Tag Archives: cancer

Link Between Breast Implants and Cancer According to FDA

For some people in the United States, plastic surgery is a way to make yourself feel “better” or more “perfect” in some ways. However, the risks always come ahead of the rewards. In this case, the risk is not worth it.

At least 457 women have been diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma, which is a rare type of cancer. The Food and Drug Administration has stated that nine people have died since being diagnosed with this type of cancer that affects the cells of the immune system. They can be found around the breast implant area.

The FDA has issued multiple warnings in letters to those in the medical field explaining the link between the cancer and one of the most popular forms of plastic surgery. The letters state the warning signs of the cancer, which could be new lumps, pain and swelling around the breast area.

FDA has also asked for medical providers to report all cases to them in order to gather numbers, which could result in a halt on certain types of breast implants.

However, most of the cases that have occurred have to do with textured implants rather than smooth implants. The good news is that the cancer is slow growing and easily treatable if caught early.

There’s only a small number of women who have cancer out of the estimated 10 to 11 million women who have breast implants in the world, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Plastic Surgery Foundation.

This isn’t the first time that the FDA has brought this to our attention as in 2011, they presented the possibility of cancer but mentioned that it was a small chance that it could happen.

Now, new information has arisen. While 457 may seem to be a small amount, it’s a big enough number to where patients should be getting themselves checked for cancer, so if it is found, then it can be treated as soon as possible.


Photo from NPR

Time to Cut Out the Bacon and Alcohol, Research Says

For most of us, bacon is one of our favorite meats to eat. It can go with anything and everything in our meals. The same can be said about alcohol, once you have turned 21 and you drink responsibly. But research says it may be time to cut out both alcohol and bacon from your diet.

In a study that sampled data from 51 million people, The World Cancer Research Fund found that even a small amount of processed meats and alcohol can increase the risk of a number of different types of cancer by at least 40 percent.

Their study also found that obesity will overtake smoking as the “number one risk factor for cancer” within decades.

We have known from previous studies that obesity is becoming a worldwide health epidemic as more and more people look for ways to cut time preparing food and buy pre-made foods as a result.

Studies have also shown that obesity is linked with at least 12 different cancers, which include breast, liver, and prostate, to name a few.

The results of the findings will be presented to the European Congress on Obesity in Glasgow, Scotland at the end of April.

The recommendations from the fund are to drink mostly water and to reduce intake of all processed foods, which include fast food and foods high in fat.


Australia is on Pace to Eliminate Cervical Cancer

Most people may have heard about certain vaccines that have come close to eradicating diseases, such as Smallpox. Cancer, however, has long been a different story. While cancer is technically considered a disease, it is more accurately described as runaway cellular reproduction with no known cure as now. One country, however, may have found a way to eliminate a certain type of cancer through vaccines.

In a new study released by the Lancet Public Health, it was found that by 2028, only 4 in every 100,000 women could be diagnosed with cervical cancer annually in Australia, which would eliminate the disease as a public health issue, and by 2066, researchers say that less than one woman per year could receive the bad news.

The reason for results like these is because of a government program encouraging parents to get a vaccine for the cancer-causing human Papillomavirus (HPV) for their children.

Karen Canfell, the Director of Cancer Research at Cancer Council NSW, the organization which has produced the findings, said to the New York Times, “I think this shows the way forward for other countries.”

Australia started the vaccination program in 2007 as a three-dose course for teenage girls that was cost-free to families. In 2013, the program was expanded to school-age boys. Though relatively unaffected, boys can be carriers and transmit the disease to others. Boys can also develop other forms of cancer if they have HPV.

This has led to a 77% reduction in the types of HPV that are most responsible for cervical cancer.

While the success of the vaccine has resulted in reduction of cases involving cervical cancer, it is still the fourth most common form of cancer in women in the world today and an additional 570,000 cases are expected in just this year.

