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.

Jul

29

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Looking for Skin Cancer

by: cancercompass

CBS news published an informative article on Wednesday about the importance of checking skin, the body’s largest organ, for cancer.

Sunscreen, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and protective clothing are not enough. One must periodically check their skin to make sure that mole isn't cancer.

In fact, Dr. Ariel Ostad, a New York City-based dermatologist, told CBS News that doctors usually recommend a head-to-toe self-exam once a month.

The Skin Cancer Foundation provided 25 images for the article of both cancerous and non-cancerous marks to look for on the skin like melanoma, actinic keratosis, basal cell carcinoma, birth marks and moles.

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

Jul

28

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Study: Low-Risk Prostate Cancer Patients Receiving Aggressive Treatments

by: cancercompass

According to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, most men diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer tend to undergo aggressive treatment like prostate removal.

Aside from pain, the side-effects from surgically removing the prostate can include permanent impotence and urinary inconsistency.

Low-risk prostate cancer can be determined by a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening. This blood test measures the levels of PSA, which rise when men have prostate cancer. According to the study, low-risk PSA levels are below 4.

"Most men diagnosed as having prostate cancer with a PSA threshold below 4.0 ng/mL had low-risk disease but underwent aggressive local therapy. Lowering the biopsy threshold but retaining our inability to distinguish indolent from aggressive cancers might increase the risk of overdiagnosis and overtreatment," the study's conclusion states.

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

Jul

27

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Lance Armstrong Under Scrutiny

by Dana Demas

Is Lance Armstrong a fierce competitor or a cheater? That’s the question being posed by a federal grand jury probe.

Maybe you think he’s both. Few would deny that Armstrong has been a tireless soldier in the war against cancer. He roots for cancer patients – loud and proud – with his Livestrong empire.

But has all he’s done for cancer advocacy and research been tainted by allegations he took performance-enhancing drugs? Armstrong had an unprecedented 7-time Tour de France winning streak after beating metastatic testicular cancer.

What do you think? Does one have anything to do with the other?

Jul

27

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Tour de France Officials Upset About Cancer Jerseys

by: cancercompass

Lance Armstrong's Tour de France bicycling team donned unapproved jerseys before the last stage of the race on Sunday, which postponed the start by nearly 20 minutes.

The black jerseys had the number 28 on the back, which represents the 28 million people fighting cancer; a number which the seven-time Tour de France winner uses for his Livestrong campaign.

According to the Associated Press, "The International Cycling Union said Monday it 'regrets that an initiative for a cause as worthy as the fight against cancer' was not coordinated beforehand with officials. The cycling body says Armstrong's venture could have been done while staying within the rules."

The Union stated that RadioShack, Lance Armstrong's team sponsor, will be further investigated for breaking the rules regarding the approval of jerseys.

What are your thoughts about the unapproved jerseys? Should RadioShack be further investigated or should The International Cycling Union just let it go?

Jul

26

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Study: Sedentary Lifestyle May Decrease Lifespan

by: cancercompass

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology this month, 'couch potatoes', or those who do not often participate in physical activity, showed an increase in cardiovascular disease mortality.

Researchers studied over 123,000 U.S. adults who were enrolled in the Cancer Prevention II (CPS-II) study funded by the American Cancer Society.

The study's researchers also "adjusted" for a number of risk factors which may have skewed the results, including smoking and body mass index.

"The more time you spend sitting, the less total energy expended and you can have consequences such as weight gain and increased obesity," Dr. Alpa Patel, the study's lead author, told Health Day.

Do you try to make exercise a part of your everyday regimen? What activities do you do for exercise?

Jul

23

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Hollywood Actress Overcomes Divorce, Breast Cancer

by: cancercompass

Actress Christina Applegate went through a divorce in 2007, which was swiftly followed up with a breast cancer diagnosis and a double mastecomy in 2008.

Suffice it to say, it must have been an extremely difficult couple of years.

However, Applegate, from such television shows like Married with Children and Samantha Who, and movies like Anchorman and The Sweetest Thing, recently announced that she and her musician fiance Martyn Lenoble are expecting their first baby.

In 2009, Applegate told People magazine, "I'm very grateful to Martyn for coming along at a time that he did because he's been my rock through all of this,"referring to her double mastectomy."He gave me something to really want to live for and something to smile about."

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

Jul

22

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New Guidelines: Women Under 21 Shouldn't Get Pap Smears

by: cancercompass

According to guidelines issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) on Wednesday, women who are under the age of 21 should not get pap smears.

Pap smears help clinicians detect abnormal cells on the cervix, like the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer. However, the ACOG recommends adolescents do not get tested.

"There's no point in testing for HPV because it's so common among teens and 90% of HPV infections are naturally resolved by the immune system within two years," Cheryl B.  Iglesia, MD, stated in a ACOG news release. "Adolescents have been over-treated for something that typically resolves on its own. We know that unnecessary treatments compromise the cervix and increase a teen's risk of having a preterm birth later in life."

What are your thoughts regarding the ACOG's recommendations?

To learn more about the cancer featured in this article, please visit the cervical cancer information page.

Jul

21

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Study: Melanoma Increasing in Florida Minorities with Dark Skin

by: cancercompass

According to a new study from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, melanoma rates are increasing among minorities in Florida, which conversely compares to national melanoma trends.

Researchers studied nearly 110,000 patients, 36,000 of whom were Florida residents. The researchers discovered that male Hispanics from Florida had a 20% higher incidence of melanoma, and African-American females had a 60% higher incidence of the disease. However, Floridian Hispanic women had lower rates of melanoma.

Several studies have shown that while light-skinned people are more likely to develop the most deadly form of skin cancer, those with dark skin are more likely to be diagnosed while in the advanced stages of the disease.

“We hope that the analysis of ethnic disparities in melanoma will prompt public health initiatives,” Panta Rouhani, M.D., the study's lead researcher, stated in a University of Miami news release. “The development of educational campaigns on sun safety and skin cancer awareness should be tailored to the unique needs of Florida.”

To learn more about the cancers featured in this post, please visit our skin cancer information and melanoma information pages.

Jul

20

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CDC Releases Mammography Statistics

by: cancercompass

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released statistics earlier this month regarding who, and who doesn't, get mammograms in order to curb the development of breast cancer.

Below is what the CDC found among women in the United States:

  • 81% of women aged 50-74 years reported having a mammogram within the past two years.
  • American Indian and Alaska Native women reported the lowest prevalence for mammography screening (70%).
  • Screening prevalence was lower among women with less than a high school education (73%), and for women with low income (69%).
  • Mammography screening prevalence was lowest in the western states of Nevada (72%) and Idaho (73%), in addition to the southern state of Mississippi (72%).
  • Insured women had a 28%-point higher screening prevalence than uninsured women (84% versus 56%). Even among women with health insurance, 16%   were not up-to-date with mammograms.

According to the CDC, "Mammograms are the best method to detect breast cancer early when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms."

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

Jul

19

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Save the Date: Empowerment Rally

by Dana Demas

On Friday, July 23, 2010, five cancer survivors will participate in a roundtable discussion on patient empowerment. They'll share their personal cancer journeys and sources of empowerment in their care.

Who:
Five cancer advocates and bloggers join us!
Joe Bacal – Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor
Lani Horn – breast cancer survivor
Mel Majoros – breast cancer survivor
Jody Schoeger – breast cancer survivor
Matt Zachary – brain cancer survivor

When:
The live event will be held from 2:30-3:30 p.m. (Central Time)

Where:
Watch the Empowerment Rally online through live streaming.

Or, join us in person at Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center.

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