Thursday, September 29, 2016

New technology may help women with breast cancer forego chemotherapy

For women who are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the U.S., a leading cause of cancer death among Hispanic women, one of the toughest choices to make is what type of treatment to choose. 

A new test, called MammaPrint, is making it possible so women could forego chemotherapy. Such was the case for 46-year-old Zaida Vazquez when she was diagnosed with breast cancer this May. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer. Among Hispanic women, breast cancer will be the leading cause of cancer death this year (16 percent), followed by cancers of the lung (13 percent) and colorectum (9 percent), according to the American Cancer Society. Vasquez had surgery in July and then opted for chemotherapy – but stopped midway because she said it made her feel terrible.

Her days were ridden with nausea and exhaustion. That was when her oncologist, Dr. Mayra Rivera, suggested forgoing chemotherapy based on her MammaPrint results that analyzed 70 genes associated with a breast tumor’s chance of metastasizing. “MammaPrint gives me a biology footprint of the tumor,” said Dr. Rivera of Puerto Rico. “And, with patients like Zaida in the early stages of their breast cancer, also known as low risk, this test would benefit more women like her.” MammaPrint is among a growing number of tests attracting interest in the medical world because it lets women know if they could avoid chemotherapy with little risk that they’ll relapse. The tests examine a woman’s genes to determine whether the cancer has a chance of spreading. The tests and MammaPrint gained stature last month when a study exploring its effectiveness was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

MammaPrint was used in the study, called MINDACT, which analyzed 6,693 breast cancer patients across 112 centers in Europe with newly diagnosed early-stage breast cancer. J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, said these types of tests are not new. Lichtenfeld said that in the late 90s, there was a substantial amount of tests being developed that looked into the tumor tissue to predict how it would behave over time. Similar to MammaPrint’s approach was Oncotype DX, which took off but only analyzed 21 genes.

MammaPrint looks into the activity of 70 genes. MammaPrint is lesser known and used less often, but has become more popular the past few years. Still, it’s stirred discussion in the medical community because the tests are not 100 percent accurate and could falsely tell a woman she doesn’t need chemotherapy when she actually does. Others, however, believe it will spare thousands of women with early-stage breast cancer the painful – and expensive – experience of going through chemotherapy. The Journal of Medicine article said the MammaPrint clinical trial offers probabilities and not necessarily concrete guidance.

“The reality is that there haven’t been real life trials over an extended period of time to show that these tests work the way they are supposed to work,” Lichtenfeld said. The first author of the MINDACT study said it’s worth noting that this is the first clinical trial of its kind. “There hasn’t been another clinical trial wherein diagnostic tests were evaluated like this, that looked into the biology of the disease, for as long as we did,” said Dr. Laura van ’t Veer, chief research officer of the study. Of the European countries involved in the study, Spain was one of the most active in the trial coming in at about 700 participants.

In centers in Barcelona and Madrid, MammaPrint is already being used frequently. “Everyone can agree that avoiding chemotherapy is the end goal but one thing to look at is tumor tissue and the history of a woman and the treatment she got but it’s quite another thing to use forward-looking studies to try to determine the accuracy,” Lichtenfeld added. Rivera says the new test offers more options to breast cancer patients at low risk who might be hesitant to undergo chemotherapy.

“We are moving toward finding out more about tumors in breast cancers that will help patients make a decision more objectively about next steps,” Rivera said. Vazquez says she doesn’t regret her decision even if at first her family was on the fence. But after finding out she was at low risk post-surgery, she’s thankful there was another medical option.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What kind of hair loss is totally normal, and when you should be worried

Humans put a lot of time and effort into thinking of ways to hold onto their hair.

Globally, the market for hair loss products is expected to reach $11.8 billion by 2024. Donald Trump’s wispy comb-over is just one example of our fascination with people’s ‘dos—or lack thereof. We all lose hair throughout our lives, but how much loss is normal?

Terminal hair, that is, the hair found on our heads, eyebrows, eyelashes, and pubic hair, is essentially three separate coils of proteins twisted tightly together and colored by melanin, a pigmenting chemical found in our skin and irises, explains Shani Francis, a dermatologist and the director of the Center of Hair Disorders in Evanston, Illinois. Whether our hair is curly or straight is mitigated by the shape of the hair follicles themselves: Symmetrical hair follicles tend to produce straight hair; asymmetrical produce curlier hair.

