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February 16, 2009, 9:28 PM CT

Breast MRI to supplement standard imaging

Breast MRI to supplement standard imaging
Updated guidelines for physicians that represent best practices for using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to newly diagnose breast cancer and to make therapy decisions for breast cancer were published recently in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Breast radiologists and surgeons at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y. authored the paper upon which the guidelines are based.

The SCCA breast imaging program led by Connie Lehman, M.D., has established itself as a national leader in breast MRI based on pioneering research it has reported in the past few years. Lehman is corresponding author of today's journal paper, "Indications for Breast MRI in the Patient with Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer." The study summarizes an extensive review of published, peer-evaluated studies.

Among the key recommendations:.
  • MRI is not a substitute for screening or diagnostic mammography and, when indicated, diagnostic breast ultrasound. MRI supplements the use of these standard imaging tools in appropriately selected clinical situations.
  • For women with diagnosed breast cancer, MRI provides enhanced detection in both the breast known to have cancer and the opposite, or "contralateral," breast.........

    Posted by: Janet      Read more


February 12, 2009, 6:16 AM CT

New platinum compound to combat cancer

New platinum compound to combat cancer
Ulrich Bierbach
Scientists in the Department of Chemistry at Wake Forest University in collaboration with colleagues at the Wake Forest University Health Sciences Comprehensive Cancer Center have developed a new class of platinum-based anti-tumor drugs that animal studies have shown to be 10 times more effective than current therapys in destroying certain types of lung cancer cells.

The results were reported in the December 11 issue of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and highlighted in Science-Business eXchange (SciBX), produced by the publisher of the journal Nature. They suggest a new approach to fighting non-small cell lung cancer, which accounts for more than three-quarters of all lung cancers. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women. Less than a third of non-small cell patients with lung cancer respond to traditional platinum-based therapies, and those who do respond have a median survival of less than a year.

"We are able to slow the growth of this cancer substantially in mice," said principal investigator Ulrich Bierbach, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Fellow and associate professor of chemistry at Wake Forest. "That is very good news, since this is such a rapidly growing, intractable type of cancer".

The new compound's potency derives from its ability to rapidly bind with and disable a tumor cell's DNA before the cell's natural repair mechanisms are activated. That repair process causes drug resistance, which reduces the effectiveness of currently used platinum-based drugs.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 12, 2009, 6:14 AM CT

Regular exercise to prevent colon cancer

Regular exercise to prevent colon cancer
An ambitious newly released study has added considerable weight to the claim that exercise can lower the risk for colon cancer. Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Harvard University combined and analyzed several decades worth of data from past studies on how exercise affects colon cancer risk. They observed that people who exercised the most were 24 percent less likely to develop the disease than those who exercised the least.

"What's really compelling is that we see the association between exercise and lower colon cancer risk regardless of how physical activity was measured in the studies," says lead study author Kathleen Y. Wolin, Sc.D., a cancer prevention and control expert with the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University. "That indicates that this is a robust association and gives all the more evidence that physical activity is truly protective against colon cancer".

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer. Each year more than 100,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with colon cancer and about 40,000 are diagnosed with rectal cancer. The study suggests that if the American population became significantly more physically active, up to 24 percent, or more than 24,000, fewer cases of colon cancer would occur each year.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


February 12, 2009, 5:38 AM CT

Starving those cancer cells to death

Starving those cancer cells to death
The development of malignant tumours is highly dependent on the nutrients the tumours receive through the blood. The team of Dr. Janusz Rak, of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) at the Montreal Children's Hospital, including Dr. Khalid Al-Nedawi and Brian Meehan, has just discovered a new mechanism that tumours use to stimulate the growth of the blood vessels that feed them. The scientists have also proposed a new way to control this process, which may translate into future therapies. These findings were published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

An innovative method

As per the researchers, tumour cells can release "bubbles" called microvesicles, which allow the tumours to communicate with the endothelial cells of blood vessels and stimulate changes in their behaviour. The microvesicles are armed with specific cancer proteins as they leave the tumour. When they are taken up by endothelial cells, the specific cancer proteins that they carry can trigger mechanisms that promote the abnormal formation of new blood vessels. The vessels then grow towards the tumour and supply it with the nutrients it requires to grow.

