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Clinical Trials Are Becoming More Diverse, But There's Still Work To Do

U.S. cancer clinical trial participants have become more diverse in makeup, but certain groups remain underrepresented, a new study finds.

It's important to have a wide range of participants in clinical trials, to find out if treatments are safe and effective for people with different characteristics, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which has a number of initiatives to b...

Too Often, Fatal Heart Attack or Stroke Is First Sign of Heart Trouble in Smokers

A fatal heart attack or stroke is often the first indication of heart disease in middle-aged smokers, according to a new study.

It also found that heart disease is the leading complication among smokers when compared with deaths from other causes -- including lung cancer. In addition, smoking is associated with developing heart disease at a younger age and shortening a person's life by as...

Lung Cancer Survival Continues to Improve, But Not for All

Lung cancer survival rates in the United States continue to rise, but certain racial groups are still hit hard by the disease, the American Lung Association reports.

Its fourth annual "State of Lung Cancer" report shows that the average five-year survival rate increased from 14.5% to nearly 24%, but it remains at 20% for people of color overall, and 18% for Black Americans.

"The rep...

More Lung Cancer Patients Are Surviving, Thriving

Mike Smith is beating the odds.

Diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer back in 2016, the 56-year-old South Carolina resident says there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic as the "narrative of lung cancer changes from being a horrific, terminal disease to a chronic disease and, ultimately, to a cure."

Still, he remains clear-eyed about the challenges he faces.

"I'm at war," he s...

Targeted High-Dose Radiation Helps Fight Advanced Lung Cancer

High-dose radiation therapy may stall tumor growth in patients with advanced lung cancer who are not fully responding to drug therapies, a preliminary study suggests.

The study involved patients whose lung cancer was considered "oligoprogressive." That means the cancer had spread to other sites in the body, and the patients were having a mixed response to standard systemic treatments — ...

Cancer Costs U.S. Patients $21 Billion a Year

American cancer patients spent more than $21 billion on their care in 2019, a new report shows.

That $21.09 billion included out-of-pocket costs of $16.22 billion and patient time costs of $4.87 billion. Patient time costs are the value of the time patients spend traveling for, waiting for and receiving care.

"As the costs of cancer treatment continue to rise, greater attention to a...

Quit Smoking Before 45 & Wipe Out 87% of Lung Cancer Risk

Smokers who kick the habit before age 45 can nearly eliminate their excess risk of dying from lung or other cancers, a new study estimates.

It's well-established that after smokers quit, their risk of tobacco-related cancers drops substantially over time.

Researchers said the new findings underscore the power of quitting as early as possible. Among more than 400,000 Americans they f...

Treating Depression Could Lengthen Lung Cancer Patients' Lives

Persistent depression can significantly shorten lung cancer survival -- even if patients receive the latest cancer treatments, new research shows.

"We need to help these patients, not only at diagnosis, but throughout treatment to take depressive symptoms out of the equation and let these impressive new therapies do their jobs," said lead author Barbara Anderson, a professor of psychology...

Cancer Care Costs U.S. $156 Billion Per Year; Drugs a Major Factor

Private insurers paid out about $156.2 billion in 2018 for U.S. patients with the 15 most common cancers.

Medication was the largest expense and drugs for breast, lung, lymphoma and colon cancers accounted for the largest chunk of those costs, according to a Penn State College of Medicine study.

"The public often hears that the U.S. spends an inordinate amount of money on health car...

Your Free Cancer Screen Shows Trouble: What If You Can't Afford the Follow-Up?

Just over a decade ago, the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) made many common cancer screenings free. But a pair of new studies caution that when those free tests turn up signs of trouble, important follow-up tests may be too pricey for some patients.

The bigger concern: Some patients may forgo these expensive tests, even when they may prove lifesaving.

"With t...

Access to Top Drugs Makes the Difference for Black Lung Cancer Patients

Equal access to the most effective drugs helps eliminate the survival disparity between Black and white lung cancer patients in the United States, a new study shows.

In general, Black lung cancer patients are more likely to die than white patients, but these findings suggest that barriers to care are the main cause of racial disparities in lung cancer survival rates, the researchers said....

Existing Drugs Could Treat Lung Cancer in Nonsmokers

There's some encouraging news for people who develop lung cancer even though they've never smoked.

Precision drugs already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration can be used to treat 78% to 92% of their tumors, a new study reports. These precision drugs target specific mutations in tumors.

Most never-smokers' lung tumors have so-called driver mutations, specific mistakes ...

Wildfires Ravage Firefighters' Long-Term Physical, Mental Health

Roaring, fast-moving blazes. Choking smoke. Fiery tornados. Thunderstorms and lightning.