The growing period of head hair is anywhere between two and six years, but everyone has a combination of short and long growth period hair follicles. Anyone who grows their hair long can do so partly because more of their hair follicles have long growing periods. Most people’s hair grows at similar rates, between four and six inches per year, depending on genetics. But the length hair reaches is more related to how much wear and tear it’s subjected to, including how much it is being styled, says Francis. Pulling hair back tightly, brushing vigorously, and even drying it with a towel can break individual strands. Hair grows in cycles, but not simultaneously.

“Each hair has its own clock,” Francis said. So, of the roughly 90,000 to 150,000 hairs on our heads, each one of them is either growing, “resting” (the hair is still in the follicle but not longer gaining length for about two to three months), or falling out, each at different rates. It’s totally normal for some strands of hair that have reached the end of their cycles to fall out on a daily basis—so don’t panic if your hair brush looks a bit like a tumble weed after a shower.

Beauty blogs suggest that curly hair falls out more than straight hair after taking a shower because people with curly hair tend to brush their hair less often. But when your hair falls out in chunks, it’s likely the sign of a synchronization problem related to some kind of major stress on the body. Pregnancy, surgery, periods of insomnia, thyroid problems, or nutritional deficiencies disrupt our hairs’ normal cycles. “The body is overwhelmed, and doesn’t want to consume unnecessary energy growing hair,” Francis says. “The body tells the hair to grow to rest prematurely.”

All of a sudden, about 40% of the hair stops growing. When that resting phase is over, it falls out in large clumps. Hair can also fall out as a result of chemotherapy, but often this is because chemo attacks all rapidly growing cells, including cancer cells and hair follicles, causing immediate loss. Gradual hair loss, especially in men, is normal with age. Hair follicles are particularly sensitive to the sex hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a modified version of testosterone.

When they pick up DHT, they shrink and produce smaller hairs. Although men typically produce less testosterone as they age, their hair follicle’s sensitivity to DHT increases; as a result, more of their hair follicles shrink, resulting in bald patches. Now that we’ve evolved to wear clothing and live in climate controlled environments, for many there’s no real evolutionary advantage to having hair. But head hair still provides important functions like giving us feedback on our health, and protection from the sun. That’s something we don’t often appreciate, until it’s gone.

Monday, September 26, 2016

New trial over talc, cancer link: What you need to know

Two lawsuits ended in jury verdicts worth $127 million. Two others were tossed out by a judge who said there wasn’t reliable evidence that the talc in Johnson & Johnson’s iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer. This week, yet another lawsuit is going to court, alleging that a California woman’s use of talcum powder over many years caused cancer. Her lawsuit accuses Johnson & Johnson of “negligent conduct” in making and marketing its baby powder.

So who’s right? And is baby powder safe? Most scientific research finds no link or a weak one between ovarian cancer and using baby powder for feminine hygiene, a practice generations of American mothers passed on to their daughters. Most major health groups have declared talc harmless. Johnson & Johnson, whose baby powder dominates the market, says it’s perfectly safe. Yet some 2,000 women have sued, and lawyers are reviewing thousands of other potential cases, most generated by ads touting the two big verdicts.

Jury selection in the latest trial began Monday. A look at the issue: What is talc? Talc is a mineral that is mined from deposits around the world, including the U.S. A naturally-occurring mineral, talc is mainly made up of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. The softest of minerals, it’s crushed into a white powder. It has been widely used in cosmetics and other personal care products to absorb moisture since ancient times, and Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder has been sold since 1894. But it’s mainly used in a variety of other products, including paint and plastics. In its natural form, talc can sometimes contain asbestos​, which is known to cause cancers in and around the lungs when inhaled. But all talcum products sold in the U.S. have not contained asbestos since the 1970’s. Does it cause ovarian cancer? Like many questions in science, there’s no definitive answer.

