Smoking strongly associated with non-melanoma skin cancer in women

December 10, 2011

Women who have non-melanoma skin cancers are more likely to have smoked cigarettes as compared to women without skin cancer, a new study has claimed.

Researchers investigated the relationship between cigarette sipants were recruited through Limoking and non-melanoma skin cancers, including basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCC).

Smoking histories were assessed and compared between patients diagnosed with either BCC or SCC, or both, and a group of controls comprised of patients who were screened for skin cancers, but who were not diagnosed with and had no history of skin cancer. Read more…


Bowel cancer screening ‘does cut deaths’

December 8, 2011

A bowel cancer screening program is on course to cut deaths by a sixth, say researchers studying results from the first million people tested. However, the work, published in the journal Gut, has raised concerns that the programme, launched in 2006, misses tumours in certain parts of the colon.

Testers checked a faeces sample for signs of abnormal bleeding. The researcher who analysed the results said money should be spent on bringing in more sensitive tests.

Part of the reason for the high mortality rate is that symptoms often do not appear until cancer is advanced and harder to treat. The screening program aims to catch the tumors earlier, meaning more patients can be cured. Several million people aged 69 and over have now been screened, with approximately half of those invited taking part. Read more…

Modern chemo cuts mortality in breast cancer patients

December 6, 2011

A major analysis of 123 randomized trials involving over 100,000 women with breast cancer over the past 40 years shows that modern chemotherapy regimens reduce mortality by around one third. The researchers studied the trials of various older chemotherapy regimens, finding that standard 1980s chemotherapy regimens could produce a reduction of almost a quarter in breast cancer mortality. They also studied recent trials of modern regimens vs older ones, which showed a further reduction of about one-sixth in breast cancer mortality.

They conclude that modern regimens reduce breast cancer mortality rates by about a third among a wide range of patients. The reduction applies to all women, irrespective of age, how big the tumour was, whether it had started to spread to the local lymph nodes and whether it was oestrogen-receptor (ER)-positive. The risk of an ER-positive breast cancer causing death can be reduced substantially by five years of endocrine therapy, which is much less toxic than chemotherapy. Read more…

Scientists discover cancer cell ‘regulators’

December 5, 2011

THE latest breakthrough in cancer cell biology was made possible by the help of UWA researchers, providing critical reagents for experiments looking at the regulation of Src, a gene that produces a protein involved in cancer development. The work, entitled ‘Autophagic targeting of Src promotes cancer cell survival following reduced FAK signalling’, was published online today by Nature Cell Biology.

The Src gene product is found in many different tumour types, but while the tumour cell is dependent on Src for survival, too much Src product in the wrong place can actually kill the cancer cell.

Most importantly, the study revealed that inhibiting the Cbl-mediated autophagy of Src, by removing functional Cbl from the system, lead to cell death, raising the possibility of autophaghy inhibition as a means of killing cancer cells. Read more…

Hormonal prostate cancer therapy tied to blood clots

December 2, 2011

Hormone-targeted therapy for prostate cancer may raise the risk of potentially dangerous blood clots. Analyzing data on more than 154,000 older men with prostate cancer, researchers found that those who received hormonal therapy had double the rate of blood clots in the veins, arteries or lungs compared to men not on the treatment. Of the 58,000-plus men taking hormonal therapy, 15 percent developed a blood clot over roughly four years, versus seven percent of men who did not receive get the therapy.

A clot in the blood vessels can prove fatal if it breaks loose and travels to the lungs, heart or brain. In this study, men who developed blood clots ended up in the hospital about one-quarter of the time, the researchers report in the journal Cancer.

Other potential side effects of hormonal therapy include weight gain, bone thinning, hot flashes and erectile dysfunction. And for many prostate cancer patients, experts say, the benefits of hormonal therapy are not clear. The approach is based on the fact that testosterone can fuel the growth of prostate cancer. Curbing a man’s production of the hormone — by surgical removal of the testicles or, far more often, medication — can be helpful. Read more…



Skin cancer rate may be higher in high-radon areas

December 1, 2011

Rates of one form of skin cancer may be elevated in areas with naturally high levels of the radioactive gas radon, a study suggests. But researchers caution the findings do not prove that radon raises people’s risk of the disease, known as squamous cell carcinoma — a highly curable type of skin cancer. Their study looked only at wider geographical patterns, showing a correlation between an area’s radon levels and rates of the skin cancer. Radon — a gas produced from the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water — is already considered a risk factor for lung cancer.

