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.

Apr

30

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FDA Approves Prostate Cancer Drug

by: cancercompass

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the drug Provenge.

"The availability of Provenge provides a new treatment option for men with advanced prostate cancer, who currently have limited effective therapies available," Karen Midthun, M.D., FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research director, stated in an FDA news release.

According to USA Today, the $93,000 drug doesn't prevent cancer, nor cure it.

"But studies show that (Provenge) does help men with advanced prostate cancer live four months longer than men given placebo shots," Philip Kantoff of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and investigator of a Provenge study, told USA Today.

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

Apr

29

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Study: New UCSF Test May Predict Breast Cancer Progression

by: cancercompass

According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, a new test could allow clinicians to determine which type of breast cancer cells will not progress, and which ones will become life-threatening.

This new test pertains to the ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) type of breast cancer, which is also the earliest stage of breast cancer development.

"Many people are diagnosed with these pre-malignancies and become alarmed. The problem is that only 1 in 10 cases is going to be associated with future invasive cancer," Thea Tlsty, of the study's lead authors, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Hopefully, we can start stratifying risks, and women and their clinicians can start to choose the appropriate therapy. Why have a complete mastectomy if you don't need to?"

CBS NEWS medical correspondent Dr. Jon Lapook reported on this new study. He and Katie Couric also discuss Britain's new flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure for colon cancer.

You can view the report here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfrtNw-bH6w

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

Apr

28

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Five Minute Test May Largely Reduce Colon Cancer Risk

by: cancercompass

A quick, one-time screening could reduce the risk of developing colon cancer by over 30 percent.  That’s according to British researchers who studied the benefits of flexible sigmoidoscopy.

The researchers claim the "flexi-scope" test takes only 5 minutes, and patients only need to undergo the procedure once.

According to The Washington Post, researchers studied over 170,000 people for nearly 11 years. Of those 170,000, "more than 40,000 had a 'flexi-scope' test, an exam that removes polyps, small growths that could become cancerous."

The study was published in The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical Journal, on Wednesday.

The study states: "Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a safe and practical test and, when offered only once between ages 55 and 64 years, confers a substantial and longlasting benefit."

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

Apr

27

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New Study: Researchers Possibly Discover Where Ovarian Tumors Originate

by: cancercompass

A recent study conducted at the Fox Chase Cancer Center near Philadelphia, states that researchers discovered a method to finding early cancerous tumors and precancerous lesions in the ovaries. These precancerous lesions are found in cysts that can fold into the ovary from the surface, which are called inclusion cysts.

According to the study, scientists have not known where cancerous tumors in the ovaries originate.

Bloomberg Businessweek published an article Monday regarding the news. "This is the first study giving very strong evidence that a substantial number of ovarian cancers arise in inclusion cysts and that there is indeed a precursor lesion that you can see, put your hands on, and give a name to,” Jeff Boyd, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at Fox Chase and the study's lead author, stated in the article .

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

Apr

26

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KFC Gets Heat for Buckets for the Cure

by: cancercompass

KFC recently launched its Buckets for the Cure campaign. For every pink bucket of chicken sold, KFC makes a 50¢ donation to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® foundation.

KFC would like to raise $8.5 million by the end of the campaign, which is May 9th. As of Monday morning, the food franchise has donated just over $2 million.

But KFC has received some heat for this campaign.

According to National Public Radio, one of the biggest critics is an organization called Breast Cancer Action. NPR's article states that Breast Cancer Action is "accusing KFC of 'pinkwashing' -- that's a term they coined back in 2003 for companies who associate themselves to the breast cancer awareness cause while manufacturing products that are linked to the disease. Breast Cancer Action's 'Think Before You Pink' website even encourages people to rally against 'Buckets of the Cure.'"

The Washington Post's 'The Checkup' section also weighed in on the campaign's controversy: "Bear in mind that the 'F' in KFC stands for 'fried.' Here's a line from the National Cancer Institute's Web site - 'studies have shown that an increased risk of developing colorectal, pancreatic, and breast cancer is associated with high intakes of well-done, fried, or barbequed meats.'"

What are your thoughts regarding the Buckets for the Cure campaign?

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

Apr

23

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Psychedelic Drugs May Aid Cancer Patients Anxiety

by: cancercompass

When one reads the words 'psychedelic drugs' - what comes to mind? Tie-dyed t-shirts, hippies, and the late 1960s?

According to recent studies from New York University, Johns Hopkins University, and several other acclaimed educational institutions - psychedelic drugs may help cancer patients, and those with obsessive-compulsive disorder and other psychological problems, reduce anxiety.

"There's still a lot of resistance to it," David Nichols told the Associated Press. Nichols is a medicinal chemistry professor at Purdue University and president of the Heffter Institute, which supports the NYU study. "The whole hippie thing in the 60s has kind of left a bad taste in the mouth of the public at large."