Determining the cause of cancer is difficult. It would be unethical to do what’s considered the best type of controlled study, asking a group of women to use talcum powder on their genitals and wait to see if it causes cancer, while comparing them to a group who didn’t use it. While ovarian cancer is often fatal, it’s relatively rare. It accounts for only about 22,000 of the 1.7 million new cases of cancer expected to be diagnosed in the United States this year. Factors that are known to increase a women’s risk of ovarian cancer include age, obesity​, use of estrogen therapy after menopause, not having any children, certain genetic mutations and a personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer. What research can be done? Two other kinds of studies are possible. Neither of them, though, can conclusively prove something causes cancer. One looks back in time, after an illness has occurred. It compares two groups of people, one with the illness, one without, and asks about past exposures that might be factors. But people don’t always accurately remember details years later. The second approach tracks a large group of people over time. It assesses their health at the start and follows them for years, recording any illnesses they develop while tracking possible influences such as diet and use of medication, alcohol​ or other substances. Scientists generally find these “prospective” studies more reliable.

What research shows The biggest prospective studies have found no link between talcum powder applied to the genitals and ovarian cancer. But about two dozen smaller, look-back studies over three decades have mostly found a modest connection – a 20 percent to 40 percent increased risk among talc users. However, that doesn’t mean talc causes cancer. Several factors make that unlikely and there’s no proof talc, which doesn’t interact with chemicals or cells, can travel up the reproductive tract, enter the ovaries and then trigger cancer. One large study published in June that followed 51,000 sisters of breast cancer patients found genital talc users had a reduced risk of ovarian cancer, 27 percent lower than in nonusers.

An analysis of two huge, long-running U.S. studies, the Women’s Health Initiative and the Nurses’ Health Study, showed no increased risk of ovarian cancer in talc users. What experts say If there were a true link, Dr. Hal C. Lawrence III says large studies that tracked women’s health for years would have verified the results of the smaller look-back ones. “Lord knows, with the amount of powder that’s been applied to babies’ bottoms, we would’ve seen something” if talc caused cancer, said Lawrence, vice president of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Similarly, Dr. Francisco Xynos, a gynecologic oncologist at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital in St. Louis, told CBS affiliate KMOX Radio earlier this year that the scientific evidence of a cancer link is weak. “I think the concern for the general population should be negligible, because there is no scientific proof of that,” Xynos said.

The National Cancer Institute’s Dr. Nicolas Wentzensen says the federal agency’s position is that there’s not a clear connection. “It is very hard to establish causal relationships,” he said. “A lot of ovarian cancers occur in women who have never used talc, and many women have used talc and not gotten ovarian cancer.” The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization, classifies genital use of talcum-based body powder as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” The American Cancer Society (ACS) says more research is needed on the topic. ACS research director Elizabeth Ward says it is unusual to have so much discrepancy between studies. “The risk for any individual woman, if there is one, is probably very small,” Ward said. What lawyers and courts say Like the studies, courts have produced mixed results. In the first trial two years ago, a South Dakota jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for one woman’s ovarian cancer but didn’t award any damages. This year, state court juries in St. Louis awarded plaintiffs $72 million and $55 million – verdicts the company is appealing. But U.S. District Judge Nelson Johnson in Atlantic City, New Jersey, threw out the first two of the 400 lawsuits in his court.

He reviewed the research and testimony from two doctors who are the plaintiffs’ key expert witnesses and concluded they aren’t reliable, noting they had previously written that there was no proof talc causes ovarian cancer. Other courts approved them as experts, noted the plaintiffs’ attorney, Ted Meadows of Montgomery, Alabama. J&J attorney John Beisner says the health care giant plans to fight every lawsuit, rather than settle, “for the fundamental reason that the science on which they’re based is totally lacking.” Most of the pending cases are in Missouri, California and New Jersey, where J&J is based. In the case that began Monday in St. Louis, lawyers for Deborah Giannecchini of Modesto, California, say she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012 after years of talcum use. Her lawsuit accuses the company of “negligent conduct” in making and marketing its talc.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Which U.S. counties have the highest rates of breast cancer? (searchable map)

The 2016 Race for the Cure, an annual fundraiser for the Oregon and Southwest Washington chapter of the Susan G. Komen cancer organization, happens Sunday in Portland. For the occasion, we've created an interactive map that shows the incidence of breast cancer in every U.S. county for which data were available.

