Archive for May, 2010
Within the next few months, community genetics clinics will be established in St. John’s, Grand Falls-Windsor and Corner Brook, with hopes of better screening individuals with a strong family history of the disease. Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest incidence of familial colorectal cancers in the world, and the highest incidence of all types of colorectal cancers in Canada.
“If there is a family history of colorectal cancer, we would enrol [family members] in colonoscopy screening programs and hopefully find polyps that can be taken out before they develop into cancer,” said Memorial University’s Dr. Patrick Parfrey, leader of the team that developed the program. “The primary objective is to reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer in Newfoundland and Labrador and we think we have a capacity to target those at highest risk by using new research discoveries concerning the genetic causes of cancer.”
AstraZeneca has announced disappointing results from the HORIZON II study of Recentin (cediranib) in advanced colorectal cancer, with the drug failing to improve overall survival.
The study evaluated the use of first-line 20mg Recentin in combination with the FOLFOX or XELOX chemotherapy regimens versus these regimens alone. Although Recentin did meet the co-primary endpoint of improving progression-free survival, there was no significant improvement in overall survival. The news comes after Recentin failed an earlier trial comparing it to Roche’s Avastin and AstraZeneca has decided to not pursue regulatory filing in this indication.
Click here to read the original article.
Cancer treatment is extremely complex, and can be comprised of components like medicine, surgery, radiation and more. Each oncologist you encounter has unique experiences that will affect the treatments s/he prescribes for your individual cancer management. But what if you are uncomfortable or apprehensive about a proposed treatment? What if your diagnosis is unclear?
Many patients are nervous to ask their oncologists for access to a second opinion, but consider this: isn’t the minor (but very uncommon) awkwardness a price worth paying for becoming an even more thoroughly informed patient?
The truth is, a second opinion is a very common request, and one that most doctors will be happy to cater to. Securing a second opinion can be done through a referral from your physician, or you may wish to seek out a second opinion on your own and then have your current treating physician forward the referral.
When should I ask for a second opinion? (Click here to view the source)
- You don’t trust the opinion of your treating physician
- Your diagnosis is unclear
- Your case is borderline (such as a tumor that is “nearly inoperable”)
- You have a rare form of cancer
- Your treatment is controversial or experimental
- You have been given no hope for a cure
How can I tactfully request a second opinion? (Click here to view the CCAC’s Physician Questions site)
- “Before we start treatment, I would like to get a second opinion. Will you assist me with that?”
- “If you had my type of cancer, who would you see for a second opinion?”
- “I think I would like to speak to another doctor to be sure I have all my bases covered.”
- “I’m thinking of seeking out a second opinion. Can you recommend someone? If so, who would you recommend and why?”
Asking for a second opinion is a sure sign that you aspire to be a well-informed patient. Educating yourself on your various treatment options and the various points of view within the medical community make you a member of your cancer care team. Be the player, not the puck.
How colon-smart is your workplace? The Giant Colon Tour stopped in at the Bruce Power Health & Wellness Fair in order to raise awareness in an Ontario region with a 14% higher colorectal cancer rate than the national average. The event was a joint venture with Bruce Power and Ontario Power Generation, and it was an electrifying success.
More and more responsible and health-conscious businesses are holding health fairs and information sessions just like this. As a result, more and more men and women are being armed with the knowledge they need to prevent, treat and beat colorectal cancer. Kudos to the many Canadian businesses putting keeping their minds on our behinds!
Click here to learn more about the amazing Giant Colon, and learn how you can bring it to your community or event.
Click here for more information on Bruce Power’s event.
You may recall that PEI recently became the latest Canadian province to approve the funding of Avastin, insuring that Islanders of all income levels have access to the very best care.
You may also recall the CCAC’s presence in PEI in April. The Hon. Carolyn Bertram, Minister of Health and Wellness, strongly supported the advancement of colorectal cancer care at the our legislative information session, and experts like Dr. Phil Champion and Dr. Paul Schaefer spoke to the importance of the case. Click on the image at left to view their passionate testimonials!
See the official Prince Edward Island press release here.
See the CCAC’s official press release here.
Did you know that cooking at high temperatures can produce harmful carcinogens? The research sure isn’t popular during BBQ season!
When high-protein, high-fat foods like meat are cooked to the point of charring, the large quantities of creatine in the meat’s muscle cells chemically bond with the amino acids of the protein to form heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which have the ability to bond to DNA and cause genetic mutations that can trigger the growth of cancer. Further, the meat’s fat may oxidize, a process that produces compounds like malondialdehyde, which have similar abilities in terms of genetic mutations. Studies do conclude that high consumption of HCAs can be found in colorectal cancer patients.
If you’re a BBQ fan, the good news is that you may be able to reduce the carcinogens produced in high-heat cooking.
- Overall, base your diet around fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. Eat meat in small quantities, grilled or otherwise
- Cook “low and slow”. Even if two pieces of meat are cooked to the same level, the piece cooked over a lower heat and longer period will contain fewer carcinogenic compounds
- Marinate your meat. This is probably the tastiest tip on the list! Research shows that the use of herbs and spices may inhibit the formation of carcinogenic compounds
- Limit the amount of fat that is allowed to drip onto the grill. Achieve this by using tongs rather than a fork to manipulate the meat, as piercing will cause fat to run out
- Consider lining your barbecue with tinfoil. Be sure to poke some holes so that smoke can escape. When the fat drips, it will avoid touching the hot coals, and will reduce the chances of your meat charring
- Grill up those veggies! Many vegetables can play a delicious role in your afternoon barbecue- try portobello mushrooms, sweet peppers, zuchinni, eggplant and asparagus
No need to give up grilling for good- but please do take these simple steps to avoid increasing your cancer risk!
