Cancer Blog: From Medicineworld.org
Do you read all of the blogs published by medicineworld.org? Many of our bloggers are busy keeping you updated on the various health related topics. We publish the following blogs at this time.
Cancer blog: I manage the cancer blog with lots of help and support form other bloggers. Through this cancer blog my friends and I try to bring stories of hope for patients with cancer. The cancer blog often republishes important blog posts from other cancer related blogs at Medicineworld.org. If you are searching for a blog that covers wide variety of cancer topics, this may be the one for you.
Breast cancer blog: Breast cancer blog is run by Emily and other bloggers and they bring you the latest stories, news and events that are related to breast cancer. Increasing awareness about breast cancer among women and in the general population is the main goal of this breast cancer blog.
Lung cancer blog: Lung cancer blog is managed by Scott with the help of other bloggers. Through this blog Scott and his friends constantly remind the readers about the dangers of smoking. It's a never-ending struggle against this miserable disease with which a social stigma of smoking is associated.
Colon cancer blog: Colon cancer blog is run by Sue and other bloggers. Sue brings a personal touch to the colon cancer blog since her mother died of colon cancer few years ago. She writes about stories, research news and advances in treatment related to colon cancer.
Prostate cancer blog: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men. American Cancer Society estimates that over 230,000 new cases of prostate cancer occur in the United state every year. This important blog about prostate cancer is run by Mark and other bloggers. This blog brings news, stories, and other personal observations related to prostate cancer.
Medicineworld.org publishes a diabetes watch blog and this blog is run by JoAnn other bloggers. This diabetes watch blog brings you the latest in the field of diabetes. This includes personal stories, advances in diagnosis and treatment, and other observations about diabetes. Improving awareness about diabetes is an important mission of this group.
The Wayne State University study of 427 lung cancer patients in Detroit also identified a need to improve educational and outreach programs to attract a wider range of patients to treatment trials for lung cancer.
The researchers reviewed data from 175 black lung cancer patients and 252 lung cancer patients from other races who were eligible for clinical trials at the Karmanos Cancer Institute between 1994 and 1998. Of this group, 91 patients (21 percent) took part in a lung cancer treatment trial.
Patients who did not take part in any trial were more likely to be black (45 percent versus 25 percent of enrollees), female (43 percent versus 32 percent of enrollees), and over age 70 (24 percent versus 10 percent of enrollees).
The findings appear in the Jan. 15, 2006 issue of the journal Cancer.
The study focused on enrollment at a single medical center and did not examine other factors that could influence clinical trial participation, so the findings should be viewed with caution, the researchers note. Those other factors include religious beliefs, lack of trust in the medical establishment, and lack of knowledge about clinical trials.
"New recruitment strategies targeting specific patient subgroups might be helpful in ensuring equal representation of women and minority groups in cancer clinical trials," the study authors conclude.
This result came as a part of a new analysis of the placebo arm of the MA-17 trial, which was designed to see if women benefits from additional 5 years of treatment after completion of 5 years of tamoxifen. As a part of the study about half of patients received placebo and other half received the drug Femara.
In 2003, results of an interim analysis showed that Femara reduced the risk of breast cancer recurrence by 42 per cent compared to placebo. These data prompted unblinding of the study. Since then, approximately 1,655 women talking placebo have chosen to switch to Femara, while another 613 women did not pursue further treatment.
These women with hormone-sensitive early breast cancer who switched to Femara (letrozole) from placebo as discussed above experienced a 69 per cent reduction in the risk of recurrence. There also was a 72 per cent reduction in the risk of developing metastatic disease. This was also associated with a A 47 per cent reduction in the risk of dying from breast cancer.
The analysis represents the first time that an aromatase inhibitor has demonstrated a benefit in starting therapy up to five years after the end of a patient taking tamoxifen, another medicine used in the treatment of hormone-related breast cancers, claims a Novartis release.
This data provides evidence for the first time that women with breast cancer can benefit from Femara even years after the completion of tamoxifen therapy. This finding may have significant impact on the overall treatment outcomes for postmenopausal women with early breast cancer.
Introgen Therapeutics updated its phase 2 trial evaluating Advexin combined with neoadjuvant (pre-operative) chemotherapy and surgery in women with locally advanced breast cancer. After 35 months of follow-up, 92 per cent of the treated patients are alive and 83 per cent have survived without evidence of disease recurrence.
