So you have heard the 3 dreadful words ‘ You have cancer’. It’s shocking and depressing, especially the more you read about your cancer type and prognosis for this type and stage…
I have noticed that once you get diagnosed with that awful disease you feel ALONE, HELPLESS and CONFUSED.
It’s hard to try to get calm about that as your life has just changed beyond recognition, that’s for sure.
What should you do next once you find out you have cancer?
Do not read statistics and prognosis related to your cancer. Everyone is different. You will likely find many morbid stories but you shouldn’t focus on these. Rather than that find survivors and get hope and energy from their stories. Survivors of stage 4 cancer include dr Nasha Winters, Jane McLelland, and many others. Watch ‘Heal’ on Netflix to be reminded of the fact how powerful our bodies are!
1. Rush but not rush
Do not rush into deciding about the treatments. Often you know too little about all possibilities and you may rush into choosing the one which is not the best for you. Granted that a cancer diagnosis is scary and there is no time to waste to act upon it but your cancer didn’t grow in your body over the night hence rushing like crazy isn’t appropriate either.
2. Lifestyle change
Before deciding on any treatment:
- Think about what could have caused your cancer and try to change your lifestyle to eliminate as much stress as possible and any dietary bad habits you might have had. Try being more mindful and get to know Carl’s Simonton method of dealing with the illness or try to embrace meditation if possible. I find guided meditation from Joe Dispenza and his whole methodology very successful as he did help many cancer patients.
- Audit and change the diet – try to eliminate anything which is inflammatory or acidic…often people go for the plant-based diet and cut out refined sugar. Chris Wark or Kris Carr share some ideas on that front.
- Ensure whatever you eat and drink is as nutritious as possible. It’s easy to eat carbohydrates and sugary foods but that is definitely NOT what you should do…Press carrot juices and incorporate loads of veggies and fruits into your diet. Use healthy oils (olive oil, MCT, avocado resign from rapeseed or sunflower or any other seed oil!) and get some nuts as well for protein and minerals.
3. Get a second or even a third opinion
Visit the best specialist for your particular cancer. An oncologist would want to treat you with chemo, a radiologist with radio, and a surgeon with surgery…Everyone has their specialty but they may have different opinions so its best to understand, if:
- they are on the same page
- which option is the best for you if they offer different treatments
Check any novel treatments if they are any: immunotherapy, localized treatments (e.g localized chemo – TACE, radioembolization-TARE), metronomic chemo, dendritic cell therapy etc.
Any substitutes of a classical surgery ( cryoablation, Nano knife, laser treatments), proton therapy.
SOT*, off-labels and supplements, integrative treatments, and finally any trials run for your illness.
When you see your doctor ensure you ask questions and note answers.
4. Join any relevant cancer spaces to learn more
I know you never thought you will go on Facebook to learn about cancer or actually that is possible to learn about cancer from Facebook in the first place… Join:
- Your cancer associations e.g for pancreatic cancer a good site would be – Pancreatic Cancer Action Network – they are a mine of knowledge and are always happy to assist regardless if you are based in the US or UK
- Join your specific cancer Facebook Group to learn more from people ill like you to their family/caregivers – it may be a good idea you have a friend or a relative to do this for you in case you wanted to not get too exposed to various stories, some may be quite upsetting so better to, limit that and maybe involve your advocate to help you here. I quite like the knowledge and the results shared by many members of this group.
- Learn about cancer resistance to treatments or more importantly how to overcome it.
5. Understand if you need any more tests and which ones?
There is a multitude of tests out there. The question is do you need any of them? Will they guide you or will they just eat your time and money?
I know people who test almost everything but also those who don’t. It’s a very personal decision and depends on you and your insurance provider and your doctor’s beliefs also…
I suppose for any genetic test you could use this site to familiarise yourself with the genes mutated in your illness.
- chemosensitivity test – RGGC test- called also a Greek test – your doctor can choose drugs and supplements based on results of the RGCC blood biopsy circulating tumor cells (CTCs), natural substance and chemo-sensitivity test https://www.rgcc-group.com/ (This test typically costs around $5000 USD depending on the clinic.)