We've also compiled data on other forms of cancer for comparison. Nationally, an average of 224,504 women were diagnosed with breast cancer each year from 2009 through 2013, the latest years reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's 123 new cases per 100,000 women, the CDC estimates. Rates of breast cancer vary considerably across the country.

They range from 51 cases per 100,000 in Pulaski County, Ga., to almost 500 cases per 100,000 in Williamsburg, Va. The CDC adjusts all rates to account for variations in age profiles across counties. Multnomah County was slightly above the national average at 137 cases per 100,000 women. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women, according to the CDC's Cancer Statistics Working Group.

It's also: the single most common cause of death from cancer among Latinas; the second most common cause among white, African American and Asian American women; and the third most common cause for Native American and Alaska native women.

Search the interactive map here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

This Model Is Embracing Her Alopecia—And Showing Off An Amazing Wig In The Process

A model in Australia who lives with hair loss due to alopecia is hoping to raise awareness of the autoimmune disease. Lara Kitchen, 20, recently posted an Instagram video showing herself with and without a wig—and it’s been viewed more than 43,000 times in one day. “Doing this is the scariest thing I have ever done in my entire life,” Kitchen writes in the caption of the video, which starts to the tune of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” and shows Kitchen with words like “acceptance” and “brave” written on her face. She details how she began losing her hair in clumps when she was 14, and it greatly impacted her upbringing. Kitchen says she became “the girl that ‘wore a wig,'” and rumors went around that she had cancer.

 Her parents took her to several doctors until one finally diagnosed her with alopecia. “I remember sitting there and just crying in the doctor’s office and taking my wig off as he looked at my head and began to tell me and my mum that the follicle off the hair was still there, but the chances of it growing back were slim,” she writes. She underwent treatments to try to help her hair grow back, but nothing worked, and she has worn wigs ever since.

As you can see in the below video, Kitchen has found human-hair wigs that look gorgeous—and like hair that grew out of her own head—in various styles. Kitchen says she hasn’t been open about her condition until now, but she’s realized she has nothing to be ashamed of. “Yes, my hair is a major physical aspect to my appearance, but my friends and family love me for me,” she said. Check out the full video.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Woman dies of cancer one day before wedding

(NEWSER) — A 25-year-old woman diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor in January 2015 died Friday, one day before her wedding, People reports. A month after being given three years to live, Swabey joined Tinder, where she met Andy Bell. She told Marie Claire she disclosed she was going to die to Bell up front, knowing that it meant she was doomed to "break his heart."

She figured that would be the end of it; it wasn't. They fell for each other, and Bell stayed by Swabey's side through 12 rounds of chemo, according to Us Weekly. They even managed to have a normal relationship. "We still bicker over whose turn it is to wash the dishes," Swabey told Marie Claire. "We just make up quickly."

After 10 months of dating, Bell proposed to Swabey last December. "I cried and asked if he was sure—if we went ahead, he’d be a widower before he was 30," she said. "He said that he’d rather be married to me for a few years than not at all." They scheduled their wedding for Sept. 17, and Bell said he couldn't wait to introduce Swabey as his wife.

He never got that chance. Swabey died peacefully early Friday. "Amongst our sadness, we are so proud of her courage, her spirit and the determination she showed throughout her illness," Swabey's family posted to Facebook. Before her death, Swabey chronicled her battle with cancer on her blog and helped raise nearly $100,000 for brain tumor research.

Friday, September 16, 2016

10 foods that can help prevent prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among men and there will be more than 180,000 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed this year alone, the American Cancer Society estimates. It’s well known that diets high in saturated fats like those found in meat and dairy are associated with a higher risk for prostate cancer. And although one particular diet has not been shown to prevent prostate cancer, men who follow a vegan diet had a 35 percent lower risk than those who followed a non-vegetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, or semi-vegetarian diet, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“We have enough data to support that eating properly can significantly reduce the risk of prostate cancer,” said Dr. Geo Espinosa, a naturopathic and functional medicine doctor in New York City and author of, “Thrive, Don’t Only Survive.”

Here are 10 healthy foods that can help decrease your prostate cancer risk.