All the patients participated in the study showed an average 80 per cent reduction in tumor size. Following tumor shrinkage, complete tumor removal by subsequent surgery was achieved in 100 per cent of the patients. The results of the therapy with the addition of Advexin are better than what would be expected from neoadjuvant chemotherapy treatment alone, claims a company release.
Neoadjuvant treatments are administered prior to surgery and represent a novel and increasingly applied approach to make surgical tumour resections either more complete improving outcomes or less invasive facilitating breast conservation.
The company says the data is very encouraging, and suggest that Advexin may be combined with neoadjuvant chemotherapy to improve patient outcomes by reducing tumor size thereby permitting complete surgical tumor removal. The results of this study indicate that Advexin may enhance the clinical benefit of chemotherapies without increasing their toxicity and support clinical applications of Advexin in earlier phases of cancer treatment.
Company representatives state that prior preclinical and clinical studies indicate that Advexin interacts synergistically with many standard anti-cancer therapies and it is not surprising to find that the combination of Advexin with chemotherapy in these patients is generating encouraging results.
Introgen has received FDA fast track designation for Advexin therapy and Advexin has been designated as an orphan drug for the treatment of head and neck cancer under the Orphan Drug Act.
Coffee is my favorite, and after reading Sue's posting on Nov 14, 2005 which says that drinking coffee may decrease your chance of developing colorectal cancer, I was feeling very happy about it. Now I am reading this latest research news, which says that drinking two or more cups of tea may protect you against ovarian cancer. No I don't know what to do.
This new research findings shows that women who consume two or more cups of tea daily over a period of time may lower their risk of ovarian cancer compared with women who never or seldom consume tea. These research findings are published in the December issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Researchers Susanna Larsson and colleagues of the National Institute of Environmental Medicine in Stockholm, Sweden observed a 46 percent lower risk of development of ovarian cancer in women who drank two or more cups of tea per day compared to non-drinkers.
The study found that each additional cup of tea consumed per day was associated with an 18 percent lower risk of ovarian cancer in study participants.
The researchers examined the association between tea consumption and the risk of ovarian cancer in 61,057 women between 40 and 76 years of age.
During 15 years of studies that began in the late 1980s, 301 women in the study group were diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Studies have shown a decrease in prostate cancer mortality since 1992 and some researchers attribute a portion of that fall to the widespread adoption of the PSA test. But some experts say that measuring PSA levels alone causes too many false positives and leads to many unnecessary tests, such as biopsies and transrectal ultrasounds.
Investigators continue to refine the test, including developing calculations such as PSA velocity, PSA density, and age-specific PSA, or other tests such as percent free PSA. However, there is poor understanding of the effect of other factors, such as diet, race, and weight on PSA and its related measurements.
Alan R. Kristal, Dr.P.H. of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and colleagues reviewed PSA and PSA velocity data from 3,341 cancer-free men to determine relationships between PSA tests and demographic and lifestyle factors.
PSA velocity was significantly affected by age, race and diet, potentially affecting its clinical interpretation. PSA velocity decreased as men aged, and increased with higher total energy calorie diets. PSA velocity in African Americans was on average almost twice the level of Caucasians, and was lower among users of high-dose calcium supplements. Large weight fluctuations also affected PSA velocity. Men who gained weight had lower PSA velocity and those who lost weight had higher PSA velocity.
Dr Richard McNally and his colleagues from University of Newcastle upon Tyne in northern England have found that place of birth was associated with risk of developing these cancers suggesting that an infection in the mother while she is carrying her baby, or in a child's early years, could be a trigger factor for the cancer.
Researcher had no idea which infection may be triggering the development of cancer, but told that it could be a minor common illness like a cold, mild flu or a respiratory infection.
These findings are reported the in the European Journal of Cancer, which says that these findings could improve understanding about how cancer develops and may lead to better prevention and treatment.
Although cancer in children is rare, rates of the disease in youngsters in Europe have increased over the past three decades. Survival rates however have improved. Five-year survival rates are about 75 percent in Western Europe and 63 percent in Eastern Europe.
Leukemia is the most common childhood cancer, accounting for nearly one-third of all cases. Most of the rise has been in children aged 1 to 4.
The researchers believe an infection in the womb or early in life could lead to cancer in young people who already carry mutant cells that would make them more vulnerable to the disease.
The main concern with the herceptin treatment is the heart muscle toxicity, inherent to herceptin, with about 5 to 10 percent of patients receiving herceptin developing heart muscle problems. This has triggered an FDA warning regarding the use of caution with this drug.
