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.

May

28

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Gum Disease Linked to Cancer Risk

by: cancercompass

The importance of oral health received a boost from a recent study that determined gum disease could increase the risk for cancer.

Nearly 50,000 male doctors and health professionals took part in a study that began in 1986. The men contributed personal information on gum disease and tooth loss. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth.

Over the course of the study, more than 5,700 cancer cases were reported. Excluding cases of non-melanoma skin cancer and non-aggressive prostate cancer, researchers determined that the men who developed gum disease had a 14% higher risk of developing cancer.

The study found the most common cancers reported among participants were colorectal, melanoma, lung and bladder and advanced prostate cancer. Risk factors, such as smoking and diet, were also taken into account.

The report is expected to be published in the June edition of The Lancet Oncology.

 

May

23

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Lung Cancer Detection with a Blood Test

by: cancercompass

There may be a more effective and less invasive way than CT scans and biopsies to test for lung cancer.

According to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, a blood test to examine white blood cells could significantly help detect cancerous tumors in the lungs. 44 people with early stage lung cancer and 52 people of comparable age, sex, race and smoking habits recently took part in a study at the university.

Using a blood test that looked at the gene expression of each participant's white blood cells, researchers were able to show 87 percent accuracy in detecting lung cancer.  According to lead researcher Anil Vachani, CT screening only yields a 20 to 60% detection rate, which requires multiple follow-up tests such as CT and PET scans, in addition to biopsies.

Vachani says the study points to interaction between lung cancers and white blood cells, which possibly influences the types of active genes in the blood cells.

The researchers are expected to present their findings at the American Thoracic Society's conference in Toronto.

 

May

21

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Nanotube Cancer Risk Warning

by: cancercompass

Workers making products that contain nanotubes may face a cancer risk similar to asbestos.  That's according to research published recently in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Researchers found that mice injected with nanotubes, which are microscopic graphite cylinders, showed signs of biological damage similar to that seen following exposure to asbestos fibers.

Andrew Maynard, coauthor of the study and a physicist at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, says the study shows that workers exposed to nanotubes during manufacturing could be at risk. The dust-like nanotube particles could cause harm if breathed into the lungs.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, nanotubes are beginning to be used in the manufacture of bicycle components, computer displays and car bumpers. In addition, nanotubes could soon be used to manufacture medical devices, solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells. Due to their incredible strength and low weight, Nanotubes are being used more frequently in manufacturing.

There is little risk that consumers would be able to inhale nanotubes from products made from the carbon fibers. But the research should help provide people who work with nanotubes the knowledge to address the dangers.

 

May

19

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Study Links Vitamin D Deficiency to Aggressive Breast Cancer

by: cancercompass

According to Canadian researchers, women who are deficient in vitamin D when they are diagnosed with breast cancer are more likely to die or see the tumor spread.

Dr. Pamela Goodwin, who led the study, recently published her findings in the American Society of Clinical Oncology.  Her research found that women with low levels of vitamin were 94% more likely to have their cancer metastasize and 73% more likely to die within 10 years.

According to Dr. Goodwin, the study offers the first clinical evidence that vitamin D is linked to breast cancer progression.  Past studies have shown a link between vitamin D and prevention of colon and prostate cancer.

However, Goodwin cautions that the study does not provide enough evidence to suggest that taking vitamin D will prevent breast cancer.

Goodwin's findings are scheduled to be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting in Chicago.

 

May

15

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Study Shows Statins May Help Prevent Cancer

by: cancercompass

According to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine, some statins may help prevent cancer.

Statins are a class of drugs specifically designed to lower cholesterol. The study focused specifically on lipophilic statins, statins which are soluble in fats. Lipophilic statins include atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Zocor), lovastatin (Mevacor), and fluvastatin (Lescol).

Dr. Louise Pilote, of McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and colleagues examined the use of lipophilic statins by more than 30,000 patients who had previously been treated for heart attacks.  Out of these 30,000+ patients, 1099 were diagnosed with cancer within 7 years.

The researchers found that patients who received high-doses of lipophilic statins had a 25 percent lower risk of being diagnosed with cancer.  Patients who received a low-dose of statins had an 11 percent lower risk of being diagnosed with cancer than the non-statin users in the study.

According to Dr. Pilote's team, additional research is needed to analyze the long term effects statins have on a patient's risk of developing cancer.

 

May

14

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Breast Cancer Detection Improved with Ultrasound

by: cancercompass

Doctors may consider adding ultrasounds to their routine tests for breast cancer in high-risk women, following a recent study that appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study showed that using ultrasound, in addition to mammography, helped doctors identify more breast cancers in high-risk women.  That's compared with using mammograms alone.

