Friday, June 29, 2012

Oxygenating the body

Me finishing the 21Km

I had ran last year's Standard Chartered KL Half Marathon and made it just in time, with only 2 minutes to spare, to collect my finishers medal.I was off the road for the whole running season 2011/2012 until last weekend. I participated again in the Standard Chartered KL Half Marathon, one participant amoung 27,000 participants

I had put alot of efforts to regain my health and confidence. I had the courage but not the form for running. My radiation treatment was and still is zapping up my muscle intensity like no other. My hormonal treatment is zapping up my bone density like sup tulang. But I was glad that my Hypertension, Diabetes and High cholestrol were well managed under medications. I only was in poor vitality and completely out of form for the whole 12 months. I had asked my Oncologist if it was OK to run. He curtly replied "If you still can"

If I still can? This hit me like a ton of rock. If I still can.

I can. I should. I must. Otherwise I would be reduced to pulp unabated. I had started to train daily with whatever strength I could muster. My maximum heart beat rate is 160 beats per minutes,(bpm) given my age and health conditions. My heart beat at rest hovers around 50 — 60 bpm. I had trained hard in my walks and jogs maximising to my heart beat rate occasionally. I was ready for my Marathon run in June 2012. 

Me and my Angels Karen and June

Me collecting my race kit

I was on the start line for the 0600 hrs flag off. As usual I was with the rear group. I was thinking hard; could I do it this time around? 

Me at the start line

I was shocked that my heart was already beating very fast as I left the start line. My heart beat monitor watch read 160 bpm. And I wasn't even excited nor had any warm ups. I had reserved every ounce of strength for the 21km. I could not understand what my body was telling me. What do I do? Abort now. No way, I can do it I said to myself. I only need to rest and calm down. I walked out passed the start line. My heart beat continued to be beat fiecely. I then gave myself 10% more bpm. I will cut off my run and start to rest for a minute or two whenever my heart beat reaches 176 bpm. It was a very high risk to take; running at maximum bpm. I was doing fine. I constantly kept an eye at my watch for the whole run. My heart beat was managed with a narrow window from 160 to 175 bpm. I was on one gear mode, moving at a very controlled pace.

I finished the run at 3 hours 14 minutes, with 16 minutes to spare, to collect my medal. I did it again. I beat my last year's record of 3 hours 28 minutes.

I did it

Will I run again next year?  Definitely. Running oxygenate my body to the fullest.

Take care

Allen Lai

Know your PSA test

The PSA test is the standard biomarker for prostrate cancer post treatments. The prostrate gland, pituitary and adrenal glands produce prostrate specific atintgens into our blood stream. There are 6 type of structured PSA antigens. But significantly there are two types of antigenS. Fixed and Free PSAs, fixed as in fixed to a protein and Free as in free for fixing onto a protein. Benign prostrate tumurs produce Free PSA. The standard PSA test shows the total amount of PSA in the blood. But FREE PSA can be counted as a percentage of the total PSA count. The lower the percentage of the Free PSA the higher the chance of cancer cells present. The higher the Free PSA percentage the lower the chance of cancer cells present. Studies have shown the following chances of cancer cells present relative to the amount of Free PSA to Total PSA in the blood.

Under 10% Free PSA means 56% chance of cancer.
10-15% means 28% chance of cancer
15-20% means 20% chance of cancer
20-25% means 16% chance of cancer
25% and above means less than 8% chance of cancer.

The next time you do your PSA test ask for the persentage of Free PSA from your total amount.

Take care.

Allen Lai

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Have you eaten your mushrooms ?

There are abundant mushrooms on Earth. There are more than 1.5 million species and counting. Most are edible and some are healing mushrooms. And some are even poisonous. Mushrooms are quite nice to eat although a bit pricy. Edible Mushrooms are found in almost every cusine, foods and recipies. However healing mushrooms have been used as medicines since ancient times, particularly in China, Japan and Korea.

