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More cancer patients need to learn the benefits of exercise
Date: 2012-08-30 21:46:18

People who screen positive for cancer in a lab test may undergo several different treatments, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. Lifestyle modifications are also important for helping them feel better and prevent a recurrence of their disease. However, new research from the Mayo Clinic suggests that when it comes to exercise, not enough cancer patients are taking advantage of this regimen, nor are they discussing it with their oncologists.

Physical activity can support strength, alleviate fatigue, improve sleep quality and keep cancer patients from being isolated, according to the researchers. In their investigation, they found that it was common for patients to consider everyday activities, such as gardening, to be sufficient.

"There was a real sense of 'What I do every day, that's my exercise,'" said researcher Andrea Cheville, M.D. "Most were not aware that inactivity can contribute to weakening of the body and greater vulnerability to problems, including symptoms of cancer."

Other results showed that patients were more likely to exercise after their cancer diagnosis if they had made a habit of it before receiving the news.

A lab test for cancer markers is the first step toward an accurate diagnosis. From that point forward, patients need to make sure they discuss all their treatment options, including lifestyle modifications such as exercise, with their healthcare providers.

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Drug company halts production of lung cancer treatment
Date: 2012-09-21 20:49:27

In what could be disappointing news for some individuals who have taken a cancer biomarker blood test that found lung tumors, a lung cancer drug that was in development by Astex Pharmaceuticals has been discontinued. The drug, amuvatinib, was shelved in light of its failure to display the desired effectiveness.

"We have decided to end the clinical development of amuvatinib, despite the favorable safety and preliminary clinical activity we observed in the first stage of this Phase 2 trial and in the earlier Phase 1b trial in combination platinum-etoposide based chemotherapy," said James S.J. Manuso, chairman and CEO of Astex Pharmaceuticals.

The chairman also stated that amuvatinib could possibly be licensed to other drug developers, if his company allows.

According to Reuters, the drug was shelved after failing to produce a 10 percent rate of reaction in lung cancer patients.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information notes that a positive result from a blood test for lung cancer could be linked to asbestos, heredity and living in an area with high levels of air pollution. However, smoking is by far the leading cause of lung cancer.

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Onset of pancreatic cancer could come earlier for smokers and drinkers
Date: 2012-09-20 21:58:13

The average age for an individual to receive a pancreatic cancer diagnosis - potentially through a cancer screening blood test - is 72 years old. Unless a person smokes or drinks heavily, in which case the average age is closer to 60 years old, according to a study appearing in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

"If you do have these habits, and you're going to develop pancreatic cancer, the age of presentation may be younger," said Michelle Anderson of the University of Michigan Health System, quoted by Reuters.

Anderson and other researchers arrived at this conclusion after surveying data of more than 800 pancreatic cancer patients.

Reuters notes that this study doesn't necessarily prove that alcohol and tobacco use causes pancreatic cancer, only that there is a correlation between substance use and an earlier age of onset for these tumors, which in some cases could be detected through a blood test.

The National Cancer Institute states that almost 44,000 new instances of pancreatic cancer, and almost 38,000 deaths due to the disease, are reported each year in the U.S.

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New treatment for giant-cell bone tumors shows promise
Date: 2012-09-21 21:41:44

Denosumab, a drug that attacks proteins that help destroy bones, enhanced the bone health of 20 study participants who could have gotten a positive result for giant-cell bone cancer from a blood test screening. These findings appear in the American Association for Cancer Research's journal, Clinical Cancer Research.

Giant-cell bone tumors usually are not malignant, but the California researchers who authored this study say these tumors are only treatable with surgery, which isn't always effective. Sometimes, amputation is required to ensure these tumors won't ever spread.

According to the researchers, after they administered denosumab to their subjects for four weeks, 20 percent of them lost all but 10 percent of their giant-cell tumors, and bone matter grew back in 65 percent of patients who had lost bone cells due to their ailment.

"Radical surgery is currently the only treatment option," said Sant P. Chawla, director of the Santa Monica Oncology Center. "In our study, the use of denosumab allowed patients to avoid radical surgery and prevented recurrence. We hope that in the future, its use may make it possible to avoid surgery completely."

The National Center for Biotechnology Information says that the most frequently benign bone tumors to be detected by a blood test are osteochondromas, and they generally develop in individuals between 10 and 20 year old.

