MITTA FOR LIFE CENTRE
Administered by Mahindarama Buddhist Temple
No. 19, Solok Trengganu, 10460 Penang
Mitta Cancer Helpline (012-5349997) or firstname.lastname@example.org
SERVICE TO MANKIND
The mission of
The Mitta for Life Centre is
managed by a dedicated team of volunteers comprising
1. Any person who has Cancer.
2. Any person related to a Cancer patient.
3. Any person who takes care of a Cancer patient.
4. Any person who has Cancer and still continuing Cancer treatment with his respective Doctor but wish to be counseled or need to discuss about his concerns, worries, anxiety and other issues are also welcomed.
Free public services
♥ cancer counseling
♥ breast examination
♥ reiki treatment
Free public activities
♥ health talks & exhibition
♥ taiji class
♥ sign language class
Taiji | Reiki
There is an increasing number of Cancer cases on the rise in Malaysia. It is estimated that a total of 30,000 new cases are detected annually. The average lifetime risk of a Malaysian getting Cancer could be 1 in 5.5. By statistics, Malaysian women of all ethnic groups have higher incidence of Cancer as compared to Malaysian men. Most common male Cancers are lung, nasopharynx and colon whereas most common female Cancers are breast, cervix and colon. By ethnicity, Chinese are more prone to Cancers followed by Indians and Malays.
According to the statistics compiled by the Malaysia National Cancer Registry, a total of 21,464 cases were diagnosed among Malaysians in Peninsular Malaysia comprising 9,400 males and 12,064 females. Generally, the incidence rate for Cancers per 100,000 population showed that the rates for the Chinese males and females are 169.2 and 217.7; for the Malay males and females, 60.6 and 79 and for the Indian males and females, 85.7 and 147.2 respectively.
In view of the high incidence rate of Cancer among Malaysians, the Mitta For Life Centre is established by Venerable E. Indaratana Maha Thera, Chief Monk of Mahindarama Buddhist Temple to provide free counseling service and other related services to Cancer patients and their loved ones in coping with the illness.
The new community service was officially launched on Vesak Day, 22 May 2005. All services and activities are provided free-of-charge and are open to all Cancer patients and their loved ones in the Northern Region regardless of race, religion or creed.
• WHY MITTA FOR LIFE CENTRE IS FORMED?
Cancer is a personified enemy that ravages from within. Cancer patients go through a lot of suffering. Accepting the diagnosis itself could be very traumatic. Going through the diagnosis itself is very tedious.
Apart from the physical ailments like nausea, lethargy and surgery, depressing issues like loss of physical features, such as loosing the hair, psychosocial problems can occurred at work or in social circles. Cancer patients may possibly experience great swings of emotions from disbelief to hopelessness and from hope for their future to grief, anger and sadness.
Our Centre will allow these emotions to be expressed and by their sharing with our team of volunteers, we will try to help them to deal with the emotional and psychological effects of Cancer. The emotional turbulence and trauma created in the immediate family is very difficult to be handled by the Cancer patients. They have countless concerns, anxiety, worries and fears about the future.
All these can shatter the Cancer patients into pieces. Thus, Mitta For Life Centre is an arena for them to reach out to, a place for them to relieve their doubts, agony or pain. We want to show them our compassion and loving-kindness and to help them as much as possible. We believe that an act of kindness dispels a thousand disasters.
The maintenance and operation of Mitta For Life Centre will be funded by donations and support from well-wishers. All donations shall be send directly to Mitta For Life Fund, c/o Mitta For Life Centre, No. 19, Solok Trengganu, 10460 Penang.
Donations can be made payable to “Pertubohan Mahindarama Buddhist” either by cash, crossed cheque, money order or bank draft. Fund-raising activities will also be organized and all proceeds received from the donations and fund-raising activities shall be channeled towards welfare support of deserving Cancer patients.
The mission of Mitta for Life Centre is to be a Cancer Service Centre rendering free services and activities to the Cancer patients and their loved ones in coping with Cancer.
1 Mitta for Life Centre will be managed by a dedicated team of volunteers comprising specialists, consultants, medical doctors, senior staff nurses, experienced counselors and volunteers from all walks of life to serve the community by helping Cancer patients to cope with their illness.
2 Mitta for Life Centre will maintain a holistic approach by caring, serving and counseling the Cancer patients and providing practical support to them and their loved ones to reduce their suffering in every way possible.
3 Mitta for Life Centre will ensure that professionalism and confidentiality are strictly maintained by all volunteers who are required to adhere to the Code of Ethics for Volunteers when serving the Cancer patients and their loved ones :
CODE OF ETHICS FOR ALL VOLUNTEERS OF MITTA FOR LIFE CENTRE
Ø To respect each individual’s culture and beliefs
Ø To strictly maintain confidentiality
Ø To help and render free service
Ø Not to interfere with personal matters
Ø Not to do direct sales or sell supplements
Ø Not to accept any donations on behalf of Mitta for Life Centre
Therefore, we do not interfere with the culture, beliefs and personal issues of the Cancer patients nor do we do direct sales or sell supplements to them.
• REGULAR ACTIVITIES
• AD-HOC ACTIVITIES
Mitta For Life will conduct ad-hoc activities such as :
Ø The Centre will publish its own newsletter; the MITTA Cancer News which will endeavor to create public awareness about Cancer generally with updates printed for free circulation from time to time.
Ø In order to upgrade the quality of its volunteers in serving the Cancer patients and their loved ones, workshops to train volunteers by experienced Consultants and Counselors will be conducted regularly.
Ø Gatherings of Cancer survivors together with the Cancer patients and their loved ones to share their experiences will be organized regularly.
Ø Visits to terminally-ill Cancer patients will be organized either at the hospitals or their homes to provide psychosocial support to the Cancer patients and their loved ones.
