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Team Up! Against Cancer puts cancer surviors together with cancer patients and their families, in the church and in the community.

Get current and comprehensive information about specific types of cancer, updates on cancer treatments and news about research advances.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Cancer

Q: What is cancer?
A: Cancer can be summarized as a cell or group of abnormal cells (tumor) that are growing out of control. They no longer function as part of the body to perform a required function. Their function now is to replicate, replicate, replicate and because cancer cells typically grow and divide faster than normal healthy cells, the cancer cells often outlast normal ones and have the ability to invade more and more of the body. As the cancer progresses, and tumors form, it may develop its own blood vessels (angiogenesis). Cancer cells can get into the blood stream, accessing the whole body, creating the potential to begin creating new tumors in other locations. This process is called metastasis.

Cancer cells develop because of problems in, or damage done to, the genes and/or DNA of our cells. Since DNA is replicated with each cell division, the imperfections are replicated with the rest of the normal DNA. This is also the genetic link to cancer. Our DNA is passed on during procreation, so the problems may also be transferred from generation to generation. These imperfections or alterations in the DNA are the ultimate cause of the out-of-control growth we call cancer. The expression of those genes is critical and the cellular processes and triggers concernng how we age and change is still greatly unknown. The understanding of the 2nd Genetic Code is barely being investigated.

Being diagnosed with cancer is frightening. But understanding what's going on inside your body can help you feel more in control of your situation and finding solutions to make it better.

Q: Who gets cancer?
A:Cancer doesn't discriminate when it comes to race, sex or age - anyone can get cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that half the men and one-third of the women in the United States will develop cancer in their lifetimes. It is estimated that about 1.4 million new cases of cancer are expected in 2007, and about 560,000 people will die of the disease.

Q: What are some causes of cancer?
A:Cancer begins with damage (mutations) in your DNA or expressions of your DNA. Your DNA is like a set of detailed instructions for your cells, telling them how to grow and divide. Normal cells often develop mutations in their DNA, but they have the ability to repair many of these mutations. Or, if they can't make the repairs, the cells often die or the immune system removes them. However, certain mutations that are not repaired can cause the cells to grow and become cancerous, causing uncontrolled cell division and loss of specific function. These changes also cause cancer cells to live beyond a normal cell life span allowing the cancerous cells to accumulate.

The initial genetic mutation is just the beginning of the process by which cancer develops. Scientists believe you need a number of changes within your cells in order to develop cancer, including:

  • An initiator to cause a genetic mutation. Sometimes you're born with this initial genetic mutation. Other times a genetic mutation is caused by forces within your body, such as hormones, viruses and chronic inflammation. Genetic mutations can also be caused by forces outside of your body, such as excessive ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens) in your environment.
  • A promoter to cause rapid cell growth. Promoters take advantage of genetic mutations created by initiators. Promotors cause cells to divide rapidly. This could lead to a tumor. Promoters could be inherited, could come from inside your body or could come from outside your body.
  • A progressor to cause cancer to become aggressive and spread. Without a progressor a tumor may remain benign and localized. Progressors make cancers more aggressive and more likely to spread. Like initiators and promoters, progressors could be inherited or they could come from environmental sources.

Your genetic makeup, forces and the environment within your body, your lifestyle choices and your external environment can all set the stage for cancer or help complete the process once it's started. For instance, if you've inherited a genetic mutation that predisposes you to cancer, you may be more likely than other people to develop cancer when exposed to a certain cancer-causing substance. The genetic mutation begins the cancer process, and the cancer-causing substance could play a role in further cancer development. Likewise, smokers who work with asbestos are more likely to develop lung cancer than smokers who don't work with asbestos because the two carcinogens both play roles in cancer development.

The sooner a cancer is found and treatment begins, the better are the chances for living for many years. Though the National Cancer Institute does not appear to be accepting of complementary/alternative/integrative cancer therapies, instead opting to promote conventional treatments, their website contains a comprehensive list of cancers and symptoms to look for - click here to view.

Q: What increases your risk of cancer?
A:While doctors have an idea of what can put you at risk of cancer, the majority of cancers occur in people who don't have any known risk factors. Factors known to increase your risk of cancer include:

  • Your habits

    Certain lifestyle choices are known to increase your risk of cancer. Smoking, drinking more than one drink a day (for women) or two drinks a day (for men), excessive exposure to the sun or frequent blistering sunburns, and having unsafe sex can contribute to cancer. You can break these habits to lower your risk of cancer - though some habits are easier to break than others.

  • Your family history

    About 10 percent of cancers are due to an inherited condition. If cancer is common in your family, it's possible that mutations are being passed from one generation to the next. You might be a candidate for genetic screening to see whether you have inherited mutations that might increase your risk of cancer. Keep in mind that having an inherited genetic mutation doesn't necessarily mean you'll get cancer.

  • Your health conditions

    Some chronic health conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, can markedly increase your risk of developing certain cancers. Talk to your doctor about your risk.

  • Your environment

    The environment around you may contain harmful chemicals that can increase your risk of cancer. Even if you don't smoke, you might inhale secondhand smoke if you go places where people are smoking or you live with someone who smokes. Chemicals in your home or work environment, such as asbestos and benzene, also are associated with an increased risk of cancer.

