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Cancer

News Scan

This week in the news we were reminded again of body wisdom — the body is resilient and is designed to move you toward health. Read on: Biologics for Psoriasis and Arthritis The new drugs for psoriasis and arthritis are highly effective but come with significant risks. Biologics to treat…

Many Cancer Patients Use Complementary Therapies, But Their Docs Don’t Know

While about one-third of cancer patients use some type of complementary therapy, such as supplements, yoga or meditation, many don’t disclose this to their doctors – and that can be problematic, say researchers. Some of the concern is that supplements may contain other ingredients not listed on their labels that…

Why Taking Herbal Supplements During Cancer Treatment Can Be Dangerous

When a patient with breast cancer had more than the usual amount of toxic effects from the chemotherapy regimen she was on, Hardeep Phull, MD, an oncologist with the Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group in San Diego, was puzzled. “It’s normal to have some side effects, but she was extremely tired,…

Can Bisphosphonates Stop Breast Cancer from Spreading to Bones?

In 2016, at the age of 44, Susan Leonard was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. For the last two years, Leonard has gone through a gauntlet of numerous treatments to keep her cancer from returning, including a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, two types of hormone therapy and surgery to remove…

Relying Too Much on Complementary Therapies Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Complementary therapies should be just that: a complement, not a substitute, for proven treatments. Don’t rely on them alone. Complementary and alternative therapies are touted for many different types of conditions and diseases. Many people choose them believing that they can be as — or even more — effective than…

Frequent Follow-Up Testing for Colorectal Cancer Unnecessary

Frequent follow-up testing did not improve the survival rate among patients with stage II or III colorectal cancer (CRC), according to a new study published in JAMA. Researchers assessed the effect of more or less frequent follow-up testing after treatment or surgery for CRC. The trial, which was conducted at…

The New Prescription for Cancer: Exercise

Australian oncologists are suggesting that exercise should be prescribed to all cancer patients as a standard part of care, according to a position statementfrom the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA). The oncology group maintains that exercise should be “viewed as an adjunct therapy that helps counteract the adverse [physical…

Weird Side Effects of Cancer Immunotherapy Cause Confusion

In late fall 2015, Norma Leigh Perry, a teacher in Tunica, Miss., had been on a combination of new cancer drugs for recurrent melanoma for months without a problem. Compared to previous drugs she had taken throughout her treatment, which dated back more than 2 decades, these new drugs, a…

Multiple Myeloma Medicine Linked to CVD

Carfilzomib, which is used to treat multiple myeloma, has been found to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). In order to assess the connection between carfilzomib and cardiovascular adverse events (CVAE), researchers from the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania reviewed 24 clinical trials that included 2,594…

No Clear Evidence That Most New Cancer Drugs Extend or Improve Life

Most new drugs approved for cancer in Europe lack clear evidence of extended survival or improved quality of life for patients, according to a new study published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The research team from King’s College London and the London School of Economics examined reports on cancer…

FDA Warns of Risk of Using Cancer Drug for Unapproved Indication

The FDA is reminding both patients and doctors that the cancer drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab) is not approved for use in multiple myeloma after an unusual number of deaths in clinical trials investigating Keytruda in combination with 2 other therapies for the blood cancer. Two trials examining Keytruda in combination with…

Do Alternative Treatments for Cancer Work? This Study Says No

Treatments for cancer — including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery and hormone therapy — all have serious side effects, so some people opt to try alternative therapies that claim to fight cancer. But do these alternative therapies really work? In short: No. They don’t. Dr. Skyler Johnson, a physician at the Radiation…

Cancer Immunotherapy: What You Need to Know

Donna Fernandez didn’t know what to expect when she agreed to participate in an immunotherapy clinical trial. “It never occurred to me that I might benefit,” said Fernandez, a Texas resident with Stage IV lung cancer that had progressed despite chemotherapy. “I thought I was going to help future generations.”…

Side Effect Reporting Tool Helps Patients on Chemo Live Longer

Giving patients with cancer the ability to report side effects from chemotherapy right away using an online reporting tool helps them live longer. Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City randomized 766 patients undergoing chemotherapy for solid tumors to receive either standard care or standard care…

When Touted Cancer Drugs Don’t Work

Not all prescription drugs are created equal. Some work better than others. Some are riskier than others. Some probably shouldn’t even be on the market. And, of course, some are way more expensive than others. In the world of medicines to treat cancer, these statements have special resonance. Few areas…

Are New Cancer Drugs Really Medical Miracles?

