Precision Medicine: Custom Treatment From Your Genes

A child in distress, no answers, no hope, until a doctor’s hunch using a new groundbreaking approach, precision medicine, shines a light on how to save her life, illuminating hope for many others. See how your genetic makeup and lifestyle can create precision medicine.

To learn more, see our extensive special report: Path to a Breakthrough with Robin Roberts: http://wb.md/2aFICwC

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Backwards: Jude’s Story | WebMD

Backwards is the story of Jude Hiley, an 11-year-old boy, who was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. He chose to have Rotationplasty, a surgery that turns his leg backward so his heel can act as a knee joint. and opening up the opportunity for him to play sports for the rest of his life.

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Cancer Strikes a Small Town

A family in Waycross, Georgia, talks about living with childhood cancer. To learn more, see our special report: Cancer Strikes a Small Town: http://wb.md/2eATVqQ

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Surgery for Advanced Pancreas Cancer – Mayo Clinic

Mark Truty, M.D., a Mayo Clinic surgeon specialized in treatment of pancreatic cancer, discusses the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of pancreatic cancer. Dr. Truty emphasizes that in 2013; approximately 45,000 patients were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Today, with Mayo Clinic’s research and modern approach to multimodal surgical management of pancreatic cancer, patients who previously may have had very little hope, now have a greater chance of long-term survival.

For more information, visit: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pancreatic-cancer/care-at-mayo-clinic/why-choose-mayo-clinic/CON-20028153/?mc_id=youtube

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Fighting Cancer: Ins and Outs of Immunotherapy

 

Cancer can play a cat and mouse game with our immune systems, hiding cells and making it harder to fight off the disease.

One treatment to help combat this is immunotherapy, a type of cancer treatment that helps strengthen patients’ immune systems and fight off cancer.

NIH and the National Cancer Institute are working to research and improve immunotherapy to help save lives.

What is cancer?

Our body usually forms new cells when our old cells die. Sometimes this process goes wrong. With cancer, new cells grow when you don’t need them, and old cells don’t die when they should. These extra cells can form a mass called a tumor.

How does immunotherapy combat cancer?

Some types of immunotherapy help find extra cancer cells so that they can be destroyed. Others boost your immune system to work better against cancer.

Who could benefit from immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is not as widely used as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. But immunotherapies have treated people with many types of cancer and are being tested in clinical trials.

Ask your health care provider if immunotherapy may be a good option for you or a loved one.

How is immunotherapy given?

Treatment can be given intravenously (in your vein), by taking a pill, or through your bladder. For patients with early skin cancer, there is an immunotherapy cream you can rub on your skin.

Where do you get immunotherapy?

You may get immunotherapy treatment at a doctor’s office, a clinic, or an outpatient unit at a hospital.

What are possible side effects of immunotherapy?

Side effects are unique to each patient and each cancer.

Some common side effects include fever, chills, weakness, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, and other flu-like symptoms.

If you had immunotherapy through your vein, you may have pain, swelling, soreness, itchiness, or a rash at the needle site.

What is NIH’s role in immunotherapy research?

NIH and the National Cancer Institute are leading the way in immunotherapy research and development.

NCI’s Center for Cancer Research is dedicated to finding new and better treatments for cancer, including immunotherapy.

Steven Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., and his team at the center have pioneered immunotherapy treatment. They also work with patients at the NIH Clinical Center to test new immunotherapies and improve cancer patients’ lives.

What new immunotherapy research is NCI studying?

Just recently, Dr. Rosenberg and his team saw a complete cancer regression in a late-stage breast cancer patient thanks to an experimental immunotherapy treatment they are working on.

The patient, who is part of an ongoing clinical trial at NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, was not responsive to other treatments.

15 percent of patients in the same trial have seen similar results with both liver and colon cancers.

SOURCES: MedlinePlus: Cancer; National Cancer Institute: Immunotherapy; Opens new window National Cancer Institute: Press Releases Opens new window

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Mayo Clinic Completes Proton Beam Therapy Facility

Mayo Clinic’s new, state of the art, Proton Beam Therapy Facility delivers radiation oncology in a way that promises lower side effects and higher cure rates, often for patients whose cancers cannot be treated safely any other way.

