Tag Archives: Cancer

Prostate Cancer: Its Signs And Advanced Symptoms

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. Many prostate cancers grow slowly and are confined to the prostate gland, where they may not cause serious harm. 

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However, while some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or even no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly.

Prostate cancer that’s detected early — when it’s still confined to the prostate gland — has the best chance for successful treatment.

Prostate cancer may cause no signs or symptoms in its early stages. When it’s more advanced may cause signs and symptoms such as:

  • Trouble urinating
  • Decreased force in the stream of urine
  • Blood in the urine
  • Blood in the semen
  • Bone pain
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Erectile dysfunction

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COMMENTARY:

PSA screening will pick up prostate cancer very efficiently. However, it will also pick up slow growing cancer that might never be require treatment, and responding to the positive test could cause problems ranging from pain and convenience to erectile dysfunction and incontinence.

It takes 1000 men screened to produce one life-saving treatment for prostate cancer.

Risk reward analysis means that the younger you are, the more reasonable is a test, since you have many more years of potential life. The older you are, conversely, the less you have to gain. The problem is that most cancers are slow growing, and might never cause a problem, especially if you have only a few years left to live.

Most experts recommend a test when a man reaches the age of 45, but reserve annual testing for those who are at high risk, such as having a brother or father with aggressive prostate cancer.

When a man reaches the age of 70, most experts would decline to test.

Sometimes, emotional considerations present themselves; worry is very much a disease. For instance, the best man at my wedding stopped getting his PSA test about three years before he was diagnosed with fatal metastatic prostate cancer. I am inclined to continue getting my annual prostate test, and would worry if I didn’t.

A recent study in the journal Cancer reported that more than half of a group of men 75 years and older had PSA tests and biopsies.

As an interesting aside, the PSA test is the only test I have ever had rejected by Medicare, presumably because of this expert opinion factoring in the cost benefit analysis of using the test.

—Dr. C.

Colorectal Cancer: ‘Miss Rate’ Lowered 50% Using AI

“Colorectal cancer is almost entirely preventable with proper screening,” says senior author Michael B. Wallace, M.D., division chair of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and the Fred C. Andersen Professor at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. “The substantial decrease in miss rate using AI reassures health care providers on the decreased risk of perceptual errors.”

The most relevant cause of post-colonoscopy colorectal cancer (CRC) is the miss rate of colorectal neoplasia — the rate at which neoplastic lesions are not detected in a screening or surveillance colonoscopy. Some studies suggest that 52% to 57% of post-colonoscopy CRC cases are due to missed lesions at patients’ colonoscopies. It’s estimated that 25% of neoplastic lesions are missed following screening colonoscopy.

Mayo Clinic Gastroenterology and Hepatology, in collaboration with colleagues from around the world, found that using artificial intelligence (AI) in colorectal cancer screening produced a 50% reduction in the miss rate for colorectal neoplasia. Results of the study were published in the July 2022 edition of Gastroenterology.

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Mayo Clinic: Bladder Cancer Explained

Learning about bladder cancer can be intimidating. Mark Tyson, M.D., a urologist at Mayo Clinic, walks you through the facts, the questions, and the answers to help you better understand this condition.

Video timeline: 0:00 Introduction 0:37 What is bladder cancer? 0:53 Who gets bladder cancer? / Risk factors 1:32 Symptoms of bladder cancer 1:59 How is bladder cancer diagnosed? 2:39 Treatment options 3:25 Coping methods/ What now? 4:04 Ending

For more reading visit: https://mayocl.in/3vcSF5u.

Cancer Treatments: CAR-T Cell “Smart” Therapy

In war, we are familiar with “smart bombs” that home in on a laser-marked target, or a heat source. The same thing is happening in our battle with cancer. Everybody has had friends or relatives given chemotherapy, which affects all cells, but  cancer cells, since they are dividing more rapidly, suffer the most. However, the entire body is affected with weight loss, hair loss, anemia, leukopenia and other severe symptoms.

The two developments I would like to address here, are smart chemotherapy using ADCs, and smart immunotherapy using CAR-T cells.

In smart chemotherapy, a poisonous package is linked to an antibody which homes in on cancer cells having a specific membrane marker on their surface. For instance, many cancers, not just those of the breast, express HER-2 receptors. Antibodies specific for this receptor are attached to such drugs as doxorubicin, in a therapy called ADC. The coupled pair then home in on the cancer cell and kill it, sparing  the rest of the body most of the exposure to this toxic chemical. This is really a form of immunotherapy, since it uses antibodies.