Healing mushrooms have known properties that cure chronic dieseases including cancer. Scientific papers and clinical trials are coming out rapidly with successful trials ans statistics. More are known about mushrooms in the advent of modern medicine and nutritional sciences. Mushrooms are now confirmed and recognised as powerful antioxidants, as anti inflamatory and fights viruses and fungus. They are now effective treatments for today's ailments and illness. Mushrooms have many biologically active polysaccharides and terpenoids. Mushrooms produce Lentinan which is the third most prescribed anti cancer drug in the world. Reiishi in particular inhibits angiogenesis in prostrate cancer. Reiishi is part of the potent PC-SPES formula used in suppressing prostrate cancer. Mushrooms are also known to work well alongside chemo treatments in inhibiting tumors.

Mushrooms are fungi. Intelligent fungi if you will. They grow in decaying environments, feeding on toxic outputs from decaying hosts. That is why some mushrooms remains toxic and are poisonuous. Mushrooms are actually the body fruits of a fungus. Mushrooms help plants to grow by breaking down organic matters in the ground. The natural ability to break down organic matters is the key to be medicine for healings. Mushrooms encounter diesease causing pathogens far more than any other life forms. Hence mushrooms have developed natural survival mechanism in order to survive in their environment that they grow in. These survival mechanisms gives value to the human immune system when consumed.

Healing mushrooms include the Maitake, Shiitake, Reiishi and Cordeyceps species among the more potent healing mushrooms. Reiishi mushrooms are known as Linzhi in China. Cordyceps are the most intrigue mushrooms, as they are known to be worms in winter and plants in the summer. How can that be? Two differentiated living forms?

In truth Cordyceps are fungus and live in caterpillars. The mycelium of the Cordyceps is encased in the mummified body of the caterpillar, from which they germinate, kills its hosts and emerge as spores. Hence winter worms and summer plants. But I have always thought that Cordeceps are caterpillar worms from the highlands in Tibet. Now I know better. Legends aside, mushrooms should be taken as serious medicines and health supplements.
But alas on the downside of mushrooms, there are indeed many poor quality and fake mushroom products in the market. This is due to the current rapid demand for mushrooms as health supplements. so 'caveat emptor' applies. Let buyers beware. Buy your mushrooms from reputable brands.

I love all mushrooms served in chinese and european dishes and enjoy eating them.

For more details and information, you should read Healing Mushrooms - A guide to understanding and using the healing properties of medicinal mushrooms. An authoritative book by Dr Georges M. Halpern MD PHD.

I take Reiishi for my cancer.

Take care.

Allen Lai

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Eating Health supplements

Health supplements building blocks

Taking health supplements is quite complex and costly if not cautious. It is no doubt that we need health supplements to augment our daily intake of food. It is sad that modem times have depleted the value of nutrients, minerals and properties in the everyday food that we eat. This is due to morden agricultural and food processing practices.

I have always been asked what health supplements to take and how much to take. My first advice is always know your body. Know if you have any ailments and symptoms of early stages of any dieseases. It would be best to do a full blood test and other medical examinations to determine what are the shorfalls of nutrients, minerals and level of stresses in our body. Or what are the excesses due to malfunctions of our organs. One can safely then access what health supplements to take for long term remedies. Drugs and medication of course does quick fixes but would be bad for the body in the long term. Health supplements are basically food, only that they are processed, concentrated and handy. Again, whenever I was asked when do we have to stop taking health supplements? My answer is always very curt, when we want to stop eating.

So what health supplements and how much do we have to take daily? There is no answer, but as a rule of thumb we can follow the building block shown above.

The American Institute for Optimum Nutrition does propose Daily Allowances of nutrients, minerals and vitamins for our bodies.
Following essential building blocks as shown, we should
start with a High Potency Multivitamin and Mineral programme. This should provide the following nutrients:

Good multivitamin should contain at least 7,500iu of A, 10mcg (400iu) of D, 100iu of E, 250mg of C, and 25mg each of B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6, 10mcg of B12, 200mcg of folic acid and 50mcg of biotin.

This should provide at least 300mg of calcium, 150mg of magnesium, 10mg of iron, 10mg of zinc, 2.5mg of manganese, 20mcg of chromium and 25mcg of selenium, and, ideally some molybdenum, vanadium and boron.

1. You simply can’t fit all of the above vitamins and minerals into one tablet. So good, combined multivitamin and mineral formulas recommend two or more tablets a day to meet these kind of levels. The bulkiest nutrients are vitamin C, calcium and magnesium. These are often insufficiently supplied in multivitamin and mineral formulas. Vitamin C, in particular is best taken separately simply because you’ll never get 1,000mg (the ideal daily dose) into a multi.

