Archives for the month of: March, 2014

Colon cancer is the second greatest cause of cancer death in the Western world. Mistletoe extract is already authorised for use by sufferers of colon cancer in Europe, but not in Australia due to a lack of scientific testing. For her Honours research project recently completed at the University of Adelaide, Health Sciences student Zahra Lotfollahi compared the effectiveness of three different types of mistletoe extract and chemotherapy on colon cancer cells. She also compared the impact of mistletoe extract and chemotherapy on healthy intestinal cells . In her laboratory studies, she found that one of the mistletoe extracts – from a species known as Fraxini (which grows on ash trees ) – was highly effective against colon cancer cells and was gentler on healthy intestinal cells compared with chemotherapy. Significantly, Fraxini extract was found to be more potent against cancer cells than the chemotherapy drug. “This is an important result because we know that chemotherapy is effective at killing healthy cells as well as cancer cells. This can result in severe side-effects for the patient, such as oral mucositis (ulcers in the mouth) and hair loss,” Ms Lotfollahi says. “Our laboratory studies have shown Fraxini mistletoe extract by itself to be highly effective at reducing the viability of colon cancer cells . At certain concentrations, Fraxini also increased the potency of chemotherapy against the cancer cells. “Of the three extracts tested, and compared with chemotherapy, Fraxini was the only one that showed a reduced impact on healthy intestinal cells. This might mean that Fraxini is a potential candidate for increased toxicity against cancer, while also reducing potential side effects. However, more laboratory testing is needed to further validate this work,” Ms Lotfollahi says. “Mistletoe extract has been considered a viable alternative therapy overseas for many years, but it’s important for us to understand the science behind it,” says one of Ms Lotfollahi’s supervisors, the University of Adelaide’s Professor Gordon Howarth, a Cancer Council Senior Research Fellow. “Although mistletoe grown on the ash tree was the most effective of the three extracts tested, there is a possibility that mistletoe grown on other, as yet untested, trees or plants could be even more effective.

Cancer overtakes heart disease as biggest killer in Australia: World Health Organisation

Photo: AFP It’s a word we all fear, and every day more of us are forced to face it. And now the World Health Organisation has revealed that cancer has overtaken heart disease as the biggest killer in Australia and globally. Despite having access to some of the best healthcare in the world, experts say, Australia still faces many thousands of deaths each year from the disease. There’s no doubt alcohol contributes to a chronic disease like cancer. While cancers linked to poverty are prevalent in some countries, in Australia it is affluence that is killing us. The co-author of the WHO World Cancer Report , Bernard Stewart, said the main message was that cancer is a largely preventable disease. We can’t, as a world, treat our way out of the burden of cancer,” he said. We now know for certain that the vast majority of cancers are attributable to what have been called ‘lifestyle choices’, or decisions people make about their own situation. The way in which Australia and other countries were able to tackle the issue of personal responsibility versus regulation and legislation would be the key issue influencing cancer statistics in the future, he said. Cancer Council Australia’s Terry Slevin said the report indicated that, in 2012, between 2.4 million and 3.7 million deaths worldwide were preventable. He pointed to a comment from the director-general of the WHO, Margaret Chan, who said cancers were coming from two vastly different worlds. Those associated with the world of poverty, including infection-related cancers, are still common, while those associated with the world of plenty are increasingly prevalent, owing to the adoption of industrialised lifestyles, with increasing use of tobacco, consumption of alcohol and highly processed foods, and lack of physical activity, she wrote in the World Cancer Report. Mr Slevin said in particular Australians needed to look more honestly at the role alcohol consumption played in our cancer rates. There’s no doubt alcohol contributes to a chronic disease like cancer [including] cancer of the mouth, the pharynx, the oropharynx, cancer of the colon and rectum, liver cancer, laryngeal cancer and cancer of the female breast, he said. Some of those larger, more common cancers like colorectal cancer and breast cancer are important, because while it’s a small proportion of those cancers that are attributable to alcohol, they are quite common cancers. The director of cardiovascular health at the Heart Foundation, Rob Grenfell, said cardiovascular disease, which includes stroke and heart failure, still kills more Australians. Both cancers and cardiovascular diseases have a common risk factors including smoking, poor nutrition, overweight/obesity and physical inactivity, he said. It’s not about which disease is the biggest killer we have two very large disease groups that together cause six in 10 deaths.


