Posts tagged ‘cancer’
The body’s immune system is usually adept at attacking outside invaders such as bacteria and viruses. But because cancer originates from the body’s own cells, the immune system can fail to see it as foreign. As a result, the body’s most powerful ally can remain largely idle against cancer as the disease progresses. Immunotherapy in general seeks to spur the immune system to action, helping the body fight cancer. One type of immunotherapy —T cell therapy — reprograms immune cells known as T cells to recognize and destroy cancer cells.
A wave of clinical trials
Normally, T cells attack bacteria and other infectious agents. In T cell therapy, T cells are isolated from a sample of the patient’s blood, then genetically engineered to seek out and attack a specific cancer. Researchers grow millions of these engineered T cells in the laboratory. The engineered cells are reinfused into the patient, where they go to work eliminating cancer.
Stephen J. Forman, M.D., the Francis & Kathleen McNamara Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, has long pursued breakthrough treatments for hematologic cancers and blood-related disorders, and heads up City of Hope’s bone marrow transplant program. Under his direction, a wave of T cell clinical trials is underway, all of which are moving the treatment out of the lab and directly to patients. » Continue Reading
Are you thinking about switching from traditional cigarettes to e-cigarettes for the Great American Smokeout? Are you thinking that might be a better option than the traditional quit-smoking route? Think again.
For lung expert Brian Tiep, M.D., the dislike and distrust he feels for e-cigs comes down to this: The public has been burned by tobacco companies before.
The same companies that claimed cigarettes were safe, he says, now claim that electronic cigarettes – which aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration – are safe.
“I was opened-minded initially,” said Tiep, a physician in pulmonary and critical care medicine at City of Hope. “Then the tobacco companies started buying out the e-cigarette companies. These products have no regulations whatsoever right now. You’re trusting them to do the right thing by you. They claimed tobacco was safe, and it turned out not to be.”
As for tobacco cigarettes, a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association tied smoking among U.S. adults to 14 million health conditions. Further, a U.S. District Court judge who in 2006 found tobacco companies guilty of lying to the public about the dangers of smoking, ordered the companies to admit their wrongdoing. The judge ruled they defrauded the public in five key ways: lying about the health damage caused by smoking, lying about the addictive nature of nicotine, marketing “low tar” and “light” cigarettes as healthier with no evidence that they are, deliberately making their products as addictive as possible and hiding the dangers of secondhand smoke. » Continue Reading
Cancer is a couple’s disease. It affects not just the person diagnosed, but his or her partner as well. It also affects the ability of both people to communicate effectively.
The Couples Coping with Cancer Together program at City of Hope teaches couples how to communicate and solve problems as a unit. Here are some practical behavior tips from that program:
Advice for the nonpatient:
• Actively encourage the sharing of emotional concerns and fears.
• Be open to her expression of concerns as often as she needs.
• Listen to her concerns without trying to “fix,” minimize or give advice (unless asked).
• Be physically present at all medical appointments, even when not asked.
• Talk with the breast cancer patient about how the illness is impacting you. » Continue Reading
Patients faced with a cancer diagnosis have a lot to take in. It’s no surprise that many need help airing their concerns to their care teams. That’s why a City of Hope team developed SupportScreen, to enable patients to communicate their needs better.
Last week, the tablet-based app hit an important milestone, screening its 10,000th patient.
The achievement comes at an important time, as new accreditation standards go into effect in January 2015 from two important organizations charged with evaluating cancer care providers — the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The standards focus on screening for psychosocial distress, unmet needs and other psychosocial barriers to care, which SupportScreen was designed to address.
The single largest risk factor for lung cancer is smoking, and it contributes to the overwhelming majority of lung cancer cases.
That’s old news, of course. What might be news to many people is that, although smoking is a major cause of lung cancer, it’s not the only cause. In fact, a growing number of cases are occurring in patients who never smoked and who did not have significant exposure to secondhand smoke.
About 15 percent of lung cancers are diagnosed in people who do not smoke. Further, about 60 percent or more occur in nonsmokers, including people who never smoked and those who quit many years before their diagnosis.