- Signatera liquid biopsy seems to be a great test. It uses the tumor to make an assay and then checks for MRD or ctDNA.
- Metavectum – another blood biopsy
- Guardant 360 (only approved for stage III/IV) -FDA approved, covered by the insurance
- Biocept (less sensitive than Guardant 360 but does also test for CTCs,-FDA approved, covered by the insurance
- IvyGene is a good alternative to the above depending on the cancer type
- FoundationOne (also FDA approved) tests 324 genes from biopsy and 70 from blood if the test from the biopsy is not possible. They are owned by Roche but I am unsure if Roche is trying to influence any sort of treatment based on the results.
- Caris Life test 600+ genes but don’t do any blood tests as they said their predictability is only at 63% and that’s why they simply analyze a tumor following its biopsy
6. Explore integrative treatments plans
Integrative treatments are not as popular as standard treatments yet gain more and more fame. Some people use both -standard and integrative approaches whereas the opponents of regular treatment plans go purely for the integrative methods.
There are many angles from which one could approach integrative treatments. Daniel from cancertreatmentsresearch.com describes many of them.
You can get a good idea about off-labels when finishing reading ‘How to starve cancer’ by Jane McLelland. That book and then exploring many papers such as this one from dr Bigelsen allowed me to understand more on this subject.
7. Strengthen your immune system
As already said at the top of this post whatever you do strengthen your body when strengthening your immune system. Adopt a healthy nutritious diet. Cut down on anything unhealthy.
Read up about herbs and supplements making your immune system stronger: naltrexone, medicinal mushrooms (reishi, chaga, etc), Vit D K2Mk7, Transfer Factor, fucoidan, enzymes, probiotics – ideally fermented food and maybe some pills- test your gut to figure out which ones).
8. Take care of your mind
Talking to a psychologist, going to a cancer group in your area to talk to people as ill as you, or reading books from Carl Simonton on mental & emotional health is very important. So you probably should get help in this area too.
Top cancer-related books:
- How to starve cancer– Jane McLelland
- The metabolic approach to cancer – Nasha Winters
- Tripping over the Truth: How the Metabolic Theory of Cancer Is Overturning One of Medicine’s Most Entrenched Paradigms – by Travis Christofferson
- Radical Remission – Kelly Turner
- Anticancer: A New Way of Life– by David Servan-Schreiber
- Eat to Beat Disease: The Body’s Five Defence Systems and the Foods that Could Save Your Life – by Dr William Li
Disclaimer: Everyone is different so what will work for one person may not work for another. Cancer is a complex illness and the genes constantly mutate and therefore a lot changes constantly.
I am not a medical professional I only wrote this post based on my personal experience. I am not promoting any brand or person mentioned in this article – these are my lose thoughts based on experience nothing else
*Supportive Oligonucleotide Technique, SOT, is a technique in which circulating tumor cells are reverse-engineered using a messenger RNA to disrupt the DNA of the cancer cell in order to destroy them. Each SOT treatment is custom-made for each individual’s cancer cells. It is highly specific to only affect the cancer cells. The messenger RNA target is usually the most upregulated apoptosis gene found within the tumor. Apoptosis is a process of programmed cell death that occurs in multicellular organisms. Apoptosis plays a critical role in normal biological processes requiring cell removal including differentiation, development, and homeostasis. Insufficient amounts of apoptosis results in uncontrolled cell proliferation, such as cancer. In cancer, the apoptosis cell-division ratio is altered allowing the cancer cells to have “immortality.”SOT has the ability to induce apoptosis (cell death) in circulating cancer tumors, stem cells, all primary and metastatic tumors regardless of size and is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. SOT will remain active in the bloodstream for approximately 24-28 weeks since SOT truly has a stealth characteristic (meaning it is unnoticed by the body’s RNase). SOT will work 24/7 and has no decreased efficacy with any concurrent cancer treatments except rarely chemotherapy and/or radiation. There are a number of clinics offering this in Germany, however its possible to get done through RGCC. The cost is around $3000 and you’re meant to do it every 6 months.