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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Many of our readers here in the United States and around the world know that President Obama has declared this month—September 2014—National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.
The President has reaffirmed that despite the fact that so much progress has been made in controlling the disease, it continues to devastate the lives of thousands of men in the U.S. and abroad every single year. In fact, in America, prostate cancer so far remains the most common cancer for men. It is true that the causes of prostate cancer are not known. But here is what we do know: Men with certain risk factors may be more likely to develop the disease. Most are over the age of sixty-five. Those whose fathers, brothers or close male relatives have had the disease are at higher risk. And African American men are especially prone to have the disease and are therefore considered at high risk. These high risk patients produce the highest mortality rates. Those diagnosed with prostate cancer are said to number roughly 200,000 a year. Deaths each year number about 30,000.
In issuing his proclamation President Obama said:
“My Administration will continue to stand with men and their families against prostate cancer. To ensure patients are covered when they need it most, the Affordable Care Act prevents insurers from placing lifetime or restrictive annual dollar limits on essential health benefits and from dropping coverage when people get sick., Beginning in 2014, the Act will also help Americans get the services they need by prohibiting insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre existing conditions. And to advance the state of care for men with prostate cancer, my Administration will continue to support promising research that brings us closer to tomorrow’s groundbreaking therapies, treatments and prevention techniques.”
We encourage our readers to join us in helping to spread the word that prostate cancer patients can be cared for properly and we hope all will join in activities that will increase awareness and prevention of prostate cancer.
Dr. Arthur L. Burnett MD and Norman S. Morris
Let us introduce Lee Anne Walmsley. She is a Registered Nurse working on her PhD dissertation at the University of Kentucky. Her work is dedicated toward improving the psychological well-being of men with prostate cancer. As she says, we know very little about the psychological well-being of men as they deal with the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. Her study is designed to provide new insight into what factors affect a patient’s well-being. We urge you to join in her research by helping provide information about yourselves.
You can participate in the study if you 1) have been diagnosed with prostate cancer before, 2) are 18 years or older, 3) are married or have a partner, 4) are able to read and write in English, and 4) have not been diagnosed with any other type of cancer. The research study consists of a brief survey that is completed online. Please consider taking the survey and sharing the link with your friends!By participating in the research study, you will help us get a better understanding of how we can intervene to help men with prostate cancer improve their psychological well-being. https://redcap.uky.edu/redcap/surveys/?s=rRwr6bEDgv
To those who take part in this survey we send our heart felt thanks. We also remind readers that our own book contains interviews with wives and loved ones, all of which should be of great interest.
An important finding to report for men who have undergone surgery or radiation therapy but who experience a rise in PSA and a return of prostate cancer! One very significant report to be presented at the May 30, 2014 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago suggests that hormone therapy can be withheld or delayed. This should be of immediate interest to oncologists and some 60,000 American men a year who find themselves in this situation.
In a telephone news conference (NYTimes May 15, 2014) the president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Dr. Clifford A. Hudis, in advance of the society’s meeting, said the study “certainly does not provide evidence that you have to rush in with treatment, and it does provide comfort if you choose for any reason to withhold treatment at the beginning, that you’re probably not risking much.” Hormone treatment to stem tumor growth can cause side effects including hot flashes, loss of libido and weakening of muscles and bones.
Read the full report at this link:
For most of us to visualize the “nano world” some biologists are peeking into can be shall we say transformative. Among these scientists are Richard Hynes and Alexandra Naba of MIT’s Koch Institute. They and their group have identified what are called extracellular proteins that help aggressive tumors spread throughout the body.
Here’s what we’re talking about. Nearly all cancer deaths result from tumors that spread from their original locations and travel elsewhere in the body. In other words, these cancer cells break loose and escape. This process is known as metastasis and the way they escape is what amounts to a scaffold or ladder of tissue. The villains are these nasty proteins and the researchers have identified dozens of these proteins that surround aggressive tumors. Oddly, not less aggressive tumors. The findings suggest that new tests will be developed to predict which of the tumors will be most likely to metastasize—thereby, helping to come up with new therapeutic procedures.
So here’s the problem says Dr. Hynes. All the current drugs are targeted to primary tumors. But once a metastasis appears—in many cases—there’s nothing to do about it. “ In principle, he says, “ one could imagine interfering with some of thse extracellular proteins and blocking metastasis in a patient. We’re a long way from that, but it’s not inconceivable.”
The extracellular matrix is made up of collagens that provide structural support for living tissues. But the matrix also included hundreds of other proteins that guide cells’ behavior and help them communicate with each other.
You can read all about the researchers findings in the March 11, 2014 online edition of eLife.
Much of the current research will center on whether extracellular matrix proteins in tissues to which escaped tumors often metastasize—these include bone, liver and lungs. That would make them more receptive, the authors say, to invading cancer cells. And if such proteins could be identivied, they could also be good drug targets.
