Thanksgiving Portable Cooktop

This is nice Thanksgiving gift for mom:

Secura 9100MC 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop

Duxtop Induction Cooktops use 120 volts, 15 amps of electricity – standard in all homes; Lightweight and compact for easy handling and storage. With 15 power levels from 200-1800Watts; 15 temperature ranges from 140°F to 460°F; Digital control panel; Built-in count-down digital timer up to 170 minutes; auto-pan detection and diagnostic error message system, Low and high voltage warning system; 5 foot cord. This feature rich cooktop is compatible with Duxtop and other induction ready cookware; such as cast aluminum, enameled iron and steel, stainless steel with a magnetic bottom, or cast iron.

  • 15 power levels from 200-1800Watts; 15 temperature range from 140 Degree Fahrenheit to 460 Degree Fahrenheit
  • Digital control panel; Lightweight and compact for easy handling and storage
  • Built-in count-down digital timer with 1 min increments up to 170 minutes; The auto-pan detection; Equipped with diagnostic error message system, Low and high voltage warning system
  • Compatible with Duxtop and other induction ready cookware such as cast aluminum enameled iron and steel, stainless steel with a magnetic bottom, or cast iron
  • Product Built to North American Electrical Standards, 120V 60Hz AC; 1-year warranty; ETL approved

 

 

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People with cancer are consumers of healthcare

What’s a hallmark of any premier consumer brand? They enable smart shoppers to get what we need, at just the right time. For example, if we buy a winter coat from an online marketplace, the shop encourages us to grab other gear—boots, a wool scarf, gloves—that further prepare us for the coming snow. It might seem like magic. But in reality, these retailers use complex algorithms to reap individually tailored insights from our data—our browsing habits, cookies, wish lists.

People with cancer are consumers of healthcare. Should they not receive this sort of customized approach to cancer treatment? Throughout their cancer journey, patients should have access to a personalized guide, which provides vital information and resources—the names of experts in their community when they are seeking alternatives, tips for handling side effects of a new treatment—at the perfect time in the progression of the disease.

As cancer survivors, we dream of this. As business leaders, we strive for it.

At the Harvard Business School Kraft Precision Medicine Accelerator, an effort advancing precision therapies, we’ve united cancer research groups with cutting-edge brands to learn how consumer-facing marketing strategies can help reach patients during their cancer journey. That goal means patients must share genetic data and other health information. Below are 3 things that must first be accomplished.

First, there must exist a resource that allows patients to safely and conveniently share their data, either through a CRM system or personal health information in an IRB-approved registry. A recent survey found that 93% of patients with the blood cancer multiple myeloma are happy to share their data and personal health information if it benefits researchers. But the reality is, many don’t know how to do that. Without improving the process by which people share data, healthcare will not build a robust dataset. Yet this trove of information could be used to target patients with the material they need, when they need it. Such a resource creates value for the patient, stirring them to share more data.

The second point calls for an increased understanding of patients. Consumer brands excel in this area. Nearly all major retailers have focused on learning all they can about their customers, guiding the creation of a personalized shopping experience that brings consumers back. We must begin to foresee crucial moments in patients’ journeys, when will benefit from outreach and, in turn, share their data. We have made strides toward this goal by pinpointing where lung, metastatic breast, multiple myeloma, pancreatic, and prostate cancer patients get stuck in their journey. Further, we have established a “roadmap” that can help lead all cancer patients to optimal outcomes.

Third, we must teach patients about the value of their data when placed alongside that of other patients, especially those with similar characteristics. Scientists may then recognize patterns that enhance treatment. Vast amounts of genetic data and other personal health information are critical to identifying mutations that are ripe for drug therapies. Amazon can foretell which films its customers want to watch based on data from the individual and many other similar viewers. Patients deserve to know their ideal treatments based on the outcomes of patients with similar attributes.

We intend to make this vision a reality, but it will take continued hard work from innovators across the cancer space.

By Kathy Giusti, Richard Hamermesh, and Lori Tauber Marcus

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Empower cancer patients to improve quality of life

A group of metastatic breast cancer experts has urged policymakers to empower patients with greater choice and participation in their treatment and care, to improve the quality of life of patients, their carers and families.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women and the second most common form of cancer overall, after lung cancer. It kills more than 90,000 people in the EU each year.

Almost one-third of all breast cancer patients develop metastasis, an advanced stage of the disease that spreads to other parts of the body. Despite being so common, survival rates among patients that develop metastatic breast cancer (MBC) are below 20%.

“Urgent policy action is needed for prevention as well as diagnosis of cancer at an early stage in order to save lives and social costs, and to fight the ever-increasing burden of chronic disease,” MEP Daciana Sarbu, who sits on the European Parliament’s environment, public health and food safety committee, told EURACTIV.com.

An expert working group of MBC stakeholders, including organisations representing doctors, nurses, carers and researchers, has called on policymakers to develop a holistic support system to allow patients and carers to balance MBC treatment with other aspects of their lives. The working group published its Policy Roadmap in October.

Making informed and empowered choices

It is common for MBC patients to feel disempowered by their condition and treatment options. But this situation can be massively improved by health policies that aim to involve patients actively in decisions that concern them, the experts say.

