Displaying items by tag: Research - Facing Cancer Together Facing Cancer Together invites anyone to join the conversation as we connect stories and lives of people touched by cancer. http://facingcancertogether.witf.org Sun, 18 Mar 2018 03:50:34 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Report: Pennsylvania needs to do more to prevent, fight cancer http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/healthy-lifestyle/report-pennsylvania-needs-to-do-more-to-prevent-fight-cancer-82313 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/healthy-lifestyle/report-pennsylvania-needs-to-do-more-to-prevent-fight-cancer-82313

(Harrisburg) -- A new report from the American Cancer Society finds Pennsylvania is like most states in that it falls short when it comes to fighting the causes of cancer.

The commonwealth only gets top marks for its tobacco tax rates.

The Cancer Action Network report gives Pennsylvania low marks on tobacco prevention and cessation efforts.

Spokeswoman Laura Weis says the state also scores poorly for physical education time requirements, which can help in cancer prevention.

"One in three cancer deaths is due to factors relating to poor nutrition and physical inactivity," Weis says.

The report gives the commonwealth low grades for tanning bed restrictions, because over-exposure to UV rays can lead to skin cancer.

The state's smoking ban only gets moderate marks because many locations are not covered by the law.

The Cancer Society also docks the commonwealth for an uptick in the use of smokeless tobacco.

Please visit witf's Facing Cancer Together project for more cancer resources and stories.

Healthy Lifestyle Fri, 23 Aug 2013 13:37:13 +0000
Midstaters wanted for cancer prevention study http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/research-and-clinical-trials/midstaters-wanted-for-cancer-prevention-study-82313 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/research-and-clinical-trials/midstaters-wanted-for-cancer-prevention-study-82313

(York) -- The American Cancer Society hopes to enroll hundreds of people in the midstate in its Cancer Prevention Study-3. The study aims to gather health and lifestyle information to help advance ACS research.

Getting started in CPS-3 is a two-step process. First, participants register online. Then, Carol Miller of the society's York office says they attend an enrollment event at Sovereign Bank Stadium on September 17th.

"I call it a no-brainer," Miller explains. "It's really simple. You fill out a questionnaire, you come for 30 minutes, you're in and you can have a profound influence on the research that will lead to a cure."

Miller says they hope to enroll more than 200 people at the event.

Participants must be 30 - 65 years old and will to commit for the long-term. They will receive a survey in the mail every few years for the next two to three decades. This is the second midstate enrollment event for the Cancer Prevention Study-3. Nationwide enrollment closes at the end of the year.

Research and Clinical Trials Fri, 23 Aug 2013 13:34:29 +0000
News: Compound stimulates anti-tumor protein http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/research-and-clinical-trials/news-compound-stimulates-anti-tumor-protein-2713 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/research-and-clinical-trials/news-compound-stimulates-anti-tumor-protein-2713 News: Compound stimulates anti-tumor protein

HERSHEY, PA–A compound that stimulates the production of a tumor-fighting protein may improve the usefulness of the protein in cancer therapy, according to a team of researchers.

TRAIL is a natural antitumor protein that suppresses tumor development during immune surveillance, the immune system’s process of patrolling the body for cancer cells. This process is lost during cancer progression, which leads to uncontrolled growth and spread of tumors.

The ability of TRAIL to initiate cell death selectively in cancer cells has led to ongoing clinical trials with artificially-created TRAIL or antibody proteins that mimic its action. Use of the TRAIL protein as a drug has shown that it is safe, but there have been some issues, including stability of the protein, cost of the drug, and the ability of the drug to distribute throughout the body and get into tumors, especially in the brain.

“The TRAIL pathway is a powerful way to suppress tumors but current approaches have limitations that we have been trying to overcome to unleash an effective and selective cancer therapy,” said Dr. Wafik El-Deiry, professor of medicine and chief of the hematology/oncology division, Penn State College of Medicine. “The TRAIL biochemical cell death pathway naturally lends itself as a drug target to restore anti-tumor immunity.”

