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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Walnuts Slow Cancer Growth in Mice

by: cancercompass

Snack-sized quantities of walnuts can slow cancer growth. That's according to a recent study from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.

The study included two groups of mice; one group was fed the equivalent of two human servings of walnuts, while the other group ate a more typical American diet.

Researcher W. Elaine Hardman, Ph.D., of Marshall's Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, says the object of the study was to determine if eating walnuts has an impact on the rate of breast cancer growth.

According to the study, tumors in the walnut-fed group took twice as long to double in size. Hardman says walnuts contain three components which have proven to slow cancer growth in other studies: omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and phytosterols.

Hardman, who has spent 15 years studying the role of diet in cancer, says research shows that Americans need to get more fat calories from omega-3 fatty acids than from saturated fats.

The study has been published in the current issue of the journal Nutrition and Cancer.




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Black Patients Have Greater Risk of Colon Cancer

by: cancercompass

According to a study published this week in The Journal of the American Medical Association, black men and women have a greater chance of developing cancerous polyps in the colon.

Researchers found that colon polyp incidence rates are 15.5% to 23% higher in black individuals. In addition, the study found that colorectal cancer death rates for black men and women are 38% to 43% higher than for white men and women.

Authors of the study stated, "In summary, we find that asymptomatic black men and women undergoing colonoscopy screening are more likely to have 1 or more polyps sized more than 9 mm compared with white individuals. The differences were especially striking among women. These findings emphasize the importance of encouraging all black men and women to be screened."

The study used data from 67 practice sites in 25 states, including private practices, academic sites, and Department of Veterans Affairs sites.




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Shorter Breast Cancer Radiation Found Effective

by: cancercompass

A new study by Canadian researchers shows that early-stage breast cancer patients who receive three weeks of intense radiation treatment experience the same results as patients who undergo the standard five to seven weeks of radiation therapy.

The study, which was presented yesterday to the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology in Boston, monitored more than 1,200 women for 12 years.

Half of the women in the study underwent the standard schedule of 25 radiation treatments in 35 days. The other half received 16 treatments in 22 days. While the second group received slightly higher daily doses of radiation, the total cumulative dose was slightly lower.

Researchers found that reducing the length of treatment time and increasing the dosage of radiation produced the same treatment benefits, in addition to reducing patient costs and the amount of time spent away from families and careers.

The procedure is currently more common in Canada and Europe.




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Study Shows Acupuncture Benefits Breast Cancer Patients

by: cancercompass

Acupuncture is more effective and longer-lasting than medication in managing the side effects of conventional breast cancer treatments. That's according to a study completed by the Henry Ford Hospital Department of Radiation Oncology in Detroit.

The 12 week study involved 47 breast cancer patients receiving hormonal therapy and experiencing at least 14 hot flashes per week.

Results of the study showed that acupuncture reduced the hot flashes as effectively as venlafaxine, a commonly prescribed antidepressant drug used to treat hot flashes. Also, patients did not experience any of the common side effects associated with venlafaxine, which include decreased libido, insomnia, dizziness and nausea.

In addition, some of the breast cancer patients involved in the study showed health benefits from the acupuncture treatment, including an increased sense of well being, more energy, and a higher sex drive.

According to Eleanor Walker, M.D., lead author of the study, "Our study shows that physicians and patients have an additional therapy for something that affects the majority of breast cancer survivors and actually has benefits, as opposed to more side effects. The effect is more durable than a drug commonly used to treat these vasomotor symptoms and, ultimately, is more cost-effective for insurance companies."

The study is scheduled to be presented later this week at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's 50th Annual Meeting in Boston.

Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese medicine technique, uses sterile needles applied to specific areas of the body to help control pain and relieve symptoms of disease.

Learn how physicians at Cancer Treatment Centers of America utilize acupuncture as a complementary cancer treatment therapy.




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Feds Target False Cancer Cures

by: cancercompass

The Federal Trade Commission has charged five companies with making false claims that their products can cure cancer.

The five companies include:

  • Alexander Heckman d/b/a Omega Supply
  • Native Essence Herb Company
  • Daniel Chapter One
  • Gemtronics Inc.
  • Mary T. Spohn d/b/a Herbs for Cancer

"There is no credible scientific evidence that any of the products marketed by these companies can prevent, cure, or treat cancer of any kind," said Lydia Parnes, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

In a press release issued yesterday, the FTC said that six other companies have already agreed to settlements.

