28 May 2012

Ian Gawler Blog: You Can Conquer Cancer goes into the medical schools


Big day today. Sending off the completed manuscript for the rewritten new edition of You Can Conquer Cancer. So I have been reading new research that found 55% of oncologists said grief had caused them to burn out, half said it meant they now distanced themselves from patients, and 65% said it had spilled over into other parts of their life, and thinking how good it would be if the new book were to become a medical textbook used in the Universities.

Thought for the Day

Men occasionally stumble over the truth
But most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened
                                                                                        Winston Churchill

Oncologists experience ‘unique’ grief

It seems remarkable that this new research claims to be the first to examine the impact of grief on the lives of oncologists – both professionally and personally. It also claimed that more than half of oncologists and a third of trainees experience burnout. What the study said was that the impact of patient loss on their lives was “a unique affective experience that had a smoke-like quality”.

“Like smoke, this grief was intangible and invisible. None-the-less, it was pervasive, sticking to the physicians clothes when they went home after work and slipping under the doors between patient rooms,” the authors wrote in the Archives of Internal Medicine (online).

Another report, based on interviews with 20 oncologists working in Canada and attending a support group,  found oncologists frequently failed to deal appropriately with grief after their patients died – a failure that “may negatively affect not only oncologists personally but also patients and their families”.

One said: “I’m up to the point where I probably lose one or two patients a week minimum ... it’s a physical sensation of being ground away ... it takes me a long time to recover from that.”

The group, which “allows staff to systematically share their loss and grief with others who have common experiences and values,” had helped its members cope.

It was proposed that education on how to manage grief, beginning during residency, would be one way to ameliorate the negative impact.

“Ongoing study and development of optimized coping strategies for oncologists” is needed, they argued.

So how good would it be if You Can Conquer Cancer was read by doctors in training? The new edition has a major new chapter on understanding death and helping the dying, that could be of great benefit to young doctors and other health professionals. At the same time, they could be informed of what can be done by an actively committed patient who is working collaboratively with them towards the best outcome. They would understand their patient’s point of view better.

I know when I began working with people affected by cancer, I had very little experience of death or dying. I wondered how it would affect me and how helpful I could actually be. Over the years, I was fortunate to learn from many experts in this field, to sit in many groups that discussed these issues, and to share in the last days of many wonderful people and their families.

To be frank, the greatest help I received both personally and professionally came from the Tibetan tradition courtesy of Sogyal Rinpoche, author of the international classic “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying”. Because the Tibetans consider it wise to live a life informed by death rather than in denial of death, and because they believe the moment of death is one of our greatest spiritual opportunities, they have studied death in great detail.

So like the oncologists, I have come to know many people well who have died. And yes, it is wonderful to know of the people who have survived long-term, but it is also wonderful to know how many people have been helped to die well, and how the colleagues I have worked with over the years have been able to sustain working in this field.

Perhaps understanding the issues of unresolved grief and burnout can help us to be more compassionate with the way some oncologists and other health professionals behave.
But still, I look forward to the day when we see the headline;

You Can Conquer Cancer becomes a medical textbook!”

In the mean time, for anyone in the Brisbane area, I will be presenting a day workshop on understanding death and helping the dying and my hope is many people will overcome what seems to be a common reticence to talk about or learn about this crucial part of life. This particular workshop is one of the very best things I have to offer. It can be life changing.

NEWS

 Brisbane workshops coming soon: June 14 – 17 at the Relaxation Centre


June 14th  Evening public talk: Eating Well Being Well

Including the latest research findings (I recently attended and spoke at the International Nutrition in Medicine conference) as well a comprehensive guide to how to prepare really healthy food that is easy and tasty. Lots of time for questions, and good for those on the healing path too.

June 15th Day workshop: Understanding Death & Helping the Dying

A day workshop for Health Professionals, caregivers and others. Based on the workshop I co-presented with Sogyal Rinpoche at the recent "Happiness and its Causes" conference.