Researchers have identified a compound called TRAIL-inducing Compound 10 (TIC10) as a potential solution. TIC10 stimulates the tumor suppression capabilities of TRAIL in both normal and tumor tissues, including in the brain, and induces tumor cell death in mice. They report their findings in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

TIC10 is a small molecule. This organic compound binds to a protein and alters what the protein does.

Stimulation of TRAIL protein is sustained in both tumor and normal cells, with the normal cells contributing to the TIC10-induced cancer cell death through a bystander effect. It is effective in cancer cell samples and cell lines resistant to conventional therapies.

“I was surprised and impressed that we were able to do this,” El-Deiry said. “Using a small molecule to significantly boost and overcome limitations of the TRAIL pathway appears to be a promising way to address difficult to treat cancers using a safe mechanism already used in those with a normal effective immune system. This candidate new drug, a first-in-its-class, shows activity against a broad range of tumor types in mice and appears safe at this stage.”

New treatments are needed for advanced cancer, as more than half a million people in the United States will die of cancer in 2013.

“We have enough preclinical information to support the rationale for testing this new drug in the clinic,” El-Deiry said.

TIC10 seems to be nontoxic to normal cells or mice even at doses 10 times higher that an observed therapeutic dose, however more research needs to be completed to satisfy FDA requirements prior to initiation of clinical testing.

Other researchers are Joshua E. Allen, David T. Dicker, Akshal S. Patel, Nathan G. Dolloff, Kimberly A. Scata, Wenge Wang, all of Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute; Gabriel Krigsfeld, Patrick A. Mayes, Luv Patel, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Evangelos Messaris, Department of Surgery, Penn State College Medicine; Jun-Ying Zhou and Gen Sheng Wu, Wayne State University School of Medicine.

This study was funded by the American Cancer Society, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health.

Located on the campus of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa., Penn State College of Medicine boasts a portfolio of more than $106 million in funded research. Projects range from the development of artificial organs and advanced diagnostics to groundbreaking cancer treatments and understanding the fundamental causes of disease. Enrolling its first students in 1967, the College of Medicine has more than 1,600 students and trainees in medicine, nursing, the health professions and biomedical research on its campus.

Research and Clinical Trials Thu, 07 Feb 2013 19:02:17 +0000
Study: no increased risk of heart problems from breast cancer radiation http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/research-and-clinical-trials/study-no-increased-risk-of-heart-problems-from-breast-cancer-radiation-111312 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/research-and-clinical-trials/study-no-increased-risk-of-heart-problems-from-breast-cancer-radiation-111312 Study: no increased risk of heart problems from breast cancer radiation

(Philadelphia) -- New breast cancer research finds no increased risk of heart problems after certain types of breast cancer therapy. Smaller studies have previously raised concerns about heart damage when women with cancer opt for radiation treatments.

heart-docDr. Charles Simone of the University of Pennsylvania Health System is the study's lead author.  He says the study looked at the heart health of women more than 25 years after radiation treatments.

"It should really continue to be a standard option for women," Simone says. "This study hopefully should reassure many women that, at least for cardiac outcomes, there's no appreciable increased risk with radiation therapy."

Simone says patients in the study underwent extensive testing, including blood sampling and imaging.

He presented the findings at the American Society for Radiation Oncology's Annual Meeting.

Research and Clinical Trials Thu, 15 Nov 2012 17:14:00 +0000
Code Pink http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/expert-journal/code-pink-102612 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/expert-journal/code-pink-102612 Code Pink

Cancer is the epidemic of modern times. Unlike other diseases that have plagued people throughout history like tuberculosis and polio, we haven’t yet discovered a vaccine against it. One of the most common manifestations of this disease is breast cancer, which affects not only one in eight women, but also thousands of men in the United States.