Ø Cancer Awareness Talks and Health Exhibitions will be organized regularly to create public awareness.
Ø As part of our mission to encourage Cancer patients to be positive, success stories will be shared with them and inspirational magazines will be recommended to uplift their spirits and give them hope.
• OTHER ADD-ON ACTIVITIES
Other add-on activities for the Cancer Patients and their loved ones whenever deemed necessary will be organized from time to time to serve their needs.
The Pali word “Mitta” means a friend. A real friend is a friend who helps when in need; who shares the same weal and woes with you; who gives good counsel; and who sympathizes.
The qualities of a good friend are “He” who :
♥ gives what is hard to give;
♥ does what is hard to do;
♥ hears what is hard to hear or bear;
♥ confess (shares) his own secrets with you;
♥ keeps others’ secrets;
♥ in need, forsake one not; and
♥ Despises not when one is in ruin.
When “Mitta” is combined with “For Life” - it truly means you have a “Friend For Life” who possesses all the seven qualities of a good friend.
The symbol of the “Pink Heart” represents the friendship and compassion of “Mitta For Life” towards Cancer Patients who come from all walks of life and to provide help whenever needed.
The yellow aura surrounding the heart signifies that there is faith and hope and therefore one should not give up easily.
The symbol of the “Rainbow of Colors” emerging from the heart represents that there is care and a light of hope.
The colors can be interpreted as follows :
1 Blue - signifying loving kindness and peace.
2 Yellow – signifying faith and hope.
3 Red - signifying achievement, wisdom, virtue and fortune.
4 White - signifying purity.
5 Orange - signifying strength and dignity.
THE ARTICLE ENTITLED “CANCER AND YOU” WAS PRINTED IN MITTA CANCER NEWS - INAUGURAL EDITION DATED 22, MAY 2005
WHAT IS CANCER?
Cancer is the general term used to prescribe the group of illnesses in which cells are growing in an uncontrolled and purposeless way within the body.
The body is made up of many types pf cells each with special tasks to perform. During life, body cells are replaced or repaired when they become worn out or damaged. For this to occur cells divide and grow in an orderly manner. Cancer develops when these cells have lost the ability to stop growing and they continue to grow forming masses and growths called Cancer.
Cells of this lump may be benign or malignant. Benign tumors are self contained and do not spread to other parts of the body. Malignant tumors are not self -contained and easily break away from the original or primary tumor invading neighboring tissues and organs or spread to other parts of the body.
WHAT CAUSES CANCER?
The causes of Cancer are not yet fully understood. However genetic changes or mutation caused by chemicals, radiation and viruses that we are exposed to may be responsible.
While genetics certainly play a role in Cancer development, certain environmental factors contribute in a major way to our chance of getting Cancer.
SOME ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE CANCER DEVELOPMENT
LIFE STYLE FACTORS
Ø Cigarette smoking.
Ø Diets high in fat
Ø Smoked or salted meat and fish.
Ø Alcohol abuse.
Ø Lack of physical activity.
Ø Certain drugs including chemotherapy agents, hormones (estrogen), immunosuppressants (cyclosporine).
Ø Certain chemicals (arsenic, asbestos, benzene and vinyl chloride).
Ø Certain infections (HIV, Human Papilloma Virus, Epstein-Barr Virus, Helicobactor Pylori, Hepatitis B & C).
Ø Occupational hazards (working in uranium mines and asbestos factories).
Ø Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight.
Ø Fanconi’s Anemia
Ø Down’s Syndrome
WHY DOES HAVING CANCER MAKE A PERSON FEEL SICK?
Most types of Cancer release chemicals that make a person feel ill. These chemicals called cytokines are released into the blood causing flu like symptoms, fevers, chills, sweats, fatigue, anorexia (loss of appetite) nausea and vomiting.
One of the cytokines called Tumour Necrosis Factor is associated with cachexia/ muscle wasting or loss of weight. These symptoms are the ones that often bring the person with Cancer to the doctor’s attention in the first place.
POSSIBLE WARNING SIGNS OF CANCER
Ø A new lump or thickening in any part of the body.
Ø A sore that does not heal.
Ø A new spot or mole that changes in shape, size, or colour.
Ø Any unusual bleeding or discharge.
Ø Persistent indigestion or difficulty in swallowing.
Ø Any change in bowel habits.
Ø Persistent cough or hoarseness of voice.
Ø Any unexplained loss of weight or appetite.
EARLY DETECTION OF CANCER
The earlier a Cancer is detected, the better the treatment options and the greater the chance of a cure :
Have a regular medical check-up, at least once a year.
If you have any unusual signs or symptoms, consult your doctor without delay.
Ø Have a Pap Smear once in every two years, starting from the age you become sexually active.
Ø Examine your breasts monthly to feel for any lumps or other changes (Breast Self-Examination).
Ø Ask your doctor to examine your breasts at your annual check up.
Ø If you are more than 40 years of age, baseline mammogram must be done and regular check ups are done accordingly.
Ø Talk to your doctor about any family history of Cancer.
Ø Have a medical check-up once a year.
Ø Talk to your doctor about urinary problems.
Ø Examine your testicles monthly by feeling or any lumps or other changes.
Ø Talk to your doctor about any family history of Cancer or other risk factors.
REDUCING THE RISK OF CANCER
Ø Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking is the single most avoidable cause of Cancer.
Ø When in the sun; Wear sunglasses, put on a hat and apply sunscreen.
Ø Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables especially cruciferous family (Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), Soy and cereals.
Ø Eat low fat foods and limit salt cured, smoked and BBQ meats.
Ø Be moderate with alcohol intake.
Ø Do regular exercise 2 or 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes each time.
Ø Use protective clothing when using chemicals in your work place.
Ø Practice safe-sex.