According to the roadmap, some 63% of patients want to participate actively in decisions about their treatment, “and the portion of patients who state such a preference is growing over time”.

Improved access to information and professional guidance on the risks, benefits, and uncertainties of certain treatment options can empower MBC patients to make informed choices that allow them to balance all aspects of their lives in the way most appropriate for them.

The roadmap recommended that the European Commission Initiative on Breast Cancer (ECIBC) to specifically address the needs of metastatic breast cancer patients and create a dedicated pathway for these patients, including a system of Specialised Breast Units (SBUs) that should ensure patients and informal carers’ access to supporting services for ongoing physical health, psychological and social needs. “Carers can play a key role in helping with this decision-making,” Claire Champeix, a policy officer for Eurocarers, the European association for carers, told EURACTIV.

To help achieve this aim, the roadmap urged the MBC advocacy community to “collaborate with key stakeholders to build MBC decision-aids for both patients and their informal carers, building on existing best practice methodologies”.

It also called on national health services to train doctors and healthcare providers in shared decision-making and communication, a commitment already made by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Both societies have already included in their oncology curriculums the requirement for healthcare professionals to be trained in communication.

Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) kills half a million women in the EU every year, yet progress on the quality of life and survival time of MBC patients remains elusive. MEPs addressed the need to improve patient outcomes with a policy roadmap launched on Tuesday (17 October).

Work-life balance

“As MBC is increasingly a long-term condition, with many elements of a chronic disease, there are metastatic cancer patients who still live an active and professional life,” the policy roadmap said.

But patients often have difficulty juggling their work with their care needs and many feel unable to tell their employer about their illness, for fear of damaging working relationships and perceptions of their competence. According to the roadmap, on top of the dramatic effect this can have on patients’ quality of life, it can also greatly increase the pressure on those who care for them, in addition to other family and professional commitments.

“We must tackle the health inequalities between EU member states, and it is important that the European Commission presents guidelines for companies in order to limit discrimination at the workplace and job losses for patients with MBC,” said Sarbu.

The MBC stakeholders noted that the European Pillar of Social Rights would help the European Commission to ensure EU member states adequately protect workers in this fragile situation. This policy framework aims to guarantee equal opportunities in the labour market, fair working conditions and social protection and inclusion for all EU citizens.

It will be proclaimed jointly by the European Commission, Parliament, and Council at a special social summit in Sweden on 17 November.

Yet while the Pillar of Social Rights will go some way to improving the quality of life of MBC patients, the roadmap highlighted the need to formalise the role of their carers and ensure they enjoy adequate social protection and recognition for their work.

Formalising support for informal carers

Care for MBC patients is often provided on an informal basis by family members or people close to the patient. These informal carers most often get no financial compensation and have to make big changes to their own lives to provide the support required, including bearing part of the financial burden.

“Many informal carers are forced to reduce their working hours and are sometimes pushed to quit their jobs in order to manage the responsibility of caring for someone with a severe and long-term disease,” the policy roadmap states.

“Relatives should have the opportunity to make choices about the level and the type of care they are likely to provide and be supported for the care they are providing,” Champeix said.

Yet support and recognition for the carers themselves are severely lacking in many countries, affecting not only their quality of life and their own health but in some cases also the quality of care they can provide.

“Carers need to be supported through formal recognition, information, advice and guidance, training, flexibility on the workplace, financial compensation, as well as access to quality and affordable long-term care services,” Champeix added.

The experts behind the policy roadmap pointed to Austria as an example of best practice policymakers across Europe should follow. Here, informal carers are entitled to training and financial aid and their right to recovery time is protected by the national labour law.

The policy roadmap’s authors went on the recommend that carers’ organisations be involved in national healthcare discussions, that ‘informal care’ be officially recognised by the MBC clinical community and that national governments show their concrete support by applying the principles of the Pillar of Social Rights.


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Your Grandparents Can Increase Your Cancer Risk

A systematic review published in PLOS ONE found that kids are more likely to develop cancer sometime in their lives when exposed to grandparents. This also doesn’t mean that grandparents are radioactive or that grandkids should should use eGrandparents to try to quit their grandparents.

Rather, researchers from the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and the National Health Service and the University of Stirling in England searched for all available scientific studies and found that many of grandma’s and grandpa’s common behaviors were bad for their grandkids’ health. Many of these behaviors seem to stem from the complex dynamic between grandparents and parents. Indeed, grandparents can be like a former starting quarterback who is now a backup consciously or unconsciously trying to undermine the current starting quarterback (picture grandma and grandpa with football helmets and pads). Grandparents may compete for the attention, affection, and love of their children’s children by:

  • Overfeeding their grandkids
  • Offering unhealthy food
  • Being more lax on screen time and other sedentary behaviors

Giving children what their parents refuse to offer (in other words, playing good cops to the parents’ bad cops) is a quick way to win appreciation and affection. Alternatively, grandparents may be overcompensating for being too strict when they were parents by being too lenient with their grandchildren. Moreover, grandparents continue practices that have since been deemed unhealthy, such as feeding kids tremendous amounts of beef jerky. Another such practice is smoking, which could expose grandkids to secondhand smoke and influence grandkids to smoke. All of these grandparent behaviors can in turn lead to grandchildren being overweight, having unhealthy diets, failing to get enough physical activity, or smoking, all risk factors for cancer.