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Houston scientists hope to reduce cancer deaths
Date: 2012-09-21 21:04:43

Researchers from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, have developed a new $3 billion strategy to reduce instances where unfortunate information from blood tests for cancer biomarkers lead to deaths, according to the Associated Press (AP)

Dubbed "The Moon Shots Program" in honor of President John F. Kennedy, this initiative has been described as two agendas that will be enacted simultaneously. The first is meant to better utilize what is known about cancer, while the other involves understanding what must be learned in order for the disease to be cured.

"The Moon Shots Program signals our confidence that the path to curing cancer is in clearer sight than at any other time in history," Ronald DePinho, president of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, told the AP.

The news source further notes that the scientists are focused on preventing more deaths from lung, breast, ovarian and prostate cancer, as well as leukemia and melanoma during the next 10 years. DePinho has already developed new blood tests for mice that determine if they should undergo more complex screenings for cancer.

"The world would profit from more institutions taking an ambitious approach like this," Clifford Hudis, a breast cancer researcher from New York, told The Wall Street Journal. "The problems are big and complex."

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Individuals with AIDS have greater than average risk for digestive cancers
Date: 2012-09-25 14:13:37

New research available in the journal of the American Gastroenterological Association shows that individuals who took an STD diagnosis test that detected the presence of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and later developed acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) have a higher than normal likelihood of receiving a blood test detecting cancer tumors in the stomach and esophagus.

"People diagnosed with AIDS are living longer due to improved therapies," said lead author E. Christina Persson. "However, they remain at increased risk of developing a number of different cancers. An elevated risk of esophageal and stomach cancers had been observed before, but we were able to look at risk for subtypes of these malignancies."

Analysts from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) culled information from the HIV/AIDS Cancer Match Study, which contains data on almost 600,000 individuals coping with AIDS. They found that AIDS patients were nearly 70 percent more likely to develop esophageal cancer, and more than 40 percent more susceptible to stomach cancer than the rest of the population.

The NCI also stated that an STD diagnosis test indicating HIV makes an individual's cancer biomarkers blood test more likely to detect tumor cells in the lungs, mouth and cervix.

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Scientists connect immune cell to likelihood of lung cancer
Date: 2012-09-21 21:48:19

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) says that almost all lung cancer deaths - the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. - are linked to smoking. However, between 10 and 20 percent of lung tumors, which could be detected with blood testing, develop in individuals who have never smoked.

Investigating this phenomenon, scientists from the Washington University School of Medicine (WU), St. Louis, discovered that the presence of natural immune cells in mice corresponded to their susceptibility to lung cancer.

"We want to know whether heavy smokers who don't get lung cancer have natural killer cells that are somehow better at destroying newly developing lung cancer cells," said Alexander Krupnick, associate professor of surgery and lead study author. "By comparison, do patients who have never smoked but develop lung cancer have weak natural killer cells?"

The WU analysts genetically engineered three types of mice with different levels of vulnerability to lung cancer. Once they administered a carcinogen to the animals, the group with the highest levels of tumor-killer cells resisted the illness, while the rest of the mice developed lung cancer.

According to the NCI, smoking could contribute to positive blood testing for other types of cancer, including throat, mouth, esophagus and stomach cancer.

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Follow-up treatment still too expensive for young cancer survivors
Date: 2012-09-25 15:11:02

Even if they have access to health insurance, 20- to 39-year-old cancer survivors are less likely than older survivors to undergo regular healthcare checkups for this disease that's sometimes detected by blood testing, according to a study published in the journal of the American Cancer Society.

University of Utah researchers drew these findings by looking at a survey of almost 1,000 individuals who developed tumors between the ages of 15 and 34, and had survived at least five years following their diagnoses, compared to a control group of people who had never had cancer. Regardless of their insurance status, recovering cancer patients were almost 70 percent more likely than people in the control group to skip seeing a doctor due to a lack of personal funds.

"[Young cancer survivors] need to be educated about the importance of regular healthcare to monitor for late effects," said Dr. Anne Kirchhoff of the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. "Furthermore, even the insured survivors in our study reported unmet healthcare needs due to cost barriers."