1. Broccoli Experts agree eating a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens and kale is one of the best ways to ward off prostate cancer. Cruciferous vegetables are not only low in carbohydrates, which have been linked to cancer, but they’re rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals that may prevent cell changes that can lead to it.

2. Salmon “People who follow the Mediterranean diet have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer,” said Lisa Cimperman a registered dietitian nutritionist, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a clinical dietitian at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. One of the key players in the Mediterranean diet is fish. Salmon, in particular, is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fats that have been shown to ward off prostate cancer. Other winners include sardines, mackerel and halibut.

3. Brazil nuts “One of the most important minerals for prostate cancer protection is selenium,” Espinosa said. Selenium levels decrease with age but studies show that men who have high levels of selenium are the least likely to develop prostate cancer. Brazil nuts are a rich source of selenium: just six to eight contain more than 700 percent of the daily value.

4. Tomatoes Tomatoes contain lycopene, a carotenoid—or plant pigment—which may prevent prostate cancer. In fact, men who eat 10 portions of tomatoes a week can reduce their risk for prostate cancer by 18 percent, a study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention found. Although eating raw or cooked tomatoes may be beneficial, studies show that lycopene is better absorbed when it’s paired with fat. Add a small amount of olive oil to your favorite marinara sauce or drizzle some over a tomato salad. 

5. Walnuts A diet that includes whole walnuts or walnut oil slowed prostate cancer growth in mice and reduced levels of the hormone IGF-1, which has been linked to prostate cancer, a study in the Journal of Medicinal Food found. Walnuts are likely winners because they’re low in carbohydrates and high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

6. Berries Although fruit is filled with anti-cancer antioxidants, too much sugar— even natural sugars from fruit— have been associated with cancer. In fact, a study in the journal Annals of Oncology found that men who had a high glycemic load diet had a 26 percent increased risk of developing prostate cancer than lose who had a diet with a lower glycemic load. Cancer has also been associated with oxidative stress but if you can prevent it, the cells will be less likely to turn into cancer, Espinosa said. Some of the best foods to combat oxidative stress include blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, which are high in anti-oxidants and have a low glycemic index.

7. Coffee A meta-analysis published in the journal Cancer Causes and Control found that drinking four to five cups of coffee a day might be associated with a reduction in prostate cancer. Not only does coffee contain antioxidants, but coffee can help you metabolize sugars more efficiently, which is associated with a lower risk of developing cancer, Espinosa said. If you’re not a coffee drinker, green tea is a close second.

8. Carrots Men who eat three servings of carrots a week are 18 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer, found a study in the European Journal of Nutrition. Carrots, as well as pumpkin and winter squash, are a rich source of beta-carotene, a carotenoid that is converted to vitamin A and has antioxidant properties.

9. Pomegranate juice Pomegranate is rich in antioxidants and research suggests that pomegranate juice may ward off cancer. In fact, components in pomegranate juice can prevent the movement of cancer cells and weaken their attraction to a chemical signal that promotes the metastasis of prostate cancer to the bone, according to a study out of the University of California, Riverside found.

10. Soy Although it’s not clear that eating soy-rich foods alone can prevent cancer, laboratory studies show that treating prostate cancer cells with the isoflavones found in soy protein may interfere with the pathways in prostate cancer cells that are related to inflammation and the growth and spread of cancer, Cimperman said.

What’s more, studies have found that Japanese men have a lower risk for prostate cancer, likely because their diets are high in soy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Women with dense breasts may need annual mammograms

(Reuters Health) - While most older women might not need breast cancer screening with mammography more often than every three years, some women with dense breasts may need mammograms every year, U.S. research suggests. Among women aged 50 to 74, those without a high risk for breast cancer or dense breast tissue didn’t have an increase in breast cancer deaths if they went for mammography every three years instead of every two years.

But with dense breasts and a higher risk for these tumors, yearly mammograms were associated with fewer breast cancer deaths than screening every other year, researchers report in the Annals of Internal Medicine. “Women at low risk and low breast density will experience more harms with little added benefit with annual and biennial screening compared to triennial screening, whereas women with dense breasts and high breast cancer risk may have added benefit from annual compared to biennial mammography,” lead study author Amy Trentham-Dietz of the University of Wisconsin-Madison said by email. Doctors are conflicted about when and how often to recommend routine screening mammograms for women who don’t have lumps or discomfort in their breasts. Even though these exams can save lives, they can sometimes subject women to unnecessary and painful treatments that don’t find tumors or lower their risk of dying from cancer.