Ø Don’t take drugs unless medically recommended.
Ø Remain within a healthy weight range.
TREATMENT OF CANCER
Many Cancers can be cured if diagnosed and treated early.
The main methods of treating Cancer are:
Ø Surgery is the cutting out and removing of the cancerous growth from the body together with a margin of normal tissue.
Ø Radiotherapy is the use of radiation to destroy cancer cells.
Ø Chemotherapy is the use of many different types of drugs to destroy cancer cells.
Ø Hormone therapy alters the hormone balance in the body to alter the rate of growth of tumors.
Often one or more of these treatments may be used depending upon the type of Cancer, where it is, the age of the person and the general state of health.
HELP IS AVAILABLE
If you are worried about symptoms you think might be Cancer you may contact MITTA FOR LIFE CENTRE.
When Cancer is diagnosed, you and your family may want support and information, not only on the illness but in coping with the changes and demands that it makes on the whole family.
Being diagnosed with Cancer is a very emotional experience for the patients and their loved ones.
Knowledge is power. Understanding the illness often helps the patients and their loved ones to deal with the illness better.
THE ARTICLE ENTITLED “BREAST CANCER” WAS PRINTED IN MITTA CANCER NEWS - INAUGURAL EDITION DATED 22, MAY 2005
FACTS ABOUT BREAST CANCER
Ø Breast Cancer is the most common Cancer found in Malaysian women.
Ø Every year, thousands of women are told that they have Breast Cancer.
Ø Breast Cancer is the number one cause of Cancer deaths amongst Malaysian women.
Ø Cancer of the breast is one of the easiest Cancers to detect.
Ø Early detection of Cancer can help save a lot of lives.
Ø Protect yourself through early detection. You will have better treatment options and a better chance of recovery.
Ø There is no scientific data to prove that deodorants, anti-perspirant or wearing bras cause Cancer.
Ø All breast lumps are not cancerous. However breast lumps must be investigated.
Ø Breast Cancer is not contagious but strong family history gives a slightly higher risk.
Ø Cancer can occur at any time.
Ø Breast Cancer lumps tend to be painless.
Ø Removal of the breast is not the only way to get rid of Cancer.
Researchers have found two genes BRCA1 and BRCA 2 that if defective, can increase susceptibility to Breast Cancer.
WHO ARE AT RISK?
All women aged 20 and above are at risk. However the factors below increases the chances of getting Breast Cancer :
Ø Early menstruation (before 12 years old) and/or late menopause (after 55 years age).
Ø Increasing age (less commonly in younger age group).
Ø Alcohol intake.
Ø Diet rich in animal fat and low in fibre.
Ø Family history of Breast Cancer (mother, sister and daughter).
Ø Intake of hormones (the risk is very small).
Ø Fertility drugs.
Ø Alcohol may increase risk by altering the way a woman’s body metabolizes estrogen. This may cause the blood estrogen level to rise, which may in turn increase the risk of Cancer.
Ø Previous history of Breast Cancer or breast hyperplasia increases the risk of Breast Cancer.
Ø Nulliparous women (never conceived and had children), or having first full term pregnancy at a late age.
Ø The breast is the special glandular organ designed for the production of milk after pregnancy.
Ø The breast is largely made up of fat and breast tissue. Breast tissue comprises lobes containing lobules that produce milk and it carries milk through the milk ducts with its own opening at the nipple.
Ø The breast also contains nerves, blood vessels and lymph ducts (that carry lymph, a colorless fluid) and connective tissue.
Ø The lymph ducts lead to bean shaped lymph nodes found around the armpit, above the collarbone and in the chest.
Ø Lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system which helps the body to fight infection.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF BREAST CANCER
The Breast tissue does not stay the same throughout a women’s life.
Monthly period, pregnancy, age and weight changes can alter the shape, size and feel of the breast. However if you notice any changes in your breast, consult your doctor immediately :
Ø Persistent lump or thickening in the breast or in the armpit area.
Ø Newly retracted (pulled in) nipple.
Ø Changes in the color or skin of the breast, areola or nipple (dumpling, puckering or scaling)
Ø Blood or discharge from the nipple.
Ø A change in the size or shape of the breast.
Ø Non-healing ulceration or itchiness of the nipple.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST BREAST CANCER?
PRACTISE A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE :
Ø Be physically active. Exercise 3 to 5 times a week for at least 30 minutes each time.
Ø Maintain a healthy weight.
Ø Eat a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains and try to avoid high fat diet. In addition plant hormones called phytoestrogens found in a variety of vegetables and soya may protect against developing Cancer.
Ø Limit alcohol intake.
Ø Breast feeding could be beneficial.
BREAST SELF-EXAMINATION SHOULD BE DONE :
Ø Monthly by all women 20 years and above.
Ø Between day 7 – 10 from the start of the menstruation.
Ø On a fixed day, for example, the first day of the month, for those no longer menstruating or have irregular menstruation.
If done regularly, it enables a woman to discover any abnormalities in the breast early, so that she can seek a doctor’s opinion.
CLINICAL BREAST EXAMINATION BY A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL ONCE A YEAR
WOMEN WITH NO SYMPTOMS OF BREAST CANCER SHOULD HAVE A SCREENING MAMMOGRAM EVERY YEAR, STARTING AT THE AGE OF 40.
Mammogram is a low dose x-ray of the chest that can pick up very small Breast Cancers. Usually mammography is not recommended for women under 40 years of age.
In younger women (below 35 years) whose breasts tend to be denser, an ultrasound examination is advised if there is a palpable mass or abnormality noted in the breast.
TREATMENT OF BREAST CANCER
To help doctors decide on the best treatment, the stage of the Cancer needs to be determined.