Herceptin is a wonderful drug, but it has to be handled with care. The recent San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) has given a boost to the drug, by demonstrating that, giving a shorter duration of herceptin can maintain benefits but minimizes toxicity to heart muscle. Shorter duration of herceptin would also drastically cut down the huge amount of dollar price tag associated with herceptin treatment.
This new research finding is from Finland researchers, who said that nine weeks of Herceptin instead of the usual year prevented recurrences and didn't raise the risk of heart failure.
They make a convincing case for using Herceptin earlier in breast cancer treatment, said Dr. Robert Carlson, a Stanford University breast cancer expert who had no role in the studies.
''The jury is in and the jury has a very strong verdict'' - that virtually all women whose tumors are the type targeted by Herceptin should get the drug, he said.
For the study, researchers from the National Cancer Institute analyzed data from about 86,000 patients at 560 hospitals nationwide and found that the rate of colon cancer patients who received chemotherapy in addition to surgery increased from 39% in 1991 to 64% in 2002.
According to the study, about two-thirds of participants who received chemotherapy in addition to surgery were alive after five years, compared with about 50% of those who only received surgery. Chemotherapy also improved the five-year survival rate among participants by an average of 16%.
In addition, the disparity in chemotherapy rates among black colon cancer patients decreased between 1991 and 2002 until the difference was no longer significant, but the disparity remained for women and elderly patients, according to the study
The drug trial will test the drug, designated NOV-002, in combination with currently used chemotherapy to treat patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer who have not undergone any previous treatment. The company hopes to begin enrolling patients in the phase III study by the third quarter of 2006.
Novelos Therapeutics, Inc., is a Boston-based biotechnology company focused on the development of therapeutics to treat cancer and hepatitis. Today's announcement marks the first time the company has been given FDA approval for a large clinical trial that often forms the final testing in humans before submission to the FDA for approval to sell the drug.
NOV-002, is approved and marketed in the Russian Federation by Pharma BAM under the trade name Glutoxim. It has been administered to over 5,000 patients, and been found to be effective and safe.
The drug is designed to provide patients with protection from highly toxic chemotherapy agents, and to enhance the body's immune response to cancer. The result is that patients are better able to tolerate chemotherapy allowing them to undergo more treatment cycles.
Determining whether that translates into longer survival will be the research objective of the phase III trial. Novelos will seek approval of the final study design under a FDA's Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) during the first half of 2006.
I don't know how much these four treatments of chemotherapy may have helped her. When you are having a tumor size of 1 centimeter, your risk of return of cancer in the next 10 years is only about 15 percent. Hormonal therapy gives very good protection in this setting and may cut down your risk of recurrence of breast cancer to about 10 percent. If you use chemotherapy and hormonal therapy combined, your may expect the risk of recurrence may be reduced to about 8 percent. (These values were calculated using an online breast cancer risk calculator). So my question is what are you gaining with addition of chemotherapy? Just a 2 percent reduction of recurrence of breast cancer? What about the risks and hassles associated with the chemotherapy? What about 1 in 500 chance of developing leukemia after the chemotherapy?
Don't quote me wrong, women with larger tumors, and or lymph node involvement would definitely benefit from chemotherapy. Also women who have hormone negative tumor may not have the luxury of hormonal treatment and may best undergo chemotherapy.
These thoughts were reflected in the recent San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS). Guidelines recently adopted in Europe and similar ones unveiled this weekend at SABCS will result in far fewer women getting chemotherapy in the future.
The new advice calls for choosing a treatment based on each woman's particular type of tumor. Under these new rules, hormone status becomes the single most important factor in choosing treatment.
New research has found that tamoxifen, which is usually used for the treatment of breast cancer, decreases the rate of skeletal maturation in boys giving them time to attain higher final body height. These research findings were reported in the in a recent issue of the medical journal Pediatrics.
The lead investigator of the study Dr. Nerissa C. Kreher spoke about the potential uses of this new finding, and suggested that this new finding may lead to more investigations in this regard and may finally lead to use of tamoxifen to actually treat young boys, who have short stature.
Kreher and colleagues at Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, have previously noted that, the use of tamoxifen leads to considerable decrease in skeletal maturation in girls with certain conditions affecting their growth. However, no reports have been made if it works in short boys as well.
In order to investigate this, the researchers reviewed medical charts of seven boys with an average age of 15 years. The rate of skeletal maturation was determined by dividing the change in bone age by the change in chronological age. It was found that the rate of skeletal maturation was significantly decreased and the predicted adult height was increased by the use of tamoxifen.
