Friday Cancer News

Cooking Up Some News

Cooking Up Some News

Well, here I am experimenting with the blog again.  Friday seems to be a day when radio and tv shows feature a round-up of the week’s news events.  So I thought I might try posting a smattering of the more interesting cancer news on Fridays.  See what you think…

Also, due to some suggestions I received from readers, I went ahead and signed up for Facebook and My Space. I am not sure what I am supposed to do now.  But if anyone out there wants to be my “friend”, let me know through the blog or either social networking site.  Have a great weekend.  Dennis

~ Zapping away abnormal, precancerous cells in the throat may lower the risk of later developing esophageal cancer, the first major study to test this technique finds.

In a study of 127 people suffering from a heartburn-related problem known as Barrett’s esophagus, only about 1 percent who had a procedure that uses heat to burn off precancerous spots went on to develop cancer over the next year. That’s compared with more than 9 percent of those who got a fake treatment in which no cells were destroyed.

Barrett’s esophagus occurs when stomach acid backs up into the throat, causing the normal lining to be replaced by abnormal growth. Barrett’s sufferers are 30 times more likely than others to develop esophageal cancer, one of the deadliest forms of the disease.

~ Women worry about a lot — their children, relationships, jobs, health, hair and so on. But new research out of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York has found that some women are worrying about something rather unexpected: prostate cancer.

The wives and partners of men with prostate cancer actually worry more about the cancer’s recurrence than the men themselves, according to a study presented at a recent meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in Montreal.

The study, which focused on 96 men and their long-term spouses or girlfriends, found that at the time of prostate cancer diagnosis, male patients described themselves as “moderately worried” about the chance of their disease recurring, while female spouses and partners described themselves as “very much” worried.

~ The U.S. cancer death rate fell again in 2006, a new analysis shows, continuing a slow downward trend that experts attribute to declines in smoking, earlier detection and better treatment.

About 560,000 people died of cancer that year, according to an American Cancer Society report released Wednesday. The new numbers show the death rate fell by less than 2 percent, but since that decline was better than the previous year, the cancer society applauded the progress.

~ When a cancer patient from Singapore traveled to the United States last year, he discovered an unusual side effect of his medication: missing fingerprints.

The 62-year-old man was taking capecitabine, or Xeloda, to treat head and neck cancer. Upon arriving in the U.S., immigration officials asked him for his fingerprints. But the drug had caused so much redness and peeling to his fingers that the patient, identified only as Mr. S., had none.

Customs officials held Mr. S. for four hours before deciding he was not a security threat, according to the case published Wednesday in a letter to the Annals of Oncology journal.

~ People with Down syndrome rarely get most kinds of cancer and U.S. researchers have nailed down one reason why — they have extra copies of a gene that helps keep tumors from feeding themselves.

The findings could lead to new treatments for cancer, the researchers reported in the journal Nature on Wednesday, and further study of Down patients might reveal more ways to fight tumors.

The researchers at Harvard University and elsewhere made use of a new kind of embryonic-like stem cell called an induced pluripotent stem cell or iPS cell. These cells, made from ordinary skin, can be transformed to act like powerful stem cells, the body’s master cells.

~ Genetically engineered stem cells from bone marrow showed promise as a potential new way to deliver a cancer-killing protein to tumors, British researchers said on Tuesday.

Experiments in cell cultures and in mice showed the adult stem cells — a type known as mesenchymal stem cells — could home in on cancer cells and deliver a lethal protein that attacked only the cancer while sparing normal healthy tissue.

~ Ginger, long used as a folk remedy for soothing tummyaches, helped tame one of the most dreaded side effects of cancer treatment — nausea from chemotherapy, the first large study to test the herb for this has found.

People who started taking ginger capsules several days before a chemo infusion had fewer and less severe bouts of nausea afterward than others who were given dummy capsules, the federally funded study found.

~ Three genes in mice may help explain how breast cancer cells overcome a natural barrier to get into the brain, scientists said on Wednesday.

Two of the genes, COX2 and HB-EGF, have already been found to help cancer spread to the lungs, the team reported in the journal Nature.

The third — ST6GALNAC5 — appears to make the outer coat of cancer cells sticky, allowing them to linger in tiny blood vessels in the brain long enough to seep through and enter brain tissue.

~ New research points to a dramatic increase in the number of women diagnosed with the earliest stage of breast cancer in one breast who choose to have both breasts surgically removed.

The rate of so-called “contralateral prophylactic mastectomy” surgery among U.S. women with early breast cancer called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) increased by 188 percent between 1998 and 2005, Dr. Todd Tuttle, from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and colleagues found.

Exactly why more and more women are opting for this treatment, however, is unclear.

~ Eating red meat may increase a person’s risk of developing the most common type of kidney cancer, while eating vegetables may provide a protective effect, new research in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association shows.

Principal investigator Dr. Nabih R. Asal of the University of Florida, Gainesville and associates also found that people who ate lots of white bread and white potatoes were at greater risk of the disease than their peers who ate these foods less frequently. The relationship was particularly strong among women.

In an interview with Reuters Health, co-author Suzanne Dolwick Grieb said it’s possible these foods could boost cancer risk because of their high glycemic index. Glycemic index indicates how quickly blood glucose rises after eating a particular food. “Foods that have a high glycemic index are known to affect insulin resistance and also insulin-like growth factors,” Grieb noted. “Those two things have been implicated in other cancers.”

~ Hormone replacement therapy may raise a woman’s risk of breast cancer and heart disease but it lowers her risk of colon cancer, according to two studies released on Wednesday.

The studies presented at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research further complicate the debate about HRT, used to relieve the effects of menopause including hot flashes and insomnia.

Millions of women stopped taking HRT when a Women’s Health Initiative study showed in 2002 that the hormones raised the risk of stroke, heart disease and breast cancer.


About Dennis Pyritz

Dennis W. Pyritz, RN, BA, BSN, has been a cancer nurse since 1987 and a cancer and bone marrow transplant survivor since 2004. In December 2001 he was diagnosed with t-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL), a rare aggressive form of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Dennis was treated with the then new monoclonal antibody, alemtuzumab (Campath) as this disease has a median survival of 7.5 months. He achieved a 26 month remission but relapsed in February 2004. He was retreated with Campath and went into a second remission. In August 2004 he underwent an allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplant with his brother, Mark, as donor. Dennis has remained in remission since - a near miracle. Throughout his career as cancer nurse and patient, Dennis has had the opportunity to speal to both lay and professional groups. Dennis has spoken on cancer topics and survival issues across the country as well as in the United Kingdom, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Trinidad, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Cyrpus, Israel, and India.

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