Posts tagged ‘cancer’


Surviving cancer: What do I do now? (w/PODCAST)

August 10, 2015 | by
life after cancer

Elizabeth Lynn Meyering is an assistant clinical professor in the in the Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research at City of Hope’s Simi Valley location.

Cancer affects not just the cancer patient, but everyone around him or her, even after treatment is complete.

The challenges can include the fear of cancer recurrence, coping with cancer’s economic impact and the struggle to achieve work-life balance post-treatment. Family members and loved ones of cancer patients often share these challenges, especially the fear of cancer recurrence.

That’s why City of Hope developed the Center for Cancer Survivorship – a long-term follow-up program designed to create a bridge between cancer treatment and community medical care.

Here, Elizabeth Lynn Meyering, M.D., discusses the next steps in surviving cancer, explaining what cancer survivors can do to promote a healthy lifestyle at home and meet their need for follow-up care and treatment. She also explains what families can do to help everyone through these tough times.

 

 

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For other interviews with City of Hope experts,  go to our list of City of Hope podcasts.

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Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion at City of Hope by visiting our website or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673). You may also request a new patient appointment online. City of Hope staff will explain what’s required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.


The link between obesity and cancer risk (w/PODCAST)

July 27, 2015 | by
obesity and cancer

Misagh Karimi specializes in hematology-oncology at City of Hope ǀ Corona.

Many Americans understand that obesity is tied to heart disease and diabetes but, according to a new survey, too few – only 7 percent – know that obesity increases the risk of cancer.

Specific biological characteristics can increase cancer risk in obese people, and multiple studies have shown correlations between obesity and cancer recurrence, such as with breast, colon, esophageal and other cancers.

Here, medical oncologist Misagh Karimi, M.D., discusses  the connection between obesity and cancer.

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For other interviews with City of Hope experts,  go to our list of City of Hope podcasts.

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Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion at City of Hope by visiting our website or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673). You may also request a new patient appointment online. City of Hope staff will explain what’s required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.


Cancer Insights: The myth of closure – by Stephen J. Forman

July 22, 2015 | by
Stephen J. Forman

Stephen J. Forman, the Francis & Kathleen McNamara Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, reflects on loss and the “myth” of closure.

There are few among us who have not experienced loss of a friend or loved one, often without warning, or like those of us who care for people with cancer, after a lingering illness. It is a time when emotions run high and deep, and as time passes from the moment of loss, we often hear how important it is for those who have most directly experienced the void to gain closure in order to move on with their own lives. We seek that closure as a way of tidying up, fearing that the memory of that person or a well-meaning comment may provoke unintended pain or undo what time is said to heal. The reality is, closure is a myth.

My personal and professional experience with those who have lost family and friends, including children, has taught me that going on with life is not the same as gaining closure. The wound of loss is indelible and a part of each person’s life forever, punctuated by many moments of recollection. It is sometimes predictably provoked by a date on the calendar and, less predictably, by a sight, sound, aroma, melody or a place that evokes an immediate awareness of that person, long after their physical presence in our lives has ceased. We continue to think about those dear to us, perhaps not every day, nor with the same intensity, but our lives are populated by those whom we know and, sometimes more profoundly, by those whom we remember. The experience of these personal moments, seemingly forever paused in time, can cause us to feel alone, even while in the presence of others. This aloneness is heightened by a false expectation that these experiences should, and will, at some point be over. » Continue Reading


In music therapy, healing is more than physical

July 11, 2015 | by

The transplant patient had been hospitalized for a couple of months. A professional violinist, he hadn’t touched his instrument for too long, ever since chemotherapy had caused his skin to peel and his fingers to go numb; they were too sensitive even to touch the metal strings, much less make them sing.

music and cancer

Music has power, not just in terms of emotion but also in terms of healing power. City of Hope tailors music therapy to the individual.

He had no interest in music. He was depressed.

Kimberly Bradstreet, a board-certified music therapist at City of Hope, knew she had to reach this patient on a different level from other cancer patients she treated at City of Hope. They’re all at different points in their treatment, and respond differently to their circumstances, she knew, but as cancer patients, they have in common challenging physical side effects and, often, fragile emotions. Science has shown that both can be ameliorated through music therapy.

With a bachelor’s degree in music therapy and a master’s in music education, Bradstreet is well-equipped to help cancer patients. She surveys them about what music they like and the kind of relief they seek: Do they need to manage their pain? Are they unable to relax, and to sleep? Are they having difficulty concentrating? » Continue Reading


National Cancer Survivors Day: Celebrate the courage of patients and families

June 3, 2015 | by


June is a month of benchmark celebrations: People graduate. People get married. People celebrate their survival of cancer.

The first Sunday of the month (June 7 this year) is National Cancer Survivors Day, but City of Hope recognizes that a single day is insufficient to help people understand something as complicated as this disease. So City of Hope’s Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center and the Department of Supportive Care Medicine have planned a full week of events from June 8 to 12 to celebrate the courage of patients, families and caregivers, and to promote their well-being before, during and after treatment.

National Cancer Survivors Day

In 2014, there were about 14 million cancer survivors. By 2024, according to the American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates, that population will reach nearly 19 million, an increase of nearly one-third in only a decade.

A cancer survivor is anyone who has been diagnosed with the disease. It doesn’t matter if your tumor was found yesterday or your most recent chemotherapy treatment was during the Clinton administration.

The American Cancer Society identifies at least three distinct phases: the time from diagnosis to the end of initial treatment, the transition from treatment to extended survival and long-term survival. Practically speaking, however, a “survivor” often means someone who has finished active treatment.