The solution then is not necessarily to ban grandpa or grandma from any contract with your children (or get a reindeer to do something dastardly). Instead, pay attention to how your parents and in-laws may be adversely influencing or affecting your children’s health. Openly discuss your children’s health and coordinate your approaches to eating, physical activity, and other habits with your parents and in-laws. Be aware of how dynamics and competition with your parents and in-laws may ultimately affect how they treat your children. Your children should not be pawns in a chess match. In general, try to have the whole family (extended family included) agree on what would be most beneficial and healthy for your children. And if you are a grandchild, beware of grandpa and grandma trying to buy your love with candy and television. Opt for cash or stock options instead.

Of course, not all grandparents are just competitive, undermining backup quarterbacks who are trying to overstuff their grandchildren, lure them with bacon bits and Netflix, and turn them into smokers. You can have healthy relationships with your parents and in-laws. And even if your relationships aren’t optimal, you can still agree on what’s good for your children. Grandparents can serve as role models for healthier lifestyles, help with cooking, take your kids out to exercise, and teach them healthy habits. So, it won’t be anytime soon that doctors will ask, “do you smoke, do you get regular exercise, and do you have grandparents” when trying to assess your cancer risk.

By 


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Tom Marsiljie, cancer fighter and hero, died of colon cancer

On Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 12:15 pm, Dr. Tom Marsilje exited this world to be elevated into his next. Per Tom’s direct specifications, Becky Keller, President of The Gloria Borges WunderGlo Foundation, will be delivering Tom’s final blog post with his most important messages to leave with everyone to remember him by, prioritize, and embody for your own life’s greatest personal meaning. As Tom might say…..’Stay Tuned, Folks for my upcoming blog post, later on today – It’s a Biggie!’

Despite all that Tom did as a patient, scientist, and advocate, he always kept in focus what truly matters most. At the core of his being, Tom was, above all else, a soldier of courage and generosity who lived his life in service, with his life’s greatest joy and gratitude directed to being the beloved father to his precious daughters, Amelie and Eleni. We ask that you keep his wife, Veronica, daughters Amelie and Eleni, his sister, Anne, and all of his family and friends in your hearts and prayers.

Although today, we are filled with great sorrow, we are also overflowing with grateful hearts that Tom Marsilje undoubtedly fills.

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Approaching Lung Cancer With Precision

DAVE KARLIN (second from left) celebrates with his family at the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Walk/Run event in September at Lake Merced in San Francisco. - COURTESY DAVE KARLIN

DAVE KARLIN (second from left) celebrates with his family at the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Walk/Run event in September at Lake Merced in San Francisco.

The word “lucky” isn’t generally associated with a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. But Dave Karlin knows that in his case it applies.

Karlin, 60, of Belmont, California, was diagnosed in March 2017 with stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). He is among the 10 to 15 percent of patients with NSCLC who test positive for a mutation in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene, which provides instructions for making a receptor protein found on the surface of certain cells, including cancer cells, that causes them to grow and divide. The mutation makes him a candidate for targeted therapy, an emerging class of drugs that focus on blocking cancer’s growth at the cellular level.

“I got a call from my oncologist, saying I was EGFR-positive,” Karlin recalls. “She told me I was in the ‘lucky 10 percent’ and that my cancer could be treated with Tarceva (erlotinib).”

Karlin has adenocarcinoma, a type of NSCLC that begins in the cells that line the alveoli, tiny air sacs inside the lungs. Other main types include squamous cell carcinoma and large cell carcinoma, in addition to rarer types such as pleomorphic, carcinoid tumor, salivary gland carcinoma and unclassified carcinoma. How NSCLC is treated and whether targeted therapy is an option depend on the type and how advanced the cancer is.

“Targeted therapy has revolutionized how lung cancer is treated,” says Roy Herbst, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine, professor of pharmacology and chief of medical oncology at Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut. “It’s extraordinary. We’ve gone from ‘one therapy fits all’ to precise treatments based on molecular profiling.”

TAKING AIM

When NSCLC is diagnosed, oncologists stage the cancer to determine if it has metastasized to other parts of the patient’s body and the best course of treatment, including surgical options and more traditional treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation.

But oncologists also use testing known as molecular profiling to look for particular genetic arrangements that can be targeted during treatment. There are four different genetic signatures for which the Food and Drug Administration has approved targeted therapies for use in lung cancer: EGFR, ALK, ROS1 and BRAF.

Guidelines recommend genetic testing in patients with nonsquamous NSCLC, says Geoffrey Oxnard, M.D., thoracic oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, both in Boston. “If you find a mutation, there are treatment options,” he says.

Currently, those include the oral EGFR inhibitors Tarceva, Gilotrif (afatinib), Iressa (gefitinib) and Tagrisso (osimertinib), as well as the oral ALK-protein-targeted therapies Xalkori (crizotinib), Zykadia (ceritinib), Alecensa (alectinib) and Alunbrig (brigatinib). BRAF gene mutations may be targeted with the oral medications Tafinlar (dabrafenib) and Mekinist (tramentinib).