June 16th & 17th Weekend workshop The Mind that Changes Everything

A weekend focusing on using the power of the mind along with meditation and imagery techniques using ground breaking scientific research.

Where: The Relaxation Centre, 15 South Pine Rd, Alderley, Brisbane, 4051 Hide/Show Map

Bookings & Info: Click here for the link and go to the 14th -17th on the calendar

or call The Relaxation Centre on (07) 3856 3733

RESOURCES

RELATED BLOGS

Recovery from cancer is possible

Just give me the facts

BOOKS 
You Can Conquer Cancer Ian Gawler

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying Sogyal Rinpoche

CD 
Understanding Death, Helping the Dying  Ian Gawler





21 May 2012

Ian Gawler Blog: A Humorous Ass


Thought for the week:


Everything will be OK in the end.
If it is not OK, it is not the end.


THE PASTOR'S ASS

The Pastor entered his donkey in a race and it won.

The Pastor was so pleased with the donkey that he entered it in another race
and it won again.

The local paper read:

PASTOR'S ASS A BIG WINNER!

The Bishop was so upset with this kind of publicity that he ordered the
Pastor not to enter the donkey in another race.

The next day the local paper's headline read:

BISHOP SCRATCHES PASTOR'S ASS

This was too much for the Bishop so he ordered the Pastor to get
rid of the donkey. The Pastor decided to give it to a Nun in a nearby convent.

The local paper, hearing of the news, posted the following headline the next day:

NUN HAS BEST ASS IN TOWN

The Bishop fainted.

He informed the Nun that she would have to get rid of the donkey
so she sold it to a farmer for $10.

The next day the paper read:

NUN SELLS ASS FOR $10

This was too much for the Bishop so he ordered the Nun to buy back the
donkey and lead it to the plains where it could run wild.

The next day the headlines read:

NUN ANNOUNCES HER ASS IS WILD AND FREE

The Bishop was buried the next day.

The moral of the story is ....  

Being concerned about public opinion
can bring you much grief and misery,
even shorten your life.

So be yourself and enjoy life.

Stop worrying about everyone else's ass and
you will be a lot happier and live longer!

Have a nice day.

NEWS


1. Workshops in Melbourne next weekend with the Gawler Foundation: 

Sat & Sun July 26 & 27, Hawthorn

The Mind that Changes Everything is a weekend where we delve into the workings of the mind, check out recent research and new techniques and share in the theory and practice of affirmations, imagery , contemplation and the deeper experiences of meditation.

Based on my book of the same name, The Mind that Changes Everything is ideal for beginners, lapsed meditators and the experienced. The weekend is highly experiential with good time for questions and discussions.

Join Ruth, like minded people and myself for a weekend enhancing the power and potential of your mind.

TO BOOK:  link to the Gawler Foundation , click here,   or  FOR ENQUIRIES: ring 03 59671730

2.  BRISBANE WORKSHOPS MID JUNE at the RELAXATION CENTRE


June 14th  Evening public talk: Eating Well Being Well 
Including the latest research findings (I just attended and spoke at the International Nutrition in Medicine conference) as well a comprehensive guide to how to prepare really healthy food that is easy and tasty. Lots of time for questions, and good for those on the healing path too.

June 15th Day workshop: Understanding Death & Helping the Dying
A day workshop for Health Professionals, caregivers and others. Based on the workshop I co-presented with Sogyal Rinpoche at the recent "Happiness and its Causes" conference.

June 16th & 17th Weekend workshop
The Mind that Changes Everything
A weekend focusing on using the power of the mind along with meditation and imagery techniques using ground breaking scientific research.

Where: The Relaxation Centre, 15 South Pine Rd, Alderley, Brisbane, 4051 Hide/Show Map

Bookings & Info: Click here for the link and go to the 14th -17th on the calendar
or call The Relaxation Centre on (07) 3856 3733

3. What has happened to our kid’s bowels?

Researchers claim to have found the largest increase of ulcerative colitis ever reported in a population – and it is in Victorian children.

