Saturday, March 24, 2012

New Findings About Breast Cancer and Obesity

In the news and talk shows there are many discussions about obesity concerning the heart, joints, and other parts of the body. A new article is reporting that obesity affects breast cancer recurrence rate. I am encouraging you to change what you eat if you are overweight.  Look for products that are low in carbs and low in fat.  Please read the follow article by Private MD Lab. It is a wake-up call for change.

For women who receive lab test results indicating they have breast cancer, the prognosis may be more favorable if they are not overweight. New research indicates that women who are overweight or obese at the time of their diagnosis may be more likely to experience a recurrence of cancer after their initial treatment.

The findings have important implications for the prevention of breast cancer deaths. The researchers said that breast cancer rates have been climbing along with obesity rates. The fact that the two phenomena may be linked suggests that encouraging healthier lifestyles may be an effective method for reducing the number of women affected by breast cancer.

For the study, researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston examined the medical records of 1,909 women treated for breast cancer between 1997 and 1998. The results showed that those who were overweight or obese were significantly more likely to experience a recurrence.

"When you consider that data from 2007 to 2008 show that 68 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 years and over were overweight or obese, as compared to only 56 percent of the same group in 1994-1998, you can see the way the problem is growing," said lead researcher Jennifer Ligibel.$800736771.php


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Myeloproliferative Dimyeloproliferative disorders

Myeloproliferative disease or MPD deals with  a group of diseases of the bone marrow in which excess cells are produced.

Myeloproliferative disorders is the name for a group of conditions that cause blood cells -- platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells -- to grow abnormally in the bone marrow. Though myeloproliferative disorders are serious, and may pose certain health risks, people with these conditions often live for many years after diagnosis. The prognosis largely depends on the type of disorder.
Myeloproliferative disorders include:
  • Polycythemia vera -- occurs when the bone marrow produces too many blood cells, especially red blood cells. More than 95% of people with polycythemia vera carry the blood mutation JAK2V617F.
  • Essential thrombocytosis -- occurs when the body produces too many platelet cells, which help blood to clot. Clots can block blood vessels leading to heart attack or stroke.
  • Primary or idiopathic myelofibrosis, also known as myelosclerosis -- occurs when the bone marrow produces too much collagen or fibrous tissue in the bone marrow. This reduces bone marrow's ability to produce blood cells.
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) -- cancer of the bone marrow that produces abnormal granulocytes, a type of white blood cell, in the bone marrow.

Signs and Symptoms:

Many people with myeloproliferative disorders have no symptoms when their doctors first make the diagnosis. One symptom shared by all myeloproliferative disorders, with the exception of essential thrombocytosis, is an enlarged spleen. An enlarged spleen can cause abdominal pain and a feeling of fullness.

Many times, especially in the early stages, myeloproliferative disease does not have symptoms. When it does have signs, they vary from person to person. If you have symptoms, they may include:
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Petechiae (tiny red spots under the skin)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Fever
Specific disorders in which the bone marrow produces too many cells have similar and yet different symptoms.

Some signs and symptoms of the different types of myeloproliferative disorders include:
Polycythemia vera
  • Fatigue, general malaise
  • Trouble breathing
  • Intense itching after bathing in warm water
  • Stomachaches
  • Purple spots or patches on the skin
  • Nosebleeds, gum or stomach bleeding, or blood in the urine
  • Throbbing and burning pain in the skin, often with darkened, blotchy areas
  • Headache and problems with vision
  • High blood pressure
  • Blockage of blood vessels. This may cause heart disease, stroke, or gangrene (tissue death) of the arms and legs.
Essential thrombocytosis
  • Heart attack or stoke
  • Headache
  • Burning or throbbing pain, redness, and swelling of the hands and feet
  • Bruising
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding or blood in the urine
Primary myelofibrosis
  • Fatigue, general malaise
  • Trouble breathing
  • Anemia
  • Weight loss
  • Fever and night sweats
  • Abnormal bleeding
Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
  • Fatigue, general malaise
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Fever and night sweats
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Trouble breathing
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Infection

