But an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal gave this new and expanded meaning to me.

Researchers are now looking at animals to learn how to ward off some of the worst diseases known to man.

For example, apparently Sharks do not get cancer, but more than that even when scientists spent 10 years trying to induce cancer in sharks, they couldn’t!

Shark have compounds that actually kill tumors–WOW!–If we could learn how to mimic that in humans, imagine the death and suffering that could be prevented, and the extension and perhaps quality of life that could be gained.

Similarly, grizzly bears, which can weigh 1,000 pounds, and can eat 58,000 calories a day, put on 100 pounds or more in the weeks right before they hibernate for the winter, yet bears don’t suffer from routine ailments of obesity, such as diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes.

Not that any of us want to be 1,000 pounds, but imagine if heavy people did not get all sorts of diseases from clogged arteries and the like.

While heart disease and cancer each accounts for 1 out of every 4 deaths in the U.S. and are the top two leading causes of death–how amazing would it be if we could not only “talk to the animals, walk with the animals…” but also fight disease like the animals? 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Cancer Takes It Away

This is an amazing video.

It is about the life of Angelo and Jennifer Merendino.

Initially, they a lived a fairy tale life, until she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

You can see in the video the brutal transformation Jennifer underwent from the disease.

Yet, the love and togetherness this couple maintained is inspiring.

A link with photos of this couple’s battle with cancer is here.

Jennifer died on December 22, 2011 at the young age of 40.

Angelo, a NY photographer compiled their painstaking journey in a book called The Battle We Didn’t Choose available at their website My Wife’s Fight With Breast Cancer.

It is difficult to look at the pictures of Jennifer’s illness and deterioration, especially when marked in contrast to her husband throughout.

The numerous personal pictures makes me feel a little uncomfortable, even as I believe, they are meant to be educational and giving–with 1/2 the proceeds from the book’s profits to be going to a non-profit for breast cancer victims.

The story is very tragic, yet too often repeated throughout society…some may be able to find hope in it, and to appreciate what we have, when we have it.

What True Love Means

A Walk To Remember–what an absolutely amazing movie.

This girl with a beautiful soul, Jamie, turns around the life of this lost boy, Landon.

She warns him not to fall in love with her, but he does.

She reveals that she has Leukemia and is no longer responding to medicine.

Landon is head over heels for her and marries her despite the prognosis.

They enjoy one summer of love before she passes.

But she has changed his life forever.

I cried like a baby at this one.

It was a movie of faith, love, and turnaround–it made me believe again. 😉

“Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude of selfish. It does not offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins, but delights in the truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.” – Nicholas Sparks

With Surgical Precision

This is awesome–the iKnife (“Intelligent” knife) for cutting away cancer, can also detect the cancerous cells.

I had previously heard about dogs being able to sniff cancers such as lung, ovarian, and skin–but never a surgical knife doing this.

With the iKnife, a surgeon can use a electrosurgical knife to cut/burn away cancerous tissue, but even better yet, this knife sucks away the smoke containing the vaporized tissue to a mass spectrometer that analyzes the particles and is said to be 100% accurate (so far) in detecting cancerous tissue (from those that are normal).

This is critical because it can be life saving in guiding surgeons not to miss any of the cancer (and therefore also helps avoid repeat surgeries) as well as not removing unnecessary tissue that is not cancerous.

Dogs can help alert us to hidden cancers within and the iKnife can help remove them with greater precision and success.

Hopefully, with G-d’s help, one day we won’t need either anymore. 😉

Wheelchair Kids

Wheelchair Kids

So I was swimming in the pool and noticed a dad playing with his kids in the shallow section.

One kid–the littler and younger one–was swimming this way and that and playing in the water.

The other kid–bigger and older–was in a flotation tube, and she was clearly struggling.

First, I misinterpreted the girl wiggling around in the tube as her just jumping around and having a good time with it.

Then, I saw she was uncomfortable and having some real difficulty, and I noticed the mini-wheelchair for a child parked at the side of the pool.

I saw the dad go over to her in the water tube and help settle her, stabilize her, and he pushed her hair out of her eyes, and poured some cold pool water on her forehead and over her hair.

I held back tears watching the love of this father for his disabled daughter and for the challenges that the disabled regularly have to endure.

The girls little sister started to jump around her sister’s tube and wanted to play with her.

The whole scene was sort of surreal.

As it happened, a day later another man in the hotel elevator started talking about how he arrived at the hotel but had so many problems: he lost his wallet, his room had a flood and his family needed to be moved, and he was dealing with a six year old child with cancer.

When I see these children suffering, I really feel emotional–they are too young and innocent to be so sick. They haven’t had a chance to fully live and they can’t look forward to the same things that other healthy kids can.

That doesn’t mean that they can’t live purposeful lives, just that they have great challenges for little people.

I think how terrible it is to be confined to a wheelchair or bedridden–instead of being free to run and play.

I hate seeing anyone sick and suffering, but with children it’s worse, and I remember my dad telling me as a kid when times were tough: “If you want to see real problems [in life], we should go over to visit the children’s hospital!”

He was right–I will never forget those words or the plight of sick and disabled children–may G-d have mercy.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Joanna C. Dobson)

Going Up To The Clouds

It’s been a week since Zach Sobiech, age 18, died from a rare bone cancer, called Osteosarcoma.