Dr. Wendie Berg of American Radiology Services at Johns Hopkins at Green Spring Station in Lutherville, Md. conducted the study. Dr. Berg and her colleagues studied more than 2,800 women, age 25 and older, from April 204 to February 2006.

During the first year of the study, 40 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. 12 were identified with mammography alone.  20 were identified using mammography with ultrasound. (Later tests and detections identified the remaining 8 instances of cancer.)

But the researchers also found that using both ultrasound and mammography resulted in four times as many false alarms, which could lead to unnecessary biopsies.

 

May

14

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Teens! Ready, Set, Go Outside & Exercise!

by: cancercompass

New research shows that women who exercise during their teenage years are less likely to develop breast cancer when they're older.

According to a recent report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, women who engage in physical activity as teens and young adults are nearly 25% less likely to develop pre-menopausal breast cancer than women who are not active earlier in life.

The report is the result of a major U.S. health study that tracked nearly 65,000 female nurses age 24 to 42. Within six years of enrolling in the study, 550 of the women were diagnosed with breast cancer before menopause.

The women in the study answered detailed questionnaires about their physical activity beginning at age 12. Those women who were physically active as teens and young adults were 23 percent less likely to develop breast cancer before menopause.

According to the report, the biggest impact was attributed to regular exercise from ages 12 to 22. The women who were physically active at this age reported doing 3 hours and 15 minutes of vigorous activity, like running, or 13 hours of less vigorous activity, like walking, every week.

 

May

12

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Good Nutrition Important in Preventing Breast Cancer

by: cancercompass

According to BreastCancer.org, the risk of a woman being diagnosed with breast cancer has increased from 1 in 20 in 1960, to 1 in 8 today. In the United States alone, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 3 minutes.

Dr. Christopher Lepisto, a practicing Naturopathic Doctor at The Alderwood Center for Natural Health, says good nutrition can be the first step in helping to prevent breast cancer. Dr. Lepisto recommends a diet that includes:

  • high-fiber content, emphasizing smaller amounts of healthy fats
  • preventative nutrients like carotenes and bioflavonoids in berries and other brightly colored fruits and vegetables
  • indole-3-carbinol rich vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower
  • selenium
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin C
  • and a variety of whole, minimally processed foods


According to Dr. Lepisto, women may also want to consider supplements, which can include omega-3 essential fatty acids, potent antioxidants like melatonin, and liver-supportive herbs such as articum and milk thistle.  However, Lepito stresses the importance of a nutritional program that is tailored to a person's individual needs.

If you have already been diagnosed with breast cancer, maintaining a nutritional diet is essential in keeping your body strong while enhancing the effectiveness of your cancer treatment.

 

May

09

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Lance Armstrong Calls on Congress for New War on Cancer

by: cancercompass

Cancer survivor and Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong visited Capitol Hill recently in an effort to spur government action in the battle against cancer.  Armstrong testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee hearing on May 8, 2008.

"It's time for our country to refocus and relaunch a comprehensive war on this disease," Armstrong told the committee.

In 1996 Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer that spread to his lungs and brain. He survived his battle with cancer and went on to win the Tour de France cycling race seven times.

Armstrong appeared on Capitol Hill with Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Senator John Edwards. Mrs. Edwards was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and continues to fight the disease.

"I urge you to reform healthcare responsibly, morally and aggressively and save millions of us," said Edwards.

Armstrong is backing legislation sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, to create a more comprehensive approach to fighting cancer.

The legislation is intended to encourage more coordination of cancer research, prevention and treatment. The legislation would give more money to the National Cancer Institute and other public research agencies.

According to an AFP report, the annual budget of the National Cancer Institute, which is the primary federally funded US agency for cancer research, has remained flat since 2004.

 

May

09

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How Quitting Smoking Benefits Women

by: cancercompass

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that women who quit smoking see significant health benefits within 5 years of their last cigarette. However, it can take up to 20 years or more for their risk of death to drop to the level of those who never smoked.

According to the study, women who smoke were more than 20 times more likely to die of lung cancer than those who didn't smoke. The study also showed that former smokers were about 5 times more likely to die from it. The study also showed that lung cancer was not the only type of cancer that had increased occurrences in smokers. Increases in colorectal cancer were also noted in the study. However, no increased risk of ovarian cancer was found in the study.

The study also showed that cancer was not the only disease that saw increased rates among smokers. Heart disease, stroke and COPD (bronchitis and emphysema) also showed increases among smokers.

The study, called the Nurses' Health Study, began in 1976, with 117,988 registered nurses between the age of 30 and 55 filling out a questionnaire detailing their medical history. The study was then updated and expanded every 2 years. The results of this study present one of the clearest pictures of both the risks of smoking and the benefits of quitting.

 

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