Smart cell therapy with CAR-T cells, uses T lymphocytes which normally have surface ligands that attach to various cells marked for killing. These T-cells have their targets genetically modified, with antibody receptors, to be specific for such things as CD 19 and BCMA on the surface of cancer cells. When infused, the T-cells latch on to the specified cancer cells and punch holes in them. The treatment can have some side effects, but they are usually much less severe than  regular chemotherapy.

CAR-T cell therapy has been very successful for blood cancers like leukemia, Lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. It can produce flu-like symptoms from the recruitment of lymphokines, and occasionally neurologic symptoms. It is currently successful in about a third of the cases, used as a second line therapy, and is very expensive.

It used to be that a cancer was classified according to its anatomic location, e.g. breast cancer, colon cancer, skin cancer. With increased knowledge, it is now becoming more important to know the surface markers of the cancer than the organ of origin.

—Dr. C.

JAMA Oncology Article

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Dr. C’s Journal: Types Of Cancer Screening Tests

There are a number of recommended screening tests for cancer.

Mammography has been shown quite effective in reducing deaths from breast cancer, it is recommended for women ages 40 to 74.

HPV and PAP tests are recommended for cervical cancer screening in women. Testing should begin at age 21 and end at age 65.

Colonoscopy is recommended for colorectal cancer screening for both men and women ages 45 through 75.

HCT, a type of CT, is recommended for heavy smokers at ages 15 to 80.

Where the risks are high, there are other tests not generally recommended for everybody. Tests are available for liver cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, and ovarian cancer where are the risk is high. In women with BRCA1 And BRCA2  mutations, breast MRIs are recommended.

Personally, I get a yearly PSA test, mainly because a good friend, a physician, died within 3 years of prostate cancer when he stopped taking the test.

I also get a skin examination by a dermatologist every six months, because I have a very fair skin, probably caused by the freckle variant of the MC1R gene.

There are a number of symptoms and signs that suggest cancer,  particularly when they don’t go away, such as fatigue, weight loss or gain for no apparent reason; trouble swallowing, nausea, or abdominal pain; swelling or lumps anywhere in the body; cough or hoarseness; unusual bleeding; change in bowel habits; fevers or night sweats; bleeding areas in the mouth. Protracted headaches or vision problems can be worrisome.

In short, any distressing or unusual symptom that doesn’t improve on its own should be watched very carefully, and reported to your doctor; but it is far better to pick them up early with a test or a doctors routine examination than to wait for symptoms to develop.

—Dr. C.

Dr. C’s Journal: Recent Gains In Cancer Care

Recent medical advances in the treatment of cancer you have been amazing. Many of these advances have taken advantage of our own immune system‘s and fighting the cancer. If you or a loved one have had the recent diagnosis of cancer, there are several general things that you should know.

MVU MHA 2021 Q4 Infographic_ Advances, Breakthroughs, and Innovations in Cancer Treatment

The amazing technological advances in medicine have a come with a price tag, more than just the astronomical cost.

Preventative medicine it is given little attention in the medical profession these days, it wasn’t that great in the past either. The reason? Doctors don’t get paid to prevent disease; they get paid for treating it, and doctors are merely human beings like the rest of us and have a fondness for making money. Besides, the individual patient never knows whether he would’ve gotten the disease, had he not tried to prevent it. It takes a large number of people in a planned study to discern that.

Sleep, diet and exercise have all been casualties.

If you have established cancer, your tendency will be to give up on any exercise that you have been doing. This is an error. Depression is very common in patients with cancer, and inactivity makes it worse. Exercise is the one of the best things you can do for depression, and it may well  benefit cancer itself. To be sure to ask your doctor directly about this.

Diet is also extremely important. Many Cancers produce substances that kill the appetite. Weight loss in cancer is one of the hallmarks of the disease. It becomes very important to maintain a good diet.

Sleep is also very important. Just a day or two with poor sleep can harm the Immune cells, and with immune system damage, cancer can only worsen.

Drug studies improve medical care. They also deliver care free of charge, except for your time in taking part in the study. The usual Cancer study compares the new drug with established treatment. There is minimal worry that you are going to be getting a sham treatment.

