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How the Pandemic Changed Breast Cancer Care

TUESDAY, May 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, breast cancer experts realized space in operating rooms and hospitals could become scarce. That meant rethinking standard care, to provide the best way to treat patients under these suddenly restricted conditions.

One of the new ideas: Reverse the order of care given to patients with a type of b...

New Hope Against a Rare but Incurable Eye Cancer

A cutting-edge experimental drug cuts nearly in half the risk of death among patients with a rare but aggressive cancer of the eye, new clinical trial data show.

Tebentafusp has now become the first drug shown to improve overall survival in patients with uveal melanoma, said Dr. Antoni Ribas, immediate past president of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), in a

  • Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter
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  • April 20, 2021
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  • Full Page
  • She's Beating Leukemia With a Healthy Change to Her Diet

    Angie Gaytan never cared much for beets, but beets sure do love her -- doctors say that veggie shakes, fruits, beet juice and other healthy foods likely helped the 16-year-old defeat her life-threatening leukemia.

    Such a healthy diet helped more than Angie: A new study found that adopting a low-fat, low-sugar diet appeared to boost the effectiveness of chemotherapy in a group of 40 childr...

    Surgery Can Boost Outcomes After Chemo for People With Pancreatic Cancer

    Even in patients with stage 2 pancreatic cancer, surgery is typically worthwhile after chemotherapy, because it appears to extend patients' lives, a new study concludes.

    In stage 2 cancer, the tumor has already grown large enough to be close to vessels that supply blood to nearby organs, such as the liver or intestines.

    That can complicate surgeries and cause doctors to hesitate go...

    Drug Boosts Survival for Women With Advanced Ovarian Cancer

    Women with advanced ovarian cancer often face grim statistics, with less than half surviving for five years after their diagnosis. However, a new study suggests that so-called "maintenance therapy" with a targeted cancer drug may add years to some patients' lives.

    In findings described by some experts as "remarkable," the study showed that women with advanced ovarian cancer linked to the ...

    Could Stem Cell Therapy Be a Breakthrough Against MS?

    Stem cell transplants may have long-lasting benefits for some people with aggressive cases of multiple sclerosis, a new study suggests.

    Italian researchers found that among 210 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who received a stem cell transplant -- with cells from their own blood -- two-thirds saw no worsening in their disability 10 years out.

    That included 71% of patients with rela...

    Surgery Could Boost Survival for Women With Advanced Breast Cancers: Study

    Women with advanced breast cancer who undergo surgery to remove the tumor after chemotherapy or another type of systemic treatment may live longer than those who don't have surgery, a new study suggests.

    The findings challenge a long-held belief that surgery confers little benefit for women with stage 4 breast cancer unless the cancer is causing pain, bleeding or other symptoms. Stage 4 i...

    Some Older Breast Cancer Patients Can Safely Cut Down on Chemo

    More women with early-stage breast cancer may be able to safely skip chemotherapy after having surgery, according to initial results from a major clinical trial.

    The trial, conducted in nine countries, found that adding chemotherapy to hormone-blocking drugs brought no added benefit to a particular group of patients. Those were postmenopausal women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer tha...

    Many Breast Cancer Survivors Have Healthy Babies: Study

    When a young woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, many questions go through her mind.

    What treatments does she need? Will she survive? And will she still be able to have a baby?

    In a review of recent research, an international team of investigators say the answer to that critical third question is yes. Though breast cancer survivors are less likely to become pregnant than the ave...

    Certain Cancer Treatments May Heighten Danger From COVID-19

    People with cancer are at increased risk for severe COVID-19. Now, a preliminary study suggests that certain cancer therapies may heighten those odds even further.

    Researchers found that of 3,600 U.S. cancer patients who contracted COVID-19, the highest risk of death was among those who'd received cancer treatment within the past three months.

    And the type of therapy mattere...

    Mother and Son Draw Hope, Healing From Shared Cancer Treatment

    Families bond over lots of shared experiences -- but one Leslie Seigel and her adult son, Josh, never expected to share was battling cancer.

    Soon after Leslie finished chemotherapy for an aggressive form of breast cancer, however, Josh found himself waging his own battle with testicular cancer.

    The mother and son soon learned they shared something else -- a genetic mutation ...

    Rare Tumor Slows, But Won't Stop Young Drama Teacher

    Christina Kosyla, a drama and yoga teacher in her late 20s, was about to take the trip of a lifetime when she felt a strange twinge in her shoulder. A co-worker also pointed out some slight swelling in Kosyla's shoulder.