Don’t ignore colon cancer dangers

Colon cancer risk factors The lifetime risk for developing colon cancer is 1-in-18 and over 90% of these cases occur after the age 50. Increasing age, a family history of colon polyps, colon cancer or other early cancers can double or triple your risk for developing this disease. If any of these risk factors run in your family, you need to start the discussion about screening at age 40 or even earlier depending on when your family members were diagnosed. Persons with ulcerative colitis , Crohns disease or a personal history of cancer are also at increased risk for colon cancer and need to tailor regular, more frequent colonoscopies. Studies also indicate that diet and smoking may increase the risk of developing colon polyps and colon cancer. While family history and other risk factors matter, not having risk factors does not eliminate your need for screenings. What polyps tell us As we age, about 1-in-4 of us develop polyps in our colon and about 10% of these polyps eventually turn from a benign growth into colon cancer. For the most part, these polyps take about 10 years to transform into colon cancer. Polyps and early colon cancers often have no symptoms and can be detected only by screening exams. How can colon cancer best be prevented? There are several effective ways to reduce your colon cancer risk, but none more important than getting timely screenings and removing polyps before they become malignant. Refraining from smoking, maintaining healthy weight and regular exercise, managing normal body levels of nutrients, especially vitamin D also appear to lower risk factors.

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Colonic Polyps

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Cancer Cells

The American Cancer Society recommends beginning at age 50, both men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should be screened for colon cancer. If there is a family history or other risk factors your doctor may recommend more frequent or earlier screenings. Talk to your doctor about when you should begin screening for colon cancer. Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon), the lower part of your digestive system. Rectal cancer is cancer of the last several inches of the colon. Together, they’re often referred to as colorectal cancers. Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps. Over time some of these polyps become colon cancers. Polyps may be small and produce few, if any, symptoms. For this reason, doctors recommend regular screening tests to help prevent colon cancer by identifying polyps before they become colon cancer. Signs and symptoms of colon cancer include: * A change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool * Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool * Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain * A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely * Weakness or fatigue * Unexplained weight loss Many people with colon cancer experience no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. When symptoms appear, they’ll likely vary, depending on the cancer’s size and location in your large intestine. When to see a doctor Of course, it’s better to be proactive and have a colon cancer screening. But, if you notice any symptoms of colon cancer, such as blood in your stool or a persistent change in bowel habits, make an appointment with your doctor. Colon cancer most often begins as polyps on the inside lining of the colon. Polyps can appear mushroom-shaped, or they can be flat or recessed into the wall of the colon.

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Olympus Launches Awareness Initiatives in Support of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

The Candian-led study aims to enrol 1,000 colon cancer survivors to determine if exercise can prevent cancer recurrence and boost survival rate. (Canadian Cancer Society) Can exercise prevent cancer from recurring and boost patient survival rate? A group of Canadian researchers have launched an international study to find out. The researchers aim to enrol about 1,000 colon cancer survivors from Canada, Australia and Israel who have completed surgery and chemotherapy.In Canada, researchers are drawing participants from 20 cancer centres across the country, includingHamilton’sJuravinskiCancerCentre. The participants are divided at random into two groups. Those in the experimental group are connected with a physical activity consultant a kinesiologist, a personal trainer, or a physiotherapist to develop a structured exercise program. Herpes helps fight cancer, McMaster study suggests A typical exercise routine for the participants involves walking four times a week for 40 minutes at a moderately brisk pace, said Chris Booth, an oncologist at Kingston General hospital and lead researcher of the study. A variety of other activities such as running on the treadmill and swimming can also be added to the program. Participants in the other group are given health education materials and can exercise if they wish, but they are not paired with a physical activity consultant. Both groups are monitored with CT scans, blood work and colonoscopy over three years for cancer recurrence and to find out whether exercise boosts survival rates. This is the first and largest clinical trial to ask what we think is abold and exciting question as to whether the rates of cancer recurrence and cancer survival can be improved with a structured exercise program, Booth told CBC News in Hamilton. Study hopes to inspire policy change The overall benefits of exerciseis well known, Booth added,andresearcheshave also shown that people who exercise have a lower risk of developing cancer in the first place.But physical activity’simpact on cancer recurrence is still a relatively new concept which has just come into the scientific realm in the last few years, Booth explained. If the study yields positive results, Booth said he hopes it can not only motivate patients to exercise, but also inspire health-care professionals toincorporate exercise into the standard cancer care program. Chris Booth, an oncologist at Kingston General Hospital and associate professor at Queens University, is the lead researcher of the CHALLENGE study.

