Monday, December 26, 2011

Combating Fatigue in Cancer

Pilot Study

A team of researchers from Australia and New Zealand conducted a small pilot study to help determine an appropriate dose of methylphenidate hydrochloride, a central nervous system stimulant, to treat fatigue in patients with advanced cancer.

They reported in Journal of Palliative Medicine that 5 mg twice daily would be an appropriate dose to test in a definitive study. Ten patients provided consent.

After a three-day assessment, patients received titrated methylphenidate hydrochloride at doses ranging from 5 mg a day to 15mg twice a day. Nine patients completed eight days and five received the maximum dose at day 15. Three patients were satisfied with the results at a lower dose and were not willing to increase it.

The team noted a pattern of rapidly improving fatigue and depression at 5 mg twice daily.

Journal of Palliative Medicine, Volume 13, Number 10, Oct. 2010

Monday, December 19, 2011

Spiritual Pain in Advanced Cancer: Symptom for Hospice Chaplains to Address

Quality of Life Can Improve

A vast majority of advanced cancer patients receiving palliative care consider themselves spiritual and religious.  But spiritual pain is still common and is linked to lower quality of life.  This is another place in which the holistic hospice approach to mind and body may improve life’s final stage.

A study done by the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Texas, examined the frequency and intensity of spirituality, religiosity, and spiritual pain, and how spiritual pain was associated with symptom expression, coping, and spiritual quality of life.

Researchers interviewed 100 patients with advanced cancer and had them complete questionnaires assessing their symptoms and ability to cope. 

Spiritual pain was reported in 44%, and was associated with lower spiritual quality of life. Patients with spiritual pain reported that it contributed adversely to their physical/emotional symptoms. There was a trend toward increased depression, anxiety, anorexia, and drowsiness among patients with spiritual pain, although this may not have been significant after corrections.

Every Pathways Hospice patient can have visits from extremely well qualified spiritual care counselors to give unbiased spiritual or religious support to patient or family members, to identify and resolve spiritual concerns, to explore the meaning of life, to administer sacraments, or to be a warm listening presence when needed.

This study can be found at J Pain Symptom Manage.  2011; 41(6):986-94 (ISSN: 1873-6513).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fiber in Diet Reduces Risk of Breast Cancer

What do avocados, blackberries, oatmeal and black beans have in common?  They are all very high in fiber.  So?   

A study done at Soochow University in China has demonstrated that raising your fiber intake can significantly reduce your risk of breast cancer.

After examining 10 studies of dietary fiber intake and risk of breast cancer involving 16,848 cases and 712,195 participants, they found that the more fiber added to the diet, the lower the breast cancer risk fell.

12 Great Sources of Fiber

Avocados, artichokes, raspberries, blackberries, lentils, black beans, broccoli, vegetable beef soup, pears, apples, oatmeal, and barley.
The study was published in the American Journal of Nutrition, 2011; 94(3):900-5 (ISSN: 1938-3207).