In fact, only lung cancer is more destructive. And if someone you love gets breast cancer, it will cost more than just their health: treatment typically costs between $50,000 and $100,000, the latter of which is more than twice the annual median U.S. income. Early detection is the key to surviving breast cancer, so share this graphic with people you love to help them learn stuff about beating cancer before it has a chance.


Expert Journal Fri, 26 Oct 2012 13:16:32 +0000
Advertising cigarettes to women and children http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/healthy-lifestyle/advertising-cigarettes-to-women-and-children-10412 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/healthy-lifestyle/advertising-cigarettes-to-women-and-children-10412 Advertising cigarettes to women and children

Dr. Shou Ling Leong, an educator at Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, explains that smoking cigarettes in the past was something that only men did, not women and children. But clever advertising campaigns targeted to women and children changed that.


Advertising played a key role in getting Americans hooked on tobacco, and glamorized the habit in magazines, on billboards and even at sporting events.

But, it was advertising campaigns like Virginia Slim’s “You’ve come a long way baby” campaign that encouraged smoking among women, playing off of a theme of equality with men.

These campaigns were so successful, in fact, that by 1965 the number of women who died of lung cancer surpassed the number who died of breast cancer in the U.S. And, smoking-related deaths are still the leading cause of death today.  Scroll down to watch the video.

Cigarette companies also targeted children with ads that featured cartoon characters like Joe Camel. “If you look at the data when they rolled out Joe Camel, the number of teen smokers went up. They know that if they can get them hooked at an early age before they know the dangers of smoking, they’ll have them for life because it is very hard to quit,” says Dr. Leong.


That’s why prevention is so important with children, teens and young adults. Programs that reach out to kids about the dangers of smoking in schools and communities can help prevent some kids from starting the habit.

“About 440,000 people die each year in the U.S. due to smoking-related illness. So, this is a very major health problem for us,” explains Dr. Leong. “But, if we look at the evidence, there is good news. 50% want to quit and we in the medical community want to help them.”

Dr. Leong says that there are several resources right here in our community that people can utilize to help them quit smoking. From smoking cessation programs, to counseling or group support, there are many places to turn for information and encouragement.

She also highlights a great resource that is free 24 hours a day and 7 days a week- The PA Quitline: 1-800-QUIT NOW

cigarettesDr. Leong says, “There are a lot of resources out there and I think we as a community working together, we should be able to help people quit smoking.”

Related stories:
A brief history of smoking
Tackling the physical, mental and social aspects of tobacco addiction
Options for quitting
Butt out for good
How doctors communicate with their patient about smoking

Healthy Lifestyle Thu, 25 Oct 2012 15:06:00 +0000
New PHC4 Report: Multiple breast cancer procedures decline, Preventive procedures on the rise http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/research-and-clinical-trials/new-phc4-report-multiple-breast-cancer-procedures-decline-preventive-procedures-on-the-rise-102212 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/research-and-clinical-trials/new-phc4-report-multiple-breast-cancer-procedures-decline-preventive-procedures-on-the-rise-102212 New PHC4 Report: Multiple breast cancer procedures decline, Preventive procedures on the rise

Harrisburg, PA - October 9, 2012 - While the number of Pennsylvania women undergoing surgery for breast cancer at hospitals in the Commonwealth remained fairly constant over the past decade, the number of women who had both a mastectomy and a lumpectomy in the same year dropped significantly, according to new figures published today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4). The report also indicated that the number of women electing preventive surgery increased from 2002 to 2011. This latest PHC4 report is being released in conjunction with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October).