LUMPECTOMY is a procedure by which breast lump and some normal surrounding breast tissues are removed preserving the breast. Usually this is performed for early Breast Cancer.
MASTECTOMY is the removal of the entire breast, often including the lymph nodes in the armpit and sometimes the chest wall muscles. This is done for advanced Cancer Breast.
RADIOTHERAPY: High energy X-rays are directed at the breast, to damage Cancer cells and stop them from growing. Radiotherapy is usually suggested after lumpectomy.
CHEMOTHERAPY: Drugs, used in combination, are given orally or by injection, to kill Cancer cells. Usually chemotherapy is given in cycles – a treatment period followed by a recovery period, then treatment again and so on.
HORMONE THERAPY: This is used to deprive Cancer cells of the hormones they need to grow. Sometimes drugs are given to change the way hormones work or surgery is done to remove the ovaries that produce female hormones. Hormone pills called Tamoxifen are given orally once daily to reduce the chances of the Breast Cancer recurring.
WHO ELSE CAN HELP?
Talk to your friends, family and relatives.
Doctors, nurses, health care professionals might be of great help.
Counseling sessions with qualified people will be of great help.
CANCER AND DIET
Recent researches have shown clearly that certain dietary elements may help to promote the development and spread of Cancer while others may slow down or block tumor growth.
There is no scientific evidence that any particular food or diet can cause a Cancer to shrink or increase survival. As such there is no scientific evidence to recommend any particular type of alternative treatment like high protein diet, fruits only diet, herbal treatment etc.
It is very important that Cancer patients have a balanced diet to cope with the disease and the treatment process.
Keep your diet low in total fat and very low in saturated fats. Limit your daily fat intake to no more than 20% of total food calories. Vegetable oils high in monounsaturated fats such as olive oil is excellent That’s why people eating Mediterranean diet and Greek women have low incidence of Cancer. Omega 3 fatty acids in salmon and tuna may block the effect of estrogen on breast cells, thus lowering the risk of them becoming cancerous. Unsaturated fats found in plant foods do not contribute to Cancer. Heating vegetable oils at high temperatures can change fatty acids and make them carcinogenic. Hydrogenated fats must be avoided. Safflower, sunflower, sesame, olive, canola and soybean oil are healthy. Try to avoid butter, margarine, mayonnaise animal fats and hydrogenated fats.
Have a high fiber diet and modify your diet to increase the fiber content in every meal. Best anticancer fiber sources are: wheat bran, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, navy beans, whole wheat, whole grains, legumes, whole grain bread and prunes. Have a big bowl of high fiber bran for breakfast. Eat beans regularly and use whole grain cereals or bread instead of white bread. Instead of iceberg lettuce which is nutritionally useless add tomatoes, red peppers, kidney beans and garbanzo beans which are considered as best salad sources.
Eat a plenty of fruits and vegetables fresh and raw as much as possible. Include a variety of colors and texture. Eat at least 5 or more servings of a combination of fruits and vegetables, citrus fruits and cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, etc) and the allium vegetable family (onion, garlic, shallots, leeks and chives).
Ø Include one serving of soy products everyday.
Ø Eat foods high in calcium, vitamin C, selenium and antioxidants.
Ø Heavy alcohol consumption is strongly linked to certain types of Cancers.
Ø Avoid large quantities of very hot spices and preserved or canned foods.
Ø Avoid drinking scalding hot drinks and limit the intake of salts. All salt preserved, salt cured and salt pickled food must be consumed sparingly.
Ø Limit fried food; avoid charred, burnt food and cooking the meat in high temperatures.
Ø Choose lean meat cuts and trim visible cuts.
Ø Avoid eating moldy or stale food and try to eat as fresh as possible.
Ø Reduce salt, sugar, sauce, spices and salad dressings in your diet.
Ø Include a lot of fruits and vegetables in every meal.
Ø Eat 6-11 serving a day of bread, rice or cereal.
Ø Remember to drink at least 8 glasses of water everyday.
DIET RELATED CANCERS
Scientists at the National Cancer Institute estimate that one third of all Cancers are related to diet especially one high in fat and processed foods.
NASOPHARNYX / CHEEK AND THROAT CANCER
Smoked meat, salted and processed food, alcohol, cigarette and high fat diet.
Heavy alcohol consumption, cigarette, smoked meat, pickles, moldy food, very hot food and beverages.
Canned foods, cured meat, salted and smoked meat or fish and pickles.
Heavy alcohol, smoking, high fat low fiber diet.
Consumption of food contaminated with Alfa toxin and heavy alcohol.
Cigarette, alcohol, occupational hazards like asbestos, other dyes.
High fat food, alcohol, cigarette and obesity.
Low folate intake.
PROSTATE / BLADDER CANCER
High fat intake, cigarette, alcohol and exposure to chemicals and dyes like.
DIETARY FACTORS WHICH INCREASE THE RISK OF CANCER
Researches have proven that Cancer cells need low density lipoprotein to grow. Therefore, a diet that helps to lower LDL levels could keep potentially cancerous cells from growing.
Eating fat stimulates the production of bile, which is needed to digest fat. If a lot of bile is allowed to stay in the large intestine for a long time it is converted into apcholic acid, a proven carcinogen. Avoid oils high in saturated fats and hydrogenated fats. Adding hydrogen to a fat molecule may enable the molecule to interfere with the normal metabolism of cells in the body, setting the cell up for cancerous changes. Nearly all packaged foods such as potato chips contain hydrogenated fats, since these allow a longer shell life.
Eating high fat diet also increases the calories in the diet increasing the body weight. Obesity is a well known risk factor for certain Cancers like breast, prostate, and other Cancers. Increased fat tissue raises circulating estrogen levels, which is proven to increase the risk of breast cancer.
