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

25

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Study: Smoking Increases Kidney Cancer Development

by: cancercompass

According to a new study, smoking cigarettes may increase development of advanced kidney cancer, the deadliest form of the disease.

Researchers claim that quitting smoking is the best method to reduce this increased risk.

"There is a clear relationship between heavier smoking and the development of advanced renal cell carcinoma," Dr. Thomas J. Polascik, director of Urologic Oncology at the Duke Cancer Institute, stated in a news release. "The good news is that smoking cessation can revert those risk factors over time. This should provide the public with another reason to quit smoking. It is not too late."

Duke researchers found that for every decade former smokers spent "smoke-free," it resulted in a 9 percent lower risk of development.

What do you think of this study? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Apr

22

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Teen Bone Cancer Patient Granted Wish by U.S. Army

by: cancercompass

Sixteen-year-old bone cancer patient Christopher McNally received orders from the United States Army to report to Fort Benning, Ga., made possible by the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

McNally's dream is to be in the military, which helped him overcome the obstacles during cancer treatment.

"It was pretty much the military that got him through chemo - that whole motto 'stay strong,'" McNally's Mother, Eva Gajewski, said in a press release. "He's probably not going to be able to serve, but they allowed him to be a Soldier for a week and that's an absolute wish come true. That was his dream, to be in the military."

McNally had a great time learning the ropes of basic training, and participating in a day-in-the-life of a new soldier.

"Probably nothing in my life will ever match this, unless I actually get into the military," McNally said. "I'm being treated like an honorary member. I kind of just asked to come here - do an obstacle course, shoot a few guns, get sent home. I underestimated 100 percent. With all they've done for me, it's incredible."

Apr

21

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Study: Desk Jobs May Increase Colon Cancer Risk

by: cancercompass

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, those who spend 10 years or more in "sedentary work" may have twice the risk of developing colon cancer.

"Even a high level of vigorous recreational physical activity did not modify the effect of sedentary work," researchers warned in The Telegraph. "The findings have occupational health implications, given that advances in technology have led to increasing amounts of sedentary behaviour at work."

Researchers examined nearly 2,000 participants in Western Australia between 2005 and 2007. They collected information on lifestyle, physical activity, and lifetime job history.

What do you think of this study? Does it come as a surprise?

Apr

20

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Study: Electronic Nose Sniffs Out Lung, Head and Neck Cancers

by: cancercompass

According to a new study published in the British Journal of Cancer, a device known as Nanoscale Artificial Nose (NA-NOSE) was able to distinguish between patients with head and neck cancer, lung cancer, and those who are cancer-free. It can do so by using  a breath test.

The study further claims that head and neck cancers are often diagnosed late due to a lack of screening methods, but the NA-NOSE was able to showcase strong differences in the chemical makeup of the participants’ breath.

"There's an urgent need to develop new ways to detect head-and-neck cancer because diagnosis of the disease is complicated, requiring specialist examinations," lead researcher, Professor Hossam Haick, told BBC News. "We've shown that a simple 'breath test' can spot the patterns of molecules which are found in head-and-neck patients in a small, early study. We now need to test these results in larger studies to find if this could lead to a potential screening method for the disease."

What do you think of this artificial nose? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Apr

19

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FDA Approves New Brain Cancer Device

by: cancercompass

The United State Food and Drug Administration approved a new brain cancer device that helps kill cancerous cells. The non-invasive device is known as the NovoTTF, which emits low intensity electric fields to the patient’s tumor location. The device is approved only to treat patients with malignant tumors called glioblastoma multiforme.

"The device-wearers did have more neurological side effects, including convulsions and headaches, compared with those who underwent chemotherapy," according to the Los Angeles Times. "Actually wearing the device  could be a headache too—the 6-pound device is carried in a satchel, day and night, while four electrodes warm the (shaved) areas of the scalp. Still, a survey of the two groups suggested that those who wore the device had a better quality of life than those who received chemotherapy."

The device is considered to be used somewhat as a last resort after undergoing other standard methods of cancer treatment.

What do you think of this device? Would you consider using it if necessary? Please leave  your thoughts in the comments section below.

Apr

18

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Teens With Skin Cancer On the Rise

by: cancercompass

Mark. A. Bechtel, Md., a dermatologist in Ohio, recently wrote an editorial for the Marietta Times voicing his concern about the rise in number of teens with skin cancer.

According to Dr. Bechtel, "skin cancer has become an epidemic in the U.S. with more than one million new skin cancers will be diagnosed this year alone." He goes on to say that the American Cancer Society reports that one American dies every 62 minutes from melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer. In other words, it's not something to take lightly.