PHC4 records show that 10,977 Pennsylvania women received surgical treatment for breast cancer in hospitals within the state in 2011, compared to 11,074 in 2002. However, 3,173 of those had only mastectomies, an increase from 2,696 in 2002. The number having only lumpectomies also rose from 6,843 to 7,200. The number who had both types of surgeries, however, declined 60 percent, from 1,535 in 2002 to 604 in 2011.

surgery-cancer“By providing the latest information on trends in treatment, this report can be a resource for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer as they discuss options with their physicians,” said PHC4 Executive Director Joe Martin. “The data show that the number of women undergoing breast cancer surgery was consistent from 2002 through 2011, but that there are far fewer instances of a women having both a mastectomy and a lumpectomy in the same year and fewer instances of multiple lumpectomies in the same year. This improvement in efficacy and efficiency of treatment is sparing women the physical, mental and emotional toll of multiple surgical treatments.”

Women sometimes choose preventive surgery before they are diagnosed with breast cancer, because of a genetic predictor, a family history, or a personal history with the disease. That number climbed dramatically from 94 women in 2002 to 455 in 2011.


Mr. Martin noted the increase in prophylactic or preventive procedures saying, “While there have been anecdotal reports in recent years of an increase in prophylactic mastectomies, this report contains new empirical evidence that women are increasingly turning to preventive procedures.”

Among the other key findings in Surgical Treatment of Breast Cancer in Pennsylvania, 2002-2011:

  • Women ages 60 and over accounted for 58% of the breast cancer surgeries in the state in 2011, while women under age 40 comprised just 3%.
  • While the number of women having breast cancer surgery declined by only 97 between 2002 and 2011, the number of hospitalizations declined by 1,400, mostly because fewer women were hospitalized multiple times in the same year for lumpectomies.
  • In 2011, 84 men had surgical treatment for breast cancer in PA.
  • Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) paid an average of $6,109 for an inpatient mastectomy in PA in 2010. Medicaid FFS paid an average of $8,445 for an inpatient mastectomy. Medicare and Medicaid fee-for-service paid for about 28% of all inpatient mastectomies in 2010, which amounted to $5,667,495.

PHC4 is an independent state agency charged with collecting, analyzing and reporting information that can be used to improve the quality and restrain the cost of health care in Pennsylvania. Copies of the free report can be downloaded from PHC4’s website at http://www.phc4.org.

Research and Clinical Trials Mon, 22 Oct 2012 15:11:25 +0000
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to host public town hall meeting 10/22/12 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/cancer-and-treatments/the-leukemia-lymphoma-society-to-host-public-town-hall-meeting-10/22/12-101912 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/cancer-and-treatments/the-leukemia-lymphoma-society-to-host-public-town-hall-meeting-10/22/12-101912 The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to host public town hall meeting 10/22/12

Harrisburg, PA – The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) of Central Pennsylvania announced today that it will host a Town Hall Meeting open to the public.

The event will take place on October 22nd from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at witf, 4801 Lindle Road, Harrisburg and will include a presentation from LLS Office of Public Policy staff, followed by an open discussion on current issues in PA including orally administered cancer treatment parity, federal issues affecting cancer patients, and engaging advocates to make a difference. (Click here for directions to witf)


LLS is committed to removing access barriers to coordinate, quality care for cancer patients in Pennsylvania. They are encouraging community members to come and share their thoughts about what matters to cancer patients in the central PA community. Attendees will gain valuable information about how advocacy and policy can make a difference.

“In this day and age, you can almost guarantee that at least one person you talk to during the course of your day has been directly impacted by cancer, or knows someone who has or had cancer….it could be a relative, friend, or co-worker. Until you’re in the situation, you have no idea of the challenges they are facing, not just physically and emotionally, but financially too,” said Lori Reese, LLS Central PA Board of Trustee and Advocacy Chair. “It is so important that we as a community learn the issues that cancer patients and their families are facing and how we can join together to make a difference in the treatment and care they receive. I think the Town Hall Meeting will be a great learning opportunity for us to have meaningful conversation about a disease that affects so many people in our region.”

caring-cancer-doctorThe mission of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to curing blood cancer. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services, including research, patient services and public policy advocacy, to name a few.

pa-capitolThe Central Pennsylvania Chapter annually holds a Lobby Day at the Capitol in Harrisburg. In February 2013, volunteers, patients, family members, and supporting organizations from across PA will come together to in Harrisburg to advocate for legislation that will ensure equitable insurance coverage for cancer treatment for patients in PA.

