Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Childhood chemotherapy may have lasting effects on memory

A new study conducted at the University of Leuven, Belgium indicates a correlation between childhood cancer survivors who underwent chemotherapy treatment and memory problems as these children become young adults.

According to Iris Elens, psychiatrist, and Rudi D'Hooge, professor at the University of Leuven, the 31 young adults assessed in the study started receiving chemotherapy treatment at 6 years of age.  When testing 10-15 years later, "the cancer survivors had poorer thinking flexibility and short-term memory."

To read more about this study, click here.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians expected to get cancer: new Canadian Cancer Statistics 2017 report

A new report, entitled Canadian Cancer Statistics 2017, was released today by the Canadian Cancer Society in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Statistics Canada.  Latest figures indicate that  "for males, the lifetime risk (of a cancer diagnosis) is 49% and for females it is 45%."  However, the overall cancer survival rate has increased from 25% in the 1940s to approximately 60% today.

To read more about this report, click here.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Amy Reed, physician and patient who “moved mountains” to end widespread use of power morcellation, dies at 44

“I always wanted to be a doctor when I was little,” Reed said in 2015. “I wanted to go into medicine and be a doctor and fix things, and cure the world.”

Reed’s dream came true, albeit not in the way she envisioned.

Reed, a Pennsylvania native, died May 24 from complications stemming from disseminated uterine cancer. She was 44.

Read this true story of how the use of power morcellators should not be used for hysterectomies or fibroid removal.

Monday, 29 May 2017

WHO list of priority medical devices for cancer management

Have you checked the new priority list of medical devices for cancer management? This list also describes for six types of cancer: breast, cervical, colorectal, leukemia, lung and prostate.

Scientists report progress on genetic test for anal cancer

A new genetic test being conducted at Cancer Research U.K.may be a "less invasive method to help doctors identify people who are at a higher risk of anal cancer and avoid unnecessary procedures for those who are at a lower risk."  According to Dr. Rachel Orritt, Cancer Research U.K.'s health information officer, this study provides a stronger connection between what is known regarding cell DNA changes and cervical cancer, providing a new more definitive set of biomarkers to identify men and women at increased risk of anal cancer.

To read more about this study, click here 

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Association of delayed adjuvant chemotherapy with survival after lung cancer surgery

A recent retrospective study of 12 473 patients with NSCLC from the National Cancer Database found that, adjuvant chemotherapy given later (57–127 days) in the postoperative period was not associated with mortality. Furthermore, patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy later had a significantly better survival when compared with patients treated with surgery alone.

Read more here.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Eating nuts linked to improved chances of survival for colon cancer patients

2 New studies, scheduled for presentation at next month's annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago, indicate that consumption of nuts, along with a healthy diet and regular exercise increases a colon cancer patients chances of survival.  One of the studies, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, followed 800 patients who underwent surgery and chemotherapy for colon cancer.  These patients were followed for 7 years following completion of chemotherapy, and asked specific questions pertaining to their diet, in particular the amount of nuts consumed.  19% of patients surveyed reported eating at least 2 ounces of nuts per week, with researchers finding "both a lower risk of cancer recurrence and higher overall survival in that group."

To read more about this study, click here.

E-cigarettes linked to bladder cancer risk

A recent news release by the American Urological Association indicates that the use of e-cigarettes leads to an increased risk of bladder cancer.  According to a study conducted at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, researchers found that "e-cigarettes triggered cancer-related damage to bladder tissue...[while also showing that] nicotine, nitrosamines and formaldehyde led to damage while blocking DNA repair, boosting cancer risk."

To read more about this study, click here.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Tai chi for insomnia in breast cancer survivors

A new study conducted at the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavour in Los Angeles indicates that tai chi may help relax breast cancer survivors with insomnia.  According to study lead Dr. Michael Irwin, tai chi was seen as being more effective "than medication in treating insomnia and reducing the risk for sleep loss-related health issues, including depression, fatigue, and a weakened immune system."

