From Medicineworld.org: Cancer blog
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.
Heart watch blog: About 13 million Americans suffer from coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in American men and women amounting a staggering 20 percent of all causes of death. The tremendous responsibility of running a heart blog is entrusted to Daniel. He is creating blog posts with the help and support of other bloggers.
It was a prolong battle for Sperber since the diagnosis of breast cancer in 1997. She fought for eight long years but finally succumbed to this miserable disease and died on Tuesday. She died quietly hat home.
Sperber was a native of Los Angeles and had appeared in dozens of television shows and movies, including all three "Back to the Future" films.
Sperber also had acted in Steven Spielberg's "1941," Robert Zemeckis' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," and Neal Israel's "Moving Violations" and "Bachelor Party." Her television credits include "Murphy Brown," "Private Benjamin," "Will and Grace" and "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter."
After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, Sperber became an advocate for cancer care. She worked hard to promote the cause of breast cancer and breast cancer awareness. In 2001, Sperber founded the weSPARK Cancer Support Center, which provides free emotional support, information and social activities for individuals and families affected by cancer. Sperber helped unveil and promote a breast cancer stamp for the U.S. Postal Service in 1998.
"The memory of Wendie Jo is that of a walking inspiration," Hanks said in a statement. "She met the challenges of her illness with love, cheer, joy and altruism. We are going to miss her as surely as we are all better for knowing her."
Sperber is survived by a son and daughter, her parents, two sisters and a brother.
The treatment is highly effective because the radiation beam specifically targets the tumor avoiding the normal parts of the liver. This allows the researchers to deliver up to 400 times the commonly used dose of radiation to the tumor. This research is being conducted at University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center in Ann Arbor.
The new regimen improved median survival to nearly 16 months for the 128 patients who received the treatment, compared to a normal survival time of eight to nine months, the study authors report in the new issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
While surgery is the most effective way to treat liver tumors, these tumors often grow in a way that prevents surgical removal. That leaves few treatment options. Traditionally, radiation wasn't effective against liver cancer because the liver is too sensitive to receive radiation. That's why the U-M researchers designed a treatment that focuses radiation directly on the tumor.
Patients in the study received radiation twice a day for two weeks, along with a continuous infusion of the chemotherapy drug floxuridine that was delivered through a catheter into an artery that directly feeds the liver. The patients then had a two-week respite before they repeated the radiation/chemotherapy treatment for another two weeks.
Less than a third of the patients in this study experienced severe treatment-related complications, the Michigan team said. The most common of these severe problems were upper gastrointestinal ulcers or bleeding, liver disease from the radiation, and problems with the catheter.
Findings of the UF researchers are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and involve introducing molecularly engineered strands of DNA into cell cultures and observing whether they unleash a fluorescent burst after they adhere to cancer proteins.
"Even when the cancer biomarkers are in extremely low concentration we have been able to detect them," said Weihong Tan, a UF Research Foundation professor of chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a member of the UF Genetics Institute, the UF Shands Cancer Center and the McKnight Brain Institute. "This approach could help for early diagnosis of cancer, as well as for detecting residual cancer in patients after treatment."
It works by capitalizing on fluorescent molecules engineered into tiny strands of DNA or RNA. Known as aptamers, the strands act as molecular beacons, corresponding and readily binding to a sought-after substance such as cancer protein.
In this case, the target was platelet derived growth factor, or PDGF, a protein that regulates cell growth and division. Elevated PDGF levels have been linked to different forms of cancer, and have been found in patients with malignancies of the ovaries, kidneys, lung, pancreas and brain.
After the probe physically conforms to the PDGF, the molecule can be snapped on like a light switch to flash a fluorescent signal.
Subdivision of the diseases resulted in development of drugs targeting subgroups of patients. Aromatase inhibitors like arimidex were developed specifically for post-menopausal women with receptor positive breast cancer, which is a subgroup within the subgroup of hormone receptor positive breast cancer. Obviously this increases the price tag since the target population became smaller with each subdivision.
