Research & Treatment News articles

You don’t have to be a scientist to get involved in research

Remember the feeling of being a young freshman student walking the halls lined with senior lockers? Sweaty palms. Knocking knees. It was intimidating to be surrounded by upper classman. As a cancer survivor, sometimes the research process can feel similar to the “good” ole’ days of high school. Especially if you don’t love chemistry. But as Florence, a survivor and advocate can attest, if you give it a little time — research can be for ANYONE. Although it may not come easy for you at first, when you slow down and take small steps, you too will begin to see that research isn’t always as complex or difficult as it

Stage II Colon Cancer – Chemo or No Chemo?

A brief in a running series from 2013 ASCO® conference: Prognostic Tests – to use or not use . . .  or rather  … To treat or not to treat? New studies for stage II colon cancer patients contemplating chemotherapy . by: Nancy Roach One of the toughest decisions for patients with stage II colon cancer is whether or not to receive chemotherapy after surgery. In a perfect world, there would be a test that could predict whether or not the cancer will reoccur and research to predict which treatment will help each patient at risk. For now, each patient’s decision is based on a wide variety of factors. Tests to

Experts Issue Practice-Changing Advice: Stop giving calcium/magnesium for oxaliplatin-caused neuropathy

For patients getting the common FOLFOX chemotherapy for colorectal cancer, many oncologists add intravenous calcium and magnesium, hoping to decrease the neuropathy (nerve damage) associated with oxaliplatin-based drugs. But this week, experts at the 2013 ASCO meeting (American Society of Clinical Oncology), announced strong evidence that the calcium/magnesium does no good in either preventing or decreasing neuropathy—and it should no longer be part of routine treatment. Neuropathy affects cancer treatment Oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy (e.g. FOLFOX, with Eloxatin®) is one of the most commonly used drugs for people having high-risk stage II, or stages III or IV colorectal cancer. But far too often after patients have had many doses of FOLFOX over

Clinical Conundrum: When, how to treat colorectal cancer in the elderly

Even as scientists plumb deep into cells and molecules to understand cancer, there are many immediate and “real-life” questions that researchers and clinicians are discussing at the 2013 annual ASCO meeting (American Society of Clinical Oncology). One of the biggest puzzles for colorectal cancer is how to best treat the elderly, especially those with stages II or III (non-metastatic) cancer. It’s a huge question: today, 40 percent of colorectal cancer patients are elderly, and by the year 2030, more than 70 percent of non-inherited colorectal cancer will be among those 65 or older. Currently, 70 years old is the median age at diagnosis, with fully 40 percent of diagnoses made

ACA Mandates Insurance Coverage for Clinical Trials

By January 1, all insurers will be required to cover routine care for patients enrolled in clinical trials. (Typically any experimental care is provided at no cost to the patient.) “This should be seen as a step forward for the U.S. oncology community,” wrote Dr. Y-Ning Wong in the ASCO Daily News from the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s meeting in Chicago. “However, patients and providers must remain vigilant about the law’s implementation.” Currently there is a patchwork of state laws; as of January  2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) creates a federally required minimum that all private insurers must cover at least the usual care when patients enroll in a

Genetic Counselor Joins Medical Advisory Board

Long before Angelina Jolie gripped the American public’s attention by announcing her double mastectomy due to a genetic mutation, Fight Colorectal Cancer had been educating patients about family histories, plus supporting and reporting research advances in genetics—especially Lynch syndrome. One of our most reliable sources for patient information and webinars  has been Heather Hampel, MS, CGC, a genetic counselor for 18 years, and Associate Director of the Division of Human Genetics at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. We’re proud to announce that Heather Hampel is now an official member of our Medical Advisory Board. She first became aware of Fight Colorectal Cancer years ago when the late Kate Murphy, (one

Get Off Your Butt: More exercise, less sitting lead to longer lives for CRC survivors

Colorectal cancer patients and survivors who sit less and exercise more actually live longer, according to a carefully designed study published in a recent Journal of Clinical Oncology . Researchers found that cancer survivors who got exercise equaling about 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous walking had a 28% lower risk of death from any cause than those who did less than 60 minutes per week of walking. And no matter their job, people who spent 6 or more hours a day of their leisure time sitting (reading, watching TV, computer-anything) had 36% higher risk of death from any cause, than people who sat 3 hours or less

Two Advances in Understanding, Treating Painful Chemo Neuropathy

Recent studies show some promise in understanding chemo-caused neuropathy, and perhaps in using a common medicine to ease the worst symptoms in some people. Study shows neuropathy relief for some using antidepressant  A well-designed clinical study has provided the first evidence that the antidepressant Cymbalta® (duloxetine) can provide some patients with significant relief from peripheral neuropathy caused by chemotherapy. From 20 to 40 percent of cancer patients given neurotoxic chemotherapy–taxanes, platinum-based including Eloxatin® (oxaliplatin), vinca alkaloids, bortezomib–will develop painful peripheral neuropathy (numbness, tingling, burning in hands or feet). If the pain is severe, colorectal cancer patients often have to reduce the dose or stop taking Eloxatin. Even then, this painful condition

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“You Don’t Own Me….” But do you own part of my genes?

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a case that both sides consider absolutely vital to the future of medical research. The case: Can a company take out a patent on a human gene? Or, as the company Myriad Genetics told the Court, not actually a patent on a gene, but a patent on isolated sections of DNA molecules that they synthetically re-create in the lab to make a test for the gene. Patents were created 150 years ago in the Constitution as temporary protection of new inventions, thus giving economic incentive for inventors. But there is a clear rule that you cannot patent “a product of nature.” During oral

Statement from Carlea Bauman, President of Fight Colorectal Cancer, Regarding the President’s 2014 Budget

I am deeply disappointed that President Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget would strip nearly $4 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Colorectal Cancer Control Program. The CDC estimates that the loss of funding will mean at least five fewer programs (out of the current 29) working to prevent colorectal cancer. The president’s budget assumes that less federal funding is needed for direct screenings, such as colorectal, breast, and cervical screenings, because most health plans are required to cover these screenings without co-pays or deductibles, and because, starting in 2014, the Affordable Care Act ensures that no one can be denied health insurance because of a

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