Posts Tagged ‘mistletoe’

Debbie’s treatment success featured on BBC News

18 Dec 2008 by under News, People, Research/Treatment

The success of chemoembolization in the treatment of our friend Debbie Brewer’s mesothelioma has been featured in national press in the UK, covered by BBC News and picked up by The Press Association. In the report, Debbie calls for the pioneering treatment to be brought to the UK. Currently, she must travel to Frankfurt, Germany, for the treatments.

Readers of myMeso have been following Debbie’s story for a while now, and know that the chemoembolization treatment has been successful, resulting in an overall 53 percent reduction in the size of her tumor, which she humorously nicknamed Theo. Her last visit to the clinic was Dec. 12, when she received the great news that she is now in partial remission as a result of the tumor shrinkage.

Chemoembolization is traditionally used to treat liver cancer. Debbie says the Frankfurt program sees a 60 percent success rate in the treatment of mesothelioma using the process, which introduces chemotherapy drugs directly into the tumor.

Diagnosed with mesothelioma in November 2006, Debbie was initially told she had only a few months to live. It is believed that Debbie contracted mesothelioma from contact with on her father’s clothes when he unwittingly brought the substance home from work. Determined to beat the odds, she began researching mesothelioma treatments. In addition to the chemoembolization, Debbie uses mistletoe therapy, injecting the extract twice a week.

Read more about Debbie at her blog, Mesothelioma and Me.

Mistletoe treatment believed to provide relief for cancer patients

11 Dec 2008 by under News, People, Research/Treatment

mistletoe 150x150 Mistletoe treatment believed to provide relief for cancer patientsAs part of her cancer treatments, or more accurately in response to her cancer treatments, our friend in the UK, Debbie Brewer, began a mistletoe treatment in May. Debbie was diagnosed with mesothelioma in November 2006, and is currently receiving treatment, for which she travels to Germany.

Mistletoe is in fairly widespread use in Europe as a complementary therapy in cancer care. It is given in conjunction with traditional cancer treatments such as , to strengthen the body’s immune system and build its natural defenses. It is believed mistletoe therapy can help cancer patients cope with the side-effects of and radiation.

Mistletoe is considered an anthroposophical medicine, which takes into account a total view of the human body and the human being, including physical constitution, the life force, the consciousness and the ego or free will. Mistletoe is harvested from different trees, with different types of mistletoe having different uses. According to the American Cancer Society, the type of mistletoe used in this therapy grows on species of trees native to England, Europe and western Asia. It is NOT the type of mistletoe commonly seen in the U.S. Mistletoe therapy is only available in clinical trials in the United States.

The extract, which comes from the plant’s leaves and twigs but not its berries, is generally given as an injection and after an initial professional application patients can do the treatment themselves at home. Debbie began her mistletoe treatment at The Park Attwood Clinic, which still oversees the process, although she administers her own injections now.

Debbie says she learned about the treatments from a couple who visited her web site, Mesothelioma & Me. She began the mistletoe therapy at the same time as her chemoembolization treatment, which uses targeted chemotherapy applied directly to her tumor and contained with the tumor. For about two years, she also has been struggling with alopecia, which had caused her to lose large patches of her hair.

“Since I started the mistletoe and the chemoembolization, I have noticed within the last two months my hair has grown back and is its natural color,” she wrote to me in an email. “The mistletoe boosts the immune system and also is very good at quelling the side effects of the chemo, although the side effects with chemoembolization are not as bad as the normal chemo.” She said mistletoe is offered on the German health care system, but it is not recognized by the UK system.

Debbie gives herself the mistletoe injections twice a week.

“I would have to say that a lot of the benefits I have had over the last five treatments is down to the mistletoe,” she says. “It works very well alongside the chemo treatment.”

She left today to travel to Germany for the sixth round of her chemoembolization treatments, and will learn the results of the fifth round, which she received November 6. So far, she has experienced tumor shrinkage after each round of chemoembolization.