Showing posts with label Cancer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cancer. Show all posts

Oct 6, 2017

Cancer Stages and Grades

Cancer is the name given to a collection of related diseases. In all types of cancer, some of the body’s cells begin to divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues.
Too many of us are aware of the prevalence of cancer in our society. Two words often come up, but are not universally understood. Staging is for the cancer itself and grade references the actual tumor. There are different grading systems for different types of cancer. For instance, there is Gleason for prostate cancer, Bloom-Richardson for breast cancer, Fuhrman for kidney cancer, etc.

Cancer stage refers to the size and/or reach of the original (primary) tumor and whether or not cancer cells have spread (metastasized) elsewhere in the body. Stages do not change from initial diagnosis, even if the cancer becomes more aggressive. This is important for consistent statistical analysis.

Stage 0 (zero) Abnormal cells are present, but have not spread to nearby tissue. Stages I, II, and III indicate cancer is present. The higher the number, the larger the cancer tumor and the more it has spread into nearby tissues. Stage IV shows the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body.
Staging is usually based on the TNM system of classifying cancer. In the TNM system, each cancer is assigned a letter or number to describe the tumor, node, and metastases. T stands for the original (primary) tumor. N stands for nodes and tells whether the cancer has spread to the nearby lymph nodes. M stands for metastasis.
Tumor grade is the description of a tumor based on how abnormal the tumor cells and tumor tissue looks under a microscope. There are four grades G1 Well differentiated (low grade), G2 Moderately differentiated (intermediate grade), G3 Poorly differentiated (high grade), and G4 Undifferentiated (high grade). Grade 3 and 4 tumors tend to grow rapidly and spread faster than tumors with a lower grade.

Low-grade cancer cells look more like normal cells and tend to grow and spread more slowly than high-grade cancer cells. Cancer grade may be used to help plan treatment and determine prognosis.
In addition, there are two tumor types, benign, such as moles and warts and malignant, where the cells invade the surrounding tissue and organs.

Generally, there are five cancer stages, four tumor grades, and two tumor types, benign and malignant. Unlike school, a high stage or grade is not good.

Aug 21, 2015

Cancer and Chemotherapy Facts

Not usually a positive topic, but it is nice to get a few facts and dispel some myths.

There are over 200 different types of cancers and 200 different types of cells in the human body with all of these having the potential to become cancerous. All types are a result of unregulated cell growth. The result is excessive tissue, known as tumors. These tumors can be localized, or they can spread to surrounding areas through your lymphatic system or your blood stream.

Normal healthy cells divide and die as they should. The average number of times normal healthy cells divide is known as the Hayflick Limit. It was named after Dr. Leonard Hayflick, who in 1965 noticed that cells divide a specific number of times before the division stops. The average was between 40-60. If you took every cell in your body, at the time you were born, and accounted for all the cells they would produce and so on, multiplied that number by the average time it takes for those cells to die, you get what is known as the ultimate Hayflick limit, or the maximum number of years you can theoretically live, 120 years.

Chemotherapy, by definition is "a chemical that binds to and specifically kills microbes or tumor cells." It is a drug treatment that uses powerful chemicals to kill fast-growing cells in your body. It is usually systemic treatment, meaning that the drugs flow through the bloodstream to nearly every part of the body. Chemotherapy is generally given in cycles: a treatment period is followed by a recovery period, then another treatment period, etc.

It is most often used to treat cancer, since cancer cells grow and multiply much more quickly than most cells in the body. Many different chemotherapy drugs are available and can be used alone or in combination. Chemotherapy treatments carry risks of side effects, some mild and treatable and others which can cause serious complications.


Most chemotherapy cannot differentiate between abnormal cancer cells and normal healthy cells. Because of this, cells that multiply rapidly can also be affected by chemotherapy. Not all chemo drugs will make you lose your hair. Some people have mild thinning that only they notice and some show no loss. Hair loss includes eyelashes, eyebrows, underarms, legs, and even pubic hair. Whether you lose hair depends upon the medication, dosage, combinations, and individual sensitivity. Hair loss happens because the chemotherapy affects all cells in the body, not just the cancer cells. The lining of the mouth, digestive tract (that is why many have nausea and vomiting as side effects), stomach, bone marrow, and the hair follicles are especially sensitive because those cells multiply rapidly just like the cancer cells.

Chemotherapy can also decrease in production of white blood cells (causing immune-suppressed), and inflammation of the digestive tract. Other areas that can be affected include,
kidneys, liver, heart, and lungs. Luckily, many healthy cells repair themselves during or shortly after therapy.