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Living as a Gallbladder Cancer Survivor

 

For some people with gallbladder cancer,
treatment can remove or destroy the cancer. The end of treatment can be both stressful and exciting. You may be relieved to finish treatment, yet it’s hard not to worry about cancer coming back. This is very common if you’ve had cancer.

For other people, the cancer might never go away completely. Some people may get regular treatment with chemotherapy or other treatments to try and help keep the cancer in check. Learning to live with cancer that doesn’t go away can be difficult and very stressful.

Life after cancer means returning to some familiar things and also making some new choices.

Follow-up care

After you have completed treatment, your doctors will still want to watch you closely. It’s very important to go to all follow-up appointments. During these visits, your doctors will ask about symptoms, and do physical exams, and may order blood tests or imaging tests, like CT scans.

If you’ve had surgery and have no signs of cancer remaining, many doctors recommend follow-up with imaging tests about every 6 months for at least the first 2 years, but not all doctors follow this same schedule. Follow-up is needed to check for cancer that has come back or spread. It’s also needed to check for possible side effects of certain treatments.

This is the time for you to ask your cancer care team any questions and discuss any concerns you might have.

Almost any cancer treatment can have side effects. Some may last for a few weeks to months, but others can last the rest of your life. Don’t hesitate to tell your cancer care team about any symptoms or side effects bothering you so they can help you manage them.

Ask your doctor for a survivorship care plan

Talk with your doctor about developing a survivorship care plan for you. This plan might include:

  • A suggested schedule for follow-up exams and tests
  • A schedule for other tests you might need in the future, such as early detection (screening) tests for other types of cancer, or tests to look for long-term health effects from your cancer or its treatment
  • A list of possible late- or long-term side effects from your treatment, including what to watch for and when you should contact your doctor
  • Diet and physical activity suggestions
  • Reminders to keep your appointments with your primary care provider (PCP), who will monitor your general health care

Keeping health insurance and copies of your medical records

Even after treatment, it’s very important to keep health insurance. Tests and doctor visits cost a lot, and even though no one wants to think of their cancer coming back, this could happen.

At some point after your cancer treatment, you might find yourself seeing a new doctor who doesn’t know about your medical history. It’s important to keep copies of your medical records to give your new doctor the details of your diagnosis and treatment. Learn more in Keeping Copies of Important Medical Records.

Can I lower my risk of gallbladder cancer progressing or coming back?

If you have (or have had) gallbladder cancer, you probably want to know if there are things you can do that might lower your risk of the cancer growing or coming back, such as exercising, eating a certain type of diet, or taking nutritional supplements. Unfortunately, it’s not yet clear if there are things you can do that will help.

Adopting healthy behaviors such as not smokingeating wellgetting regular physical activity, and staying at a healthy weight might help, but no one knows for sure. Still, we do know that these types of changes can have positive effects on your health that can extend beyond your risk of gallbladder cancer or other cancers.

About dietary supplements

So far, no dietary supplements (including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products) have been shown to clearly help lower the risk of gallbladder cancer progressing or coming back. This doesn’t mean that no supplements will help, but it’s important to know that none have been proven to do so.

Dietary supplements are not regulated like medicines in the United States – they do not have to be proven effective (or even safe) before being sold, although there are limits on what they’re allowed to claim they can do. If you’re thinking about taking any type of nutritional supplement, talk to your health care team. They can help you decide which ones you can use safely while avoiding those that might be harmful.

If the cancer comes back

If the cancer does recur at some point, your treatment options will depend on where the cancer is located, what treatments you’ve had before, and your overall health. For more information on how recurrent gallbladder cancer is treated, see Treatment Options Based on the Extent of Gallbladder Cancer.

For more general information on recurrence, you may want to see Understanding Recurrence.

Getting emotional support

Some amount of feeling depressed, anxious, or worried is normal when cancer is a part of your life. Some people are affected more than others. But everyone can benefit from help and support from other people, whether friends and family, religious groups, support groups, professional counselors, or others. Learn more in Life After Cancer.

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Inflammatory Breast Cancer – Suzy’s Story

Suzy Underhill, a patient at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, shares her story battling inflammatory breast cancer. She explains the diagnosis, treatment and how she managed to keep a positive outlook during the process. Learn more about breast cancer treatment at Mayo Clinic: http://mayocl.in/2lulFoe

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Will At Home Testing Improve Screening and Lower Cancer Rates?

