Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital June 5, 2013
Sunscreen lotion and shade are two good tools for helping to prevent non-melanoma skin cancer.
Did you know that non-melanoma skin cancer, which includes basal cell and squamous cell cancer, is the most common form of cancer in the US? In 2012 alone, more than two million new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer were identified, according to the National Cancer Institute. Though non-melanoma cell skin cancer is treatable, new research suggests that the damage it causes may be more than skin deep. Non-melanoma cancer may also play a role in the development of other types of cancer.
A recent study by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) demonstrates an association between non-melanoma skin cancer and future cancer risk among white men and women. Researchers found that people with a history of non-melanoma skin cancer had a modestly higher risk of getting cancer in the future – specifically, breast and lung cancer in women and melanoma in both men and women – compared to those without a history of non-melanoma skin cancer.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital June 4, 2013
Patient education is an important tool in the fight against prostate cancer.
With about one man in six being diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, there’s a great need for patient education. This is why Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has developed the Prostate Cancer Education Center at brighamandwomens.org — providing comprehensive information on prostate cancer, including:
Prostate cancer is the second most common and deadly cancer among American men, with nearly 29,000 dying from the disease each year. However, the five-year survival rate for men diagnosed with prostate cancer has increased from 67 percent to 99 percent in only the past 20 years.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 28, 2013
3-D mammography, compared to traditional imaging, offers a clearer view of breast tissue.
Why are radiologists so enthusiastic about 3-D mammography (digital breast tomosynthesis), a new imaging technology for diagnosing breast cancer?
The simple answer is that it could help save thousands of lives each year.
3-D mammography, compared to traditional two-dimensional imaging, offers a clearer view of the dense tissue within a woman’s breast. Specifically, it enables radiologists to see tumors when they are very small and differentiate them from abnormalities that look like tumors but are usually benign, such as micro-calcifications (calcium deposits) or cysts. When radiologists are able to identify malignant tumors at this early stage, it usually means that the cancer has been found before it has spread to other parts of the body.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 22, 2013
The image above shows how holding a deep breath (deep inspiration) protects the heart from radiation by moving it away from the chest wall.
The following post originally appeared on Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Insight blog.
A recent study by Oxford University researchers reported that, although radiation therapy is a critical tool for the treatment of women with breast cancer, it also can raise their risk of a heart attack or heart disease later in life. The study was based on a review of medical records of 2,168 women in Sweden and Denmark who received radiation therapy for breast cancer between 1958 and 2001, and who were under age 70 at the time.
News coverage of the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, has drawn attention to the heart risks associated with radiation therapy, even as it underscores such therapy’s role in improving survival rates for breast cancer patients.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital March 26, 2013
Dr. Walter Chan and patient navigator Oscar Sanchez team up to encourage patients to get a colonoscopy.
One of the key missions of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is to remind people that a colonoscopy is an invaluable tool for helping to prevent colorectal cancer. So why doesn’t everyone get one?
Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) gastroenterologist Walter Chan, MD, MPH, stresses that everyone should get screened for colorectal (colon or rectal) cancer by age 50. People with a family history of colorectal cancer should get a colonoscopy even sooner – at age 40 or earlier – and some medical experts recommend that African-Americans start screening at age 45.
Unfortunately, many people fail to follow this advice, and the impact is significant. Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in Massachusetts, but it’s believed that more than 33 percent of these cases could be prevented if everyone over the age of 50 were screened.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital March 21, 2013
A new brain imaging tool may, in a matter of seconds, classify tumors and identify their boundaries.
Dr. Harvey Cushing, regarded as the founder of modern neurosurgery, was appointed Surgeon-in-Chief at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (then Peter Bent Brigham Hospital) in 1911. He is recognized for developing new surgical techniques that improved the care and survival of brain tumor patients. Since Dr. Cushing’s time, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) physicians have continued to advance new treatments for brain tumor patients. The latest is a new test that promises to improve the precision of brain tumor removal.