Fiber in the diet moves potential carcinogens through the intestines faster, decreasing the contact time between the carcinogens and the intestinal wall. Moreover fiber binds the carcinogens and absorbs the bile. Fibre prevents the growth of unhealthy bacteria and the fecapentanes and promotes healthy bacteria in the intestines. Fiber also reduces estrogen in the bowels.
Processed meat and cured canned meat contain nitrosamines which are potential carcinogens.
Grilling under high temperatures can release carcinogens into the meat called heterocyclic amines, which can damage cellular DNA. Poaching, stewing, microwaving, or slow low heating releases fewer carcinogens.
In 1976 a group of researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health set out to study the role of high fat and red meat in the development of Cancer. The risk of Colon Cancer was 2.5 times higher in women who ate beef, pork or lamb as a main dish everyday, as compared with those eating it less than once a month.
ANTICARCINOGENS IN NATURAL FOOD
These anti-carcinogens are potent Cancer inhibitors found in natural food :
Ø Aromatic Isothiocyantes found in cauliflower, cabbage and cruciferous vegetables.
Ø Courmerin and Lactones found in citrus fruits and vegetables
Ø Flavonoids found in grains, red onions, dark green vegetables and fruits.
Ø Indoles and Sulforaphanes found in brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, mustard green, broccoli and kale.
Ø Protease inhibitors found in soy beans, oats, apples, potatoes and red wine.
Ø Alphatocopherols found in nuts, flaxseeds and asparagus. Flaxseeds contain anti-cancerous substances like omega 3 fatty acids and lignans.
Ø Selenium is considered as a potent anti-carcinogen a scavenger of harmful free radicals. It is found in Brazil nuts, mushrooms, lobster, shrimp, whole grains and vegetables (depending on the selenium content of the soil they grow), brown rice, cottage cheese, sunflower seeds and garlic.
Ø Beta carotene fight against Cancer cells by both boosting the immune system and releasing a specific chemical called tumor necrosis factor (blocks the growth of Cancer cells) Best sources of beta carotene are sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkin, butternut, spinach, broccoli, mango and papaya. Tomatoes contain lycopenes which enhances the absorption and utilization of beta carotenes.
Ø Vitamin C blocks the formation of carcinogens called nitrosamines in the gut and boosts the immune system by increasing the production of lymphocytes.
Ø Studies have shown that persons with the highest intake of vitamin C have lower incidence of intestinal Cancers. Citrus fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C.
Ø Calcium controls the multiplication of epithelial cells lining the colon. Calcium also binds the bile acids and keeps them from irritating the intestinal wall.
Ø Diary products such as cheese and yogurt, and bony fish contain calcium.
Ø Soya products are found to be extremely beneficial in inhibiting cancer growth.
Ø Phytonutrients found in the soy products block the new blood vessel necessary for tumor formation. These isoflavones found in soy products also help to regulate the sex hormones which could affect the development of Cancer prostate and breast.
One serving of soy (equal to a ½ cup of cooked soy beans, tofu, tempeh, or one cup of soy bean milk) a day can lessen the risk of Cancer - lung, rectum, colon, stomach, prostate and breast.
The most potent anti-carcinogen in soy is Genistein. This is found in soy foods rated highest to lowest in the following order-Soya flakes, soy nuts, soy flour, tempeh, tofu (firm), soy burgers and Soya milk.
THE ARTICLE ENTITLED “CERVICAL CANCER” WAS PRINTED IN MITTA CANCER NEWS - SECOND EDITION DATED JANUARY 2006
Cervical Cancer is the second most common Cancer in women in most parts of the world.
Malaysia has one of the highest incidences of Cervical Cancer in comparison to Western and other Asian countries.
Cancer Cervix is the second most common Cancer in Malaysian women and in the year 2002, almost 12% of female Cancers were Cancer Cervix.
It is very common in Chinese women followed by Indian women. It is very rare in Malays.
It is a Cancer that has a precancerous phase which can be easily detectable by “Pap Smears”.
This Cancer is may be confined to the cervix for a long time. But when it grows out of the cervix and destroys the muscle wall, Cervical Cancer can spread to the lymph nodes and to the other organs.
Sadly the incidence of Cervical Cancer is increasing over the years. If detected early it can be treated.
Various treatment modalities are available for precancerous, early and advanced stage of Cancer Cervix.
The Cervix is the lowest narrow end of the uterus (womb). The uterus is the hollow pear shaped organ that is located in the lower abdomen between the urinary bladder and the rectum. The uterus is also the part of the body where the fetus develops. The cervix leads to a passage called the vagina which leads to the exterior.
The cervix produces moisture to lubricate the vagina. It also produces mucous that helps sperm travel up to the fallopian tubes in an effort to fertilize an egg from the ovary. The cervix holds the developing baby in the uterus during the pregnancy.
The two different kinds of cells in the cervix are squamous and glandular or endocervical cells. These cells may behave abnormally and if Pap Smears are done these changes can be detected early and treated accordingly.
WHAT CAUSES CERVICAL CANCER?
The main causes are :
Ø Women, who begin sexual intercourse at an early stage, especially before 18 years, are at increased risk.
Ø Women who have many sexual partners are at increased risk.
Ø Human Papilloma Virus may cause abnormal cells in the cervix and play a role in the development of Cancer. Other factors like genital herpes may act together with HPV in the development of Cervical Cancer.
Ø Smoking especially tobacco smoking increases the risk of Cervical Cancer.
Ø Poor personal hygiene and low socio economical status may be contributing factors.
Ø Rarely women whose mothers took the medicine diethylstilbestrol to prevent miscarriage and women with low immunity status might develop Cancer Cervix. However exact causes of Cancer Cervix are not known.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF CANCER CERVIX
The signs and symptoms are :
Ø Watery foul smelling vaginal discharge.
Ø Painful intercourse.
