PATIENTS'

NATIONAL

 

· By Recovered Patients

 

CANCER

 

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 Volunteer Support for Cancer Freshmen by Cancer Graduates

 PATIENTS' PROTOCOL STEP 5

IMPROVE LIFESTYLE

INTRODUCTORY DRAFT ONLY - DETAILED TEXT TO FOLLOW LATER

 

To the great surprise of the scientists at Stanford and at UCLA who did the groundbreaking studies, this subject may be the most powerful step in the fight against cancer. Their studies found that the support a cancer patient received had a greater effect on survival time than the medical treatments! How can this be?

In another study, actors were connected to blood analyzers and asked to play different roles. When they played happy or positive roles, their immune systems went way up. When they played sad or negative roles, their immune systems went way down. It is clear that our bodies are run by our minds. So a happy mind, or at least a calm mind, becomes a very important part of getting well.

Another fact that surprises many cancer patients is that happiness is a choice. Happiness doesn't have to be earned or deserved. Any person can just decide to be happy. There are relatively easy methods that thousands of cancer patients have used to achieve both a happy and a calm mind – even in the face of adversity. And with that, they gained a much stronger immune system and a healthier body.

Many of us added a counselor to our recovery team. But be warned - the wrong counselor can make things worse. If they dwell on blaming your father or mother, or if things don't get better promptly, get another opinion. It shouldn't take long to improve.

Scientific studies show that the main benefits of counseling come from you, talking out your problems. It can be to a close friend or a stranger, a religious leader, or any good listener. The main benefit seems to come from yourself - trying to understand, trying to explain, trying to clarify the problems. But sometimes it is hard to see the forest for the trees, and help is - well, helpful.

Psychiatrists and psychologists are supposed to be professional listeners. As such they can be very helpful. The problem with psychiatrists is that they have a tendency to rely on drugs instead. A cancer patient is trying to detoxify their bodies to become healthy enough to conquer cancer. Who knows what these drugs will do to foul things up?

 

An alternative is to find an experienced doctor who knows how to balance brain neurotransmitters naturally with nutrients. Nutrients seem to work much faster, be much safer and cost much less than drugs. The main nutrients used are the common amino acids, tryptophan, tyrosine and/or phenyalanine.

 

They are all contained in protein foods, which normally build our neurotransmitters naturally. But certain other amino acids prevalent in animal products may compete with their absorption and throw them out of balance. So a vegan diet is also very helpful, and may be enough to restore balance by itself.

 

Both psychiatrists and psychologists are often trained in theories that actually have very little scientific basis. Theories such as various types of psychoanalysis can make things worse if they lead in wrong directions.

 

One school that is based on hard science is called COGNITIVE THERAPY. It is so scientifically valid that it works for animals as well as people. And it is so effective that it often succeeds in less than 90 days compared to years of analysis used by other practitioners. See the references at the end of this section for more details.

 

Dr. Dean Ornish has published several medical journal articles proving that heart disease can be reversed by diet and lifestyle. He also published a book for lay people called DR. DEAN ORNISH'S PROGRAM FOR REVERSING HEART DISEASE. His scientific studies have identified the components most critical to creating a lifestyle that is so healthy it can help to reverse heart disease.

 

For many years Dr. Carl Simonton has studied what kind of lifestyle produces the best survival time for cancer patients. His latest book THE HEALING JOURNEY, identifies those components. As might be expected, the findings by both doctors are essentially the same. Here we attempt a brief summary of these key components of a healthy lifestyle:

 

 

Experts recommend trying for 5 sleep cycles a night, each one about 90 minutes long. Four may be OK, but 3 is not enough for most people. A sleep from alcohol or other drugs doesn't produce such healthy results. Herbs may help, and may be safer, but the sleep aids that don't interfere with real sleep are those that are natural to the body. These include tryptophan, melatonin and GABA. There are also a very few health food store formulas that contain only these ingredients or the nutrients - vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Also, light at night interferes with sound sleep and may sabotage the fight against cancer.

 

  

 

  

Twenty - thirty minutes of prayer or meditation twice a day can help bring the immune system back up to strength each time. Combined with rest, now the patient can have a full-time immune system. Like any skill, it may take a few weeks to get good at it. It seemed like a drag at first, but soon it became something we really looked forward to - like our personal oasis in time.

 

Physical games are problematic because the level of activity may be too difficult to control. Experienced cancer doctors say it is very important that at least 50% of the patient's energy be saved for healing. If you don't recover completely from the exercise by the next day, it is probably too much for now.


A successful life style doesn't have to be perfect. Always keep in mind these three scientific reasons for hope:

1. Doctors agree that cancer cells are a natural condition that everyone gets all life long.

2. 75% of ordinary people do not get malignant tumors because human bodies have dozens of anti-cancer armies of cells and enzymes that eliminate these cancer cells all the time.

3. Some cancer research scientists estimate that at least six of our built in anti-cancer armies have to become sick for cancer cells to survive in our bodies.

 

Why is this hopeful? Because we figured we could get just as healthy and just as happy as that 75% of ordinary people who muddle through life, so we could restore our own body's abilities to cure cancer too. And it worked for us.

 

 During therapy, the patients lifestyle will be so busy with these activities, combined with taking all the remedies and juices, that it will require a written daily schedule. Typically our schedules listed what's happening every 30 - 60 minutes. Many of us posted our schedules in our rooms and in the kitchen for all to see. One more job of the Ombudsman was to help keep everyone on schedule.

 

This therapy schedule is like a challenging boot camp to get ready for the new lifestyle the patient is going to enjoy afterwards. Here we repeat what we said earlier…

 

"We became grateful to this cancer adventure for pushing us through a doorway to a better life, much happier for us and our loved ones."

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REFERENCES

DESIGNING BETTER LIFESTYLES

 

 

PRACTICAL BOOKS ON PSYCHOLOGY AND DEPRESSION

 

 

 

 


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(First draft - read with extra caution. Web page version August 23, 2004-www.PatientsNCI.org)