“Tumor tissue within the brain often closely resembles normal brain tissue and may have indistinct boundaries, so it is difficult to determine where tumors end and brain tissue begins,” says Dr. Alexandra Golby, Director of Image-Guided Neurosurgery in the Department of Neurosurgery at BWH, and Clinical Co-Director of BWH’s Advanced Multi-Modality Image Guided Operating (AMIGO) suite.
When removing brain tumors, surgeons want to preserve as much normal brain tissue as possible in their patients, especially when tumors are located in areas of the brain that control important functions like movement, speaking, or vision. However, determining the border between normal brain tissue and areas of brain tumor can often be difficult and uncertain.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 30, 2013
Surgical oncologist Mehra Golshan, MD, (left) and members of the AMIGO team perform a practice run of a lumpectomy procedure on Nov. 15, 2012.
When Jane Davis was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2012, she began learning as much as she could about the disease. Davis quickly discovered one of the most startling statistics about breast cancer — that up to 40 percent of women in the U.S. who undergo a lumpectomy to remove a tumor require a second surgery. That’s because surgeons often are unable to microscopically remove the entire tumor during the first surgery.
Dr. Mehra Golshan, Director of Breast Surgical Services at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, is trying to change that with his research using image-guided therapy, available through the Advanced Multimodality Image Guided Operating (AMIGO) suite at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, to perform more precise breast surgeries.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital December 27, 2012
One of these may reduce your risk of cancer - but not heart disease.
Recently, we published the results from the first large-scale clinical trial to evaluate the long-term effects of multivitamins for men. When it comes to cancer researchers found that taking a daily multivitamin modestly but significantly reduced the risk of developing cancer and possibly reduced cancer-related deaths among men over 50; however, they also found that multivitamins did not appear to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in the same group of men.
“The findings from our large clinical trial do not support the use of a common daily multivitamin supplement for the sole purpose of preventing cardiovascular disease in men,” said Dr. Howard D. Sesso, lead author and an associate epidemiologist in the Division of Preventive Medicine at BWH. “The decision to take a daily multivitamin should be made in consultation with one’s doctor and consideration given to an individual’s nutritional status and other potential effects of multivitamins, including our previously reported modest but significant reduction in cancer risk.”
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital December 11, 2012
Jellyfish have inspired the development of a microchip for detecting cancer.
Seeing a jellyfish can send men, women, and children scurrying back to their beach towels in fear of the translucent creature’s stinging tentacles. But these tentacles are designed not just for defense, but also to delicately and selectively collect food. It’s this discriminating character that has inspired the development of a device that could one day help save cancer patients’ lives.
A research team led by Brigham and Women Hospital’s (BWH) Jeffrey Karp, PhD, a bioengineer in the Department of Medicine, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Rohit Karnik, PhD, has developed a microchip that soon may have broad therapeutic and diagnostic uses in the detection and capture of rare cell types, such as cancer cells, fetal cells, viruses, and bacteria. Like a jellyfish’s sticky tentacles selectively grab miniscule food flowing in the water while letting other material flow by, the microchip only grabs the molecules it’s programmed to detect.
The chip uses a micro-fluidic surface composed of numerous long DNA strands that can be customized to detect and capture various cell types. For the initial study, Karp and his team tested the chip by using a DNA sequence with a particular affinity for a cell-surface protein found abundantly in human cancer cells.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital November 29, 2012
Cigarette smoking is a hard habit to break. Many have tried, and many have failed. But those who’ve succeeded will tell you that the end goal was worth the struggle.
If you’re still seeking a solution to your nicotine addiction, perhaps you should consider a painless procedure that was developed about 2,500 years ago – acupuncture.
Acupuncture helps to cure addiction by treating the body and mind. “It helps to calm the nervous system in much the same way that many medications do,” explains Brendan Carney, LAc, a licensed acupuncturist at the Brigham and Women’s Osher Clinical Center for Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies. “Repeated treatments at strategic body points and discussions with the practitioner help the patient observe their habits lucidly and change their addiction pattern.”
It literally wouldn’t hurt to try. Most patients barely feel the insertion of the extremely fine needles involved in acupuncture, and, after the needles are in place, patients typically feel only a slight, if any, pressure sensation.
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