    Kosyla and her best friend were planning to hike the Camino De Santiago -- a 500-mile pilgrimage from France to Spain that required exceptional physical fitness and ...

    Drug Combo Offers Hope Against Advanced Bladder Cancer

    A combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy may slow the progress of metastatic bladder cancer and extend survival, a clinical trial suggests.

    Current treatment for advanced bladder cancer is chemotherapy, but adding the immunotherapy drug atezolizumab (Tecentriq) appears to help more patients fight this disease. It strikes 81,000 Americans a year and kills 18,000.

    "Th...

    Coping With Cancer During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Everyone is learning to deal with the threat of the new coronavirus, but for people with cancer, the virus is even more concerning.

    Cancer can increase people's risk of catching the coronavirus. It increases the odds of complications from the infection, too.

    "Patients with cancer are at a higher risk, especially if treatment is active or recent. It's hard to give a one-siz...

    Statins Might Reduce Harms From Breast Cancer Chemo

    Cholesterol-lowering statins are commonly used to help prevent heart disease. Now a new study hints that they could shield women's hearts from the harms of certain breast cancer drugs.

    The study focused on women in Canada who'd been treated with either chemotherapy drugs called anthracyclines or the medication Herceptin. Though the treatments can be lifesaving, they can also damage th...

    U.S. Sees Big Drop in Deaths From Melanoma

    New treatments for melanoma have dramatically reduced deaths from this often fatal skin cancer.

    Leaders of a new study report that the death rate from aggressive melanoma that spread to other organs plummeted 18% between 2013 and 2016, after jumping 7.5% between 1986 and 2013. The figures apply to white Americans, the group that accounts for nearly all cases of melanoma in th...

    Drug Shows Promise Against Aggressive Breast Cancer

    The immunotherapy drug Keytruda might offer a new treatment option to women with an aggressive form of breast cancer, a clinical trial suggests.

    The study found that for women with "triple-negative" breast cancer, adding Keytruda to standard chemotherapy improved their odds of responding.

    And in the months afterward, women treated with the drug were less likely to see their ...

    Roll Up Your Sleeve and Donate Blood for Cancer Patients

    Many people don't realize that cancer patients are in constant need of blood supplies.

    Chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer can damage the body's ability to produce healthy blood cells and cause potentially life-threatening conditions. Blood transfusions help provide critical clotting factors, proteins and antibodies.

    Now, the American Red Cross and the American C...

    Stomach Cancer Appears Different in Younger Patients

    Stomach cancer among many people under 60 appears more deadly than when it occurs to older people, a new study finds.

    This new form of cancer is genetically different from other stomach cancer and grows and spreads faster. It is also resistant to the usual chemotherapy, researchers say.

    Although the rate of stomach cancer in older people has been falling for years, this ca...

    Exercise Might Guard Against Heart Damage of Chemo

    Chemotherapy can be hard on the heart, but an individualized exercise program may mitigate some of that damage, new research suggests.

    Heart problems are a common side effect in patients with cancer because cancer treatments can impair heart function and structure or accelerate development of heart disease, especially when patients have risk factors such as high blood pressure, accor...

    New Treatment Offers Hope for Kids With Deadly Nerve Cancer

    Early treatment with an immune-boosting therapy might improve the outlook of young children with an advanced form of cancer, a new small study suggests.

    The trial involved 43 children with high-risk neuroblastoma, a cancer that starts in immature nerve cells. Researchers found that a new treatment approach -- involving an experimental antibody given right off the bat -- started to qui...

    Drug Trio Improves Odds Against Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

    A three-drug chemo cocktail appears to shrink tumors and improve survivorship among pancreatic cancer patients, a new, small study shows.

    Tumors substantially shrank for just over 71% of patients treated with a three-drug regimen of nab-paclitaxel, gemcitabine and platinum-based cisplatin, the researchers found.

    Further, 16 patients (64%) out of the 25 treated were s...

    Childhood Cancer Survivors Struggle With Heart Troubles

    The treatments that childhood cancer patients receive often save their lives, but they also make survivors prone to heart troubles, a new study finds.

    For the study, researchers examined heart disease rates in nearly 7,300 childhood cancer survivors (diagnosed at an average age of 7) and a "control group" of more than 36,000 people without cancer in the province of Ontario, Canada.

    New DNA Blood Test May Help Guide Breast Cancer Treatment

    Could the DNA from a patient's breast tumor help doctors spot whether stray cancer cells are still in her blood?