The Dixie Fire -- now the single largest wildfire in California history -- continues to spread, having burned through more than 750 square miles of forest land north of Sacramento.

The astonishing spread of smoke from the fire, causing discomfort and illness to people hundreds or thousands of mi...

Fatigue Before Treatment Starts Might Affect Cancer Survival

Significant fatigue at the start of cancer treatment is associated with a greater risk of severe side effects and shorter survival, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data from four clinical trials of lung cancer or prostate cancer treatments that were conducted by the SWOG Cancer Research Network, a cancer clinical trials group funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

The...

Bogus Info on Cancer Common Online, and It Can Harm

Don't believe everything you read on social media about cancer and cancer treatment.

A new study finds that one-third of the most popular articles on social media about treatment for common cancers contains misinformation -- and most of it can be downright dangerous.

"The worst-case scenario is when it leads to a person declining proven cancer treatments in favor of a treatment tha...

Mixed Progress Against Cancers in Teens, Young Adults

There's some encouraging news for U.S. teens and young adults with cancer.

Survival rates have improved for several types of cancer, though gains have been limited for some common kinds, according to a long-term study published online July 26 in the journal Cancer.

The researchers used a wealth of accumulated data "to piece together a larger part of the cancer survival st...

Most Cancer Screenings Make Big Rebound After Pandemic Decline

A major U.S. hospital system had a strong rebound in most cancer screening tests after a steep drop-off in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study shows.

The findings are based on an analysis of data from the Boston-based Mass General Brigham system. Depending on the type of test, between March and June of 2020, the number of cancer screenings dropped off between 65% a...

U.S. Deaths From Cancer Continue to Decline

Americans' overall death rate from cancer continues to fall -- but rising rates of certain cancers and ongoing racial disparities linger.

Those are among the findings of an annual report to the nation from several major cancer organizations.

The good news includes an accelerating decline in the overall cancer death rate, among both women and men, and across racial and ethnic groups....

Newly Approved Drug Fights Lung Cancer Tied to Certain Genes

A newly approved lung cancer drug shows promise in improving survival in patients whose tumors carry a common and tough-to-treat genetic mutation, researchers say.

Sotorasib - brand name Lumakras - was approved May 28 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a targeted therapy for non-small cell lung cancer patients with tumors that express the G12C mutation in the KRAS gene, ...

Don't Delay Lung Cancer Surgery, Study Suggests

Surgery soon after a diagnosis of early-stage lung cancer is crucial in reducing the risk of recurrence and death, a new study finds.

"Patients with early-stage cancer have the best chance for survival," said senior author Dr. Varun Puri, a thoracic surgeon and professor of surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "That's why it's critical for patients to promptly...

Faulty Gene Could Raise Vulnerability to Asbestos-Linked Cancer

Mutations in a certain gene may increase a person's risk for an aggressive asbestos-related cancer called malignant mesothelioma, a new study claims.

The gene is called LRRK2 and is involved in regulating responses in immune cells in the brain. Mesothelioma can affect the lungs, stomach or heart.

The small study included 13 malignant mesothelioma patients who were exposed to asbesto...

Immunotherapy Drug Can Beat Back Early-Stage Lung Cancer

An immunotherapy drug is the first to significantly reduce the risk of cancer recurrence or death in people with early-stage lung cancer, researchers report.

Atezolizumab reduced by 34% the risk of disease recurrence or death in a certain group of people with stage II to IIIA non-small cell lung cancer -- those whose tumors carry a protein that can help malignant cells evade detection by...

Therapeutic Cancer Vaccine Shows Promise Against Multiple Tumor Types

Marc Baum went through all the usual steps to treat his bladder cancer -- a couple of surgeries, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, all in a three-month period.

But doctors hope that an extra step -- an experimental vaccine -- will be what keeps Baum's cancer from coming back.

A vaccine that uses genetics to teach a person's immune system how to precisely target the cancer has prov...

The Future of Cancer for Americans

At first glance, it appears that little will change between now and 2040 when it comes to the types of cancers that people develop and that kill them, a new forecast shows.

Breast, melanoma, lung and colon cancers are expected to be the most common types of cancers in the United States, and patients die most often from lung, pancreatic, liver and colorectal cancers, according to the lates...

Why So Many New Cancer Diagnoses When Americans Turn 65?

A few years ago, Dr. Joseph Shrager, a professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine, noticed that lung cancer diagnoses were noticeably higher at age 65 than at slightly older or younger ages.

"There was no reason rates should differ much between the ages of 63 and 65," Shrager said.

He discussed this with his colleagues, who said they were seeing so...

Obesity Tied to Shorter Survival in Cancer Patients

Obesity may shorten the lives of patients with certain types of cancers, but not others, a new research review concludes.