Certain medical centers are known to specialize in certain areas of cancer treatment. For instance, in Southern California, the University of San Diego is known to be a Center that treats pancreatic cancer. The city of Hope in Los Angeles is known to be a center specializing in CAR-T cell treatment, A promising if expensive treatment for pancreatic cancer. 

It is very definitely worth your while to check into the availability of specialized care centers and drug studies in your area.

One of my friends developed melanoma and was told by his doctor to get his affairs in order. This absurd statement was made by a cancer doctor in one of the best hospitals in our area. In checking with an oncologist of my acquaintance, I found that a mere 30 miles away was a center specialized in the treatment of Malignant Melanoma. He went to the center for treatment, and was given a drug called a checkpoint inhibitor. He was virtually asymptomatic in a year. Unfortunately, patients can rarely expect such dramatic results.

In the history of the world, it has never been easier to learn about your disease, in this case cancer, and participate in its treatment. Especially in medicine, the best is none too good; it pays to do your homework, or at least find a medical advocate who will pursue your cause.

—Dr. C.

Mayo Clinic: Thyroid Cancer Explained (Video)

Learning about thyroid cancer can be intimidating. Let our experts walk you through the facts, the questions, and the answers to help you better understand this condition.

Chapters: 0:00 Introduction 0:25 What is thyroid cancer? 1:29 Who gets thyroid cancer? / Risk factors 2:44 Symptoms of thyroid cancer 3:18 How is thyroid cancer diagnosed? 4:14 Treatment options 5:40 Coping methods/ What now? 6:36 Ending

For more reading visit: https://mayocl.in/3ys82Jv. When it comes to your health, Mayo Clinic believes credible and clear information is paramount. There’s a lot to learn about thyroid cancer.

Cleveland Clinic: How To Prevent Oral Cancer

Men face twice the risk of developing oral cancer as women, and men who are over age 50 face the greatest risk. Other risk factors include smoking or using tobacco, drinking too much alcohol and having a family history of oral cancer. But there are lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk. Here’s what you can do to lessen your chance of getting oral cancer.

Chapters: 0:00 What is oral cancer? 0:14 Who is most at risk of developing oral cancer? 0:29 7 ways to reduce your risk of developing oral cancer. 2:12 Is oral cancer curable?

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer (mouth cancer) is the broad term for cancer that affects the inside of your mouth. Oral cancer can look like a common problem with your lips or in your mouth, like white patches or sores that bleed. The difference between a common problem and potential cancer is these changes don’t go away. Left untreated, oral cancer can spread throughout your mouth and throat to other areas of your head and neck. Approximately 63% of people with oral cavity cancer are alive five years after diagnosis.

Who is affected by oral cancer?

Overall, about 11 people in 100,000 will develop oral cancer during their lifetime. Men are more likely than women to develop oral cancer. People who are white are more likely to develop oral cancer than people who are Black.

Bacteria Infections: Risks Of Helicobacter Pylori

Duke Cancer Institute epidemiologist Meira Epplein, PhD, discovered a common bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) puts Black, Hispanic, and Asian-American people at a higher risk for stomach cancer. She’s been encouraging these and other populations to ask their doctors about getting tested for the bacteria, which Duke gastroenterologist Julius M. Wilder, MD, explains can be as easy as a breathing test.

The simplicity of this test and the information it provides is meaningful to Bishop Ronald Godbee, who along with members of his church congregation, received tests for H. Pylori as part of Epplein’s outreach in Durham, North Carolina.

Chapters: 00:00 What is H. pylori? 00:06 Can H. pylori lead to stomach cancer? 00:18 What populations are at higher risk for stomach cancer? 00:35 Can H. pylori be treated? 01:20 Can I be tested and treated for H. pylori? 02:18 What are the symptoms of H. pylori?

Uterine Cancer: Risks, Diagnosis & Treatment

Uterine cancer is the most common cancer that affects a woman’s reproductive system, occurring mostly after menopause. It’s often diagnosed in an early stage. This video shares the symptoms and tests that may lead to a diagnosis.

Chapters: 0:00 What is uterine cancer? 0:10 What are the risk factors of uterine cancer? 0:27 What are symptoms of uterine cancer? 1:00 How is uterine cancer diagnosed? 2:21 What is the rate of successful outcomes for those diagnosed with uterine cancer?