In 2014, there were about 14 million cancer survivors. By 2024, according to the American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates, that population will reach nearly 19 million, an increase of nearly one-third in only a decade. » Continue Reading


ASCO 2015: Drug combination promising for some lung cancer patients

May 29, 2015 | by

Lung cancer patients in need of improved treatment options may soon get good news, with a new combination therapy showing promise where other treatments have failed.

lung cancer

City of Hope researchers share findings on a promising combination treatment for lung cancer.

Karen Reckamp, M.D., M.S., co-director of the Lung Cancer and Thoracic Oncology Program at City of Hope, will be among the researchers presenting data this week on a combination of the drugs cabozantinib and erlotinib. They’ll be discussing their study at the American Society for Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago.

Although lung cancer treatments have improved overall with the introduction of tyrosine kinase inhibitors, some patients develop resistance to the drugs. The common culprit is the resistance mutation known as T790M. Often, patients without that mutation also become resistant to the treatment.

That leaves patients without use of one of the primary type of drugs used to treat their disease.

“Lung cancer patients with these mutations have an unmet need, and they don’t have significant options right now,” Reckamp said. » Continue Reading


Researchers hunt cancer’s origins within the tumor microenvironment

May 21, 2015 | by

Cancer may not be the disease many people think it is.

cancer and the microenvironment

Cancer may not be a disease of proliferation so much as a product of its own microenvironment, leading researchers say.

Normally, cancer is considered to be a disease in which cells multiply at an extremely high, and unusual, rate – increasing the likelihood of genetic mutations. But increasingly, leading researchers at City of Hope and elsewhere are contending that cancer is, in large part, a disease of cell movement and so-called seeding.

If you’re looking for a culprit, they say, look to cancer cells’ microenvironment. That environment – with its fostering of cell accumulation and growth – likely encourages tumors to form. By looking at cancer in this revolutionary way, they hope to develop new and better treatments for a disease that continues to take far too high a toll.

On Thursday, May 21, Larry Norton, M.D., deputy physician-in-chief of breast cancer programs at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, shared his perspective on the topic. » Continue Reading


Melanoma: The ABCDE guide to potentially cancerous moles

May 1, 2015 | by

To detect melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, at its earliest, most treatable stage, conduct a head-to-toe skin self-examination once a month to check for suspicious moles.

 

ABCDE Guide for Skin Cancer Self-exam for cancerous moles

Unusual, or atypical, moles can ultimately develop into skin cancer. Here is the ABCDE guide to potentially cancerous moles:

A = Asymmetry
The two halves of the mole do not match when you draw a line through the middle.

B = Border
The mole has an uneven border.

C = Color
The mole has multiple shades of tan, brown or black or has unusual colors such as red, purple or blue.

D = Diameter
The mole is larger than 6mm in diameter (or the size of a pencil eraser).

E = Evolution
The mole has changed in size, shape or color over time.

If you have a suspicious mole, contact your primary care doctor or a dermatologist for further evaluation. For more information about melanoma and other types of skin cancer, visit www.cityofhope.org/skin-cancer.

Sources: American Cancer Society and Skin Cancer Foundation

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Feel free to reproduce our skin cancer infographic for health and education purposes. Download the PDF.

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Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion by visiting our website or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673). You may also request a new patient appointment online. City of Hope staff will explain what’s required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.


Fear, laughter … One couple’s advice on facing a terminal diagnosis

April 27, 2015 | by

When Keith McKinny, 29, was first diagnosed with lymphoma and leukemia in 2010, the first person he thought of was former boyfriend Jason Mullins.

couple facing cancer

Lymphoma patient Keith McKinny and his husband share some advice on how to cope when one partner is diagnosed with cancer.

The two hadn’t been in contact with each other for some time, but McKinny couldn’t think of anyone else with whom he wanted to be during that difficult period. He knew he had to find Mullins.

That proved more challenging than McKinny had imagined. Even with the help of the Internet and social media networking sites, McKinny wasn’t able to locate and communicate with his former boyfriend.

There was little left for McKinny to do but continue with his treatment on his own, as best he could. After his doctors in Hemet, California, told him there was nothing else they could do for him, he was transferred to City of Hope. At that time, his prognosis suggested he had but two months to live. Fortunately, because of City of Hope, that prognosis proved to be too grim.

In March 2011, McKinny had a stem cell transplant at City of Hope, which gave him more time with his family and friends, not to mention additional time to find Mullins. Finally, in 2013, three years after his diagnosis, McKinny located Mullins. They connected. The two have been inseparable ever since. » Continue Reading


To fight cancer, these researchers go where the action is – the nucleus

April 22, 2015 | by
molecular oncology

Molecular oncology researchers explore a cancer cell’s nucleus for new ways to fight tumors.

Investigators working at City of Hope are making many significant inroads against many forms of cancer. To do that, they have to take a variety of approaches.

Molecular oncology researchers focus on abnormal cancer-associated activity in a cell’s nucleus. One especially prominent factor in many breast and ovarian cancers is the BRCA1 tumor suppressor. When BRCA1 activity is compromised, cells cannot properly repair breaks in chromosomal DNA, which encourages the accumulation of even more cancer-causing mutations. In short, this increases a woman’s risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

In one study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Jeremy Stark, Ph.D., associate professor of the Department of Radiation Biology, reported that biologically speaking, two wrongs can make a right. Stark inactivated factors in a signaling pathway called 53BP1/RNF168 and found that intervention blocked lethal failure in DNA repair caused by mutations in the BRCA1 gene. » Continue Reading