Jan 24, 2014

Nuts Are Healthy

Had been thinking about this and it seems to fit with peanut butter day. According to data analysis conducted by researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Harvard School of Public Health and published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013, those who ate nuts nearly every day were 20 percent less likely to die in the course of two 30-year cohort studies.

Nut eaters were almost 30 percent less likely to die of heart disease and more than 10 percent less likely to die of cancer than those who never ate them, even after adjusting for other lifestyle factors. The nut eaters were also slimmer and had lower rates of type 2 diabetes.

The study found that nuts, such as almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, and peanuts delivered the health and longevity benefits in direct proportion to consumption.

Researchers tracked the health of 119,000 men and women for 30 years and included detailed dietary questionnaires every four years.  “What we find is regular nut consumers are actually lighter; there is less obesity in that group,” said Charles Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment Center at Dana-Farber and senior author of the paper.

Previous studies have also pointed to a correlation between eating nuts and lower risks of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and diverticulitis. Higher nut consumption also has been linked to reductions in cholesterol levels, inflammation, and insulin resistance. It is nuts not to eat nuts.

Dec 27, 2013

Benefits of Nuts

The holidays always include snacks for family and friends and now you can be good to them without cooking. A new study from November, 2013 in The New England Journal of Medicine, come from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which together have followed nearly 119,000 women and men from 1980 - 2010. Both studies recorded what the participants ate and analyzed their diets in relation to the causes of death among the 27,429 people who died since the studies began.

The more often nuts ( pistachios, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, peanuts, and walnuts) were consumed, the less likely participants were to die of cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease, and not because nut eaters succumbed to other diseases. Their death rate from any cause was lower. Those who ate nuts seven or more times a week were 20 percent less likely to die. Among those who consumed nuts less often than once a week, the death rate was still 11 percent lower than for those who did not eat them.

Of course, moderation is key because an ounce of nuts has 160 to 200 calories. However, findings revealed the more often people ate nuts, the leaner they tended to be. In a Mediterranean study that tracked the effect of nut consumption on weight gain over the course of 28 months, frequent nut consumers gained less weight than those who never ate nuts, and were 43 percent less likely to become overweight or obese. One reason it found may be the fat, fiber, and protein in nuts suppresses hunger between meals. Every study has indicated that nuts make a contribution to health and longevity, even after taking other factors into account.

Nuts provide rich sources of unsaturated fat and also contain protein, fiber, plant sterols that can lower cholesterol, and micronutrients copper and magnesium. Nuts have less cholesterol-raising saturated fat than olive oil. On average, 62 percent of the fat in nuts is monounsaturated, the kind that supports healthy levels of protective HDL cholesterol and does not raise blood levels of harmful LDL cholesterol. Nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids that can lower triglycerides and blood pressure, slow the buildup of arterial plaque, and prevent abnormal heart rhythms. Walnuts contain rich sources of alpha-linolenic acid, some of which is converted to heart-protective omega-3 fatty acids. Almonds are good sources of vitamin E. Peanuts and pistachios are rich in resveratrol.

The nurses’ study also linked tree nuts to a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer. A Taiwanese study of about 24,000 people found a 58 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer among women who ate peanuts, although a similar effect was not found among men. The nurses’ study and a study of 64,000 women in Shanghai found strong evidence that frequent consumption of tree nuts, peanuts, and peanut butter reduced the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

As with all studies, especially many with exaggerated claims, no food is a panacea and eating nuts will not heal the sick or raise the dead. However, there seems to be enough evidence that adding a moderate amount of nuts to your diet is better for you than not.

Nov 15, 2013

200 Types of Cancer

The reason is that there are over 200 different types of cells in the human body with each of these having the potential to become cancerous. Cancer can develop in any of the over 60 organs in the body. Cancers are named for the part of the body where it started and the type of cell that has become cancerous. All cancers start because abnormal cells grow out of control. There are two general categories of cancer. Carcinomas are cancers that develop on the surface linings of the organs. Sarcomas are cancers that develop in the cells, and they affect solid tissues, such as muscle and bone. They can also develop in the blood vessels. Cancer tumors can either be malignant or benign.

Normal healthy cells divide and die as they should. The average number of times normal healthy cells divide is known as the Hayflick Limit. It was named after Dr. Leonard Hayflick, who in 1965 noticed that cells divide a specific number of times before the division stops. The average was between 40-60. (There is one woman who had tissue in her body that could divide apparently forever: The Woman with Immortal Cells)

If you took every cell in your body, at the time you were born, and accounted for all the cells they would produce and multiplied that number by the average time it takes for those cells to die, you get what is known as the ultimate Hayflick limit or the maximum number of years you can theoretically live. This is how researchers come up with the theoretical life limit of 120 years.

