Before any patient begins treatment for cancer, oncologists should discuss first- and second-degree family cancer history, according to new recommendations from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The ASCO recommendations, published recently, are the first to focus on family history and a person’s genetic risk of cancer.
Archive for General interest
Rumors of a link between deodorant/antiperspirant and breast cancer have been around for nearly 20 years. The theory is that by blocking sweat glands in the armpits (particularly in women who shave their underarms), antiperspirants allow toxic compounds to accumulate in the underarm lymph nodes near the breasts, prompting cancer to develop.
Getting the nutrients your body needs isn’t always easy, especially when certain treatments, such as chemotherapy, may make food less desirable. Many people consider taking vitamins and supplements to ensure optimal health, but, according to Dana-Farber nutritionist Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, it is important to think about the benefits of “food first.”
Cancer does not have to be a solo journey. Every diagnosis involves doctors, nurses, family members and friends. Sometimes, support from these people can give that extra push to get you through a chemo infusion, or another radiation treatment.
We recently asked our Facebook followers about the best support they’ve received as a patient, or provided as a caregiver. Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories. Here is a sample of they had to say:
CVS Caremark announced this week it will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products in order to promote the health and well-being of its customers. The new policy will take effect October 1, 2014.
“This step sends a powerful signal that tobacco products have no place at a retail organization dedicated to health,” says Dana-Farber President Edward J. Benz, Jr., MD. “We hope that other retailers will see the enormous contribution they could make to the nation’s health if they were to join CVS in ridding their shelves of these products.”
Thousands of people who face life-threatening blood diseases, such as leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma, require treatment with a stem cell transplantation (also referred to as a bone marrow transplantation). For many patients, the best treatment approach is an allogeneic transplant, in which healthy stem cells are collected from another person. The stem cell donor is selected based on how well his or her Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) markers match that of the patient.
Although a person’s HLA type is inherited from his or her parents, the likelihood of finding an HLA match with a family member is only 25 to 30 percent.
“Most people don’t have matched donors in the family, and if we’re going to provide stem cell transplants to cure these otherwise incurable diseases, we need to have a donor,” says Joseph Antin, MD, chief of the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center Adult Stem Cell Transplantation Program.
When cancer develops in someone with other diseases, it can be more serious, according to a recent annual report from several national cancer organizations.
“Cancer does not occur in isolation,” says Lawrence Shulman, MD, in commenting on the report. “It occurs in a human being, who may have other medical problems.”
If you’ve ever donated blood or platelets, there’s a reasonable chance that your donation went to help a cancer patient. That’s because cancer and certain treatments can damage blood cells, which means some patients may need transfusions of one or more types of blood components: