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

31

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FDA Considers Banning Minors from Tanning Beds

by: cancercompass

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration discussed following Britain's footsteps on Thursday by considering banning people under 18 from using tanning beds.

We blogged about the FDA's potential crackdown on tanning bed usage back in January.

A recent report by the World Health Organization may be the reason for the crackdown as "the WHO analysis showed that the deadliest form of skin cancer increases 75 percent in people who use tanning beds in their teens and 20s," according to an Associated Press article.

The article further states that the Indoor Tanning Association claims the WHO drew its evidence from dated studies that were simply "lumped together and reanalyzed."

What are your thoughts about banning minors from using tanning beds?

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

Mar

30

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Study: Multivitamin May Increase Cancer Risk for Women

by: cancercompass

According to a recent Swedish study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, "multivitamin use was associated with a statistically significant increased risk of breast cancer" for women.
 
In 1997, over 35,000 cancer-free women were asked to complete a questionnaire asking about their multivitamin use, and breast cancer family history and risk factors.

Over a nine and a half year period, researchers learned that 974 women were diagnosed with breast cancer.

The study states "these results suggest that multivitamin use is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. This observed association is of concern and merits further investigation."

According to a Reuters article about the study, lead researcher Dr. Susanna C. Larsson, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, advised that a woman's best bet is to get her vitamins and minerals from a well-balanced diet rather than pills. And that if a woman eats a healthy and varied diet, there is no need for her to use multivitamins.

Do you take supplements? What are your thoughts on this study?

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

Mar

29

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Study: Salty Diet May Increase Stomach Cancer Risk

by: cancercompass

A new South Korean study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition claims "that salt preference has a marginal positive association with a risk of gastric cancer." Meaning there is a small, yet still positive association with high salt intake and stomach cancer.

According to the study, gastric cancer is declining, however, the disease still remains the most common cancer type in Korea. The study found that those who consumed a high-salt diet had a 10 percent greater risk of developing the disease.

Reuters interviewed Dr. Eric Jacobs, of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, who was not involved in the study. He stated in an email to Reuters that "gastric cancer was the leading cause of cancer death in the United States in the 1930s, but rates have dropped over time, probably due to a number of factors, including declining rates of infection with Helicobacter pylori (a bacterium responsible for ulcers and stomach inflammation)."

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

Mar

29

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Cancer Patients Need Options

by Dana Demas

A recent study out of Johns Hopkins found that surgery for people with cancer is riskier for those with Type 2 diabetes than for those without it.

We can all learn important lessons from a study like this, for two reasons:

  • A person’s health is defined by more than just cancer, or any serious illness. Cancer tends to consume the spotlight – for you, your loved ones and your doctor alike – but it’s still important to manage the other physical and mental health conditions you may face. Your health is bolstered or hindered by how you treat these seemingly less pressing issues.
  • A variety of cancer treatment options exist and, depending on the person, all are not created equal. You and your doctor should have an in-depth discussion about the range of cancer treatments available, and how they might relate to your health history – and you should seek a second opinion if you do not feel that options are presented to you.

The bottom line? We’re all complex people and we deserve the best care for our needs.

Mar

26

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Maine House of Reps. Rejects Cell Phone Warnings Bill

by: cancercompass

Cell phone radiation emissions have been a concern for many regarding the unknown after effects of the device's usage and how it could be potentially hazardous to one's health. The concern is that the radiation emissions could be tied to brain cancer. There is much debate about whether or not there is a link between cell phone usage and the disease. Some researchers claim that cell phone radiation is actually good for you.

Legislators in Maine were so concerned that they wanted a bill to be passed requiring cell phone manufacturers to post warning labels on cell phone packaging.

According to the Associated Press, that bill "was scaled back to direct state health officials to add links on their Web site to existing federal cell phone advisories. It also would urge federal agencies to do more research on cell phone use and ask the industry to bolster consumer education on cell phone safety."

On Thursday, Maine's House of Representatives opposed the bill.

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

Mar

25

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Breast Cancer Can Be Avoidable, Experts Say

by: cancercompass

Experts at the European Breast Cancer Conference in Barcelona, Spain claim nearly one-third of breast cancer cases could be avoided in Western countries if women exercised more and ate less.

The conference, which started Wednesday and ends on Saturday, is in its seventh year.

According to an Associated Press article regarding the claims, a spokesperson for a British breast cancer charity said his organization is cautious about lifestyle advice as it can be an extremely sensitive issue.

"We would never want women to feel responsible for their breast cancer," the spokesperson told the AP. "It's a complex disease and there are so many factors responsible that it's difficult to blame it on one specific issue."

