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December 13, 2006, 7:55 PM CT

New Hope To Lung Cancer Patients

New Hope To Lung Cancer Patients
Patients suffering from the most common type of lung cancer experienced a 20-percent improvement in overall survival in a national clinical trial of a drug that chokes off the blood vessels nourishing tumors, a multicenter study has observed.

Dr. Joan Schiller, chief of hematology/oncology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, said: "This is great news for patients with lung cancer - they live longer, and the side effects from Avastin are unlike those of conventional chemotherapy. For example, Avastin does not cause hair loss, nausea, or vomiting".

Results of the Phase III trial involving 878 patients that was conducted by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group are published in the Dec. 14 issue of the New England Journal (NEJM). The publication of the study comes two months after the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug bevacizumab, known under the trademark Avastin, as a first-line therapy for patients with inoperable, locally advanced, recurrent or metastatic non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer. The FDA approval was based on the findings of the study.

The results of the trial showed that patients who received Avastin along with the conventional chemotherapy drugs paclitaxel and carboplatin had a 35-percent chance of responding to the therapy, in comparison to 15 percent for patients who received chemotherapy alone.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


December 12, 2006, 5:04 AM CT

Almost Half Of Lung Cancer Patients Go Back To Cigarettes

Almost Half Of Lung Cancer Patients Go Back To Cigarettes
New research has shown that the development of lung cancer and surgery to remove it is not yet enough to put a number of smokers off picking up cigarettes again.

A Washington University School of Medicine study of 154 smokers who had surgery to remove early stage lung cancer found almost half picked up a cigarette again within 12 months of their operations.

The scientists observed that 43 per cent of patients smoked at some point after surgery and 37 per cent were smoking 12 months after their operation.

Furthermore, 60 per cent of those who took up smoking again did so within two months of surgery.

Highlighting the dangerous addictiveness of cigarettes, Mark Walker, a clinical psychology expert and assistant professor of medicine at Washington University, said: "These patients are all addicted, so you cannot assume they will easily change their behaviour simply because they have dodged this particular bullet.

"Their choices are driven by insidious cravings for nicotine".

Contrary to predictions, scientists found no link between the quantity of smoking and the ability to quit, and also discovered that higher education was linked to a greater likelihood of smoking after surgery.

"It wasn't the number of cigarettes smoked daily that determined who couldn't quit, but how long they continued to smoke before surgery," Professor Walker explained.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


December 11, 2006, 9:17 PM CT

Cutting Back On Cigarettes May Not Work

Cutting Back On Cigarettes May Not Work
Heavy smokers who have reduced their number of daily cigarettes still experience significantly greater exposure to toxins per cigarette than light smokers, as per a new study by scientists at the University of Minnesota.

Even when smokers in the two groups smoked as few as five cigarettes a day, heavy smokers who reduced their cigarette intake experienced two to three times the amount of total toxin exposure per cigarette when compared with light smokers, scientists report in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

In addition, scientists found that the more that heavy smokers reduced their smoking, the more likely they were to increase their exposure to toxicants per cigarette presumably because they took more frequent puffs or inhaled deeper or longer on each cigarette, a process referred to as "compensatory smoking." As a result, smokers who decreased their smoking to as little as one to three cigarettes per day experienced a four- to eight-fold increased exposure to toxins per cigarette as compared with light smokers.

Compensatory smoking occurs because smokers are trying to maintain a specific level of nicotine in their bodies, says Dorothy K. Hatsukami, Ph.D., lead author of the study and director of the University's Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center in Minneapolis. Other factors, such as the sensory aspects of smoking, also may play a role in compensatory smoking, Hatsukami says.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 2, 2006, 5:29 PM CT

Smoking Related Cancers

Smoking Related Cancers
There are currently about fifty million smokers in the U.S. and there are another fifty million ex-smokers. Cigarette smoking has been linked to several human malignancies. Some of these links like the relationship between smoking and lung cancer are well established. In some other cases the relationship between smoking and cancer is not very well established. However several studies have clearly shown the malignant potential of chemical substances in cigarette smoke. This article is an attempt to summarize some of the known links between cigarette smoking and caner.