A new report published has found the incidence of UC has jumped 11-fold in the last 60 years, most prominently since the mid 1990s. Despite rates being relatively stable for the first 40 years after 1950, the incidence per 10,000 children aged 16 and under increased from around 0.15 in 1990 to 1.61 in 2009, Melbourne gastroenterologists found.

The dramatic increase in UC paralleled a 15-fold increase in paediatric Crohn’s disease in Victoria in the last 30 years and had been observed in other parts of the world, they said.

Rates of UC in Victoria’s Barwon region were found by a recent study to be among the highest in the world.

The “parallel and rapid” increases in Crohn’s disease and UC “argue for a common environmental factor in their pathogenesis,” the authors said. Microbial factors had been implicated, but the identity of any marked environmental change in the late 1980s or early 1990s remained “elusive”.

Editor’s note: Does anyone think the dietary habits of children may have changed?

14 May 2012

Fasting and curry – good for you, bad for cancer!

Thought for the day

Prayer is asking
Meditation is listening

Fasting may help chemo, kill cancer


It has been really tiresome defending the cancer diet I recommend against claims of it causing weight lose and being dangerous. New research suggests that the real problem may be we have not been going far enough. Full on fasting may be the way to go!

In around 2008, research emerged that suggested starvation or fasting in animals for two or three days was a useful part of treatment against cancer. There have been anecdotal stories of people emerging from concentration camps, emaciated but with the cancers they went in with completely resolved. Doubters suggested fasting assisted the cancer.

However, recent experiments reported on The ABC's Science Show have suggested fasting makes things worse for the cancer, especially when assisted by chemotherapy. Chemotherapy and fasting appear to be synergistic.

Valter Longo at the University of Southern California investigated 18 different types of cancers in animals, showing that if you starve the cancer for a few days before and after you hit it with chemo, the results are twice as good. Also in some cases, for example breast cancer, cycles of fasting were working as well as chemotherapy.

In neuroblastoma, a very aggressive childhood cancer, the fasting alone did a little bit, not very much, the chemo alone did a little bit, not very much, but when combined the results showed 20% to 40% long-term cancer-free survival.

The great majority of the cancers tested showed that either fasting alone or fasting plus chemo was consistently better than the chemo alone.

Clinical trials in humans started two years ago, and in the next couple of months the researchers will know whether it is safe or not. And the good news is that if it is safe and it is free, then it is up to the oncologist, together with the patient, to decide if this is something that might be worth trying right now, even before the clinical trial is finished.

So why does it work? The researchers contend that normal cells are very well adapted to starvation conditions, they know exactly what to do and they can manage for a long time. Cancer cells have no idea.

The researchers go on to point out that much of modern cancer research and treatment was aimed at developing a magic bullet; something that specifically kills the cancer cell. This magic bullet has not been found, so now mainstream attention has shifted to personalized, specific treatments.

However, what these researchers are looking at is different again. They are working with basic confusion. Cancer cells are a little bit less able to adapt to different environments, and starvation is one of the most extreme environments that you can encounter. The researchers think the cancer cells are dying because they are confused, they do not understand the starvation environment. They try to respond by activating all kinds of pathways, for example they try to make more proteins, even though they are starving. And so in this process they commit suicide.

Valter Longo said on the Science Show that the researchers think “it would be good for a patient to go to their oncologist and say, you know, maybe I'm running out of options, things are not working, or I'm extremely concerned about the side-effects. So that patient should be able to go to an oncologist and say what about this. And our hope is that the oncologist picks up some papers and does some reading and then determines whether this is premature based on the condition of the patient, or is something that they could do”.

Asked by Robin Williams “Is there a bounce-back effect, in other words where you've got slightly starvation reduced cancers and they've been knocked on the head by chemotherapy as well, but there's a lingering few cells, can they then bounce back if the treatment is reduced?”

