Thursday, July 23, 2015

Quest For A Cure

Well, now that most of my to-do stuff is kind of out of the way, I cease to be a stranger at this blog.  So what had kept me away from this haven? Firstly, I wanted to get my upcoming book out of the way. 

Secondly (which should have really been “firstly”) I was busy finalising my masters research proposal for ethics approval etc. 

Thirdly, I had to rework on a manuscript. Massive rework. 

Fourthly, I was mildly chided for being a recluse and not interacting with my readers...I mean, I’m not active on twitter and I don’t have an ‘author page’ on Facebook - I’d rather have people ‘like’ my books, rather than 'like' me. So as a compromise, I now have a website, where my mugshot has been inflicted upon the world. I have also managed to sum up my life in a brief paragraph, in case you wish to know "more" about me. So scoot to this link if you are curious.

Once all the above chores were done, I spent many sunny days catching up on my reading – more on that later. And watching old Kannada movies...more on that in the next post :)

This year's "medal"
Coming back to where I stopped - I’d like to thank Shweta – one of Kaapizone’s followers – for her generous contribution to Cancer Research. Thank you so much for sponsoring me are so wonderful. I hope I get to meet you some day.  The 5K was on 19th (this past Sunday) and it was a lovely day. I jogged for only two kilometres and walked the rest of the way, planning for my manuscript’s surgery.  

So, here we are. As I’d mentioned in my previous blog, in this post, I’d like to discuss some of the more recent developments in cancer research. But, if you’d like to understand existing treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery etc, I do recommend this website -

In a recent breakthrough – I’m talking about as recent as last month – a trial involving immunotherapy saw that advanced melanoma was stopped, and/or brought under control in 58% of cancer cases. In terms of a medical trial, that’s a huge percentage. The trial involved two drugs – ipilimumab and nivolumab. So what does immunotherapy do? In a very layman’s terms, immunotherapy uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer. We all know that whenever anything ‘harmful’ enters the body, the immune system immediately goes into attack mode. It spots the enemy and eliminates it. In case of cancer, the immune system is unable to spot the cancerous cells. Immunotherapy changes this game plan. It ‘marks’ the cancer cells so that they are now ‘visible’ to the immune system. And the immune system does the rest of the job. Immunotherapy is usually administered intravenously by means of a vaccine injection.

Vicky Brown, 61, is now a famous case study in immunotherapy. She was diagnosed with advanced melanoma that had spread to her lungs and breast, and was given only weeks to live in 2013. She took part in the trial – and the cancer was ERADICATED within weeks. Eradicated mind you – not just reduced. But the cancer has recurred, and it has been treated successfully once again. She has faced side effects, but they were controlled. You can watch some interesting interviews and case studies here

It’s also good to know about different schools of thought on cancer treatment. There are some who vehemently criticise the conventional treatment methods. There are alternative and complementary cancer treatments which are not mainstream, the main argument against them being lack of rigorous trials.  On the other hand, alternative researchers and practitioners point out the power of pharma corporations – cancer is big business, and so is fund raising. They have a point – but the debate becomes scary for someone battling life and death. Should a terminal patient approach orthodox medicine, or should they go for an alternative treatment that costs less, and claims better treatment success? You can take time and go through these points of view here and here.

After reading literature on both sides of the argument, I see a faint point of convergence. Immunotherapy is here to stay – and the cure for cancer should come from within...from our immune system. So, lifestyle choices become all the more important, given our exposure to more and more environmental hazards. That is, having a good immune system becomes a preventive “therapy”.

Eat well, sleep well, don’t allow stress to suck your life. And, have that spoon of Chyawanprash every day. 

© Sumana Khan – 2015 


  1. Great trailer, Sumana. I wish you the bes(h)test of luck, love and light in your health and your art.

    "...don’t allow stress to suck your life" - considering the source, this was very inspiring. Thank you.

  2. Awesome website! But, why black and white photo? Look forward to your new book. Good luck.

    1. Thank you Uma! ಸದ್ಯಕ್ಕೆ ಕಪ್ಪು ಬಿಳುಪು ಫೋಟೋ ಸಾಕು...:)