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.



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High Body Mass Index May Increase Pancreatic Cancer Risk

by: cancercompass

According to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, there is a strong correlation between having a high body mass index (BMI) and developing pancreatic cancer - especially in women.

"[Researchers] found women who were overweight were at 31 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer compared to normal weight women, while the risk for obese women was 61 percent greater. Having a large waist in relation to one's hips also upped risk, most strongly for women. The women with the biggest waist-to-hip ratio were at 87 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer," according to a Reuters article.

Researchers studied over 4,000 subjects from the National Cancer Institute Pancreatic Cancer Cohort Consortium (PanScan). PanScan is funded by the National Cancer Institute's Epidemiology and Genetics Research Program, and was founded in 2006.

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



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Walgreen's Pulls Genetic Testing Kits

by: cancercompass

Discover Your DNA, a genetic testing kit made by a company called Pathway Genomics Insight, will not be sold at Walgreen's stores as originally planned.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration contacted Pathway Genomics Insight on Wednesday to tell the company that selling the kit would be against the law.

The Associated Press interviewed Alberto Gutierrez of the FDA. He said: "Selling a test over the counter without an FDA clearance or approval, particularly for the type of claims that they have, is not legal."

The test claims users will learn their genetic risks for developing a number health problems like prostate cancer, breast cancer, heart disease, and more.

An FDA spokesperson says the genetic testing kit will not receive government approval until the FDA has 'further clarity' on the issue.

What are your thoughts surrounding this genetic testing kit? Please share your thoughts in our comments section.



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ABC News Anchor Televises Skin Cancer Procedure

by: cancercompass

May is skin cancer awareness, detection and prevention month, and ABC news anchor Sam Champion wanted to do his part.

On Wednesday morning, Champion had skin cancer cells removed from his left shoulder at the Juva Skin and Laser Center in New York City. His surgeon used the Mohs surgery procedure, which, according to the doctor - is minimally invasive and leaves little to no scarring.

"My spots would kind of change color, and then go away and then come back, but they'd always come back in the same spot," Champion said. He doctor confirmed that that behavior meant cancer was present.

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



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Major League Baseball Use Pink Bats on Mother's Day

by: cancercompass

If you happened to be watching a Major League Baseball game on Mother's Day this past Sunday, you may have noticed a color you rarely if ever see within the diamond - pink.

That's right, hundreds of MLB players swung custom made pink Louisville Slugger bats on Sunday for the 2010 Honorary Bat Girl Contest.

The contest is "a campaign to recognize inspirational MLB fans who have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrated a commitment to the cause," according to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure website.

Players not only swung pink baseball bats, but some also wore pink wristbands and symbolic pink ribbons on their uniforms.

Did you see pink on Sunday? And, Happy Belated Mother's Day.



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Study: New Genomes Help Identify Breast Cancer Susceptibility

by: cancercompass

According to a new study from the University of Cambridge, researchers discovered five genomes that may be linked to breast cancer development.

The study, which was published in the latest edition of Nature Genetics, is the largest breast cancer genome analysis to date, according to Reuters.

Breast cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer among women in the United States. In 2008, nearly 184,000 American women were diagnosed.

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



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Study: No Link Between Colon Cancer & Coffee, Soda

by: cancercompass

According to a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, there is no strong link between coffee and soda increasing one's risk of developing colon cancer.

"Soft drinks have been tied to increases in risk factors for colon cancer, such as obesity and diabetes, but there had been little direct research of the subject," Reuters reports.

One of the study's researchers, Dr. Xuehong Zhang of the Harvard School of Public Health, tells Reuters that very few subjects in the study drank more than 18 ounces of soda per day; meaning the soda findings should be used with caution.

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



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CDC Claims Liver Cancer is Increasing in U.S.

by: cancercompass

According to the Center for Disease Control's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published Thursday, liver cancer is on the rise in the United States.

The CDC's website states it is the rate of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) - a type of liver cancer - that is increasing.

HCC is the most common type of liver cancer, which accounts for three out of four diagnoses.

"This study shows the incidence rate of HCC increased significantly from 2.7 per 100,000 persons in 2001 to 3.2 in 2006, with an average annual percentage change of 3.5," according to the report.

The report further states that chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections account for an estimated 78 percent of HCC worldwide.

CNN reports that one reason liver cancer could be on the rise is the Vietnam War. "Many veterans contracted it through exposure to blood and body fluids," Dr. Otis Brawley, Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society, told CNN.

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



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Report: Government 'Grossly Underestimates' Environmental Pollutant Problem

by: cancercompass

The President's Cancer Panel released a report today claiming environmental pollutants are causing 'grievous harm' to Americans as there is a lack of research regarding pollutant-related cancer development.

"The Panel was particularly concerned to find that the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated. With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are un- or understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread," the report states.

One chemical the Panel highlights in particular is bisephenol A, which is sometimes used to make plastics. However, the report highlights several chemicals and products explaining their carcinogenic agents and what cancers those agents are linked to.

The Panel requested that the President "use the power of (his) office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase health care costs, cripple our Nation’s productivity, and devastate American lives."

What are your thoughts of this report?



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Eat Your Broccoli

by Dana Demas

Your mom probably told you to eat your veggies when you were young. Do you still try to get your five a day now?

It turns out that broccoli may be especially good at destroying breast cancer stem cells. Researchers at the University of Michigan have discovered that a compound found in broccoli, sulforaphane, prevented tumors from growing.

However, not everybody likes the stuff. This broccoli recipe comes from Anthony Todd at Chicagoist. It is hands-down the most fantastic way to prepare broccoli I’ve ever found. The magic is in the spicy-salty-sweet combination. Try it out tonight!

Spicy/Brown Sugar Broccoli

1 pound of broccoli, florets detached.
2 tbsp ginger, grated
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp cornstarch, mixed with 2 tbsp water
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Vodka (optional)

Combine the soy sauce, cornstarch, brown sugar and cayenne in a small bowl. Whisk thoroughly to dissolve the sugar. In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil. (Whenever you sauté broccoli, be sure to add enough oil - it absorbs it very quickly and will burn if there isn’t enough. Looking to make your broccoli go further? Try peeling and slicing the stems and adding them to the pan - they taste great!)

Fry the garlic and ginger in the oil for 1 minute. Add the broccoli and saute for 2 minutes. Add the sauce, tossing well with the broccoli. Cook for another 2 minutes - uncovered if you like crisp, covered if you prefer slightly softer. When you finish cooking, sprinkle with the vodka for an extra kick. Serve immediately!



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Reimagine Your Mind

by Dana Demas

A foggy mind can be the result of many things – too little sleep, too much stress, poor eating habits – and the list goes on. As cancer fighters and survivors, you’re probably familiar with the mental fogginess that can accompany treatment.

Perhaps the most notorious reason for a failing mind is aging. We hear jokes about getting older and forgetting where we put the keys. All joking aside, science itself has joined the chorus of seemingly convincing evidence that we dwindle mentally as we age.

A new book, The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain, by Barbara Stauch, calls into question our assumptions that middle age is the dawn of a less impressive mind. In fact, says the author in this week's New York Times Well blog, as we age, “[we] get the gist of an argument better. We’re better at sizing up a situation and reaching a creative solution. They found social expertise peaks in middle age. That’s basically sorting out the world: are you a good guy or a bad guy?”

I always like to question conventional wisdom – if the perks of the middle-aged brain can be reimagined, perhaps we can do the same for brain function after cancer?

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