Posts tagged ‘cancer’


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


City of Hope helps build supportive care programs around the world

April 21, 2015 | by

Cancer patients need, and deserve, more than medical care. They and their families need high-quality supportive care – that is, care that addresses their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Health care professionals increasingly understand this, but starting such programs from scratch isn’t easy. That’s where City of Hope comes in.

supportive care

To provide truly superb supportive care, caregivers must address all the physical, mental and spiritual pieces of a patient’s life. Already experts in this type of supportive care, City of Hope caregivers are now training others around the world how to create their own programs.

An international pioneer in integrated care,  the Department of Supportive Care Medicine at City of Hope provides a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses and numerous other caregivers who work together to assess what cancer patients and their families need, and then fulfill those needs. Now, the department is teaching other hospitals and caregivers how to do the same.

In 2012 and 2013, the National Cancer Institute awarded two five-year grants – of $1.5 million and $1.6 million – to City of Hope’s Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center to, essentially, help change the world of supportive care. The first grant was intended to fund the training of cancer health care and administrative professionals in how to build and enhance supportive care programs. The second grant was meant to train the same population of professionals in how to implement comprehensive biopsychosocial screening programs.

These training programs are now well underway. » Continue Reading


Breast cancer risk appears linked to family history of prostate cancer

March 30, 2015 | by

When considering cancer risk, categories like “women’s cancers” and “men’s cancers” may not matter. A complete medical history, especially of first-degree relatives, must be considered when evaluating risk.

breast cancer risk

A new study links increased breast cancer risk to a family history of prostate cancer.

A new study drives home that fact. Published in the journal Cancer, the study found a link between a family history of prostate cancer and an increased risk of breast cancer in women. The study, one of the largest efforts to examine the link between these cancers, found that women with a father, brother or son with prostate cancer may have a 14 percent higher risk of breast cancer than women without that family history. Women with a family history of both prostate and breast cancer appear to have a 78 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer, according to the study.

The researchers, from the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University in Detroit, cautioned that their study found a connection, not a cause-and-effect relationship. Nonetheless, it gives food for thought to how women should think comprehensively when assessing individual cancer risk.

“The article raises an interesting point,” said Courtney Vito, M.D., assistant professor of surgical oncology at City of Hope, in an interview with HealthDay. » Continue Reading


The environment and cancer: Are you at risk? (w/VIDEO)

March 19, 2015 | by

How does the environment affect our health? Specifically, how does it affect our risk of cancer?

City of Hope physicians and researchers recently answered those questions in an Ask the Experts event in Corona, California, explaining the underlying facts about how the environment can affect our health.

Moderator Linda H. Malkas, Ph.D., associate chair and professor of molecular and cellular biology, led the discussion, giving voice to the concerns that many people have about the environment and cancer risk, and asking tough questions of the panelists.

» Continue Reading


Drug could boost chance of pregnancy after breast cancer, study suggests

March 11, 2015 | by

Breast cancer treatment can damage a woman’s ability to become pregnant, making the impact on fertility one of the key factors that many consider when choosing a therapy regimen. Now a study has found that breast cancer patients treated with a hormone-blocking drug in addition to chemotherapy were less likely to experience ovarian failure and more likely to have successful pregnancies.

breast cancer treatment's effect on fertility

Breast cancer  and fertility: Breast cancer patients treated with a hormone-blocking medication in addition to chemotherapy were less likely to have ovarian failure and more likely to become pregnant after treatment.

Although the study on breast cancer and fertility has some limitations, it could suggest an alternative strategy for women who hope to become pregnant after breast cancer treatment, said George Somlo, M.D., a professor of breast oncology and staff physician at City of Hope. He was not involved in the study, but provided outside expert commentary in an interview with Medpage Today.

The Cleveland Clinic study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that women who received goserelin – a synthetic version of a naturally occurring hormone – during chemotherapy experienced an 8 percent ovarian failure rate, compared to 22 percent among women who did not receive the drug. In addition, 21 percent of women who received goserelin became pregnant within five years post-treatment, compared to 11 percent of women in the control group during the same time frame.

Somlo elaborated on his perspective in this Q and A. » Continue Reading