Ø Vaginal bleeding between periods or after sex.
Ø Any vaginal bleeding after menopause.
HOW IS A PAP SMEAR DONE?
This is a very simple and painless procedure. A small instrument (speculum) is inserted into the vagina. This holds the walls of the vagina gently apart.
A spatula (wooden stick) is used to scrape the surface of the cervix to collect the specimen. This mixture is placed on a glass slide which is sent to a laboratory for microscopic examination.
Pathologists will look for abnormal cell changes.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD IT BE DONE?
A yearly Pap Smear is advised for women with normal risk factors once she is sexually active. A women with high risk factors or a previously abnormal Pap Smear should repeat Pap Smear every 6 months or as advised by their doctor.
WHEN AND WHO SHOULD HAVE THIS TEST?
Women between 20-65 years of age are sexually active or have been sexually active before, should have this test. It is best done at the middle of the menstrual cycle or 10 days after onset of menstruation.
This test must be done once a year.
TREATMENT OF CERVICAL PRE-CANCER
They include burning diathermy, freezing cryosurgery or laser surgery. All these methods destroy the abnormal area without harming adjacent healthy tissue. Conization or LEEP can be used to remove abnormal tissues.
If Cancer has invaded deeper areas of the cervix then hysterectomy or removal of uterus is performed. If the spread is beyond the uterus then ovaries, fallopian tubes and the uterus are removed.
Radiotherapy involves external or internal radiation or both. External radiation is given daily for five days a week for 5 to 6 weeks as an outpatient. Internal radiation is done by inserting a capsule containing radioactive material directly in the cervix, for 1 to 3 days for a few weeks.
However exact treatment and the duration of the treatment might change according to the patient and their stage and spread of the disease and the general condition of the patient.
Chemotherapy is sometimes used with surgery and / or radiotherapy.
Regular follow-up with pelvic examinations, Pap smears, other laboratory and imaging techniques are very essential for everyone treated for Cervical Pre-Cancer or Cervical Cancer.
WHERE IS THE PAP SMEAR TEST AVAILABLE?
The test is available in :
Government health centres and Government hospitals.
Family health clinics.
Private clinics or private hospitals.
THE ARTICLE ENTITLED “BENEFITS OF EXERCISE” WAS PRINTED IN MITTA CANCER NEWS - SECOND EDITION DATED JANUARY 2006
Exercise is any form of activity that develops the muscles, heart and lungs to give speed, strength, agility and endurance to do daily tasks easily.
There are a lot of activities like walking, running, hiking, rowing, swimming, bicycle riding, team sports, Taiji, Qi Gong, etc.
Choose an activity you enjoy and if you like it you will do it. If possible do with your friend to make it more interesting.
Regular exercise means at least three times a week and evenly spaced out.
Exercise regularly for at least 20-30 minutes keeping the heart rate at the target rate constantly. Warm up and cool down sessions are essential.
Plan and design an exercise regime best suited in view of your time, profession, motivation, access of facilities etc.
Set realistic goals that you can achieve and consult your doctor whenever necessary.
BENEFITS OF EXERCISE
Exercise increases high density lipoproteins the good cholesterol that sweeps excess cholesterol from arterial walls.
Exercise boosts your immune system by increasing the amount of lymphocytes, interleukin, neutrophils and other immune substances circulating in your body.
When you build muscle mass through exercise, the muscle itself burns more fat and therefore helps the body maintain its leanness.
Persons with healthier diets tend to have healthier overall lifestyles.
THE ARTICLE ENTITLED “PROSTRATE CANCER” WAS PRINTED IN MITTA CANCER NEWS - SECOND EDITION DATED JANUARY 2006
Prostate Cancer is a malignant growth of the prostate gland and it is primarily a disease of older men. It is a slow growing, potentially lethal disease usually found in men over the age of 50. It is a very common male Cancer which can be detected easily by yearly medical check-ups.
WHAT IS THE PROSTATE?
The prostate is a small, walnut sized and shaped gland deeply embedded in the centre of the pelvis where it produces a milky fluid that carries sperm during ejaculation. Wrapped around the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body), it sits just below the bladder. The growth and development of the prostate depends on the male sex hormone, testosterone produced by the testis and adrenals.
WHAT IS PROSTATE CANCER?
It is common for the prostate to get larger as men grow older. This is called benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). Hypertrophied prostate is smooth and large but hard and irregular prostate denotes Prostate Cancer.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS OF PROSTATE CANCER?
Increasing age is the single most important factor in the development of Cancer Prostate. Genetic mutations that have been linked to development of Cancer probably occur gradually over time. In fact, about 80 % of all Prostate Cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 65.
African – American men are 65% more likely to develop prostate cancer than Caucasian – American men. Diet, genetics and possibly inadequate exposure to Vitamin D may all play a role. In Malaysia, Chinese are more prone when compared to Indians and Malays.
Approximately 9% of men with Prostate Cancer have a history of the disease within the family.
The risk of Prostate Cancer doubles among first degree relatives. Patient and the family members typically share the risk factors like race, diet, and other environmental factors.
High intake of animal fats, such as those found in red meats especially charred meat (as in barbecuing) can create potent Cancer – promoting chemicals. It is the combination of high fat intake and low fruit and vegetable intake that is responsible for increased risk of Cancer.
Recent studies have clearly indicated that men who are over weight or obese are at significantly higher risk for developing prostate cancer. In fact a man who became overweight at the age of 25 and stayed overweight is likely to have a more aggressive form of Prostate Cancer and shorter survival rate.
Prostate Cancer growth may be fueled by the presence of high level of circulating male hormone testosterone.
However the exact cause is still unclear and researches are still going on.
Annual screening and early detection certainly play a vital role in the treatment and prognosis of Prostate Cancer.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PROSTATE CANCER?