Another reason for skyrocketing of new drugs was the introduction more stringent control on clinical trials. Clinical trials in breast cancer now usually involve thousands of women compared to hundreds of women couple of decades ago. This adds to the cost of developing newer drugs.
Herceptin (trastuzumab) is a humanised monoclonal antibody that targets the Her2 positive cancer cells. It is currently licensed for use in advanced breast cancer where it has been shown to extend survival. Recently this drug was shown to reduce recurrence of breast cancer by 50 percent in early stage breast cancer.
Herceptin is the cause of controversy in many countries because of pressures from some quarters, including patients, for it to be made available immediately for early breast cancer, without waiting for the outcome of these trials. You may have read the news story of woman in Scotland suing the health system for not making herceptin available to her.
I do not know where this will end, but one thing is very obvious: with the development of more and more targeted therapy the price of healthcare can go only one way, and that is up.
Birth defect associated with thalidomide
After reading this news, I was thinking of the thalidomide tragedy. It was on one those black days of 1953 thalidomide was introduced into the market. Thalidomide was prescribed to treat morning sickness in pregnant women. Thousands of women took the drug and the lives of thousands of yet unborn children changed forever. Thalidomide tragedy stands alone as the worst tragedy in the pharmaceutical world. We sure do not want another thalidomide like tragedy.
Femara has only one FDA approved indication, treatment of breast cancer in post-menopausal women, that's it. Fertility doctors claim that due to drug's suppression of estrogen it can promote ovulation. The U.S. label on the drug already warns that it has been associated with birth defects, but concerns arose when a researcher in Canada published a report noting cases where the drug had been given to pregnant women.
Novartis is sending letters to fertility doctors worldwide to reiterate a warning that the drug should not be given to women who may be pregnant.
Health Canada, the country's health care agency, issued the warning jointly with Novartis to fertility specialists, gynecologists and obstetricians. In its letter in Canada, Novartis said it is "aware that Femara is being used to stimulate ovulation in women who are infertile, or unable to become pregnant, as a treatment to increase their chances of becoming pregnant."
The drug "should not be used in women who may become pregnant, during pregnancy and/or while breast-feeding, because there is a potential risk of harm to the mother and the fetus, including risk of fetal malformations," the company said.
A Polish-born epidemiologist who noticed Polish women have lower breast cancer rates says that cabbage consumption makes a big difference. Pathak, along with colleagues from Michigan State University and the National Food and Nutrition Institute of Warsaw, Poland, evaluated the diet of Polish immigrants living in Chicago and surrounding Cook County, and the Detroit, Michigan, metropolitan area.
Women who ate at least three servings a week of raw- or short-cooked cabbage and sauerkraut had a significantly reduced breast cancer risk compared with those who only ate one serving per week, they said at the American Association for Cancer Research's Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting in Baltimore this week.
Pathak says that eating a lot of cabbage in adolescence appears to protect against cancer as does eating a moderate amount as a teenager and a lot as an adult. But she said the cabbage must be raw or only slightly cooked. Pathak said breast cancer rates in Poland, where people consume an average of 30 pounds of cabbage a year, is about one-third that in the United States, where the average cabbage consumption is 10 pounds.
More women today are opting to have cosmetic breast implants. As women age, their risk of breast cancer increases, so a fraction of these women will eventually develop breast cancer. These are the patients who would be most interested in preserving their breasts and avoiding mastectomy.
Previous studies suggested that if women with breast implants receive radiation therapy, that may causes significant problems in the implant, resulting in poor cosmetic results. "Past research was based on a small sample of patients and older radiation techniques," said Rosalyn Morrell, M.D., lead author of this Mayo Clinic study. "Therefore, we investigated a larger group of women treated with radiation using newer techniques that refuted the reports of poor cosmetic outcome among patients."
Between 1994 and 2004, researchers reviewed the records of 26 breast cancer patients with previously augmented breasts who were treated with breast conservation surgery and radiation at the Mayo Clinic. Eighty-five percent of patients followed over a three-year period had favorable cosmetic results following radiation therapy. None of the patients in the study suffered a relapse of their cancer.