The National Cancer Institute reports that approximately 70,000 individuals between 15 and 40 receive bad outcomes from blood testing for tumors in the U.S. every year. The most common forms for young people to develop include lymphoma, leukemia and germ cell tumors like those in testicular cancer patients, according to the organization.

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Combining cigarettes and hookah doubles health danger
Date: 2012-09-26 22:52:55

According to findings published in the Journal of American College Health, many individuals of college age have misconceptions about smoking from a hookah - for example, they don't necessarily realize it increases the likelihood that a blood test will eventually detect lung cancer markers in a person's blood.

Surveying a portion of the college population, a research team led by Aashir Nasim of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, also a psychology professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, determined that knowledge about the addictive nature and carcinogenic qualities of hookah smoke was relatively low among their age group. Many college students they spoke with thought that water in hookah pipes filtered out the harmful elements of tobacco.

The researchers note that hookah smoke is held in the lungs longer, and hookah smoking sessions last longer than the time it normally takes to smoke a cigarette. This means that hookah could potentially be more likely to lead tumor biomarkers to show up on a blood test.

Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that when the charcoal in hookah pipes burns, its smoke contains carbon monoxide, metals and other carcinogens.

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Scientists strive to eliminate cervical cancer
Date: 2012-09-28 23:56:23

Fewer women are screening positive for cervical cancer biomarkers in blood tests for the disease, according to research highlighted in an article for the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

However, the rates of cervical cancer remain disproportionate between different racial and socioeconomic groups. The researchers from the Moffitt Cancer Center, the University of South Florida and Ohio State University note that Hispanic women have the greatest chance of developing cervical cancer. Meanwhile, black women over the age of 85 are three times as susceptible to the disease as white women of the same age.

"The good news is that over the past several decades, the incidence of invasive cervical cancer has declined dramatically," said Anna R. Giuliano of the Moffitt Cancer Center. "The bad news is that 60 percent of invasive cervical cancers occur in women who are members of underserved racial or ethnic minorities, in women residing in rural areas or living in poverty."

The study authors note that 15 out of every 100,000 women received positive blood tests for cervical cancer in 1975. However, thanks to the widespread use of pap smears, that number has decreased dramatically. The National Cancer Institute's most recent data show that just over 12,000 new cases of cervical cancer have been reported since the start of 2012.

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Cancer costs European economy 124 billion euros a year
Date: 2012-09-28 23:51:49

Two studies conducted by researchers presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology's 2012 Congress estimate how much resources cancer - which is detectable by blood tests - costs the continent in terms of healthcare and lost productivity. They concluded that the overall annual cost of cancer in Europe is 124 billion euros.

"Cancer poses a considerable economic burden not only to healthcare systems but to other areas of the economy, including productivity losses through early mortality and time-off-work, and relatives who have to forego work/leisure to care for cancer patients," said Ramon Luengo-Fernandes of the University of Oxford.

The price tag indirectly linked to positive blood tests for cancer in Germany is higher than all other European nations, the study shows. Meanwhile, Lithuania spent less than 25 percent of what Germany did, the lowest amount out of all nations surveyed on cancer healthcare costs and canceled productivity.

Cancer drains about as much funding from the United States as it does from Europe, according to the National Cancer Institute. Based on its findings in 2010, residents in the U.S. either spent or lost an estimated total of almost $250 billion.

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Rate of cervical cancer screening lower for victims of sexual abuse
Date: 2012-10-02 22:54:35

Traumatic memories of abuse could be preventing some women from undergoing a lab test for cervical cancer, according to a study published in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care.

Researchers from the U.K.'s National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPA) compiled online survey results from 135 women with a history of sexual abuse. Less than 50 percent of the participants, who were between the ages of 24 and 65, said they had received a lab test for the sometimes deadly disease within the past three years, which is the recommended timeframe. In addition, more than 20 percent reported that the procedure was painful, while almost 30 percent said they felt powerless during the examination.

"Self worth, self esteem and self concept....impact on how women access health services or care for and value themselves," wrote Sarah Kelly, the NAPA training and development manager. "Many of the female survivors we hear from talk about their fears and anxieties when accessing services, particularly sexual health."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that early detection leads to a dramatically increased chance of surviving cervical cancer, which ends the lives of about one-third of the almost 12,500 women who are diagnosed annually.