Lung cancer

Lung cancer has a strong association with smoking. On average, smokers increase their risk of lung cancer between 5 and 10-fold compared to never smokers. Even though lung cancer can occur in non-smokers, it should be appreciated that more than 90 percent of all lung cancer patients are current or past smokers. Some sub types of lung cancer like small cell lung cancer is more strongly associated with smoking than others. There is plenty of research evidence in the literature linking lung cancer to smoking. A recent study published in the British Journal Of Medicine (Ref: BMJ 1997) concluded that the accumulated evidence support the fact secondhand exposure to cigarette smoke could lead to lung cancer. ........

Posted by: Agarwaal MD      Permalink


October 1, 2006, 7:38 PM CT

Predicting drug sensitivity in lung cancer

Predicting drug sensitivity in lung cancer
What if we can clearly predict which of those patients with non-small cell lung cancer would respond to a cisplatin-based chemotherapy. This would benefit a number of patients with non-small cell lung cancer, since oncologists could use another drug combination to treat these patients. This is what scientists from MD Anderson Cancer Center is trying to achieve.

Non-small cell lung cancer cells with a defective version of a potential tumor suppressor gene are highly resistant to attack by a platinum-based drug usually used to treat the disease, scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas report in the cover article of the latest issue of Cancer Research.

The gene may provide a potential biomarker for selecting among chemotherapy choices for non-small-cell lung cancer as well as a therapeutic target for restoring the drug cisplatin's punch in treating resistant forms of the disease, says senior author Lin Ji, Ph.D., associate professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.

Scientists at the two institutions, working under a joint National Cancer Institute Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Lung Cancer grant, have identified three tumor-suppressor genes on chromosome 3. The latest paper refines the impact of one of those genes, NPRL2, on the most common form of lung cancer.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


September 20, 2006, 5:09 AM CT

Why Food Tastes Bad To Chemotherapy Recipients

Why Food Tastes Bad To Chemotherapy Recipients
It's a common experience among patients who are receiving chemotherapy to have no tast for food. About two million cancer patients currently receiving certain drug therapies and chemotherapy find foods and beverages to have a foul metallic flavor, as per a medical study. In general, more than 40 percent of hospitalized patients suffer from malnutrition due to taste and smell dysfunction.

"Unfortunately, these problems that impact nutrition and quality of life are underestimated and understudied by oncologists," said Andrea Dietrich, Virginia Tech professor of civil and environmental engineering (CEE).

Dietrich believes there are two components to the metallic flavor the taste of metal ions on the tongue and the production of metal-catalyzed odors in the mouth that create a retro-nasal effect. "I am attempting to gain a better understanding of the metallic sensation, its prevention, and application to human health," Dietrich said.

Along with two of her university colleagues, Susan E. Duncan, professor of food science and technology, and YongWoo Lee, an assistant professor in the biomedical sciences and pathology department and a member of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Dietrich is the recipient of a $200,000 grant from the Institute of Public Health and Water Research (IPWR) to examine the problems of foul flavored water. The interdisciplinary investigative team combines proficiency in food oxidation and off-flavors, water chemistry, cell biology, and human perception.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 13, 2006, 8:52 AM CT

Nurses Have A Larger Role In Smoking Cessation

Nurses Have A Larger Role In Smoking Cessation
Some good advice from nurses to patients who smoke significantly increases the likelihood of those smokers quitting, as per several articles in a special issue of the July-August 2006 Nursing Research journal.

"These reports are evidence that nurses are widely recognized as central to global efforts to reduce the detrimental health effects of tobacco use," said Dr. Molly C. Dougherty, Nursing Research editor and professor of nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Nursing Research articles contain tobacco cessation information including original research evaluating methods for treating tobacco dependence. For example, one study observed that smokers who received tobacco cessation information from their nurses were nearly 50 percent more likely to quit than smokers with no nursing intervention. The report also notes that nurses often care for underserved people, who are disproportionately affected by tobacco use.

Summaries in the journal highlight innovative methods for treating tobacco dependence and practical approaches for clinical use, including recommendations from 42 researchers, clinicians, educators and representatives from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Cancer Institute.