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Lyle Southam, 62, enrolled in the CHALLENGE study in 2013 after completing treatment for colon cancer. The Candian-led study aims to enrol 1,000 colon cancer survivors to determine if exercise can prevent cancer recurrence and boost survival rate.

Steven Lichtenstein, Director of the Division of Gastroenterology at Philadelphia’s Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, scheduled for March 21st at the Olympus’ Center Valley headquarters for the Americas. Dr. Lichtenstein will educate participants about the disease and share compelling patient stories of colon cancer survival. Motivating employees to become educators about the importance of colorectal screening within the community. For example, Olympus is empowering employees to discuss CRC screening with friends and family through a variety of educational materials such as palm cards and magnets. “Colonoscopy is considered the gold standard of screening for early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer,” said Dr. Douglas Rex, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Indiana University, MD, FACP, AGAF, FACG, FASGE. “A colonoscopy can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. I’m pleased to help Olympus spread the word about prevention and intervention.” As one of the top colonoscopy experts in the world, Professor Douglas Rex organized the first trial of using colonoscopy to screen average-risk individuals in 1987. In this trial, nearly 800 asymptomatic health professionals and their spouses underwent screening colonoscopy. This trial, along with the dozens of other investigations Rex has produced over the past two decades, helped transform colonoscopy from an uncommon and potentially dangerous procedure to the most effective screening test against any form of internal cancer and one of the most widely performed medical procedures in the United States. Olympus is the leading manufacturer of medical devices used to peer inside the human body to detect, diagnose and treat gastrointestinal diseases such as colorectal cancer. Olympus pioneered the development of endoscopic technology more than 50 years ago and remains a global leader today, helping to improve the lives of millions who have been diagnosed or screened for colorectal cancer. More information about Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is available at .

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Colorectal Cancer: New Treatments, Improved Prognosis

Avastin (bevacizumab) and Erbitux (cetuximab) are monoclonal antibodies, a new generation of cancer drugs that can specifically target cancer tumors. The problem with traditional chemotherapy is that it can’t be focused. The drugs go through the body, affecting both cancerous cells and healthy cells alike. Targeted therapies affect the specific mechanisms that allow cancer cells to grow. As a result, they may have fewer side effects. Avastin is modeled after the antibodies that naturally protect the body. It blocks the effects of a substance in the blood that helps tumors grow new blood vessels. This substance is called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF.) By preventing the creation of new blood vessels in the tumor, the cancer is “starved.” Erbitux blocks the effects of a different growth factor called epidermal growth factor (EGF). Studies have shown that these drugs do help. A 2004 article published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that Avastin, when combined with 5-Fluorouracil and Leucovorin and Camptosar for metastatic cancer, could increase life expectancy by about five months. Another 2004 article in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at people who were no longer responding to Camptosar. By adding Erbitux to Camptosar, the doctors were able to significantly slow down the progression of the disease, compared to using Erbitux alone for treatment. But there are some drawbacks to these new drugs. For one, they are both only approved for people with metastatic cancer. They haven’t yet been shown to work in earlier stages of the disease.