I was wondering when does the bonding with the baby occur? Is it at the time of conception or more closer to the birth of the baby? I don't know the answer to this question.
I was thinking all about these when I was reading a remarkable piece of news form Britain. A British-based Filipina mother who found out she had cancer after becoming pregnant sacrificed her life for her unborn baby by refusing an abortion and chemotherapy as per reports.
Bernadette Mimura - known as Milai - sacrificed her own precious life avoiding the potentially life-saving treatment for breast cancer because doctors told her it would kill the child.
The 37-year-old, who lived near Stockton-on-Tees, northeast England, with her British partner, Adam Taylor, survived long enough to see the birth of their son, Nathan.
But soon after seeing him baptised, she was transferred to a hospice and died about a week later.
Priest Alan Sheridan, who performed the baptism, told, "Bernadette said the most important thing was the birth of her baby and she would not do anything to harm him".
A researcher from Israel has developed a technology, using which you can turn your mobile phone to a breast cancer detection tool. This is done by simply installing a new software and adding an inexpensive infrared camera. The developer of this new technique says that this is highly effective technique to detect breast tumors, and claim that this is much superior to the routine self-breast examination women usually perform monthly.
The image obtained from the breast scan can be immediately transferred to a medical facility, where it can be analyzed for presence of abnormalities.
The infrared cameras used for this technique uses two techniques, one is to compare the temperature of the breast tissue at different parts of the breast and the other is to analyze the oxygen flow to different areas of the breast.
Israeli mobile phone company, Cellcom, is currently working to integrate the infrared sensor technology into the cameras currently built into many mobile handsets.
An Israeli psychologist has reportedly developed a radical new technology which would enable an ordinary mobile phone to diagnose breast cancer and various type of heart disease.
I agree that it is far away for this technology to replace the routine mammograms, but judging by the pace at which technology is growing, it won't be too much time before this or a similar convenient technology would replace the painful mammogram.
How does Hepatitis C virus cause liver cancer?
Scientists have long noted a link between chronic hepatitis C infection and an increased risk for liver cancer, and a new study is showing how. The study shows that the core (central) protein of hepatitis C virus is the culprit in the development of liver cancer. One of the hepatitis C virus proteins (NS5B) targets a cell protein (retinoblastoma) that is essential for suppressing the development of tumors, interfering with its ability to control cell proliferation. "By knocking out this 'tumor suppressor' and promoting the proliferation of liver cells, this rival protein sets the background for the development of liver for cancer. Removal of the restraints on tumor suppression results in immortality of cancer cells they divide and reproduce without the normal restraints, which is what happens in cancer.
"The way that NS5B docks with the retinoblastoma protein is biochemically almost identical to the way a protein made by human papilloma virus (HPV) does so to produce similar cancer-promoting results. HPV infection is considered to be the leading cause of cervical cancer. However the difference between these two viruses is that HPV is a DNA virus, while hepatitis C is composed of RNA virus. It is believed that with the help of these new findings improved treatments for people infected with hepatitis C could be developed in order to prevent liver cancer.
This is actually a new approach to chemotherapy called the metronomic delivery of chemotherapy. In fact I was not familiar with this term and had to do a little research to find out what exactly is metronomic delivery.
In an article published a recent issue of the Journal of National Cancer Institute the authors call this approach as "Less is more" and go on to say that the harsh side effects and the ultimate failures of most chemotherapies have fueled broad investigation of alternatives. Dictionary meaning for the term metronomic is: "mechanically or unvaryingly regular in rhythm".
This is what I learned about metronomic delivery: when some of the chemotherapy drugs are given in frequent low doses they can exert significant lethal effects on the tumor cells by inhibiting new blood vessel formation, known as angiogenesis. Needless to say that this is an experimental approach to chemotherapy.
I had a reason to research on this new term. I was reading about a new study from Dana-Farber Cancer Center in Boston in which a combination of metronomic doses of chemotherapy and avastin (a new drug that blocks the formation of new blood vessels) showed some promising results in patients with advanced breast cancer. This combination looks very rational because both are targeting the tumor angiogenesis.
This was a small pilot study in which 55 women participated. In this new strategy, avastin plus metronomic delivery of chemotherapy delayed breast cancer progression by an average of 5.5 months, compared to two months in those who received only the metronomic chemotherapy.
I am not suggesting this is a ground breaking study, but it illuminates the point that researchers are working hard to bring innovations to the treatment approach to breast cancer.
