When are biopsies important in detecting kidney cancer?

kidney cancermCancerPartner sat down recently with Khaled S. Hafez, M.D., a surgeon and associate professor of urology, to discuss how kidney cancer is detected and the role biopsies play.

mCancerPartner: What are the symptoms of kidney cancer?

Dr. Hafez: The three symptoms that normally indicate kidney cancer are pain in the abdomen, blood in the urine and a mass, or growth, in the side. But how physicians find kidney cancer has changed in recent years. Today, most kidney cancer is found accidently, before the symptoms Continue reading

U-M researchers develop new strategy for attacking aggressive cancer mutation

RAS-gene

Human KRAS protein. Mutant RAS proteins may play a role in one third of all human cancers.

Mutation of the KRAS gene drives up to 30% of all human cancers, and is especially prevalent among aggressive and hard-to-treat forms — like pancreatic, colon and lung cancers. For decades, researchers have tried to develop drugs to shut down the mutated gene, but a lack of success by pharmaceutical, biotech and academic laboratories has earned this cancer mutation a reputation for being “undruggable.”

New research conducted at the University of Michigan, however, offers a new strategy for disrupting the mutations’ unchecked spread — by attacking a protein complex that protects and supports it. The approach, detailed in a forthcoming article in Neoplasia[DI1] , comes as efforts to combat the mutation have been in the national spotlight. Recently, the National Cancer Institute announced a $10 million-a-year initiative to target KRAS, for which it is repurposing a new high-tech lab at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research. Continue reading

The “other” cancer treatment side effect: Paying attention to your mouth

cancer treatment side effectMost of us are aware of the common cancer treatment side effects like nausea or hair loss. Many don’t realize that more than one-third of people treated for cancer develop complications that affect the mouth. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy slow or stop growth of fast growing cells, such as cancer cells. Normal cells in the lining of the mouth also grow quickly, so these cancer treatments can stop them from growing too. In turn, this slows down the ability of oral tissue to repair itself by making new cells.

The most common oral complications as cancer treatment side effects: Continue reading

U-M Cancer Center to offer free throat cancer screenings April 26

throat cancerThroat cancer can take away your voice, your jaw and your ability to swallow food, but it also can be treated if caught early enough.

What are the risk factors for throat cancer?

  • Smoking
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Drinking alcohol

What are the symptoms of throat cancer?

  • Trouble swallowing food
  • Mouth and/or throat soreness
  • A persistent hoarseness
  • Neck lump(s) Continue reading

New test better predicts prostate cancer

More than 1 million men will undergo a prostate biopsy this year, but only about one-fifth of those biopsies will result in a prostate cancer diagnosis.

The reason is that the traditional prostate cancer screening test - a blood test to measure prostate specific antigen, or PSA – does not give doctors a complete picture.

A new test developed at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center improves upon PSA. It adds two more markers that might indicate prostate cancer. Studies have shown the urine-based test, called Mi-Prostate Score, is far more accurate than PSA alone. Continue reading

Treating lymphedema after breast cancer

lymphedema

Lymphedema symptoms can include swelling in the hands or feet.

Katherine Konosky is making a presentation on lymphedema on Saturday, April 12 at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Breast Cancer Summit. See more details below about this free event.

As many as 10 million Americans suffer from lymphedema, which causes swelling in arms, legs or other parts of the body. It can be a frustrating and chronic long-term side effect of cancer treatment. Although it is more common than multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and breast cancer – combined – lymphedema has historically been little understood, even by health care professionals. The good news is that with improved imaging equipment, we are understanding more about the function of the lymphatic system. Continue reading