For the first time since the government began collecting mortality data early in the last century, cancer death rates began to decline in 1993. It significantly declined from 1994 to 1998 with a non-significant decline from 1998 to 2001 and falling death rates from 2001 to 2008. In 2008, the death rate for all cancers was 175.67 per 100,000 people in the US. Cancer is not contagious.

Oct 11, 2013

Vitamin C Myth Lingers

As we approach the cold and flu season, I thought it might be interesting to follow up on the persistent vitamin C myth of using it as a prevention and cure for the common cold. Some people have also claimed it to be a cure for cancer.

Hundreds of studies have now concluded that vitamin C does not treat the common cold. The results of many studies of various types, involving hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have all arrived at the same conclusion - vitamin C has no effect to prevent or cure colds or cancer.

The FDA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Dietetic Association, the Center for Human Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Department of Health and Human Services do not recommend supplemental vitamin C for the prevention or treatment of colds. Vitamin C does have other benefits and the studies did not say vitamin C is bad for you, it just does not provide the cancer and common cold remedies claimed.

Aug 16, 2013

Chemotherapy and Hair Loss

Chemotherapy, sometimes referred to as chemo is the use of medicines or drugs to treat cancer. There are more than 100 chemo drugs. Chemo may be used to: Keep the cancer from spreading, slow the cancer’s growth, kill cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body, relieve symptoms such as pain or blockages caused by cancer and, in some cases, cure cancer. Different types of chemotherapy work in different ways and have different side effects. It can be administered as a pill, liquid, shot, IV, or rubbed on the skin.

Most cells in the human body divide using a process called mitosis. When a cell reaches the end of its lifespan, it gets destroyed in a pre-programmed process called apoptosis.

There are over 200 many types of cancer. All types are a result of unregulated cell growth. Cells that divide more rapidly than apoptosis can regulate is simply too much mitosis. The result is excessive tissue, known as tumors. Tumors can be localized or spread through the lymphatic system or blood stream.

Many chemotherapy drugs are administered in combinations and work by interrupting mitosis and most cannot differentiate between abnormal cancer cells and normal healthy cells. Because of this, any cells that multiply rapidly can also be affected by chemotherapy.

Fast growing cells are found in hair follicles, lining of the mouth, stomach, and bone marrow. Since these fast growing sites are also affected by chemo, the result can be hair loss, decrease in production of white blood cells, and inflammation of the digestive tract, etc. Luckily, healthy cells, like hair follicles and the others usually repair themselves, so hair loss temporary. Radiation can cause some of the same symptoms, but that story is for another day.

Dec 14, 2012

Apple Facts

Greek and Roman mythology refer to apples as symbols of love and beauty. This time of year we often think of warm apple cider on a cold night.

Apples contain Vitamin C, Beta-Carotene, iron, potassium, and more. Apples have very high mineral contents, pectins, malic acid which are good in normalizing the intestines. Apples are good for treatment of anemia, dysentery, heart disease, headache, eye disorders, and kidney stones. Apple juice is an excellent means of providing essential fluids to the body.

A number of components in apples, have been found to lower blood cholesterol with a reduced risk of ischemic heart disease, stroke, prostrate cancer, type II diabetes, asthma, and a new study findings published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease show there may be some help for those patients.Apples are also good for treatment of the Acid reflux condition also called gerd (gastro esophageal reflux disease).

Green Apples - Good for strong bones and teeth, aids in vision, anti cancer properties.
  
Yellow Apples - Good for heart and eyes, immune system, reduce risk of some cancers.
  
Red Apples - Good for heart, memory function, lower risk of some cancers and to maintain urinary tract health. Maybe there is some truth to the old saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Dec 11, 2009

New Way to Fight Cancer

Cell>Point is a company that plans to deliver a cheaper and more effective way to detect tumors in 2010.

Doctors currently rely on positron-emission tomography (PET) scans to see tumors. But PET machines cost more than $2.5 million apiece and are usually found only in major medical centers. MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, had developed a chemical that could light up a tumor on a common SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) camera. They wanted Cell>Point's owner to help turn it into a product.

More affordable at about $800,000, SPECT cameras are found in six times as many US hospitals as PET scanners and Cell>Point's isotope uses 70% less radiation than PET isotopes and should cost about half as much, about $800 per scan.

Doctors can determine within about two weeks whether a cancer treatment was working, instead of waiting for months with PET scans. Now it is time to begin the costly FDA approval process, but don't expect that to be accomplished next year.