Laboratory Tests

Complete blood count (CBC) and differential CBCs and differentials are the most frequently ordered tests used to help diagnose and monitor MPDs. Often ordered as part of a yearly physical exam, they are routine tests that count the number and relative proportion of each of the different types of cells in your blood stream. They give your doctor information about the size, shape, and relative maturity of the blood cells present in your blood at that moment.
CBCs and differentials can be used to detect WBC, RBC, and platelet increases, decreases, and abnormalities. They can help determine their severity, diagnose their cause, monitor the course of a disease, and monitor the response to treatment.
With polycythemia vera, increased RBCs, platelets, and sometimes WBCs, may be seen. With myelofibrosis, immature granulocytes and misshapen immature teardrop-shaped red blood cells are often seen, and WBC and RBC numbers are often decreased. With thrombocythemia, greatly increased numbers of platelets are seen along with abnormally large platelets, platelet clumps, and fragments of megakaryocytes.
Irregularities in cell counts may be due to MPDs, but they may also be due to a variety of other temporary or chronic conditions. Other testing is usually done to confirm or rule out the diagnosis of an MPD.
Bone marrow aspiration/biopsyIf a doctor suspects a bone marrow disorder, he may order a bone marrow aspiration or biopsy to collect a small sample of marrow. When a specialist (a pathologist, oncologist, or hematologist) examines the bone and fluid from the bone marrow sample under the microscope, he can see the number, size, and shape of precursor cells (blasts), red and white blood cells, and megakaryocytes (platelet precursors). He can determine the proportions of mature and immature cells, see any overgrowth of fibrous tissue, and detect any cancer cells from cancers that may have spread to the marrow. Most bone marrow disorders can be diagnosed during this examination.

ABGs (Arterial blood gases) - This test measures the amount of gases in your arterial blood and may be done when polycythemia vera is suspected. Low levels of oxygen are associated with secondary polycythemia.
Erythropoietin is a hormone that stimulates the bone marrow to produce RBCs. With primary polycythemia, erythropoietin levels will be very low or absent, but with secondary polycythemia they will be normal or high.
Genetic testing is sometimes used in suspected chronic myelogenous leukemia to check for the presence or absence of a Philadelphia (Ph') chromosome or a bcr-abl translocation (see BCR ABL) and in suspected polycythemia vera, myelofibrosis, and essential thrombocythemia for the presence or absence of JAK2 mutations, a gene associated with marrow cell production.

                                        Video of Bone Marrow Biopsy

              This video is a lecture about a very common MPD  which is polycythemia vera.  It is seen frequently in persons who live in high altitudes.

For more information then check the following websites: or

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Melanoma Of The Eye

When melanoma is discussed we immediately think of cancer of the skin , but it also can be present in our eyes. This type of cancer is called Intraocular Melanoma.

                                                               Melanoma in the iris of the eye.

                                                            Melanoma in the retina of the eye

Intraocular melanoma begins in the middle of 3 layers of the wall of the eye. The outer layer includes the white sclera (the "white of the eye") and the clear cornea at the front of the eye. The inner layer has a lining of nerve tissue, called the retina, which senses light and sends images along the optic nerve to the brain.

This type of cancer most often occurs in people who are middle aged. In most cases of intraocular melanoma, doctors detect the cancer during a routine eye examination. The chance of recovery (prognosis) will depend on factors such as the size and cell type of the cancer. This type of melanoma is rare.

Most people with intraocular melanoma experience no symptoms of the cancer in its early stages. Melanoma that starts in the iris may appear as a dark spot on the iris. Intraocular melanoma that is in the ciliary body or choroid may cause blurry vision.

