Myeloproliferative neoplasms: A collection of rare blood cancers

Called MPNs for short, they may be caused by an abnormal cancer stem cell

myeloproliferative neoplasms

Each MPN is a different condition, but they are thought to be caused by an abnormal cancer stem cell that may have acquired genetic mutations that make it unable to produce blood cells normally


Myeloproliferative neoplasms, or MPNs, are a group of chronic blood cancers with the potential to rapidly progress to a more advanced stage or to an acute leukemia. Though our understanding of why these cancers occur is still evolving, we believe these MPNs can arise from a common cause: genetic alterations within the stem cell that change the way these blood cells grow and divide. Scientists are unraveling the mysteries of these rare cancers, bringing new hope for patients through research and specialized treatment.

mCancerPartner recently talked to Marie Huong Nguyen, M.D., a hematology/oncology MPN specialist at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Nguyen leads multiple clinical trials at U-M to develop new therapies in MPNs. Dr. Nguyen’s MPN and Systemic Mastocytosis Clinic focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of patients with many different types of MPNs. Continue reading

Food worries: do I have increased cancer risk if I don’t eat organic?

eat organicPeople recovering from cancer or hoping to lower their risk sometimes worry about chemicals used in conventional agriculture. When you eat organic food is that a smarter option? Here are some facts and tips about organic versus conventional foods, and what you can do to maximize your diet’s health benefits.

Are organic foods better for your health?

When it comes to health benefits, there have not been any direct studies on humans to show that organic foods can prevent cancer – or other diseases – more effectively than conventionally grown foods. So far, there is also no Continue reading

What is gallbladder cancer?

Symptoms act like common digestive problems, so are often overlooked

gallbladder cancer

Some of the risk factors for gallbladder cancer are a family history, being older, female, or being Mexican American.

Gallbladder cancer is rare. In fact, the American Cancer Society notes there will only be about 4,000 new cases of gallbladder cancer this year. Our gallbladder stores and secretes brownish liquid called bile which aids in the digestion of food. Since the gallbladder is hidden under the liver and not easily seen on imaging or felt, gallbladder cancer is usually discovered in the later stages. Only about 1 of 5 gallbladder cancers is found in the early stages, when the cancer has not yet spread beyond the gallbladder. Continue reading

ICE: End of term reflection paper

Cancer Center patients and staff play important role in educating future doctors

 ICE, or Initial Clinical Experience, is a program for new University of Michigan medical students.

Medical student writes of his experiences in the Breast Cancer Clinic and says he learned more about life and the role of healthcare providers in caring for patients than he ever thought possible.

 

Editor’s note: ICE, or Initial Clinical Experience, is a program for new University of Michigan medical students. Instead of spending their first term only in lecture halls, they are assigned to shadow clinical faculty and other health professionals. This gives them early connections with patients and families and an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of all healthcare team members within the system.

Where is the line between disease and life drawn? This was a question I constantly thought about during my Initial Clinical Experience during my first term as a medical student. I remember the moment I found out I would be placed in the Breast Cancer Clinic and my feeling of dread. I was worried that so early in medical school I would come face-to-face with cancer, and through it, with death. Continue reading

Cancer prevention is within your reach

Here are the Top 5 things you can do

cancer preventionIt’s estimated that as many as 50%-75% of cancer deaths in the United States are caused by human behavior. If you think about that, it means our lifestyle choices can significantly impact a diagnosis of cancer. What can we do about cancer prevention?

Although not all cancers can be prevented, there are some measures we can take to greatly reduce our risk of getting a diagnosis of cancer.

The Top 5 things you can do to prevent cancer:

Continue reading

What are small cell and non-small cell lung cancers?

Non-small cell lung cancer makes up most of the diagnoses

lung cancerWhile lung cancer is less common than cancers of the breast or prostate, it is responsible for nearly a third of all cancer deaths in the United States – 27% according to the American Cancer Society. The stigma of lung cancer being a “smoker’s disease” still persists despite the fact that 20% of deaths from lung cancer occur in those who never smoked. The last few years have been very exciting for lung cancer research. New immune and targeted therapies are available to treat this very deadly cancer.

Surprisingly, lung cancer is not one disease. It is classified into three types based upon the type and location of cell involved: small cell, non-small cell and lung carcinoid tumor. Continue reading