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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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Jul 04, 2020

https://physicsworld.com/a/multifaceted-radiomics-predicts-cancer-metastasis-risk/

A machine-learning-based approach effectively combines images from different modalities to classify patients with head-and-neck cancer


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Jul 04, 2020

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/07/new-forms-red-devil-cancer-drug-could-spare-hearts

Insight into how compound kills cells might lead to safer variants of commonly used chemotherapy


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Jul 04, 2020

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-07-precise-tumours-anti-cancer-drugs.html

Researchers at the University of Alberta have found a way to deliver anti-cancer drugs with more precision, which could increase the effectiveness of many cancer treatments.


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Jun 21, 2020

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7025898/

Cancer is driven by genetic change, and the advent of massively parallel sequencing has enabled systematic documentation of this variation at the whole-genome scale[–] . Here we report the integrative analysis of 2,658 whole-cancer genomes ...


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May 08, 2020

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fonc.2020.00734/full

The world is facing a new pandemic and several questions still remain unanswered for cancer patients: (1) Do routine screening programs need to continue as usual? (2) What should be the correct management for a positive COVID-19 patient before or after a cycle of chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and/or targeted therapy? (3) What policies are being adopted in every single country to manage oncology departments? (4) How should fragile patients with advanced disease be treated when they are in areas heavily affected by the virus? (5) What are the ethical and practical implications?


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May 04, 2020

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0923753420363730

A recent study from Prof He and colleagues shows that the risk of developing severe events in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is statistically significant higher in patients with cancer


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Apr 24, 2020

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(20)30240-0/fulltext

Balancing the risk of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) for patients with cancer and health-care workers with the need to continue to provide effective treatment and care is changing how oncology teams work worldwide. “The pandemic has meant a transformation of every aspect of cancer care, irrespective of treatment, inpatient or outpatient, and radical or palliative intent,” said James Spicer (Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK). Pic source- SciTechDaily


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Apr 07, 2020

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2763961

This Viewpoint describes infection prevention and control measures implemented in the care of patients with cancer during the COVID-19 outbreak in China. Image source: https://www.express.co.uk/


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Apr 06, 2020

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(20)30096-6/fulltext

Patients with cancer were observed to have a higher risk of severe events (a composite endpoint defined as the percentage of patients being admitted to the intensive care unit requiring invasive ventilation, or death) compared with patients without cancer


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Mar 29, 2020

https://academic.oup.com/jnci/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jnci/djz164/5578423

ANN ARBOR, Changing the way individuals are selected to be screened for lung cancer, by considering their probability of getting or dying from lung cancer calculated from risk-prediction models, could prevent 14% of lung cancer deaths per year. by Andrea LaFerle (ref: https://news.umich.edu/screening-for-lung-cancer-based-on-risk-could-save-lives/)


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Mar 26, 2020

Breast cancer affects a large number of women worldwide. Its early detection can decrease the mortality rates and provide a better quality of life. Although mammography remains the first choice method for breast cancer detection, several Softwares that facilitate the analysis of mammograms and more advance techniques with increased sensitivity have entered the clinical market. Lastly, genetic and biomarker testings are also useful tools in the fight against breast cancer.


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Mar 12, 2020

https://www.labroots.com/trending/cancer/16161/uv-light-targets-hyperhotspots-skin-cancer

New research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that certain hyperhotspots in the human genome can be Cancer


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