Success in smoking education and cessation efforts means fewer smokers, but as the numbers of smokers developing lung cancer declines, scientists are recognizing how much we have to learn about the causes of this disease.
Other lung cancer risk factors: » Continue Reading
Lung cancer is a men’s health issue. It’s a women’s health issue. The truth is, anyone can get lung cancer.
Arriving on the calendar after month-long (and higher profile) awareness campaigns for prostate and breast cancers, Lung Cancer Awareness Month calls for more research, more breakthroughs, and more understanding of a disease that kills more Americans than prostate cancer and breast cancer combined.
Through breakthroughs in screening and diagnosis, targeted medications and more advanced surgeries, more people are surviving the disease than ever before. Screening for lung cancer with low-dose CT scans can prevent 20 percent of lung cancer deaths by identifying them early.
Among the discoveries in this growing body of research is that – as with all cancers – no one is immune from lung cancer risk. Lung cancer is often considered to be a disease that affects only the elderly, or a disease that affects only smokers. Smoking is indeed the top risk factor – so quitting smoking is a huge step toward reducing risk – but it’s not the only factor.
More cases of the disease are found in nonsmokers every year. About 15 percent of all cases are in never-smokers. About 60 percent of cases are patients who quit many years ago or who never smoked at all.
Although lung cancer is by far the top cause of cancer death for both men and women, many don’t seem to realize this fact. This spring, the American Lung Association released the results of its first Women’s Lung Health Barometer, a survey of more than 1,000 women. Only 1 percent of women named lung cancer as a top-of-mind cancer. Further, 78 percent did not know the disease has killed more women than breast cancer since 1987.
Together, we can raise awareness of, and reduce deaths attributed to, lung cancer. To that end, we offer 30 facts (one for each day of November) about lung cancer.
All women are at some risk of developing the disease in their lifetimes, but breast cancer, like other cancers, has a disproportionate effect on minorities.
Although white women have the highest incidence of breast cancer, African-American women have the highest breast cancer death rates of all racial and ethnic groups. They are 40 percent more likely to die of breast cancer than white women. The five-year survival rate for African-American breast cancer patients is 78 percent, compared to 90 percent for white women, according to the American Cancer Society. Many factors contribute to this disparity, including that black women tend to have cancers that are more aggressive and harder to treat.
But access to screening, prompt follow-up when a mammogram indicates something is not normal, and access to high quality medical care also play a significant role. In fact, City of Hope experts on breast cancer among minorities found that 15 percent of black women who have had breast cancer do not receive yearly follow-up mammograms – despite their increased risk of developing the disease. » Continue Reading
Screening for breast cancer has dramatically increased the number of cancers found before they cause symptoms – catching the disease when it is most treatable and curable.
Mammograms, however, are not infallible.
It’s important to conduct self-exams, and know the signs and symptoms that should be checked by a health care professional.
The most common symptom is a new lump or mass. Cancerous masses tend to be hard, painless and have irregular edges, but breast cancer can also be tender, rounded, soft and even painful. » Continue Reading
In a single day, former professional triathlete Lisa Birk learned she couldn’t have children and that she had breast cancer.
“Where do you go from there?” she asks.
For Birk, who swims three miles, runs 10 miles and cycles every day, the answer ultimately was a decision to take control of her cancer care. After receiving less-than-ideal treatment at a local hospital, Birk came to City of Hope.
Having cancer didn’t change her exercise routine, and it wasn’t going to change her ability to manage her life.
Learn more about her story – and why expert cancer care matters – in this video.
Learn more about breast cancer treatment and research at City of Hope.
Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion by visiting our website or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673). 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.
One person receives the breast cancer diagnosis, but the cancer affects the entire family.
Couples, in particular, can find the diagnosis and treatment challenging, especially if they have traditional male/female communication styles.
“Though every individual is unique, men and women often respond differently during times of stress,” said Courtney Bitz, L.C.S.W., a social worker in the Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center at City of Hope. “This is where men and women can learn from and build upon the strengths of their partner and work together as a team. For many couples, the cancer experience can be an opportunity to grow closer to one another.”
Bitz offers these specific and practical behavior tips. They’ve emerged from the wisdom of past patients and partners, from research and from clinical experience: » Continue Reading