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   

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Aspirin can help prevent colon cancer, however many patients do not take it

Despite the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommending that "health care providers prescribe low-dose aspirin with advance (colon) polyps", a recent study conducted at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine in Boca Raton found that only 43% of patients actually took aspirin.  According to study co-author Dr. Lawrence Fiedler, 90% of colon cancer patients are 50 years of age or older, with lifestyle changes and risk factors similar to heart attacks, stroke, obesity, and physical inactivity.

To read more about this study, click here

Friday, 8 February 2019

Curbing immune checkpoint protein production slows liver cancer in mice

In a NCI-funded study, Researchers have found an unconventional way to unleash the immune system against liver cancer in mice. Rather than directly blocking the activity of an immune checkpoint protein that shields tumors from the immune system, the researchers used an investigational drug to curb production of the protein.

To read more about this study, click here.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

World Health Organization: action for protection against cervical cancer

On World Cancer Day, WHO/Europe aims to raise awareness that timely vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) in combination with regular screening for cervical cancer is the best way to protect girls’ futures from this tragic disease.

To read more, click here.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Developing better methods for managing cancer pain

The increased prevalence of cancer pain and the impact of the opioid epidemic on cancer pain management—and on managing chronic pain in general—have sparked renewed interest in developing new, nonaddictive pain medications as well as nondrug approaches for managing chronic pain. Thanks in part to the development of animal models of some types of cancer pain, researchers are beginning to better understand its underlying biology. In particular, scientists are identifying molecules that generate pain signals and gaining insights into how the nervous system transmits these signals from the pain site to the brain, where pain is perceived.

To read more on this topic, click here.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

cancer diagnosis may quadruple suicide risk

A new study conducted at the Penn State Cancer Institute has found a significant correlation between cancer diagnosis and risk of committing suicide.  According to radiation oncologist Dr. Nicholas Zaorsky, "even though cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, most cancer patients do not die from cancer; the patients usually die of another cause."  Of these multiple other causes, distress and depression, potentially leading to suicide occurs 4 times more often than in the general population.  These findings stress the importance of screening cancer patients for forms of mental distress. 

To read more about this study, click here.

Source mentioned: Zaorsky NG, Zhang Y, Tuanquin L, Bluethmann S, Park HS, Chinchilli VM. Suicide among cancer patients. Nat Commun. 2019; 10(1): 207.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Regular exercise before and after cancer diagnosis increases lifespan

A new study conducted at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Buffalo, N.Y. has shown that regular exercise both before and after a cancer diagnosis "significantly improves odds of survival."  The study conducted on 5,800 patients with a wide range of cancers in all stages who exercised 3-4 times/week before and after cancer diagnosis had a 40% lower death rate than those patients that were inactive.  However, study author Rikki Cannioto stated that even those patients who never exercised prior to cancer diagnosis still reduced their death rate by 25%-28%, provided they began an exercise regimen once they were afflicted with cancer.

To read more about this study, click here.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Cancer mortality rates have declined continuously for the past 25 years

Cancer death rates in the United States have continuously declined between 1991 and 2016, there has been a 27% drop overall which translates to approximately 2.6 million fewer cancer deaths. The article appears early online in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, and is accompanied by a consumer version, Cancer Facts & Figures 2019.

To ready more about this study, click here.

Monday, 7 January 2019

A study tracked cancer patients using crowdfunding to pay for homeopathy

Health policy researchers from Simon Fraser University (SFU) and University of Alberta conducted a study to find out how often cancer patients or their supporters turned to crowdfunding platforms to raise money for complementary treatment. The analysis was published in The Lancet, identified 220 active fundraising campaigns in June 2018.

To read more about this study, click here.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Testicular cancer greater threat to young men

Although testicular cancer is quite rare (an estimated 9,000 cases are predicted this year in the United States), "it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in males aged 15 to 40."  According to Dr. Aditya Bagrodia, assistant professor of urology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, early diagnosis is essential, and men should be aware of conditions such as painless swelling or pea/marble-size mass in the testicle, along with a dull ache in the groin or scrotum.  Dr. Bagrodia further emphasized that "diagnosis at an early stage can mean the difference between a straightforward surgical cure and having to potentially undergo chemotherapy, radiation, and multiple surgeries", should the cancer spread to other parts of the body.

To read more, click here.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Season's Greetings & Happy Holidays - blog posts will resume in January 2019

To all our readers,

Blog postings will resume in January 2019, so that our library staff can celebrate the festive season with family.  Happy Holidays!

New chemotherapy regimen can considerably extend lifespan of pancreatic cancer patients

A new clinical trial consisting of a 4-drug chemotherapy combination has resulted in considerable extensions in lifespan for early-stage pancreatic cancer patients.  According to trial results, median survival rate of patients who were administered the new drug regimen was 4.5 years.  While authors of the trial mentioned that 75% of patients experienced more serious side-effects after taking the new experimental drug combination (compared to 53% of those on standard chemotherapy treatment), they remain cautiously optimistic that this new drug discovery is "an important step forward." 

To read more about this trial, click here.

Monday, 17 December 2018

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis may be linked to prostate cancer

A new study conducted at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago has uncovered a link between men with inflammatory bowel disease and a subsequent higher risk of developing prostate cancer.  According to lead author Dr. Shilajit Kundu, the study, conducted on over 1,000 men with inflammatory bowel disease, showed higher prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels over long-term follow-up, levels representative of a 4-5 times more likely change of being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

To read more about this study, click here.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

New Canadian breast cancer screening guideline for women aged 40-74

The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care has released a new guideline for breast cancer screening among women aged 40-74.  The fundamental difference in this latest guidelines release from the 2011 previous edition is with regards to the 40-49 age group.  The 2011 guidelines recommended against routine mammograms for women between 40-49 years old.  According to task force vice-chair Dr. Ainsley Moore, physician at McMaster University, the 2018 guidelines "are intended for an empowered position, [putting] the decision-making into the hands of the individual woman in terms of what she prioritizes." 

The complete guideline is available here.

Test helps identify thyroid nodules that don’t require surgery

Researchers in JAMA Oncology, found that a test measuring genomic changes in tissue samples taken from the thyroid can help identify which patients likely need diagnostic surgery for thyroid cancer and which do not. When a suspicious small growth or lump (called a nodule) is found in the thyroid, doctors perform a fine-needle biopsy so that the cells can be examined by a pathologist.

To read more about this study, click here.

Monday, 10 December 2018

System is broken: medical journals do not reveal doctor's ties

A recent article in the New York Times has revealed that several prominent physicians who publishing in prestigious academic medical journals, including the Journal of Clinical Oncology, "have failed in recent years to report their financial relationships with pharmaceutical and health care companies when their studies are published..."  As a result, journal editors have or are in the process of implementing changes that will clarify submission process and reduce errors. 

To read more about this review, click here.

Friday, 23 November 2018

2018 World Cancer Congress report

The World Cancer Congress has released a summary report of proceedings that took place from October 1-4, 2018 in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia.  The top 5 congress highlights consisted of networking and creating collaborations, sharing best practices, big debates, creating a global village, and meeting experts. 

To access the summary report, click here.