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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A Household Remedy for Cervical Cancer?

by Dana Demas

A fascinating New York Times article reports on the use of vinegar to screen for cervical cancer. Vinegar detects precancerous cells with more accuracy than a Pap smear – and at a far lower cost. The inexpensive liquid turns precancerous cells white. The spots are then frozen off before they become cancerous. The simple procedure, first developed by experts at Johns Hopkins, is called VIA/cryo.

The procedure has been endorsed by the World Health Organization and nurses around the world are being trained to perform it. In Thailand, where VIA/cryo has been widely implemented, none of the 6,000 women recruited for the first trial 11 years ago have developed cervical cancer. 

After breast cancer, cervical cancer is the number two cancer killer of women worldwide. Each year, it claims more than 250,000 lives, mostly in developing countries.




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A New Way to Find and Treat Cancer

by Dana Demas

A team of researchers at MIT has designed particles that could help diagnose and treat cancer with greater precision.

The tiny particles quickly detect a type of genetic material, called microRNA. These molecules turn genes on or off inside a cell

Each type of cancer has its own microRNA signature.

In the past, detecting RNA has been a time-consuming process. With the new, highly sensitive microarray, the particles are mixed with a blood sample. They bind to the microRNA and reveal  a pattern – what researchers call a chemical “barcode.”  

This “barcode” could help doctors screen for specific cancer risk and develop highly individualized treatment plans. MicroRNA also plays a role in diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, HIV and cardiovascular disease.

Lead researcher Patrick Doyle plans to develop the technology for commercial use.


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