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.

Dec

31

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Ovarian Cancer Biomarkers Aide Early Detection

by: oneupweb

A new article published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, found that cancer "biomarkers" appear in blood tests before ovarian cancer symptoms occur, which can help with detecting the cancer.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the biomarkers became more accurate only a year or less before the women were diagnosed.

"Finding ovarian cancer a year earlier could have a significant impact. Even three months makes a huge difference when you're going into someone's belly,” Dr. Barbara Goff said in the Times article. Goff is a surgeon and director of gynecologic oncology at the University of Washington.

Early detection of ovarian cancer can be difficult as frequently, women have no symptoms or mild symptoms until the cancer is in an advanced stage.

To learn more about the cancer mentioned in this post, please visit our ovarian cancer information page.

Dec

30

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Skin Needs Protection Year Round

by: oneupweb

During the long, warm, and  frequently cloudless summer days, many coat themselves in sunscreen to protect their skin from the sun's harmful rays. But now, during the short, cold, and cloudy days that makeup the weather for most people's winter months, sunscreen is on the back burner.

A recent USA Today article highlights this very issue.

During the winter months, UVB rays wane, but UVA rays stay consistent year round. According to the article, "UVA rays pose particular dangers to your skin. Though UVA rays are less likely than UVB rays to cause sunburn, UVA rays do contribute to skin cancer."

Experts recommend wearing "broad spectrum" sunscreen everyday, year round. Also, snow plays an indirect part in UV radiation during the winter as it reflects UV rays back up.

Do you wear sunscreen during the winter?

To learn more about the cancer mentioned in the article, please visit our skin cancer information page.

Dec

29

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Acupuncture = Wonder Drug for Hot Flashes?

by Dana Demas

A new study reports that acupuncture is as effective as drug therapy at reducing hot flashes, which are a common side effect of tamoxifen and other hormone therapies for breast cancer.

Researchers at Henry Ford University studied two groups of women: one took the popular anti-depressant Effexor® and the other had regular acupuncture treatments. After three months, both groups experienced 50 percent fewer hot flashes and depressive symptoms. (In this study, the women in the acupuncture group went for twice-weekly treatments for the first month, and once a week thereafter.)

The best news is the women who received acupuncture continued to experience relief from hot flashes and mood symptoms for three months after stopping treatment. The women who took Effexor felt symptoms return after two weeks.

A 2004 Duke University study found that acupuncture is also effective at reducing post-operative nausea and vomiting in women who undergo a mastectomy or other major breast surgery

To learn more about the risks and benefits of acupuncture for breast cancer patients, visit breastcancer.org.

Dec

29

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World War II Jewish European Cancer Rates

by: oneupweb

According to a new Israeli study, European Jews who immigrated to Israel after the Holocaust have significantly higher cancer rates of all types of cancer, particularly breast and colorectal cancer, than European Jews who left for Israel either before or during World War II.

The New York Times published an article about the study yesterday. The study included 315,544 Jews born in Europe from 1920 to 1945 who survived Nazi occupation and immigrated to Israel after the war.

It's noted in the article that "the most striking disparity was among those who were youngest during the war" as subjects born between 1940 and 1945 had developed cancer at a significantly higher rate than Jews of the same age group who immigrated to Israel during the war.

The article further states that U.S. researchers who've focused their studies on stress and cancer correlations "cautioned against drawing any conclusions about cancer causes because the war experience subjected Jews to so many different harsh experiences, including severe, sustained malnourishment and exposure to cold and infections and extreme, prolonged psychological stress that continued after the war."

To learn more about the cancers mentioned in their article, please visit our breast cancer and colon cancer information pages.

Dec

28

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Cancer Screenings Recommendations Reviewed

by: oneupweb

In light of the new breast cancer screening recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which states that women should wait until age 50 to begin routine mammograms, the Los Angeles Times published an article on today outlining the opposing opinions physicians have regarding their recommendations for various cancer screenings.

Although some feel there are no negative effects in receiving cancer screenings, some physcians feel some screenings procedures can have adverse effects like unnecessary biopsies and treatments with radiation and drugs.

According to the above-mentioned L.A. Times article, Dr. Doug Campos-Outcalt of the American Academy of Family Physicians, said, "Organizations send us their guidelines hoping for our endorsement," but those guidelines frequently conflict with each other.

Dec

24

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New Research Supports Skin Cancer Risks

by: oneupweb

A new study involving 65 pairs of twins supports previous research that genetics and environmental factors both play key roles in developing skin cancer.

The research focused mainly on aging facial skin; hinting that the aging of skin has more to do with lifestyle and environmental elements than actual genetics.

Twins share genes which allowed researchers an "opportunity to control for genetic susceptibility," Dr. Elma Baron said in an ABC News article regarding the study.

Three lifestyle and environmental factors were the main cause for skin aging: sun exposure, smoking, and being overweight.

Baron and other researchers noted that these new findings may help deter people from such behaviors that could cause skin aging and possibly skin cancer.

To learn more about the cancer mentioned in this post, please visit our skin cancer information page.

