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The CTCA blog

Chemotherapy not working? What can you do?

Laurence Altshuler, MD

It is well known that the chemotherapies recommended for various cancers may not work or may not work for very long. As a result, many patients and physicians look for anything that may have a benefit and turn to drugs that have not been approved for a particular cancer, which is called “off-label” use. The question is: Can using off-label chemotherapies help you?

Melanoma Monday


Summer is almost here.  The longer, sunnier days can result in more exposure to the sun. Studies show that increased sun exposure is directly correlated with the likelihood of developing melanoma.

"Get Your Head In The Game" to fight brain tumors


Patients, loved ones and advocates from all over the country are uniting this week to talk about the importance of finding new treatments and advancing research for brain tumors. Brain Tumor Action Week runs from April 28 through May 4, 2013, and strives to increase awareness and funding for brain cancer research.

Talk it out to improve well-being


A cancer diagnosis can evoke many emotions, including anxiety, confusion, depression and anger. These feelings are a natural part of the journey and talking through them can help patients come to a more positive, hopeful state of mind.

1 in 4 breast cancer patients don’t finish drug treatment


The side effects of endocrine therapy caused many breast cancer patients to forgo or stop taking drugs recommended for breast cancer expressing the hormones estrogen or progesterone.

About 75 percent of all breast cancers are estrogen dependent, meaning they grow in response to estrogen. Of those, 65 percent also grow in response to progesterone. Endocrine therapy for breast cancer helps prevent recurrence by blocking the effects of estrogen.

Supreme Court hears case about genes linked to breast cancer


Since the late 1990s, Myriad Genetics has tested more than 1 million women for mutations to two genes, BRCA 1 and 2, associated with breast and ovarian cancers. But because of its patents on those genes, patients have been unable to get a second opinion on Myriad’s test results and, in some cases, have been denied their own genetic information.

Speak up about oral cancer


This week is Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week. Oral cancers (also called mouth, tongue, tonsil or throat cancer) comprise the majority of all head and neck cancers.

The Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) estimates approximately 42,000 people in the U.S. will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2013.

Think periwinkle for Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month


You may not know this, but April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month.

A fairly new cancer type to have a designated cancer awareness month, esophageal cancer can be difficult to detect at an early stage. Possible symptoms of esophageal cancer include heartburn and Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as chronic acid reflux. People with GERD may have a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer in their lifetime.

Moving beyond survivor guilt


Cancer survivorship can be accompanied by a unique set of emotions—joy, grief, fear, relief, deep gratitude, a heightened sense of purpose, and an overwhelming sense of responsibility to live life to the fullest.

But there is another nagging feeling that can sneak into the mix: guilt. Survivorship is such a blessing, yet in spite of that blessing, we often find ourselves reflecting on those who have not been as fortunate.

The great mammogram debate


Breast cancer screening guidelines can be hard to keep up with. In 2009, a U.S. government task force recommended that women wait until age 50 to begin routine mammograms. The U. S. Preventive Service Task Force, a panel of 16 physician experts, recommended against annual mammograms for women in their 40s who are not at high risk for the cancer, because of the “small” health benefit.

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