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May 22, 2006, 12:52 AM CT

Minimizing the Risk of Melanoma

Minimizing the Risk of Melanoma
The incidence of melanoma, the most serious and deadly type of skin cancer, is increasing. In the United States, the lifetime risk of developing melanoma is now about one in 70. It used to be less than one in 100.

"The best way to reduce your risk is to avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m, when the sun's rays are strongest," says Mark Pittelkow, M.D., Mayo Clinic dermatologist. "But, it's a misconception to believe that melanoma occurs only with too much sun exposure, or that it occurs only on sun-exposed areas".

In the recent issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource, Dr. Pittelkow shares insights on causes, prevention and warning signs of this potentially deadly cancer.

Causes: As with many types of cancers, melanoma results from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. That's why melanoma can occur in areas not commonly exposed to sun, such as the genital area or on the scalp underneath hair.

Prevention: Staying out of the sun (or tanning beds) is best. A broad-spectrum sunscreen (which protects against both UVA and UVB radiation from the sun) with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 offers important protection when you are in the sun. But don't rely on sunscreen alone to protect you and don't abuse the benefits of sunscreen by staying out in the sun for long periods. Think of sunscreen as a supplement to other measures to protect you from UV radiation. Wear protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat and tightly woven clothes to protect your arms and legs.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

May 21, 2006, 9:18 AM CT

Vitamin E Offshoot A Potent Cancer Killer

Vitamin E Offshoot A Potent Cancer Killer
Scientists here have learned how a derivative of vitamin E causes the death of cancer cells. The scientists then used that knowledge to make the agent an even more potent cancer killer.

The compound, called vitamin E succinate, or alpha tocopheryl succinate, is taken by some people as a nutritional supplement, mainly for its antioxidant properties. In addition, it has a weak ability to kill cancer cells, and it has been tested as a cancer chemopreventive agent.

The substance kills cancer cells by causing them to undergo a natural process known as programmed cell death, or apoptosis. Until now, no one knew how the agent caused this to happen.

These findings answer that question and also indicate that the molecule's antitumor activity is separate from its antioxidant effect.

The study, led by scientists with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James), is reported in the April 28 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

"Our findings could lead to a potent chemopreventive agent that has both strong anticancer and antioxidant properties," says principal investigator Ching-Shih Chen, professor of pharmacy and of internal medicine and a researcher with the OSUCCC-James.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

May 18, 2006, 7:02 AM CT

Tailored Chemotherapy For Her2 Positive Patients

Tailored Chemotherapy For Her2 Positive Patients
Scientists from Canada have reported that chemotherapy may be most effective when choices of drugs are tailored to the specific gene mutation or gene amplification. They report that when treating Her2 positive breast cancer, patients who have HER2 gene amplification respond better to chemotherapy regimen containing anthracyclin group of drugs.

This study that is reported in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine shows that breast cancer patients who have HER2 gene amplification are best treated with a combination of cyclophosphamide, epirubicin and fluorouracil (CEF) rather than with a combination of cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and fluorouracil (CMF). The study showed that use of CEF resulted in reduction of 10-year risk of death by about 48 percent in women who have HER2 gene amplification compared to therapy with CMF.

This study actually builds up on a prior study, which showed that CEF outperformed CMF in women with node-positive breast cancer. With these results the scientists went back to that study and reinvestigated the outcome of women with HER2 gene amplification.........

Posted by: Sherin      Permalink

May 17, 2006, 10:31 PM CT

About Summer Sun Safety

About Summer Sun Safety
Fifty years of medical studies show that sun exposure is a primary component in the development of melanoma, the most serious and deadly type of skin cancer, report leading dermatologists in the April 2006 issue of Dermatology Surgery.

"Though genetics may play a role in the development of some melanomas, there's overwhelming evidence that shows sun exposure adversely affects patients both with and without genetic predisposition to melanoma," said Elisabeth K. Shim, M.D., an Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Keck USC Medical School of Medicine in Los Angeles, CA.

It's not clear what pattern of sun exposure causes melanoma or whether it's short, intense intermittent or cumulative. Further more, it's not clear if ultraviolet B (UVB), ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, or both are responsible for causing melanoma. "Regardless, the sun acts as an initiating and promoting agent in causing melanoma, and causes immunosuppression," noted Dr. Shim.