    That's what a small, new study suggests is possible. If the findings are replicated in a larger study, such a test might help determine whether a treatment is working or not. It also has the potential to reduce unnecessary additional treatments for breast cancer.

    ...

    Better Treatments Needed to Boost Brain Cancer Survival: Study

    Glioblastoma brain cancer remains one of deadliest tumors, and new research shows five-year survival rates remain low for patients with the disease.

    While there have been improvements in short- and medium-term survival rates for patients with the most common type of brain tumor in adults, only 6% of patients live for five years after diagnosis, according to the Mayo Clinic researc...

    Testicular Cancer Treatment Unlikely to Trigger Birth Defects

    New research should reassure dads-to-be who've had testicular cancer that treatment with radiation or chemotherapy doesn't raise the risk of fathering babies with birth defects.

    "Our research set out to investigate whether treatment for the most common cancer among young men leads to a higher risk of fathering a child with a birth defect and we saw no increased risk associated with ca...

    Device Spots Lymphedema Early in Breast Cancer Patients, to Help Stop It

    An easy-to-use, noninvasive device can detect early signs of the cancer complication known as lymphedema, a new study reports.

    Lymphedema is the buildup of fluid in the body's tissues when a part of the lymph system is damaged, as can happen in cancer care, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI).

    The fluid causes swelling, usually in the arms or legs, and can b...

    With Weeks to Live, Many Cancer Patients Try Useless Treatments

    Learning you have a cancer that looks imminently terminal is tough news to swallow.

    And new research indicates that when given just one month to live, a significant number of patients still opt for aggressive and often costly interventions, despite little evidence to suggest they'll help.

    A study of just over 100,000 patients in the United States found that the urge to under...

    Treatment Advances Making Pancreatic Cancer a Less Deadly Disease

    Advances in chemotherapy and cancer monitoring can dramatically extend the lives of almost one-third of pancreatic cancer patients with tumors previously considered inoperable, researchers report.

    It's good news for patients with a particularly deadly form of cancer that's been highlighted by the recent diagnosis of "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

    ...

    Baby Monkey May Offer Hope to Preserving Fertility of Kids With Cancer

    She's cute, and perhaps a medical breakthrough.

    Scientists say they have used frozen testicular tissue to achieve the birth of a healthy baby monkey named Grady -- a success they hope to eventually translate to childhood cancer survivors whose treatment has left them infertile.

    Infertility is a potential side effect of the chemotherapy and radiation used to treat various can...

    Genomics Could Improve Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer

    It's one of the toughest cancers to beat. But new research suggests that identifying the genetics of pancreatic cancer in individual patients could boost survival for some.

    The five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer patients is less than 9 percent. One reason this cancer is so deadly is that many patients are diagnosed at a late stage and often with inoperable tumors.

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    High Deductibles May Threaten Breast Cancer Patients' Survival

    Even when women have health insurance, high deductibles may delay them from having breast cancer diagnosed and treated, researchers say.

    In a study of more than 3 million U.S. women with health insurance, the researchers found that those in plans with high deductibles waited several months more for a breast cancer diagnosis or treatment, versus women in low-deductible plans.

    Radioactive Chemo Meds Might Threaten Crematorium Workers: Study

    Deceased people who are cremated after having been treated with radioactive medications might be a health hazard to crematory operators, a new case study shows.

    An Arizona crematorium became contaminated with radiation following the cremation of a man who received "radiopharmaceutical" treatment two days before he died, according to a research letter published Feb. 26 in the Journ...

    Testicular Cancer Treatment Doesn't Always Doom Fertility

    Young men diagnosed with testicular cancer often worry that treating the disease may jeopardize their chances of having children, but new research should ease their minds.

    In the study, sperm counts rebounded in men who received one course of chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery for early-stage testicular cancer.

    It was known that several rounds of chemotherapy or...

    Experimental Drug Helps Women With Deadly Type of Breast Cancer

    An experimental drug has shown promise in extending the lives of women suffering from a particularly aggressive and deadly type of breast cancer, according to the results of a phase 2 trial.

    Right now, the standard treatment of chemotherapy for metastatic triple-negative breast cancer has not been very effective. That might change with the new drug, called sacituzumab govitecan, whic...

    Are Primary Care Doctors Prepared to Discuss Cancer Treatment?

    Many primary care doctors feel ill-equipped to discuss cancer treatment options with patients, according to a new study.

    Researchers surveyed 517 primary care doctors who had 1,077 female patients diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.

    Doctors were asked if they had discussed surgery, radiation or chemotherapy options with their patients; how comfortable they were doing s...