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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Don’t Fry Day™ - Encouraging Sun Safety Awareness

by: cancercompass

The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency have declared the Friday before Memorial Day as Don’t Fry Day™, which is to help promote protecting oneself and others from sun damage.

The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention suggests the following bullet points to help protect against sun damage:

    * Avoid sun burning, intentional tanning, and using tanning beds.
    * Apply sunscreen generously.
    * Wear sun-protective clothing, wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
    * Seek shade.
    * Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand.
    * Get vitamin D through diet and vitamin D supplements.

With the recent research about the potential adverse effects of sunscreen and indoor tanning usage, there are conflicting methods various organizations are promoting to help with keeping skin healthy and preventing skin cancer.

How do you protect yourself while out in the sun? What are your thoughts regarding Don’t Fry Day™?

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



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Study: Tanning Beds Increase Skin Cancer Development

by: cancercompass

According to a new study from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and Masonic Cancer Center, there are 'definitive links' between indoor tanning usage and increasing the risk of melanoma – the most serious type of skin cancer.

“We found that it didn’t matter the type of tanning device used; there was no safe tanning device. We also found – and this is new data – that the risk of getting melanoma is associated more with how much a person tans and not the age at which a person starts using tanning devices. Risk rises with frequency of use, regardless of age, gender, or device," DeAnn Lazovich, principal investigator of the study, stated in a University of Minnesota news release.

The study found that those who use tanning beds for any amount of time have a 74 percent more likely chance of developing melanoma. Researchers studied over 2,250 participants between 2004 and 2007 at ages 25 to 59. Of those participants, 1,167 people were diagnosed with melanoma, while 1,101 people did not develop melanoma.

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



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Study: Bacteria in Intestinal Tract May Predict Colon Cancer Development

by: cancercompass

According to new research presented at the American Society for Microbiology General Meeting in San Diego this week, bacteria that resides in human intestinal tracts may be an indicator of colon cancer development.

“Our findings suggest that some bacterial signatures are more frequently detected in subjects with polyps, early lesions that can develop into cancer, while other bacterial signatures are less frequently observed in such individuals,” Tyler Culpepper, a researcher on the study, stated in a ASM news release.

Culpepper stated further that this data could help develop non-invasive screening tests for the disease.

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



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New Sunscreen Safety Guide Published this Week

by: cancercompass

The Environmental Working Group released its 2010 Sunscreen Guide on Monday, which claims that some sunscreens may actually increase the risk of melanoma skin cancer, which is the deadliest type of the disease. We recently discussed the American Cancer Society's measures for preventing harmful sun exposure.

"Scientists speculate that sunscreen users stay out in the sun longer and absorb more radiation overall, or that free radicals released as sunscreen chemicals break down in sunlight may play a role," according to the EWG website.

"Hats, clothing and shade are still the only completely reliable sun protection," Jane Houlihan, EWG's vice president for research, told the Los Angeles Times.

EWG's 2010 Sunscreen Guide provides information about which sunscreens the organization recommends, sun safety tips, and the research the organization wants to make public.

"The Food and Drug Administration’s 2007 draft sunscreen safety regulations say: 'FDA is not aware of data demonstrating that sunscreen use alone helps prevent skin cancer' (FDA 2007). The International Agency for Research on Cancer agrees. IARC recommends clothing, hats and shade as primary barriers to UV radiation and writes that 'sunscreens should not be the first choice for skin cancer prevention and should not be used as the sole agent for protection against the sun,' (IARC 2001a)" according to the EWG website.

What are your thought's regarding EWG's 2010 Sunscreen Guide? Do you rely heavily on sunscreen, or clothing, hats and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun?

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



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Skin Cancer - Preventative Ideas and Tips

by: cancercompass

Skin cancer is the most common cancer type - between 300,000 and 600,000 skin cancers are treated every year. And as spring turns into summer, it's important to know how to try to keep your skin healthy and help prevent cancer.

The American Cancer Society suggests the "Slip! Slop! Slap!… and Wrap" method for remembering how to protect yourself against the sun:

    * Slip on a shirt.
    * Slop on sunscreen.
    * Slap on a hat.
    * Wrap on sunglasses to protect the eyes and sensitive skin around them.

The ACS also recommends limiting direct sun exposure during midday - 10 am to 4 pm - as that is when ultraviolet rays are strongest.

The Los Angeles Times recently published an article about skin cancer and how it relates to professional golfers and other people who cannot limit sun exposure during midday:

"Consider that a round of golf can take four to six hours to play and preferred weekend tee times are generally in the mid-morning. A golfer who tees off at 10 a.m. will be playing during the hours of the day when the sun is at its hottest—and most dangerous," the article states.