For the new study, reported in the journal Epidemiology,  researchers looked at skin cancer rates across 287 postal codes in southwest England. They found that the rates of squamous cell carcinoma varied by postal code. In some areas, the yearly rate was about 35 cases or fewer per 100,000 people; in others, it was as high as 182 cases per 100,000. There was an association between an area’s average household radon level and its rate of squamous cell skin cancer. In postal codes where the radon level topped 230 Becquerel per cubic meter (Bq/m3), the rate of the cancer was 76 percent higher versus areas with the lowest average radon levels. Read more…


Cancer consultants ‘may save lives’

November 30, 2011

The lives of more bowel cancer patients could be saved if the NHS made more consultants available in emergencies and cancers were detected earlier, experts have said. Bowel cancer is often only detected at a late stage, frequently when a tumour causes a life-threatening emergency bleed or blockage. The report covers data from 100 NHS trusts and includes more than 28,000 cases of bowel cancer. Some form of surgical procedure was performed in 75% of cases and a major resection – removal of all or part of the bowel – was undertaken in 60% of patients.

But the study said delays in diagnosis were having an impact on surgery rates. “Late presentation of the disease may be the reason why almost 40% of patients do not receive major surgical resection of their primary disease,” it said.

There was some good news in the study – the overall number of patients who die within 30 days of planned surgery has fallen, to 2.4% in the 12 months to July 2010 from 2.6% in the previous year. The use of keyhole surgery, which is less invasive, is also becoming more widely used, accounting for 30% of cases compared with 25% the year before. Read more…

Updated biopsies could save breast cancer patients’ lives: study

November 29, 2011

One in seven women with advanced or recurring breast cancer could benefit from having an up-to-date biopsy to determine if their treatment plans should be changed, a new study has found. Currently, women with breast cancer that spreads or returns are prescribed therapies based on biopsies done when they were first diagnosed, which are typically many years or decades old. The approach can give an outdated picture of the disease since it ignores the possibility that the cancer may have changed over time, making it unresponsive to previously effective treatments.

The finding suggests there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to treating the various stages of breast cancer. Indeed, some treatments that may not have worked on primary tumours may suddenly prove to be effective in fighting cancers that have returned, or spread to vital organs such as the lungs, liver, bones and lymph nodes. Doctors should recognize this possibility and recommend their patients get an updated biopsy so their cancer can be reassessed, the study concluded. Read more…

Bone marrow cancer threat can run in the family as gene found to increase risk by 30 per cent

November 28, 2011

A person’s genes can increase the risk of developing a type of bone marrow cancer by 30 per cent, a study has revealed. For the first time scientists have identified genes responsible for an aggressive form of the disease, called multiple myeloma. It was already known that relatives of those suffering from the incurable cancer were at increased risk, but until now, no responsible gene had been identified. It is now hoped the discovery will prompt improvements in diagnosis and treatment.

Researchers used a technique called a genome wide association study to scan the DNA of 1,675 patients with multiple myeloma. The same process was also carried out on around 5,900 healthy people. When results were compared scientists discovered that two regions of the DNA that were more common in people with multiple myeloma and were therefore linked to a higher chance of developing the disease. Read more…


Oral cancer deaths declining among well-educated

November 24, 2011

Deaths from mouth and throat cancer have dropped since the early 1990s, according to a new study — but only among people with at least a high school education.

Researchers said that may be due to higher rates of smoking and other oral cancer risks among less educated, poorer Americans, and because they’re also less likely to have access to timely health care. Similar trends have been shown in rates of death from lung and breast cancers, for example, they added.

Cancer deaths declined during the 1990s and 2000s by two to five percent every year, on average, researchers found. By the end of the study period, the cancers killed three out of every 100,000 white men, six out of every 100,000 black men, and one each of every 100,000 white and black women annually. But when Chen and her colleagues broke those findings down by education level, they found the downward trends only held up among black people with at least a high school education, and only among whites who’d completed some college. That throat and mouth cancers are the latest type of cancer to show such a socioeconomic pattern is one more reason to make education a priority, Chen told Reuters Health. Read more…