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Related terms: Carcinoma, Malignant Disease, Malignant Tumor

First 'Epigenomes' Map Highlights How Genes Spur Health, Disease

Posted 13 days ago by

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18, 2015 – In what may be a big step forward in human biology, scientists are issuing the first comprehensive map of "human epigenomes" – the range of chemical and structural shifts that determine how genes govern health. The new map is the result of years of work by an international consortium of researchers. Experts say the new data will help scientists better understand how genetic disruption affects a wide range of illnesses, including autism, heart disease and cancer. "The DNA sequence of the human genome is identical in all cells of the body, but cell types such as heart, brain or skin cells have unique characteristics and are uniquely susceptible to various diseases," researcher Joseph Costello, of the University of California, San Francisco, explained in a university news release. He said that epigenomic factors effectively "allow cells carrying the same DNA to ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Heart Disease, Autism

Cancer Patients Prefer Care That Includes Their Input

Posted 18 days ago by

THURSDAY, Feb. 12, 2015 – Cancer patients who let their doctors make all the decisions are less likely to rate their care as excellent compared to patients who participate in their medical decisions, a new study suggests. "We found that patients with lung or colorectal cancer who felt more involved in decision making about their treatments had higher perceptions of the quality of the care they received and of communication with their physicians," said study author Dr. Kenneth Kehl, an oncology fellow at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The Institute of Medicine has urged doctors to share decision making and take patient preferences into account as a way to improve the overall quality of care, the researchers noted. But whether shared decisions actually improve medical care is something this study cannot answer, Kehl said. "If, for example, we had assessed ... Read more

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Cancer Patients Rarely Request Unneeded Tests, Treatments: Study

Posted 18 days ago by

THURSDAY, Feb. 12, 2015 – Despite some doctors' claims to the contrary, cancer patients rarely request unnecessary tests or treatments, a new study finds. Researchers surveyed 34 oncologists, 11 oncology fellows and 15 nurse practitioners immediately after visits with cancer patients at three Philadelphia hospitals between October 2013 and June 2014. Only 440 of the 5,050 visits (about 9 percent) included patient requests for tests or treatments, the investigators found. Of those, health care providers complied with 365 of the clinically appropriate requests. In addition, there were 50 demands for unnecessary tests or treatments, and health care providers complied with only seven of those demands. About half of the patient requests were for medical imaging tests, nearly 14 percent were for laboratory tests and about 5 percent were for genetic tests or chemosensitivity tests, the ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Diagnosis and Investigation

Some Stroke Survivors May Face Heightened Cancer Risk, Study Shows

Posted 18 days ago by

THURSDAY, Feb. 12, 2015 – Older adults who survive a stroke may have a higher-than-average risk of developing cancer in the next few years, a new study suggests. Researchers followed nearly 3,700 ischemic stroke survivors who were started out cancer-free. Over two years follow-up, 2 percent were newly diagnosed with cancer. The researchers determined their risk of a cancer diagnosis was 40 percent higher than the norm for older U.S. adults. Experts said it's not clear why the risk was elevated. That's likely because the study wasn't designed to discover a cause. It was only designed to look for a link between these conditions. But the association may have something to do with risk factors that underlie both stroke and certain cancers, such as smoking or unhealthy eating habits. Another potential culprit is chronic, low-grade inflammation – which is believed to contribute to both heart ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Ischemic Stroke

Problems Spotted in Clinical Trials Can Go Unreported, Study Says

Posted 9 Feb 2015 by

MONDAY, Feb. 9, 2015 – Medical journals and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rarely report violations of scientific conduct that federal regulators unearth during spot inspections of clinical trials, a new analysis shows. In a study published in the Feb. 10 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, a review of FDA inspection reports between 1998 and 2013 revealed nearly 60 clinical trials in which regulators had uncovered violations serious enough to earn the agency's most severe classification – "official action indicated," or OAI, said study author Charles Seife, a professor at the Arthur L. Carter Institute of Journalism at New York University. Seventy-eight articles were published based on data from these trials. But only three of them mentioned the violations that regulators found, Seife and a team of graduate students determined. The violations included fraud, incompetence or ... Read more

