Friday, 11 October 2019

News release: Young Adult Cancer Cancer first-of-its-kind study

Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC) has released early data from their Young Adults With Cancer in their Prime (YAC Prime) study, a report discussing the "impact and intensity of issues facing young adults with cancer."  Results from a survey conducted on 622 young adults highlighted quality of life (physical, social, emotional), as well as financial hardship when faced with diagnosed with cancer.  Findings show that 49% of patients in this age group missed from 1-4 years of work, with 84% experiencing significant levels of fear of cancer recurrence.

To read more about this report, which was presented at the International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS) Symposium (September 23-26, 2019) in Banff, click here.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

New trial alert: Evaluating optimal timing of endocrine therapy and radiation therapy in early-stage breast cancer (REaCT-RETT)

The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute is presently recruiting early-stage breast cancer patients in a new trial evaluating concurrent vs. sequential endocrine therapy in conjunction with post-operative radiation therapy.  Outcomes of the phase 4 trial are endocrine toxicity, radiotherapy toxicity, rates of starting endocrine therapy and compliance, and cost-effectiveness ratios.

Click here for more information regarding this trial.  

Friday, 27 September 2019

Canadian Cancer Statistics 2019 report now available

The 2019 report on cancer statistics is now available on the Canadian Cancer Society website.  While current estimates suggest that lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancer will account for half of all cancers diagnosed this year, new figures also indicate that 63% of Canadians diagnosed with cancer will survive for at least 5 years after their diagnosis.  Further, the report shows that over the past 20 years, 5-year survival for blood cancers has increased significantly since the early 1990s.  Of particular note, the survival rate for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and leukemia has gone from 49% to 68%, 27% to 44%, and 43% to 59% respectively. 

To access the complete report, click here.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Altered diet enhances response to cancer treatment in mice

People must eat to survive. And the cells that make up the body eat too. Or more accurately, cells break down and rebuild food into the individual molecules they need to stay alive and grow. This complex network of processes is called cellular metabolism. Cancer cells can alter their metabolism to survive, so targeting cancer cell metabolism has become of great interest to researchers. Questions being asked include: Is it possible to attack a tumor’s nutritional needs as part of cancer treatment? And could this be done by tweaking a cancer patient’s diet?

To read more about this study, click here.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Global analysis finds early onset colorectal cancer now rising in many high-income countries

A new study by the American Cancer Society, found that colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence are increasing exclusively in young adults in nine high-income countries spanning three continents. Appearing in the journal Gut, the stud finds the rising rates are in contrast to stable or declining trends in older adults, suggesting that changes in early-life exposures are increasing CRC risk. In general, CRC incidence is rising in low- and middle-income countries but beginning to stabilize or decline in high-income countries, especially those that have implemented screening. However, studies of cancer registry data indicate that favorable overall trends in the United States and Canada are masking an increase in young-onset CRC.

To read more on the study, click here.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Breast cancer risk in hormone replacement therapy linked to type and length of treatment

A recent study conducted within a cancer epidemiology unit at the University of Oxford suggests a definitive link between hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and an increased risk of breast cancer.  According to professor and study co-author Gillian Reeves, women taking "HRT comprised of daily doses of estrogen and progesterone for five years, there was one additional case of breast cancer for every 50 users compared to those who had never taken it." 

To read more about this study, click here.

Study mentioned: Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer. Type and timing of menopausal hormone therapy and breast cancer risk: individual participant meta-analysis of the worldwide epidemiological evidence. Lancet. 2019 Aug. 29. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(19)31709-X. [Epub ahead of print]

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Increased risk for cardiovascular diseases in survivors of adult cancers

A recent population-based study conducted by the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink set out to "identify cohorts of survivors of the 20 most common cancers in adults who were alive 12 months after diagnosis and controls without history of cancer."  While significant improvements in treatment regimens have results in about 50% of diagnosed cancer patients surviving for 10 years or longer post-treatment, cardiotoxic treatment effects have led to an increase long-term risk for cardiovascular diseases.

To read more about this study, click here.

