Cancer Blog

Here's our collection of cancer-related stories. We sift through a variety of stories and share the issues that we think matter to cancer patients, caregivers, healthcare providers and survivors. Learn about current events in the cancer community, human interest stories, and promising technology and treatment advances. Tell us what you think in the Comments section at the bottom of each post.

Note: The information contained in this service is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in the service is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment of any illness, condition or disease.

Nov

26

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Study Suggests Cancer Patients Get Help Coping With Stress

by: cancercompass

A recent study of breast cancer patients suggests reducing stress and seeking psychological support with coping and improving health behaviors can help those patients live longer.

Ohio State University researchers conducted the study based on a theory that cancer patients undergo significant amounts of stress during and after treatment, and that mental health services may improve patient survival rates.  To test that theory, Ohio State researchers followed 227 newly-diagnosed breast cancer patients treated for an average of 11 years.

Overall the study found women seeking psychological intervention had fewer cancer reoccurrences and deaths than women not seeking intervention.  Women participating in the intervention groups were 55% less likely to have cancer reoccurrence and those suffering a reoccurrence were cancer-free six months longer. Also women in the intervention group had a 45% reduced risk of death from all causes, not just cancer.

Study authors suggest that psychological interventions affect secondary stress hormones that promote cancer growth or metastasis. Furthermore, study authors suggest that it's important for patients to receive psychological treatment along with anti-tumor medications.

The study was published in the online version of Cancer, which is published on behalf of the American Cancer Society.

 

Nov

26

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New Compounds Destroy Breast Cancer Tumor in Mice

by: cancercompass

A university professor has created two new compounds that could kill breast cancer tumors, reported ScienceDaily earlier this month.

James Turkson, Associate Professor at the University of Central Florida created two compounds that have disrupted the formation and spread of breast cancer tumors in mice. No adverse effects were observed in the mice, which effectively had the two compounds break up cancer causing proteins called STAT3.

When the STAT3 protein becomes abnormally active it supports breast cancer cells by creating a network of blood vessels to feed cancer cells, reports ScienceDaily, adding that the protein eventually promotes the spread of cancer to the blood, bones and organs.

Turkson's compounds prevent STAT3 proteins from binding, thus preventing the proteins from staying abnormally active.

Turkson's research has been published in the academic journals Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and ACS Chemical Biology. ScienceDaily also notes the professor has patents for both compounds.

 

Nov

25

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Which Women Will Have Tamoxifen Side Effects?

by: cancercompass

Scientists say they may have found a way to predict which women are likely to experience hot flashes from tamoxifen therapy, reports Reuters Health.

Tamoxifen is associated with hot flashes that often cause women to discontinue the therapy. Doctors, however, say discontinuing the therapy puts women at risk of cancer reoccurrence and death.

A report published in the November 17 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology says genetic variants in estrogen receptors may identify which women have a problem with taking tamoxifen.

A research team from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine determined estrogen receptor variants in nearly 300 women who were starting tamoxifen therapy. Each woman maintained a symptoms diary that was used to calculate a hot flash score.

The researchers identified increased hot flash scores in premenopausal women with an increase in ESR1 variants Pvull and XbaI CG alleles.

In postmenopausal women, ESR1 Pvull CC and ESR2-02 GG genotypes were linked to increased hot flash scores.

 

Nov

25

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Scientists Study DNA Methylation's Role in Lung Cancer

by: cancercompass

Scientists are studying DNA methylation to understand why some former smokers develop lung cancers while others remain disease free.

Researchers from the British Columbia Cancer Research Centre in Vancouver say DNA methylation contributes to lung cancer development in former smokers.

Known to commonly regulate gene expression, scientists say DNA methylation becomes deregulated as we age and during cancer development, throwing off the control of gene activity.

The Canadian researchers used an endoscope to collect bronchial epithelial cells from lung linings of 16 former smokers, who quit smoking at least 10 years ago. Of the 16 participants, eight had non-small cell lung cancer surgically removed and eight were disease free.

The results showed differences in methylation levels in lung epithelial cells between former smokers with and without lung cancer.

Cigarette smoke exposure has been shown to activate genes that promote cancer and deactivate genes that stop tumor growth, according to researchers, who say further study is necessary to confirm initial results of this study.

 

Nov

24

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American Cancer Society Announces Medal of Honor Winners

by: cancercompass
The American Cancer Society - the nation's largest non-governmental entity funding cancer research - has awarded its Medal of Honor to four Americans who have made outstanding contributions to the fight against cancer.

This award is the cancer society's highest honor and was presented to Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy for cancer control, Mina J. Bissell, Ph.D., for research, Susan Band Horwitz, Ph.D., for clinical research, and John M. Huntsman for cancer philanthropy.

Visit the ACS website for more information about this year's Medal of Honor winners.

The Medal of Honor, originally called the American Cancer Society Award, was first awarded in 1949.
Nov

20

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Study says Cancer Risks from CT are 1:1000

by: cancercompass

Increased cancer risk from computed tomography (CT) for cardiovascular disease is lower than previously published conclusions reported, according to researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).