Once in three year colonoscopy screening is recommended for every adult male and female but only 54 percent of these people undergo routine colonoscopy screening.
Also, like any other type of cancer, cure rates for colorectal cancer are high when the disease is detected and treated early. Currently, it is recommended that people 50 years of age or older and those at a high risk for colorectal cancer, be screened for the disease. Screening methods include testing for blood in the stool (fecal occult blood test), sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and barium enema.
To determine the extent to which primary care patients are receiving recommended colorectal cancer screening, researchers evaluated patients enrolled in a large managed care organization based in Detroit. The study involved 21,833 patients who were between the ages of 55 and 70.
The study showed that only 54% of patients received recommended colorectal cancer screening and among patients who were screened, colonoscopy was the most common screening procedure and was used by 40% of screened patients.
A PSA value of less than 4 is generally considered to be a safe level. A new research from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport suggests that a PSA level of less than 4 does not guarantee complete safety from prostate cancer.
Lead investigators Dr. Caleb B. Bozeman and his colleagues identified 916 patients with abnormal rectal examination findings and a PSA level lower than 4. Most of these patients underwent biopsy to see if they have prostate cancer. Researchers were surprised to find that 81 of these men had prostate cancer.
The investigators are urging combined use of rectal examination and PSA testing while screening for prostate cancer. Obviously as per the study many patients with normal PSA levels may not be diagnosed if PSA testing only is done.
The investigators also found that 1.8 percent of those who had PSA levels between 0 and 0.9 had prostate cancer highlighting the fact that no level of PSA is an absolute guarantee against prostate cancer.
Age was also a significant predictor, with cancer diagnosed among 5.4 percent of those younger than 50 years and among 11.3 percent older than 70 years.
This article is published in the recent issue of the journal Cancer. The article suggests that best time for a cancer doctor to advise against smoking may be immediately after the diagnosis of cancer. Researchers say that without this counseling from doctors, about 50 percent of these patients would continue to smoke.
Mayo Clinic says that 26% of all Americans are smokers and this means that about one in four of all Americans smokes cigarettes. Smoking is associated with increased risk of various cancers including lung cancer. Smoking also causes increased risk of coronary artery disease.
May be it is time for you to throw away your pack of cigarettes and quit.
These findings are from a recent study published in the latest issued of CANCER, which is a publication of the American Cancer Society. Those women who opt for lumpectomy should undergo six weeks of daily radiation therapy after lumpectomy and it is understandable why women living far away from the radiation therapy opt to choose mastectomy over lumpectomy.
To determine whether travel distance from home to a radiation facility is an independent factor predicting lumpectomy followed by radiation use, Lydia Voti, DSc of the University of Miami and her colleagues reviewed inpatient and outpatient data for 18,903 breast cancer cases in Florida treated with BCSR or mastectomy.
The researchers found that the distance a woman had to travel to get treatment at a radiation facility independently impacted women's choice of breast cancer treatment. Consistent with other studies, researchers found that socioeconomic factors, such as lack of health insurance, race-ethnicity (particularly Hispanic origin) and being unmarried also negatively impacted on the use of breast conservation surgery.
Dr. Antoni Obrador, MD, who is the head of the gastroenterology division at Son Dureta Hospital in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, said that available data show that gastroenterologists worldwide do not adequately use widely accepted guidelines for colorectal cancer surveillance in ulcerative colitis patients in their clinical practice.
The recommendations also note that there should be a reduction in screening time intervals with increasing disease duration. Random biopsies of multiple areas of the colon and rectum have to be obtained at the time of this surveillance colonoscopy.
Dr. Obrador pointed out that studies in the US and New Zealand found that only about 20 percent of gastroenterologists were able to correctly identify dysplasia which is a pre-malignant condition, while a study in the Netherlands found that only about one-fourth of gastroenterologists complied with guidelines for colorectal cancer screening in ulcerative colitis patients.
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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.
Medicineworld.org: Cancer blog
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