"As a physician, I am alarmed by the increase in the number of my young patients presenting with melanoma and other serious skin cancers caused by excessive exposure to hazardous ultraviolet tanning bed radiation. Several years ago, I had to comfort a young mother who was dying of malignant melanoma in a hospice unit. She had been a frequent tanning bed user. Now, she was dying with her three month old baby in her arms," says Dr. Bechtel.

He says that malignant melanoma is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women between 25 and 30 years of age. Yet, teen use of tanning beds is still on the rise.

We have reported on the risks of indoor tanning in several previous blog posts. But we'd like to know, why do you think the use of tanning beds continues to be an issue, despite all the evidence that it can be harmful to your skin? Let us know in the comments below.

Apr

15

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Pennsylvania Judge Rules on Appropriateness of 'I ♥ Boobies' Bracelets

by: cancercompass

The controversial breast cancer awareness bracelets that read 'I ♥ Boobies' are back in the news this week as a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled that the bands should be accepted by the Easton Area Middle School.

Two students of the school were suspended back in October for wearing the bracelets on the school's breast cancer awareness day. According to the New York Times, this was the day after the school announced that the bracelets were banned and would not be tolerated.

The 'I ♥ Boobies' bands are the brainchild of the Keep a Breast Foundation. Shaney Jo Darden, founder of the nonprofit organization, stated in a blog post that her organization is "educating a demographic that other organizations have not been able to reach, and speaking to them about cancer and health in a way that is authentic and inspiring."

She further stated that they "are thrilled about the court’s decision, and hope it continues to spark thought-provoking conversations about breast health in schools and throughout the country.”

What do you think of the Keep a Breast Foundation's initiative to target young people about breast cancer? Do you think the 'I ♥ Boobies' bands are OK to wear in middle schools across the country?

Apr

15

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Mother Charged for Withholding Son's Cancer Medications

by: cancercompass

Boston area mother, Kirsten LaBrie, was charged this week with attempted murder for not administering her son's prescribed chemotherapy medications.

LaBrie's son, Jeremy, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2006 and passed away two years later. Jeremy was autistic, and according to some articles, nonverbal and developmentally disabled.

"This is one of those cases where we have to ask, What standards do we hold parents accountable for?" Cynda Rushton, a nurse ethicist at Johns Hopkins University, told Time Magazine. "On one hand, you can imagine a parent in a situation like this wondering whether going through cancer treatment is a beneficial thing in the long run for her child. Just because a disease is treatable does not mean it is curable. She may have thought, Am I hurting my child by giving this treatment?"

This is certainly a highly emotional topic. What do you think of this case? Was justice serviced to Kirsten LaBrie? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Apr

13

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National Minority Cancer Awareness Week 2011, April 16th – April 23rd

by: cancercompass

This Saturday, April 16th kicks off National Minority Cancer Awareness Week (NMCAW) for 2011.

"About fifty percent of cancer deaths can be prevented through regularly scheduled screenings, healthy eating, regular physical activity and quitting tobacco use," according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). "However, minorities continue to have lower screening rates than whites; report less physical activity than recommended – less than the recommended 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity above usual activities on five or more days per week; and consume less fruits, vegetables and whole grains."

The ACS claims that although racial disparities in cancer treatment have progressed over the years, the gap in treatment and diagnoses still exist.

Do you have plans to partake in any NMCAW activities in your town next week?

Apr

12

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Study: Non-AIDS-Defining Cancers on the Rise

by: cancercompass

There has been a change in the AIDS community when it comes to cancer.

There are AIDS-defining cancers, and non-AIDS-defining cancers.

AIDS-defining cancers can include Kaposi sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and cervical cancer. Non-AIDS-defining cancers can include lung cancer, anal cancer, liver cancer, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

There has been a large drop in AIDS-defining cancers in recent years for those living with AIDS. According to many experts, this a result of the highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART), which became available in the mid-1990s.

However, according to the study, non-AIDS-defining cancers amongst those living with AIDS have increased three-fold when comparing the periods of 1991 and 1995, and 2001 and 2005. Between 1991 and 1995 there were 3,193 cases of non-AIDS-defining cancers, and between 2001 and 2005 there were 10,059 cases of non-AIDS-defining cancers.

"The growing burden of non-AIDS-defining cancers highlights the need for cancer prevention and early detection among HIV-infected people,” the study claims.

What do you think of this new research?

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