Different researchers, in previously published studies, concluded that cancer risk from radiation exposure during CT was about 1 in 114. However, the new study suggests the risk is closer to 1 in 1000.

MUSC researchers U. Joseph Schoepf, M.D., and colleagues claim these previous studies used unreliable models to assess lifetime risks of cancer from radiation in cardiac CT scans.

According to ScienceDaily, MUSC researchers studied 104 patients, mostly male, with a median age of 59 and weight of 202 pounds. Each patient underwent 64-slice cardiac CT.  Organ radiation doses were converted into risk by using previously published and validated measures. In addition, researchers used a patient's weight, sex and age to adjust cancer risk.

MUSC researchers recently presented their findings at the American Heart Association's meeting in New Orleans.

 

Nov

20

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Researchers Closer to Understanding Cancer Metastases

by: cancercompass

Researchers are one step closer to understanding how cancer cells metastasize, thanks to a new method for viewing individual breast cancer cells over a period of several days.

In a study published recently in Nature Methods, researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University provide details of their method for viewing breast cancer cells entering the metastatic phase of cancer.

While prior methods only allowed for viewing cancer cells over a period of several hours at a time, researchers say that a longer viewing window during the early stages of metastasis may help in the development of more effective cancer therapies.

Findings of the study suggest a direct connection between the presence of blood vessels during this stage, which researchers say strengthens the theory that blood supply is critical to metastasis.

The American Society of Cell Biology in San Francisco plans to highlight the study during its 48th annual meeting next month.

 

Nov

19

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Cornell Study Says Allergies May Prevent 9 Different Cancers

by: cancercompass

Cornell researchers say common allergy symptoms may help prevent some cancers, including: colon, skin, bladder, mouth, throat, uterus, cervix, lung and gastrointestinal tract.

Sneezing, coughing, watery and itchy eyes - all common allergy symptoms - may prevent cancers directly involving organs that are subject to external environmental elements, says Paul Sherman, Cornell professor of neurobiology and behavior, who led the study.  

Researchers analyzed 646 studies on allergies and cancers that were published within the past 50 years. They say doing this produced a comprehensive database on allergies and cancers.

Findings of the study suggested environmentally exposed tissues have a strong relationship to cancer and allergies. That same relationship seldom exists, says Sherman, with cancers of tissues not directly exposed to the environment, such as breast, prostate, myelocytic leukemia and myeloma.

Sherman explained that allergies may protect against certain cancers because the allergies promote the expulsion of toxins and carcinogen-carrying antigens. His findings, he says, are consistent with studies that say people with allergy symptoms are less likely to have toxic chemicals in their body.

 

Nov

17

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Charity Funds Genetic Breast Cancer Research

by: cancercompass

A new technique that hopes to understand the genetic changes of breast cancer just received monetary support.

ScienceDaily reports the University of Nottingham received £15,000 from the charity Breast Cancer Campaign, which carried out a study by top breast cancer experts to identify gaps in research.  Identifying the undiscovered genes thought to be involved in the early stage of breast cancer was deemed one of those gaps.

The charity's grant was awarded to Ian Ellis, Professor of Cancer Pathology, and is part of £2.3 million awarded to 20 projects around the United Kingdom, according to ScienceDaily.

Scientists know that breast cancer can develop when the genes in breast cells change, reports ScieneDaily. Defects in genes account for 5% to 10% of all breast cancers, though the article notes that all forms of breast cancer have acquired gene defects in early development of the disease. Many of these genes are undiscovered, and these defective genes can cause physical changes in the breast to cause cancer.

A flat atypical epithelial (FEA) cell is one of the earliest physical signs that a normal breast cell has turned cancerous, reports ScienceDaily. Professor Ellis will study the genes in the FEA cells to target cells involved in those earliest stages of breast cancer.

 

Nov

17

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Researchers Discover Molecule that Attacks Cancer Cells

by: cancercompass

Researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center have successfully created a molecule that simultaneously attacks two separate molecules appearing on a cancer cell's surface, reports ScienceDaily.

The antibody-like molecule, nicknamed "ALM" by Fox Chase researchers, may slow cancer progression, or become a guidance system for delivering more aggressive drug therapies directly to cancerous cells, researchers told ScienceDaily. Their research findings appear in this month's British Journal of Cancer.

Most naturally occurring antibodies bind only to one specific target at a time, but researchers say ALM attaches simultaneously to two separate targets. ALM's specific targets are signaling proteins, ErbB2 and ErbB3, which researchers say connect to form a growth-promoting complex on the surface of many different cancer cells.  This growth-promoting complex is often found in head and neck cancer along with drug-resistant breast cancer.

ALM was created by taking the "active anti-ErbB2 portion from one antibody and linking it with the anti-ErbB3 portion from another," reports ScienceDaily.  Researchers, who like to refer to ALM as a delivery system and not a "warrior," say the molecule preferentially targets tumors cells with excess receptor complex over normal cells.

Rather than kill cancer cells, ALM is better suited to deliver cancer-killing drugs, researchers told ScienceDaily.

 

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