To read more about this study, click here.

Therapeutic and preventive implications of moonshot in hereditary cancer syndromes

President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2017 budget includes $1 billion for eliminating cancer. This initiative has led to the belief that concentrating on treatment is a limited approach to the overall reduction of cancer mortality, considering the success of cancer research in prevention. However, a powerful method for cancer prevention and survival has been the discipline of hereditary cancer syndromes. This article discusses the significance of investing billions of dollars in genomic sequencing and the implications of finding a hereditary mutation in patients with metastatic cancer using next-generation sequencing (NGS).

Read more here.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Hope for 1st drug against lymphedema

Researchers at the Standard University School of Medicine claim to be close to developing the first drug therapy to combat lymphedema, a a condition causing painful swollen limbs that affects many cancer patients, especially those that have undergone treatment for breast cancer.

While most of the research conducted thus far is based on results from mice and human cells, a clinical trial is in place "to see whether these lab discoveries will translate into a new lymphedema treatment."

To read more about this study, click here.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Monday, 8 May 2017

Cervical cancer and lasting symptoms on survivors

A new study conducted at the Medical University in Vienna indicates that many survivors of cervical cancer continue to experience "mild to moderate fatigue, insomnia, and hot flashes" several years after their cancer diagnosis.  According to study author Stephanie Smet, a radiation oncology resident, the 1200 women who took part in the study were all survivors of locally advanced cervical cancer, and ranged in age from 22 - 91; 64% of these women experienced fatigue, and 43% reported insomnia.

To read more about this study, click here.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Myelodysplastic syndrome: Is it just that? The importance of obtaining an accurate family history

Up to 72 percent of adolescents with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), and monosomy 7 have the GATA2 mutation. Approximately one-half of the cases of GATA2 deficiency result from a germline mutation and is heritable.

Oncology nurses and providers are in a unique position to impact these outcomes by obtaining detailed and accurate family histories to optimize treatment decisions, especially for patients with MDS and/or AML. Research has shown that GATA2 patients that undergo stem cell transplantation prior to development of life-threatening infections or cytogenetic abnormalities have better outcomes.Interventions: An accurate family history is a valuable, inexpensive, and often underused tool. Please read the latest conference abstract on the Importance of obtaining an accurate family history.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Clinician participation in CADTH’s pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review: contribution and impact on cancer drug funding recommendations

In any given week, media headlines publicize the benefits of a new “breakthrough” cancer drug, with patients and clinicians subsequently advocating for its use. Governments, which face the difficult task of deciding how best to allocate limited public resources, must at the same time balance ongoing commitments to provide optimal health care for Canadians and to ensure value for money and the sustainability of the Canadian health care system.

Established by the provincial and territorial ministries of health, the pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review (pcodr) program operating within the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (cadth) is designed to bring consistency and clarity to the assessment of cancer drugs by looking at clinical and economic evidence, by taking into consideration clinician and patient perspectives, and by using that information to make recommendations to the participating jurisdictions to guide their drug funding decisions.

Read more here.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Health Canada has approved DARZALEX® (daratumumab) for patients with multiple myeloma who have had at least one prior therapy

TORONTO, April 17, 2017 /CNW/ - Janssen Inc. announced today that Health Canada has approved DARZALEX® (daratumumab), in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone, or bortezomib and dexamethasone, for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma who have received at least one prior therapy. Due to the high unmet medical need for multiple myeloma patients, DARZALEX® was granted a Priority Review by Health Canada for this submission.

Data from two Phase 3 studies supported this new approval. They include the open-label, randomized clinical studies POLLUX (MMY3003) and CASTOR (MMY3004). POLLUX was published in The New England Journal of Medicine, with an accompanying editorial, in October 20167; and CASTOR was published in The New England Journal of Medicine in August 2016.

