Cancer

Photo courtesy of Gabriel and Sarah Bosslet

This is part of Essential Voices, a series of interviews with people confronting COVID-19.

Physicians Gabriel and Sarah Bosslet have been married almost 20 years. Sarah was diagnosed early this year with breast cancer. Soon, the world began dealing with another health crisis: the coronavirus pandemic. 

Why Latinos Are Less Likely To Seek Healthcare

Dec 20, 2019
Photo by Annacaroline Caruso/Side Effects

Hispanics are the least likely racial and ethnic group to see a doctor when they have health problems. That’s according to a study by the Census Bureau. There are several barriers that discourage some from that community from seeking medical attention in the U.S.

AdinaVoicu/Pixabay image Creative Commons. https://pixabay.com/photos/cigarette-tobacco-smoke-smoking-3305408/

Indiana has one of the highest smoking rates in the country -- nearly one in five Hoosiers smoke. Now, a new statewide policy makes it easier for smokers to get medication to help them quit. But some people want state leaders to do more. 

Most people knew James Strain as “Butch.” Dr. Cynthia Meneghini called him “Dad." She remembers him as a handyman who could fix anything. When she moved to a new house, he painted it top to bottom, despite feeling pain in his ribs.

Health researchers in Indiana are knocking on doors to collect surveys and DNA samples. A growing number of studies factor in zip code when considering health outcomes.
Jill Sheridan/IPB News

When health researchers make headlines, it’s often for a sensational project – like manipulating genes to create a baby. But others are examining broader issues, including how – and where – you live affects your health.

In Post-Treatment Cancer Patients, Depression Can Take A Toll

Jan 30, 2019
CAROLINA HIDALGO/ ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Two decades ago, Jim Nace was a national ice cream salesman, on cross-country flights 20 days a month. He was on top of the world.

“I had a great lifestyle, lots of money, vacations; I was very caught up in the world I was in,” he said. “And then I got a sore throat.”

His wife, a dental hygienist, saw something that didn’t look quite right. A visit to the doctor confirmed the worst: It was tonsil cancer. Soon after his diagnosis, his company terminated his job.

Lauren Bavis/Side Effects Public Media

Steve Dillman thinks he can trace his prostate cancer back to August 1, 1985.

Products Of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Metabolism Show Anti-Cancer Properties In Mice

Jul 19, 2018
audrey_sel/Flickr

New research from the University of Illinois finds products of omega-3 fatty acid metabolism show anti-cancer properties in mice.

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain development. When the body metabolizes these fats, it creates a class of compounds that help reduce pain and inflammation. Known as endocannabinoids, the molecules behave similarly to compounds in marijuana, but without the psychotropic effects.

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Thirty U.S. states have enacted medical cannabis laws, and all but one of them include cancer in the list of conditions allowed. Such laws give cancer patients across the country access to a substance that remains illegal under federal law. Anecdotal reports suggest it’s helpful in managing symptoms of chemotherapy, like pain and nausea.

Of all types of skin cancer, melanoma causes the majority of deaths. When on the scalp it can be especially difficult to catch in a self-examination — when was the last time you examined the top of your head?

One person who might be able to help: your hairdresser. While cutting your hair, they've got a great view for a scalp inspection. And they can learn how to spot scary changes, researchers say.

Many Breast Cancer Patients Receive More Radiation Therapy Than Needed

Oct 23, 2017

When Annie Dennison was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, she readily followed advice from her medical team, agreeing to harsh treatments in the hope of curing her disease.

"You're terrified out of your mind" after a diagnosis of cancer, said Dennison, 55, a retired psychologist from Orange County, Calif.

In addition to lumpectomy surgery, chemotherapy and other medications, Dennison underwent six weeks of daily radiation treatments. She agreed to the lengthy radiation regimen, she said, because she had no idea there was another option.

Lori Wallace is sitting on a couch with her 11-year-old son and his new pet snake. It's burrowing under his armpit, as if it were afraid. But Wallace says it's not.

"If he was terrified, he would be balled up," Wallace says. "See, that is why they are called ball pythons. When they are scared, they turn into a little ball."

People are still dying of cancer linked to asbestos, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says, despite decades of regulations meant to limit dangerous exposure.