It’s important for patients to realize that there’s a difference between a person’s inherited genes and their tumor genetics, Oxnard says. Molecular profiling of a tumor is about understanding what makes the cancer think. “It doesn’t tell us why the patient got lung cancer,” says Oxnard.

Treatment for lung cancer varies by disease stage, but for patients with genetic mutations, targeted therapy is used as a first-line treatment. “In some lung cancers, we see particular mutations that are acquired, and we have developed excellent inhibitors that target the proteins affected by mutations,” says Jyoti Patel, M.D., professor in the department of medicine and director of thoracic oncology at the University of Chicago Medicine. “We see dramatic and durable responses in patients.”

Approximately 5 percent of patients with NSCLC have ALK mutations. Most recently, the Food and Drug Administration approved Alecensa to treat patients with ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC in the frontline. Results of the phase 3 ALEX study showed that compared with Xalkori, Alecensa improved progression-free survival by 47 percent.

In addition to ALK, mutations in BRAF or ROS1 are experienced by 1 to 2 percent of patients, Patel says, adding that the majority of patients with targetable mutations have adenocarcinoma, the most common kind of NSCLC. “We know far less about mutations that cause squamous cell cancer to grow,” she says.

Molecular profiling can be a vital first step toward getting the right treatment. “If you have a mutation, you will do better if you have one of these inhibitors instead of chemotherapy,” says Patel. “Targeted therapies improve outcomes and overall survival. They can cause tumor regression, often within weeks. Patients can live more normal lives.”

Oxnard agrees. “If a patient has a mutation, pill therapy with an EGFR inhibitor is better than chemotherapy. There are less side effects,” he says. That’s been Karlin’s experience.

After he was diagnosed with a main tumor in his lung, a smaller tumor in a lymph node near his chest and a smaller tumor in his chest wall, an MRI showed six lesions in his brain. “With stage 4 cancer, surgery is out of the question,” Karlin says. His brain lesions were treated with five days of stereotactic radiosurgery, and he takes Tarceva daily.

A scan three months after Karlin began Tarceva showed no tumor in his lymph node or chest wall, and the main tumor in his lung was down 50 percent. A second scan, done in September 2017, revealed no change in the main tumor but also no new tumor growth.

“In some ways, I feel better than I have in years,” Karlin says. However, he has experienced some of the common side effects seen with targeted therapy drugs, such as a facial rash, fatigue and a sensitive stomach. Diarrhea is also a common side effect of targeted therapies, and patients using ALK inhibitors sometimes have leg swelling, Patel says.

“These drugs hit cancer at its most vulnerable point without hitting the body,” says Oxnard.

For Karlin, Tarceva’s side effects are usually manageable, he says. “Chemotherapy and radiation is the image we have of cancer,” he says. “If the cancer doesn’t kill you, the treatment will. As long as the Tarceva is effective, I’ll be on it.”

OUTWITTING CANCER

Targeted therapy does have drawbacks. For instance, cancer cells can become resistant to them.

“These drugs are quite specific, and cancer can often outwit them,” says Patel. “It’s important for people to consider what’s next when they are on targeted therapy.”

But in April 2014, Hiznay’s cancer came back. After two months of radiation, his doctor again treated him with Xalkori.

That controlled the disease until April 2015, when he entered a phase 1 clinical trial of lorlatinib, a third-generation ALK inhibitor, which he continues to take.

“Some people have a diabetes pill once a day,” he says. “I have a cancer pill.”

Resistance is on Karlin’s mind, too.

“I’ve met people who’ve been on Tarceva for three years, six years, but cancers can mutate,” he says. “That cancer cell wants to stay alive and keep progressing.

“Treatment is like the game whack-amole,” Karlin adds. “If something comes up, we whack it. If nothing comes up, we wait. I’m a candidate for immunotherapy as a second-line treatment.”

Immunotherapy is a class of drugs that boost the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer by interfering with how cancer cells grow and spread. About onethird of patients with NSCLC have high levels of a biomarker known as PD-L1, indicating that an immunotherapy drug, such as Keytruda (pembrolizumab), would be appropriate, Oxnard says.

Still, new targeted therapies are emerging, such as an EGFR inhibitor for patients who develop resistance to first-line EGFR-targeted therapies. Tagrisso, approved for patients with a type of resistance known as the T790M mutation, has been shown to be very promising as the first therapy for patients with EGFR mutations, as well.

For patients with ALK mutations, Zykadia, Alecensa and Alunbrig are approved as second-line treatments for those who have developed resistance to Xalkori, says Oxnard. In addition, he says, randomized trials in EGFR and ALK show encouraging results in newer targeted therapies.

WHAT LIES AHEAD

The search for new first-line and second-line treatments holds great promise for researchers and clinicians. The Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute (ALCMI) in San Carlos, California, is collaborating with Champions Oncology and the ROS1ders, a group of patients with the ROS1 expression, on the Global ROS1 Initiative launched last year.

According to Guneet Walia, Ph.D., senior director of research and medical affairs for the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and ALCMI, the initiative has built an open data repository of ROS1-positive patients across seven cancer types in 19 countries. It is now building a bio repository of tumor tissue donated by the ROS1ders after biopsies and surgeries to help generate cancer models to identify new resistance mechanisms and drug targets.