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Colorectal Polyps and Cancer

Figures Among the Young Adults Even though colorectal cancer over-all has been on the decline, they attribute this fact to more widespread screening. If they can find the cancer early enough, they can treat it successfully. For white men ages 20 to 49, there were 8.4 cases out of 100,000 people diagnosed with colorectal cancer during the years of 1992 to 1995. They did the study again in the years 2002 to 2005 and found that the rate had risen to 10.2. This is a 21 percent increase in a ten-year period. They conducted the same study on women ages 20 to 49. In the years 1992 to 1995, the rate was 6.9. They did the study again in the years of 2002 to 2005 and those numbers had risen to 8.8, which mean a 28 percent increase. They did the same sturdy with Latinos. The increase was 33 percent for men, but not statistically significant for women. There was no increase for African-Americans, but unfortunately, this group of 20 to 49-year-old men and women has a higher risk. Their numbers are 12.7 and 10.8 cases per 100,000. Reasons for the Increase Among Young Adults Researchers believe the reasons for the increase in colorectal cancer in the younger generation are from changes in the American lifestyle. Diets that consist of a high intake of red and processed meat and diets that are low in milk and calcium have been liked as the possible cause.

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Young Adult Colorectal Cancer Rates Rising


These cancers arise from the inner lining of the large intestine, also known as the colon. Tumors may also arise from the inner lining of the very last part of the digestive tract, called the rectum. Unfortunately, most colorectal cancers are “silent” tumors. They grow slowly and often do not produce symptoms until they reach a large size. Fortunately, colorectal cancer is preventable, and curable, if detected early. How Does Colorectal Cancer Develop? Colorectal cancer usually begins as a “polyp,” a nonspecific term to describe a growth on the inner surface of the colon. Polyps are often non-cancerous growths but some can develop into cancer. The two most common types of polyps found in the colon and rectum include: Hyperplastic and inflammatory polyps. Usually these polyps do not carry a risk of developing into cancer. However, large hyperplastic polyps, especially on the right side of the colon, are of concern and should be completely removed. Adenomas or adenomatous polyps. Polyps, which, if left alone, could turn into colon cancer. These are considered pre-cancerous. Although most colorectal polyps do not become cancer, virtually all colon and rectal cancers start from these growths.

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Screening played a large role in colorectal cancer prevention and detection, which helped lower the numbers. Colonoscopies can detect polyps, overgrowth of tissue, that can become cancerous. If theyre detected and removed through colonoscopy, thats one less chance of developing the cancer. And, if colorectal cancer does occur, if its detected early enough, colorectal cancer has 90% cure rate. But, this is really only for people over 50 years old as regular colon screenings ar ent usually suggested for younger people who arent considered to be high risk. Now, however, according to an article published in the June 2009 issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, American Cancer Society researchers led by Rebecca L. Siegel, M.P.H., looked at trends in colorectal cancer incidence rates between 1992 and 2005 among young adults (ages 20 to 49) by sex, race/ethnicity, age, stage at diagnosis, and anatomic subsite. The study found that among individuals ages 20 to 49, incidence rates of colorectal cancer increased 1.5 percent per year in men and 1.6 percent per year in women from 1992 to 2005. Among non-Hispanic Whites, rates increased for both men and women in each 10-year age grouping (20-29, 30-39, and 40-49 years) and for every stage of diagnosis. They found the largest annual percent increase in colorectal cancer incidence was in the youngest age group (20-29 years), in whom incidence rates rose by 5.2% per year in men and 5.6% per year in women. How could this be? It may very well have to be with the rising obesity and high fat diets, as well as the popularity of fast food in the country, both of which are risk factors for colorectal cancer. People who eat a lot of fast food eat much more meat and drink a lot less milk than those people who dont eat a lot of fast food. Processed meat and red meat are both known to contribute to colorectal cancer risk, while milk seems to provide some protection. If a child is raised with this type of lifestyle, this increases the likelihood of them developing cancer later on in life. ~~~~~

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March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

