Posts tagged ‘cancer prevention’
With Labor Day just around the corner, summer is on its way out. But just because summertime is ending doesn’t mean we can skip sunscreen. Protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation is needed all year round. Exposure to UV radiation — whether from the sun or from artificial sources such as sunlamps used in tanning beds — increases the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Here, Jae Jung, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in dermatology at City of Hope, shares simple prevention tips to lower the risk of melanoma. She also explains that the disease is almost always curable if detected and treated in its earliest stages.
What is melanoma and what causes it?
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. It arises from melanocytes, the cells that produce pigment in our skin. They are most common in sun-exposed areas of the skin, but can arise anywhere including under the fingernails, oral or genital mucosa, and eyes.
Melanoma is usually caused by too much UV exposure, either from natural sun or in tanning booths. Use of tanning beds can increase your risk of melanoma by 75 percent. Patients with fair skin, light hair and eyes, have a propensity to sunburn and are at higher risk of developing melanoma. Patients with many moles (greater than 50), atypical moles, and a family history of melanoma are also at increased risk. » Continue Reading
Cancer of the prostate is the No. 2 cancer killer of men, behind lung cancer, accounting for more than 29,000 deaths annually in this country. But because prostate cancer advances slowly, good prostate health and early detection can make all the difference.
Many prostate cancer tumors don’t require immediate treatment because they’re small, confined and slow-growing. For patients with these type of tumors, so-called “watchful waiting,” increasingly known as “active surveillance” may be the best course of action. In “active surveillance,” physicians closely monitor patients so they can identify early signs of disease progression and treat the cancer before it spreads outside the prostate.
Here, Philip G. Pearson, M.D., and David W. Rhodes, M.D., of City of Hope | Pasadena, provide simple strategies that can help men better understand this important gland. They also explain why active surveillance is becoming a more common prostate cancer management option. » Continue Reading
According to the National Cancer Institute, getting colonoscopies at recommended intervals (for most people, this means starting at age 50 and every 10 years thereafter if the results are normal) can reduce colorectal cancer deaths by up to 70 percent. This is possible because the procedure can catch the cancer in its earlier stages, when it’s more treatable. Additionally, colonoscopies can detect and remove precancerous growths called polyps before they become malignant.
Despite the proven benefits, many people still put off getting a colonoscopy. Data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 40 percent of Americans are not getting screened for colorectal cancer in accordance to recommended guidelines.
And according to Donald David, M.D., clinical professor and chief at City of Hope’s Division of Gastroenterology, many reasons people have for delaying or avoiding this lifesaving test are pure myths.
A side effect of cancer treatment many people don’t expect? Weight gain.
People with certain cancers – such as breast, prostate and colon cancer – are more likely to gain weight during treatment due to the therapies used to combat their disease. Hormone therapy, some chemotherapy regimens and medications such as steroids all can cause weight gain, as well as water retention.
Other treatments can increase appetite or cause fatigue – which can lead to eating more and moving less, a common formula for weight gain. In other cases, old-fashioned stress and “comfort” food could be triggers for weight gain.
Some studies of cancer patients have linked obesity to an increased risk of recurrence and death in several common cancers, including breast, colorectal and prostate cancer. The California Teachers Study, led by City of Hope’s Leslie Bernstein, showed that being obese was associated with a significant increase of dying from breast cancer for many women.
Patients currently in treatment, however, shouldn’t go on a diet – even if they find themselves gaining weight – without speaking to their physician. A doctor can help determine why weight is increasing and discuss the options.
The population of cancer survivors in the U.S. is on the rise at the same time as the obesity rate is increasing – to the point that two-thirds of adults are obese or overweight – so naturally, the number of cancer survivors struggling with their weight also has increased. » Continue Reading
Stomach cancer (also called gastric cancer) can develop in any part of the stomach. If left undetected, it can penetrate the stomach wall, progress to adjacent lymph nodes and spread to nearby organs. The cause is unknown but has been associated with dietary factors, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, smoking and alcohol consumption.
Here Joseph Kim, M.D., a City of Hope surgical oncologist and head of upper gastrointestinal surgery, talks about how people can lower their risk for stomach cancer and why he, as a Korean-American, has a personal crusade in conquering this disease.
How common is stomach cancer?
Stomach cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer death worldwide, with the highest incidence occurring in Asian and Latin American countries. Although less common here in the United States, there are still approximately 24,000 Americans who learn annually they have cancer of the stomach. Fortunately, for reasons not entirely known, U.S. incidence has been dropping steadily since the 1950s.
Who gets stomach cancer, and why?
