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Cancer

Cancer

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Diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to spread

SDG 3: Good health and well-being
Health & Body

Definition:

Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumors, which do not spread. Possible signs and symptoms include a lump, abnormal bleeding, prolonged cough, unexplained weight loss, and a change in bowel movements.  While these symptoms may indicate cancer, they can also have other causes. Over 100 types of cancers affect humans. 

 

Tobacco use is the cause of about 22% of cancer deaths.  Another 10% are due to obesity, poor diet, lack of physical activity or excessive drinking of alcohol. Other factors include certain infections, exposure to ionizing radiation and environmental pollutants. In the developing world, 15% of cancers are due to infections such as Helicobacter pylori, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, human papillomavirus infection, Epstein–Barr virus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).  These factors act, at least partly, by changing the genes of a cell. Typically, many genetic changes are required before cancer develops. Approximately 5–10% of cancers are due to inherited genetic defects from a person's parents. Cancer can be detected by certain signs and symptoms or screening tests. It is then typically further investigated by medical imaging and confirmed by biopsy. 

 

Many cancers can be prevented by not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, not drinking too much alcohol, eating plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, vaccination against certain infectious diseases, not eating too much processed and red meat and avoiding too much sunlight exposure.  Early detection through screening is useful for cervical and colorectal cancer. The benefits of screening in breast cancer are controversial. Cancer is often treated with some combination of radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy and targeted therapy. Pain and symptom management are an important part of care.  Palliative care is particularly important in people with advanced disease. The chance of survival depends on the type of cancer and extent of disease at the start of treatment. In children under 15 at diagnosis, the five-year survival rate in the developed world is on average 80%. For cancer in the United States, the average five-year survival rate is 66%. 

 

In 2015, about 90.5 million people had cancer.  About 14.1 million new cases occur a year (not including skin cancer other than melanoma).  It caused about 8.8 million deaths (15.7% of deaths). The most common types of cancer in males are lung cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer and stomach cancer.  In females, the most common types are breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer and cervical cancer. If skin cancer other than melanoma were included in total new cancer cases each year, it would account for around 40% of cases.  In children, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and brain tumors are most common, except in Africa where non-Hodgkin lymphoma occurs more often. In 2012, about 165,000 children under 15 years of age were diagnosed with cancer. The risk of cancer increases significantly with age, and many cancers occur more commonly in developed countries. Rates are increasing as more people live to an old age and as lifestyle changes occur in the developing world.  The financial costs of cancer were estimated at $1.16 trillion USD per year as of 2010.

 

Key websites to get an overview:

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Oct 17, 2020

https://www.asbestos.com/blog/2020/10/14/five-areas-lung-cancer-research/

Learn about five exciting new research areas leading to new treatment options and advances in medicine for lung cancer and mesothelioma patients.


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Oct 17, 2020

https://www.scienceboard.net/index.aspx?sec=ser&sub=def&pag=dis&ItemID=1520

The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended approval of Bristol Myers Squibb's Opdivo (nivolumab).


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Oct 17, 2020

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-10-lab-grown-tumor-ovarian-cancer-treatments.html

Scientists have created a three-dimensional (3-D) tumor model in the laboratory for ovarian cancer that could lead to improved understanding and treatment of the disease.


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Oct 12, 2020

https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/trojan-horse-nanoparticles-kill-cancer-cells-without-drugs/

Scientists have created a “Trojan horse” that sneaks anticancer nanoparticles into cancer cells and causes them to self-destruct without any drugs.


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Oct 11, 2020

https://www.siliconrepublic.com/start-ups/skin-cancer-treatment-tech-klas-pdt-2020-invent-awards

Technology created to aid in skin cancer treatment picked up the grand prize worth £13,000 at this year’s Invent Awards.


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Oct 05, 2020

https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/40/eabc7828

Experimental evidences proved that any component in the cocktail therapy was indispensable, and the cocktail therapy exhibited excellent antitumor effects against different types of tumors. The cocktail therapy presented here offers a searching strategy for more synergistic units with ICT and is meaningful for developing more efficient antitumor immunotherapy.


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Oct 05, 2020

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/could-tattoo-ink-be-used-detect-cancer-180975848/

A new study on medical imaging agents shows common pigments and dyes could help with early diagnosis


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Sep 09, 2020

https://www.healthtech.dtu.dk/nyheder/nyhed?id=0eaab5ab-7874-4c9c-8a6b-107edd8f81e9

The effect of this technology, and its synergistic effect with immunotherapy, is compellingly demonstrated across multiple experimental cancer models. The researchers observe impressive therapeutic effects, both in regards to killing cancer cells, and on the ability to kill and release the negative effects of the immunosuppressive cells in tumors. The effect is demonstrated to significantly increase the level of anti-cancer immune effector cells in tumors that effectively eliminates the tumor in the experimental cancer models investigated.


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Sep 07, 2020

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41392-020-0110-5

Since cancer stem cells (CSCs) were first identified in leukemia in 1994, they have been considered promising therapeutic targets for cancer therapy.


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Sep 02, 2020

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-09-venom-honeybees-aggressive-breast-cancer.html

Using the venom from 312 honeybees and bumblebees in Perth Western Australia, Ireland and England, Dr. Ciara Duffy from the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and The University of Western Australia, tested the effect of the venom on the clinical subtypes of breast cancer, including triple-negative breast cancer, which has limited treatment options.


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Aug 20, 2020

https://www.healthtech.dtu.dk/nyheder/nyhed?id=79513d4e-628b-4be2-858b-402ee574a065

The advantages of Carbo-gel make it a candidate for improved and safer treatment of cancer because the marker and injection procedure are well-tolerated. Once it is injected, it forms a positionally stable marker. It has intrinsic radiographic, magnetic resonance and ultrasound visibility and is easily expanded to also have nuclear and fluorescence imaging properties. Based on these features the marker can improve the precision of therapeutic procedures such as radiotherapy, surgery, image-guided surgery and robotic surgery.


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Aug 02, 2020

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41571-020-0420-0

Measuring the methylation status of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in plasma holds great potential for the early, noninvasive detection of cancer. Two recent papers published in Nature Medicine showcase the successful application of cfDNA methylation-based cancer detection to two highly challenging scenarios.


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