Survival Story

Can Acupuncture Cure Cancer?

Acupuncture is gaining popularity as an adjunct to cancer treatment. Dr. Lawrence Piro from the Angeles Cancer Clinic and Research Center explains that acupuncture works to keep chi, or energy, in balance in the body. Studies have shown that acupuncture can help to reduce nausea, pain and fatigue in those battling cancer. Dr. Piro emphasizes that acupuncture isn’t a cure for cancer, but it’s an effective remedy to combat the debilitating side effects of cancer treatments. Dr. Ordon states, “Bottom line, when it comes to cancer, we should be willing to try whatever works.”  


Teen Lap Band Surgery

Next, childhood obesity has doubled in the last 20 years and is a terrifying prospect for any parent. Cari and Eric are desperate to help their 14-year-old daughter, Tiffany, who has been obese since she was a toddler. Tiffany weighs close to 270 pounds and the family is beside themselves with worry.


“We’ve gone to doctor after doctor, we’ve tried nutritionists, exercise routines, strict diets – do we start looking at surgery?” Cari asks. Eric adds, “This is my daughter. Whatever it takes, we’ll do.”


Dr. Scott Cuneen, co-director of the Center for Weight Loss at Cedars Sinai Medical Center explains that lap band surgery is the simplest and least invasive of weight loss surgeries available. A band is placed around the top of the stomach to shrink it from the size of a football to that of a golf ball. It provides satiety, which means that a person feels full or satiated after eating less food. Other operations like gastric bypass are more dangerous because they cut the stomach, reroute the intestines and put the patient at risk for malabsorption and malnutrition.


Dr. Cuneen adds that lap band surgery requires a lifetime commitment to lifestyle changes such as eating very small portions and chewing each bite of food at least 20 times. If they don’t do this, the patient could become very sick.


Dr. Adrienne Youdim, Medical Director of the Center for Weight Loss at Cedars-Sinai adds that lap band surgery is the most effective tool that surgeons have in their arsenal to combat obesity. However, she stresses that the surgery is still just a tool, and that a strict adherence to a diet and exercise regimen is essential. Dr. Cuneen and Youdim agree that Tiffany should take six months following the regimen before she considers lap band surgery, and Tiffany nods. “I’m willing to do anything. I just want some help.”


Cancer While Pregnant

Next, imagine the excitement a woman feels when she learns she’s pregnant for the first time. Now imagine her learning that something deadly is growing inside of her as well. That’s what happened to Gabrielle, 21, when she was diagnosed with stage 2 non-Hodgkins lymphoma when she was pregnant. Three days after she gave birth to her son, Gabrielle underwent chemotherapy and 20 rounds of radiation. She weathered the most difficult storm of her life and survived. Now Gabrielle is pregnant again with twins, but she’s concerned that her cancer may return. Dr. Piro reassures her that her pregnancy will not increase her chances of the lymphoma returning.


Liv, 33, was diagnosed with leukemia when she was eight weeks pregnant. Dr. Piro worked with Liv and her husband to monitor and treat her cancer throughout her pregnancy, and Liv delivered a happy and healthy baby boy. Liv’s husband, Steve, comments, “We just couldn’t be prouder, happier for how everything turned out. We’re very proud parents.”


Dr. Piro explains that Interferon and Gleevac are both medications that can be taken during pregnancy with minimal risk to the fetus. However, there are risks and complications that patients who have undergone cancer treatment must consider if they want to get pregnant again.


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OAD 10/24/08