Cancer in the headlines, March 5



March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in the US

Information on Life after Cancer Now Available on NIHSeniorHealth.gov
Life after Cancer is the newest addition to the NIHSenior Health resource center of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIHSeniorHealth is a health and wellness site focusing on the needs of older adults. It was developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM), both part of the NIH. Life after Cancer addresses the needs of the elderly cancer survivors which make up almost 60% of all cancer survivors. Topics include follow-up care, physical and emotional changes, age-related complications, and relationships with family and friends

Researchers chart genomic map spanning over two dozen cancers
This is the largest study of its kind – mapping the genomes of 26 different cancers. The groundbreaking study started in 2004 by a group of international scientists led by researchers at Dana-Farber and the Broad Institute. The cancers studied some of the most common, e.g. lung, prostate, breast, ovarian, colon, esophageal, liver, brain, and blood cancers. Over 2,500 cancer specimens were collected and analyzed using chip technology. The analysis focused on a particular type of genetic abnormalities called somatic copy-number alterations or SCNAs present in many tumor types. According to senior author Matthew Meyerson:

“Our findings show that many genome alterations are universal across different cancers. Although this has been known for some types of changes, the degree to which so many alterations are shared was pretty surprising to us.”

Costly Tests May Not Help Detect Bladder Cancer Recurrence, M. D. Anderson Study Finds
Are these some of those costly but unreliable cancer screening tests? Cystoscopy is currently in gold standard in screening for recurrence of early-stage bladder cancer. Researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report that this is a cost-effective technique in detecting bladder tumors. However, some doctors tend to do additional tests such as testing for ancillary urinary markers. These tests, however, said the researchers, will simply increase costs without real benefits to the diagnosis. In fact, these tests could actually increase the rate of false positives that would cause distress and unnecessary procedures. According to senior research Dr. Ashish Kamat:

“The tests frequently added to cystoscopy have many more false positives than commonly believed, and they can lead to unnecessary work-ups. Our findings also may help reduce the cost of caring for bladder cancer patients, which currently in is the range of $4 billion annually.”

Online Health Chats at the Cleveland Clinic

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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