Tag Archives: Cancer Screening

Liquid Biopsy Test for Cancer Has Problematic Accuracy Results

Liquid Biopsy Test for Cancer Has Problematic Accuracy Results
Liquid Biopsy Test for Cancer Has Problematic Accuracy Results

Early detection improves the chances of successful cancer treatment, so recent news of a “liquid biopsy” has encouraged the medical community. Unfortunately, the test is showing unacceptable levels of accuracy, leaving the procedure a long way from any real-world applications.

Controlled vs. Real World Conditions

CancerSEEK uses a blood sample for a battery of tests to measure tumor biomarkers and identify cancer-associated DNA mutations. During clinical studies, researchers obtained some promising results.

By the team’s own admission, the conditions were optimized to facilitate detection of cancer. Even so, most of the cancers detected were late-stage while the goal of screening was to find cancer in the early stages.

Accuracy problems in less-controlled environments became more clear in a 2017 study involving 40 prostate cancer patients who underwent liquid biopsies to fine-tune their therapy programs. Each sample was sent to two different labs with similar technology, but the results differed for more than half of the patients.

Are Liquid Biopsies the Answer?

Researchers are also questioning the full value of a positive result. While the test may detect the presence of cancer, it gives no clues as to the location of the tumor, unlike traditional screenings such as mammograms and CT scans.

Scientists will no doubt continue to study the science behind liquid biopsies, as detection of circulating tumor DNA can have other applications. The question remains whether liquid biopsies have a viable future as useful cancer screening.

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New Blood Test Created by Johns Hopkins to Screen for Eight Cancers

New Blood Test Created by Johns Hopkins to Screen for  Eight Cancers
New Blood Test Created by Johns Hopkins to Screen for Eight Cancers

Early detection often makes the difference in successful cancer treatment. Thanks to a newly developed blood test, doctors will soon be able to screen for eight of the more common types of cancer.

Focusing on Early Stage Cancer Detection

CancerSEEK was developed by a team of scientists at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. It screens for cancers of the ovaries, liver, stomach, pancreas, colorectum, lung and breast. Collectively, these types are responsible for more than 60 percent of cancer deaths in the United States.

Based on the idea that circulating tumor DNA mutations can be specific cancer markers, the researchers set out to study several hundred genes and 40 protein markers. They finally ended up with segments of 16 genes and eight proteins, with the small mutation panel minimizing the possibility of false-positive results.

According to Nickolas Papadopoulos, senior author of the study, the team was inspired by the concept of using combinations of drugs for cancer treatment. When the test was administered to 1,005 patients with non-metastatic cancer, its median overall sensitivity to cancer was 70 percent with only seven false-positives.

The Future of CancerSEEK

Researchers are proceeding to larger studies of CancerSEEK. They project that once the test is approved for use the cost will be less than $500, and primary care providers will be able to administer the test with other routine blood work.

Cancer Treatment for Therapy-Resistant Tumors

Our non-toxic immunotherapy programs have been successful with advanced cases of all types of cancer, including breast, lung and colorectal. Contact us to learn more about state-of-the-art cancer treatments at Issels®.

People of Color Can Still Get Skin Cancer and Melanoma – What to Know

People of Color Can Still Get Skin Cancer and Melanoma - What to Know
People of Color Can Still Get Skin Cancer and Melanoma – What to Know

A commonly-held misconception is that people of color have little risk of developing skin cancer. It’s true that melanoma occurs less frequently, but the consequences of skin cancer among African Americans are more serious than most realize.

How Melanoma Affects People of Color

Data from a study published last July in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology showed that people of color are most likely to be diagnosed with melanoma in its later stages, resulting in worse prognoses and lower overall survival rates.

Many believe that the higher percentage of melanin in darker skin protects from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays. A recent survey revealed that 63 percent of African Americans never use sunscreen, despite the fact that they actually can be susceptible to sunburn.

Causes and Warning Signs of Melanoma

Genetics and environmental factors also play a role in the development of melanoma, as they did with iconic reggae singer Bob Marley. The Jamaican native died at the age of 36 from acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM), a form of cancer that appears on the palms of hands and the soles of feet.

Dr. Martitza I. Perez, senior vice president of The Skin Cancer Foundation, recommends that people of all ethnicities watch for the warning signs of melanoma:

• A sore or growth that doesn’t heal

• An ulcer or scaly red patch that crusts or bleeds

• Moles that are asymmetrical, larger than a pencil eraser, or display any sign of change

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Medicare Coverage for Early Detection of Cancer – What to Know

Medicare Coverage for Early Detection of Cancer - What to Know
Medicare Coverage for Early Detection of Cancer – What to Know

Navigating the ins and outs of Medicare coverage can be a challenge. Here’s what you need to know about this program and how it applies to screenings for early detection of cancer.

