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/

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.

In March, Sound Medicine and WFYI held a series of intimate conversations about cancer with leading clinicians, health care professionals, clergy and thought leaders in Indianapolis, including experts from University of Indianapolis, the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, and Indiana University School of Medicine among others. The conversations touched on psychological and emotional aspects of care, life-extending therapies, clinical trials and personalized therapies, and the integration of spirituality with illness and treatment.