This multi-part educational section will briefly describe the basic science behind targeted therapies and review the major classes of targeted therapies. We will then take a closer look at some of the medical literature itself, reviewing the most up-to-date clinical recommendations for various cancers. The list of targeted agents is growing at an amazingly fast rate, and many drugs are still in the early stages of laboratory research and development. However, this section will only discuss approved therapies.
Symptoms of Cancer
Persistent Fatigue: Fatigue is one of the most commonly experienced cancer symptoms. It is usually more common when the cancer is advanced, but still occurs in the early stages of some cancers. Anemia is commonly the culprit -- a condition that is associated with many types of cancer, especially types affecting the bowel. Fatigue is a symptom of both malignant and non-malignant conditions and should be evaluated by a physician.
Unintentional Weight Loss: While it may be a welcome surprise to lose weight without trying, it can be a red flag for many illnesses, including cancer. Losing 10 pounds or more unintentionally definitely warrants a visit to the doctor. This type of weight loss can occur with or without loss of appetite. Remember, weight loss can be a symptom of cancer, but is also a symptom of many other illnesses, too.
Pain Typically, pain is not an early symptom of cancer, except in some cancer types like those that spread to the bone. Pain generally occurs when cancer spreads and begins to affect other organs and nerves.
Lower pack pain is cancer symptom that is associated with ovarian cancer and colon cancer. Shoulder pain can also be a symptom of lung cancer. Pain in the form of headaches can be associated with brain tumors (malignant and benign).
Stomach pains can be related to types of cancer, like stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, and many others. Stomach pain can be a very vague symptom because so many illnesses can cause stomach pain.
Fever: A fever is a very non-specific symptom of many mild to severe conditions, including cancer. In relation to cancer, a fever that is persistent or one that comes and goes frequently can signal stress on the immune system. Fevers are commonly associated with types of cancer that affects the blood, like leukemia and lymphoma, but are also common in people whose cancer has spread.
Treatment for Cancer
Iscador (Mistletoe Extract)
Mistletoe (Viscum album L.) is a semi-parasitic plant that lives with several tree species, including oak, pine, fir, elm and apple, and has been used since ancient times to treat a variety of human ailments. Extracts of mistletoe have been shown to kill cancer cells in the laboratory and to stimulate the immune system.
Only the European species of mistletoe is used in the treatment of cancer. Mistletoe preparations are used to stimulate the immune system and to kill cancer cells. It has been reported to reduce tumor size and improve the quality of life and survival of some cancer patients. Three components of mistletoe (lectins, alkaloids and viscotoxins) may be responsible for its biologic effects.
Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a low growing palm native to the southeastern United States, particularly Florida. The part of the plant used for medicinal purposes is the berries, which are harvested, dried, and ground for preparation as a tea or in capsules. It is often prescribed for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or as an anti-inflammatory. Interestingly, saw palmetto berries do not seem to reduce the size of an enlarged prostate, but rather relieve the symptoms associated with BPH such as frequent urination. Saw palmetto is not believed to interfere with accurate measuring of prostate specific antigen, or PSA (a marker for prostate cancer).
Find powerful herbal remedies Cancer Natural Remedies
Essiac (a mixture of herbs) is actually a combination of several herbs. It originally contained burdock root, the inner bark of slippery elm, sheep sorrel, and Turkish rhubarb. More recent combinations have added watercress, blessed thistle, red clover and kelp (to aid with effectiveness and improve taste). These herbs are combined to form a tea, which is then administered orally in an effort to promote health, strengthen the immune system, improve appetite, relieve pain, improve overall quality of life, and reduce the size of tumors.
Keep in mind that these are very general, vague symptoms of cancer. If you have one or two of these symptoms, it is not a red flag for cancer but more an indication to your doctor to run certain medical tests. The symptoms listed above are experienced by most people with cancer at various stages of their disease, but are also linked to many other non-cancerous conditions. For more specific cancer symptoms, see below for symptom information about several types of cancer. You may also get a better understanding of what your symptoms may mean by using the About.com Symptom Checker, an interactive health education tool.
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