Like most other forms of cancer, stomach cancer occurs more frequently in people age 55 or older. Researchers think the reasons for a higher incidence of stomach cancer in Asian and Latin American countries is because diets commonly consumed there include many foods preserved by drying, smoking, salting or pickling. Eating foods preserved in this way may raise someone’s risk for developing stomach cancer. Also, people who smoke cigarettes may be at higher risk of developing stomach cancer. » Continue Reading
However, what’s true for the majority of people in the United States is not true for the Asian population. Stomach cancer, or gastric cancer, is much more common among that community and tends to affect younger people. In fact, gastric cancer is twice as common among Asians and Pacific Islanders in Los Angeles County as it is among people nationwide.
“In most Asian countries, they have screening programs for gastric cancer,” said Joseph Kim, a surgical oncologist at City of Hope who specializes in gastrointestinal cancers. “By age 40, most people are receiving regular endoscopies.” » Continue Reading
Eat healthy. Be active.
Those are two pieces of advice that Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., R.N., professor and director of City of Hope’s Division of Cancer Etiology, will likely share – and emphasize – at a Jan. 28 Ask the Experts lecture titled “Cancer and Cuisine.” (Another “Cancer and Cuisine” event will be held Jan. 25 at the newly opened City of Hope | Antelope Valley clinic in Lancaster, Calif.)
Bernstein is the principal investigator of the California Teachers Study, which has tracked more than 133,000 participants since 1995 to assess whether certain behaviors are linked to cancer and other diseases. In other words, Bernstein knows a bit about cancer risk.
At the Ask the Experts lecture, held on the City of Hope campus in Duarte, she’ll provide details on why healthy eating and exercise matter – and how scientists know that they do.
But that’s just for starters. Tender Greens sous chef Junior Perez will then prepare a healthy dish and share the importance of the ingredients in the dish.
Here, Bernstein and Prez give some insight into their backgrounds and what they’ll be speaking about on Jan. 28.
Colon and rectal cancer is treatable and beatable – and early detection is of paramount importance. Yet despite research that shows colon and rectal cancer screening saves lives, recent data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more than 20 million Americans age 50 to 75 have never been tested for colon and rectal cancer, and that one in three adults are not up-to-date with their screenings.
An advocate for screening colonoscopy and early detection, Stephen Sentovich, M.D., M.B.A., a board-certified colon and rectal cancer surgical expert at City of Hope, discusses facts about this form of cancer and how screening absolutely does save lives.
Who is most at risk for colon and rectal cancer?
In the United States, colon and rectal cancer is the third most-common cancer and second most-common cause of death from cancer. Each year, nearly 150,000 new cases are diagnosed and more than 50,000 patients die of colon and rectal cancer. Colon and rectal cancer can occur at any age, but the incidence increases as we age, particularly as we surpass 50 years of age. For both men and women here in the U.S., the lifetime chance of getting colon and rectal cancer is about 5 percent. » Continue Reading
One in three Americans ages 50 to 75 are skipping the recommended screenings for colorectal cancer, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even though the disease is the nation’s second-biggest cancer killer behind lung cancer.
In total, the CDC reports, about 23 million adults who should undergo the potentially lifesaving screenings have not done so. Those least likely to be screened include Hispanics, people age 50 to 64 and men in general.
One City of Hope expert blames a lack of accurate information. “People have a lot of misconceptions about this kind of exam or think they have to wait for symptoms, but then it’s not a screening test,” Donald David, M.D., chief of the Division of Gastroenterology at City of Hope, said in a USA Today story.
David said one reason people hesitate to be tested for colorectal cancer – often done by a colonoscopy, first around age 50 and again 10 years later – is because they worry about the cost. However, for many, the preventive screening is fully covered by insurance. In fact, the CDC found that about two of every three adults who have never been tested actually have a regular doctor and health insurance that could pay for the test. » Continue Reading
Lung cancer screening with low-dose radiation CT scanning saves lives.
“There’s no doubt about it. The studies clearly show that,” said Dan Raz, M.D., co-director of the Lung Cancer and Thoracic Oncology at City of Hope. “Lung cancer screening really has the potential to revolutionize and change the face of lung cancer from a disease that we can cure sometimes, to a disease we can cure most of the time.”
Without standard lung cancer screening, only about 15 percent of patients have their cancer detected at an early stage. In July, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force proposed annual screening, using low-dose CT (computed tomography) scans, for those at high risk of lung cancer. Studies predict that with screening, about 80 percent of lung cancers could be detected at Stage 1, when they’re most easily treated.