What are your thoughts about sensitivity toward lifestyle advice? Should doctors be frank with their patients about eating habits and exercise, or should more sensitivity be put in place? Please share your thoughts in our comments section.

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

Mar

24

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Unconventional Breast Cancer Ads Get Attention

by: cancercompass

The website momlogic recently awarded "Booby Prizes" for (what it considers) the most bizarre breast cancer awareness ads to the companies and organizations that took steps in a  different, and in some people's opinion - a wrong, direction to raise awareness about the disease.

According to the website, Feminist groups in Poland were appalled when a Polish hospital encouraged its female employees to get mammograms with the slogan "I check the breasts of my employees myself." The feminist groups claim such behavior suggests sexual harassment.

What are your thoughts about these atypical ads? Do the ads raise awareness, or raise eyebrows?

Mar

23

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Study: Male Infertility Linked to Prostate Cancer

by: cancercompass

In a recent study, men with ‘male factor infertility’ were found to have an increased risk of developing high-grade prostate cancer.

A total of 22,562 men were evaluated for infertility from 1967 to 1998, and were identified from 15 California infertility centers that were linked to the California Cancer Registry. The occurrence of prostate cancer was compared with the occurrence of male infertility, in age-matched and geography-matched men, from the general population.

A total of 168 cases of prostate cancer developed after infertility occurred. The risk was found to be highest for men with male factor infertility who developed high-grade prostate cancer.

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

Mar

22

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Love it or Hate it: Landmark Health Care Bill is Passed

by Dana Demas

After a year of legislative activity, the House passed the health care reform bill. Quoting a letter from the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) to President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "Passing health care is the great unfinished business of our country." Then she added, "That is, until today."

Past Democratic presidents —even intermittent Republicans like Richard M. Nixon — have wanted to reform universal health care system. However, both parties have avoided major health care reform since President Bill Clinton's efforts collapsed in 1994.

On Sunday, March 21, 2010, the House approved the bill, H.R. 4872, with a vote count of 219 to 212. As the GOP had previously committed, not a single Republican voted in favor of the bill. In total, 178 Republicans and 34 Democrats voted against passing the bill which will now go to President Obama to be signed.

Mike Pence (R-IN), chairman of the House COP Conference said, "This is truly a remarkable moment in the life of this nation. Some say we're making history. I say we're breaking history, breaking with our best traditions. Only in Washington, D.C., can you spend a trillion dollars and say that you're saving the taxpayers money."

Although this landmark health care bill is saturating news headlines across the country today, many Americans still have questions as to what exactly is in the bill.

NPR offers these highlights:

  • The $940 billion bill seeks to extend health coverage to most Americans.
  • Medicaid, the federal-state program that provides health insurance to the poor and disabled, will be expanded to cover all adults earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level.
  • Private health insurance will be made available to individuals and small companies through exchanges that will be run by the states.
  • Individuals who do not buy insurance face fines, as do most employers who do not offer coverage to workers.
  • Bill sponsors predict that all but about 5 percent of non-elderly Americans will ultimately be covered. Half of those currently uninsured will receive coverage through the expansion of Medicaid and half through private insurance through the exchanges — often with subsidies that make up the bulk of the legislation's projected costs.
  • The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the legislation will reduce the federal deficit by $143 billion over the next 10 years and by some $1.2 trillion over the following decade; however, critics of the bill say these proposed savings are "fictional."

The Obama administration officials say these "early deliverables" or immediate effects will be seen yet this year as benefits of the health legislation:

  • Dependent children could remain on their parents' health insurance plans until age 26.
  • Senior citizens would get more help paying for drugs in Medicare.
  • People with health problems that left them uninsurable could qualify for coverage through a federal program.

If these changes seem big, just wait until 2014 when insurance companies will be required to accept all applicants—regardless of health issues—and Medicaid will expand its state programs.

Most Americans, it seems, either support the bill wholeheartedly or are vehemently against it. Although some details on the bill have been presented to the public, many questions have already been voiced by the public including confusion surrounding breadth of coverage, small business tax credit, market sector fees, and the individual responsibility requirement.

Mar

22

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Non-Smokers Develop Lung Cancer Too

by: cancercompass

Although the risk of non-smokers developing lung cancer is lower than for smokers, it is estimated that 10-25% of lung cancer cases are diagnosed for people who have never smoked a cigarette.

Researchers recently discovered a lung cancer gene that could help explain why non-smokers develop the disease.

According to a BBC News article, the GPC5 gene could help researchers discover new methods of treatment for non-smoking lung cancer patients. However, more research is needed to learn why the gene is linked to developing the disease.

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

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