With the advent of precision medicine, Walia says, patient populations in each molecular subtype — EGFR, ALK, ROS1 — get smaller, particularly considering second-, third- and further lines of therapy. “We need to rally resources to find these patients and study disease evolution,” she says. “That’s why we worked to identify patients from all over the world and bring them together under the Global ROS1 Initiative.”

The field has seen an explosion of advances in the past two to three years, Walia says, adding that because the EGFR and ALK patient populations are so much larger, people with ROS1 typically feel neglected in the development of targeted therapies.

“It’s so important to know the genetic makeup of your tumor so you get the right drug at the right time,” Walia says. In addition to getting molecular testing upfront, it’s important to get testing at each NSCLC cancer progression, she says: “Cancer always finds a way to grow and evolve, despite therapy. Getting another biopsy and round of molecular testing can tell you if your drivers have evolved.”

Molecular testing can take a while for some patients because their biopsy may have been done elsewhere or there may not be enough tissue left, Oxnard says. That may change with the development of liquid biopsies, which allow medical experts to examine blood for free-floating DNA.

“Things are rapidly changing,” Patel says. “These incremental gains add up to leaps forward in our treatment of lung cancer. We’re learning how to outwit cancer and how to develop drugs that have long-lasting efficacy.”

BY DARA CHADWICK


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Pet Cancer Awareness Month

One of the most common types of cancer in pets is skin cancer, Wustefeld-Janssens said. Primary care veterinarians can usually treat cancerous skin tumors without referring the pet to specialty care. However, more serious types of cancer—including tumors that appear in the bone, mouth, glands (such as anal sacs), or lymph nodes—may require surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy.

In some situations, Wilson-Robles said a combination of treatments may be necessary to prevent the cancer from relapsing. For example, an animal may undergo surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, but that doesn’t mean the animal is free of cancer cells. The animal may still need chemotherapy to remove remaining cancer cells from the body, which can help prevent the cancer from developing again.

One thing to consider when looking for a cancer treatment is finances. Though pets are often considered family, cancer treatment for our furry friends can get expensive. Wustefeld-Janssens suggested working with your veterinarian to find the most cost-efficient treatment plan.

In addition, Wilson-Robles suggested looking into pet insurance (when you first get your pet) to help cover the cost of cancer treatment. There are also clinical trials you can find at vetcancertrials.org or the American Veterinary Medical Association’s online database. Clinical trials are partially or fully funded programs that determine the effectiveness of a treatment.

“Ultimately, clinical trials are an experimental therapy,” Wilson-Robles said. “If we knew everything about it, we wouldn’t need to do the trials. However, your animal could be getting cutting-edge medicine that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.”

However, Wilson-Robles added that in some situations, there are no good options for cancer treatment. This may be because the animal is not strong enough to ensure cancer treatment or the cancer is too complicated and dangerous to treat.

“(Instead,) you may consider taking your pet home and keeping him comfortable,” Wilson-Robles said.

This includes providing the pet with any veterinarian-prescribed medications, clean bedding, any comfort items (such as toys), and food and water. If desired, you can even look into hospice care.

You may be wondering, “How can I know if my pet has cancer?” There are signs that may indicate cancer, but these symptoms can also be associated with other diseases and conditions. Report any abnormalities, such as a lump or a bump on the body, unexplained weight loss, limping or lameness, swelling, or bleeding to a veterinarian. The sooner you do this, the better.

“Early intervention is important,” Wustefeld-Janssens said. “If you notice something abnormal, do not wait to show it to your veterinarian; a tumor the size of a grape is a lot easier to treat than one the size of a football.”

Keeping your pet in general good health is the best way to help prevent cancer, Wustefeld-Janssens added. This includes regular exercise, feeding your animal a well-balanced diet, and seeing the veterinarian for regular (at least once-a-year) checkups.

Though a cancer diagnosis can be scary, there are many treatment options available. However, the best treatment is preventative care. Remember to practice healthy habits with your pets and report any abnormalities to your veterinarian in a timely manner.

College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University


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Lung Cancer Patients Diagnosed in Emergency Department Have Worse Survival


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Computer for Cancer


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Join the fight against lung cancer

NOVEMBER is lung cancer awareness month, when people displaying the common symptoms of lung cancer — such as a persistent cough, breathlessness or unexplained weight loss — are encouraged to visit their doctors.

Lung cancer is estimated to be the cause of nearly one in five deaths (1.59 million deaths, 19.4 per cent of the total) worldwide.

Usually more attention is paid to other types of cancers such as breast, rather than lung, which could be due to the negative connotations surrounding the use of tobacco and its role in developing the disease.

But even though the majority of lung cancer cases are linked to smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke, many of the victims of lung cancer have never smoked or been exposed to a significant amount of second-hand smoke. Some causes are hereditary, or due to the inhalation of radon gas, air pollution, or exposure to asbestos.

When cancer ignites in the lungs it is one of the most deadly, and in many cases, patients do not experience any symptoms until the cancer has extended to large sections of the lungs or even to other parts of the body. This rapid growth, combined with the cancer’s notorious resistance to chemotherapy, makes efforts to promote awareness and continued research even more important.

