December 2016 News Roundup

December 2016 News Roundup

Our roundup of this month’s most important cancer and radiation therapy-related news.

US Bans Smoking in Public Housing

December 1, 2016 (American Cancer Society)
The US government has announced a change that requires all public housing to be smoke-free within the next 18 months. The new rule is intended to protect non-smoking residents from the health hazards of secondhand smoke. Cigarette usage is linked to lung cancer for both people who smoke as well as nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke.

Worldwide Cancer Rates Up More Than One-Third in Past Decade: Report

December 5, 2016 (HealthDay News via Medline Plus)
The worldwide rates of cancer have increased by 33% over the past ten years. Factors which may have contributed to this figure include an ageing population and population growth. The lifetime risk of developing cancer in men is 1 in 3. The lifetime risk of developing cancer in women is 1 in 4. These statistics will factor into future cancer control planning.

Breast Cancer Cells May Change When They Spread to Brain: Study

December 7, 2016 (HealthDay News via Medline Plus)
A recent study has found that changes in breast cancer cells may occur when they spread to the brain. These findings suggest that treatment for patients in which these changes occur may need to be treated for both breast and brain cancer for optimal effect.

Study Confirms There Is No Safe Level of Smoking

December 8, 2016 (American Cancer Society)
Recent research has found that a single cigarette can increase the chance of an earlier death. This finding may indicate that there are no safe types or amounts of cigarette smoking. In addition, there are no safe forms of tobacco. Other types of tobacco include hookahs, e-cigarettes, cigars, and pipes.

Surgeon General Calls E-Cigarettes Dangerous to Young People

December 8, 2016 (American Cancer Society)
The US Surgeon General has released a report that advises cigarette smoking in young adults has become a public health concern, as e-cigarette use in teens has risen 900% between 2011 and 2015. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance that is naturally found in tobacco and is especially damaging to the developing brains of young adults. E-cigarettes include any device which can be used to smoke nicotine electronically.

Women with More Social Connections have Higher Breast Cancer Survival, Study Shows

December 13, 2016 (ScienceDaily)
A recent Kaiser Permanente study suggests that women who are more socially connected demonstrate lower cancer recurrence and mortality rates than women who are socially isolated. These positive social connections may also be linked to better overall health. The findings from this study may provide an additional layer of considerations for doctors when planning interventions for more effective treatment regimens.

Scientists Investigate Cancer Radiotherapy to Make Improvements

December 14, 2016 (ScienceDaily)
Radiation therapy can trigger a bodily response that inhibits or reduces the natural immune response. This recent study explores the possibility of using drugs to counteract immune response suppression before it starts, allowing the immune system to fight cancer in conjunction with radiation therapy.

Researchers Build Liquid Biopsy Chip that Detects Metastatic Cancer Cells in Blood

December 15, 2016 (ScienceDaily)
Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute have developed a chip that can identify metastatic cancer cells in small amount of blood. This method could improve upon existing approaches by catching metastatic cancer at earlier stages, and may pave the way for a future routine lab test.

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