Two Cancer Breakthroughs

January 14, 2009


The first breakthrough refers to women who have had breast cancer. The survival rate after treatment has improved, and it always helps to know about anything extra you can do to make those odds even better. One of the risk areas post breast cancer is that survivors have a lifetime risk for developing lymphedema as a result of surgery or radiotherapy. This is a chronic condition that occurs when lymphatic fluid builds up in the soft tissues of the body, usually in an arm or leg, as a result of damage or blockage in the lymph nodes and results in swelling of the affected limbs. Lymphedema is a risk for approximately two-thirds of breast cancer survivors in the 30 months after surgery and those who develop post-op swelling have a significantly higher risk of up to 40 percent. It is the second biggest concern, after the recurrence of the cancer itself, and if you are unfortunate enough to develop chronic lymphedema it can be difficult to treat. The swollen limbs can become vulnerable to infection from even a minor injury to the skin, such as a cut, scratch, insect bite, or even athlete’s foot. This condition is called lymphangitis and affects the connective tissue under the skin. Repeated infections can cause scarring that makes the tissue vulnerable to more swelling and infection. Unfortunately lymphedema can lay dormant and symptoms can occur 15 or more years following an injury to your lymphatic system. The good news is that one way to combat this problem is to ensure that there is no risk of seriously being overweight or obese after cancer treatment as a new study from the University of Missouri-Columbia, published on 2 January, found that the risk of developing lymphedema is 40-60 percent higher in women with a high BMI (Body Mass Index).

Breakthrough two is not ready to launch yet, but there is a way you can take action by utilising that old hospital visitor standby and taking a cancer patient a large bunch of grapes. Make sure they are white grapes, as The American Cancer Association has reported that researchers from the University of Kentucky have been feeding grape-seed extract to laboratory mice and found that it kills leukemia cells. Apparently it forces the damaged cells to commit cell suicide and does it effectively as the researchers found within 24 hours, 76 percent of such cells had died after being exposed to the extract. This isn’t the first time that grape seed extract has been tested for various types of cancer, but this is the first time it has been looked at in relation the blood and bone marrow cancer cells. The key factor is that the grape seed extract affects the cancer cells, but leaves normal cells alone.This research is at its early stages, but it’s a good reason to include grapes in your healthy five a day – just don’t peel them Beulah, eat them skin, seed and all.


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