The symptoms are :
v The need to urinate frequently.
v Weak or interrupted flow of urine.
v Pain or burning during urination.
v Difficulty having an erection.
v Blood in the urine or semen.
v Frequent pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs.
Urinary tract infections and BPH may have similar symptoms. However a man with these symptoms should see a doctor immediately so that it can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.
STAGING OF PROSTATE CANCER
The stage is based on the size of the tumor, whether the Cancer has spread to other parts of the body etc.
Staging is important to plan the best treatment for Prostate Cancer.
Stage 1 - This Cancer is found only in the prostate and may not be palpable by rectal examination. It is found by chance or by routine screening.
Stage 2 - This Cancer is more advanced and could be palpable by digital examination but it has not spread outside the prostate.
Stage 3 - This Cancer has spread beyond the outer layer of the prostate. But it has not spread to the lymph nodes.
Stage 4 - Cancer that has invaded the bladder, rectum or nearby structures, lymph nodes and bones.
Usually Prostate Cancer usually spreads by blood and lymphatic system to lymph nodes, lower spines and pelvic bones.
TREATMENT OF PROSTATE CANCER
Treatment of Cancer Prostate involves surgery, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, supportive care, symptom management and palliative care.
Prostatectomy is a procedure by which the doctor removes the whole prostate or part of it (to remove the cancerous growth) This procedure is indicated for early stage Prostate Cancer.
Pelvic lymphadenectomy is a procedure by which the doctor removes the enlarged lymph nodes in the pelvic area.
Radiotherapy uses high energy rays to kill Cancer cells. This may be used for early Cancer, after surgery to kill the remaining Cancer cells or in late stage to relieve pain.
Hormone therapy keeps the Cancer cells from getting the male hormones they need to grow.
Orchiectomy is an operation to remove the testicles which are the main source of hormone testosterone.
Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LH-RH) agonists are used to prevent testosterone production.
Anticancer drugs like ketoconazole and aminoglutethimide are used to prevent adrenal glands from making testosterone.
National Cancer Institute of United States of America published a report in July 2005 that hormone therapy increases the number of immune cells reaching the prostate gland, thereby allowing vaccines to work more effectively.
This study found that a Cancer vaccine combined with hormone-deprivation therapy can help patients with recurrence of Prostate Cancer.
HOW DO WE DIAGNOSE PROSTATE CANCER?
Digital rectal examination (DTR) by a doctor is highly helpful. Hard, irregular mass is usually cancerous growth. Biopsy will confirm the diagnosis. Further local spread is confirmed by ultrasound. Bone scans are done to exclude secondary deposits in the bone.
Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) is used to determine to the progress of the disease and for further follow-up.
WHAT DO WE DO TO PREVENT PROSTATE CANCER?
All men must undergo annual screening by a doctor. Please inform your doctor about the risk factors and the family history. Follow –up is vital to ensure quality life.
Lycopene, a powerful anti oxidant is a red pigment in tomatoes, guava, papaya, watermelon and the red grapefruit. Fresh tomato and tomato juice do not raise the blood lycopene level as high as tomato sauce with oil cooked in the sauce, such as spaghetti or pizza sauce. That could be the reason for low incidence of Prostate Cancer in Mediterranean countries.
Sulforaphane, a compound found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, helps the body to repair the damage caused by carcinogens, thereby helping to slow down the Cancer growth. At least 5 or 6 servings of these vegetables a week will lower the risk of Cancer Prostate.
Polyphenols in green tea, isoflavones in soy based products, Beta- Carotene supplements, different types of omega-3 fatty acids; Vitamin E and Selenium supplements are associated with lower risk of developing Prostate Cancer.
Avoiding the high fat diet especially reducing the red meat intake is definitely proven to be useful in reducing the risk of developing Cancer.
Taking a balanced healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and regular exercise are essential.
THE STAR, Wednesday, August 10, 2005
HELPING PATIENTS COPE WITH CANCER
by SIOW YUEN CHING
ONE can only imagine the emotional turmoil that a Cancer patient has to cope with when diagnosed with the illness.
Accepting the diagnosis itself could be very traumatic for the patient and his or her family members.
“Why me?” “Am I going to die?” “What are my treatment options?” These are among the questions often asked by patients, who are usually plagued with fear and uncertainty.
With this in mind, Mahindarama Buddhist Temple in Penang has set up a Mitta For Life Centre to provide free counseling service for Cancer patients and their families regardless of race and religion.
Centre chairman Dr S. Jeyashree said Cancer patients might experience traumatic mood swings from disbelief, hopelessness and grief to anger and depression.
“Our centre will allow these emotions to be expressed. Our team of volunteers will try to help the patients to deal with the emotional and psychological effects of Cancer,” she said in an interview.
“Many patients need emotional support but where can they go? Generally, they will depend on their doctors but most of the time, doctors may not have the time for counseling,” said Dr Jeyashree.
She said patients should get mentally prepared for their treatment so that they would be in a better position to handle the physical changes after the operation or chemotherapy.
“We also have a support group comprising Cancer survivors who will share their stories with other patients,” she added.
Dr Jeyashree said the centre had a dedicated team of volunteers ranging from specialists, consultants, medical doctors, nurses, counselors and volunteers from different professional background to help Cancer patients cope with their illness.
“Volunteers do not interfere with the culture, beliefs and personal issues of the Cancer patients. We also do not carry out direct sales and sell supplements to the patients,” she said.
Apart from counseling sessions every Saturday from 2pm to 5pm, the centre also offers free Reiki treatment and Qi Gong exercises for cancer patients.
Other activities include Cancer awareness talk, health exhibitions, gatherings of Cancer survivors and training workshops for volunteers.