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More evidence suggests alcohol and tobacco affect age of pancreatic cancer onset
Date: 2012-10-03 22:09:28

Boston University Medical Center has released findings that show that habitual consumers of alcohol and cigarettes are increasing their risk of blood testing detecting tumor markers for pancreatic cancer at a younger age.

The researchers note that, while the direct cause of the pancreatic cancer known as adenocarcinoma is unknown, smoking, drinking more alcohol than doctors recommend, consuming too much soda and eating a diet high in fat have been shown to increase the risk. The deadly disease has also been linked to obesity, chronic pancreatitis and diabetes.

This research echoes the results of studies published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology in September, which showed that smoking and drinking decreases the average age of individuals who receive affirmative blood testing for pancreatic cancer from 72 to 60 years old.

According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 40,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer are reported each year in the U.S., with almost 38,000 deaths caused by the disease annually. The organization also notes that about 20 percent of pancreatic cancer patients are between 55 and 64 years old, more than 25 percent are over 65, while almost 30 percent are between 75 and 84 years old.

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Throat cancer patients could get their voices back with new procedure
Date: 2012-10-09 15:13:33

Researchers from the National University of Singapore's Department of Medical Engineering and Raffles Hospital say that, by cutting a small hole in the throat, they can restore the speech of patients whose voice boxes were lost sometime after blood tests showed that they had throat cancer.

The procedure is similar to a tracheostomy, which involves inserting a rubber tube and a prosthesis into a new opening in the throat. After a tracheostomy, two weeks must pass before the ability to talk returns to patients who undergo this procedure. However, researchers say this new innovation for people who received bad results from blood tests for throat cancer gives them their voices back almost instantly.

"Our system ensures an immediate snug fit of the prosthesis in the passageway created between the trachea and the esophagus," said project leader Chui Chee Kiong. "Until now, this can take some trial and error to achieve good sizing of the prosthesis."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that more than 30,000 new instances of mouth and throat cancer are reported each year. The five-year survival rate for this type of cancer is only about 50 percent.

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Smoking linked to employee absenteeism
Date: 2012-10-31 17:47:16

A new study published in the journal Addiction found that smokers are more likely to miss work than non-smokers, Reuters reported.

Researchers analyzed data from 29 different studies that were conducted from 1960 to 2011, which looked at 71,000 workers in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Japan. Current employees were also surveyed about their past and present smoking habits, and researchers looked at their average rate of workplace absenteeism over the last two years.

The study revealed that smokers have a 33 percent greater chance of missing work, and they are absent for an average of 2.7 more days each year than non-smokers, amounting to $2.25 billion in lost productivity in the U.K. in 2011.

"Quitting smoking appears to reduce absenteeism and result in substantial cost-savings for employers," wrote research author Jo Leonardi-Bee, Ph.D., of the University of Nottingham.

Smoking-related fatalities and illnesses... Full Story

Smoking may decrease life expectancy by 10 years
Date: 2012-10-29 21:00:56

Recently reviewed research from the Life Span Study (LSS), which followed nearly 68,000 Japanese men and women for the last 23 years, revealed that chronic smoking may decrease a person's life expectancy by nearly a decade.

According to the study, which was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), people who were born between 1920 and 1945 started smoking at a younger age and smoked more cigarettes a day, compared to past generations. These men and women who started smoking before they were 20 years old and with an average of 23 cigarettes a day had a twice mortality rate of those who abstained from tobacco use.

The source also noted that people who quit before they were 35 years old were able to avoid many of the health detriments associated with smoking, while quitting before 45 years old allowed one to avoid most smoking-related ailments.

Previous data has shown that Japanese smokers had a higher life expectancy than this study revealed. The researchers predicted that this is because previous research analyzed people from earlier generations who smoked less frequently and started smoking at a later age.

Smoking statistics... Full Story

Black kidney cancer patients have high fatality rate
Date: 2012-11-13 21:30:32

According to recent research published online by the journal Cancer, black patients with kidney cancer are more likely to die from their condition than their white counterparts.

Wong-Ho Chow, Ph.D., and her colleagues from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center studied data from nearly 40,000 patients who suffered from a common form of kidney cancer known as renal cell carcinoma. They found that almost 72.6 percent of the white patients had a survival rate of at least five years, whereas only 68 percent of black patients survived that long. The higher survival rate of the white subjects was present in all of the subgroups of gender, age, tumor stage or size, tumor subtype and type of surgical treatment.

