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

11

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Study: Alcohol May Be Linked to Overall Cancer Risk

by: cancercompass

According to a new study published in the British Medical Journal last week, a proportion of cancer incidences can be attributed to alcohol consumption. However, that is not to say that alcohol causes cancer.

Researchers studied nearly 364,000 European participants from eight countries: France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Greece, Germany, and Denmark.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “researchers found that 44% of cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract (including the mouth, throat and esophagus) in men might be linked to alcohol (25% in women), followed by liver cancer (33% in men, 18% in women) and colorectal cancer (17% in men, 4% in women)."

What do you think of this study? Do you watch your alcohol consumption on a regular basis?

Apr

08

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Actor Michael Douglas Promotes Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Week

by: cancercompass

Although it is a little more than a month away, Academy Award-winning actor and producer Michael Douglas is already asking Americans to get screened for oral, head and neck cancer. The 14th annual Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Week (OHANCAW), which is held nationwide May 8-14, is important to Douglas as he is a  recent throat cancer survivor.

"My experience has taught me the importance of early detection and diagnosis to successful treatment and a positive outcome," Douglas stated in a news release. "I applaud the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance for raising awareness of oral, head and neck cancer and opening the door to free cancer screenings at local facilities throughout our country during OHANCAW."

Head and neck cancers include cancers that begin in the oral cavity, like the tongue, gums, lips and hard palate. It also includes cancers that start in the salivary glands, the pharynx and the larynx.

Will you consider being screened for head and neck cancer during OHANCAW?

Apr

07

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World Health Day: April 7, 2011

by: cancercompass

The World Health Organization's (WHO) World Health Day is Thursday, April 7th, 2011. And this year, the organization is focusing on antimicrobial resistance, also known as drug resistance.

In a statement written by WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan, she claims that the first antibiotics introduced in the 1940s, often referred to as "wonder drugs," are losing their impact as drug-resistant pathogens are accelerating.

"The implications go beyond a resurgence of deadly infections to threaten many other life-saving and life-prolonging interventions, like cancer treatments, sophisticated surgical operations, and organ transplantations. With hospitals now the hotbeds for highly-resistant pathogens, such procedures become hazardous," Chan writes.

So with World Health Day, WHO would like a policy to include the following:

•    develop and implement a comprehensive, financed national plan
•    strengthen surveillance and laboratory capacity
•    ensure uninterrupted access to essential medicines of assured quality
•    regulate and promote rational use of medicines
•    enhance infection prevention and control
•    foster innovation and research and development for new tools.

What do you think of this year’s World Health Day initiative?

Apr

06

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Study: Strawberries May Decrease Esophageal Cancer Risk

by: cancercompass

According to a new study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting, strawberries may slow precancerous lesions that can result in esophageal cancer.

Researchers studied 36 participants from regions in China that have some of the world's highest esophageal cancer rates, according to Time Magazine. The participants consumed freeze-dried strawberry powder mixed with water every day for six months.

"Our study is important because it shows that strawberries may slow the progression of precancerous lesion in the esophagus. Strawberries may be an alternative or work together with other chemopreventive drugs for the prevention of esophageal cancer," Tong Chen, M.D., Ph.D., lead researcher of the study stated in a news release. "But, we will need to test this in randomized placebo-controlled trials in the future."

Esophageal cancer symptoms are not usually prevalent during the early stages of the disease. However, symptoms can include: difficult or painful swallowing, severe weight loss, pain in the throat or back, pain behind the breastbone or between the shoulder blades, hoarseness or chronic cough, vomiting, and coughing up blood.

What do you think of this new study? Are you planning on incorporating more strawberries into your diet?

Apr

05

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Study: Aspirin May Lower Pancreatic Cancer Risk

by: cancercompass

According to a new study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting this week, those who use aspirin once a month significantly decrease their risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

The results showed that those who took aspirin at least once per month had a 26 percent lower instance of pancreatic cancer development.

“The results are not meant to suggest everyone should start taking aspirin once monthly to reduce their risk of pancreatic cancer,” Xiang-Lin Tan, Ph.D., M.D., stated in an AACR news release. “Individuals should discuss use of aspirin with their physicians because the drug carries some side effects.”

Pancreatic cancer symptoms can be minimal in the beginning stages, which is why it is sometimes referred to as a "silent" disease. The cancer can grow substantially before symptoms like abdominal pain occur, which is one of the reasons why the cancer is hard to diagnose at first.

What do you think of this new study? Will you ask your doctor if you should start taking an aspirin?

Apr

04

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Study: Chronic Stress Can Damage Cancer Patients' Chromosomes

by: cancercompass

According to a study presented at the American Association of Cancer Research this week, lowering stress benefits cancer patients'health.

Researchers studied 31 women with cervical cancer and discovered that those who underwent regular counseling sessions had less telomere shortening.

Telomere shortening is associated with chromosomes deteriorating, which can lead to mutations.

“We are trying to understand the interconnections between the mind and the body; that is, how does the diagnosis and treatment of cancer impact patients not only psychologically, but also physiologically and how can we improve their outcome. Cancer drives a chronic stress response in some patients,” Edward Nelson, M.D., division chief of hematology/oncology at the University of California, stated in a news release.

Mind-Body Medicine, also known as Psychoneuroimmunology or PNI, is a complementary therapy along with regular cancer treatments that explores a cancer patient's body, mind and spirit, while trying to keep all three healthy and positive.

What do you think of this study? How has stress effected your life with regard to cancer treatment?

Apr

01

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April is National Cancer Control Month

by: cancercompass

A presidential proclamation has made it so April is National Cancer Control Month.

President Barack Obama writes that although the United States has made strides in early detection and cancer treatment, about 1.5 million people were diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and more than half a million Americans lost their lives due to the disease.

To further protect ourselves, Obama states that there are simple steps we can all take to better our health.

"Americans can help reduce their cancer risk with healthy practices such as avoiding excessive sun exposure, limiting alcohol intake, eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and making physical activity part of each day.  Exposure to tobacco smoke, even from occasional smoking or secondhand smoke, is particularly harmful," he writes.

What will you be doing in April to better your health?

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