Yellow skin, yellow eyes: do I have liver cancer?

Primary liver cancer is rare, but early diagnosis is important

liver cancer

Yellowing of the skin and eyes, along with weight loss, itchy skin and feeling tired are some of the symptoms of liver cancer.

 

As scary as these symptoms might be, many of the signs and symptoms of liver cancer can also be caused by other conditions, including other liver problems or even a vitamin overdose. None-the-less, yellowing of the skin and eyes, along with weight loss, itchy skin and feeling tired are some of the symptoms of liver cancer. By the time these symptoms occur, the disease may have already spread. That’s why it is so important to see your doctor right away if you have these symptoms, so the cause can be found and treated. Continue reading

Pathology 101: How a pathology report explains cancer

Pathology reports on suspected cancer say if a patient has a malignancy, type of cancer and if it has spread

mammary carcinoma

In a pathology report, the diagnosis section provides the location of the tumor, its type and grade, and size.

 

Chances are, the treatment plan for your cancer was determined by the results on a pathology report. Before your diagnosis, you probably had a biopsy or surgery where a doctor removed cells or tissue for study under a microscope. Specialists called pathologists spend their days viewing these samples, understanding how they look compared to normal cells and preparing reports which summarize the findings on each biopsy for oncologists and surgeons.

We spoke with Cancer Center pathologist, Celina Kleer, M.D., director of the Breast Pathology Division in the Department of Pathology,to find out the information contained in a report and how your oncologist uses it to decide the best course of treatment for your cancer. Continue reading

Singer relies on positive attitude, U-M team after palate cancer diagnosis

Jerry_blog

After being diagnosed with cancers of the palate and thyroid one after another, professional singer Jerry Garcia knew he was going to have to risk his career in order to save his health and family life.

With surgery recommended for both tumors, Garcia knew at every turn that he might have to take his musical ministry in another direction if surgical complications made him no longer able to sing in the caliber he’d built a career on. Instead, Jerry credits the quality of his recent album – he calls it the best he’s ever sung – to the surgeries and experts he saw at the U-M Health System.

“I came out of this unscathed with no vocal cord damage whatsoever,” Garcia said. “It’s the power of a strong positive attitude.”

Continue reading

Nausea and vomiting, side effects of cancer treatment

nausea and vomitingNausea and vomiting are always distressing. They are a dreaded side effect for many undergoing cancer treatment. As an oncology nurse that has administered chemotherapy, I’ve witnessed firsthand how troublesome they can be for patients.

Nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, commonly called chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting or CINV, can affect as many as 50% of patients. Treatment for these two symptoms has improved over the years with better medications. However, these twin side effects to cancer treatment still remain a barrier to quality of life. Continue reading

An inconclusive genetic test result: what does it mean?

Questions you can ask to help understand

An inconclusive genetic test result is called a VUS, for genetic variant of unknown significance

Genetic test results are either positive, negative, or less commonly, VUS. This stands for genetic variant of unknown significance.

Most results of genetic testing for inherited susceptibility for cancer are either negative (meaning no gene mutation or change was found) or positive (meaning a gene mutation that causes an increased risk for cancer was found). However, a small portion of tests result in an inconcolusive genetic test result, or what is termed a variant of unknown or uncertain significance, or VUS.

A VUS is a change in the normal sequence of a gene, where the significance of the change is unclear until further study of a sufficiently large population. Complete gene sequencing often identifies many variants for a given gene. Continue reading

Patients and advocacy groups boost adrenal cancer research

Latest advances subject of international symposium in Ann Arbor

Adrenal cancer

Visualizing new potential targets in ACC. This fluorescence microscopy image shows expression of ZNRF3 (green) in the normal mouse adrenal gland. Collaborative research efforts, including The Cancer Genome Atlas project, have recently mapped the genetic landscape of human ACC tumors and identified ZNRF3 as one of the most commonly altered genes in ACC. Image courtesy of Kaitlin Basham, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow (Hammer Laboratory) and Heather Rose Kornick Adrenocortical Cancer Research Scholar

 

mCancerPartner sat down with Gary Hammer, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Endocrine Oncology Program in the Comprehensive Cancer Center, to discuss the program’s most recent developments in adrenal cancer research and patient care.

mCancerPartner: Why is collaboration so important in treating adrenal cancer?

Dr. Hammer: Adrenal cancer, or ACC, is very rare, with less than a thousand people diagnosed with it each year in the United States. In adults, it is most often diagnosed at an advanced stage, so for many, the prognosis is dismal. Collaboration is essential because no one hospital sees enough of these patients to advance research or clinical care. Continue reading