2. Add Extra Vitamin C and Other Immune Boosting Nutrients
VITAMIN C This is worth taking separately because the amount you need won’t fit in a multi. The supplement should provide around 1,800mg of Vitamin C. Some vitamin C formulas also provide other key immune boosting nutrients such as bioflavonoids or anthocyanidins in the form of black elderberry and bilberry and zinc.

3. Add Extra Antioxidant Nutrients
The evidence is now very conclusive that an optimal intake of antioxidant nutrients slows down the ageing process and prevents a variety of diseases. For this reason it is well worth supplementing extra antioxidant nutrients – on top of those in a good multivitamin – to ensure you are achieving the best possible ageing protection. The kind of nutrients that are provided in an antioxidant supplement are vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene, zinc and selenium, possibly iron, copper and manganese, the amino acids glutathione or cysteine, plus phytonutrients such as bilberry extract, elderberry extract, pycnogenol and grape seed extract. These plant chemicals, rich in bioflavonoids and anthocyanidins, are also often supplied in more comprehensive vitamin C formulas.

4. Are You Getting Enough Fat?
There are two ways of meeting your essential fat requirements: one is from diet, either by eating a heaped tablespoon of ground seeds every day, having a tablespoon of special cold-pressed seed oils and/or eating oily fish (such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, herring, anchovies) three times a week; the other is to supplement concentrated oils. For omega 3 this means either flax seed oil capsules or the more concentrated fish oil capsules providing EPA and DHA. For omega 6 this means supplementing a source of GLA such as evening primrose oil or borage oil. Even better is a combination of all three – EPA, DHA and GLA.

These are the basic building blocks of a good supplement programme.

Extracts curtesy of

Take care

Allen Lai

Monday, June 18, 2012

Me, My Cells and I. A Survivor's Seriously Funny Guide to the Science of Cancer.

Do you understand the science of cancer? Seriously I don't either. And it is not funny. Most People, other than medical scientist and oncologists, also do not understand the science of cancer too. The science behind cancer is just too complex and complicated.

Along comes Dave Ames caught unawares with fourth stage prostrate cancer. He chose to fight back. He knew the only way to fight back is to start understanding the complexities behind cancer. He survived to write the title book,  but with a high touch of humour. This is not just another My Way book by a survivor detailing how he did it his way.  Dave Ames knew another plain explanation book on cancer will not drive home the science of cancer, like every other book on cancer.

 Daves Ames wrote in the Introduction of the book:

My friends like to tell me I look pretty good for a dead guy. I am not really dead; its just that I am supposed to be.

In conlusion he wrote:

Not only am I still alive, I managed to emerged from the far side of  radiation with the joyous pleasures of defecation, urination and fornication relatively intact.

Humour and laughter are the best medicence.  This book is a good read. It is not so much as what Daves Ames did or did not do. This book tries to explain the science of cancer at the celluller level. In any case it is worth several readings for the slick tongue in cheek explanations. All thirty chapters in the book.

Google the book for  a full book review.
Take care

Allen Lai

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fighting Cancer

New healthy living guidelines for cancer survivors
April 26, 2012
By Colleen Doyle, MS, RD

In my work at the American Cancer Society, when I talk with people who've been diagnosed with cancer, they tend to ask me 3 things: what can I do to reduce the chance that my cancer will come back? What can I do to help me not develop some other kind of cancer? How can I help my family members reduce their own risk for developing cancer?

For many years, answering questions 2 and 3 was a cinch.

We've known for years that for people who don't smoke, the most important ways to reduce their risk of cancer are to strive to be at a healthy weight, live a physically active lifestyle, eat a diet made up mostly of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and watch how much alcohol is consumed (if any, at all). As a matter of fact, a recent study published by ACS researchers showed that non-smokers who most closely followed those recommendations had a significantly lower risk of premature death from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and all causes when compared to people who followed the guidelines least closely.

So giving advice about how to reduce their risk of developing another type of cancer and providing information to pass on to their own family members was pretty easy, because that data has been around for many years.

