Study Questions Exclusion of Cancer Survivors from Trials

Excerpt:

“A quarter of newly diagnosed cancer patients 65 or older are survivors who had a prior cancer — often preventing them from participating in clinical trials, researchers from UT Southwestern’s Simmons Cancer Center have found.

“The UT Southwestern scientists found that 11 percent of individuals ages 20-64 had a history of a prior cancer, and 25 percent of individuals 65 or older had a history of a prior cancer.

“As the number of cancer survivors grows, more individuals are being excluded from cancer clinical trials that could benefit them when diagnosed with a second cancer.”

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If you’re wondering whether this story applies to your own cancer case or a loved one’s, we invite you to use our ASK Cancer Commons service.


Breast Cancer May Return Even 20 Years Later, Study Finds

Excerpt:

“Breast cancer can ‘smolder’ and return even 20 years later unless patients keep taking drugs to suppress it, researchers reported Wednesday.

“They were looking for evidence that at least some breast cancer survivors might be able to skip the pills that reduce the risk of the breast tumors coming back, but found that even women with ‘low-risk’ cancers had a small rate of recurrence 15 and 20 years later.”

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If you’re wondering whether this story applies to your own cancer case or a loved one’s, we invite you to use our ASK Cancer Commons service.


For Breast Cancer Patients, Never Too Late to Quit Smoking

“Documenting that it’s never too late to quit smoking, a large study of breast cancer survivors has found that those who quit smoking after their diagnosis had a 33 percent lower risk of death as a result of breast cancer than those who continued to smoke.

“The study involved more than 20,600  with breast cancer, and is one of the largest studies of survival outcomes according to  habits in women with a history of breast cancer, and the first study to assess smoking habits both before and after diagnosis.

“The paper was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on January 25, 2016.”


Anthracyclines Negatively Impact Brain Function

“Cancer survivors treated with anthracycline-based chemotherapies exhibited poorer performance of certain cognitive skills compared with survivors who received no chemotherapy or other classes of chemotherapies, according to the results of a study published in JAMA Oncology.

“While the study of 62 primary breast cancer survivors is retrospective and small, the results suggest that further studies are needed to understand how the neurologic effects of anthracycline-based chemotherapy agents may be minimized.

“Shelli R. Kesler, PhD, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and Douglas W. Blayney, MD, of the Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, California, analyzed both cognitive function and resting state functional magnetic resonance brain imaging data from breast cancer survivors who were treated, on average, 2.1 years prior to undergoing the assessments. The patients were all assessed at Stanford University.”


Checkpoint Inhibitors Improve QoL in Melanoma Survivors

“The checkpoint inhibitors pembrolizumab and nivolumab not only prolong survival in advanced melanoma patients but also maintain health-related quality of life (QoL), according to two presentations at the Society for Melanoma Research 2015 International Congress, held November 18–21 in San Francisco.

“In the international, randomized, open-label phase III KEYNOTE-006 study, the anti–programmed death-1 (PD-1) humanized monoclonal antibody pembrolizumab provided superior overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and response, and with less high-grade toxicity compared with the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) inhibitor ipilimumab in 834 patients with ipilimumab-naive advanced melanoma who received up to one prior therapy.”


Super Advocate: Surviving Lung Cancer Revitalizes Dave Bjork’s Life


In 1998, Dave Bjork went to the doctor for a high fever accompanied by chills so intense that he shivered even though he wore three jackets. A chest X-ray revealed pneumonia and Dave went back to his life. “I didn’t think anything of it,” he says.

But then Dave had another bout of pneumonia only a few months later, and his new X-ray and his old one had a terrible similarity. “My radiologist held up the two X-rays and showed me that the infection was in the same spot,” he says. Next came a CAT scan and a call from his doctor saying they’d found a tumor in his lung. Continue reading…


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.”


Weight Training Helps Breast Cancer Survivors Regain Functional Strength

“Weight training can be a big boost to breast cancer survivors who are trying to regain muscle and bone strength lost due to cancer treatment and physical inactivity, says a Florida State University researcher.

“In the academic journal Healthcare, FSU Professor of Exercise Science Lynn Panton details how a weight training regimen can help women who’ve survived breast cancer repair chemotherapy-weakened bodies and help them get back to living their lives.

“ ‘Cancer treatment causes this accelerated aging,’ Panton said. ‘What we are finding is that many breast cancer survivors are very weak in the upper body.’ “


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.”