Therefore, let us all join in the fight against lung cancer this November by encouraging our friends who smoke to give up the habit, while reminding others to pay attention to their family history and environment.


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I’m Not Afraid of Cancer!

What does it mean to have cancer? I struggle to grasp the answer. Something I blame when I don’t feel well? Something labeled as ‘the enemy’? Something that’s hardly recognizable in scans? Something I never imagined I could have.

It’s 4:30 am. An emotional, dizzy day turned sleepless night. Despite all of that, I feel absolutely wonderful.

Tomorrow I will exercise, read some Henry James, call a bunch of friends, volunteer for something, think up a new outfit, and sign up for classes. Once I get up. For now, I’ve stuck to writing this essay. That’s my life. The life that now includes this thing called cancer, but I’m not afraid.

I’m not afraid of cancer. I’m afraid people won’t believe me when I say that. I’m afraid they’ll think my smile is just a happy mask. It’s not. I mean it. I’m afraid people will just think of me as “that girl,” the one with cancer. I’m not, no more than people at school are just “that boy with a lisp” or “that girl with an eating disorder.” I’m afraid of wanting to tell people I’m sick. I’m afraid of trying to hide that I’m sick. I’m afraid of making people feel sorry for me when I don’t need it. I have so much

I’m not afraid of cancer. I’m afraid of the toll time takes. Time when I work first by taking pills and then by learning. I’m afraid of losing touch of the world where I become an adult, get a job, live independently. I should start now, so I can make it. I’m afraid of using cancer as an excuse not to work, an excuse not to try my hardest, and an excuse to give up. So I have to push myself and pretend I don’t have an excuse.

I’m not afraid of cancer. I’m afraid of making people think I’m not okay, when I am. I’m afraid of complaining about something too small. But I do it anyway. Just in case. I’m afraid of expectations. The expectations that cancer will make me some great person make me wonder. Have I really changed? I still feel normal. Am I supposed to change?

I’m not afraid of cancer. I’m afraid of statistics. I’m afraid of thinking that so many of the people I see around me will have cancer later according to statistics. I’m afraid cancer will prevent me from helping people. I can’t donate my blood. I can’t sign up to donate my organs. I can only talk.

I’m not afraid of cancer. I’m afraid of getting mad at my mom. And then I might be mean to her. But I don’t mean it. I love her. I’m afraid of how my little sister is taking it; that it’s harder on her than she lets on. How much of it does she understand? Her life seems to be the same. But I can’t tell. I’m afraid of using cancer to make my Dad do too much for me. My dad works so hard, he doesn’t need more.

I’m not afraid of cancer. I’m afraid of my parents watching me in pain. Pain that I forget about the minute it ends. But they might not. I’m afraid of what cancer could do to my family. I’m afraid of a grieving family. But I won’t let them. They love me. I’ll live.

I’m not afraid of cancer. I’m afraid of being immature. I’m afraid of the immature sense of invincibility. I’m afraid of that being the reason I’m not afraid of cancer. But then again maybe it’s good for me.

I’m not afraid of cancer. I’m afraid that by now I’ve used too many “I”s.

Those are my fears; fears I only think about at a time like 4:30 am. They began a year ago when I was diagnosed with liver cancer. I’m sixteen now. My story is incomplete, but I’m happy with what’s there.

I’ve had chemotherapy, but my oncologist counters back. A chemo rash versus the full body brace he wore in high school. I’m not sure which is worse. I stay at home a lot. At home, my mom confides her wish to change places with me for my sake. I compare the me with some control and a young body to the me worrying about Mom, not knowing what to do. I glad for the way it is. I’ve had an eleven hour surgery. I undergo a successful surgery in a sunny, shop-filled, food-filled San Francisco while my classmate vacations in Italy. I’m not sure which is better. I’ve stayed in hospitals. At hospitals, nurses, the ones who do the ‘dirty work’ on long shifts, take care of my every need while smiling. At the hospital, J.P., a bright, confident resident, is the first to calm me down during episodes of hyperventilation with a chest and abdominal incision. I meet my first role models while my friend meets Justin Timberlake, with a thousand raving fans in-between. I win.

I’ve gone through something you can’t imagine, a pretentious voice whispers in my head. It’s perfectly in sync with the band belting out, “No you don’t know what it’s like/ To be like me,” on the radio. The song ends. “Come down to Macy’s for a…,” the following advertisement begins. I remember. I need to get new jeans… and something neon… maybe leggings. Neon and sheers have been all over the runway for spring. My mind eagerly starts listing. The wall around me crumbles. I’m human just like any other.

I’m not someone to feel sorry for. To me, cancer is just something that happened in my life. It’s not my life. My life is my family and friends. My life is my dreams: realistic and unrealistic dreams, achieved and bandaged dreams. I wouldn’t give any of these up even to be cancer-free. I’m grateful. I’m happy.

By Lydia Teegan


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15 beauty tips if you want to feel more confident

Cancer can affect your appearance, which can understandably affect the way you feel. Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisors are trained to offer make-up tips to help manage the visible side effects of cancer treatment, so people living with cancer can look and feel more like themselves during this tough time.

Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisor Charlotte Goodacre gives her top make-up tips for during and after treatment:

Skin

During treatment, especially chemotherapy, many people find that they develop very dry and sensitive skin. To help counteract this I often suggest the following tips:

1. Clean your body with lukewarm water and non-perfumed bath and shower oils. Avoid long, hot showers or soaking the bath, as hot water dries out the skin.

2. After washing, pat skin dry with a clean, soft towel and use rich and creamy moisturisers a least once a day. Look for moisturisers with ingredients such as glycerine, shea butter or cocoa butter, hyaluronic acid and ceramides.

3. Moisturisers that contain oatmeal can also be soothing. Try tying a muslin bag filled with oatmeal over your bath tap and letting the water run through.

Hair

Some cancer treatments cause changes to the texture and condition of hair and can also cause hair thinning or complete hair loss. For many, this visible side effect can be especially distressing.

There is no quick fix but the tips below can help prevent hair loss:

1. It’s helpful to have your hair short before starting any treatment that may cause hair loss; this is because the weight of long her can pull on the scalp and make the hair fall out faster.

2. When brushing your hair use a soft brush or babies’ brush. Avoid combing when your hair is brittle and avoid using hairdryers, straighteners and curling tongs.

3. Consider wearing hats and scarves to protect your head from the sun or cold wind if you don’t choose to wear a wig.

Eyebrows

Many women come to me asking how to redraw their eyebrows naturally. As eyebrows help shape and define your face, being able to draw on eyebrows effectively can have a huge improvement on the way women going through cancer treatment feel about themselves. Here are my top tips:

1. Redraw eyebrows with an eyebrow pencil that is slightly lighter than your normal hair colour.

2. Many brands offer a brow powder/wax combo product which is great for creating brow shape and texture if you have little or no hair on the brow area. Lash and brow serums encourage growth of new hairs by stimulating the hair follicle, apply twice daily consistently for visible results.

3. Remember our brows are never truly symmetrical, use your face

shape to map out a brow outline and use short feathered strokes to create a natural look. Many tutorials are available on YouTube for you to follow as a guide or pop into a Boots store to speak to a Boots Macmillan Beauty advisor who will be able to help.

Eyelashes

Closely linked with hair and eyebrow loss, eyelashes can become thin or fall out completely. There are a number of things you can try to mask this side effect, here are my personal favourites:

1. Avoid eyelash curlers, as they can damage fragile eyelashes.

2. To remove eye make-up, hold a damp cotton pad soaked in eye make-up remover to the eye for a couple of seconds before gently wiping away to avoid unnecessary pulling of the lashes.

3. Use a soft eyeliner and smudger to define your eyes and to create the illusion of eyelashes.

Nails

Chemotherapy or targeted therapy may make your fingernails and toenails grow more slowly or become brittle or flaky. Here are just some of the things you can do to help:

1. Use an emery board rather than cutting your nails to keep them short and smooth and avoid snagging. Use hand, foot and nail cream regularly, especially a nail-strengthening cream.

2. Wear gloves while doing household chores, especially the washing up.

3. Avoid using false nails during treatment or when nails are sore or damaged.


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Why I Keep Quiet about Being a Cancer Doctor

A prestigious oncology journal recently published an opinion piece titled, “Why I Keep Quiet about Being a Cancer Doctor.” I was depressed after reading it, because the author self-identified as “someone who deals with the onslaught of disease and despair day in and day out.”

If that is his true outlook, no wonder he keeps quiet! He seemed to have difficulty answering the question, “How do you do this every day?” When he managed to reflect poetically about the nuances and minefields of daily practice, it was almost apologetically.

Let me just say, I love being asked what I do. Maybe that’s because I love what I do!

I love my patients, for one thing, and I try hard not fall into the easy trap of judging people based on lifestyle or insurance status. Whether their cancer was self-inflicted or environmental, genetically linked or totally random, I find there is always something in everyone worthy of compassion and care.

Cancer is a journey, and cancer patients need to trust that their physician is committed to going on the journey with them. I do that, honestly, out of respect for the dignity of each individual. It doesn’t hurt that I am constantly aware that my time may come, and I, too, want to be treated with compassion and respect.

I love being a provider of hope. That’s not limited just to hope for cure, as much of a desired goal that may be. Sometimes my most grateful patients have been the ones I have told are dying. They usually knew it, but nobody would talk to them about it (not to mention they were afraid to ask). Giving them hope — of comfort, of peace, of relief of pain — is very gratifying. Their care is no less important than the wonderful cures we prefer to celebrate.

Of course, I love sharing the news of success in oncology. In the more than 25 years I have been in practice, the cure rate of all cancers combined increased from 50 percent to 70 percent. That is a remarkable improvement! Many cancers have five-year survival rates well above 90 percent. Last month — Breast Cancer Awareness Month — we celebrated the fact that the breast cancer death rate has dropped 40 percent over the same period of time.

Yes, the oncologist writer rightly pointed out how demanding (and emotionally exhausting) it can sometimes be to be a cancer doctor. We don’t cure pancreatic cancer often at all. And it is frustrating that the cancer that kills more people than any other — lung cancer — is almost entirely preventable. And we’ve all known that for more than 50 years.

I do tire of dealing with the cancer conspiracy theories that inevitably come up, like, “Drug companies have a cure; they are just keeping it from us.”