Studies mentioned:
Dimopoulos, M. A., Oriol, A., Nahi, H., San-Miguel, J., Bahlis, N. J., Usmani, S. Z., . . . Moreau, P. (2016). Daratumumab, lenalidomide, and dexamethasone for multiple myeloma. N Engl J Med, 375(14), 1319-1331. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1607751

Palumbo, A., Chanan-Khan, A., Weisel, K., Nooka, A. K., Masszi, T., Beksac, M., . . . Sonneveld, P. (2016). Daratumumab, bortezomib, and dexamethasone for multiple myeloma. N Engl J Med, 375(8), 754-766. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1606038

Higher prostate cancer risks for black men may warrant new approach to screening

A new study indicates that higher prostate cancer death rates among black men in the US may be due to a higher risk of developing preclinical prostate cancer as well as a higher risk of that cancer progressing more quickly to advanced stages. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study suggests that screening policies may need to be tailored to the higher-risk status of this population.

Study mentioned:
"Is prostate cancer different in black men? Answers from three natural history models." Alex Tsodikov, Roman Gulati, Tiago M. de Carvalho, Eveline A. M. Heijnsdijk, Rachel A. Hunter-Merrill, Angela B. Mariotto, Harry J. de Koning, and Ruth Etzioni. CANCER; Published Online: April 24, 2017 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.30687).
URL Upon Publication.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Malaria parasite could treat cancer

A new study being conducted at the University of British Columbia indicates that a malaria parasite may be able to treat bladder cancer in patients who do not respond favourably to traditional chemotherapy.  According to Mads Daugaard, professor of urologic science, the treatment, "utilizing a combination of malaria protein with a marine sponge toxin" has proven to be 80% effective on mice tested.  While considerable more testing is required on humans, this new finding does bring hope, as bladder cancer kills more than 2,000 Canadians each year.

To read more about the study, click here:

Breast milk tests may one day replace mammograms

A preliminary study conducted at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, scientists have discovered "alterations in protein expression in the breast milk of women with breast cancer compared to women without breast cancer."  According to study author Roshanak Aslebagh, the proteins may indicate potential biomarkers of breast cancer and serve as a viable breast cancer screening mechanism for women under the age of 40.  As the study authors further note, "breast milk analysis may someday offer an alternative to mammograms for women in their childbearing years."

To read more about this study, click here.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Avelumab: first FDA-approved treatment for Merkel cell carcinoma

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on March 23 approved the immunotherapy drug avelumab for metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) — a rare, aggressive form of skin cancer — for adults and patients 12 years of age and older. Avelumab, marketed as Bavencio, is the first FDA-approved treatment for MCC.

Avelumab is an antibody that targets programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), a protein found on several types of tumors. PD-L1 binds T cells, white blood cells that defend against disease. This inactivates the T cells and allows tumor cells to avoid immune attack. Avelumab binds to PD-L1, preventing the T cells from being switched off so they can still attack tumor cells.

To read more about avelumab, click here.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

World Cancer Day 2017 Impact Report

The World Cancer Day 2017 Impact Report has now been released.  This document focuses on the activities that took place in more than 100 countries on February 4, 2017, focusing on government actions, municipalities, businesses, communities, and individuals with regards to the impact of cancer.

Click here to read the report.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Survival continues to improve for most cancers

According to a new report published by the U.S. National Cancer Institute's Surveillance Research Program, overall cancer death rates continue to fall.  Between 2010-2014, death rates decreased for 11 out of 16 common cancers in man, and 13 out of 16 common cancers in women.  These included cancer of the lung, colon, prostate, and breast.  However, death rates for liver, pancreas and brain cancer in women, along with liver and uterus cancers in women continue to rise.

To read more about this report, click here.  

Thursday, 30 March 2017

High doses of vitamin D do not cut cancer risk

A new clinical trial conducted at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School indicate that high doses of vitamin D supplements may not lower risk of developing cancer in older women.  According to Dr. JoAnn Manson, the trial, involving 2,300 older women randomly assigned either high-doses of vitamin D plus calcium or placebo pills resulted in "no compelling evidence that vitamin D reduces cancer incidence."  Two additional trials, comprising 20,000 individuals are currently ongoing.

