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

29

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Gene May Help Predict Early-Onset Breast Cancer

by: cancercompass

Researchers have discovered a genetic marker that may predict the early onset of breast cancer in younger women.

Women diagnosed with breast cancer earlier in life tend to have more aggressive, recurrent forms of the disease than women diagnosed between 50 and 60 years of age.  Scientists performed a study of DEAR1 (ductal epithelium-associated RING chromosome 1) to learn more about how the gene's expression may affect early-onset breast cancer.

Overall findings suggest that DEAR1 becomes altered in early-onset breast cancer. Furthermore, researchers say it might be possible to use DEAR1 expression to identify women with increased risk of local recurrence.

Join the discussion about genetic testing and its role in the fight against cancer. Share your experiences with other survivors, caregivers and patients at the Cancer Compass Genetics Message Board.

 

May

29

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New Test for Early Identification of Cervical Cancer

by: cancercompass

A new cancer diagnosis tool may help detect pre-cancerous cells in the cervix more efficiently than a pap smear, reports Reuters.

Zetiq, an Israeli-based company specializing in cancer diagnostic tools, claims its CellDetect™ technology can detect pre-cancerous cells in 90% of patients.

During recent clinical trials, researchers collected and processed cervical smears from 74 women using a cytology method. Each smear was examined using three methods: staining with the traditional Pap method, HPV testing and finally Zetiq's CellDetect™ technology.

Overall, testing showed Zetiq's CellDetect™ technology to have an average sensitivity of 90%, higher than the sensitivity of a Pap test and similar to an HPV test, and a specifity of 74%, higher than the specifity of an HPV test and similar to a Pap test.

In a company press release, Zetiq officials say the analysis was also conducted by an independent professional.

Discuss this new diagnostic method with other cancer survivors, patients and caregivers on the Cancer Compass Diagnosis Message Boards.

 

May

29

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CancerCompass Message Board Updates: Join the Discussion

by: cancercompass

Optimal nutrition allows the body to function at its best while fighting against cancer. Many people in the Cancer Compass community wonder how certain spices and foods contribute to overall nutrition. McTwirly, a caregiver, wonders what effects curcumin, a spice in the ginger family, has on a cancer patient's muscles.  Join the conversation.

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USA Today recently reported on a study linking formaldehyde with cancer. Now Johnson and Johnson is in the spotlight for personal care products that may contain preservatives that release formaldehyde. Cancer patient K.C. is wondering what others think about this new development. Join the discussion.

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During the cancer fighting process, therapies to combat the disease can become physically and emotionally draining. Esophageal cancer patient Dar O is looking for support in dealing with recent cancer treatments. Share your experiences.

 

May

26

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Study Suggests Possible Link Between Cancer and Workplace Formaldehyde Exposure

by: cancercompass

Researchers say workers exposed to formaldehyde may be at greater risk of lymphatic cancer and myeloid leukemia. USA Today reports on this recent study, which appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute followed more than 25,000 workers, for a median of 42 years. Using estimates on the amount of formaldehyde each person was exposed to on the job, researchers were able to compare "peak" exposure times.

According to USA Today, the study shows that workers with the highest peak exposure times were 37% more likely to die from lymphatic cancer and 78% more likely to die from myeloid leukemia. However, overall risk of death from these cancers was relatively low, causing 319 of 14,000 deaths during the study.

The JNCI study goes on to mention that more than 2 million Americans are exposed to formaldehyde in the workplace.

 

May

26

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Study Analyzes Chemo Effects in Women Over 65

by: cancercompass

Chemotherapy effects are often analyzed in younger breast cancer patients, but the disease is more common in older women, reports CNN. A recent CNN article discusses a new study from The New England Journal of Medicine that analyzes the effects of chemotherapy in women over 65.

Researchers randomly assigned 600 women to receive a mix of standard chemotherapy drugs delivered via IV drip, or capecitabine, an oral drug used in treating late-stage breast cancer.

Researchers stopped the trial early when the chemo mix was proved to be more effective than the oral drug, says CNN. Women taking capecitabine were twice as likely to die and twice as likely to have their cancer return as women taking standard chemotherapy. However, the effects of standard chemo were harsher than the pill.

Overall, standard chemotherapy was found to be "superior to capecitabine" for women 65 and older with early stage breast cancer, according to the NEJM study.

Communicate with survivors, patients and caregivers about breast cancer treatment options at either the Cancer Treatment Message Board or the Breast Cancer Forum.