"This information represents a call to action for nurses, health care providers and policy-makers. Health care professionals, and especially nurses, have tremendous access to patients and families affected by tobacco use. Nurses are in the unique position to act as agents of change when it comes to preventing and treating tobacco dependence," Dougherty said.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


August 8, 2006, 0:11 AM CT

more effective smoking cessation

more effective smoking cessation
Results of a new imaging study, supported in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, show that the nicotine received in just a few puffs of a cigarette can exert a force powerful enough to drive an individual to continue smoking. Scientists observed that the amount of nicotine contained in just one puff of a cigarette can occupy about 30 percent of the brain's most common type of nicotine receptors, while three puffs of a cigarette can occupy about 70 percent of these receptors. When nearly all of the receptors are occupied (as a result of smoking at least 2 and one-half cigarettes), the smoker becomes satiated, or satisfied, for a time. Soon, however, this level of satiation wears off, driving the smoker to continue smoking throughout the day to satisfy cigarette cravings.

"Imaging studies such as this can add immensely to our understanding of addiction and drug abuse," says Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health. "These findings suggest that drug therapies or vaccines for smoking cessation need to be extremely potent to compete with nicotine, which binds so readily to these receptors."

The study is reported in the August 2006 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

"This study illustrates the powerfully addictive impact of even small amounts of nicotine. Every time a smoker draws a puff from a cigarette, they inhale numerous toxic chemicals that promote the formation of lung cancer, and contribute in a significant way to death and disability worldwide," says NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "Eventhough a number of smokers endorse a desire to quit, very few are able to do so on their own, and fewer than half are able to quit long-term even with comprehensive therapy. This study helps explain why".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


July 17, 2006, 5:13 AM CT

Children who live with smokers

Children who live with smokers
Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoking, both because they are small and still growing and because they're often a "captive audience" for tobacco smoke. Now, scientists identify another problem: a greater risk for respiratory complications during outpatient surgical procedures.

Dwight Jones, MD, of Children's Hospital Boston and Neil Bhattacharyya, MD, from Brigham and Women's Hospital followed 405 children, 168 of whom came from households with smokers. The children were having day surgical procedures at Children's, ranging from drainage of middle-ear fluid to circumcision to hernia repair. All had general anesthesia and received oxygen through a face mask.

Children who lived with smokers had a higher occurence rate of respiratory problems that may occur during surgery than those from nonsmoking households: excessive mucus secretion (38 percent vs. 8 percent), breath-holding (15 percent vs. 6 percent), constriction of the larynx or bronchial tubes that potentially could impair breathing (29 percent vs. 5 percent), and actual airway obstruction (29 percent vs. 11 percent). Respiratory problems were similarly increased in the recovery room, but to a lesser extent.

"It was in the wakeup period in the operating room that they did the worst," says Jones, a pediatric otolaryngologist at Children's. "We had a harder time waking up children coming out from anesthesia because of choking, gagging and secretions".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


July 17, 2006, 4:43 AM CT

Combined treatment for lung cancer

Combined treatment  for lung cancer
Combining thermal ablation with radiation treatment extends average life expectancy and decreases recurrences of tumors in patients who have early stages of inoperable lung cancer, as per scientists at Rhode Island Hospital.

In a retrospective study looking at patients over seven years, the median survival rate at three years increased from 20 months after radiation alone to 42 months when thermal ablation was followed by radiation for therapy of non-small-cell lung cancer. The results are reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology.

"This study shows us that even patients who are not eligible for surgery can still get very good results," says senior author Damian Dupuy, MD, director of ultrasound at Rhode Island Hospital and professor of diagnostic imaging at Brown Medical School, both in Providence, RI. "By combining thermal ablation and radiation, you have a better chance of survival than with either therapy alone".

With radiation alone, overall survival rates were as follows:
  • one year - 57 percent
  • two years - 36 percent
  • three years - 21 percent
.

With thermal ablation and radiation, they were significantly higher:
  • one year - 87 percent
  • ........

    Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source



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Lung cancer
We engage a never-ending daily struggle to understand and defeat the hidden mysteries of cancer. This is a long and laborious fight, but some moments stand out as grim reminders of the severity of the problem and ruthlessness of the enemy. We recently heard about the sad demise of Peter Jennings, who was the news anchor of ABC News for a long time.

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