  • Your dietary choices

    The risk of developing most types of cancer can be reduced by changes in a person's lifestyle, such as eating a better diet including effective supplements. Click here to read more on supplements and the link between nutrition and chronic diseases.

Q: What are the recent cancer statistics and what do they all mean?
A: Click here to view the most recent statistics on cancer. This data includes information on incidence, mortality and survival rates, which are the three most common groups of statistics produced about cancer. Understanding what each one means is integral to being able to comprehend and apply what you're reading. Read more on the reliability of statistics and what they can and cannot tell you.

For an explanation of cancer research papers and clinical trials, and what kind of info each can provide, click here.

Q: Can cancer be prevented?
A: By taking preventative measures to minimize risk, we believe that most cancers can be prevented. These include simple things like protecting your skin from burning and over exposure to the sun, not smoking and avoiding unhealthy activities such as using drugs that can damage organs. You should also eat a high fiber, low fat diet and exercise regularly. While these may not prevent all cancer, they will help fight it by keeping you healthy and your immune system and other bodily functions working properly. Click here to read more on cancer facts and statistics.

Q: Does conventional treatment work?
A: In many cases, conventional treatment of cancer works very well. All conventional treatments, however, have adverse side effects and cause damage to the body. Cancer treatment has one of the most infamous reputations in the world because of the horrible side effects that accompany it. While all modern conventional treatments help fight cancer, they provide for a painful ordeal that offers no guarantee of success. For this reason, the Foundation for Advancement in Cancer Research advocates an integrative treatment regimen of conventional medicine, non-traditional treatments and supplements such as palladium lipoic acid, high dose vitamins, minerals, immune system enhancers, strict diets and other approaches that can help to mitigate the side effects and living a healthy lifestyle to maximize your chances of success.

Q: What are the options for treatment?
A:There are many options for the treatment of cancer, both traditional as well as complementary/alternative/integrative (CAM). Traditional methods include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. CAM has many options to choose from, both for standalone and integrative options. Some examples include some biological/immuno/nutritional therapies, among others. Click here to read more on CAM therapies we advocate.

As always, we at the FACR encourage you to do your own research, educate yourself on the specific type of cancer and available treatment options. And first and foremost, if you are not leading a healthy lifestyle, start immediately. Information is the force of change!

Q: What is the difference between radiation therapy and chemotherapy?
A: There is a lot of confusion surrounding these two common treatment options. The basic difference is that chemotherapy is the treatment of disease through chemicals (hence "chemo"), while radiation therapy is the treatment of disease through the use of concentrated, very high-energy atomic particles or waves. Radiation therapy is administered in two different ways: either internally through a wire or implant that is placed in the tumor, or externally by a machine that directs the radiation in the tumorís general area. Both of these treatments are commonly used in cancer treatment, with moderately successful results and many undesirable side effects.

Q: Should I get a second opinion?
A: Yes!! Due to a high incidence of misdiagnosis among many types of cancers, it is advised that all patients get a second opinion. While doing so, get each doctorís recommended treatment regimen. Compare and contrast these with each other as well as with what your objectives are for dealing with cancer.

Q: What can I do to reduce symptoms?
A: First and foremost, get healthy. Follow a strict detoxification schedule, exercise and eat right. This includes eating foods that are organic or as free of preservatives and chemicals as possible, doing daily exercises preceded and followed by stretching, and using one of many natural detoxification programs available on the market. Using a support supplement such as palladium lipoic acid, CoQ10, vitamin C and multi-vitamins can also be greatly beneficial.

Q: What is palladium lipoic acid?
A: Palladium lipoic acid is an extraordinary compound that chemically bonds palladium (a unique mineral) to alpha lipoic acid. The bonding of palladium to lipoic acid provides a way to get dramatically increased uptake of lipoic acid by the cell, and is theorized to provide a means of protecting the electrical potential of the cell, helping to ensure that it stays healthy. It is believed that palladium lipoic complexes have the ability to selectively kill cancer cells because of their ability to protect the electrical charge of healthy cells while forcing cancer cells into highly inefficient anaerobic respiration. This form of respiration is so inefficient that cancer cells cannot produce enough energy to survive due to their high demands for energy, ultimately leading to their death.

Q: What can I do to increase my chances of survival?
A: To increase your chances of surviving cancer of any type, you need to get and stay healthy. This includes being proactive about daily exercise, eating nutritious unaltered foods in a balanced diet, not subjecting yourself to harmful conditions at work or at home (this includes overly high stress levels). You should also supplement your diet with a multi-vitamin and minerals to ensure that you have the proper levels of these vital nutrients. Once you have been diagnosed with cancer, you can increase your chances of survival by starting all of these things if you have not been doing them. When it comes to being healthy, it is certainly better late than never. Once diagnosed, you should also look at complementary alternative cancer treatments. These treatments, though not always accepted by the majority of the traditional medical community, can provide the necessary boost to get you through trying times with traditional treatments. The Foundation for Advancement in Cancer Research strongly advocates the alternative treatment modalities found on this site as they have both substantial scientific and anecdotal backing.