Some of the drugs used in the NYU study include: LSD, MDMA (Ecstasy) and psilocybin, which is the psychedelic ingredient of 'magic mushrooms.'

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) recently wrapped its annual conference in San Jose, CA last week. MAPS' executive director Rick Doblin told the AP that "there is now more psychedelic research taking place in the world than at any time in the last 40 years. We're at the end of the beginning of the renaissance."

What are your thoughts regarding psychedelic drug research for reducing anxiety while undergoing cancer treatment? Do you approve?

Apr

22

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Hip-Hop Artist, Cancer Patient Asks Fans to Meditate

by: cancercompass

Adam "MCA" Yauch, a member of hip-hop group the Beastie Boys, announced last July that he had cancer of the salivary glands. Currently in recovery, Yauch emailed members of the Beastie Boys fan club this week to join him in meditation to help other cancer patients battle their disease.

Yauch writes:
"a few friends and i are meditating at the same time twice a day. 9:30am and 6:30pm eastern standard time, for about an hour and half.

we are picturing smashing apart all of the cancer cells in the world.

we are visualizing taking the energy away from the cancer, and then sending it back at the cancer as lightening bolts that will break apart the DNA and RNA of the cells. if you have the time, please join us in whipping up this lightening storm. mind over matter..."


According to the Los Angeles Times, writer Margaret Wappler claims Yauch's outreach may be due to a recent Jay-Z performance at the California music festival Coachella. Wappler writes, "headliner Jay-Z blasted out the Beastie Boys' ‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn’ as his intro music. It got us thinking about Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch, who announced last year that he had been diagnosed with cancer. Maybe Yauch felt our concern - that is, the collective concern of many people on the Indio polo grounds who had the same thought."

Do you or someone you know mediate? Will you participate in Yauch's meditation exercise?

To learn more about Adam Yauch’s cancer, please visit our oral cancer information page.

Apr

21

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Getting Back to Intimacy After Cancer

by Dana Demas

Cancer changes your body, your mind and your life, and it couldn’t be truer than when inside the bedroom.

For women, fluctuating hormone levels after surgery, radiation and chemotherapy can cause vaginal dryness, less pleasurable sensation, and pain or soreness with intercourse.

For men, erectile function problems and arousal problems can happen because of prostate cancer, as well as many other cancers that wreak hormonal havoc on the body.

And let’s not forget about the stress and fatigue that tend to be sex life dampers for patients and their caregivers alike.

Luckily, there are a few adjustments you can make when you’re ready for intimacy again. Aside from discussing your concerns with your physician, it’s also important to talk with your partner about sex. The same old way of doing things isn’t going to work—timing and technique all require some rethinking:

  • In general, it’s best to realize that arousal will take longer and enjoy it for what it is.
  • More foreplay helps warm-up you and your partner, especially if you are reconnecting sexually after a period of time. 
  • A lubricant will help make sexual activity more comfortable for both of you. 
  • Don’t assume that the same intercourse positions are best. Try experimenting with different ones that feel more comfortable, and using pillows or other props.
  • If you haven’t tried one already, consider using a vibrator. It’s great for prolonging foreplay and offers stronger stimulation to boost arousal.

Ultimately, you might think of after-cancer as a new chapter in your sex life. An acceptance that things have changed and a willingness to experiment on the part of both people will help keep your sex life vibrant.

Apr

21

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National Minority Cancer Awareness Week in Full Swing

by: cancercompass

Causes of racial cancer disparity are complex and are likely caused not only by biological differences, but social and economic differences as well, according to the American Cancer Society.

National Minority Cancer Awareness Week’s (NMCAW) purpose is to make aware that some minority groups in the United States are less likely to obtain preventative, lifesaving detection procedures like mammograms and colonoscopies.

NMCAW kicked-off Sunday, April 18th and will last until Saturday, April 24th.

Will you be participating in any NMCAW activities in your community?

Apr

20

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Are Tanning Beds Addictive?

by: cancercompass

That is the question to which researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the State University of New York wanted an answer.

According to a new study from the two institutions, researchers found that of the 229 college students who participated in the study, upwards of 90 subjects were considered addicted to indoor tanning. This group of students also consumed higher amounts of alcohol and marijuana, and had higher levels of anxiety.

"From a public health perspective, the findings suggest that there may be a subgroup of individuals who are addicted to indoor tanning and have an underlying mood disturbance," researcher Catherine Mosher told Reuters.

The Food and Drug Administration recently began reconsidering its stance on minors using tanning beds due to the potential heightened skin cancer risk.

What are your thoughts about this study? Do you have an opinion regarding indoor tanning and tanning salons? Do you think tanning can be addictive?

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

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