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Researchers Identify 8 Signs of Impending Death

Posted 9 Feb 2015 by

MONDAY, Feb. 9, 2015 – Researchers say they have identified eight specific physical signs that strongly indicate that someone with advanced cancer is entering the last days of life. The investigators focused on telltale signs that a patient has, at most, just three days to live. The hope is that this information will help family members and other caregivers better handle an impending death, as well as be more prepared for choices that may have to be made during end-of-life care. "I think the bottom line is that our study identified several classical signs that can be observed by the bedside by doctors, nurses and even family caregivers, which may help them to determine with confidence that the patient has entered the final days of life," said study lead author Dr. David Hui. He is an assistant professor in the department of palliative care and rehabilitation medicine at the University ... Read more

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Americans Confused About Cancer Risks

Posted 4 Feb 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4, 2015 – Fewer than half of Americans are aware that some major lifestyle factors can affect their cancer risk, a new survey suggests. Instead, many people worry about cancer-causing claims that aren't back by scientific evidence – such as stress or hormones in foods, according to the survey done by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). "About half of cancer deaths in the U.S. could be prevented through lifestyle choices – like not smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight," said Alice Bender, associate director of nutrition programs for the AICR. But based on the new survey, many Americans don't realize that. The survey results were released Wednesday to coincide with World Cancer Day, and experts said they highlight a troubling lack of public awareness. Among over 1,100 U.S. adults polled, only a ... Read more

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Bacteria May Help Battle Cancer, Study Suggests

Posted 1 Feb 2015 by

SATURDAY, Jan. 31, 2015 – Bacteria may offer a new way to treat cancer, a small, preliminary study suggests. Researchers injected a weakened strain of Clostridium novyi-NT bacteria spores into tumors in six patients. The bacteria grew in the tumors and killed cancer cells, the investigators reported. C. novyi-NT, which lives in soil, is a close relative of the bacteria that causes botulism. Before injecting C. novyi-NT into the patients, the researchers weakened it by removing its dangerous toxin. Five of the six patients are still alive, while one died from unrelated causes several months after receiving the bacteria injection, according to the study to be presented Saturday at the annual Symposium on Clinical Interventional Oncology in Hollywood, Fla. Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal. "When tumors reach ... Read more

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Diabetes Patients Lax With Meds If Diagnosed With Cancer, Study Finds

Posted 29 Jan 2015 by

THURSDAY, Jan. 29, 2015 – People with diabetes are less likely to take their diabetes medications if they've been diagnosed with cancer, researchers report. The new study included more than 16,000 diabetes patients, average age 68, taking drugs to lower their blood sugar. Of those patients, more than 3,200 were diagnosed with cancer. "This study revealed that the medication adherence among users of [blood sugar-lowering drugs] was influenced by cancer diagnosis," the researchers wrote. "Although the impact of cancer was more pronounced among cancers with a worse prognosis and among those with more advanced cancer stages, the difference in prognosis associated with these cancers seemed to only partly explain the impact of cancer on medication adherence," they added. To determine the impact, the Dutch and Canadian researchers analyzed the patients' medication possession ratio (MPR), ... Read more

Related support groups: Diabetes, Type 2, Cancer, Diabetes, Type 1, Diabetes Mellitus

High Levels of Cancer-Linked Chemical in E-Cigarette Vapor, Study Finds

Posted 21 Jan 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 21, 2015 – E-cigarette vapor can contain cancer-causing formaldehyde at levels up to 15 times higher than regular cigarettes, a new study finds. Researchers found that e-cigarettes operated at high voltages produce vapor with large amounts of formaldehyde-containing chemical compounds. This could pose a risk to users who increase the voltage on their e-cigarette to increase the delivery of vaporized nicotine, said study co-author James Pankow, a professor of chemistry and civil and environmental engineering at Portland State University in Oregon. "We've found there is a hidden form of formaldehyde in e-cigarette vapor that has not typically been measured. It's a chemical that contains formaldehyde in it, and that formaldehyde can be released after inhalation," Pankow said. "People shouldn't assume these e-cigarettes are completely safe." The findings appear in a letter ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Smoking