"We had already demonstrated the existence of these vesicles as well as their importance in the communication process between cancer cells and their environment. But this new discovery is much more targeted and represents a new direction in terms of treatment," said a delighted Dr. Rak.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 12, 2009, 5:26 AM CT

DHEA may prevent prostate cancer

DHEA may prevent prostate cancer
DHEA is a natural circulating hormone and the body's production of it decreases with age. Men take DHEA as an over-the-counter supplement because it has been suggested that DHEA can reverse aging or have anabolic effects since it can be metabolized in the body to androgens. Increased consumption of dietary isoflavones is linked to a decreased risk of prostate cancer. Red clover (Trifolium pretense) is one source of isoflavones. Both supplements may have hormonal effects in the prostate and little is known about the safety of these supplements.

In a recent report in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, scientists report that DHEA levels can be manipulated in cells in the laboratory to understand its effects.

Julia Arnold, Ph.D., a staff scientist at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health, said more research is necessary in an environment where men and women concerned about health problems tend to self-prescribe based on information they find on the Internet.

Towards this end, the NCCAM laboratory is studying signaling between human prostate cancer cells and their supporting stromal cells as they grow together in laboratory culture. "DHEA effects in the prostate tissues may depend on how these two cells types 'talk to each other' and further, it appears to be potentially harmful in tissues containing inflammation or with early cancer lesions because the cells can induce DHEA to become more androgenic," said Arnold.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


February 12, 2009, 5:18 AM CT

New drug to prevent colon cancer in making

New drug to prevent colon cancer in making
Scientists at the Mayo Clinic campus in Florida have observed that a drug now being tested to treat a range of human cancers significantly inhibited colon cancer development in mice. Because the agent appears to have minimal side effects, it may represent an effective chemopreventive therapy in people at high risk for colon cancer, the researchers say.

Their study, reported in the Feb. 15 issue of Cancer Research, observed that use of the agent, enzastaurin, significantly reduced development of malignant colon tumors in treated animals. Furthermore, the tumors that did develop in the mice were of a lower grade, which meant they were less advanced and aggressive than the tumors seen in animals not given the drug. "There is need for an agent that has a proven ability to reduce colon cancer risk, and this study suggests that enzastaurin could be uniquely effective," says the study's senior investigator, Nicole Murray, Ph.D., of the Department of Cancer Biology.

Individuals at high risk for colon cancer often develop numerous premalignant colon polyps, which must be periodically removed during a colonoscopy, Dr. Murray says.

The laboratories of Dr. Murray, and her collaborator and co-author, Alan Fields, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Cancer Biology, focus on characterizing the genes involved in different stages of colon carcinogenesis. They have zeroed in on the protein kinase C (PKC) family of enzymes as major players in cancer development and progression, but it has taken them years to understand the different roles of each type of PKC molecule or "isozyme."........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


February 9, 2009, 6:17 AM CT

Marijuana might increase risk of testicular cancer

Marijuana might increase risk of testicular cancer
Frequent and/or long-term marijuana use may significantly increase a man's risk of developing the most aggressive type of testicular cancer, as per a research studyby scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The study results were published online Feb. 9 in the journal Cancer

The scientists observed that being a marijuana smoker at the time of diagnosis was linked to a 70 percent increased risk of testicular cancer. The risk was especially elevated (about twice that of those who never smoked marijuana) for those who used marijuana at least weekly and/or who had long-term exposure to the substance beginning in adolescence.

The results also suggested that the association with marijuana use might be limited to nonseminoma, a fast-growing testicular malignancy that tends to strike early, between ages 20 and 35, and accounts for about 40 percent of all testicular-cancer cases.

