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Stage 4
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Rumor
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: on the verge of insanity
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Sep 16, 2011, 03:33 AM
 
I got the bomb tonight that a friend is in stage four of cancer. When I asked if it was lymphoma, he just made a funny face. He asked the doctors how much time he had and they wouldn't give a straight answer.

There is a growth on his neck that he let go for to long He's 60ish but is in really good health. Never smoked, eats peppers every day. The doctors are wondering why he would get cancer due to him having a great diet and overall good lifestyle.

Glen, your insight would be appreciated.
( Last edited by Rumor; Sep 16, 2011 at 03:42 AM. )
I like my water with hops, malt, hops, yeast, and hops.
     
Athens
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Sep 16, 2011, 04:20 AM
 
Most people will get cancer at some point in life and it does not require anything like smoking. For your entire life cells are dividing and eventually leads to faulty cells. Some research suggests it could be our stem cells from birth that cause it. Even the pollution in the air is now being linked to it along with chemicals used in every day products. But thats all besides the point.

Cancer is hell. Its a drawn out process of ups and downs. And any one of those downs could be the last one or they can recover for a while and go through it all again. A perfectly healthy and strong person can slowly or quickly become a very weak and sick person. The pain from both treatment options and the pain from no treatment can at times be excruciating. The worst part is watching a person go through it and by the time they die your thankful the suffering is over. The living days near the end are the worst.

Unlike accidental death like from a car accident, which is quick, its the drawn out nature of cancer that makes it so bad. A quick death leads to a quick closure while cancer can last for months to years making closure that far away too. No matter how strong you think you are watching some one die of it is traumatic.

Cancer runs high in my family. Already lost one member to it and she was in her mid 30's and it was a 4 year long battle. I have lost lots of pets to it too. Just 3 days ago had to put down a hedgehog that was still full of life and had all the will in the world to live because of mouth cancer.

About the only good thing about stage 3 and 4 cancer is you have a chance to do some things you wanted to before its to late and get your affairs in order. You get a new sense of mortality and make every day count. But no matter what its horrible to watch some one go through it. I think its actually worse for the people around the person with cancer then the person with cancer. They come to terms with it much sooner then those around them.
Blandine Bureau 1940 - 2011
Missed 2012 by 3 days, RIP Grandma :-(
     
bstone
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Sep 16, 2011, 07:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by Rumor View Post
The doctors are wondering why he would get cancer due to him having a great diet and overall good lifestyle.
The reason anyone gets any cancer- genetic mutation. He was either born with a faulty gene or something happened along the way and the gene was damaged, making it mutate. The most super healthy diet won't prevent this from happening. It sucks. I am sorry about your friend. It's a bombshell. Yearly physical exams go a long way in nipping these things in the bud, but in the end we all have to die at some point.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Sep 16, 2011, 10:32 AM
 
My understanding is that its a numbers game. You can weight the odds in your favour or against you by the lifestyle choices you make, and your original genes will also have their say one way or the other but ultimately it can come down to good or bad luck.

Your DNA contains instructions for pretty much everything that goes on in your body. Broadly speaking we all know it determines things like height and eye colour, but on a finer scale it controls how and more importantly when an individual cell divides and when it dies (Cells usually have a pre-programmed lifespan). Damage to the genetic code that controls these mechanisms in just a single cell can be enough to cause cancer since most cells in your body divide and multiply. If a cell multiplies too fast, you get a tumour. If a cell doesn't die when it should, you can get tumours.

There is all sorts of radiation streaming through your body every second of every day. Cosmic rays, X-rays, gamma rays (these are among the worst). All it takes is one of those rays or particles to strike a strand of your DNA in the wrong place to give you cancer. This is why getting yourself X-rayed now and then is considered fine and low risk, but the technicians have to shield themselves since they are taking that small risk often enough to make it much bigger.

DNA is a long molecule and a lot of the genetic material it contains is literally junk. If this junk is damaged, or removed altogether, then it has no effect either way. This has probably evolved as a natural mechanism to resist cancer.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
olePigeon
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Sep 16, 2011, 02:13 PM
 
I have some information for you, but I don't want to get your friend's hopes up. The only good thing about lymphoma (if there is such a thing) is that it is considered a "dumb" cancer. It is largely genetic, and the mutation is generally consistent amongst all of the cancer cells. The reason this is "good" is because it is the type of cancer that responds favorably to oncolytic virus treatment.

Here is a recent article and video about a company using HIV instead of H101 because HIV is a lot better at delivering its information. Since this article has been published, 2 of the patients are now in remission and the 3rd (which originally saw the 70% reduction) is now cancer free.

HIV virus used to turn white blood cells into cancer serial killers | Geek.com

I strongly encourage your friend talk to his oncologist about it. He may be eligible to participate in a new clinical trial that will involve a multiple dose treatment, or at the very least, be able to get you more information on the treatment. It's called oncolytic virus therapy.

Here is the journal, his doctor can get it for free:
NEJM - Redirecting T Cells

And Dr. June's profile at the University of Pennsylvania:
University of Pennsylvania || School of Medicine || Carl H. June, M.D.
"…I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than
you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why I dismiss yours." - Stephen F. Roberts
     
Athens
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Sep 16, 2011, 02:21 PM
 
My only concern about that HIV one is the way HIV mutates. I would be fearful of the virus mutating into something that perhaps attacks healthy cells and creating something even worse by mistake. Im not sure how much the virus was modified for this study. Makes you wonder if they can make a modified HIV to attack regular HIV though.
Blandine Bureau 1940 - 2011
Missed 2012 by 3 days, RIP Grandma :-(
     
olePigeon
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Dec 11, 2012, 08:51 AM
 
Resurrecting this thread because of this: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/10/health/a-breakthrough-against-leukemia-using-altered-t-cells.html?hp&pagewanted=all&_r=3&

It's looking really hopeful, guys. Rumor, I hope things are OK for you. It's tough.
"…I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than
you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why I dismiss yours." - Stephen F. Roberts
     
   
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