With summer quickly approaching, it's necessary to protect yourself by using sunscreen and sun protective measures to prevent melanoma, and other skin cancers, despite current controversy.........

Posted by: George      Permalink         Source

May 17, 2006, 0:11 AM CT

Cholesterol-lowering Drugs Do Not Increase Breast Cancer Risk

Cholesterol-lowering Drugs Do Not Increase Breast Cancer Risk
A report being reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that women who took statins--the widely used cholesterol lowering drugs--do not face an increased breast cancer risk as had been suggested by some prior studies. In fact, the study, which was led by a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH), found that women who took hydrophobic statins, named for their inability to dissolve readily in water, had an almost one-fifth lower incidence of invasive breast cancer compared to women who did not take statins.

"At minimum, our findings suggest that women can now be reassured that they are not increasing their risk of developing breast cancer by taking these drugs," said senior author Jane Cauley, Dr.P.H., professor and vice chair for research, department of epidemiology, GSPH. "Eventhough we found that women who took hydrophobic statins actually lowered their breast cancer risk, we believe this finding needs to be confirmed in additional studies."

Dr. Cauley and her co-workers, representing several other research institutions, obtained their findings by analyzing breast cancer incidence over an almost seven-year period among more than 156,000 women enrolled in the long-running Women's Health Initiative study. Of this group of post-menopausal women, 11,710 were statin users; with about 30 percent taking a hydrophilic, or water soluble, statin, and the remaining 70 percent taking a hydrophobic statin.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

May 16, 2006, 0:04 AM CT

Exercise, Diet May Protect Against Colorectal Cancer

Exercise, Diet May Protect Against Colorectal Cancer
Voluntary exercise and a restricted diet reduced the number and size of pre-malignant polyps in the intestines of male mice and improved survival, as per a research studyby a University of Wisconsin-Madison research published May 13 in the journal Carcinogenesis.

The study is the first to suggest that a "negative energy balance" - produced by increasing the mice's energy output by use of a running wheel, while maintaining a restricted calorie intake - appeared to be the important factor in inhibiting the growth of polyps, which are the forerunners of colorectal tumors, says lead author Lisa H. Colbert, assistant professor in the UW-Madison department of kinesiology.

For the study, Colbert and her co-authors used mice with a genetic mutation that predisposed them to develop intestinal polyps.

"Our studies are relevant for humans in that these mice have a mutation in one of the same genes, APC, that is also mutated in human colon cancer," she explains. "The protective effect of exercise and lower body weight in our mice is consistent with epidemiological evidence in humans that suggests higher levels of activity and lower body weight reduces the risk of colon cancer."

Mutations in the APC gene in humans are responsible for an inherited condition called familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). This condition affects about one in 10,000-15,000 people worldwide, and 95 percent of those affected develop polyps in the colon that eventually progress into cancer, commonly before age 40.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

May 15, 2006, 11:48 PM CT

New Compound To Block Brain Cancer Growth

New Compound To Block Brain Cancer Growth
By determining how a class of compounds blocks signaling in cells, UCSF researchers have identified what is perhaps the most potent drug candidate yet against a highly lethal kind of brain tumor.

The compound, known as PI-103, shows unique potency against cancer cell proliferation in studies of mice with grafts of human glioma cells. Gliomas are the most common form of brain cancer, and have proven very difficult to treat.

The unique effectiveness of PI-103 stems from its ability to attack two separate steps in the series of signals that trigger the spread of cancer. The dual blockade proved to be a safe and effective inhibitor of cancer cell proliferation in mice with the human tumors, the researchers found.

The glioma research is being published online May 15 by the journal Cancer Cell. A description of the strategy used to identify the molecular level action of the inhibitors was published online by the journal Cell on April 27.

Food and Drug Administration approval five years ago of the cancer drug Gleevec marked a promising new strategy against cancer. Gleevec was the first drug on the market designed to block ubiquitous signaling molecules called protein kinases - enzymes known to trigger normal cell proliferation, and in the case of cancer, the growth of tumors. Another group of kinases, called lipid kinases are now emerging as important new targets, particularly PI3 alpha kinase, an enzyme often found to be overactive in brain, breast, colon and stomach cancers.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

May 15, 2006, 6:57 AM CT

Shifting Trends For Breast Cancer Chemotherapy

Shifting Trends For Breast Cancer Chemotherapy
For years scientists and physicians were adding more and more chemotherapy for the therapy of breast cancer. They were trying different combinations, and different time interval between therapys. They have tried very high dose chemotherapy used for bone marrow transplant and shorter intervals between chemotherapy sessions.