Tons of entries. Please feel free to peruse our site. Simply scroll down to the bottom of each page and click on “older entries.” What you’re looking for is probably somewhere in our haystack.
James Fallows, senior editor of the Atlantic, interviews Eric S. Lander, one of the leaders of the Human Genome Project in the January/February issue of the magazine. It’s a splendid discussion about how scientists are investigating underlying causes of cancers. Not only an important read but an urgent plea for investing in a generation of brilliant young scientists who can help us ultimately find cures for cancers.
Cancer patients plagued with sleep troubles find insomnia and disturbed sleep can interfere with their therapeutic and supportive care measures. So it’s imperative that doctors offer patients reliable and effective interventions. It’s estimated that almost half of all cancer patients have sleeping problems. In large part, the trouble stems from pain and/or side effects of treatment. And such problems are best dealt with on an individual basis.
While it’s true that there are effective drugs that can help insomnia, many cancer patients don’t want to take additional medications—either because they have concerns about additional side effects or because they are afraid of developing a dependence on medication(s). There are two behavior interventions offered to help get sleep relief, and we can look at the latest findings relating to each of them.
The so called “gold standard” treatment is called cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT-I while the newer intervention is known as Mindfuness-Based Stress Reduction or MBSR. CBT is a psychotherapeutic approach that deals with dysfunctional emotions and maladaptive behaviors. Most therapists work with patients to allay anxiety and depression and these are problems that cannot be controlled through rational thought. It is effective to treat a variety of conditions—such as mood, anxiety, personality eating, substance abuce, tic and psychotic disorders. The therapist helps the patient deal with the “here and now’ to alleviate both the symptoms and the patient’s vulnerability.
MBSR, the second intervention, evolved into a complementary medicine that addresses a variety of health problems. Proponents say it brings together mindfulness meditation and yoga. It generally involved an 8-week intensive training in medication tries to produce a greater awareness of underlying emotiona, physical and spiritual health. The MBSR program started at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in 1979 and is now offered in over 200 medical centers, hospitals and clinics around the world.
A new study just completed by researchers associated with the University of Pennsylvania found that both CBT-I and MBSR dramatically reduced insomnia and sleep deprivation. Their research involved 111 cancer patients recruited from a cancer center in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, to one of two randomly assigned interventions for their insomnia, either CBT-I (47) or MBSR (64). When assessed 3 months after completing an 8-week treatment protocol, researches found that both CBY-I and MBSR reduced insomnia across each group. However, the effects in the CBT-I group occurred more rapidly whereas the MBSR group tended to show more gradual improvement over time.
The conclusion the scientists reached suggests we should not apply a one size fits all model to the treatment of insomnia and stresses the need to individualize treatment based on the patient’s characteristics and preferences.
Details can be found online in the current Journal of Clinical Oncology.
From the Duke University Medical Center word that an investigational prostate cancer treatment slows progression of the disease and may increase survival. Researchers say this is especially true among men whose cancer has spread to the bones.
The study (Clinical Cancer Research, Nov 19, 2013) concerns the drug tasquinmod, a new candidate for treating advanced and recurrent prostate cancer. It is an oral therapy that activates the body’s immune system to fight the cancer. Its mechanism is not fully understood, but it is known to block tumore blood vessel growth. This study completed phase II clinical trials and works with men whose form of disease does not respond to hormonal therapy. The lead investigator, Andrew J Armstrong, MD, says the study found that men taking the drug saw no cancer progression for an average of 7.6 months, compared to 3.3 months for placebo. Men whos cancer had already metastasized to their bones and took tasquinmod remained progression free for even longer—8.8 months compared with 3-4 months for placebo. Dr. Armstrong believes that if phase III trials are safe and effective, the drug could open the door for evaluating the immunotherapy in other cancers.
Our blog was originally designed to help update readers on the latest advances in research and treatment of prostate cancer. Essentially, it helps us update our book—PROSTATE CANCER SURVIVORS SPEAK THEIR MINDS: Advice on options, treatments and aftereffects— and keep the lay audience informed.
By and large our readers are patients, their loved ones and close friends. And we make every effort to keep the language understandable. But we’ve also discovered that some who peruse the blog are doctors and research scientists who are anxious to know what results have just come from the laboratory. Many of those results involve clinical notes, trial information, beta findings, information yet to be proven—requiring further research and confirmations. New ideas that can be shared among the scientific community we believe can offer promise and hope for new inspirations. So we’ve decided to set aside special notes to the research and treatment communities that casual readers are free to read or skip over. We’ll call them NEW TRACKS.
We hope NEW TRACKS will lead scientists and scholars in new directions in the fight to eradicate prostate cancer.