The researchers noted that there may be underlying factors that influence these numbers that still need to be investigated.

"We cannot rule out the possibility that other factors not measured in our study - such as obesity, high blood pressure, access to care, and genetic susceptibility - may be contributing to the persistent disparities," said Chow.

Kidney cancer symptoms and diagnosis... Full Story

Blood test can diagnose lymphedema
Date: 2012-12-19 16:43:20

A recent study published in the journal PLoS ONE found that blood tests may be effective in detecting lymphedema, a condition that involves painful swelling in the skin that results from the lymph vessels being blocked.

Before blood tests, the only way to diagnose lymphedema was with a physical inspection, which commonly yielded inaccurate results. Also, there is no drug-related treatment for the condition - only physical therapy that is usually ineffective in relieving the swelling that happens in the arms or legs. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), some of these therapeutic methods include massaging the skin, wearing compression stockings over the area that has developed lymphedema and exercise regimens.

During the study, Stanley Rockson, M.D., who is a professor of cardiovascular medicine, analyzed skin samples from 27 patients. Some of the skin samples were lymphedematous, while others had no signs of the disease. The investigators were able to point out six separate proteins that, when found together in certain ratios, indicated the presence of lymphedema. The researchers noted that the recent discovery may yield an effective treatment in the future. The presence of the proteins is also apparent before the lymphedema develops, so patients may be able to get early treatment to prevent more severe symptoms.

"These biomarkers may themselves lead us to valuable pharmaceutical targets," said Rockson.

To test the accuracy of these findings, the scientists analyzed blood from 15 healthy patients and 36 lymphedematous ones. They found that the new method of testing for the six proteins was 90-percent accurate.

Risk factors... Full Story

Study discovers genetic factors for colorectal cancer
Date: 2012-12-26 12:08:40
A recent study published in the journal Nature Genetics has found three genetic "hot spots" that may be responsible for the development of colorectal cancer, which is the third most common kind of cancer in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. The study is the first of its kind to look at other demographics than white Europeans.... Full Story

Low levels of hormone may contribute to pancreatic cancer development
Date: 2012-12-18 10:24:59
A recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that a deficiency of a fat cell hormone known as adiponectin may heighten the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Adiponectin decreases levels of inflammation and boosts the sensitivity of insulin.... Full Story

Smoking bans are beneficial for cardiac wellness
Date: 2012-10-31 12:33:46
According to MedPage Today, a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine revealed that smoking bans can help decrease the risk of cardiac-related deaths in the population.... Full Story

Doctors can approach early stage follicular lymphoma several ways
Date: 2012-08-22 14:27:15
A lab test to diagnose follicular lymphoma (FL) is the first step toward proper treatment. In the earliest stages of the disease, this traditionally means radiation therapy. However, new research from the University of Rochester Medical Center suggests that there are actually six different regimens physicians may employ, with outcomes that are roughly equal.... Full Story

Vaccine against kidney cancer may be on its way
Date: 2012-07-31 16:16:54
A team of scientists published a study suggesting that a vaccine they developed may be an effective treatment against kidney cancer. In the future, this therapy may be widely available for patients who, with the help of a lab test, find out they have this malignant disease.... Full Story

Three antioxidants may decrease pancreatic cancer risk
Date: 2012-07-24 13:32:46
Researchers from Europe discovered that selenium and vitamins C and E may help decrease the risk of pancreatic cancer. These findings may be relevant to individuals who take a lab test to determine whether they are likely to develop the malignant disease.... Full Story

People with psychiatric illnesses may be prone to cancer
Date: 2012-07-20 13:49:11
Researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine discovered that individuals who have serious psychiatric illnesses may be more likely to develop cancer than people in the general population. These findings suggest that patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder may benefit from a lab test for cancer markers.... Full Story

RA patients have adequate rates of cancer testing
Date: 2012-07-11 15:43:27
Despite the fact that patients with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to develop various forms of cancer and die from the disease than the general public, some evidence has suggested that they are less likely to receive lab testing for tumors. However, new research indicates that this is not the case.... Full Story

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