After all these aggressive chemotherapy based outlooks for the therapy of breast cancer, scientists are not having a second thought for the use of chemotherapy in breast cancer. There is an increasing trend among scientists and physicians to skip chemotherapy altogether and treat women with breast cancer using hormonal treatment.

At this time this trend is just appearing, and is gaining popularity. This approach still lack solid scientific proof based on randomized clinical trials, so scientists are in the process of conducting clinical trials to prove the point. Studies with this theme are beginning to emerge.

At this time the general guidelines for therapy of breast cancer calls for postoperative adjuvant therapy of breast cancer with chemotherapy in almost all patients. Generally all women who have breast cancer tumors measuring more than 1 centimeter receives adjuvant chemotherapy.

In the new approach the decision for chemotherapy would be based mainly on hormonal status of the tumor, rather than tumor size. This would mean that a vast majority of women who have hormone receptor negative tumor would not be receiving adjuvant chemotherapy. It is not clear how the lymph node involvement would fit in to this algorithm of therapy, but is possible that women who have smaller number of lymph node involvement may also be able to skip chemotherapy in favor of hormonal treatment. The final decisions regarding these issues could only be clarified by large clinical trials.........

Posted by: Sherin      Permalink

May 14, 2006, 4:50 PM CT

Carcinogens Found In Their Babies' Urine

Carcinogens Found In Their Babies' Urine Image courtesy of
When mom or dad puffs on a cigarette, their infants may inhale the resulting second-hand smoke. Now, researchers have detected cancer-causing chemicals associated with tobacco smoke in the urine of nearly half the babies of smoking parents.

"The take home message is, 'Don't smoke around your kids,'" said Stephen S. Hecht, Ph.D., professor and Wallin Chair of Cancer Prevention at The Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota.

As per a research studyof 144 infants, reported in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, Hecht and colleagues found detectable levels of NNAL* in urine from 47 percent of babies exposed to environmental tobacco carcinogens from cigarette smoking family members. NNAL is a cancer-causing chemical produced in the human body as it processes NNK**, a carcinogenic chemical specific to tobacco.

"The level of NNAL detected in the urine of these infants was higher than in most other field studies of environmental tobacco smoke in children and adults," Hecht said.

"NNAL is an accepted biomarker for uptake of the tobacco-specific carcinogen NNK. You don't find NNAL in urine except in people who are exposed to tobacco smoke, whether they are adults, children, or infants."

A prior study by Hecht and colleagues indicated that the first urine from newborns whose mothers smoked during pregnancy contained as much as one-third more NNAL compared to the babies in the current study. The newborn infants, however, took in the carcinogen directly from their mothers through their placentas rather than by breathing second-hand smoke in the air in their family homes and cars.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

May 14, 2006, 3:56 PM CT

How Exercise Can Protect Against Skin And Bowel Cancers

How Exercise Can Protect Against Skin And Bowel Cancers
Two studies published recently have shown that exercise can protect against skin and bowel cancer, and they have identified new mechanisms that could be responsible for this effect.*

Reported in the journal "Carcinogenesis", one study found that female mice that had 24-hour access to running wheels and were exposed to ultraviolet B light (UVB) took longer to develop skin tumours, developed fewer and smaller tumours, and had decreased amounts of body fat compared to mice that did not have access to running wheels. The second study looked at the development of pre-malignant polyps in the intestines of male mice and discovered that voluntary exercise and a restricted diet reduced the number and size of polyps and improved survival.

Dr Allan Conney, Garbe Professor of Cancer and Leukemia Research and Director of the Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA, is one of the authors of the skin cancer study. He said that programmed cell death (apoptosis), triggered by exercise, might explain why the running wheel mice did better.

"Preliminary indications from follow-up work in the laboratory suggest that voluntary exercise enhances UVB-induced apoptosis in the skin, and that it also enhances apoptosis in UVB-induced tumours. So, eventhough UVB is triggering the development of tumours, exercise is counteracting the effect by stimulating the death of the developing cancer cells.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

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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. Archives of cancer-blog

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