Mailing colorectal cancer screening tests to patients insured by Medicaid increased screening rates for this population, report researchers at the University of North Carolina Comprehensive Cancer Center.

In collaboration with the Mecklenburg County Health Department in Charlotte, researchers with UNC Lineberger’s Carolina Cancer Screening Initiative examined the impact of targeted outreach to more than 2,100 people insured by Medicaid who were not up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening. The project resulted in a nearly 9 percentage point percent increase in screening rates for patients who received a screening kit in the mail compared with patients who just received a reminder, and it demonstrated that their method could serve as a model to improve screening on a larger scale. The findings were published in the journal Cancer.

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 97,000 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the United States this year, and it will result in approximately 50,600 deaths. It is third most common type of cancer in the United States, and the second leading cause of cancer death.  Cancer, overall, is the second killer in the US, behind heart disease.

While colorectal cancer screening has proven effective in reducing cancer deaths, researchers report too few people are getting screened. Current guidelines from ACS recommend regular screening with either a high-sensitivity stool-based test or a structural (visual) exam for average-risk people aged 45 years and older, and that all positive results should be followed with colonoscopy.

Despite these recommendation, studies have identified notable gaps in screening rates, including by race, geographic region and other socioeconomic factors. Among patients who are insured, people with Medicaid have the lowest rates of colorectal cancer testing.

“There has been a national push to increase colorectal cancer screening rates since colorectal cancer is a preventable disease, but screening rates are only about 63 percent, and low-income, and otherwise vulnerable populations, tend to be screened at even lower rates,” said the study’s first author UNC Lineberger’s Alison Brenner, Ph.D., MPH, research assistant professor in the UNC School of Medicine Department of Internal Medicine.

For the project, researchers either mailed reminders about colorectal cancer screening and instructions on how to arrange one with the health department, or reminders plus a fecal immunochemical test, or FIT kit, which can detect blood in the stool—a symptom of colon cancer. The patient completes the test at home and returns it to a provider for analysis. Patients who have a positive FIT kit result will be scheduled for a colonoscopy.

The UNC Lineberger researchers worked with the Mecklenburg County Health Department staff, who coordinated the reminders and mailings and ran the test analyses. They also partnered with Medicaid care coordinators to provide patient navigation support to patients who had abnormal test results and required a colonoscopy.

Twenty-one percent of patients who received FIT kits in the mail completed the screening test, compared with 12 percent of patients who just received a reminder. Eighteen people who completed FIT tests had abnormal results, and 15 of those people were eligible for a colonoscopy. Of the 10 who completed the colonoscopy, one patient had an abnormal result.

“Preventive care amongst vulnerable populations rarely rises to the top of the mental queue of things that need to get done,” Brenner said. “In North Carolina, many Medicaid recipients are on disability. Making something like colorectal cancer screening as simple and seamless as possible is really important. If it’s right in front of someone, it’s more likely to get done, even if there are simple barriers in place.”

Brenner said the study shows the potential to harness resources like the county health department for health prevention services.

“This collaborative and pragmatic quality improvement effort demonstrates the feasibility, acceptability, and efficiency of using existing health services resources and infrastructure, including Medicaid-based navigation to colonoscopy to deliver timely cancer screening services to low income populations,” said UNC Lineberger’s Stephanie Wheeler, Ph.D., MPH, associate professor in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and the study’s senior author.

She said researchers plan to move forward to study whether they can implement their approach on a larger scale, and to understand all of the cost implications.

“This is looking at expanding the medical neighborhood—to harness community resources to target patients and in this case, insured patients, who are maybe not getting this from a primary health care organization, and how to increase screening rates in these types of vulnerable populations,” Brenner said.


If you are looking for a doctor to discuss the need for colon cancer screening or your results, you can find a physician at HealthLynked.com.  We are the first ever healthcare social ecosystem designed to Improve HealthCare.

Connect and collaborate with physicians in your area specializing in gastrointestinal disorders, or any other assorted medical malaise.  Even find testing right in the platform you can have delivered to your door.

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Source:  originally printed, “By sending tests in the mail, researchers boost colorectal cancer screening.”  July 14, 2018 , UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

More information: Alison T. Brenner et al, Comparative effectiveness of mailed reminders with and without fecal immunochemical tests for Medicaid beneficiaries at a large county health department: A randomized controlled trial, Cancer (2018).  DOI: 10.1002/cncr.31566

Provided by: UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center