Saturday, July 04, 2009

Anal-Cancer and Herbal Supplement Therapy

Farrah Fawcett lost her battle with Anal-Cancer: Are you aware of this Rare illness?

With the passing of Farrah Fawcett last week, anal and rectal cancer and their therapies need scrutinized. The anus is the end passage of the intestine through which waste products of the bowel is eliminated. It is about 1-2 inches long and has two muscle sphincters which relax and contract to allow stool passage. The anus has two tissues forming it: 1. the inner intestinal lining; 2. outer skin.

Discovered in 2006, she underwent standard treatment of surgical excision with radiation therapy and chemotherapy. She was declared cancer free in 2008 because the tumors in her liver were inactive. Later, new tumor was found growing in the rectum and liver. She underwent another form of chemotherapy and traveled to Germany for six herbal treatments non- approved of for US use.

Anal cancer is very rare. Rectal cancer is about twenty times more common. Bleeding, itching, pain, a mass or discharge can be symptoms. Most people think of hemorrhoids when bleeding and itching occur. A change in bowel habits is also seen. It is found more often in smokers, people over age of 50 years, and those having anal sex and with multiple sexual partners. HIV may also be related. The cancer is highly related to human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease. The HPV vaccine protects against cervical cancer, and may have an effect in anal cancer. However, it is not given yet to alter this cancer risk. Data is still being collected.

More men get anal cancer up to the age of 50; afterwards more women get it. Prognosis is good if found early. Five year survival is over 80%; it decreases as metastasis occurs. Only 20% of patients survive five years if the cancer is found in other organs. With re-occurrence, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are used again.

Upon learning of the re-occurrence of her tumor, she underwent treatments in Germany. They were herbal supplements and immune therapy. Mistletoe and other herbals were apparently used to attempt to boost the immune system and fight off the tumor. Mainstream American doctor agree with the theory that immune strengthening can be used to kill cancer cells. It is just that at this time we are strong on theory and weak on practice. There is not strong scientific evidence to show that we have any herbals supplements that can do that. Doctors suggest people be aware of possible medical scams. You should decide just what they want to obtain in treatment. It is pain relief or cure or something else. Finally, look at the major cancer centers in the US for new, experimental therapies that may work.


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