From May 19th to 21st, the Toronto Mariott Eaton Centre Hotel was flooded with men and women from all over Canada. Many of them survivors, they made the trek in order to spend the packed three-day session learning as much as they could about colorectal cancer and how to administer effective psychosocial support as a member of the CCCAC Cancer Coach Program.
One of the first tasks was to introduce all of the Coaches-in-training. No two cancer cases are alike, and nor were any two Cancer Coaches’ experiences with the disease. While some had lost loved ones, other were survivors themselves, and others still were waiting to reach NED status. The evening ended with Dr. Linda Edgar’s seminar on identifying distressed patients and learning several powerful coping mechanisms.
The training session resumed bright and early on Thursday, with an in-depth anatomy lesson and a review of the pathologies of the colon. This lesson would come in handy later in the day, when the Coaches-in-training attended informative seminars by several key experts in cancer care- Dr. Pierre Major, Medical Oncologist, Dr. Calvin Law, Surgical Oncologist, and Dr. John Kachura, Interventional Radiologist. We covered everything from advancements in colorectal cancer-treating drugs to the basic concept of surgical removal of liver metastases to treatments such as Microspheres and Portal Vein Embolizations.
After a colon-healthy lunch, the group was treated to a panel discussion regarding local initiatives and was inspired by several ideas for reaching out to their communities. Topics presented included the successes of a small but dedicated group demanding better colorectal cancer care in Kingston, methods for community outreach in rural areas, the very succesful C.R.A.N. support group model, and the programs and services offered by cancer support organizations like Willows and Wellspring. The evening was topped off by an inspiring presentation by Dick Feldon, a certified Chi Walking instructor. What an enjoyable, easy-to-learn form of potentially life-prolonging exercise!
The training session continued on Friday with a short presentation on complementary therapies- that is, the various things one can do or take in order to ease the discomfort of treatment or improve quality of life. Did you know that yoga, massage, meditation and reiki therapy can all improve a patient’s quality of life? Of course, the CCAC’s Cancer Coaches will always urge you to discuss any new treatment or exercise with your physician. (Click here to learn more about these therapies.)
No training conference would be complete without a presentation on the year’s clinical research, administered by the CCAC’s Educational/Clinical Specialist. The Coaches received information on the latest developments in colorectal cancer research, in the areas of drugs therapies, surgical procedures, interventional radiology, screening, psychosocial support, nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
By the time the training session wrapped up, our Cancer Coaches were handling mock inquiries with confidence and care. When you contact a Cancer Coach, you are offered an understanding ear and an ally as you navigate the healthcare system.
After the cut, get to know the faces of the CCAC’s Cancer Coach Program- and don’t be afraid to get in touch with one by calling 1-877-50-COLON.
“Our findings suggest that some bacterial signatures are more frequently detected in subjects with polyps, early lesions that can develop into cancer, while other bacterial signatures are less frequently observed in such individuals” says Tyler Culpepper, a researcher on the study.
“The results of this work suggest the feasibility of developing non-invasive screening tests based on detecting distortions in microbiota composition and a potential for the development of diet-based prevention regimen aimed at improving gut microbiota composition and reducing colorectal cancer risk.”
Click here to read the original article.
“When it comes to the treatment of your case, be a player, not the puck.”
In other words, become an active member of your cancer care team. When fighting a disease as aggressive as colorectal cancer, the additional distress of navigating the healthcare system and being passed from doctor to doctor can take its toll on your emotional wellbeing. Become a player. Educate yourself so that you can interact with the many brilliant physicians and nurses you’ll meet in the ‘rink’.
The CCAC takes the stance that a well-informed patient is a well-coping patient, and we take pride in directing you to the vital psychosocial assistance and technical background information you may need when facing a diagnosis or when embarking on a new treatment journey.
Just a few ideas:
- Know the language. The CCAC operates a Glossary of Terms that you may find useful, especially when reading medical journal articles or news posted on our site.
- Consult the Physician Questions section of the CCAC site- you’ll find that it’s a valuable resource from diagnosis to treatment to recovery. Arrive at your oncology appointment armed with a list of queries and topics to discuss- questions like how your sexual relations may be affected by a certain treatment, or even whether the doctor would be willing to assist you in seeking a second opinion. No question is to small.
- Reach out to a Cancer Coach. In addition to providing emotional support and being knowledgeable about methods for coping with distress, a CCAC Cancer Coach can direct you to the information you need if you’re overwhelmed by technical terms or the abundance of research on the subject. Many of our Cancer Coaches are themselves survivors of colorectal cancer.
Deep in the heart of NHL playoff season, we were thrilled to hear these words of wisdom from one of our Cancer Coaches! Not only because hockey is our national pastime (and great source of exercise!), but because the analogy captures the concept of teamwork vital to cancer patient care. In your journey with colorectal cancer, your expertise (and faith) in yourself is every bit as important as the input from your surgical oncologist, medical oncologist, interventional radiologist or nurse navigator.
Join the team!