Patient Ng Poh Imm recalled that when she was diagnosed with breast cancer last month, an emotional turbulence filled with fear and uncertainty overwhelmed her.
“I kept asking myself why I got this illness and how is my 17-year-old son going to live without me,” said Ng, 47, an accounts assistant.
Ng, who is also a volunteer Sunday school teacher at another Buddhist temple, said she used to follow some of the Buddhist nuns to visit Cancer patients at their homes.
“With this experience, I also realised the importance of peer support and it is good to know that we are not alone with this sickness,” she added.
Ng said at the centre, she was able to express her fear and anxiety during counseling sessions as well as sharing her experience with other Cancer patients.
Another Cancer patient, who wishes to be known as Robert, said he was shocked and had sleepless nights when he was told of his illness two months ago.
“It felt like I have been given a death sentence and ‘the end’ are very near for me,” said Robert, who is in his late 60s.
“I was depressed and worried about leaving my family, especially my wife, sister and brother, who are very close to me.”
Robert is visiting the centre every week and he also attended the counselor-training course.
“The counseling allows me to see a clearer picture and have better understanding about the disease and my life. I am able to talk and express my feelings openly,” he said.
Robert hopes one day, he will be able to counsel and share his experience with other Cancer patients and their loved ones.
The Mitta For Life Centre is located at No. 19, Jalan Solok Terenggau. For details, call 016-4673550 or send e-mail to email@example.com
Taiji is an outstanding gem of traditional Chinese culture that is invaluable in promoting health, developing combat and self-defenses skills, and improving concentration and overall well-being.
One of the greatest Taoist physicians, Sun Ssu-Mo, claimed that the secret to living a full and healthy lift is a balanced program of nutrition and regular exercises for the mind and body based on Taiji exercises and Qi Gong breathing.
At Mitta For Life Centre, we conduct 3 sessions of Taiji (1 hour per session) every Tuesday - at 8.00 am, 9.00 am and 6.30 pm respectively which is open to the public free of charge.
We are fortunate to have a very notable and experienced Taijiquan Master who has graciously agreed to conduct Taiji classes at our Centre. Our Taiji Instructor, Master Lee Boon Chen is renowned locally and internationally in the field of Taiji.
Master Lee is the President of the Malaysian Federation of Chen-style Tajiquan Association; the President / Chief Coach of Penang Chenshi Taijiquan Association as well as the Chief Coach of Amateur Taji Research. He is also the Noted Taijiquan Master of The International Meeting of Taijiquan Organisation, Wenxian (Chenjjagou), China.
In addition, Master Lee is an International Wushu Judge and he holds the Chinese Wushu Higher Level 7 Dan Degree (Beijing, China). Master Lee is the 20th Generation Successor of Chenjiagou Tajiquan.
Reiki ancient healing method was believed to have formed and spread through Tibet, China and India thousands of years ago. Reiki is a simple, safe, effective healing system that promotes Natural Life Energy to help dissolves the clogged energy and returns the body, mind, emotions and spirit to their natural universal state. Reiki was rediscovered by Dr Mikao Usui of Japan (1865—1926). It is not a belief system or religion. Reiki promotes healing, harmony and well being on all levels - physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
We are alive because the intelligent life force is flowing through us. Life force flows within the physical body and it also flows around us in a field of energy. Life force nourishes the organs and cells of the body, supporting them in their vital functions. When this flow of life force is disrupted, it causes diminished function in one or more of the organs and tissues of the physical body while in conjunction liberates energy flow on mental and emotional levels.
Reiki heals by feeling the flow through the affected parts and releasing the natural positive energy as it restores the natural state. It opens levels of the energy field in and around releasing stuck emotions, feelings and physical sensations that sometimes bind us.
Reiki releases the body of built up energy, relieves pain, soothes shock, calms the mind and emotions, and accelerates the body's natural ability to heal itself all at the same time, thus promotes a state of well-being.
The benefits of Reiki include enhancing life energy, increases awareness, improve creativity, raises self esteem and confidence. It can also accelerates the natural healing process of the body, promotes energy balance, alleviates depression, reduces stress dramatically, complements and enhances all other therapies and can effectively treats a wide range of ailments and diseases. An effortless one-hour of Reiki is equivalent to several hours of deep relaxing sleep.
REIKI FIRST DEGREE SEMINAR
10-11 September 2005
Mitta For Life Centre has successfully trained 16 volunteers during a 2 full-day Seminar to learn the Reiki technique so that they can contribute free service to the Cancer patients. Immediately, after the training, all the volunteers sign-up for duty on a weekly rotation basis.
Initially, free Reiki treatment was held every alternate Saturdays. However, we are able to hold the treatment every Saturday for the Cancer patients - now that we have a base of 20 volunteers including 4 qualified Reiki volunteers who will assist to guide the newly-trained volunteers to apply the Reiki technique correctly.
This training is made possible through the kind courtesy of Ms Jorva Hamilton who has graciously agreed to assist Mitta to train a team of Reiki volunteers.
Briefly, Ms Jorva Hamilton is a ReikiMaster Teacher in Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki.
Ms Jorva was born in China and grew up in Hong Kong. In 1992, at the height of her career as a Managing Director of a recruitment company - she found Reiki (or rather Reiki found her), which changed her life.
Her active interest in Reiki advanced when she moved to Portugal; In the early years she brought in Reiki Masters and organized workshops. Ms Jorva has the good fortune of studying under masters from the Reiki Network, the Reiki Alliance and the traditional Usui Reiki Ryoho as practiced in Japan. She became a Reiki Master in 1997. Since then, she has taught over 400 students of fifteen nationalities in 7 countries.
She is also a Universal Healing Tao Instructor certified by Master Mantak Chia. She now lives in Penang and travels extensively to teach both Reiki and Tao Yoga in Portugal, Malaysia and Singapore.