February 4, 2012

World Cancer Day: Welcome Guest Blogger Liz Davies

Today is World Cancer Day and this years theme is "Together We Are Stronger." The first thing you can do is go here and sign the World Cancer Declaration (or click on the icon in the sidebar), a petition to end cancer globally.

And I have a special treat for you today. In support of a cure through better exposure I have Liz Davies visiting today as my guest. Liz is a recent graduate interested in all things health related. In honor of WCD 2012, Liz has written an awesome article for us about assisting cancer patients suffering from insomnia.

Welcome Liz! I am so happy to have you here as my guest today!

So, who is Liz? Read on:

Q) How did you become interested in the topic of cancer and treatment/exercise for insomnia?
A) I have been interested in the way exercise affects cancer patients since I started working at my school’s recreation and wellness center. It is very motivational being surrounded by people interested in health. I also have history with cancer in my family and I have always been interested in ways cancer patients can face their difficulties in a positive way.

Q) What did you receive your degree in? Is it health related?
A) I received my degree in Communications and although I do not have a degree in a health related field I have always been interested in health and have educated myself on many topics.

Q)  Now that you’ve graduated, what is your career path?
A)  I hope to influence people through my writing. I have a friend that plans on starting a business and I would love to do Public Relations for her.

Q) You mention that you’re an aspiring writer. What genre are you interested in writing?
A)  I am interested in writing about topics that can help people and give them more information than they had before. I love reading news articles and inspirational pieces so I want to be able to write things that people will love to read.

Sweet Dreams for Cancer Patients through Exercise  (by Liz Davies)
Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy are three times more likely to be affected by insomnia than those without cancer. Insomnia can be prevalent for multiple reasons, one of those reasons being a high level of stress felt by cancer patients. But research has also found that these sleep problems can continue though remission.

Insomnia has extremely negative effects on the human body. This can include affecting the cardiac and immune functions of the body. Cancer patients often already have issues with this so insomnia adds more unhealthy weakness to the body. For cancer patients, it is very hard to fight off unexpected problems so this extra stress makes it more difficult to fight their main focus, cancer.

Insomnia affects all cancer patients differently. Lung cancer patients were found to have the highest level of insomnia and colon cancer patients had the least. This could be due to the different types of chemotherapy taken throughout treatment or the different levels of stress found with different survival rates. Patients who have generally higher survival rates like those suffering from breast cancer, are going to have different stresses from those with cancers with typically lower survival rates, like mesothelioma.

When trying to cure insomnia is it important to find and address the underlying issue. Patients who were diagnosed with insomnia were also found to have more incidences of depression and exhaustion. The number one symptom of people suffering from depression is insomnia but treating depression did not help cure the insomnia.

There are many medications that are given to cancer patients as sleep aids. Many patients do not want to add one more pill to their plate. One way to naturally cure insomnia is through exercise. Exercise reduces stress and nervous and muscle tension while increasing the production of endorphins which creates a sense of well-being and relieves pain.

At first a daily exercise program might feel more tiring than anything but after the body adjusts, the body will be able to go into a fuller sleep and therefore become more well rested than previously. It is important to try not to exercise directly before trying to fall asleep because this will cause sleep disturbances. Many believe exercise is the number one treatment for cancer survivors. Article written by Liz Davies.

Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.

Thank you, Liz, for being my guest today. I loved your article and your drive to assist cancer patients get through very difficult times. Gwen.


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful article. I am a big fan of using natural medicines and exercise as well as modern medicines such as chemotherapy. Doctors that treat the whole patient seem to have the most success. And we need people who care enough and are open minded enough to see that it is more than just riding the body of cancer, but giving the patient the will to live not just survive.

Claire Hennessy said...

Great blog, thanks for the info. My ex mother-in-law just died of cancer.
I've given you an Award over on my blog :)

Lady Gwen said...

Anonymous, well said! I truly believe that one day we will eradicate cancer, and thanks to the people that dedicate their lives to see that it happens.

Lady Gwen said...

Claire, I'm sorry your your ex MIL - we lose too many to cancer!

P.S., thank you bunches for the award!

Dakota Edge said...

Wonderful article. We tend to think of cancer in terms of chemotherapy and forget about treating the whole illness/person. And sleep is so very important both physically and mentally. Nice contribution to World Cancer Day. Thank you.

Lady Gwen said...

DE, so true about the sleep. Even a healthy person can't maintain their health without sleep, so it's especially important for cancer patients.

The East Coaster said...

Thank you so much for posting this article.

Lady Gwen said...

East Coaster - you're welcome. I do like to help in my own small way:)