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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Study: Lower BPA Intake by Cutting Out Canned Foods

by: cancercompass

According to a new study by the Breast Cancer Fund, lowering one's exposure to the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) is as simple as eating less canned and/or plastic-wrapped foods.

"Forgoing packaged foods such as canned soups and vegetables could dramatically lower levels of a hormone-disrupting chemical that has been linked to myriad health problems, including birth defects, autism and reproductive issues," according to a Breast Cancer Fund news release.

Some studies have linked BPA to breast cancer and prostate cancer development.

"Our study provides clear and compelling evidence that food packaging is the major source of exposure to BPA and DEHP,” Ruthann Rudel, lead author of the study, stated in the news release. “The study shows that a fresh-food diet reduces levels of these chemicals in children and adults by half, after just three days."

According to Los Angeles Times, BPA can be found in clear, shatterproof plastics like baby bottles, liners of metal cans, and food-storage containers.

What do you think of this new study? Will you avoid canned foods or plastic containers?



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Study: Flyers Shouldn't Fear Cancer Risk of Airport Scanners

by: cancercompass

According to a new study published in the latest online issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, airplane passengers should not be concerned with the radiation doses they receive when going through airport full-body scanners.

Cancer Compass has written previously about the potential concerns regarding airport scanner radiation emissions.

"Based on what is known about the scanners, passengers should not fear going through the scans for health reasons, as the risks are truly trivial," according to the report. "If individuals feel vulnerable and are worried about the radiation emitted by the scans, they might reconsider flying altogether since most of the small, but real, radiation risk they will receive will come from the flight and not from the exceedingly small exposures from the scans."

The study claims that of the 750 million airplane passengers per year, six cancers over the lifetime of these flyers could result from airport backscatter scans.

What do you think of this new study? Does it confirm what you already believed? Do you now feel more comfortable going through an airport scanner?



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Breast Cancer Survivor Turns Medication Into Jewelry

by: cancercompass

The Los Angeles Times published an interesting article Tuesday about breast cancer survivor Susan Braig. Now that Susan’s cancer is in remission and has not metastasized, she claims that she is in a mountain of medical bill debt.

"I bought my first round of medicine and it cost $500 out of my own pocket," she said. "I looked at the drugstore receipt and then at the little pills and wondered if they were precious gems."

This thought helped Braig launch her jewelry line, Designer Drug Jewelry. The cancer survivor uses donated, old or expired medications, and turns them into costume jewelry. She says she uses the money from the sales of the jewelry to help offset her medical bill debt.

What do you do with your old or expired cancer medications? Do you use them in creative ways like Susan Braig? What do you think of Designer Drug Jewelry? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.



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Touting the Many Health Benefits of Turmeric

by Dana Demas

Are you looking for a wonder food? Or in this case – a wonder spice? Turmeric is a powerful seasoning that may double as medicine for a variety of physical and emotional ailments.  

Studies have found that turmeric inhibits the growth of some cancer cells, and makes them more susceptible to the effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The anti-inflammatory spice also may protect against Alzheimer’s and fight depression.

Turmeric is an easy, delicious spice to incorporate into your diet.

Eat Turmeric

Add turmeric to your favorite recipes to reap its health benefits, with little or no change in taste. Many of these are comforting foods that nourish body and soul – 

Drink Turmeric

To enjoy more of turmeric’s flavor, make a turmeric tea and drink it hot before bedtime. Or, brew and chill the tea in a covered pitcher to sip throughout the day. Some recipes are simply turmeric simmered in hot water, while others create a broth of cinnamon, ginger and honey.

To your health!




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Hospital Showcases Inflatable Colon to Raise Colon Cancer Awareness

by: cancercompass

One Ohio regional hospital wanted to do something larger-than-life to bring colon cancer awareness to its area residents. So what did they do? They brought in a giant, inflatable colon to the local park.

Residents were able to walk through the organ to learn more about how the colon works, what it looks like, what the most common colon cancer symptoms are, and what treatment options are available.

"Some people years ago had [a colonoscopy] done without anesthesia," Dr. Michael Fealk from Adena Health System's Colon and Recatal Services unit told the Chillicothe Gazette. "It's much more comfortable now."