The analysis, of more than 200 studies, found that across numerous cancers, obesity was linked to shorter survival. The list included breast, colon, prostate, uterine and pancreatic cancers.

On the other hand, patients with lung, kidney or melanoma skin cancer al...

Nitrogen Dioxide, a Car Exhaust Pollutant, Is Raising Death Rates: Study

Even small increases of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) air pollution may cause an uptick in heart- and lung-related deaths, underscoring the need to tighten limits on this type of air pollution, Chinese researchers say.

NO2 is produced by burning fuel for vehicles, power and industrial production. World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines recommend NO2 levels not exceed an annual ave...

More Americans Would Get Lung Cancer Screening Under New Guidelines

The number of Americans recommended for routine CT scans to spot lung cancer just got a lot bigger.

People between the ages of 50 and 80 who don't have symptoms of lung cancer, but are at high risk for the disease due to their smoking history should have the annual screen to help detect the disease early, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) concluded in new recommendations r...

Wildfire Smoke Is Especially Toxic to Lungs, Study Shows

Fine particles in wildfire smoke pose a far greater threat to the lungs than similar particles in vehicle exhaust and other types of air pollution, researchers report.

These fine particles -- called PM2.5 -- have a diameter about 1/20th the size of a human hair and can get into the respiratory tract, enter the bloodstream and damage key organs.

PM2.5 is the main component of wildfir...

Breast Cancer Surpasses Lung Cancer as Leading Cancer Diagnosis Worldwide

Breast cancer has surpassed lung cancer as the world's most commonly diagnosed cancer.

In 2020, there were an estimated 19.3 million new cancer cases and nearly 10 million cancer deaths worldwide, according to the Global Cancer Statistics 2020 report from the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Overall, 1 in 5 people get cancer during t...

Segregation, Poverty Tied to Worse Outcomes for Black Lung Cancer Patients

Racial segregation may help explain why Black Americans with lung cancer do more poorly than their white counterparts, a new study suggests.

For years, U.S. studies have documented racial disparities in lung cancer. Black Americans are less likely to receive surgery for early-stage lung cancer -- the standard of care -- and they typically die sooner.

The reasons, however, are not fu...

How Smoking Could Help Spur Breast Cancer's Spread

Here's one reason why past or current smoking may handicap you if you are battling breast cancer: New research suggests that nicotine promotes the spread of the disease to your lungs.

Smoking is known to increase the risk that breast cancer will spread, which lowers the survival rate by one-third at diagnosis. But the role of nicotine in the spread of breast cancer to the lungs has been l...

Fewer U.S. Cancer Patients Are Dying From Suicide, Study Finds

New research reveals an encouraging trend: Despite the rate of suicide rising overall for Americans, U.S. cancer patients are actually less likely now to take their own life than in the past.

Researchers at the American Cancer Society (ACS) tracked national data on causes of death among Americans for the years 1999 through 2018. They found "a decreasing trend of cancer-related suicide du...

Cancer Screening Fell Sharply Early in Pandemic, But Has Rebounded

As clinics closed for non-essential care and patients' COVID-19 fears kept them from check-ups, the United States saw a steep drop in cancer screenings and diagnoses during the first peak of the pandemic, a new report finds.

Researchers analyzed data on how many patients underwent cancer screening tests -- procedures such as mammograms, colonoscopies, Pap tests, PSA blood tests for prosta...

U.S. Cancer Death Rates Keep Falling: Report

Improved lung cancer treatment is a major reason for the 31% decline in cancer death rates in the United States between 1991 and 2018, including a record 2.4% decrease from 2017 to 2018, the American Cancer Society says.

How the COVID-19 pandemic will affect this downward trend is unknown, the society noted.

"The impact of COVID-19 on cancer diagnoses and outcomes at the population ...

Women May Transmit Cancer to Infants in Childbirth, Reports Suggest

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 6, 2021 -- In extremely rare instances, newborns can contract cancer from their pregnant moms during delivery, a new case report suggests.

Two boys, a 23-month-old and a 6-year-old, developed lung cancers that proved an exact genetic match to cervical cancers within their mothers at the time of birth, Japanese researchers report.

It appears that the boys breathed in ...

Cancer Survivors at Higher Odds for Second Cancer: Study

Cancer survivors are at greater risk of developing another cancer and dying from it, a new study finds.

These new cancers can result from a genetic predisposition, from treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy used to fight the first cancer, as well as from unhealthy lifestyles such as smoking and obesity, according to researchers from the American Cancer Society.

Some of these...

Pandemic Closures, Fears Keep Patients From Lung Cancer Screening

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, many routine cancer screenings were put on hold. Now a new study suggests that lung cancer screenings have yet to rebound.