Zach was diagnosed at just the tender age of 14 and by 17 he was given less than a year to live.

During his last year on Earth, he wrote this beautiful song, Clouds.

The lyrics are amazing:

“And we’ll go up, up, up
But I’ll fly a little higher
We’ll go up in the clouds because the view is a little nicer
Up here my dear

It won’t be long now, it won’t be long now
If only I had a little bit more time
It only I had a little bit more time with you.”

Anticipating his death, Zach imagines, as a soul, flying up in the clouds–where the “view is a little nicer.”

And he knows, time is short–and “it won’t be long now”–and although he’ll be able to see his family, friends, and loved ones from the clouds, he wishes he “had a little bit more time” with them on Earth.

Death is hard at any age, but it is especially tragic when it is a child or someone who hasn’t been able to fully live–and experience so many things or make all their contributions.

But at any age, the loss of a good person, a kind person, a loving person–is a loss for all of us, left behind.

Zach, some day we’ll see you in the clouds with the other good people–it should be at the right time, merciful, and when our job here is done.

It is okay to love life and the special people around us and to miss them terribly when we go, but we all go to the same place…to be with G-d, and each other, in Heaven.

In the after life, we can fly higher, with a nicer view, and reflect on how we did with the precious gifts and time given to us–whether long or short–before being called spiritually home again to our perfect maker. 😉

Biowarfare: A Fight At The Molecular Level

Roman_soldiers_guards

There is a fascinating article in The Atlantic (November 2012) on an emerging bioweapons storm that is brewing that could be used in a decapitation strike to harm anyone, even the President of the United States. 

Advances in genetic engineering, biotechnology, and synthetic biology (Synbio) has been seen from decoding human DNA to the development of “magic bullets”, personalized viral therapies that can target and destroy cancer cells.

However, just as most things can be used for good or evil–so too, can this biotechnology be used to target and destroy cancerous cells or perversely to attack healthy ones.

Bioweapons could be targeted to various parts of the body or brain to cause blindness, memory loss, or death itself. More subtly, it can be used to “fabricate evidence” of affairs, crimes, “cast doubt” as to birthplace or heritage, or as supposed markers for genetic diseases, and even mental disability. 

Moreover, while bioweapons of mass destruction can destroy virtually entire civilizations, personalized bioweapons can be engineered based on the manipulation of a specific person’s DNA to attack that person–then just like a sniper, it becomes one shot, one (targeted) kill. 

Personalized bioweapons can be silent and deadly, difficult to detect, hard to pin on a source, and may even be confused with death by natural causes. 

And the cost is coming down…cell-culturing gear “can be had on eBay for as little as $10,000” or “cobbled together for less than $1,000.”

Even non-weaponized use of this technology, can be extremely dangerous. For example, Synbio, can be used to “cut and paste” genetic code from one species to another, can be mixed from multiple species, and new creatures can be created altogether–all this potentially leading to frightening scenarios of “undesired cross-breeding with other organisms, uncontrolled proliferation, crowding out existing species, and threats to biodiversity.” 

Already, “forty nations now host synbio research” and “The Beijing Genomics Institute…is the largest genomic research organization in the world.”

The article speaks to various approaches to counter the personalized bioweapons threat including scientific task forces, bio-detectors, “Clean DNA” (as biological backup system), conducting biological war games, and open/crowdsourcing for solutions. 

It seems clear that the answers of how to defend against these emerging threats are not as good as the questions raised by them–and we will need to be vigilant and fast-track R&D in these areas, as we are still vulnerable. 

Further, I see some similarities between bioweapons, cyberweapons, and even legions of attack drones/droids, as all areas that are non-conventional and developing quickly and quite lethally. 

Unfortunately, we can’t just put on a coat of armor and be safe from attacks at the molecular level, or from malicious code seeking to cripple our national critical infrastructure, or from robots that can stream across a battlespace attacking without fear, pain, or tiring. 

There is no simple paradigm for killing anymore and we better let our imaginations run wild, so we can figure out new ways to protect everyone–from the President and on down to us all.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Weighing the Odds

Lose_weight

This was a very effective ad that I saw in the doctor’s office for weight loss.

Look at all the problems that excess weight causes.

And see how unattractive that big gut can be–no offense.

While this week, research studies on monkeys were reported not to extend life span, I think we all know intuitively well that staying “trim and fit” is the way to go from a health perspective.

There is a good saying that I plastered up a couple of years back that said “nothing tastes as good as thin feels!”

Many years ago, my cousin David was diagnosed with brain cancer. He tried all sorts of traditional medical treatments, and nothing much was working. After consulting some nutrition experts, his wife supported him in going on a macrobiotic diet, and this seemed to help him for some time.  Finally though David succumbed to the brain tumor after struggling about 10 years.

This past week, a friend of mine, who has had some health problems recently, told me he was trying the vegan diet too for a couple of weeks, but already after a few days was touting how much better he was feeling.

From my experience, the carbs and processed foods are the worst for us–and on top of it, completely addictive.

When I am strong enough mentally, I really believe in Dr. Atkins high protein diet–although after a few days, you lose your appetite for good reason–it tastes, horrible.

With the odds against those carrying around a lot of extra pounds, we all need to keep fighting the good fight here–against the battle of the bulge.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)