For more information, click here.

Monday, 27 March 2017

MRI for prostate cancer screening

A new study conducted by Dutch researchers indicates that MRI screening can reduce overdiagnosis of prostate cancer by 50% in men over 70. According to lead researcher Dr. Arnout Alberta, from the urology department at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, the study, conducted in 335 men 71 years of age and older, found that "70% of the men...would not have needed biopsies at all if MRI had been used beforehand, because no suspicious areas showed up on their scans."

To read more about this study, click here.  

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Family history of colon cancer necessitates earlier screening

According to a recent hospital news release by Dr. Walter Koltun, chief of colon and rectal surgery at Penn State Health Hershey Medical Center, individuals with a family history of colon or rectal cancers should be screened before age 50.  According to Koltun, "if more than one close relative has had colon or rectal cancer, your risk of getting such a cancer is 12 times greater."

To read more about this news release, click here.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Obesity linked to higher esophageal and stomach cancer risk

A new study from the U.S. National Cancer Institute indicates a correlation between overweight individuals in their 20s with an increased risk of esophageal and stomach cancer should they become obese later in life.  Study data revealed a 60%-80% increase risk of developing the above noted cancers for individuals who were overweight from age 20 compared to those with a normal body weight.  According to lead researcher Jessica Petrick, "these findings underscore the potential of weight control programs for decreasing the likelihood of developing esophageal and stomach cancer, both of which have extremely poor survival ."

To read more about this study, click here.

Friday, 10 March 2017

CHANGE Cancer Alberta: new cancer prevention program

An innovative new cancer prevention program aimed at increasing physical activity, promoting healthy eating and reducing obesity has been a successful initiative for more than 800 Albertans thus far.  Known as CHANGE, the program "links people at risk of chronic disease with a registered dietitian and an exercise specialist."

To read more about CHANGE, click here.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Soy safe and protective for breast cancer survivors

While the debate surrounding the use of soy for breast cancer patients has been discussed for several years, a new study conducted at Tufts University's Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston breast cancer survivors who consumed soy had a lower risk of death during a 10 year follow-up period.  According to Dr. Fang Fang Zhang, assistant professor of epidemiology at Tufts University, "overall, consuming higher levels of soy is associated with a 21% reduction in the risk of death compared to women who consumed soy at a lower level".

To read more about this study, click here.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Brain training for cancer survivor's nerve damage

A new study conducted at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center investigates the use of neurofeedback, aimed at helping cancer survivors control symptoms of chemotherapy-induced nerve damage.  According to lead investigator Sarah Prinsloo, "neurofeedback has no known side effects, can be used in combinations with other treatments and is reasonable cost-effective."

To read more about this study, click here.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Colon and rectal cancers rising in young people

Scientists are reporting a sharp rise in colorectal cancers in adults as young as their 20s and 30s, though the reasons are unclear.

The vast majority of colorectal cancers are still found in older people, with nearly 90 percent of all cases diagnosed in people over 50. But a new study from the American Cancer Society that analyzed cancer incidence by birth year found that colorectal cancer rates, which had dropped steadily for people born between 1890 and 1950, have been increasing for every generation born since 1950. Experts aren’t sure why.

Rectal cancers are rising particularly sharply, far faster than cancers in other parts of the large intestine or colon. The American Cancer Society estimates about 13,500 new cases of colon and rectal cancers will be diagnosed in Americans under 50 this year, with more than 95,500 cases of colon cancer and nearly 40,000 cases of rectal cancer in all age groups.

Read Full Article

Study mentioned:
Colorectal Cancer Incidence Patterns in the United States, 1974–2013
Rebecca L. Siegel Stacey A. Fedewa William F. Anderson Kimberly D. Miller Jiemin Ma Philip S. Rosenberg Ahmedin Jemal
J Natl Cancer Inst (2017) 109 (8): djw322. DOI:
Published: 28 February 2017