Last year, the American Cancer Society shifted its guidelines to encourage women to start annual screenings at 45 instead of 40 and to cut back to every other year once they turn 55. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends mammograms every other year for women ages 50 to 74. Worldwide, breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women. About one in nine women will eventually develop it, and the risk increases with age and when a woman’s mother, sister or daughter has been diagnosed with the disease. Typically, if there is a suspicious area on a mammogram, women get additional imaging to rule out cancer, followed by a biopsy if more information is still needed to determine if the suspect cells are malignant.

When the extra tests don’t find cancer, the mammogram result is considered a “false positive.” For the current study, researchers estimated the odds of false positive mammograms, biopsies that didn’t find cancer and deaths averted based on age, cancer risk factors and breast density. Compared with screening every two years, getting mammograms every three years could reduce false positives, biopsies and over-diagnosis without much effect on the number of cancer deaths averted for the majority of women – the ones with average cancer risk and lower breast density.

When women had a high risk of breast cancer, however, annual screening was better regardless of breast density, noted Dr. Christine Berg of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, who wrote an accompanying editorial. However, “breast cancers are also more difficult to detect in dense breasts,” Berg added by email. “Therefore annual mammograms allow for comparison of subtle changes.” The way women know if they have dense breasts is to get a mammogram - and density can change over time, noted Dr. Pamela DiPiro of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. “Annual mammography is a patient's best chance of detecting breast cancer early, with the known caveat that additional imaging, ultrasound or even a benign biopsy may be recommended,” DiPiro, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

Still, the take-home message for women is complicated, said Dr. Kathryn Evers, director of mammography at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. “There are numerous risk factors for breast cancer and women have different levels of comfort with the risks and benefits involved,” Evers, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “The fact that there are so many different recommendations regarding when and how often women should be screened points out that there are no definitive answers – women should talk to their doctors about what regimen will be best for them, taking all of these factors into account,” Evers added.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

400 Students Sing With Cancer-Stricken Teacher Outside His Window

Last Wednesday, 400 students from Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville, Tennessee, ditched the pencils and books and got on buses to gather outside a teacher's window.

The students sang songs of worship on the lawn outside the house of Latin and Bible studies teacher Ben Ellis, who is undergoing treatment for an aggressive form of cancer. "The high school principal said, 'Ben has loved us well. Stop what you're doing, load up the buses. We're going to his house to worship with him,'" Nate Morrow, the school's headmaster, told CNN. "He found peace worshiping with others."

Until last week, CNN says, Ellis had been going to work to help him get through radiation treatments and chemotherapy. On Saturday, musician Tim McGraw shared a video on Facebook showing the students singing "Holy Spirit You Are Welcome Here."

The video now has over 20 million views and 390,000 shares.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Former Aussie model's leg ballooned, 'doubled in size' after pregnancy

A former Perth model, who was pregnant when her leg doubled in size, has been diagnosed with an incurable condition, Lymphedema, but is determined to "find a cure".

Sarah Buller lives in Nice, France with her husband Bruce and her two children Jagger and daughter Charlie, WA Today reports. The 31-year-old mother's left leg grew when she fell pregnant with Charlie in April 2013. Her limb weighed in at about 12 kilograms, while her right leg remained unaffected. Ms Buller believes Lymphedema is a "mistreated and misunderstood pathology” and created a blog and YouTube page to raise awareness of the condition and "instigate more research, better treatments and ultimately a cure”.

The mother-of-two noticed inflammation in her left groin area while pregnant with her first child and thought it was due to “normal pregnancy swelling," Ms Buller wrote on her blog. However, within a few weeks her whole leg had "blown up” and she went to see doctors and had blood tests, assessments and ultrasound scans done. Doctors didn’t know what caused the swelling and said it would go away after she gave birth. "Unfortunately, it did not go away after giving birth and I was diagnosed with Primary Lymphedema a few months later," she wrote.

