Thursday, March 1, 2012

What Is Bladder Cancer And How Is It Diagnosed?

Bladder cancer begins in the cells that line the inside of the bladder.  The bladder is the place in your lower abdomen that stores the urine.  Bladder cancer usually affects older patients , but anyone of any age can have this type of cancer.

                                                Bladder tumor

The great majority of bladder cancers are diagnosed at an early stage — when bladder cancer is highly treatable. However, even early-stage bladder cancer is likely to recur. For this reason, bladder cancer survivors often undergo follow-up tests to look for bladder cancer recurrence for years after treatment.

Diagnosing bladder cancer
Tests and procedures used to diagnose bladder cancer may include:
  • Cystoscopy. During cystoscopy, your doctor inserts a narrow tube (cystoscope) through your urethra. The cystoscope has a lens and fiber-optic lighting system, allowing your doctor to see the inside of your urethra and bladder. You usually receive a local anesthetic during cystoscopy to make you more comfortable.
  • Biopsy. During cystoscopy, your doctor may pass a special tool through your urethra and into your bladder in order to collect a small cell sample (biopsy) for testing. This procedure is sometimes called transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT). TURBT can also be used to treat bladder cancer. TURBT is usually performed under general anesthesia.
  • Urine cytology. A sample of your urine is analyzed under a microscope to check for cancer cells in a procedure called urine cytology.
  • Imaging tests. Imaging tests allow your doctor to examine the structures of your urinary tract. You may receive a dye, which can be injected into a vein. An intravenous pyelogram is a type of X-ray imaging test that uses a dye to highlight your kidneys, ureters and bladder. A computerized tomography (CT) scan is a type of X-ray test that allows your doctor to better see your urinary tract and the surrounding tissues.
Staging bladder cancer
Once it's confirmed that you have bladder cancer, your doctor may order additional tests to determine the extent, or stage, of the cancer. Staging tests may include:
  • CT scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Bone scan
  • Chest X-ray
Bladder cancer stages
The stages of bladder cancer are:
  • Stage I. Cancer at this stage occurs in the bladder's inner lining, but hasn't invaded the muscular bladder wall.
  • Stage II. At this stage, cancer has invaded the bladder wall, but is still confined to the bladder.
  • Stage III. The cancer cells have spread through the bladder wall to surrounding tissue. They may also have spread to the prostate in men or the uterus or vagina in women.
  • Stage IV. By this stage, cancer cells may have spread to the lymph nodes and other organs, such as your lungs, bones or liver.
                                               Mayo Clinic Discussion of Bladder Cancer

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Doctors Are Testing A New Brain Cancer Vaccine

In selected hospital around the United States doctors are testing a new vaccine for brain cancer. The very first patient in Florida is beginning her clinical trial with this new vaccine.

41-year-old Cathy Hoffman-Booker of Weston is the first patient in Florida to try a new vaccine for GBM or glioblastoma multiformae, the most aggressive type of brain tumor.
She's enrolled in a clinical trial at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
"The goal of the vaccine is to really spark her immune system to recognize those tumor cells as foreign, and then fight those tumor cells and keep them at bay, and hopefully keep them from coming back," explained neurosurgeon Dr. Ricardo Komotar.
Her MRI scan shows the tumor deep in the left frontal lobe.
It was completely removed, then the vaccine was used to try to keep it from returning.
"We took out her brain tumor, it was preserved, and then from her own tumor we purified down what's called the heat shock protein, and then that was readministered to her this past week," Komotar said.
That protein in high concentrations will hopefully activate and program immune cells to specifically attack only the tumor cells.
Hoffman-Booker also had radiation and is still taking chemotherapy pills.
"She's doing great, no apparent side effects from the treatments she's been having, so she's doing very well," said her husband of 11 years, Loren Booker. They have two children.
Jennifer Hoffman set up a website in November to inform family and friends of her sister's condition. That's how they learned about the vaccine study.

                                           MRI shows tumor deeply embedded in the brain tissue.

"Thanks to the website someone at my nephew's school sent an article to me about the trial," Hoffman said.
There are only eight medical centers across the country involved in the Heat Shock Protein Vaccine (HSPPC-96) trial.
UM Sylvester is the only study site in Florida.
Only patients with an MRI or biopsy that confirms the tumor is a GBM, and who have had no radiation or chemotherapy are eligible.
If they've already had surgery, only those who've had the tumor partially removed can participate because the tumor is used to make the vaccine.
Hoffman-Booker will get four weekly shots and then monthly vaccines.
She says her plan is to move forward.
"And be positive and hopeful that I'll see my children grow. So I'm not going to give up."

                                         Dr. New expains the clinical trials of brain cancer vaccine.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

March Is Desinated National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

The following news release is from New Jersey, but can be applied to all of us in maintaining our health.

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) is making experts available to discuss risk factors, treatment and prevention options surrounding colorectal cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 143,000 new cases of the disease are expected to be diagnosed in the United States this year with about 4,600 new cases in New Jersey. Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death among both men and women in the United States. CINJ is a Center of Excellence of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
While the exact cause of most colorectal cancers is not known, risk factors include poor diet, lack of exercise, and having polyps in the colon or rectum areas. Those over age 50 also are at increased risk. Beginning at age 50, it is recommended that both men and women undergo periodic colonoscopies, fecal occult blood tests and/or other screenings that can detect colorectal cancer. Earlier testing is recommended for people with increased risk, such as those with a family history of the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if everyone aged 50 or older were screened regularly, as many as 60 percent of deaths from this cancer could be avoided.
Some signs of possible colorectal cancer include:
• Bleeding from your rectum.
• Dark stools or blood in the stool or toilet after you have a bowel movement.
• A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool that lasts for more than a few days.
• Cramping pain in your lower stomach.
• Weakness, fatigue, unintended weight loss
Studies show that colorectal cancer may be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, keeping physically active and limiting the use of alcoholic beverages.

If you are 50 or older then you need to be tested for colon cancer!

                                          Early stage of Colon cancer

                                         This video is a radio interview explaining the importance
                                         of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness

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