Early Detection and Intervention Reduce Breast Cancer–Related Lymphedema


“A new study has found that early detection along with a simple intervention can be highly effective in preventing breast cancer–related lymphedema for at-risk women. According to data presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Breast Surgeons, 82% of women identified at an early stage of lymphatic impairment returned to their normal pretreatment measurements following patient-administered therapies that combined compression sleeve garments and self-directed massage. The researchers, who used bioimpedance spectroscopy to measure extracellular fluid, emphasized that early screening of lymphatic function is crucial to address subtle lymphatic changes before they become permanent. ”

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Cell-Free DNA Blood Test May Detect Early-Stage Lung Cancer


“As part of our coverage of the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, held June 1–5 in Chicago, we spoke with lung cancer specialist Dr. Geoff Oxnard, an associate professor of medicine at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. At ASCO, Dr. Oxnard presented data from a study he and colleagues conducted on a blood test that could potentially noninvasively detect early-stage lung cancer.”

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Combined Urine Test for T2:ERG, PCA3 Ups Prostate CA Detection


“Testing for combined urinary PCA3 and TMPRSS2:ERG (T2:ERG) RNA can improve detection of prostate cancer, according to a study published online May 18 in JAMA Oncology.

“Martin G. Sanda, M.D., from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a multicenter diagnostic evaluation and validation in academic and community-based ambulatory urology clinics. A sample of men presenting for first-time without preexisting prostate cancer were enrolled: 516 in the developmental cohort and 561 in the validation cohort. Urinary PCA3 and T2:ERG RNA were measured before prostate biopsy.”

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Breast Cancer Blood Test Now Accessible Under Health Benefits for Millions of Women in the U.S.


“Provista Diagnostics, a private company developing and commercializing protein-based diagnostic, prognostic and monitoring tests for cancers affecting women, today announced the signing of 13 agreements with Third Party Administrator (TPA) Networks for coverage of Videssa® Breast.

“Videssa Breast is the first protein-based blood test that can improve the accuracy of early breast cancer detection. These agreements with TPA Networks will expand patient access to Videssa Breast at a reduced cost and ensure optimal reimbursement for the test. TPA Networks are organizations that process insurance claims and specific aspects of employee benefit plans. In addition, they are networks of providers who are contracted to provide healthcare services to plan members.”

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Patients with Melanoma Skin Cancers don’t Regularly Perform Thorough Skin Self-Exams

“According to the American Cancer Society, more than 70,000 people are diagnosed with melanoma each year in the United States. It is recommended that such individuals perform a thorough skin self-exam on a regular basis to look for potential disease recurrence or new melanomas. But research by Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey investigators shows fewer than 15 percent of melanoma patients surveyed regularly examine all parts of their body. Rutgers Cancer Institute behavioral scientist Elliot J. Coups, PhD, an associate professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is the lead author of the work just published in the journal Melanoma Research (doi: 10.1097/CMR.0000000000000204). He shares more about the research.”

Training for Patients with Melanoma and Their Partners on Skin Examinations

“Training on skin self-examination (SSE) to aid early detection could be extra beneficial for patients with melanoma and their partners who report having low relationship quality because it gives them activities to do together, according to an article published online by JAMA Dermatology.

“Melanoma remains a significant public health concern with an estimated 73,000 new cases of invasive melanoma and more than 9,900 deaths expected to occur in 2015. Melanoma is a treatable cancer with a high survival rate if it is detected early. Individuals previously diagnosed with melanoma are 10 times more likely to develop additional melanomas, which makes them an important population on which to focus early detection. Melanomas detected during SSE are more likely to have favorable outcomes. However, many areas on the body are difficult to examine by oneself so a skin-check partner is beneficial.”

A Blood Test for Early Detection of Breast Cancer Metastasis

“The chances of being cured of breast cancer have increased in recent decades, however if the tumour has metastasised, the disease remains essentially incurable. One reason for this could be that the metastases are detected late, after they have grown enough to cause symptoms or be seen on a radiological scan. If they could be found sooner, it might be possible to treat the new tumours. Research findings from Lund University in Sweden now provide new hope for a way of detecting metastases significantly earlier than is currently possible.

“The discovery was made by a research team led by Lao Saal, M.D. Ph.D, and is based on what is known as cell-free circulating DNA – small fragments of genetic material from different cells which circulate in the blood. It is normal to have low amounts of such DNA material in the blood, but in the case of diseases such as cancer, these amounts can increase. Furthermore, in cancer patients, the circulating DNA contains the genetic mutations which are specific to the tumor.

“Lao Saal and his colleagues used previously gathered material from a breast cancer study which has been underway in Lund since 2002. The material contained samples from surgically removed tumours from patients with non-metastatic disease as well as blood samples taken from the patients at regular intervals during the years in which they were followed up.”

ABCD Rules for Diagnosis of Melanoma Reviewed

“The American Academy of Dermatology Ad Hoc Task Force for the ABCDEs of Melanoma, chaired by Hensin Tsao, MD, PhD, reviewed the mnemonic for early detection of melanoma and determined it has strengths and weaknesses.

“The ABCDE mnemonic includes A = asymmetry, B = border, C = color, D = diameter and E = evolving. The individual ABCDE criteria display sensitivities of 57%, 57%, 65%, 90% and 84%, and specificities of 72%, 71%, 59%, 63% and 90%, respectively, when used by dermatologists for diagnosing melanoma.

“The reviewers specifically looked at the use of the diameter (D) criterion and whether it should be revised to include melanomas smaller than 6 mm. They reported that studies have found melanomas smaller than 6 mm ranged from 2.2% to 22% of the lesions biopsied. The task force members added that small diameter might not be indicative of early melanoma and invasiveness.

“They also reviewed alternate mnemonics for subtypes of melanoma, including ABCDEF for subungual melanoma, and additional ABCD criteria for pediatric melanoma. Other detection tools for early melanoma, including the Glasgow seven-point checklist, were reviewed.

“ ‘Although the diagnostic accuracy of ABCDEs has been verified in clinical practice and are a useful tool when used by dermatologists, to our knowledge, no randomized clinical trial has been performed to demonstrate that using the ABCDE criteria improves the ability to perform early detection by the public,’ the task force concluded. ‘Further research will be important to determine if the ABCDE criteria should be altered or set aside in favor of a newer paradigm.’ ”

FTC Announces Settlements against Marketers of Apps Claiming Utility in Early Melanoma Detection

“The Federal Trade Commission announced that the marketers of MelApp and Mole Detective have agreed to settlements that bar them from deceptively claiming their mobile apps can detect symptoms of melanoma, even in early stages.

“ ‘Truth-in-advertising laws apply in the mobile marketplace,’ Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a press release. ‘App developers and marketers must have scientific evidence to support any health or disease claims that they make for their apps.’

“The FTC is looking into charges against two additional marketers of Mole Detective who did not agree to the settlement, according to the release.

“FTC complaints reported that the apps instructed users to photograph a mole with their smartphone camera and input other information regarding the mole. The mole’s melanoma risk was then calculated as low, medium or high, according to the apps’ purports.”