Starting in 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has regulated how much asbestos workers can be exposed to, because it contains tiny fibers that can cause lung disease or cancer if they are swallowed or inhaled.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA/Side Effects

29-year-old Zach Heath was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer on Christmas Eve last year. His response was to bury himself in his basement with a PlayStation 4 and Call of Duty. 

“[I] just shot people in video games for about eight hours, and that was how I kind of released my frustration,” he says.

Brian Paul/Side Effects

A generation of young men missed out on the HPV vaccine. Now, Side Effects Public Media's 29-year-old correspondent wonders if that’s putting him at risk.

Why Data May Be The Key To A Cancer "Moon Shot"

Jan 14, 2016
GettyImages-504725144.jpg
D Gorenstein

President Obama's final State of the Union address is in the books, and it was a speech largely empty of the policy promises that presidents usually make when they address the Congress — save one.

Environmental Factors Play Heavily into Cancer Risks, Study Says

Dec 30, 2015
Exposure to ultraviolet rays, as in a tanning bed, is one well-known extrinsic factor that can lead to cancer. But there may be many factors scientists don't yet know about.
Evil Erin via Flickr

Researchers say environmental exposures and behavior weigh heavily on the development of 70 to 90 percent of cancers.

The research, by a group at Stony Brook University in New York, shows only 10 to 30 percent of cancers are attributed to random cell mutations.

Special Treatment For Firefighters With Cancer? Some States Say Yes

Dec 10, 2015
Andrew Magill via Flickr

Mark Rine was just 30 when he was diagnosed with deadly, stage 4 melanoma after his wife noticed a dark spot on his back. In the three years since, doctors have cut out some of the Columbus, Ohio, firefighter’s lymph nodes, treated him with chemotherapy and discovered inoperable cancerous tumors on his spine and lung.

“I fought a lot of fires. Abandoned homes, kitchen fires, car fires, dumpster fires,” Rine said. “That’s how I got this mother of all cancers.”

Bad Day For Bacon: Processed Meats Cause Cancer, WHO Says

Oct 26, 2015

The World Health Organization has deemed that processed meats — such as bacon, sausages and hot dogs — can cause cancer.

In addition, the WHO says red meats including beef, pork, veal and lamb are "probably carcinogenic" to people.

Aspirin is now being recommended to prevent colon cancer in some patients
WikiMedia Commons

Aspirin is one of the oldest medicines ever used by humans, but it still continues to live up to its slug line: the Wonder Drug. Physicians have been using it for years to prevent heart disease in certain patients, now a federal group of independent medical professionals is recommending it to reduce the risk of colon cancer for some high-risk populations. 

Hispanic people much are less likely to get cancer than non-Hispanic whites, but it's also their leading cause of death.

Beneath that puzzling fact lie the complexities and contradictions of the Hispanic health experience in the United States. Since we're talking about 17 percent of the U.S. population, it has ramifications for health care and the economy.

Here's what caught our eye in Wednesday's report on cancer and Hispanics from the American Cancer Society:

Despite National Progress, Colorectal Cancer Hot Spots Remain

Jul 8, 2015

One of the great successes in the war on cancer has been the steep decline in the death rate from colorectal cancer.

Since 1970, the colorectal cancer death rate per 100,000 Americans has been cut in half, falling to 15.1 in 2011 from 29.2 in 1970.

Increased screening, improvements in treatment and changes in risk factors (such as a drop in smoking) have contributed to the dramatic reduction.

A mannequin on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC
greyloch via flickr/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

If you wear eye glasses or contact lenses, chances are they’ve been specially calibrated to your unique set of eyes. If you’ve ever received a transfusion, you’ve (hopefully!) received blood from a donor with a compatible blood type. So why not cancer and diabetes treatments that are specific to individual patients’ bodies?

Starting back in medical school, oncologist Anthony Back observed a disconnect between the way doctors talked to terminal patients about next steps, and the way doctors talked to each other. He worried that patients weren't receiving news about the need to transition to end-of-life care in a way they could process and understand. So he conducted a study: he filmed several of these talks between doctors and their patients.

A promising technique for making brain tumors glow so they'll be easier for surgeons to remove is now being tested in cancer patients.

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