Therapy Dogs Help Cancer Patients Cope With Tough Treatments

Posted 20 Jan 2015 by

TUESDAY, Jan. 20, 2015 – People undergoing chemotherapy and radiation for cancer may get an emotional lift from man's best friend, a new study suggests. The study, of patients with head and neck cancers, is among the first to scientifically test the effects of therapy dogs – trained and certified pooches brought in to ease human anxiety, whether it's from trauma, injury or illness. To dog lovers, it may be a no-brainer that canine companions bring comfort. And therapy dogs are already a fixture in some U.S. hospitals, as well as nursing homes, social service agencies, and other settings where people are in need. Dogs offer something that even the best-intentioned human caregiver can't quite match, said Rachel McPherson, executive director of the New York City-based Good Dog Foundation. "They give unconditional love," said McPherson, whose organization trains and certifies therapy dogs ... Read more

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Cancer Survivors May Struggle for Years With Mental, Physical Problems

Posted 12 Jan 2015 by

MONDAY, Jan. 12, 2015 – Many U.S. cancer survivors have unresolved physical and mental health issues long after being cured, a new study finds. One expert wasn't surprised. "Many oncologists intuit that their patients may have unmet needs, but believe that these will diminish with time – the current study challenges that notion," said Dr. James Ferrara, chair of cancer medicine at Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai in New York City. The new study involved more than 1,500 cancer survivors who completed an American Cancer Society survey asking about unmet needs. More than one-third pointed to physical problems related to their cancer or its treatment. For example, incontinence and sexual problems were especially common among prostate cancer survivors, the report found. Cancer care often took a toll on financial health, too. About 20 percent of the survey respondents said they ... Read more

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Study Says Biopsies Are Safe

Posted 11 Jan 2015 by

FRIDAY, Jan. 9, 2015 – Cancer biopsies do not cause the disease to spread, says a new study that dispels a common myth. "This study shows that physicians and patients should feel reassured that a biopsy is very safe," said study senior investigator Dr. Michael Wallace, a gastroenterologist and professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. The study included more than 2,000 people with pancreatic cancer. Those who received a biopsy using a technique called fine needle aspiration lived longer and had better outcomes than those who did not have a biopsy. "We do millions of biopsies of cancer a year in the U.S., but one or two case studies have led to this common myth that biopsies spread cancer," Wallace said in a clinic news release. The findings in the Jan. 9 online issue of the journal Gut are likely to apply to other cancers because fine needle aspiration is used to ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Diagnosis and Investigation

Cancer Groups Urge More Regulation of E-Cigarettes

Posted 8 Jan 2015 by

THURSDAY, Jan. 8, 2015 – The potential health hazards of e-cigarettes remain unclear, and more regulation on their use is needed, say two groups representing cancer researchers and specialists. The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) together issued a list of recommendations on Thursday aimed at bringing e-cigarette regulations more in line with those of traditional cigarettes. In a news release, the two groups pointed out that e-cigarettes, which are not smoked but deliver nicotine in a aerosolized form, are not yet regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They called on the FDA to regulate all types of e-cigarette products that also meet the standard definition of tobacco products. Those that do not meet that standard should be regulated by whichever means the FDA feels appropriate, the cancer groups added. ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Smoking

Study Finds Link Between Cancer Diagnosis, Stroke Risk

Posted 8 Jan 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 7, 2015 – Newly diagnosed cancer patients are at increased risk for stroke in the months after they find out they have the disease. And the risk of stroke is higher among those with more aggressive cancer, a new study says. The findings come from an analysis of Medicare claims submitted between 2001 and 2009 by patients aged 66 and older who had been diagnosed with breast, colorectal, lung, prostate and pancreatic cancer. Compared to cancer-free seniors, those with cancer had a much higher risk of stroke. And the risk was highest in the first three months after cancer diagnosis, when the intensity of chemotherapy, radiation and other treatments is typically highest, the researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City said in a college news release. The risk of stroke was highest among patients with lung, pancreatic and colorectal cancers, which are often ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Ischemic Stroke

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