Do All Providers Accept Medicare?

• Participating doctors “accept assignments,” meaning they consider the amount received from Medicare along with your co-pay and deductible as payment in full, resulting in fewer out-of-pocket expenses.

• Non-participating doctors don’t always accept Medicare, so you have to pay out-of-pocket. Medicare will reimburse you for the portions they normally cover, but you still incur sizable expenses for the difference.

• Opt-out doctors don’t participate in Medicare at all, making you fully responsible for all charges.

Medicare Coverage for Cancer Screening

• Annual mammograms are covered for women aged 40 and older, while clinical breast exams (CBE) are covered every two years for women at average risk for breast cancer and once a year for those at high risk.

• Women at average risk for cervical cancer are covered for a Pap test and pelvis exam every two years, while women at high risk are covered annually.

• Colorectal screening is covered for people 50 and over based on risk factors and date of last test.

• For prostate screening, men over age 50 are covered 100 percent for an annual PSA blood test and 80 percent for a digital rectal exam (DRE).

Lung cancer screening is covered once a year if you are between 55 and 77 and have a qualifying history of smoking.

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Our personalized cancer treatment programs have helped many of our patients achieve long-term remission. Visit our website for more information.

Be in the Know: American Cancer Society’s Cancer Screening Guidelines

Specialized Cancer Screenings to Help Improve Catching Cancer Earlier
Specialized Cancer Screenings to Help Improve Catching Cancer Earlier

Everyone should know some basic facts when it comes to cancer screening. No matter your age or whether you display zero symptoms of illness, you may be in need of a screening test. If you are wondering whether you should get tested or curious about whether your loved ones need to go in for screening soon, it’s always a good time to review the cancer screening guidelines from the American Cancer Society.

The ACS provides a variety of info about cancer screenings:

• Suggested cancer tests by age group and sex.

• Information about early detection for certain kinds of cancer.

• Cancer screenings funded by Medicare and Medicaid.

• Tips for reducing cancer risks.

• Cancer treatment and support resources.

What Cancer Screenings Should Younger People Get?

According to the American Cancer Society, men and women aged 20 to 39 should seek a colon cancer test if they have any genetic, family, or diet-related risk factors.

Women in their twenties should be cautious about breast cancer and talk to their health providers about possible testing. Younger women should also get a Pap exam every three years to screen for cervical cancer.

Increase Cancer Testing After 40

As we age, our risk for most forms of cancer increases steadily. While frequent testing can lead to false positives and scary moments, it’s definitely best to be informed about cancer testing recommendations. The sooner a person is diagnosed, the more likely that cancer treatment will be effective.

At Issels® Immuno-Oncology, we help our patients with personalized cancer treatment and support. Contact us if you would like more information about our non-toxic immunotherapy cancer treatment.

National Cancer Institute Weighs in on Cancer Screening

Early Cancer Detection
Are All Cancer Screenings Effective? Necessary?

It makes sense to play it safe and get the cancer screenings recommended by your doctor. However, are they always necessary? How do you know whether each and every cancer screening is safe, necessary, and effective?

At Issels®, we offer Immunotherapy for cancer as the best method of treatment, but we always make it a point to be sure that you’re informed about what you should and shouldn’t do to protect yourself from cancer. Recently, Dr. Barry Kramer from the National Cancer Institute shared his thoughts in an interview, and we’re confident that you’ll find them quite enlightening.

Success with Cancer Screenings

Dr. Kramer makes it a point to talk about how successful some types of cancer screenings can be. He discusses the importance of pap smears for women, testing for blood in the stool, and how both of these procedures have been shown to be effective in decreasing the risk of death.

Mammograms (depending on your age) have also been shown to be effective. Even so, there is a common belief that all cancer screenings are vital for early detection and diagnosis, but that’s not always true.

The Downsides of Screening

There are downsides to getting cancer screenings as well, and Dr. Kramer lists several. Among them are the risk of false positives, which can trigger invasive tests and anxiety. False negatives are also a serious problem, and there is also a risk of over diagnosis that can result in non-essential testing.

Immunotherapy is a highly effective method of cancer treatment once you have been diagnosed. At Issels®, we want you to properly get screened for cancer. To learn more, contact us.