The Los Angeles Times states that those who cannot avoid midday sun exposure should try to seek shade whenever possible, wear long pants and long shirts, apply sunscreen frequently, and wear a wide brim hat.

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



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Study: Cancer Survivors Sleep Better with Yoga

by: cancercompass

New research suggests that cancer survivors who participate in gentle yoga tend to sleep better and have an improved quality of life.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center, is the largest study of its kind and will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology next month.

“This is great news for cancer survivors who deal with persistent and debilitating side effects from their cancer and its treatments long after their primary therapy ends. There are few treatments for the sleep problems and fatigue survivors experience that work for very long, if at all,” Karen Mustian, Ph.D., M.P.H., the study’s lead investigator stated in a university news release. “Yoga is a safe and simple technique that can have multiple benefits for survivors who are looking for solutions.”

There were over 400 candidates in the study, which consisted of mostly women who fought and survived breast cancer between 2006 and 2009. Half of the group, about 200 people, performed twice-weekly gentle yoga sessions. These sessions were part of a specialized program called YOCAS® (Yoga for Cancer Survivors), which focused on breathing and mindfulness exercises.

Are you a cancer survivor who practices gentle yoga? What are your thoughts about this study?



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Using Social Media to Silence Cancer

by: cancercompass

One man is communicating solely through social media for an entire month to help raise money for cancer research.

Clark Harris, also known as @SilentClark, wanted to see if it was possible to use "social media to more effectively raise money and create awareness for a cause online versus traditional methods," according to his website

Harris would like to raise $100,000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Harris lost his mother to Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia in February 2009. He also has a brother who is a cancer survivor, however, the disease has left its mark. His brother can no longer use his dominant hand and has chronic pain in his arm.

According to Harris's self-imposed rules, he can only communicate via Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, Flickr, and Google Chat. Email, talking, writing, text messaging and use of sign language are not allowed. However, yes or no questions can be answered by nodding head.

What do you think of Harris's experiment? Will you be donating to his cause? Please leave your thoughts in our comments section.

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



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Sex Ed for Prostate Cancer Survivors and Their Partners

by Dana Demas

Many men and women know all too well that prostate cancer treatment often takes a toll on sexual function. It can be a downside after the great relief of beating cancer.

Surgery and radiation therapy both affect erectile function, by damaging important nerves and blood vessels inside or close to the prostate. Some men regain their erectile ability with time, while others need help for the rest of their lives.

Fortunately, men have many options for boosting erectile function after prostate cancer:

  • The ED medications available, like Viagra®, Cialis® and Levitra®, meet different needs. Some work immediately, while others give you the flexibility of acting when the moment feels right.
  • For men who can’t take ED medications because of high blood pressure and other drug interactions, there are vacuum devices and drugs delivered via pellet or injection that many couples have success with.
  • When other methods don’t work, surgical alternatives are available. Your doctor permanently implants a device inside the penis, under general anesthesia.

What’s most important is to talk about these changes with each other, and your doctor. If your partner can’t perform like he usually does, try another something else, focus on you or just give it a rest.

Good communication – and a healthy dose of patience – is the key.



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Stand Up To Cancer Returns This Fall

by: cancercompass

Network television stations ABC, CBS and NBC will all be airing the same program on Friday, September 10th.

It's the return of the star-studded broadcast called Stand Up To Cancer, which helps raise funds for 'cutting edge' cancer research.

Stand Up To Cancer, or SU2C as it is sometimes referred, had its premiere broadcast two years ago. Celebrities like the late Patrick Swayze, Halle Berry, Sheryl Crow, and many more showcased their support for the cause.

TV anchors from all three major networks will host this year's event: Katie Couric, Brian Williams and Diane Sawyer.

“The broadcast is a way of saying, ‘Together, we can do this,’" Diane Sawyer stated in a SU2C press release.  “And yes, we're losing one person every minute, but 11 million survivors are out there; living proof that this can be done.  It will also be an opportunity for everybody to figure out concrete ways that they can do the things that they connect to the most strongly.”

Will you be tuning in to watch SU2C in September?

You can learn more about SU2C at the organization's website:



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Emergency Vehicle Raises Breast Cancer Awareness in Virginia

by: cancercompass

A Fredericksburg's ambulance company is raising breast cancer awareness with lights and sirens blaring.

The company, called LifeCare Medical Transports, has a brand-new 2010 pink ambulance that will be used for emergency calls and special events.

According to, LifeCare Medical Transports President Kevin Dillard said his staff is already fighting over who gets to drive it. He stated further that the ambulance company "just wanted to get awareness out there and maybe save some people's lives and raise some money. Wouldn't it be nice if, in our lifetime, somebody found a cure?"

Do you have something like a pink ambulance in your hometown? Share it in our comments section.

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

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