Each day, doctors and research and health organizations are working to better understand the development process of cancer. By understanding how a disease develops, doctors and researchers can create more targeted treatment protocols for patients.
MCA Staff Writers
Presenting Up-to-Date Mesothelioma Topics
For mesothelioma patients, a number of factors come into play when trying to determine what treatment options will be most effective. For patients who choose to undergo chemotherapy treatments, the commonly used combination of pemetrexed and cisplatin is shown to have potentially harmful effects on a patient's kidneys.
For mesothelioma patients, there is a potential new treatment option involving photodynamic therapy.What is photodynamic therapy?
Photodynamic therapy uses a laser that produces light at a specific wavelength and a chemical called a photosensitizing agent in a three step process:
Cancer isn’t something that people plan for, especially financially. The most obvious cancer-related costs people have to deal with pertain directly to treatment and recovery. However, other unexpected costs can add up quickly for both patients and the friends and family around them.
While asbestos exposure is the most commonly known cause for mesothelioma, it has also been discovered that a mineral called erionite can be a cause as well. One case of erionite-induced mesothelioma has been reported in a male living in North Dakota.1 Similar cases with eronite-induced mesothelioma have also been reported in areas of Turkey. Because chronic erionite exposure must last decades before mesothelioma develops in the cases in Turkey, this single case report suggested that North Dakota (ND) may have a source for chronic erionite exposure.
Chronic exposure to asbestos fibers is a major risk factor for development of mesothelioma. How asbestos induces asbestos-related disease, including mesothelioma, is being investigated and probably involves several mechanisms.
The 4th International Symposium on Lung Sparing Therapies for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma showed the spotlight on lung-sparing surgical techniques, lung-sparing adjuvant therapies, supportive therapies and potential future adjuvant therapies on June 7th, 2014.
Mesothelioma, like many cancers, has several ways to hide from the immune response and keep growing. Ideally, a person’s T cells would recognize the mesothelioma cells when they first become cancerous and kill them. Unfortunately, in some people, their T cells don’t recognize the mesothelioma cells as cancer and the mesothelioma cells continue to divide… and divide… and divide until the person has symptoms.
In honor of Skin Cancer Awareness month, we are reviewing the effect of sunlight on human health and treatment of mesothelioma and lung cancers.Effect of Sunlight on Human Health
Sunburn damages skin and can increase the rate of some skin cancers,1 whereas sunlight in moderation promotes a healthy glow in people. Sunlight exposure helps regulate our circadian rhythms (day-night cycle), hormone levels, and vitamin D levels. Humans need 5 minutes of exposure to sunlight in their eyes to maintain the day-night cycles coordinated by the pineal gland. The pineal gland produces higher quantities of melatonin in the evening which helps regulate the circadian rhythms, the immune system, and hormone levels.2
Cancer patients and physicians often face the question, “Will this treatment benefit this individual patient?” Scientists prefer to answer this question by measuring a biomarker in the blood, urine or tumor tissue from the patient.
The question is bound to linger in any cancer survivor’s mind: what if it comes back? Cancer can recur even if it seems that treatment was successful. Cancer cells can sometimes linger undetected and slowly regrow until you become symptomatic. Your genes may have been altered by the cancer in such a way that you’re vulnerable to a new form of the disease.
When a patient receives a cancer diagnosis, a spouse, parent, or close friend often takes on a caregiver role. Since they are not paid, they are called informal caregivers or family caregivers. Most caregivers are women (60%), middle-aged, and have a full time job (59%).
A cancer diagnosis sends chills down most people’s spine and triggers much stress. The stress can appear as fear, brain overload, slowness, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, worry about one’s life and loved ones, less interest in life, and occasionally nausea, and vomiting. Some people feel the stress as a hassled feeling of not enough time to get everything done, reliving regrets, and wanting to spend more time with family and friends.
The recent discovery of windblown asbestos dust near Las Vegas, NV has drawn new attention to the phenomenon of naturally occurring asbestos (NOA). Dr. Brenda Buck, a UNLV geologist, was testing for arsenic and other toxic chemicals when she unexpectedly found a different, but equally dangerous, substance: actinolite, one of six minerals categorized as asbestos. She and her colleagues published a paper last year detailing their findings, which focused on the area around Boulder City, a small town 20 miles southeast of Las Vegas.
With a final bill expected to surpass $50 billion dollars, the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia are going to be the most expensive of all time by several times. Russian President Vladimir Putin is intent on using the Olympics to advance the country’s standing on a global stage, and that, combined with endemic corruption leading to kickbacks and overcharging, has helped drive the tremendous expense of the games.
For some cancer patients, their disease can render them bedridden at times. Treatments and physical effects of cancers like mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases can really limit a patient’s ability to perform normal physical activities. The role of a caregiver can often be a trying one, but can become especially so if the loved one they are caring for is bedridden.
As any cancer patient knows, one of the many terrible things about the disease is how unpleasant the treatment can be. By design, chemotherapy drugs attack cells that rapidly divide. That includes cancer cells, but it also affects normal cells like hair, bone marrow, and fingernails. For that reason, chemotherapy and radiation therapy have a range of debilitating side effects, including:
The MCA's very own Heather Von St. James is spearheading an awareness effort on behalf of mesothelioma victims by sharing her personal holiday, LungLeavin' Day. LungLeavin' Day started out as a personal celebration in the beginning of February between Heather and her husband Cameron to recognize each year Heather remained cancer-free, but has now turned into a celebration of life and overcoming fears with many family members, friends and cancer survivors. LungLeavin' Day is not just for cancer survivors though, it is a day for anyone who desires to take control of their lives and throw their fears to the fire. Read our interview with Heather below, check out her new page and share with your loved ones!
For some, the turn of the New Year brings resolutions and promises to make positive lifestyle changes. With that fact, January is aptly named National Staying Healthy month. Popular New Year’s resolutions generally follow the trend of getting healthy and staying healthy like losing weight, getting fit, and quitting smoking. With so many health-focused goals, a good way to kick off your year is to start with a cleanse. We live in a world full of toxins-- in our foods, in our products and in the air-- so a great way to jumpstart the year is to cleanse your body of as many toxins as you can.
This time of year is one for spreading good cheer and goodwill onto others, but it doesn’t have to come in the form of big wrapped boxes under a tree. For a cancer patient or caregiver, gift giving can create unnecessary stress because it is another task to think about, as well as the financial obligation that they may not be able to provide. On the other hand, patients and caregivers who have already gone through cancer treatment may want to pay it forward or give back to their family, friends and community who have helped them out during tough times in the past. Gifts can come in all shapes and sizes; here are some ways to give more without spending more this holiday season.