The lawsuits correspond with the launch of an FTC education campaign to warn consumers about cancer cure scams. For more information, visit




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Study Looks at Benefits & Risks of Virtual Colonoscopies

by: cancercompass

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine is providing a closer look at the benefits and risks of virtual colonoscopies.

The procedure, also called CT colonography, differs from a traditional colonoscopy because it does not require anesthesia and is less invasive. Virtual colonoscopies involve a CT scan of the lower body, which does expose the patient to radiation.

The study, led by the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, attempted to determine if CT colonography is as accurate as a traditional colonoscopy.

All 2,600 study participants received both a virtual and a traditional colonoscopy, with 99 percent of participants undergoing both procedures on the same day. The results of the study show that virtual colonoscopies identified 90% of large polyps that were detected by the traditional colonoscopies.

The researchers acknowledged that failing to identify 10% of the large polyps isn't ideal. However, the researchers believe that virtual colonoscopies will be more beneficial over time because a greater number of people will undergo the non-invasive procedure.

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, virtual colonoscopies also cost less than the traditional procedure. CT colonography is an outpatient procedure that does not require an anesthesiologist and pathologist to be present.

Learn more about additional testing methods to detect colon cancer.




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Scientists Closer to Blood Test for Early Lung Cancer Detection

by: cancercompass

Scientists have taken an important step forward in developing a blood test for the early detection of lung cancer.

According to a recent press release from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, a team of researchers has identified an immune system response to specific proteins produced by early-stage, cancerous lung tumors.

Using blood samples from 85 smokers diagnosed with lung cancer and 85 smokers without lung cancer, researchers tested for the presence of autoantibodies produced by the immune system to combat three proteins linked to early stage cancer.

The test concluded that the autoantibodies were present in more than half of the smokers who had developed cancer.

According to Dr. Samir Hanash, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the findings are "an important step toward developing a biomarker-based blood test for the early detection of lung cancer."

Hanash and his team hope to develop a simple blood test that can be partnered with imaging techniques to improve lung cancer detection in its early stages.

The research has been added to the Journal of Clinical Oncology.




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FDA Approves Chemo Patient Anti-Nausea Patch

by: cancercompass

Cancer patients will soon get additional help combating nausea, one of the most common side effects associated with chemotherapy treatment.

Yesterday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its approval of the first anti-nausea patch for patients undergoing chemotherapy.

The patch is called Sancuso. Worn on the upper arm, Sancuso delivers a steady dose of the anti-nausea drug granisetron for a period of five days.

The Sancuso patch was developed by ProStraken, a Scotland-based company. The patch is expected to be available to chemotherapy patients by the end of this year.




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More Hospitals Offering Complementary and Alternative Treatments

by: cancercompass

According to a recent article in USA Today, more U.S. hospitals are offering their patients access to complementary and alternative care treatments.

Complementary and alternative therapies, such as naturopathic medicine, mind-body medicine, pain management techniques and other therapies, can help treat patients battling a wide range of disease, including cancer.

According to a survey by the American Hospital Association, 37% of U.S. hospitals provide patient access to complementary and alternative therapies. That percentage has increased from 25% just three years ago.

Data from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine puts spending on alternative therapies at $19 billion a year.

According to the USA Today article, patient satisfaction and clinical data are the two most important factors that the majority of hospitals use to determine if a complementary treatment is effective.

Learn more about complementary and alternative care treatments by visiting the Your Guide to Cancer Care section of our website.




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Study Shows Colon Cancer Patients Miss Follow-Up Care

by: cancercompass

According to a recent report in the journal Cancer, many older colon cancer patients fail to undergo the recommended number of follow-up visits with their physician.

The study involved more than 9,000 colon cancer patients, 66 years old or older. The patients were observed for 3 years following their initial diagnosis of colorectal cancer and subsequent treatment.

Researchers discovered that 60.2% of the patients did not receive the recommended level of follow-up physician visits. In contrast, 22.7% of the patients received excessive follow-up visits.

The study identified recommended follow-up visits as: two doctor's office visits per year, a minimum of two carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) tests per year in the first two years, and at least one colonoscopy within 3 years.

More details of the study are available in a recent Reuters article.


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