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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Take Two Apsirin and Call Me In the Morning

by: cancercompass

Aspirin, in low doses, has long since been suspected of being good for the heart. A new study by researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have found that it may have a positive effect on those diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Apsirin is considered an anticoagulant medication. Private MD Labs reports that the study found that men who were taking anticoagulant medications, such as aspirin, reduced their risk of dying from their disease within 10 years from 10 percent to 4 percent.

"Evidence has shown that anticoagulants may interfere with cancer growth and spread," said Kevin Choe, who led the study. "If the major effect of anticoagulants is preventing metastasis, this may be why previous clinical trials with anticoagulation medications produced mixed results, since most patients in these trials already had metastasis."

While the researchers did look at the use of other anticoagulants, MedScape Today reports that the benefit was greatest with aspirin use over other anticoagulants, and benefits were most prominent in patients with high-risk diseas.

"These are the patients we really need to treat and for whom current options are limited," said Choe.

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



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Soldiers Run for Breast Cancer

by: cancercompass

Breast cancer effects more than one million women worldwide - and that includes soldiers.

1st Lt. Andrea Graham of the Hunter-based 260th Quartermaster Battalion was diagnosed with the disease over a year ago. And her fellow troops have taken to the streets of both Savannah and Balad, Iraq to show their support.

In an effort to raise breast cancer awareness, more than 600 soldiers from Hunter Army Airfield hit the streets of Savannah for a 3-mile run Wednesday. About 1,200 of their fellow troops did the same overseas while deployedin Iraq, the Rome News Tribune reports.

This is the second year that the troops have conducted this breast cancer awareness run in support of 1st Lt. Andrea Graham. They first initiated the campaign in 2009.

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




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A Healthy Lifestyle Has A Positive Effect on Colorectal Cancer

by: cancercompass

Physical activity, waist circumference, smoking, alcohol intake, and diet. These five factors have a strong influence on helping to prevent colorectal cancer, reports the British Medical Journal. In fact, the study (conducted on middle-aged people in Denmark) shows that nearly a quarter (23%) of colorectal cancer cases could be prevented with a healthy lifestyle.

"Our study reveals . . . that even modest differences in lifestyle might have a substantial impact on colorectal cancer risk, and emphasizes the importance of continuing vigorous efforts to convince people to follow the lifestyle recommendations," the authors conclude in MedScape Today. The team is from the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology at the Danish Cancer Society in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The team examined 55,487 individuals aged between 50 and 64 who had no history of cancer. These individuals were monitored for more than ten years. According to Medical News Today, the investigators created a lifestyle index with the help of health recommendations from Nordic Nutrition, World Cancer Research Fund and the World Health Organization, which included 30 minutes or more per day of physical activity, consuming no more than 7 alcohol drinks for women and 14 for men per week, not smoking, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and having a waistline of no more than 88cm for women and 102 for men.

This is one of the first studies to take a hard look at the impact of multiple healthy behaviors, as opposed to just one. And the number of healthy behaviors mattered.

"If all participants had followed merely 1 additional recommendation, we estimate that 13% of the cases of colorectal cancer might have been prevented," the researchers wrote. "Furthermore, we estimate that 23% of the colorectal cancers in this cohort were associated with a lack of adherence to the recommendations for the 5 lifestyle factors included in our study."

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



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Honoring Breast Cancer Survivors

by: cancercompass

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It's a time to increase the awareness of the importance of early breast cancer detection and encourage continued education. It's also a time to remember those who have battled breast cancer. It strikes 1 in every 8 women in the United States, with the odds being pretty high that someone you know and love has been diagnosed - maybe even this year. And with more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S., often it's the stories of other survivors that help these brave women keep going.

MyFoxAtlanta recently reported on a group of women that get together to share their stories - The Bless You Girls. Their stories have been transformed into a book, with all proceeds going directly to cancer patients who can't afford to pay for needed medicine.

"The stories were just absolutely unbelievable. They were so inspirational. They were just wonderful. I knew if they helped me, they would help other women," said author Sophia Peavy.

Many other women, inlcuding several well-known singers and actresses, are also sharing their stories to help others. These include:

  • Melissa Ethridge
  • Sheryl Crow
  • Christina Applegate
  • Cynthia Nixon
  • Shirley Temple Black

Also making the list, and proof that breast cancer can also effect men, is Richard Rountree.

Do you have your own personal hero who has battled breast cancer? Please let us know!

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



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Green Tea May Help Prevent Breast Cancer

by: cancercompass

Fire up those tea kettles! A review study has shown that drinking more than 3 cups of green tea a day resulted in a 27 percent reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence.

The study, conducted by Adeyemi A. Ogunleye of the Harvard School of Public Health and his colleagues, reviewed two previous studies on breast cancer recurrence and seven studies on breast cancer incidence associated with drinking green tea. All nine of the studies reviewed were published between 1998 and 2009.

"Available epidemiologic evidence supports the hypothesis that increased green tea consumption may be inversely associated with risk of breast cancer recurrence," the authors wrote in the study report.

In an ABC news report in 2009, Dr. Cassileth confirmed these findings. "There have been many studies of green tea, and it does seem to be protective in many of those investigations...protective of getting cancer in the first place," she said."That is, green tea seems to reduce, in many studies, the risk of developing cancer - particularly breast cancer."

However, Dr. Cassileth goes on to say that green tea does not seem to effect cancer once it has developed.

