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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Riders Fund Research for Rare Cancer Types

by Dana Demas

Breast, lung, colon and prostate cancer account for nearly half of all cancer diagnoses. The “big four” cancer types also drive a huge amount of awareness and fund most of the research efforts to find a cure.

However, there are hundreds of cancer types – known as “orphan cancers” – that affect tens of thousands of people, but receive little funding.

One of these so-called orphan cancers is angiosarcoma. Angiosarcoma develops in the body’s blood vessels. They’re most common in the skin, breast, liver or deep tissue, but they can grow anywhere in the body.

Most cancer cells rely on the growth of new blood vessels to continue multiplying and spreading. Tumors feed on the increased blood supply, fueled by the network of blood vessels. Without it, they stop growing.

As a result, finding a cure for angiosarcoma, could pave the way to finding the cure for cancer.

Cycle for Survival, run by Memorial Sloan-Kettering, is an indoor team cycling fundraiser that raises awareness and research support for rare cancers. So far, they’ve raised $4.5 million. In addition to helping people with angiosarcoma, Cycle for Survival funds research for a variety of lesser known cancer types.

If you want to help fund rare cancers, join one of the teams with a donation or by riding with them. An upcoming event in San Francisco supports funding for angiosarcoma. There are teams in Chicago, New York and Long Island, too.

Learn more about Angiosarcoma and current research efforts.



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Canadian Woman Has "Embarrassing" Experience at Calgary Airport

by: cancercompass

An 82-year-old Canadian woman is planning on filing a formal complaint with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority after an incident she had at the Calgary International Airport when trying to fly home to British Columbia after the holidays. The airport has issued a formal apology to her.

Elizabeth Strecker claims that after she answered 'no' when asked if she had any liquids or gels in her possession while going through airport security. The airport scanner later detected her gel-filled prosthetic breast. After being pulled aside for the procedural pat-down, Strecker said one female CATSA agent laughed at her when Strecker said she couldn't lift her arm during her pat-down as a result of her mastectomy.

“I definitely didn’t want the world to know I had cancer and a mastectomy. It’s embarrassing, no matter what age you are,” Strecker told The Vancouver Sun.

This isn't the first time airport security has created headlines due to its controversial pat-downs with cancer survivors and patients.

What are your thoughts about this issue? Are airport security agents just trying to do their jobs, or is this over the line? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.



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Nail Salon Dryers Worry Dermatologists

by: cancercompass

One Indiana dermatologist is worried about the potential adverse effects regarding certain ultraviolet nail salon dryers.

These dryers make one's recently polished nails last longer and dry faster.

"We have case studies of patients reported in the scientific medical literature of otherwise young patients who've had very little evidence of sun damage elsewhere. Around the nails where they've had these treatments, have developed skin cancers and in some cases multiple skin cancers," Dr. Richard Langley told  WFIE News.

Cosmopolitan Magazine interviewed Ellen Marmur, MD, author of Simple Skin Beauty and chief of dermatologic surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center, last spring about the issue. She said "the dryers are definitely emitting UV light, yet it's hard to know how much because the machines aren't regulated. But it's very possible that putting your hands or feet under them is the equivalent of sticking them in a tanning bed for the same amount of time."

Do you have your nails manicured at a salon using UV dryers? What are your thoughts about this issue?

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



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High Obesity Rates Greatly Impact Minnesota's Cancer Rates

by: cancercompass

Sixty-two percent of Minnesotans are considered either overweight or obese. And according to the American Cancer Society, this statistic has a staggering affect on cancer in the state as it is the number one killer of its residents.

"We have a significant opportunity, if we can get the word out and have people take some control over their own health and reduce those risk factors, we have an opportunity to prevent cancer deaths," Angie Rolle, a member of the Minnesota division of the American Cancer Society, told KARE 11 news on Wednesday.

This news comes just days before the beginning of the Biggest Loser Minnesota Challenge - which runs January 24th through April 15th.

The weight loss event partnered with the Pound for Pound Challenge, which pledges to donate one pound of groceries to a local food bank for every pound each participant loses.

What are your thoughts regarding this news? If you are a Minnesota resident, will you be participating in the Biggest Loser Challenge?



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Study: Geography May Play Role in Colon Cancer Screening Rates

by: cancercompass

The University of California Davis published a study earlier this month regarding how geography may play a role in colon cancer screening rates.

It has been widely received in the medical community that racial minorities have lower colorectal screening rates than whites. However, this study focuses on if the distinction between race and screening rates varies across geographical areas.

What researchers found was in all locations analyzed, whites were more likely than non-whites to be up-to-date on colon cancer screenings – except in Hawaii. Asian-Pacific Islanders had higher screening rates than whites in the island state.