It's not quite the same comparison, but a new study has found that drinking too much milk may increase a man's risk of developing prostate cancer. This study directly contradicts the latest government dietary guidelines released earlier this year. These guidelines recommend that all adults drink 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products a day. This may include a cup of low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt, 1.5 ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese.
Xiang Gao, PhD, the lead investigator of this new study which was published in the latest issue of the prestigious Journal of National Cancer Institute disagrees with the government recommendations. Gao and his colleagues say that caution should be exerted before embracing this government recommendation. These researchers reviewed 12 studies, conducted between 1966 and 2005, which examined dairy and calcium intake and prostate cancer incidence.
Based on their analysis they report that men who ate the most dairy products had an 11% increase in prostate cancer risk compared with men who ate the fewest. Men with the highest intake of calcium were 39% more likely to develop prostate cancer than men with the lowest.
You may argue that this 11 percent increase in risk is only a modest increase and should not cause too much concern. But, think about it, about 240,000 new cases of prostate cancers are diagnosed in the United State each year. Even a modest increase in the prostate cancer risk caused by the adoption of government guidelines would translate in to a staggering increase in the number of new prostate cancer patients.
As I was taking my breakfast this morning, thinking about the topic for today, this news item about increased risk of other cancers in women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer came to my attention. It is not a surprising finding, given the fact that these women are subjected to the double torments of chemotherapy and radiation. Also it is possible that these women are genetically susceptible to other cancers in addition to breast cancer. Women who are carriers of BRCA mutations have increased risk of a host of other cancers including ovarian cancer. As I have written in one of my previous blogs, one in about 500 women who received chemotherapy for breast cancer may develop leukemia.
The study I am talking about is a huge Danish study, involving 525,527 patients with breast cancer in 13 cancer registries in Europe, Canada, Australia and Singapore.
This study found an almost 6-fold increase in the risk of developing cancers of the connective tissue of the thorax and upper limbs, suggesting toxic effects from past radiation. Incidence of leukemia was higher, and so was the risk of endometrial cancer. While it is known that tamoxifen increases risk of endometrial cancer, the current study suggests that the increased incidence may not be entirely related to tamoxifen, because this risk was high even before 1975, when tamoxifen was rarely used.
Colorectal, kidney and postmenopausal breast cancer appear to share obesity as a risk factor, while ovarian cancer and breast cancer seem to have a genetic predisposition in common. The study found an excess of ovarian cancer already within one year of breast cancer diagnosis, along with an increased risk of breast cancer after ovarian cancer.
Image courtesy of University of Rochester Medical CenterA simple platelet count may be all that may take to predict your risk of developing blood clots while receiving chemotherapy as per researchers from University of Rochester Medical Center.
Blood clots including the fatal pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung) are frequent occurrences in patients with cancer. Chances of developing blood clots are higher while receiving chemotherapy because chemotherapy drugs can damage blood vessels, making them susceptible to clotting. About 1 percent of all cancer patients experience blood clots.
Alok Khorana, M.D, the lead author of the study and his colleagues have demonstrated that patients who have platelet counts in excess of 350,000 per cubic millimeter while receiving chemotherapy are at 3 times higher risk of developing blood clots compared to patients who have less than 200,000 platelets per cubic millimeter.
This information may be very important for the oncologists and patients, because it may identify patients who may need low doses of blood thinners as a preventive measure. Delivering blood thinners to all patients undergoing chemotherapy would not be practical, because of the costs and health risks associated with excessive bleeding. The only option may be to identify those at high risk and give them blood thinners to prevent blood clots.
The study also showed blood clots occurred in nearly two percent of patients and incidence was significantly higher for people with lymphoma and stomach, pancreatic and lung cancers.
Patients whose platelet counts exceeded 350,000 per cubic millimeter suffered three-times more blood clots than others with platelet counts of less than 200,000 per cubic millimeter.
Cancer is a very common disease, approximately one out of every two American men and one out of every three American women will have some type of cancer at some point during the course of their life. Cancer is more common in the elderly and 77 percent of cancers occur in people above age 55 or older. Cancer is also common in children. Cancer incidence is said to have two peaks once during early childhood and then during late years in life. No age period is completely exempted from development of cancers. Some cancers occur predominantly in the elderly, other types occur in children, Cancer occurs in all ethnic races, however the cancer rates and rates of specific cancer types may vary from group to group. Late stages of cancer may be incurable in most cases, but with the advancement of medicine, more and more cancers are becoming curable.
Cancer Blog: From Medicineworld.org
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