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




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Low Dose of Aspirin Found to Reduce Colon Cancer

by: cancercompass

A new study found that a low dose of aspirin could cut colon cancer cases by a quarter. The study consisted of four trials over 20 years, analyzing more than 14,000 people. It compared those taking a low dose of aspirin to those taking a placebo or nothing.

According to the Washington Post, the study found people taking baby or regular aspirin pills daily for about six years reduced their colon cancer risk by 24 percent and that deaths from the disease dropped by 35 percent.

"This is proof that low-dose aspirin prevents colorectal cancer," Dr. Peter Rothwell, a professor of neurology at John Radcliffe Hospital and the University of Oxford in the U, told BusinessWeek. "Somewhat fortuitously, it mainly prevents those cancers that are least well-prevented by screening colonoscopy."

However, Dr. Robert Benamouzig, from the Department of Gastroenterology at Avicenne Hospital in Bobigny, France, and author of an accompanying journal editorial, warns that only those with a high risk for colorectal cancer should start taking aspirin. When taken in high doses over a long period of time, aspirin can irritate the stomach and lead to gastrointestinal bleeding.

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



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It's More Important Than Ever For Prostate Patients to Receive Regular Colonoscopies

by: cancercompass

A recent study conducted by UB gastroenterologists found that prostate cancer patients are at an increased risk of developoing precancerous colon polyps.

By studying 2,011 men who had colonoscopies at Buffalo VA Medical Center, the study compared the colonoscopy findings of 188 men diagnosed with prostate cancer against the rest of the patients. According to the UB Reporter, results showed that prostate cancer patients had significantly higher prevalence of abnormal polyps and advanced adenomas, compared to the control group.

Forty-eight percent of prostate cancer patients had adenomas (abnormal colon polyps), compared to 30.8 percent of controls, and 15.4 percent had advanced adenomas compared to 10 percent of the men without prostate cancer.

“Our study findings suggest that patients with prostate cancer should definitely get their screening colonoscopy on time,” says Pomakov. “In light of the limited resources of health care systems, a priority should be given to such patients for colonoscopy screening."

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



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New Study: Hold the Hormones

by: cancercompass

Many women who are going through menopause take hormones to alleviate symptoms such as hot flashes. A new study by the Women's Health Initiative, published in Wednesday's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, has shown that the benefits of hormones may be far outweighed by the risks.

According to the Washington Post, the study found that women who took the combination of estrogen and progestin - sold as Prempro - were more likely to have tumors that appeared to be larger, were often hard to treat and were more likely to have spread to their lymph nodes. But most important, their risk of death appeared elevated.

"Women taking estrogen plus progestin are at greater risk from dying from the two leading causes of cancer death in women," said Rowan T. Chlebowski of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, who led the analysis.

This was a surprise to many.

"This really is a paradigm shift," said Hugh S. Taylor, chief of reproductive endocrinology at Yale University. "There was a whole group of people, including myself, who had been thinking hormone use was associated with an increased detection of breast cancer but not necessarily an increase risk of death from breast cancer. But this really nails it."

However, some are still on the fence about the risks of hormones in women, including Pfizer.

"Hormone therapy is among the most thoroughly studied medicines and the increased risk for breast cancer compared to placebo has been included in Prempro's label since its introduction in 1995. This analysis does not alter that risk, nor does it dispute hormone therapy's effectiveness," the company said in a statement.

What do you think about hormone therapy? Do the benefits outweigh the risks? Please leave a comment below.




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Skin Cancer Patients Experience Higher Rates of Vitamin D Deficiency

by: cancercompass

According to, vitamin D helps maintain healthy bones and can help decrease the likelihood of developing osteoporosis, hypertension (high blood pressure), cancer, and several autoimmune diseases.While vitamin D can be found in fish, eggs, fortified milk, and cod liver oil, the sun also contributes significantly to the daily production of vitamin D.

Time Healthland reports that Americans, as a whole, are deficient in vitamin D. And in a recent study led by Dr. Jean Tang at Stanford University, it was found that skin cancer patients are three times more likely to be vitamin D deficient than the general population.

In the study, Tang and her colleagues looked at 41 people susceptible to skin disease over a two year period. They found that, not surprisingly, these people used sunscreen daily and avoided prolonged periods of being in the sun. So while the mean levels of the D byproduct for the American population is 27.5 ng/ml, the 41 skin cancer paitents they studied averaged 24.5ng/ml.

"Even though you say the general population is at high risk of vitamin D deficiency, these skin cancer patients are at even higher risk," says Tang.

A government panel is expected to provide more guidance on a target "healthy" range of vitamin D in the blood in November.

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



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Diet and Exercise Help Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

by: cancercompass

According to Elaine Lee Wade, MD, Associate Director of the Patricia G. Nolan Center for Breast Health at NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) Glenbrook Hospital, diet and exercise are are two factors that can help reduce risk for breast and other cancers, as well as many other conditions including diabetes and heart disease.

"I tell my patients they should be exercising every day or at least five days a week,” says Dr. Wade in an article in TribLocal. “We have studies now that show women who exercise get less breast cancer and have less recurrence of breast cancer."

She goes on to explain that eating a Mediterranean diet made up of more plant-based than animal-based food, with a modest amount of fat, may help lower a woman's risk for developing breast cancer. But women aren't the only gender she is concerned with.

" is important for everyone to understand that anyone with breasts is at risk for developing breast cancer, and that includes men,” says Dr. Wade.

Other tips Dr. Wade gives to help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer includes quitting smoking, getting enough sleep (seven to eight hours a night), drinking in moderation, exercising and receiving annual mammograms.

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


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