Articles on Cancer

Cancer is a class of diseases in which a group of cells grow uncontrollably, invade and destroy adjacent tissues and sometimes spread to other locations in the body via lymph or blood (metastasize).  These three malignant properties differentiate them from benign tumors, which are self-limited, and do not invade or metastasize.  Most cancers form a tumor but some, like leukemia, do not.

Cancer can be the result of DNA mutations, exposure to carcinogens or radiation, viral infections, hormonal imbalances, immune system dysfunction or a hereditary predisposition to certain syndromes.
 

12/01/2011 - Articles
05/20/2010 - Articles

More education needed on sun tanning

Sun tanning, whether by natural exposure to sunlight or by visiting a tanning salon, is a major risk factor in developing skin cancer. Yet a new survey for the American Academy of Dermatology reveals that sun tanning is still viewed positively – even though people are also concerned about skin cancer. Read more

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05/20/2010 - Articles

Sun exposure from driving risks skin cancer

The American Cancer Society reports that there are more than one million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosed every year in the United States. Most of these are related to sun exposure. There are also nearly 12,000 deaths arising from melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, every year. Again, sun exposure is a major risk factor. Read more

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05/20/2010 - Articles

Cancer risk for kidney transplant recipients is independent of immunosuppressant

Kidney transplant can be a lifesaving operation but it is not without long-term health risks.  In particular, those who have had a kidney transplant are more likely to develop cancer in the years after their operation.  The increased risk of cancer after a kidney transplant has been linked to the need to take immunosuppressant medication.  These drugs, as the name suggests, suppress immunity which therefore prevents rejection of the new kidney.  But the immune system plays an important role in protecting the body against cancer.  If it is suppressed then cancer is more likely. Read more

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05/20/2010 - Articles

Dangers of smoking during radiotherapy for head and neck cancer

It may seem obvious that continuing to smoke while been treated for head and neck cancer is a bad thing. However, smoking is a major risk factor for head and neck cancer and it may be that many patients who develop the disease are truly addicted to smoking and may find it hard to quit. They may also find smoking a comfort and believe that it is too late to quit now they already have head and neck cancer. Allen Chen, a radiation oncology expert at UC Davis Cancer Center, has now come up with some interesting new research that might persuade patients with head and neck cancer reconsider their position on smoking. Chen and his team reviewed the medical records of 101 patients with head and neck cancer who did not quit smoking prior to starting radiation therapy. This group compared them with a similar group of patients who did quit. They found that 55% of those who quit were still alive five years later, compared to just 23% of those who did not quit. Similarly, 53 of the smokers had recurrences of head and neck cancer compared to just 40 in the control group. Smokers also experienced more complications during radiotherapy, like scarring, hoarseness and difficulty with feeding.   Read more

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05/12/2010 - Articles

Test for liver cancer on the way

Liver cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the world. People infected with hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus, or those who have damaged their livers with alcohol, are most at risk of liver cancer. Because there is no reliable screening test, cases of liver cancer are often not diagnosed till well advanced, which makes for a high mortality rate. Those at risk are often tested for a protein called alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) but this can give rise to false positives (diagnosing liver cancer in those who do not actually have the disease). Read more

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05/05/2010 - Articles

Study finds no impact from breast screening

Breast screening by mammography has been introduced into many countries over recent years. Breast screening is a big investment and so we need evidence that it provides real value for healthcare money – in terms of reduced mortality from breast cancer. You might expect that catching cancers early through breast screening is sure to reduce mortality, because women can be treated for their disease much earlier. For mammography picks up tiny tumors long before a woman could detect a problem herself. Read more

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04/29/2010 - Articles

Omega-3 fatty acid may prevent colon cancer

Previous research has suggested that an omega-3 fatty acid called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) can help reduce the number of polyps in a condition preceding bowel cancer. Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is an inherited condition in which many hundreds, or even thousands, of polyps grow in the colon and may become cancerous. People with FAP need ongoing monitoring and could benefit from some form of chemopreventive therapy which, till now, has consisted of aspirin-like drugs, such as celecoxib. Now researchers at St James University Hospital, Leeds, UK, show that omega-3 fatty acid EPA can also work in a human clinical trial involving FAP patients. Read more

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04/16/2010 - Articles

Prostate cancer screening - yes or no?

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in men. It is curable if detected early, which is why the issue of prostate cancer screening ought to be on every man’s health agenda. However, there has been considerable debate over who should be screened for prostate cancer, and how often. Dr Edward Partridge, president-elect of the American Cancer Society (ACS) and also Director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center now discusses the new ACS guidelines on prostate cancer screening. Read more

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04/06/2010 - Articles

Genetic profile improves non-small cell lung cancer survival

There is an increasing research and clinical interest in the influence of genetics on a patient’s prognosis in cancer, including non-small cell lung cancer. The five year overall survival rate in lung cancer is only 15% and it is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. There were around 159,000 lung cancer deaths in the US in 2009 and more than 219,000 new cases of the disease. Around half of the cases of lung cancer occur among women and 30-40% are among patients over 70 years. Most of these cases are non-small cell lung cancer. Read more

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