Dec

23

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Tips to Enjoy the Holidays When You Have Cancer

by Dana Demas

The holiday season is often a time of traditions, celebrations, and renewed connections with family and friends. It can also be a challenging time of family obligations and stress. As you cope with cancer this holiday season, it’s important to remember there is no right or wrong way to handle the holidays. You need to discover what works best for you.

  • Eat, Drink and Be Merry. Your tastes may change during cancer, and foods that once tasted good may be unappealing now. It’s important to keep eating, so your body stays nourished and your immune system stays strong. Choose foods that sound appetizing to you, or request a specific dish for your holiday meal. Share with friends and family that your tastes are different right now. Don’t worry about missing out on the foods you normally enjoy at the holidays. You’ll eat them next year.
  • Pray. Every person’s spirituality is different and plays a unique role in their cancer journey. If you feel inclined, say a prayer at mealtime or attend a service. Or, do something else to honor your spirituality.
  • Rest. Even though it’s the holidays and you want to do it all, take good care of yourself first. Don’t feel obligated to do what you have for holidays past, whether it’s cooking, giving gifts or attending parties. If you travel for holiday celebrations, carve out a time and place for a nap. If you’re spending the holidays at home, don’t feel bad about allowing others to take the lead. Your health takes priority over the activities you might normally be doing. Enjoy allowing others to do the dishes this year!
  • Give. Cancer can be an all-consuming experience. And while there is no doubt it’s devastating and takes all of your energy, sometimes giving to others can be the best medicine of all. Enjoy the spirit of the season by performing one random act of kindness. Donate a toy to a child in need, give $10 to the Salvation Army, or choose some other kind act that is meaningful to you. Perhaps there is someone in your network of family, friends or coworkers who could use an unexpected kind gesture this holiday season.
  • Forgive. Resist the family drama this year – forgive, forget or simply ignore the people who cause you stress or conflict. You need all of your energy to fight cancer, and enjoy the holidays.
  • Reach Out. You may feel like you want more support around the holidays than family and friends can provide. If so, reach out for the help you need. The CancerCare network is just one place that provides free, professional support for people affected by cancer.

 

Dec

23

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High-Risk Breast Cancer Patients Refusing MRIs

by: oneupweb

New research shows that nearly 42% of women who are at high-risk for breast cancer refuse to receive an MRI, even if that MRI is offered free of charge.

This new study, conducted in the U.S. with 1,215 women, found three main reasons for refusal:

1. Claustrophobia. Women who are fearful of being closed in a confined space were frightened by the tunnel-like device that is used to administer magnetic resonance imaging screening (MRI).

2. Cost. Women were concerned about the price associated with obtaining the procedure. Furthermore, those who refused the test also stated that they were concerned for the costs involved if one or several follow-ups were needed afterward.

3. Time. Some women in the study said they simply did not have the time to have the test.

In a recent Reuters article about the study, breast imaging specialist Dr. Wendie Berg says, "the study points to the need for alternative ways of screening high-risk women, including training more experts in breast ultrasound, a quicker, more convenient test."

To learn more about the cancer mentioned in this post, please visit our breast cancer information page.

Dec

22

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Cell Phone Radiation Warnings May Become Law

by: oneupweb

Cell phone use has sky-rocketed in the last 15 years, which has San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Maine legislator Andrea Boland taking charge in requiring cell phones to warn consumers that the communication devices may cause brain cancer.

Newsom and Boland recommend putting warning labels (similar to those on packs of cigarettes) on cell phone boxes and packaging to alert consumers about the much-debated potentially dangerous effects of cell phone radiation.

Newsom said in a statement that he wants "radiation levels next to each phone, in a font at least as large as the price." Boland has a bill in place that has the word 'warning' in red with text explaining the warning in black.

According to a recent article from the American Cancer Society:

"Cell phone safety has been debated for years, but current research is contradictory or inconclusive. Some studies have suggested a link between cell phone use and brain cancer, as well as some benign tumors. Most studies, though, do not show a clear link."

Researchers say more studies are needed to determine a clear link between cell phone radiation and brain cancer.

To learn more about the cancer mention in this post, please visit our brain cancer information page.

Dec

21

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New Study Finds Cervical Cancer Linked to Early Sex

by: oneupweb

BBC News reported Monday that a new study suggests women who have sex at a younger age could double their risk of developing cervical cancer.

Researchers wanted to discover why women who are considered poor tend to have more incidences of cervical cancer than more affluent women.

According to the article, many researchers thought the difference was due to poorer women receiving less screenings than affluent women, which may cause higher rates of the sexually transmitted disease human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is believed to cause most cases of cervical cancer.

However, this new study finds that poorer women tend to become sexually active four years before affluent women "so they may have also been infected with HPV earlier, giving the virus more time to produce the long sequence of events that are needed for cancer development," said study leader Dr. Silvia Franceschi.

Cancer Research UK's Director of Cancer Information, Dr. Lesley Walker, said these "results back up the need for the HPV vaccination to be given in schools at an age before they start having sex, especially girls in deprived areas."

What are your thoughts about administering the HPV vaccine in schools?

To learn more about the cancer mentioned in the post, please visit our cervical cancer information page.

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