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.

Mar

27

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ACS Announces Lane Adams Quality of Life Award Winners

by: cancercompass

The American Cancer Society (ACS) will honor 15 cancer caregivers with a prestigious national prize.

Since 1988, ACS has awarded the 2009 Lane W. Adams Quality of Life Award to compassionate caregivers who make a difference through leadership, innovation and quality care to cancer patients and their families.

Read about this year's winners, who were announced this week in an ACS press release. The awards ceremony is scheduled for Friday, May 8, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

Mar

27

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Study Suggests Chemo Drug Combo May Preserve Larynx in Advanced Cancers

by: cancercompass

A new study suggests a combination of three chemotherapy drugs followed by radiotherapy may preserve the larynx of patients with advanced larynx and hypopharynx cancers.

The study, recently published by The National Cancer Institute, was conducted by French researchers who analyzed whether adding the cancer drug docetaxel to an existing chemotherapy treatment of cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil was more effective at preserving the larynx when followed by radiotherapy.

Researchers randomly assigned patients whose cancer required a total laryngectomy to receive three cycles of cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil, or the new mixture containing those two cancer drugs plus docetaxel. Patients who did not respond to chemotherapy underwent surgery.

Results of the study revealed a three-year actuarial larynx preservation rate of 70.3% with all three cancer drugs versus 57.5% with the cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil combination.

Patients who received all three chemotherapy drugs had the following side effects: grade 2 alopecia, grade 4 neutropenia and febrile neutropenia. Researchers noticed that patients taking only the two chemotherapy drugs had more grade 3 and 4 stomatitis, thrombocytopenia, and grade 4 creatinine elevation.

Overall, patients taking all three chemotherapy drugs had an 80% response rate, while the other group experienced a 59.2% response rate.

 

Mar

19

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Researchers Say Prostate Cancer Anxiety Affects Treatment Timing

by: cancercompass

Prostate cancer anxiety affects treatment timing according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Researchers conducted this study to understand how cancer anxiety affects an older man's decision to initiate androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) when biochemical cancer recurrences (BCR) are present.

Patients completed questionnaires throughout the study to measure anxiety with the Memorial Anxiety Scale for Prostate Cancer. Overall findings were that 33% of patients initiated ADT at the first or second clinic visit, showing that early initiation of this treatment was largely attributed to heightened levels of prostate cancer anxiety in older men with BCR.

Find support and learn to cope with this disease by visiting the Cancer Compass prostate cancer message board.

 

Mar

19

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Study Finds Green Tea & Mushrooms Reduce Breast Cancer Risk in Chinese Women

by: cancercompass

New research published in the International Journal of Cancer is taking a closer look at what effects green tea and mushrooms have on reducing breast cancer risk.

Australian and Chinese researchers found Chinese women who ate mushrooms, both dried and fresh, lowered their risk of breast cancer. These women further reduced their risk when green tea was added to their daily diet.

Reuters Health reported that despite a noticeable increase in breast cancer among the most affluent parts of China, overall the country experiences four-to five-times lower risk for this disease than most developed countries.

Findings suggest that traditional Chinese diets that include large amounts of mushrooms and green tea probably account for the overall reduced breast cancer occurrences.

There are many potential causes and risks factors for developing breast cancer, though some women have the disease without these factors playing a role. Learn more about breast cancer risk factors.

 

Mar

19

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MIT Announces Progress with Nano Technology

by: cancercompass

MIT researchers announced this month they have made progress with a new drug delivery system that uses a nanofiber hydrogel scaffold, according to an MIT press release.

Researchers demonstrated they can effectively carry and control the release of different sized proteins within this gel, which could potentially carry and deliver insulin and the cancer drug Herceptin. They also found that depending on the density of the gel, they could control the rate of release of the drugs as well.

According to the researchers, this drug delivery system allows for a gradual release of the proteins over hours, days or months from the gel, and the gel itself eventually breaks down into harmless amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins.  Traditional drug delivery systems use synthetic polymer materials, which can contain chemicals or other toxic substances.

 

Mar

17

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Renal Cell Carcinoma Drug May Help Fight Papillary Thyroid Cancer

by: cancercompass

A drug used to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma was tolerated well in papillary thyroid cancer patients during its Phase II trial, according to study results published in the March online edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Sorafenib, known as Nexavar, is FDA-approved to treat an advanced stage of kidney cancer called renal cell carcinoma. This recent study says the drug may also help fight papillary thyroid cancer.

