Is your course of radiation treatment longer than it needs to be?

patient and doctor in an exam room

Radiation oncologist Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil., consults with a patient

Mounting evidence finds that delivering higher doses of radiation per treatment is as effective in some breast cancer patients as a traditional course where smaller doses are given over a longer time period. The new method, called hypofractionation, involves about 3-4 weeks of daily radiation treatments, instead of the usual 5-week or longer course.

But several newly published studies have found that hypofractionated radiation is not widely used.

Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil., associate professor of radiation oncology at the University of Michigan, led two of these studies. Looking at a national database of patients, she and her colleagues found that hypofractionation was used in only 13.6% of Medicare patients with breast cancer. In Michigan, Jagsi’s other study found, fewer than one-third of patients who fit the criteria for offering this approach got the shorter course of treatment. Continue reading

Maize and Blue Go Pink raises $100K+ for breast cancer research

Go Pink2The second annual Maize and Blue Go Pink event was held at the Somerset Collection on Thursday, Aug. 21. The event, in partnership with The Forbes Company, owners of the Somerset Collection, was attended by more than 200 guests and raised over $100,000 to support breast cancer research at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The evening began with a VIP reception that included a fashion-focused live auction co-emceed by WDIV Channel 4’s Ashlee Baracy and Neiman Marcus style adviser Ken Dewey.  Throughout the evening, dueling pianos greeted guests as they entered Somerset Collection’s south wing for a progressive culinary and wine experience while they shopped.

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Do women have access to breast reconstruction?

Doctor holding X-ray film and woman in pink braFewer than half of women who undergo mastectomy for breast cancer have breast reconstruction. A new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center finds 42% of women who were surveyed had breast reconstruction.

The study, published in JAMA Surgery, looked at 485 women treated with mastectomy for breast cancer, following up with them an average of four years after their diagnosis.

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New prostate cancer study paves way for potential treatment changes

minority menResults of a phase 3 clinical trial will change the way oncologists treat advanced prostate cancer. The findings were announced this weekend at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting, where oncologists throughout the country present information on new cancer research.

Maha Hussain, M.D., a medical oncologist who treats prostate cancer patients at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, is one of the co-authors on the study.

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TOP Program opens doors for young researchers-to-be

laboratory research

Jake Leflein

“I’ve never doubted for a minute that I want to go into medicine,” says Jake Leflein, who is finishing up his freshman year in the U-M pre-med program. Jake’s main goal is a clinical career as a practicing physician, but three years of laboratory internship experience at the U-M Medical School have opened the door to possibly combining his clinical care career with laboratory research.

Jake has enjoyed his hands-on experience in the laboratory of Diane Simeone, M.D., so much that he chose U-M to attend in order to continue working in Dr. Simeone’s lab. She directs the U-M Translational Oncology Program, or TOP, which seeks to take laboratory discoveries and translate them into practical cancer treatments – which has placed Jake in the thick of cutting-edge research.

Jake’s advice to anyone interested in research:

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Advancing research for brain cancer treatment

brain cancer

Malignant brain tumor

In recognition of brain cancer awareness month, the focus of my blog is on the latest developments in treating this particular cancer. Glioblastoma or glioblastoma multiforme is the most common brain cancer in adults. According to the American Brain Tumor Association, glioblastomas represents about 17% of all primary brain tumors. They can be difficult to treat because the tumors contain so many different types of cells. They tend to be both aggressive and fast growing. The National Cancer Institute says the mortality rate for brain cancer has remained largely unchanged over the past 30 to 40 years. Therefore looking at new ways to treat brain cancer is desperately needed.

One of the hottest areas of clinical research into brain cancer involves the use of immunotherapy, or stimulating the immune system to attack cancer. The National Cancer Institute defines Continue reading