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.

Jan

29

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Study: Pelvic Symptoms Not Likely to be Ovarian Cancer

by: oneupweb

A new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute has found that certain symptoms typical of ovarian cancer, like bloating and pelvic pain, are unlikely to be the effect of the disease.

The study interviewed 800 women aged 35-74 who had ovarian cancer, against 1,300 women who did not have ovarian cancer.

The report states in its conclusion that the "use of symptoms to trigger medical evaluation for ovarian cancer is likely to result in diagnosis of the disease in only one of 100 women in the general population with such symptoms."

According to a Reuters article, lead researcher Mary Anne Rossing said, "We'd all like to find ways to diagnose this cancer earlier. What this (study) suggests is that it's going to be hard to move the diagnosis of ovarian cancer forward."

Experts say the results of this study highlight the need to develop better screening for ovarian cancer.

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

Jan

28

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Study: Low Vitamin D May Increase Colon Cancer Risk

by: oneupweb

A new study conducted by European researchers found that people with high vitamin D levels have a 40 percent lower risk of developing colorectal cancer.

The study measured the vitamin D levels of 1,248 colorectal cancer patients who developed the cancer after enrolling into the study, against 1,248 cancer-free individuals. They found the individuals in the lower fifths of vitamin D levels were more likely to develop the disease.

Experts say more research is needed to firmly conclude that a diet rich in vitamin D will ward off colon cancer.

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

Jan

27

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New Method of Studying Cancer Cells Developed

by: oneupweb

Researchers from Oxford University in England have developed a method allowing for faster studying of a class of cancer cells called cancer stem cells.

Cancer stem cells have been linked to causing patients to relapse because the cells tend to be resistant to treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.

This new method of studying cancer stem cells is faster because it allows researchers to work with cell lines as opposed to using samples from human patients. These cells also allow researchers to repeatedly test them.

Whereas before, researchers had to use cancer biopsies from human cancer patients, which was time consuming, and they could not retest those cells.

According to an ABC News article published Monday, researcher Trevor Yeung said, "In the long term, it should allow the development of more useful, safe and specific drugs targeting cancer stem cells."

Jan

26

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When Sympathy Isn't Enough

by Dana Demas

Are you looking for some advice about a thorny personal issue related to cancer? A great website called The Checkout Line provides advice to the terminally ill, their friends and relatives. It’s a sort of “Dear Abby” run by the journalist Judy Bachrach, who fields some uncomfortable questions and gives straight answers.

Given all of the demands placed upon people affected by cancer, we’re still human with frustrations that can seem petty in the face of life-or-death. We can all use outlets – even if it’s just to read about the quandaries of others.

Just like our message boards here at CancerCompass, the advice site is totally anonymous. So, you can ask any question you have (yes…even that one). Check it out.

Jan

26

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$65M Project to Decode Childhood Cancer Genomes

by: oneupweb

Researchers at the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, announced a new $65 million project that will map the genetic changes of common pediatric cancers.

The project will decode the genomes of 600 children with cancer. The children's cancer cells will be compared to normal cells to discover the changes that occurred which may have lead to cancer.

“We are on the threshold of a revolution in our understanding of the origins of cancer. For the first time in history, we have the tools to identify all of the genetic abnormalities that turn a white blood cell into a leukemia cell or a brain cell into a brain tumor,” said Dr. William E. Evans, St. Jude director and chief executive officer, in a news release published Monday.

Jan

25

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New Test Predicts Breast Cancer Treatment Resistance

by: oneupweb

Not all cancer patients react the same way to the same treatment for the same cancer.

That's why researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston are studying a test that could inform breast cancer patients who are most likely to relapse after undergoing a particular type of chemotherapy called anthracyclines.

According to a BBC News article, this test could prevent patients from undergoing a treatment that would ultimately fail.

"While this work remains preliminary, it may ultimately help us use the anthracyclines in a much more thoughtful manner and allow us greater ability to personalize our breast cancer treatments to the tumor and the patient," Dr Eric Winer, director of the Breast Oncology Center at Dana-Farber, said in the article.

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

Jan

22

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Hope for Smokers with Lung Cancer

by: oneupweb

A new series of studies published in the British Medical Journal found that smokers who quit soon after being diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer double their chances at living for another five years.

In the article's conclusion section, the studies show "preliminary evidence that smoking cessation after diagnosis of early stage lung cancer improves prognostic outcomes."

Analyzing early-stage lung cancer patients who quit smoking soon after diagnosis, researchers found 63-70 percent were still alive after five years, while 29-33 percent of lung cancer patients who continued smoking were alive after that same time period.

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

Jan

22

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Early and Often for Cancer Detection

by Dana Demas

Survivor: Palau contestant Jennifer Lyon, who lost her battle with cancer this week at the age of 37, first noticed a suspicious lump in her breast in 2004. However, like many women she assumed it was nothing. She also did not have health insurance and delayed going to the doctor.

Lyon then discovered a second lump in her breast and another in her underarm. She was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer in 2005; two years later it metastasized to her backbone, according to a People Magazine profile.

There are thousands of women just like Lyon whose stories don’t make it on TV. We all put off doing things that are good for our health, whether it’s flossing, eating a healthy diet or getting more sleep. Early detection of breast cancer—and all cancers—is the key.

Make a vow to start…now:

  • Examine your breasts regularly here’s how.
  • If you’re over 40, get an annual mammogram research supports it.
  • Get a free mammogram if you are uninsured or can’t afford it.
  • Donate so that women in need can get free mammograms.

Learn more about health insurance.

Jan

21

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Blood Test Screening Detects Colon Cancer, Polyps

by: oneupweb

A new blood test developed by Israeli researchers can help detect early-stage colon cancer and polyps.

The blood test screens for a protein called CD24, which is found in the body during the early stages of colon cancer development.

Sarah Kraus, lead researcher at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, said in a news release by the American Society of Clinical Oncology that "screening is effective for early colorectal cancer detection and prevention, but for a range of reasons, many people are reluctant to undergo colonoscopy."

Kraus and her team of researchers will unveil their findings at the Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium this weekend.

Kraus further noted that larger studies will need to be conducted before this blood test could be used for colon cancer screenings full-time.

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

Jan

20

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Study: Age Important Factor for Hereditary Pancreatic Cancer Risk

by: oneupweb

A new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) found that those with a history of familial pancreatic cancer have an increased risk of developing the disease, especially if a family member was diagnosed before age 50.

Familial pancreatic cancer is when two or more first-degree relatives, such as parents, siblings or children, develop the cancer.

According to an article published by Reuters Tuesday, individuals in familial pancreatic cancer families who've had a family member diagnosed before age 50, have their risk of developing the disease increase nine-fold, compared to familial pancreatic cancer families whose members are diagnosed after age 50.

A researcher from Johns Hopkins said in the article that "there's no well-established screening program (for pancreatic cancer)." However, her team of researchers is looking into the effectiveness of using endoscopic ultrasound as a possible method.

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

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