Age and sun exposure may increase the risk of developing intraocular melanoma.
Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. People who think they may be at risk should discuss this with their doctor. Risk factors for intraocular melanoma include the following:
  • Older age
  • Being white
  • Having a fair complexion (light skin) or green or blue eyes.
  • Being able to tan
Possible signs of intraocular melanoma include a dark spot on the iris or blurred vision.
Intraocular melanoma may not cause any early symptoms. It is sometimes found during a routine eye exam when the doctor dilates the pupil and looks into the eye. The following symptoms may be caused by intraocular melanoma or by other conditions. A doctor should be consulted if any of these problems occur:
  • A dark spot on the iris
  • Blurred vision
  • A change in the shape of the pupil
  • A change in vision
Glaucoma may develop if the tumor causes the retina to separate from the eye. If this happens, there may be no symptoms, or symptoms may include the following:
  • Eye pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye redness
  • Nausea

Doctors stage intraocular melanoma based on the area of the eye where the tumor is found and the size of the tumor. The stages of intraocular melanoma include:
  • Iris melanoma
  • Ciliary body melanoma
  • Small choroidal melanoma
  • Medium and large choroidal melanoma
  • Extraocular extension and metastatic intraocular melanoma
  • Recurrent intraocular melanoma. 

Iris Melanoma
Intraocular melanoma of the iris occurs in the front colored part of the eye. Iris melanomas usually grow slowly and do not spread to other parts of the body.
Ciliary Body Melanoma
Intraocular melanoma of the ciliary body occurs in the back part of the eye.
Small Choroidal Melanoma
Intraocular melanoma of the choroid occurs in the back part of the eye. This type of tumor is classified by the size of the tumor. A small choroidal melanoma is 3 millimeters or less in thickness.
Medium and Large Choroidal Melanoma
Intraocular melanomas of the choroid occur in the back part of the eye. This type of tumor is classified by the size of the tumor. Medium and large choroidal melanomas are more than 3 millimeters in thickness.
Extraocular Extension and Metastatic Intraocular Melanoma
In extraocular extension and metastatic intraocular melanoma, the melanoma has spread outside the eye, to the nerve behind the eye (the optic nerve), to the eye socket, or to other parts of the body.
Recurrent intraocular melanoma refers to cases of the cancer that have come back (recurred) after they were treated.

Treatment for Intraocular Melanoma

Treatment options for intraocular melanoma may include:
  • Surgery (taking out the cancer)
  • Radiation therapy (using high-dose x-rays or other high-energy rays to kill cancer cells)
  • Laser therapy (using an intensely powerful beam of light to destroy the tumor or blood vessels that feed the tumor).
In some cases (such as when the cancer is small and causing no symptoms), the treatment plan may involve monitoring the patient's cancer carefully and waiting to treat it until it changes or causes symptoms. This is sometimes known as watchful waiting.  

                                           Video of a cancerous tumor of eye surgically removed.

Monday, March 19, 2012

New Testing Kits For Lung Cancer

Diagnostic Biosystems (DBS), a specialty Immunohistochemistry company, announces its debut as an automated IHC company, introducing the Mosaic 360™ System with a product offering of novel Multiplex Immunohistochemistry kits and a complementary line of optimized IHC reagents.
Built on a history of developing distinctive chromogens to differentiate morphology on a single slide, Diagnostic BioSystems introduces a portfolio of five Mosaic Multiplex™ Lung Cancer Kits for use in tissue analysis of suspected Lung Cancer patients. Pathologists are challenged with scarce tissue availability in patients with cancer. DBS is addressing the tissue challenge with the Mosaic Multiplex ™ kits enabling testing of multiple analytes on one slide with a complete kit optimized for the DBS Mosaic 360™ System automated platform for lab to lab standardized results. 

The Mosaic System™ also includes a new line of “plug and play” reagents optimized on the Mosaic 360™ platform to provide convenience for the Histology Technologist in the Pathology laboratory.
“Diagnostic Biosystems is focused on developing clinically relevant tools for pathologists. We believe it is important to provide the most information with the limited tissue available in cancer patients today. Our standardized Mosaic Multiplex™ lung cancer kits” are focused on solving this problem,” said Dr. Bipin Gupta, PhD, President & CEO of Diagnostic BioSystems. 

During the USCAP, Diagnostic BioSystems will sponsor a Pathologist Roundtable event on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 in Vancouver BC to discuss advances in the use of Multiplex Kits in the analysis of suspected cancers. Two industry experts, Dr. Omar Hameed from Vanderbilt and Dr. Arundhati Rao from Scott & White Healthcare System, will join Marc Key Ph.D., DBS Scientific Advisor, in leading these discussions.