But rather than ignore or avoid opportunities to both dispel myths and celebrate research triumphs, I relish the chance to advocate not only for my specialty, but for organizations like the American Cancer Society and movements like hospice care, which help us with everything from research, prevention and early detection, treatment support and survivorship, to palliative and end of life care where needed.

Above all, being a physician (and specifically an oncologist) is for me a sacred calling. How can I keep quiet about what I love and am called to do? I can’t suppress talking or writing about my passion any more than a bird can stop chirping in the spring. That’s worth shouting about!

By Dr. Sid Roberts


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Who needs lung cancer screening?

 Lung cancer is a certified killer, and it’s much more common than people realize. Of everyone who dies from cancer, more than a quarter will die from lung cancer. Lung cancer is the most common cancer in United States and worldwide.


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I think it’s OK to be scared

 “I think it’s OK to be scared,” Blackhawks TV analyst Eddie Olczyk said of his cancer fight in an interview on Thursday night. “I still am, because I’ll have to deal with cancer the rest of my life.”

Olcczyk began a half-year chemotherapy regimen after an August diagnosis of Stage 3 colon cancer days before his 51st birthday and had surgery to remove a tumor the size of his fist. He told WGN-Ch. 9’s Julie Unruh he views the ordeal in transactional terms.

“I’m trading in, hopefully, six months for 50 more years,” Olczyk said. “That’s my goal. Like, that’s the thing, for as hard as it is and as hard it’s going to be, that’s what I’m doing.”

Hugely popular in the Chicago area where he grew up and still lives, Olczyk first made a name for himself as a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic hockey team at age 17. He went on to play for the Blackhawks and five other teams over a 16-season NHL career, coach the Pittsburgh Penguins two-plus seasons and get inducted in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

Olcyzk recently has worked locally alongside play-by-play man Pat Foley on Blackhawks telecasts, and nationally as NBC Sports’ top hockey color commentator.

He also contributes to NBC’s coverage of major horse races, speaking from his home with host Bob Costas during last weekend’s Breeders’ Cup Classic broadcast.

Olczyk has said in earlier interviews he intends to reclaim some normalcy to his life as the ups and debilitating downs of his medical treatment cycle allows.

Last month, on back-to-back days, he called a Blackhawks game in St. Louis with Mike “Doc” Emrick on national cable’s NBCSN and a Blackhawks-Oilers game from the United Center with Foley for WGN.

“My life is complete … when everybody else around me is fine,” Olczyk said. “It’s always been that way. I felt like I let everybody down initially. That’s the first thought I had when I got sick. I’m glad it’s me and nobody else in my circle because I wouldn’t be able to live if it was somebody else.”

By Phil Rosenthal


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It ‘shouldn’t take brain cancer’ for John McCain to show courage

“I’ve been tweeting on occasion about saluting Bob Corker and John McCain and Jeff Flake – men who have shown a little bit of courage speaking truth to their own party,” said Dean Phillips, who is running for a House seat in Minnesota. “But it shouldn’t take brain cancer and the retirement from the Senate to do so.””The point I was trying to make is that too many Republicans in Congress today — unlike Sen. McCain, Sen. [Susan] Collins and a few others — have shown a troubling lack of courage and willingness to stand up for their constituents, including when it comes to protecting their access to affordable healthcare.”


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Low-cost device to diagnose skin cancer

Hand-held device dubbed sKan measures skin temperature to quickly and accurately identify melanoma, and could save lives around the world. The sKan uses thermistors – thermally sensitive resistors – to detect if a suspect region of skin is malignant through thermal heat mapping.

Cancerous cells have a higher metabolic rate than normal cells, which means they release more heat. And after a thermal shock is applied (for example, via an ice pack), the cancerous tissue will regain heat faster than the non-cancerous tissue.

The sKan incorporates an array of thermistors which are placed on the suspect lesion or mole and can track any return to ambient temperature after being cooled. The readings are digitised and the results displayed as a heat map which indicates whether or not melanoma is present. sKan wins international Dyson award.


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Alcohol causes seven cancers

The American Society for Clinical Oncology put out its first official warning on alcohol and cancer yesterday. The more alcohol you drink, the more likely you are to develop at least seven types of cancer, oncologists warned in a statement released yesterday.

Drinking – even small or moderate amounts – was especially closely associated with increased risks for esophogeal, mouth, liver, colorectal and breast cancers, and is responsible for more than five percent of cancers and cancer deaths worldwide.


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Cancer Disparity

October was breast cancer month, with many fundraising events and coverage by the media. The top three cancers in women in order: lung, breast and colorectal. Why then is breast cancer awareness and funding so much more prevalent than the other two?

Overall there are better treatments for all cancers, but it is a fact that research and funding for breast cancer far exceeds those for other cancers. According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2015 breast cancer funding was twice what it was for lung or colorectal.

Awareness, funding and research should be more evenly distributed amongst all cancers so we all have a better chance to survive.


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Lung cancer can be sneaky

Lung cancer can be sneaky, because the symptoms are similar to complications smokers typically experience, such as:

  • Chest pain.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Fatigue.
  • Lingering cough.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Weight loss.
  • Wheezing.

If these symptoms persist, you should see a physician immediately, especially if you smoke.

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