Valter Longo replied “That's what usually happens with the chemotherapy alone. What we're seeing is that when you add the fasting, that is much less likely to happen, probably because you give that extra push. So now you have a population of cells, each one of them...the chemotherapy itself actually creates variation. So it generates in some sense...it can generate the one cell that then can escape and become resistant, and then you're in trouble if you get the resistant cell. What we're showing is that the fasting increases the chance that that one resistant sale is never generated, and if it is generated, it dies.”

Robyn Williams ended with: “It's exciting stuff, isn't it”.

Ian’s comments

What I like so much about this interesting research is the similarity in approach to the Healing Diet I have recommended for many years where one of the main principles has been to create a “cancer unfriendly” environment in the body by manipulating the body’s metabolism nutritionally.

However, thinking fasting may have been too severe for people affected with cancer, we have recommended the monodiet, a partial fast where some nutritional input is maintained. Results reported over years have been good, but has anyone been fasting and have their experiences to share?

If you are interested in the monodiet etc, listen to the material on the CD “Eating for Recovery”, and I have added quite a deal to the new edition of “You Can Conquer Cancer” which should be released in about 6 mths..

Does curry kill cancer?


Well not curry in general, but maybe turmeric gives it a good shake! Curcumin, which is found in the spice turmeric, has been linked to a range of health benefits. Studies have already shown that it can beat cancer cells grown in a laboratory and benefits have been suggested in stroke and dementia patients as well.

Now a trial at hospitals in Leicester will be investigating giving curcumin alongside chemotherapy drugs. The trial will compare the effects of giving curcumin pills seven days before starting standard chemotherapy treatment.

Prof William Steward, from Leicester University, who is leading the study, said animal tests combining the two were "100 times better" than either on their own and that had been the "major justification for cracking on" with the trial.

"The prospect that curcumin might increase the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemotherapy is exciting because it could mean giving lower doses, so patients have fewer side effects and can keep having treatment for longer.

"This research is at a very early stage, but investigating the potential of plant chemicals to treat cancer is an intriguing area that we hope could provide clues to developing new drugs in the future."

Ian’s comment

This research builds on what has been suggested for a good while, turmeric has specific anti-cancer properties. It is one of the top ten anti-cancer foods we have recommended for years. The best way to take it from what we know so far is to use the fresh herb (use the dried powder if you cannot obtain this) and add it to meals. Around 5gms per day seems to be the recommended amount, and happily, you can easily eat this in a normal meal. Adding black pepper at the same time is reported to enhance the effect considerably. Tumeric can also be added to juices.

RELATED BLOGS

Body weight and cancer  Where the question of weight loss and gain and how it relates to cancer is discussed in detail

Eating for recovery  Where the importance of nutrition to cancer recovery is discussed, along with recommendations

There are many other blogs on cancer and nutrition, including some recipes - check the nutrition tag.


NEWS


1. WEBINAR with IAN 


 Tuesday 15th July at 8.00pm EST.


The topic is Mindfulness, it is free but you need to register via the Mindbody Mastery website

 I will be talking about the two types of mindfulness and why are both important to learn and practice, we will do some practice together, and you can ask questions online that I will answer. You need to register via the above link, it starts at 8pm EST and goes for one hour.


2. Workshops in Melbourne only 2 weeks away: 


Sat & Sun July 26 & 27,  Hawthorn

The Mind that Changes Everything is a weekend where we delve into the workings of the mind, check out recent research and new techniques and share in the theory and practice of affirmations, imagery , contemplation and the deeper experiences of meditation.

Based on my book of the same name, The Mind that Changes Everything is ideal for beginners, lapsed meditators and the experienced, the weekend is highly experiential with good time for questions and discussions.

Join Ruth, like minded people and myself for a weekend enhancing the power and potential of your mind.

