This morning was a very early start. What with appointments at hospital and such, I agreed to speak to BBC radio Oxford about me and my story, at 8am this morning. That meant getting up at 6.30am. I had to drag myself out of bed as I didn’t sleep well at all. Not sure why, just one of those things.
I have to be honest I was dreading it a little bit. That’s how I get when I’m nervous. Silly really because as soon as I arrived at the studios I was welcomed by the producer of the show and Malcolm Boyden, the presenter. They were both very nice and I immediately felt at ease. I discussed my story with Malcolm at length and then before I knew it is was over. What on earth was I worried? It makes you wonder how many people put things off just because of the way they think it might go. The mind gets in the way of letting you live. I knew in my heart it was right to go along and chat but there was a little devil on my shoulder trying to tell me not to go. I’m very thankful that I do not listen to this little chap on my shoulder that often. If only I could shut it up when it worries me about the future or more importantly when a scan is approaching. My friend said to me I just need to think of the scan results as information that I take away and work on. It doesn’t matter what they say just as long as I know I feel ok in myself. She’s right. It all goes back to not worrying about what may or may not happen.
I have had a lot of information given to me following my Skype meeting with Cancer Options earlier this week. It was filled with great advice and some changes and additions to supplements and the introduction of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. As we know cancer doesn’t like oxygenated blood therefore having pure oxygen inhaled would really give it a run for its money.
This is how it works. As tumours rapidly grow and expand, the network of blood vessels bringing oxygen to the cells cannot keep up, leaving cells starved of oxygen. This would kill normal cells but cancer cells switch on a protein called HIF which in turn switches on other molecules in the cell. This cascade encourages new blood vessels to form around and into the tumour helping the tumour to adapt by using alternative methods to produce energy.
A cell generates energy to grow and survive inside tiny power stations called mitochondria by using oxygen to fuel chemical reactions.
Oxygen levels are monitored by a protein called CHCHD4. When oxygen levels fall below a critical level, this protein activates the HIF response. Lab studies have shown stopping HIF response stops cancer cells from growing and developing blood vessels.
When too much CHCHD4 was switched on in oxygen-starved cancer cells, large amounts of HIF were activated. This kick started a sequence of events that allowed cells to survive in low oxygen. A lot of work is currently being done to develop drugs to interfere with this signalling sequence which allows cancer cells to utilise hypoxia in this fashion.
It is believed that tumour hypoxia contributes significantly to treatment failure and relapse among cancer patients because cells in the hypoxic zones of solid tumours resist traditional chemotherapy for at least two reasons: first, most antitumor agents cannot penetrate beyond 50-100 micrometers from capillaries, thereby never reaching those cells in the hypoxic regions. Secondly, the lower nutrient and oxygen supply to cells in the hypoxic zones of tumours cause them to divide more slowly than their well oxygenated counterparts, so hypoxic tumour cells exhibit greater resistance to chemotherapies and radiation which target rapidly dividing cells or require oxygen for efficacy.
Hypoxia also contributes to the invasive and metastatic potential of aggressive cancers by
promoting genetic instability and accelerating the accumulation of mutations that can ultimately give rise to drug resistance.
Recent research is investigating the theory that low oxygen levels can be a mitigating factor in developing cancer and also in cancer metastasising.
I have heard a lot about this but figured I would need to travel for it but it turns out there is a hyperbaric chamber only a mile away from where I live. This is great news and what’s more it is cheap because it is a registered charity. Having spoken to them today it will be simple for me to get going with this should I choose to do it. I simply need my GP to sign a form then I can get cracking.
I had a lovely reflexology treatment yesterday. If you haven’t tried it I would highly recommend it. If you are local then I suggest you to go the therapist featured on the resources page. She is amazing. I left feeling chilled and thoroughly worked out! Can’t wait for my next one…