Ms Buller said she began to feel “depressed and isolated”, which is the biggest impact the chronic condition has on her. The stubborn mother barely knew anything about Lymphedema and when she fell pregnant with her son in 2015 it worsened and caused her to take action. Ms Buller has spent countless hours researching ways to take the swelling down and in May this year, Ms Buller underwent a Vascularised Lymph Node Transfer operation.

She told the newspaper she sold the family car and spent $22,369 worth of savings on the surgery performed by Dr Corinne Becker in Paris. According to Ms Buller, the surgery consisted of "microsurgeons reconnecting the artery and vein to new blood vessels in the axilla to provide vital support to the lymph nodes while they develop their own blood supply". Ms Buller documented the first few weeks after surgery and showed her condition improving post surgery. On top of having surgery, the mother also spends hours every day changing compression garments, exercising and elevating her leg.

Ms Buller also has daily manual lymphatic draining massages at a physiotherapist and must take supplements to get rid of excess fluid. The brave mother told the newspaper she wants Lymphedema sufferers to know they can wear anything and still look beautiful and urges others to not "hide yourself away".

Thursday, September 8, 2016

'Cancer Moonshot' Panel: Focus on Immune Therapies

Cancer research should focus on getting more tailored data from individual patients — and provide that information to them and their doctors in a useful way, experts said Wednesday. And because a new approach called immunotherapy seems to work so spectacularly for some patients, researchers and doctors should create networks to focus on that approach, a panel of cancer experts working on the Obama administration's "cancer moonshot" initiative said in a new report. I
mmunotherapies include techniques that manipulate the body's own immune defenses against tumor cells, including direct changes to patient's individual cells, drugs that boost immune activity and engineered antibodies trained to recognize particular tumors.

They include the new class of drugs that appear to have made former President Jimmy Carter's melanoma disappear, such as Keytruda and Opdivo, which block the mechanisms that tumors use to hide from immune cells. "Immunotherapy is important. We need to understand it better," said Dr. Douglas Lowy, acting director of the National Cancer Institute. "It is an extremely exciting area of medicine and science today but even now it only benefits a subset of patients," added Tyler Jacks, director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a panel co-chair. "We must learn why some patients who have melanoma (such as President Carter) or lung cancer respond to checkpoint blockade immunotherapy, whereas patients with many other types of adult cancers, including ovarian, breast, pancreatic, brain, and prostate cancer—as well as most pediatric cancers—have brief responses or do not respond at all," the report reads.

"Current immunotherapy treatments represent only the tip of the iceberg of what is possible," it adds. The report repeats much of what's already been said about the "Cancer Moonshot," spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden and vulnerable to the funding decisions of a deadlocked and partisan Congress. It focuses on 10 areas that might help the program achieve its goal of making 10 years worth of progress in half that time. There's also a new approach to the old-fashioned bone marrow stem cell transplant. Called chimeric antigen receptor T-cell, or CAR-T, these treatments use a patient's own immune system T-cells, engineered to better recognize cancer cells.

But they require destruction of the patient's existing immune system and that can kill the patient before it cures. One of the main changes proposed by the panel would be to offer tailored tumor profiling to more cancer patients. Right now, patients usually need to be treated at a big cancer center and take part in a major clinical trial to get an individual genetic sequence done. The panel's report proposes offering this service to cancer patients everywhere. "Many patients are eager to provide their data, and gathering this information in a linked network of databases would enable more precise knowledge about what works, in whom, and in which types of cancer," the report reads. And this data could help researchers with a third goal -- creating a big, 3-D atlas of cancer.

It ideally would show how cancer starts in the first place and the mechanisms by which it grows and spreads. Cancer is the No. 2 killer in the U.S. It has replaced heart disease as the No. 1 cause of death in 21 states and it will kill nearly 600,000 people this year, the American Cancer Society says. About 1.68 million Americans will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year. President Barack Obama launched the "moonshot" initiative in February, asking for close to $1 billion in extra spending over the next two years.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Kim Kardashian May Suffer From Traction Alopecia — Here’s What She Should Do

Kim Kardashian’s luscious mane is almost as famous as her booty, but when she gave her glam squad the day off on Monday, her tresses were looking a little sparse. Kim stepped out in New York City wearing a topknot that revealed patchiness surrounding her hairline. What happened?