“We are engaging in a massive fight with cancer,” said Elizabeth Mihmet, executive director of the Central PA Chapter of LLS. “It’s about working together for a better and stronger commonwealth for our families.”

For more information or for to become an advocate, contact The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Central PA Chapter at (717) 652-6520 or at http://www.lls.org/aboutlls/chapters/cpa/.

Learn more about the event's discussion topics here.

Cancer and Treatments Fri, 19 Oct 2012 17:17:50 +0000
The impact of Breast Cancer Awareness Month http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/cancer-and-treatments/the-impact-of-breast-cancer-awareness-month-111612 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/cancer-and-treatments/the-impact-of-breast-cancer-awareness-month-111612 The impact of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One doesn't have to look far to see a pink ribbon, buildings cast in pink light or fountains flowing with pink water. The color pink is associated with the cause so much during the month that everyone knows exactly what it signifies.


When the campaign began in October 1985, the focus was on early detection of breast cancer. That's still an important message, but billions of dollars have been donated and contributed toward breast cancer research and treatment.

Progress has been made. About 2% fewer breast cancers were detected between 1999 and 2005 and death rates from breast cancer have been dropping since 1990.

This episode of Radio Smart Talk explores the impact of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the past and into the future.

We'll also look into current statistics, treatments, research, and what the future holds.

Program guests include Pat Halpin-Murphy, the president and founder of the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, Leigh Hurst, the founder of Feel Your Boobies, and Dr. Ronald Hempling, a gynecologic oncologist with WellSpan Health.

Listen to the program:

Cancer and Treatments Fri, 19 Oct 2012 15:00:00 +0000
A brief history of smoking http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/healthy-lifestyle/a-brief-history-of-smoking-10412 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/healthy-lifestyle/a-brief-history-of-smoking-10412 A brief history of smoking

In the video below, Dr. Dennis Gingrich, an educator at Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, provides a brief history of smoking and the changes that have been made as a society to discourage smoking in public spaces.

columbus taking possessionDr. Gingrich explains that tobacco is a plant that was raised in the New World.  It wasn’t until Columbus discovered that the Native Americans were using tobacco for religious and medicinal purposes that people in  Europe began using it.

In the 18th century, tobacco became very popular on both sides of Atlantic, and in the 20th century came the cigarette. Dr. Gingrich explains that the advent of the cigarette as a method of smoking tobacco was a game-changer.


“What made the cigarette so popular is that there’s a physiological change that takes place when nicotine reaches the blood stream. It is absorbed very quickly and the effect is almost immediate.  But that effect also wares off very rapidly and requires another 'charge' or cigarette.  This is what develops a pattern of smoking throught the day,” he says.

In the 40’s and 50’s, people really didn’t know the dangers of smoking. Cigarettes were included in the ration packs of soldiers in WWII. Dr. Gingrich highlights that physicians at the time were even advertising the benefits of smoking in TV commercials and magazine ads.

no-smoking-policyBut, as a society, a lot of positive steps have been made to improve public health since the 50’s. “There was a Surgeon General’s report on the hazards of smoking in ’64.” Dr. Gingrich says, adding, “Then there were some changes in society including cigarette ads being pulled from television and cigarettes being banned in air travel. So we try to discourage smoking in public places wherever possible.”

Worldwide, there are about 6 million deaths due to smoking-related illness each year. “It is a staggering global health problem.” Dr. Gingrich says. “We really need to get the word out so that we can have a healthier community and world."

Related stories:
Tackling the physical, mental and social aspects of tobacco addiction
Butt out for good
How doctors communicate with their patient about smoking
Options for quitting

Healthy Lifestyle Thu, 18 Oct 2012 15:06:00 +0000