 

May

26

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New Message Board Discussions: Share Your Cancer Experience

by: cancercompass

Caregivers ride an emotional roller coaster when loved ones are diagnosed with cancer. Sometimes a little support, advice or a shared experience can help bring perspective to their difficult situation. Caregiver Denisee is worried about what effect the additional metastasis doctors found on her aunt's gum will have on her aunt's ability to fight Stage 4 colon cancer.  Share your thoughts.

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Having multiple cancer screenings over an extended period of time can be a challenging process. Britt3673 is a 22-year-old woman who has undergone cervical screenings over the last two years. Now she says her doctor is looking to perform a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP).  Share your experiences.

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Each person can experience different side effects from prescribed medications used to combat cancer. But knowing another person's experience with a specific medication can help ease concerns. Patient Erinsmom is wondering what side effects people have experienced with the chemotherapy drug Etoposide (VP-16).  Join the discussion.

 

May

15

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Young Girl Raises $24,000 for Breast Cancer Research

by: cancercompass

At age 9, Miami Beach resident Lexi Lehrman created a foundation that in two years has helped raise $24,000 for breast cancer research. Lexi was recently featured in the Miami Herald for her continued efforts to raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.

Lexi, now 11, created the Love Lexi Foundation as a vehicle for her acts of loving kindness. Komen's "Friends asking Friends" program helped get her started. And for the past two birthdays, Lexi has created events to raise money for Komen. On her 10th birthday she hosted an Art for the Cure party that raised $10,000.

The Love Lexi Foundation continues to raise money for Komen by selling "Art for the Cure" posters.

 

May

15

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Urban Dwellers at Higher Risk of Late-Stage Cancer Diagnosis

by: cancercompass

Urban dwellers are more likely to develop late-stage cancer than people living in suburban or rural areas, according to a new study published in CANCER.

Researchers from Louisiana State University and the University of Illinois analyzed data appearing in the Illinois State cancer Registry from 1998-2002. In particular, they looked at late-stage cancer diagnoses of breast, colorectal, lung and prostate cancers.

According to the study, risk was highest for all four of these cancers in highly urbanized areas, such as Chicago, and decreased as areas became more rural.

Differences in age and race in various geographical areas played a role in findings for colorectal, prostate and breast cancers. Researchers found economically disadvantaged areas in Chicago and its suburbs accounted for the highest rates of late-stage diagnosis in highly urban areas studied. African American populations were particularly vulnerable to late-stage diagnosis for these cancer types.

Late-stage lung cancer diagnosis during this study was attributed to cancer awareness or diagnostic differences, rather than age and race.

Overall, researchers found a reversal in the commonly held belief that residents of rural areas are at greater risk of being diagnosed with late-stage cancer.

 

May

15

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Study Analyzes ESA & Blood Transfusion for Anemic Cancer Patients

by: cancercompass

Drugs commonly used to treat anemia worsened survival rates in anemic cancer patients, reports the National Anemia Action Council (NAAC).

Erythropoiesis-stimulated agents (ESAs), according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are genetically engineered forms of erythropoietin, a naturally occurring human protein, which derives from the kidney and increases red blood cells.  The drug Procrit is one such ESA example.

According to the NAAC, transfusions are often used to treat chemotherapy-induced anemia and can help increase overall hemoglobin level when ESA therapy alone isn't working. Recent research published in The Lancet compared the safety of ESA plus transfusion against transfusion treatment alone.

NAAC reported that the study's authors analyzed data from nearly 14,000 patients from 53 separate clinical trials. The results showed that patients who received ESAs in addition to transfusions experienced a 17% higher mortality rate during the active study period and a 6% lower overall survival rate than patients only receiving transfusions.

Previous clinical trials have shown ESA treatments to have adverse effects, such as heart attacks and tumor progression. According to the FDA, "ESAs are not approved to treat the symptoms of anemia - including fatigue - in cancer patients, surgical patients, or those with HIV."

 

May

15

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Share Hope: Recent CancerCompass Message Board Posts

by: cancercompass

New prostate cancer treatments are helping with some of the unpleasant side effects associated with traditional therapies. However, when one treatment is working it can be a difficult decision to switch treatments in an effort to lessen side effects. Survivor Bluefish1 is looking for opinions about whether switching from Elagard to Casadex is good idea. Share your thoughts.

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How a person's body responds to cancer treatment can vary from individual to individual. But hearing about someone else's experience with a similar cancer diagnosis can provide some insight. Caregiver Caro7lk, whose father was recently diagnosed with Stage IV Glioblastoma, is looking for advice on what she should expect next. Share your experience.

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New research from Spain suggests that THC, an active ingredient in marijuana, stimulates brain cancer cell death, reports Forbes. Caregiver TruthFreesYou is curious about how doctors could use THC to help his father, who is suffering late stage brain cancer. Join the discussion.

 

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