The healing power of immunotherapy can have deadly side effects. We live in an age of miracles. New drugs reach the market with mind-dulling frequency. Diseases and conditions that used to kill can now be cured or managed as a chronic disease. Hepatitis C and AIDS are good examples. Because…

Is the Efficacy of Cancer Drugs Overstated?

The people chosen for clinical trials of cancer drugs are often not indicative of “real world” cancer patients, meaning some oncology medications that are currently on the market may exaggerate their efficacy. That’s the argument from 2 oncologists, Sham Mailankody, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Vinay Prasad, MD,…

Some Cancer Drugs May Boost Arthritis Risk

A class of cancer immunotherapy drugs may increase the risk of developing joint and tissue diseases, such as arthritis. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicinein Baltimore  have discussed 13 case reports of patients who were taking Yervoy (ipilimumab) and/or Opdivo (nivolumab) between 2012 and this year and…

Many Cancer Drugs Approved Without Proven Significant Benefit

Many of the new cancer drugs approved by the FDA may not extend a person’s life, and all because the agency allows the approval of such medications using standards that may not accurately measure a patient’s ability to live longer. An analysis, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, calls into question…

Weighing the Benefits and Risks of New Bladder Cancer Drug

The FDA just granted approval to a new biologic medication to treat bladder cancer, Tecentriq (atezolizumab). While Tecentriq is certain to help many people with this type of cancer, it is important to note the side effects associated with the drug, as well as the fact no studies or data…

Implantable Device May Minimize Chemotherapy Side Effects

An implantable device that directly delivers chemotherapy right to the site of tumors may more effectively treat pancreatic cancer with far fewer side effects. Most forms of chemotherapy today are given via intravenous injection, meaning the drug must travel through much of the body before it reaches the site of…

Spying on Cancer

Some cancers are aggressive and fast-growing, requiring equally aggressive treatment. Most cancer deaths are caused by cancer that’s metastasized, or spread from the original location to enter the bloodstream and pop up in other, cancer friendly locations. Others are what H. Gilbert Welch calls “turtles”: slow moving and maybe not…

Innovations in Lung Cancer Treatments

Lung cancer is one of the toughest cancers to treat — and with tough treatment come some truly debilitating side effects, such as nerve damage, loss of appetite, severe nausea and vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, hair loss and mouth sores. That’s because typical lung cancer treatment is a bombardment with…

Statins Do Not Protect Against Cancer: Quite the Opposite

In a cohort study of statin-treated patients and nontreated controls, Cardwell et al concluded that statin treatment may prevent colon cancer. However, a recent study showed that 10 years of statin therapy increased women’s risk of invasive ductal carcinoma (most common type of breast cancer) by 83% and their risk…

Diabetes Drug May Not Guard Against Pancreatic Cancer

A new study finds the diabetes drug metformin doesn’t help patients with a type of pancreatic cancer, as evidence formerly suggested. Researchers examined the medical records of 1,360 patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, some of whom took metformin. The median number of survival days for those who didn’t take the…

Radiation Damage — What a Surprise

My father’s grandfather, Francis Colgate Benson, was a pioneer in the treatment of cancer with radiation. He became a surgeon before the turn of the (last) century. By the end of WWI he became fascinated with the new field of radiology and worked on curing cancer with radiation. He died…

Cancer Diagnosis Affects Adherence to Diabetes Drugs

A new study suggest that drop-offs in compliance with diabetes medication might negatively affect survival and could therefore partly explain the established higher cancer mortality seen among diabetes patients with worse glycemic control, according to the Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organization. Via Medscape Medical News. Posted January 29, 2015. –Alanna McCatty

Cancer Resources

Following is a list of major cancer information organizations. National Cancer Institute Part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is one of the 11 agencies that compose the Department of Health and Human Services. It is the Federal Government’s principal agency for cancer research and traininig. National Comprehensive…