Ohio State University Researchers assessed bi-monthly responses in 41 papillary thyroid cancer patients assigned 400 mg of sorafenib twice per day.  Patients were split into two groups: Arm A, which required a tumor for biopsy, and Arm B, who had subtypes of carcinoma and didn't require tumor biopsy.

Overall study findings concluded that 23 of the 41 patients had a stable disease condition for longer than six months. Median progression-free survival was 15 months.  Common side effects were fatigue, musculoskeletal pain and hand-foot skin reaction.

Cancer drugs and surgery are common thyroid cancer treatments, though other options do exist. Learn more about thyroid cancer treatment.

 

Mar

17

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Komen Race Changes Name to Recognize Global Impact of Breast Cancer

by: cancercompass

Susan G. Komen for the Cure added the term "Global" to its famous race title to highlight the "growing breast cancer crisis worldwide," said the foundation in a recent press release.

Registration began this month for the "first-ever" Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure. The 5k run or walk will be held June 6, 2009 on the Washington D.C. National Mall.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure expects more than 50,000 people to participate this year in raising more than $6.1 million, of which 75% will be used to help communities in the Washington D.C. area.

 

Mar

13

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Surgery/Chemo Combo Shows Results in CLM Cases

by: cancercompass

New research, published in a study online at the Journal of Clinical Oncology, suggests "rescue surgery" combined with "downsizing chemotherapy" increases survival rates for patients with unresectable colorectal liver metastases (CLM).

Researchers evaluated 184 patients who underwent resection between April 1988 and July 2002 and were a mean age of 56.9 years. The surgery was possible after one or more lines of chemotherapy.

In their findings, researchers discovered that after follow up with 148 patients, 24 survived at least or more than five years without cancer. Of those 148 patients, six were considered cured only after a repeat surgery after recurrence. 12 "cured" patients were  disease-free for 10 or more years.  Patients surviving five or more years often had three or fewer metastases less than 30 mm at diagnosis and responded well to first-line chemotherapy.  

Researchers concluded that an overall cure can be reached in "16% of patients with initially unresectable CLM resected after downsizing chemotherapy."  Along with increased survival this approach also has the potential for disease eradication.

 

Mar

13

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Study Suggests Cancer Survivors at Risk for Depression

by: cancercompass

A new study shows that survivors of cancer are at an increased risk for suffering from depression.

Danish researchers investigated whether cancer survivors have a heightened risk for being hospitalized for depression. Their study was published online this month in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Researchers analyzed records from the Danish Cancer Registry for adults diagnosed with cancer between 1973 and 2003. These patient records were then compared to Danish Psychiatric Register records.

Investigators found increased depression risk in the first year after a cancer diagnosis in women with colorectal cancer and men with brain cancer. In subsequent years even though the risk of depression decreased slightly, researchers still found it to be in significant excess for specific cancers.

Researchers also found the risk of depression remained substantially high throughout the study period for both men and women suffering hormone-related cancers, for women surviving smoking-related cancers, and for men surviving virus and immune-related cancers.

 

Mar

13

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Complex Approval Process for Phase III Clinical Trials

by: cancercompass

Gaining approval for phase III clinical trials is a complex process, according to researchers whose work can be seen in a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Researchers from various departments of Vanderbilt University, the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute examined the time it takes for the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) and the Central Institutional Review Board (CIRB) to evaluate and approve phase III clinical trials.

Methods researchers used involved documenting steps that included interviewing CTEP and CIRB staff regarding the process from initial concept submission to trial activation by a cooperative group, reviewing standard operating procedures, and the inspection of trial records and documents from selected trials in order to identify any additional steps.

Researchers discovered there were at least 296 distinct processes required for phase III trial activations: "at least 239 working steps, 52 major decision points, 20 processing loops, and 11 stopping points."

In the past 8 years, researchers said the average time from initial formal concept submission to trial activation remained unchanged at about 602 days. They also concluded that because of the complexity of phase III clinical trials, the process is lengthy and highly variable and a solution would have to involve all the parties involved in developing trials.

 

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