 For the link to the Gawler Foundation to book, click here, or for enquiries, ring 03 59671730

07 May 2012

Ian Gawler Blog: Remarkable online changes

In breaking news, following a mail out to GPs, over 1,000, yes 1,000 have asked for information and brochures so they can recommend Mindbody Mastery as a way of practicing meditation to their patients.Three months after release, the evidence is that the online, downloadable Mindbody Mastery program is helping people to meditate more often, for longer periods of time and with greater satisfaction.

This week, we share those results, but first,

Thought for the Day: Who are you?

If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without alcohol,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can love unconditionally,

Who are you???You are probably the family dog!!!

or a meditator!!!

Recently we surveyed Mindbody Mastery participants asking how often they meditate, what they thought of the program, and whether they would refer it to others. The results are very confirming and show that two months after commencing Mindbody Mastery, people are meditating substantially more, for longer periods, and feeling much more satisfied with their meditation practice.

About three quarters of those who have taken up Mindbody Mastery have done some meditation before. On average only 16% of these people meditated once or twice daily before starting the program. Two months later over 60% , nearly four times more, are meditating that often. Also, 24% were meditating more than 20 minutes daily before, two months in and that figure has doubled to over 50%.

We are hoping that the support package with its email and SMS reminders, webinars and so on will keep this trend going and look forward to the next survey in a few more months.

What we do now from published research in other fields is that this IT based support system does help people to significantly change lifestyle habits. So if you are keen to meditate more regularly, perhaps Mindbody Mastery is for you. It is something I am proud to be able to recommend and promote.

Check out the survey results:



Prior to Mindbody Mastery
2 months after commencing Mindbody Mastery
Frequency of meditation
Never
26%
2%
Once per week
25%
4%
                        
3-4x per week
33%
32%

Daily or twice daily
16%
62%




Duration of each meditation session
<5 minutes
23%
2%
5-10 minutes
14%
4%

10-20 minutes
39%
43%

20-40 minutes
24%
41%

40+ minutes
-
10%




Self-reported satisfaction with meditation practice
Very unsatisfied
28%
12%
Unsatisfied
19%
-

OK
37%
29%

Satisfied
14%
45%
Very satisfied
2%
14%


 Also, we asked people about their satisfaction with the program and again the results are very encouraging:

a.       89% said that they are satisfied or very satisfied with the program,

b.      86% said that they thought it was good or very good value for money, and

c.       95% said that they will refer the program to their family and friends!

NEWS

Brisbane workshops in June open for registration

Ruth and I will be in Brisbane at the Relaxation Centre from June 14 – 17. It is always good to meet up with familiar faces and to meet those of you we have not met in person as yet.

One particular word of encouragement. On the Friday I will be presenting a day workshop on the topic of death and dying. This will follow a similar format to the day I presented recently at the Happiness and its Causes conference with Sogyal Rinpoche and I highly recommend it.

A good death is something we all deserve; while to be able to help someone else to die well is an extraordinary gift. However, experience tells us that if we are not prepared for death, it may not go so well. This day covers so much that can help us to die well, and in the process it teaches us how to live well too; it is one of the workshops I most value to present.

 June 14th  Evening public talk:
 Eating Well Being Well –Including the latest research findings (I just attended and spoke at the International Nutrition in Medicine conference) as well a comprehensive guide to how to prepare really healthy food that is easy and tasty. Lots of time for questions, and good for those on the healing path too.

June 15th Day workshop:
Understanding Death & Helping the Dying - A day workshop for Health Professionals, caregivers and others.

June 16th & 17th Weekend workshop
The Mind that Changes Everything - A weekend focusing on using the power of the mind along with meditation and imagery techniques using ground breaking scientific research.

Where: The Relaxation Centre, 15 South Pine Rd, Alderley, Brisbane, 4051 Hide/Show Map

Bookings & Info: Click on the links above, or call The Relaxation Centre on (07) 3856 3733