"The next step is to look at different geographic areas to see what are the determinants for minorities in terms of getting screened," Thomas Semrad, medical oncologist at UC Davis Cancer Center stated in a news release. "Are these culturally based? Are there problems with how health-care systems are set up? What are the barriers? If we can figure this out, we would have a target to improve some of these disparities."

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



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Michael Douglas: "I've Got It Beat"

by: cancercompass

Numerous reports published this week have confirmed that Michael Douglas' throat cancer is in remission. Douglas was diagnosed with Stage IV throat cancer last August.

"The odds are, with the tumor gone and what I know about this particular type of cancer, that I've got it beat," Douglas said in interview with Matt Lauer on NBC's Today Show Tuesday morning.

You can view his entire interview at this link:

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



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Hoops for St. Jude Lineup Announced

by: cancercompass

The National Basketball Association's global community outreach initiative, NBA Cares, joined forces with the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital® once again for Hoops for St. Jude Week, held March 4-11.

The Hoops for St. Jude team includes:

  • Steve Blake, Los Angeles Lakers
  • Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
  • Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies
  • Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
  • David Lee, Golden State Warriors
  • Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat 
  • George Karl, coach of the Denver Nuggets

The players and Coach Karl have donated a minimum of $20,000 each to the organization. And the team is also asking NBA fans to donate to St. Jude in the time leading up to Hoops for St. Jude Week.

"I believe in giving back and helping children. Hoops for St. Jude does both. Whether a child with cancer is from Orlando or across the globe, St. Jude is making tremendous strides in saving children from this terrible disease," Howard stated in a news release. "NBA players are tough but children fighting cancer are tougher. I believe the children of St. Jude are the real superheroes."



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Dental Hygienists Offers Tips to Avoid Oral Cancer

by: cancercompass

The California Dental Hygienists' Association (CDHA) issued a news release Thursday regarding the dangers of oral cancer and offered tips on how to prevent the disease.

“Tobacco and alcohol use are no longer the only major risk factors for oral cancer,” Ellen Standley, CDHA President, stated in the news release. “The fastest growing segment of oral cancer victims is the non-smoker under 50 years of age.”

CDHA Oral Cancer Prevention Tips:

  • Visit a dental office and be screened at least once a year for oral cancer. Dental hygienists have the opportunity to provide quick, painless and simple oral cancer screenings whenever they see a patient.
  • See a physician once a year for a routine physical examination.
  • Limit alcohol consumption and all types of tobacco use, including smokeless.
  • Avoid behaviors that promote exposure to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
  • Limit exposure to UV radiation (lip cancer).
  • Be suspicious of any sore in the mouth or any change in the tissue (color or texture) that lasts longer than two weeks.
  • Be proactive & take preventive measures in your healthcare; ask questions.

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



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Pearl of Wisdom Campaign Begins

by: cancercompass

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and in recognizing it, the Pearl of Wisdom Campaign aims to raise awareness and advocate that women meet with their gynecologists.

The campaign asks women to do three things:

1. Schedule their annual gynecologic examination.
2. Wear a 'Pearl of Wisdom' in support of cervical cancer prevention.
3. Encourage 5 friends to do the same.

The 'Pearl of Wisdom' is a gold and pearl pin women can wear on their clothing or outerwear to promote cervical cancer awareness.

"No woman should die of or lose her fertility to cervical cancer," Tamika Felder, cervical cancer survivor and founder of Tamika and Friends,  a partner in the Pearl of Wisdom campaign, stated in a press release. "Almost every case of cervical cancer can now be prevented with the Pap test, the HPV test and the HPV vaccine. We want women to know this, to ask for the prevention tools that are appropriate for them, and to help us get the word out to other women by wearing their pearl and starting the conversation."

Do you own a 'Pearl of Wisdom'?

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



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Spare Change to Benefit Youth Leukemia Program

by: cancercompass

Olive Garden's ‘Pasta for Pennies’ fundraiser is in its 17th year for 2011, raising more than $53 million since it first began.

The fundraiser benefits the School & Youth campaign for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).

"Olive Garden's Pasta for Pennies motivates students to give their time and money to a great cause," LLS President and CEO John Walter stated in a press release.  "All of us at LLS are inspired by the commitment of the students, teachers and parents who give generously to support those battling blood cancers and help advance our mission to find a cure."

For three weeks, more than 6,500 schools across the nation will fill collection jars in classrooms for students to donate their spare change. The class that raises the most funds at each participating school will win a pasta party. All food is donated by the school's local Olive Garden.

Does your child's classroom participate in Pasta for Pennies?

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

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