Source mentioned:

Strongman H, Gadd S, Matthews A, Mansfield KE, Stanway S, Lyon AR, Dos-Santos-Silva I, Smeeth L, Bhaskaran K. Medium and long-term risks of specific cardiovascular diseases in survivors of 20 adult cancers: a population-based cohort study using multiple linked UK electronic health records databases. Lancet. 2019 Aug 20. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)31674-5. [Epub ahead of print]

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Communication between cancer patients and healthcare professionals through digital media

Researchers representing the European Organization for Treatment and Research of Cancer (EORTC) have recently completed a study on the use of social media by cancer patients as a means of discussing the cancer journey with fellow peers.  According to study authors Daniel P. Oran and Eric J. Topol, "social media may be taken a step further to provide a new tool for patient-caregiver interaction that allows oncologists to learn their patients' true concerns."

To read more about this study, click here

Source mentioned: Oran DP, Topol EJ. The rise of the virtualist. Lancet 2019 Jul 6; 394(10192).

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Jeffrey the sheep helps Alberta cancer survivors find their flock

Jeffrey the sheep visited Wellspring Edmonton recently, in the midst of an art class at the cancer support centre.  Wellspring, with locations in both Edmonton and Calgary, including a new centre, the Randy O'Dell House scheduled to open in south Calgary on September 30,  offers several non-clinical, alternative programs for cancer patients, cancer survivors, and their immediate caregivers.  According to Dr. Marilyn Hundleby, Wellspring Edmonton program director, the decision to try animal therapy and thus introduce Jeffrey to the class enforces the concept that "when we laugh and when we're distracted, when we're immersed in something, we forget about our pain."

To read more about this story, click here.  Further information regarding Wellspring is available at and

Monday, 12 August 2019

New meta-analysis published on association between alcohol consumption and survival in colorectal cancer

A new meta-analysis has been recently published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention aimed at determining the association between consumption of alcohol and survival in colorectal cancer patients.  12 studies conducted amongst 32,846 colorectal cancer patients determined that "light and moderate pre-diagnostic alcohol consumption were associated with better survival in colorectal cancer."

To read more about this meta-analysis, click here.

Study mentioned: Kim Y, Je Y, Giovannucci EL. Association between alcohol consumption and survival in colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2019 Aug 9. pii: cebp.0156.2019. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-0156. [Epub ahead of print]

Thursday, 1 August 2019

New manuscript published for young adult colorectal cancer partients

Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) has published a new manuscript following a working meeting of experts specializing in the study of colon and rectal/colorectal cancers in young adults.  Entitled A summary of the Fight Colorectal Cancer working meeting: exploring risk factors and etiology of sporadic early-age onset colorectal cancer, the manuscript functions as a roadmap aimed at better understanding "the causes of early-age onset colorectal cancer, as well as the best way to approach screening and prevention."

A summary of the working meeting is available here

Monday, 22 July 2019

New trial alert: Mobile app postoperative home monitoring after enganced recovery oncologis surgery

A new trial sponsored by the Alberta Cancer Foundation and Alberta Health Services is recruiting participants in a new study seeking to determine whether the combined use of Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocols and post-surgery following up via a mobile app improves patient satisfaction  as well as reducing the number of postoperative emergency room visits, thus decreasing healthcare costs.  Study participants requests are "women having mastectomy, breast reconstruction, and gynecological oncology procedures."

To learn more about this trial, click here.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

National Cancer Institute (NCI)'s comparative oncology studies: helping dogs and humans with cancer

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is currently recruiting dogs with a cancer diagnosis in trials aimed at finding "new treatments that preserve dogs' quality of life and maximize their time with their families."  According to Dr. Roby Hecht, deputy director of NCI's Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, these trials shoe how a variety of treatments that are affective in dogs, will often show positive results in humans as well.  Dr. Hecht further explains this is because "the biology of humans and dogs, as well as the tumors that grow in each species are similar in many ways."

To read more about this NCI program, click here.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Night shift work classified as probably carcinogenic to humans

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recently unveiled results from an evaluation of cancer risk among night shift workers.  The IARC working group discovered that approximately 20% of the global population regularly work during the night, and concluded that "a number of occupational, individual, lifestyle, and environmental factors might mediate, confound, or moderate potential cancer risk."  While the Working Group cautioned that there is limited evidence suggesting night shift work is directly linked to an increase in breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer, the study does support previous findings by the IARC from 2007, where night shift work "involving circadian disruption" was seen as an issue of concern and a probable cause of increased cancer risk among this employee group.

To read more about this evaluation, click here.