Is Kim’s recent 70-pound weight loss responsible for her thinning hair, or could it have been the birth of 9-month-old Saint West? “It is very common for mothers to lose some hair (postpartum hair loss) and for people to lose hair when rapidly losing weight (telogen effluvium),” trichologist Dr. David Kingsley tells Yahoo Beauty via email. “Hair loss often occurs about 3 months afterwards. These types of hair loss conditions, however, are more evenly spread over the scalp rather than just patches. Once the weight normalizes for a few months, the hair should begin to regrow normally, unless there is a vitamin deficiency. Postpartum hair should also improve, but this can take a little longer.” Since

Kim’s hair looks patchy mostly around her hairline, her weight loss and recent pregnancy might not be the problem. Kim claims to shampoo only twice a week in order to maintain her hair’s natural oils. Celebs have been practicing co-washing and infrequent washing for years now, but the doctor says this could also play a role in thinning Kim’s hair. “In general, not washing frequently will not maintain ‘healthy’ natural oils as the oils will get dirty from general pollutants in the air, and so will become dirty and even cause flaking or itching,” says Kingsley. “Just as her face would get dirty if she washed it infrequently; the scalp is also skin. I find washing more often will help as you would also condition the hair more often as well.”

But perhaps the biggest culprit is Kim’s fondness for tight hairstyles like braids, weaves, extensions, and facelift ponytails. “Hair extensions can most definitely pull on the hair follicle, causing traction alopecia (breakage) and/or hair loss, as the hair is physically pulled from the scalp,” says Kingsley. “Usually, if treated with scalp masks and hair strengtheners, such as British Science Formulations Root Energizing Mask and Hair Strengthener, the hair will grow back. However, long term ‘pulling’ can lead to permanent hair loss. It is something that needs addressing quickly.” So what should Kim’s next move be? “The healthiest long-term option would be to wear her hair without any extensions, and she will see some improvement.”

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Method to reroute lymphatic system may help lymphedema treatment

Researchers in California may have found a solution to lymphedema, a blockage of passages in the lymph system that can lead to painful swelling of the limbs in patients. A scaffolding composed of collagen nanofibers successfully helped new lymph vessels grow around blockages in pigs with lymphedema, giving researchers at Stanford University hope they have found an effective treatment for the condition.

The lymphatic system drains toxins and waste, using immune cell-containing lymph fluid as part of the filtration system. When a vessel in the system is blocked, the fluid backs up, causing painful swelling. In addition to some infections and genetic conditions, lymphedema is often seen in cancer patients whose lymph nodes have been affected.

Doctors can treat an infection causing it, but for the most part temporary relief with physical therapy and massage is the best patients can get. "Lymphedema is a chronic, debilitating disease with profound functional and psychosocial implications," Dr. Stanley Rockson, a professor in lymphatic research and medicine at Stanford University, said in a press release. "Current treatments are extremely limited.

While transplantation of healthy lymph nodes represents a theoretically viable treatment option for cancer survivors and others, the success rate of these procedures has been disappointing." For the study, published in the journal Biomaterials, researchers at Stanford worked with scientists at the company Fibralign, which has developed a collagen-based matrix meant to be used for soft tissue repair. The researchers used stretches of the company's BioBridge nanofibers coated with fragments of lymph nodes, which are known to stimulate new lymph vessel growth.

The fibers were then implanted in pigs with lymphedema. As hoped, the implants stimulated the growth along stretches of fibers around lymph blockages to bypass them, like a bridge, reducing fluid buildup in limbs over the course of three months. Although the researchers say the sample size for the study was not as big as they would have liked, there were no adverse health events among the animals six months after implantation.

This, they say, raises hope for success in a clinical trial in Latin America and another study with breast cancer patients planned for Stanford. "We were able to take a cue from nature about what molecules spur vessel growth, but also think outside the box and use this nanoscale scaffolding to bridge the blockages," said Dr. Ngan Huang, an assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Stanford. "I think combining the two was really key."