The American Cancer Society states that eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and low in red and processed meats, may reduce colorectal cancer risk. Past research has also shown that daily physical activity may reduce colorectal cancer risk by 50%. But Dr. Richard Wender, chief cancer control officer at the American Cancer Society, says the best way to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer is to undergo regular screening for the condition. The importance of regular screening Talking to Medical News Today about the importance of colorectal cancer screening, Dr. Wender said: “Everyone can reduce their risk of getting this disease or dying from it by being screened according to widely accepted screening guidelines. Why does this reduce risk? Because the most common finding resulting from screening is a precancerous polyp, not a cancer.If we remove the polyp, we prevent the cancer.” Current colorectal cancer screening guidelines from the US Preventive Services Task Force recommend that all men and women should have regular screening for the disease from the age of 50 until the age of 75. Individuals who are at higher risk for the disease, such as those with a family history of colorectal cancer, should be screened from the age of 40 or at 10 years before the age their family member was at diagnosis – whichever is earlier. The frequency of screening is dependent upon the screening method used. There are a series of tests available to detect the presence of colorectal cancer. Tests that can detect both polyps and cancer are: Flexible sigmoidoscopy (recommended every 5 years) – a procedure used to see the inside of the sigmoid colon and the rectum Colonoscopy (recommended every 10 years) – examination of the colon with a camera Double-contrast barium enema (recommended every 5 years) – X-ray of the colon and rectum Computed tomography (CT) colonography/virtual colonoscopy (recommended every 5 years) – detailed pictures of the colon and rectum using a CT scanner. Tests that mainly find cancer are: Fecal occult blood test – an annual home-based test that detects small amounts of blood in stools. A colonoscopy should be done if this is positive Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) – an annual home-based test that detects small amounts of blood in stools. A colonoscopy should be done if this is positive. The two tests most commonly used in the US are the FIT and colonoscopy.

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Lady talking to a doctor

There is actually a lot you can do! Ask yourself if you or your spouse/partner are due for a colonoscopy. Have your parents had one recently? Are they due for a colon cancer screening? Don’t know when you are supposed to get screened? No worries — check out the screening guidelines here: Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines Symptoms are another part of raising awareness. Some people experience symptoms and never go to the doctor because they are waiting for them to get better on their own or because they are afraid of the outcome. Remember, seeing your doctor early on when symptoms begins is the key to to early detection. Learn the symptom of colon cancer today. Finally, ask yourself if you are at risk. Do you have a family history of colon cancer? Do you engage in any avoidable risks?

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2, 2014 ADVERTISEMENT Simple screening could be a lifesaver: March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, which seeks to educate the public that, of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal (colon) cancer is the nations No. 2 cause of cancer deaths but it doesnt have to be. Screening tests can find this cancer early, when treatment works best, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention. In fact, its estimated that recommended screening could prevent at least 60 percent of these deaths, 51,000 annually; and that some 23 million Americans are not up-to-date on screening. Screening can find polyps (abnormal growths) so they can be removed before turning into cancer. Screening should start at age 50 and continue until age 75 for most men and women. Colon cancer or polyps may not cause symptoms, especially early on, the CDC notes, so waiting for symptoms is not recommended. Talk to a doctor if you or a close relative have inflammatory bowel disease (Crohns disease or ulcerative colitis); Lynch syndrome (familial adenomatous polyposis); or hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer. Someone with any of these risks may need to start screening before age 50 and be tested earlier and more often than other people. Tests for colorectal cancer include: – High-sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT): This test is performed at home. Stool samples are sent to a doctors office or lab. Recommended annually. – Flexible sigmoidoscopy: A doctor looks for polyps or cancer in the rectum and lower third of the colon. Recommended every five years; with FOBT every three years. – Colonoscopy: A doctor looks for polyps or cancer in the rectum and the entire colon. Barnabas Health offers gold standard in colon cancer screening Barnabas Health recommends individuals get screened for colon cancer by having a colonoscopy beginning at age 50 and earlier if there is a family history of the disease.

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