The findings come from one hospital system, but experts said they add to worries about the pandemic's impact on cancer care.

In the spring, when many U.S. hospitals were overrun with COVID-19 patients and stay-at...

Some Talc Products Contain Asbestos: Study

Nearly 15% of talc-based cosmetic products analyzed in a recent study contained asbestos.

Environmental Working Group (EWG) -- an American advocacy nonprofit that commissioned the tests and did the analysis -- said methods used by the cosmetics industry to screen talc supplies are inadequate. The voluntary testing method developed by industry is not sensitive enough to screen for asbestos...

Women More Likely to Survive Lung Cancer After Surgery: Study

Women have higher survival rates after lung cancer surgery than men, according to a new study.

Previous research on sex differences in survival after lung cancer treatment has yielded conflicting results, so researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden decided to study the association between gender and survival after lung cancer surgery.

"The health care sector is always striv...

Black Cancer Survivors Often Face Added Challenges: Study

Social and financial struggles are common among Black American cancer survivors and take a heavy toll on their health-related quality of life, according to a new study.

Health-related quality of life among cancer survivors -- how a person perceives their mental, physical and social well-being -- tends to be significantly lower among Black Americans than in other groups.

In this stud...

Lung's Microbiome Might Play Role in Cancer

Lung cancer patients who harbor certain bacteria in the airways may have a poorer prognosis, a new study finds, adding to evidence that the body's "microbiome" may play a role in cancer patients' outlook.

The microbiome refers to the trillions of bacteria and other microbes that naturally dwell in the body. Research in recent years has been revealing how important those bugs are to the bo...

Obamacare Cut Death Rates for 3 Major Cancers

Expanded Medicaid passed in some states as part of the Affordable Care Act has significantly reduced deaths from newly diagnosed breast, lung and colon cancers, a new study finds.

Death rates from these cancers are lower in states that opted for expanded Medicaid than in those that didn't. The positive trend is largely due to earlier diagnosis, which increases the odds of survival, t...

Immunotherapy Drug Boosts Survival for Lung Cancer Patients

A newly approved drug for the leading form of the number one cancer killer, lung cancer, does improve patient survival, a new study confirms.

The immunotherapy drug Tecentriq (atezolizumab) was approved earlier this year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat patients with newly diagnosed non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC), which comprise up to 85% of all lung tumors.<...

No Link Found Between Blood Pressure Meds and Cancer: Study

Blood pressure drugs don't increase the risk of cancer, according to the largest study to examine the issue.

A possible link between blood pressure drugs and cancer has been the subject of debate for decades, but evidence has been inconsistent and conflicting.

For this study, researchers analyzed data from 31 clinical trials of blood pressure drugs that involved 260,000 peop...

Even 'Social Smokers' Up Their Odds of Death From Lung Disease

Even light smokers are much more likely to die of lung disease or lung cancer than nonsmokers, a new study warns.

"Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you, but it's easy to assume that if you only smoke a little, the risks won't be too high," said study co-leader Pallavi Balte, of Columbia University Irving Medical Center, in New York City.

The new study shows how wrong ...

Better Treatments Bring Better Survival After Lung Cancer

Fewer Americans have been dying of lung cancer in recent years -- partly because of advances in treatment, a new government study finds.

The researchers found that after a gradual decline, lung cancer deaths in the United States started to drop more quickly in 2013. That coincided with the introduction of new "targeted" drugs that can more precisely go after certain lung tumors.

...

Cancer Diagnoses Plunge as Americans Avoid Screening During Pandemic

As COVID-19 continues to impact nearly all aspects of American health care, researchers warn that the United States has seen a troubling drop in cancer diagnoses since the pandemic began.

The drop is not being attributed to a downturn in cancer incidence, but rather a COVID-driven reluctance to get screened.

"Our research found that during the COVID-19 pandemic, between Marc...

Blood Test Might Spot Cancer Years Earlier

Scientists are working on a blood test that may catch five common cancers years sooner than current methods.

The blood test, which is still experimental, hunts for certain genetic "signatures" associated with tumors. Researchers found that it can detect five types of cancer -- colon, esophageal, liver, lung and stomach -- up to four years earlier, compared to routine medical care.

...

Get on the Bus: Lifesaving Lung Screens Hit the Road

Irene Johnson noticed a big, blue bus bearing the words "Breathe Easy" outside the Benton, Tenn., library during the 2019 Labor Day weekend.

Inside, a librarian told Johnson that the bus was a mobile CT unit that travels around screening smokers for lung cancer.

Former longtime smokers, both Johnson and her husband, Karl, fit the criteria for getting screened, so they decide...