Answers about how to reduce the risk of recurrence were not as clear. But they've recently gotten clearer.

Over the last several years, evidence has accumulated for a number of cancers that achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough physical activity, and eating a healthy diet can reduce the chance of recurrence and increase the likelihood of disease-free survival after a diagnosis of cancer. Big news.

Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight

Extra weight is linked to increased risk of the cancer coming back and decreased survival rates among breast, prostate, and colorectal (colon) cancer survivors, and possibly others. Being overweight is a risk factor for these 3 cancers (and others), and many people with cancer are overweight at the time of diagnosis. For these survivors, setting lifelong goals to achieve and maintain a healthy weight are among the most important health-related goals that can be set. Healthy ways to control weight include:
Limiting high-calorie foods
Drinking fewer beverages high in fat and/or added sugar
Eating more low-calorie foods like vegetables and fruits
Adding more physical activity throughout the day

Be Active on a Regular Basis

Many studies have shown that being physically active has a tremendous impact on quality of life of cancer survivors. Now, studies have demonstrated that physical activity after cancer diagnosis is also associated with a lower risk of the cancer coming back and improved overall survival among multiple cancer survivor groups, including breast, colon, prostate, and ovarian cancer.

Among breast cancer survivors, a recent analysis showed that getting exercise after diagnosis was associated with a 34% lower risk of breast cancer deaths, a 41% lower risk of dying from all causes, and a 24% lower risk of breast cancer recurrence. Among colon cancer survivors, studies suggest exercise cuts deaths from colon cancer and all causes, and cuts the risk of the cancer coming back by up to 50%.

Our recommendations, and those of the American College of Sports Medicine, encourage survivors to aim to exercise for at least 150 minutes per week, and to include strength training exercises at least 2 days per week. For survivors who have not been previously active, gradually working up to these recommendations is the way to go.

Fill your plate with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains

Recent reviews suggest that food choices may affect risk for recurrence and overall survival among survivors. The majority of these studies have focused on breast cancer, but more evidence has also emerged for colon and prostate cancer survivors.

Similar to what we've seen for cancer prevention, it looks like it's the overall dietary pattern that is important for cancer survivorship -it's not one food, or even one food group, that makes the difference. It's likely the combination of many different nutrients coming from many different foods --working together -- that offers the best protection. Studies suggest that the best protection comes from a diet that:
Is high in fruits, vegetables and, whole grains
Includes more fish and poultry instead of red and processed meats
Includes low fat instead of full-fat dairy products,
Includes nuts and olive oil instead of less healthy sources of fat, such as butter or trans fats found in many processed snack foods.

The bottom line

Do we have all the answers related to nutrition, physical activity, and cancer survivorship? No. But do we have enough information and evidence to recommend that anyone who's been diagnosed with cancer should strive to be at a healthy weight, live a physically active lifestyle, and add more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to their meals and snacks? Absolutely. It's an important message that I'm sharing with everyone I know who has been diagnosed with any kind of cancer.

Curtesy :
Expert Voices - American Cancer Society

After Prostrate Cancer

I have being reading a lot of books and news articles on cancer, particularly on Prostrate Cancer. I even read anything related to health issues. There are abundant readings everywhere. Reading them again and again reminds us to be healthy and keep illness at bay. However most books are quite straight forward and sends out the same messages. I do get refreshed after reading health issues.

After Prostrate Cancer - a what comes next guide to a safe and informed recovery by Dr Arnold Melman, MD is really one of the best books today for prostrate cancer survivors.

This book is very relevant to the impacts of post cancer treatments and what comes next. The book allays our fears and confusion somewhat. All cancer survivors are fearful of a relapse after being certified technically cancer free.

The book covers all the possible therapies and remedies to the side efects derived from treatments. The book offers real solutions to the problems of the side effects.

But what is most important are the descriptions of the latest protocols, drugs and therapies to come for survivors struggling with relapse after their treatments.
The final chapter The future of prostrate cancer treatment and recovery offers a lot of hope and reliefs that something will be available at the end of our dark tunnel. And sooner than later.

This is a must read book for survivors who are in the castration resistant stage of prostrate cancer. Google for the review of this book.

Take care.

Allen Lai