It’s not just girl talk: Including men in breast cancer genetic counseling

men and breast cancer genetic counselingThere is no question that breast cancer disproportionately affects women – but we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the risk to men. As we continue to learn more about the ways our genes influence our cancer risk, involvement of male relatives in genetic counseling and genetic testing can provide important information for your family’s breast cancer risk evaluation. So why are men often forgotten?

Myth One: Men don’t carry mutations in breast cancer genes.

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Tips for being a smart health care consumer

health care consumerHow often have you heard someone say, or maybe even said yourself, “I’m not sure what the doctor said”? If you or a loved one are diagnosed with cancer or another life-altering disease, you have the right to understand what’s being said to you regarding health and treatment options. Being a smart health care consumer who uses effective communication starts with you, the patient, when you take an active role in your health care. There are many things you can do to make the most of your health care appointments.

Before your health care visit:

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Progress in cancer research and treatment

May is National Cancer Research Month

progress in cancer researchI often hear from callers “Why hasn’t cancer been cured?” It is true that a cure for cancer has not been achieved, but it is important to remember there have been major advances and discoveries in the treatment of cancer. Progress in cancer research and scientific discoveries have led to:

  • Decreases in the incidence of many of the more than 200 types of cancer
  • Cures for a number of these diseases
  • Higher quality and longer lives for many individuals who cancers cannot yet be prevented or cured

Unfortunately, research has taught us that cancer is anything but simple.

In 1971:

  • there were 3 million cancer survivors
  • 1 in 69 people was a cancer survivor

In 2012: Continue reading

Gluten and cancer: friend or foe?

cancer and glutenGluten-free is a new buzz word associated with improved health and well-being. Gluten is a protein matrix in wheat, barley and rye formed by gliadin and glutenin that gives bread and baked goods their airy texture.  While only 1.5% of the population need to follow a gluten-free diet – those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) – nearly 30% of Americans are following such a diet. The reasons vary widely from weight loss to mood to cancer, but is there evidence about gluten and cancer to prove the anti-cancer claims of a gluten-free diet?

There is evidence of an association between gluten and an increased risk of cancer for only a very small group of individuals, namely persons with celiac disease who are not following a gluten-free diet. For the other 98.5% of the Continue reading

Grocery shopping for cancer prevention

grocery shopping for cancer preventionApril is National Cancer Control Month and its goal is to boost awareness of cancer, its care and to help more people win the battle against cancer. While it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of cancer, you can take action to reduce your cancer risk through various lifestyle changes. One key area in your control is making healthy changes to your diet. Instead of just listing these healthy habits, follow the tips below to make your next grocery shopping trip a cancer-fighting experience.

Stick to the list: The very best thing you can do for yourself is to be prepared. 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