In the United States, the rate of teens that are vaccinated is only 49%, while countries like Japan are far, far fewer thanks to fear campaigns like those that say that autism comes from vaccines, which has been proven wrong quite a few times now.

The best way to think of this is that if you are young enough to get a vaccination, you should. It will reduce the risk of getting certain types of cancer and improve your life span.

Deaths Caused by Cancer to be Near 10 Million

The World Health Organization’s cancer research agency said on Wednesday that at least 9.6 million people will died from cancer in 2018. This will account for 1 in 8 deaths in men and 1 in 11 deaths in women.

WHO also stated that at least 18.1 million will be diagnosed with cancer this year. This number is up from 14.1 million in 2012 when the last survey was published.

WHO also wrote in their study that the rising numbers of cases and deaths were determined by a number of factors that included social and economic development and the increasing populations.

The deadliest cancer in the world for this year is lung cancer, which also has 2.1 million new cases. Lung cancer is mainly caused by smoking but can also be caused by second-hand smoke as well. Breast cancer also has the same amount of new cases as well.

The third most commonly diagnosed cancer is bowel cancer followed by prostate and stomach cancers.

Of course, the best way to prevent cancer from spreading is to get a check-up once every 3 months depending on your age, along with having healthy habits.

“Stop-smoking” programs, screenings and vaccines may have helped reduce some cancer rates in certain areas such as lung cancer in Europe and North America.

Though some programs are working, WHO added that most countries still face an overall rise in the number of people diagnosed and treated for cancer.

Interstitium: The New Human Organ

They say that we learn something new at least once a day. Well, that includes scientists, who found a new organ in the human body. And no, this is not a late April Fools joke.

The Interstitium is a very unique part of the body that is now an organ; photo from nbcnews.com

The Interstitium had been under scientist’s noses for years now since this “new” organ is already a part of our tissues in the body. Scientists had to examine the body in a new way to determine that the Interstitium was indeed a part of the human body.

In a study published in the journal “Scientific Reports,” the Interstitium is defined as a network of dense connective tissues and fluid-filled compartments. That would make the Interstitium, a full-fledged organ, a group of tissues with a unique structure that is performing a task (just like the heart or liver).

The human body is two-thirds water and most of the water contains cells. Much of the rest of the body contains fluid which is called “interstitial,” a Latin word combining “inter” or “between” and “sistere.”

The fluid and tissues connect to make the Interstitium which is found all throughout the body. You can find it below the skin and in the digestive, respiratory, and urinary systems.

The question that scientists have to figure out now is: Is the Interstitium an actual individual organ or is it a part of a system?

Along with that, the “new” organ could be particularly significant in diagnosing diseases like cancer and tracking them as well. This is because the Interstitial fluid is the source of lymph which dispatches white blood cells (they fight off disease) to wherever they are needed in the body. A panel of scientists in 2016 did report that the immune system could be key in finding very effective treatments for cancer.

Whether or not this organ is an “actual organ,” we could be going down the path towards finding a cure for cancer.

Artificial Intelligence that Can Find Cancer in Seconds

We have seen the wonders that artificial intelligence can do in software development, and now Japanese researchers have unveiled an AI that can find cancer in less than one second.

The AI that is being used to find the cancer has been demonstrated in a colonoscopy. The system was revealed during the United European Gastroenterology Week in Barcelona, Spain.

The ribbon for colon cancer awareness; photo from zazzle.com
The ribbon for colon cancer awareness; photo from zazzle.com

The system uses a magnified view of a colorectal polyp to study features and to compare it with over 30,000 endocytoscopic images. The AI learns more about the pictures by using them in studies.

The researchers said they were able to test the polyp and predict the pathology with a 86% accuracy. Out of 300 polyps, the AI was able to find cancer in 258 polyps.

Dr. Yuichi Mori, one of the researchers (and the study lead) from Showa University in Yokohama, Japan, was impressed with the results of the test.

“The most remarkable breakthrough with this system is that artificial intelligence enables real-time optical biopsy of colorectal polyps during a colonoscopy, regardless of the endoscopists’ skill set,” Mori said.