Source mentioned: International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Carcinogenicity of night shift work. Lancet Oncol. 2019 Jul 4. pii: S1470-2045(19)30455-3. [Epub ahead of print]

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Urine test may indicate whether prostate cancer needs treatment

New research from the United Kingdom has unveiled a new urine test that purports being able to predict progression of prostate cancer sooner than standard methods of detection, namely the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test.    While the study results on the urine samples of the 500 men tested are promising, considering it is the "first multigene panel assessment of prostate cancer through a urine-based test", practitioners caution that further tests on larger population groups is necessary before the findings can be validated.

To read more about this study, click here.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

3-D mamograms may soon be the standard for breast cancer screening

Researchers at Yale University have recently completed an analysis of breast cancer patients receiving 3-D mammograms, also known as digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT).  From 2015-2017, DBT rose from 13% to 43%, and "evidence suggests [it] may improve cancer detection rates and reduce false positive results." 

To read more about these findings, click here.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Radiation treatment for lung cancer may increase risk of heart attack

A new study conducted at the Brigham and Woman's Hospital in Boston shows a correlation between radiation treatment for lung cancer and the risk of a heart attack or heart failure in the patient.  According to senior study author Dr. Raymond Mak, a thoracic radiation oncologist at Brigham and Woman's Hospital, radiation is considered the only viable treatment for lung cancer, however, "one in 10 patients [being treated] for this type of cancer will go on to have a heart attack or other major cardiac event." While Mak and his research team are investigating ways of lowering the radiation dosage to reduce heart complications from the radiation treatment, additional steps towards lung cancer prevention (smoking remains the number one cause) is also needed.

To read more about this study, click here.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Testicular cancer treatment unlikely to trigger birth defects

New research conducted at Lund University in Sweden indicates that young men undergoing radiation or chemotherapy treatment for testicular cancer does not pose an increased risk of fathering children with birth defects.

According to lead researcher Yahia Al-Jebari, the Swedish study, conducted on 2400 fathers between 1994-2014 showed only "a slightly raised risk to children of these fathers, but this was only very small and was not associated with treatment given."

To read more about this study, click here.

Source mentioned: Al-Jebari Y et al. Cancer therapy and risk of congenital malformations in children fathered by men treated for testicular germ-cell cancer: A nationwide register study. PLoS Med. 2019 Jun 4; 16)6): e1002816.

Friday, 31 May 2019

New treatment protocol for previously inoperative pancreatic cancer

Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital have unveiled a new treatment protocol of previously inoperative pancreatic tumours.  A trial of 49 patients with untreated locally advanced pancreatic cancer "received a combination of intensive chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as the blood pressure drug losartan."  In 30 (61%) of patients undergoing this treatment, surgery (resection) successfully "removed all evidence of cancer around the tumor."

To read more about this study, click here.

Monday, 27 May 2019

New trial alert: unresectable squamous cell carcinoma treated with Avelumab and radical radiation therapy

A new clinical trial for patients with unresectable cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cuSCC) is presently recruiting patients at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Alberta.  While Avelumab, the drug being introduced in this trial has not yet been approved for sale or widespread use by Health Canada, permission has been granted to use the drug in this clinical trial to determine rates of tumour response prior to and after treatment, as well as the rate of progression-free survival. 

To read more about this trial, click here.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Aggressive approach to pancreatic cysts may prevent pancreatic cancer

New research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine has shown that early removal of precancerous pancreatic cysts (intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms) can aid in preventing pancreatic cancer.  The study, conducted on ~900 patients showed that "those with pancreatic cysts with duct dilation between 5 mm and 9.9 mm were almost twice as likely to develop precancerous cells as people with less than 5 mmm of dilation."  These findings support 2018 European guidelines encouraging surgical removal of cysts with less than 10 mm of duct dilation.

To read more about this study, click here.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

A vaccine to treat non-hodgkin lymphoma advancing in clinical trials

The findings from a small clinical trial in Nature Medicine found that some people with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), treating a single tumor with a mix of cancer therapies can help to shrink, or eliminate, tumors in other parts of the body. The approach is called an in situ vaccine because it uses something in the body (in situ)—in this case, an individual tumor—to help create a body-wide immune response. It’s currently being tested in a small clinical trial of patients with slow-growing, or indolent, subtypes of NHL.

