May is often celebrated as the best time of year to go outdoors and enjoy nature. It is also known as Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention month. Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the country partly because people of all ages are exposed to its main cause practically every single day: ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
Due to the often publicized dangers of direct sunlight, some people avoid forgoing the great outdoors altogether. While it is true that the best defense against harmful UV rays is to stay out of the sun, it does not mean that you and your loved ones should miss out on enjoying outdoor activities during the warmer days of spring and summer. Instead, it is advisable to take simple precautions every time you go outside. Read the rest »
Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have stated that in the future cancer cells in their infancy or earliest stages may be detected with a simple blood test. The research at Stanford focused on using customized DNA, and forcing cancer cells in mice to produce a substance that marks the cell, making it more easily identifiable in a blood sample. This research could ultimately result in a diagnostic testing process whereby one could diagnose cancer before it progresses beyond Stage 1 (its earliest stage, where spread of the disease is typically negligible and a patient’s prognosis is usually excellent).
This research is in no way new. Scientists and doctors have been using naturally occurring biomarkers to diagnose and treat patients for years. However, this research is different in that it causes a cell to actually create a “biomarker” which would not otherwise naturally occur. These new biomarkers are easily identifiable compared to those which otherwise occur in cancer cells. Read the rest »
Awareness campaigns for breast and lung cancer are quite visible, both on TV and in print media. In comparison, kidney cancer is not addressed in as “high profile” a manner. However, kidney cancer does affect up to 70,000 Americans and their families each year. Like breast, lung and many other cancers, kidney cancer can prove fatal if it is not detected and treated in a timely manner. According to the Director of the Comprehensive Kidney Cancer Program at the Mount Sinai Health System, the cure rate for kidney cancer is at least 90 percent when there is early detection and treatment.
In a recent interview, the Director at Mount Sinai stated that there are two main types of kidney masses — solid growths and cysts. The majority of cysts are not cancerous, but approximately 85 percent of solid growths are cancerous. Therefore, it is important to timely perform further testing if a kidney mass is detected; to determine if it is solid or may have solid components. Read the rest »
When patients seek out medical help, they trust that their doctors will take the necessary steps to determine the cause of their symptoms. That treatment by healthcare providers should be within the “standard of care.” When a doctor or other healthcare provider fails to order, or ignores/misinterprets the results of a test to diagnose something as serious as pancreatic cancer, it can lead to incorrect or delayed treatment. Failures such as this can make a significant difference in a patient’s prognosis. Failing to diagnose pancreatic cancer in a timely fashion can lead to fewer treatment options and a worsened prognosis (chance of survival).
Early diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer are critical for survival.
Some of the symptoms healthcare providers can look for include but are not limited to: Read the rest »
Scientists and medical professionals are always looking for more accurate and efficient ways to diagnose cancer. According to recent reports, a pathologist has recently developed software to assist doctors in identifying cancer cells in varied tissue sections. The information provided by the software can help doctors determine the severity of the cancer resulting in more accurate diagnoses.
This new software will not replace pathologists, but it can be used to enhance the reliability of a pathologist’s interpretation.
Some of the most commonly misdiagnosed cancers include colorectal, breast, lung and pancreatic cancer. Depending on the nature of the abnormal cell growth, cancer cells can multiply and spread quickly, or a cancer may be slow growing. In either case, patients who are not diagnosed in a timely manner may have fewer treatment options and a worsened prognosis. However, as further advancements are made to help in the diagnosis of cancer, hopefully healthcare providers will utilize the resources available to them, and maybe fewer people will suffer from misdiagnoses and failures to timely diagnose their disease. Read the rest »
The key to fighting colon cancer is early detection and treatment. When a patient is misdiagnosed or when there is a failure to timely diagnose colon cancer, there is an increased risk of it spreading (metastasizing) and treatment options become significantly limited. In these types of cases, it is important to determine when the cancer could/should have been diagnosed and if the patient’s prognosis was affected by the failure to provide timely treatment.
One of the reasons colon cancer is not timely diagnosed or misdiagnosed is that the early signs and symptoms of the disease process are sometimes not recognized or are misinterpreted by healthcare providers. It is therefore critical for healthcare providers to be cognizant of the symptoms of colon cancer during the earliest stages, when it is the most curable; and to ensure that patients go for adequate timely screenings including colonoscopy, and fecal occult blood tests (FOBTs). Read the rest »
The American Cancer Society has released its annual report on cancer rates throughout the United States. As reported in a Star Ledger article posted on NJ.com, there will be a national total of 1,665,540 new cases of cancer during 2014, including 585,720 cancer deaths. While the report found that cancer rates across the nation have been on a slow but steady decline over the past several years, not all states were positively affected.
The state of New Jersey continues to have the seventh highest cancer rate in the nation. Reports indicate that there will be approximately 51,000 cancer-related deaths during 2014, with prostate, lung, and breast cancer being the chief diseases causing cancer fatalities. Read the rest »
Prostate cancer is the most commonly occurring non-skin cancer in the United States today. That is significant considering this type of cancer only affects males. However, prostate cancer has an extremely high survival rate because of new breakthroughs in not only treatment, but also due to early detection. The Associated Press has reported that the pharmaceutical company Dendreon has submitted a Food and Drug Administration application seeking approval of the drug Provenge, which apparently has shown promise with regard to the treatment of prostate cancer. Dendreon has said that it hopes to launch this new drug in 2010 once the FDA has approved it.
Despite advances in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate and other cancers, unfortunately there are still a number of physicians who do not always screen patients for prostate cancer with PSA test or a DRE (digital rectal examination) ,or, who fail to appreciate the significance of symptoms or warning signs associated with this cancer. There is no denying that early diagnosis and prompt treatment is the key to increasing ones chances of surviving any type of cancer. In many cases where cancer is misdiagnosed or not timely diagnosed, there can be a delay in treatment, and, a poorer prognosis for cure as result. Read the rest »
A recent article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel addresses the experiences of three women who suffered the consequences of delayed ovarian cancer diagnosis. A 49-year-old woman said she had been telling her doctors about various symptoms and tell-tale signs including abnormal bleeding between periods. She was told nothing was wrong, until a year later, when she went back to the doctors and was informed that she would need to have surgery for ovarian cancer the next day.
According to national statistics, one in 72 women at some point in their lives will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. About 20,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, and, unfortunately, more than half die within five years. Read the rest »
Recent Mayo Clinic research has determined that routine annual evaluation of prostate growth is not solely the best predictor for the development of prostate cancer. According to a recent news report, the recent study suggests that if a man’s prostate specific antigen (PSA) level is rising quickly, a prostate biopsy is a more reasonable way to rule out prostate cancer. PSA is a substance that is produced in the prostate gland. Under normal circumstances a small amount of this substance enters a man’s bloodstream.
Men from the study group who did develop prostate cancer apparently showed a sharper and faster rise in PSA levels compared to other men who were not diagnosed with prostate cancer. Based on this study, a higher amount of PSA, or, a sudden increase in PSA levels can be indicative of a problem, possibly prostate cancer. Read the rest »