There are several colon cancer detection procedures, including: colonoscopy, fecal occult blood test, sigmoidoscopy, double contrast barium enema, and a digital rectal exam.

What do you think of this unique awareness campaign?



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FDA May Ban Menthol Cigarettes to Reduce Smokers, Lung Cancer

by: cancercompass

The United States Food and Drug Administration’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee issued a report to the Secretary of Health and Human Services  earlier this week regarding the use of menthol cigarettes and its effect on public health.

Cigarette smoking is one of the most marked causes of lung cancer.

According to The Washington Post, the FDA banned flavored cigarettes like chocolate, vanilla, and clove to deter young people from smoking. According to a 2009 New York Times article, Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, commissioner of food and drugs, said "these flavored cigarettes are a gateway for many children and young adults to become regular smokers."

So what about menthol cigarettes? Are they a gateway for children and young adults? Among other issues, that is exactly what this report addresses.

What do you think of this new FDA report? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.



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Study: Multivitamins Do Not Prevent Cancer

by: cancercompass

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, there is no clear relationship between multivitamin use and decreasing mortality for cancer and cardiovascular disease.

"People need to understand that just taking these multivitamins is not sufficient to prevent disease," Jennifer Hsiang-Ling Lin, assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, told Reuters.

The article also states that other studies have shown a link between those taking specific vitamins – not multivitamins – and a decrease in cancer and cardiovascular disease later in life.

Do you take a multivitamin? Do you take specific supplements or vitamins? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.



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Study: Higher Skin Cancer Risk for Younger, Affluent Women

by: cancercompass

According to a new study published in the Archives of Dermatology, non-Hispanic white girls and women with high socioeconomic statuses are more likely to develop skin cancer than their counterparts of low socioeconomic statuses.

Researchers studied a total of 3800 non-Hispanic white girls and women aged 15 to 39 years.

Skin cancer symptoms can include a change on the skin, for example a new growth or a sore that doesn't heal.

"It’s certainly possible that more skin cancers are found in higher-income women because they have better access to doctors and thus are catching more of the dangerous growths," according to Los Angeles Times writer Karen Kaplan. "But the researchers don’t think that’s what’s going on. If it were just a matter of screening, doctors mostly would be finding more early-stage thin tumors. But in fact, doctors are finding more melanomas that are thick in addition to more that are thin."

What do you think of this study? Were you surprised or does it seem logical?



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Man Walks Across Nation for Prostate Cancer Awareness

by: cancercompass

Jim Hickey lost his father to prostate cancer 16 years ago. Hickey's brother was diagnosed with the same disease just a year after their father passed.

The Chicago Sun-Times recently published an article about Jim's fifth attempt to walk across the nation in order to raise prostate cancer awareness.

His previous four attempts were foiled by injury and a lack of support to attempt the Western states, according to the article. But this time, he hopes to accomplish his mission of reaching Los Angeles, CA after starting his journey in New York on April of 2010.

“I can’t put a time limit on this mission,” he told the Sun-Times. “I have no idea how long it will take.”

Prostate cancer symptoms include: feeling the need to urinate often, especially at night; difficulty starting urination or holding back; inability to urinate; weak or interrupted flow of urine; painful or burning urination; painful ejaculation; blood in urine or semen; and/or frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.

What do you think of Hickey's excursion? Would you offer him a free meal or a place to stay if you saw him walking in your town?



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Cancer Nutrition Plays a Key Role in Treatment and Recovery

by: cancercompass

Eating healthy, beneficial foods is extremely important for cancer patients. Cancer can deplete the body's nutrients and cause weight loss. With that, Cancer Compass has great resources listed on our Cancer Nutrition page, listing a nutrition plan and various tests. Good nutrition should become part of your cancer treatment plan.

According to the American Cancer Society, "Good nutrition is especially important if you have cancer because both the illness and its treatment can affect your appetite. Cancer and cancer treatments can also affect your body's ability to tolerate certain foods and use nutrients."

Review our list of healthful cancer-friendly recipes for meal ideas and snacks.

What healthy foods or dishes are helping you through treatment? Please leave your thoughts in our comments section below.

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