To read more on this clinical trial, click here.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Telephone-based rehab program helps people with advanced cancer maintain independence

An clinical trial funded by National Cancer Institute, led by Dr. Cheville, found that a 6-month physical rehabilitation program delivered by telephone helped improved function and reduced pain for people with advanced cancer. The program also reduced the time patients spent in hospitals and long-term care facilities such as nursing homes.

To read more, click here.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Artificial Intelligence (AI) for breast cancer detection

A new study conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) lends support to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to predict breast cancer risk in women.  The study, which involved more than 8,7000 mammogram images showed that the AI algorithm "placed almost one-third of women who developed breast cancer into the top 10% risk contrast, the standard model put 18% of those women in the top 10%."  According to Arkadiusz Sitek, senior scientist at IBM Watson Health in Cambridge, Mass, these findings are not meant to suggest that AI will replace human doctors; rather "AI will serve as a radiologist's assistant, helping to improve efficiency and watch out for "errors and inconsistencies"

To read more about this study, click here

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Mastectomy may increase changes of survival in stage 4 HER2-positive breast cancer patients

A new study conducted at the Breast Health Center at Loma Linda University Health, California, indicates that mastectomy may increase odds of survival in women with stage 4 HER2-positive breast cancer when compared to other treatment regimens, such as chemotherapy or hormonal therapy.  The study involved 3,200 U.S. women with stage 4 HER2-positive breast cancer who underwent 4 different kinds of therapy: chemotherapy (90%) hormonal therapy (38%), surgery (35%), and radiation (32%).  Of the 38% of women who underwent surgery (mastectomy), there was a "44% increased change of survival, assuming that most patients were also treated with systemic therapies."

To read more about this study, click here.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Hormonal therapy for prostate cancer might raise depression risk

A new study conducted at Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark, suggests that hormonal therapy can lead to increased risk of depression in prostate cancer patients.  According to study results, "men on hormone-reducing therapy after having their prostate removed were 80% more likely to develop depression than other prostate cancer patients."  This depression is attributed to side effects attributed to hormone therapy, namely incontinence or impotence.

To read more about this study, click here.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Genomics could improve treatment of pancreatic cancer

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have analyzed genomes of 3,600 pancreatic tumours worldwide in an effort to diagnose pancreatic cancer at earlier stages and thus increase odds of survival.  According to study lead author Dr. Aatur Singh, "every pancreatic cancer is different.  Developing a molecular profile of each patient's tumor could help determine best treatments." 

To read more about this study, click here.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Artificial Intelligence to improve lung cancer screening

A new study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh has introduced a type of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve lung cancer screening.  According to study co-author Panayiotis Benos, vice chairman of computational and systems biology, CT scan data from high-risk patients was entered into "a machine learning algorithm - a form of artificial intelligence" to create a model that calculates the probability of cancer."  Upon comparison of the results from the model vs. a patient's diagnosis via traditional screening methods, "the model would have spared 30% of patients with benign nodules from further, unnecessary tests, without missing a single case of cancer."

To read more about this study, click here.

Study mentioned: Raghu VK, Zhao W, Pu J, Leader JK, Wang R, Herman J, Yuan JM, Benos PV, Wilson DO. Feasibility of lung cancer prediction from low-dose CT scan and smoking factors using causal models. Thorax 2019 Mar 12. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2018-212638 [Epub ahead of print]

Monday, 4 March 2019

New fact sheet on HPV and pap testing

The National Cancer Institute has released an updated fact sheet on HPV and pap testing. It describes cervical cancer screening and information about cervical cancer screening guidelines.

To read more, click here.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

HPV may be cause of vocal cord cancers in the young

A new study conducted at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston purports that a recent increase in vocal cord cancers among the young under 30 years of age ay the result of human papilloma virus (HPV).  According to study senior author Dr. Steven Zeitels, nearly 50% of vocal cord (glottic) cancer patients diagnosed today are nonsmokers under 40 years old.  Further, while only 11 of the 241 patients studied from 2004-2018 were under 30 years old, 90% (10) had high-risk strains of HPV.  While the study does not offer definitive proof that HPV caused vocal cord cancer, Zeitels stated that "large-scale studies are now needed to determine the pace of the increase in glottic cancer among nonsmokers, the incidence of high-risk HPV in these cancers, and changes in the age and genders of those affected."

To read more about this study, click here