Since the 1950s, the occurence rate of the two main cellular subtypes of testicular cancer, nonseminoma and seminoma the more common, slower growing kind that strikes men in their 30s and 40s has increased by 3 percent to 6 percent per year in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. During the same time period, marijuana use in North America, Europe and Australia has risen accordingly, which is one of several factors that led the scientists to hypothesize a potential association.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 9, 2009, 6:02 AM CT

Racial difference in uterine cancer deaths

Racial difference in uterine cancer deaths
Black women with cancers of the uterus are less likely to survive the disease than white women, and relatively little progress has been made over the past two decades to narrow this racial difference. That is the conclusion of a newly released study reported in the March 15, 2009 issue of CANCER, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society.

While prior research has shown that black women are more likely to die from uterine cancers than their white counterparts, little is known about the factors involved in this discrepancy. In addition, studies have not looked at whether efforts to provide equal therapy to all patients have lessened this disparity in recent years.

To investigate the issue, Dr. Jason Wright, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and his colleagues studied the clinical data of 80,915 patients, 7 percent of whom were black, who were documented to have uterine cancer between 1988 and 2004 in the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Database. The researchers divided the data into three groups based on when women were diagnosed: 1988-1993, 1994-1998, and 1999-2004.

The scientists observed that black patients were significantly younger and had more advanced and more aggressive tumors than white women. Advanced cancers (stage III/IV) occurred in 27 percent of blacks between 1988 and 1993 and in 28 percent from 1999 to 2004. The corresponding figures for white women were 14 percent from 1988 to 1993 and 17 percent from 1999 to 2004.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


February 9, 2009, 5:59 AM CT

Pregnancy does not decrease breast cancer survival

Pregnancy does not decrease  breast cancer survival
Young women who develop breast cancer during their pregnancy, or who are diagnosed within one year of their pregnancy, have no difference in rates of local recurrence, distant metastases and overall survival in comparison to other young women with the disease, as per scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

However, the largest single-institution study to look at pregnant patients with breast cancer finds that women with Pregnancy Associated Breast Cancer (PABC), are more likely to be diagnosed later with advanced stages of the disease and, thus, have necessary therapy delayed.

The findings appear in the March 15 issue of the journal Cancer

"Breast cancer in young women is a highly aggressive disease, and it's important that we study it in hopes of making a difference in terms of therapy," said Beth Beadle, M.D., a radiation oncology resident at M. D. Anderson and the study's first author. "When we looked at our young breast cancer population, a relatively large percentage had disease affiliated with pregnancy. We thought it would be really instructive to review our data to determine how we can best serve these women".

It's estimated that up to 3.8 percent of pregnancies are complicated by breast cancer, and approximately 10 percent of patients with breast cancer under age 40 develop the disease during pregnancy, said the researchers. As the age for first and subsequent pregnancies increases and intersects with advances in imaging and screening, this statistic will only continue to climb, explained George Perkins, M.D., associate professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Radiation Oncology.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 6, 2009, 6:02 AM CT

No increased risk of ovarian cancer from fertility drugs

No increased risk of ovarian cancer from fertility drugs
The use of fertility drugs does not increase a woman's risk of developing ovary cancer, finds a large study from Danish scientists published on bmj.com today.

During the past three decades there has been considerable debate as to whether use of fertility drugs increases a woman's risk of developing ovary cancer. Prior studies have given conflicting results and concerns remain, especially for women who undergo several cycles of therapy or who never succeed in becoming pregnant.

So Allan Jensen and his colleagues at the Danish Cancer Society examined the effects of fertility drugs on ovary cancer risk by using data from the largest cohort of infertile women to date.

The study involved 54,362 women with infertility problems referred to all Danish fertility clinics between 1963 and 1998. 156 of these women had ovary cancer. After adjusting for several risk factors, the scientists assessed the effects of four groups of fertility drugs over an average period of 16 years.

They found no overall increased risk for ovary cancer after use of any fertility drug. They also found no increased risk among women who had undergone 10 or more cycles of therapy or among those who did not become pregnant.

Eventhough the authors did observe a statistically significant increase in risk of the most common serious type of ovary cancer among women who had used the drug clomiphene, they stress that this was probably a chance association.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source



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Cancer
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.

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