Lung Cancer Survival Rates Improve with CT Scan Follow-Up

“Patients with recurrent lung cancer have better post-surgery survival rates if their management includes a follow-up programme based on computer tomography (CT) of the chest, according to new findings.

“The findings, presented at the ERS International Congress 2015 in Amsterdam today (27 September, 2015), is the first to show improved overall survival after surgery for a CT- based follow-up programme and could change the way patients are currently managed.

“Previous research has confirmed that after the introduction of the CT-based follow-up, most cases of recurrent lung cancer can be detected before the patient has any symptoms. This allows for earlier diagnosis and leads to an improved chance of having a radical treatment against the relapse. This new study aimed to assess whether this follow-up also improved survival rates.”

Study Finds Safer Drug to Prevent Return of Breast Cancer

“Women diagnosed with a common type of breast cancer now have a more effective, safer drug for follow-up care intended to prevent the disease from returning or spreading, according to a national study that involved Pittsburgh doctors and patients.

“The study, released Saturday, found that anastrozole was more effective than tamoxifen, the medication of choice for the past 10 or 15 years, to prevent additional episodes of cancer in post-menopausal women already treated for the ductal cancer known as DCIS. The study was described as the first to compare the medications’ use in patients with DCIS.

“ ‘The bottom line is that this changes the way we treat’ DCIS, said Adam Brufsky, a study co-author and co-director of UPMC’s Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center.

“The study ‘has tremendous merit,’ said Thomas Julian, division director of breast surgical oncology for the Allegheny Health Network, noting as many as 50,000 women are diagnosed with DCIS each year. The drug especially benefited women younger than 60, he said.”

Smoking a Significant Predictor of Lung Cancer Recurrence in Survivors

“In 2015, an estimated 158,040 Americans are expected to die from lung cancer, making it the leading cause of cancer death in in this country. Lung cancer screening with low-dose CT scans in high risk smokers has recently been approved to help detect lung cancer in its early stages when no symptoms are noticeable. The hope is that by detecting lung cancer in the early, more treatable stages, doctors may be able to improve the outcomes of patients with lung cancer. However, in addition to screening high risk smokers, close follow-up and monitoring of lung cancer survivors is also extremely important.

“A new study has shown that many lung cancer survivors are at high risk for developing another lung cancer or having their cancer return after completing treatment. Conducted by researchers in the U.S., the study specifically looked at lung cancer survivors from three different institutions who had shown no further evidence of having the disease after completing the required treatment for lung cancer.”

Super Patient: Guido Tracks Side Effects from His Chemotherapy as a Young Adult

Sixteen years ago, Guido’s right leg hurt, but none of his doctors could figure out why. “I knew something was wrong, but nobody knew the reason. The worst thing was I didn’t know what to do about it,” says Guido, who was a college student in Austria at the time.

Tests didn’t show anything out of the ordinary, so he just had to live with the pain. But then, after nearly a year, it got so bad he was hospitalized—and this time X-rays revealed something growing around his thigh bone (femur). Genetic testing identified the growth as Ewing sarcoma, a rare cancer that usually affects children and adolescents. “It’s very uncommon in people in their 20s,” Guido says. “It’s not the first thing physicians think of.” Continue reading…

Research Shows Value of Additional PET/CTscans in Follow-up of Lung Cancer Patients

The gist: New research shows that four or more PET/CT scans can help guide care for patients who have been treated for lung cancer. This is significant in the light of a recent announcement from Medicaid and Medicare Services that only three FDG PET/CT scans would be routinely covered after treatment.

“New research from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine reveals a high value of scans which could lead to future change of reimbursement policies for follow-up positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) studies in lung cancer. The study, featured in the February 2015 issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, establishes the value of fourth and subsequent follow-up PET/CT scans in clinical assessment and management change in patients with the disease.

“According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in both men and women in the United States. Approximately 402,326 Americans living today have been diagnosed with lung cancer. In 2014, diagnoses of an estimated 224,210 new cases of lung cancer were expected, representing about 13 percent of all cancer diagnoses.

“In the retrospective study, a total of 1,171 patients with biopsy-proven lung cancer who had positron emission tomography with a radioactive tracer (18F-FDG were identified at a single tertiary center from 2001 to 2013. Among these, 85 patients (7.3%) had four or more follow up PET/CT scans with a total of 285 fourth and subsequent follow up PET/CT scans. Median follow up from the fourth scan was 31.4 months. The follow-up PET/CT scan results were correlated with clinical assessment and treatment changes.”

ASCO Endorses American Cancer Society Prostate Cancer Survivorship Care Guidelines

“The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has issued an endorsement of the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Prostate Cancer Survivorship Care Guidelines. These guidelines provide recommendations to primary care physicians on best practices in follow-up care for men after prostate cancer treatment. The guideline endorsement was published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“The recommendations include health promotion, prostate cancer surveillance, screening for new cancers, long-term and late functional effects of the disease and its treatment, psychosocial issues, and coordination of care between the survivor’s primary care physician and prostate cancer specialist.”

Small Increase in Risk of Bone Marrow Tumor after Adjuvant Breast Cancer Therapy

“Outcomes for early-stage breast cancer have improved, but incomplete examination and follow-up may have underestimated subsequent risks for treatment-associated marrow neoplasm in patients who undergo adjuvant therapy, according to study results.

“Prior first-generation adjuvant chemotherapy trials reported a 0.27% cumulative incidence of myelodysplastic syndrome/acute myelogenous leukemia after 8 years.

“In the current study — conducted by Antonio C. Wolff, MD, professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, and colleagues — the risk for marrow neoplasm among patients who underwent radiation and/or adjuvant chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer remained low, but was higher than previously described.

“Wolff and colleagues used the National Comprehensive Cancer network Breast Cancer Outcomes Database to evaluate 20,063 patients with stage I to stage III breast cancer treated at US academic centers between 1998 and 2007.”