Tag Archives: Early Cancer Detection

Losing Too Much Weight When You Are Over 60 May Signify Cancer

Losing Too Much Weight When You Are Over 60 May Signify Cancer
Losing Too Much Weight When You Are Over 60 May Signify Cancer

As the obesity problem in our society has grown, doctors have recommended programs for their patients to lose weight through healthy eating and moderate exercise. But immuno oncology experts warn that unexplained weight loss in people over the age of 60 can be a sign of cancer.

What Is the Relationship between Unexplained Weight Loss and Cancer?

With cancer survival rates that rank well below those of many comparable countries, Great Britain has been searching for ways to improve early detection and treatment. A research team led by the Universities of Oxford and Exeter set out to quantify the connection between unexplained weight loss and cancer.

The team reviewed 25 studies involving 11.5 million patients. Their major findings include:

– Men over the age of 60 with unexplained weight loss had a 14.2 percent risk of cancer, more than double the 6.7 percent risk of women in the same age group.

– Weight loss is a primary factor in prostate cancer, the most common form occurring in men, which accounts for the gender disparity.

– Unexpected weight loss was found to be the second-highest risk factor in colorectal, lung, renal and pancreatic cancers.

Improving Access to Early Testing

There are currently no guidelines for doctors regarding weight loss and how it pertains to cancer. Dr. Richard Roope of the Royal College of GPs expressed hope that this study will help improve access to more accurate diagnostic tools.

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Fast Diagnostic Testing May Improve Cancer Outcome for Many Patients

Fast Diagnostic Testing May Improve Cancer Outcome for Many Patients
Fast Diagnostic Testing May Improve Cancer Outcome for Many Patients

Early detection greatly improves the chances of immunotherapy for cancer and other treatments to have a beneficial effect. A recent literature review by a team of experts emphasizes the importance of patients receiving fast diagnostic testing as soon as possible after a positive screening.

Making the Case for Fast Diagnostic Testing

An interdisciplinary team of cancer experts, led by a group from the University of Pennsylvania, conducted a review of studies involving patients with breast, cervical, colorectal and lung cancer. All studies were published between January 1998 and December 2017 and were drawn from average-risk populations except in the case of lung cancer.

Patient outcome data in the studies provided clear support for the policy of receiving quick diagnostic testing, such as a CT scan, after a positive screening result. While the team suggested a target time frame for each type of cancer ranging from 60 to 90 days, they emphasized that there is no specific window of safety.

Why Time Is of the Essence

Dr. Chyke Doubeni, lead author of the review, stated the following benefits of prompt diagnostic testing:

– Reduced mortality risk

– Less worry and uncertainty for the patient

– Reduced likelihood of delays, such as changes in insurance coverage

Researchers will now focus on identifying the data that will allow more precise definitions of time frames for testing.

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Gene-Based Urine Tests Used for Bladder Cancer Discovery

Gene-Based Urine Tests Used for Bladder Cancer Discovery
Gene-Based Urine Tests Used for Bladder Cancer Discovery

What if you could determine your need for bladder cancer treatment from a routine urine sample, just like many other medical conditions? Scientists have recently developed a test that could make this a reality.

Using Gene-Based Testing for Early Cancer Detection

A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center has been studying cancer genes to find more effective methods of early detection. Earlier this year, they announced a new blood test called CancerSEEK, which screens for eight different types of cancer, and PapSEEK, which screens for endometrial and ovarian cancers via cervical fluid samples.

In a study published in March, the team revealed the addition of another test called UroSEEK. Urine samples are analyzed for the presence of gene mutations or abnormal numbers of chromosomes, both of which are associated with bladder cancer and upper tract urothelial cancer (UTUC).

Identifying New Cancer Cases and Recurrences

During clinical studies involving 570 at-risk patients, UroSEEK had an 83 percent success rate identifying those who did develop bladder cancer. When UroSEEK was used in conjunction with cytology, the standard test for bladder cancer, accuracy rose to 95 percent.

According to Dr. David McConkey of the Johns Hopkins Greenburg Bladder Cancer Institute, bladder cancer has a high rate of recurrence. Another benefit of UroSEEK is that it can be used to effectively monitor patients who have already undergone treatment for bladder cancer.

Individually Created Cancer Treatment for Each Patient

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Robots May Soon be Performing Lung Laparoscopies for Cancer Detection

Robots May Soon be Performing Lung Laparoscopies for Cancer Detection
Robots May Soon be Performing Lung Laparoscopies for Cancer Detection

Robots are becoming increasingly entrenched in manufacturing, but do they have a place in cancer treatment? Earlier this year, the FDA approved a new robotic device for use in diagnosing lung cancer.

Robotics: Building Better Surgical Devices

As a surgical resident in the early 1908s, Fred Moll became convinced that there was a better way to perform procedures. After resigning his residency, Moll went to work creating high-tech medical devices.

Today Moll has become known for his invention of the $2 million da Vinci Surgical System, which is the top-selling surgical robot used in laparoscopic procedures. Surgeons operate the device using electronic hand controls and a video monitor.

But Moll is not content to rest on his laurels. He’s certain that medical robots will eventually be able to work autonomously, without relying on a surgeon’s control.

The Future of Robotic Surgery

On March 22, the FDA approved use of the Monarch Platform, which is the first step toward Moll’s ultimate vision. The new system includes a pair of arms as well as a long tube for doctors to steer a camera and other instruments inside the patient’s body.

At this point, FDA approval covers the Monarch Platform for use by a doctor to diagnose (and eventually treat) lung cancer. According to Moll, the Monarch will be able to drive itself in as few as 18 months from now.

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Protein Biomarker Found for Liver Cancer That May Allow for Early Treatment

Protein Biomarker Found for Liver Cancer That May Allow for Early Treatment
Protein Biomarker Found for Liver Cancer That May Allow for Early Treatment

While some cancer rates have dropped, cases of liver cancer have actually tripled since the 1980s, with only 20 percent of patients surviving more than five years after diagnosis. Scientists are hoping to fight this trend with the discovery of a new protein biomarker that can lead to earlier cancer immunotherapy.

Dire Prognosis for Liver Cancer

The grim mortality rate for liver cancer is largely due to the fact that it’s usually diagnosed in late stages, by which point the liver has already sustained too much damage. A study recently published in the journal Nature describes findings that may enable earlier diagnosis.

Using Tumor Suppressors for More Accurate Diagnosis

Anti-cancer proteins known as tumor suppressors have the ability to check the rapid cell growth. Problems arise when the tumor suppressors in cancer cells fail to do their job.

A team at the University of Basel in Switzerland went in search of more effective tumor suppressors by testing a mouse model of liver cancer. The researchers examined more than 4,000 individual proteins in the diseased tissue and compared them to those in healthy tissue.

One protein called histidine phosphatase (LHPP) was found in healthy tissue but not in the tumor cells. Similar results were found when the team focused on LHPP in humans with liver cancer. Scientists are hopeful that LHPP can serve as a biomarker, allowing for earlier diagnosis and treatment.

Cancer Immunotherapy for Late-Stage and Therapy-Resistant Tumors

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New Tao Brush Technique May Find More Female Pelvic Cancers Early

New Tao Brush Technique May Find More Female Pelvic Cancers Early
New Tao Brush Technique May Find More Female Pelvic Cancers Early

Ovarian and uterine cancers are often detected too late for effective treatment. Immuno oncology got a major boost recently with the development of an advanced Pap test that can provide early diagnosis.

Improving Early Detection of Female Pelvic Cancers

Researchers from McGill University and Johns Hopkins University teamed up to work on PapSEEK. This safe and minimally invasive test uses Pap samples from the uterus, cervix and blood to identify common genetic mutations in cancer DNA.

While the standard Pap test collects samples from the cervix, McGill professor Lucy Hopkins suggested that the team collect samples from the uterus as well to increase chances of detecting other types of cancer. They used a method called the Tao brush technique to improve the sensitivity of the test.

Going Beyond Traditional Testing

PapSEEK was tested on samples from more than 1,300 women from different hospital sites in different countries. Just over 600 of the samples were from patients with endometrial or ovarian cancer, while the others were healthy controls.

The researchers were able to detect 81 percent of endometrial cancers and 33 percent of ovarian cancers, with higher rates when the Tao brush technique was implemented. In addition, there were no false-positive results.

According to Gilbert, the Pap smear has reduced the number of cervical cancer deaths, but endometrial and ovarian cancers were going undetected. Gilbert believes that PapSEEK will be a valuable breakthrough, just as the original Pap test was.

Immuno Oncology for Late-Stage Cancers

Issels® has a proud history of helping patients achieve remission after a diagnosis of late-stage cancer. Visit our website to learn more.