Now he wants to develop and work on a broader study aimed to creating a system that can find cancer automatically.

In a growing world of technology, artificial intelligence leads the way. The advances that AI can accomplish in so little time as led to people like Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook discussing the many benefits that can have.

Others , such as Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk, feel that the government should have say and control over the AI’s building process. Musk feels that AI should only be used to prevent global disasters.

Artificial Intelligence has so much potential and value to the medical world that Musk’s beliefs are far from universal, and only time can tell what freedoms and restrictions will be placed on such advancements by the governments of tomorrow.

Bacon causes cancer?

Global researchers assembled by the World Health Organization analyzed over 800 studies and concluded that eating processed meats can increase the chance of colorectal cancer.

New global analysis by the World Health Organization proposes that processed meats might increase the risk for cancer. The World Health Organization has commented on the topic, through a report released on Monday.

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, labels processed meats Group 1 carcinogens due to a connection between ingesting processed foods and colorectal cancer. The report was published in the United Kingdom medical journal The Lancet Oncology.

After inspecting data and information from over 800 studies that looked at the causal link between the consumption of red meat and the risk of certain cancers, the scientists categorized red meat a carcinogen .

“These findings further support current public health recommendations to limit intake of meat,” IARC Director Dr. Christopher Wild said in a statement.

Wild also stated that it was necessary “to balance the risks and benefits of eating red meat and processed meat and to provide the best possible dietary recommendations.”

“A set of 22 scientists from 10 countries inspected over 800 studies on processed meats, and found strong, sufficient causal evidence linking processed meats with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.”


The North American Meat Institute, which represents US packers and processors of certain meats, questioned the validity of the study, emphasizing that “scientific evidence shows cancer is a complex disease not caused by single foods and that a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle choices are essential to good health.”

A set of 22 scientists from 10 countries inspected over 800 studies on processed meats, and found strong, sufficient causal evidence linking processed meats with an increased risk of colorectal cancer – arriving at the Group 1 categorization.

It doesn’t take much processed meat consumption to increase chances of colorectal cancer, according to the report.

It concludes that about two slices of uncooked bacon (depending on the cut) eaten daily would increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent. The group specifies that processed meat is meat that “has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation.”

The WHO said its findings were a scientific assessment of the evidence, rather than a set of suggestions about what people should or should not be eating.

Aspirin cures cancer?

People around the world use Aspirin in their daily lives, whether it’s to treat fevers, inflammation, arthritis, or just general pain.

New studies would like to add to that list. Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands ran a multitude of tests on those with gastrointestinal and colon cancer and found that taking Aspirin after cancer treatment often increased survivability of the individual.

Through rigorous testing post-diagnosis, Aspirin users were twice as likely to survive gastrointestinal cancer than those who didn’t take the drug.

What is unique about this number is that it was determined after taking into account confounding variables such as age, sex, cancer stage, and form of cancer treatment.

Dr. Frouws, the head of research behind this project, came forth stating that he wants to change the medicinal formula that we as a nation have come to accept. The formula we currently have is that medicine should be personalized, which leads to an extreme increase in price and a decrease in effectiveness over the general population.

Dr. Frouws thinks that we need to reverse this idea and instead of personalizing medicine, we need to take a step toward the generalization of medicine.

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Photo By: Danielle Johnson

The benefit of a cheap, well established, and over-the-counter drug such as Aspirin is the key to treating the masses. It’s because that Aspirin isn’t a personalized drug, it can treat a larger group of people all while focusing in on the treatment of a select individual.  

In today’s modern economy where the number of middle class citizens increases daily, this is a step in the right direction. There has to be a trust between government grade pharmaceuticals and the citizens of the country or infrastructure begins to falter. We see people on the news like Martin Shkreli, who bought out Turing Pharmaceuticals and raised the price of the drug Daraprim (a drug used to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis) from $13.50 to $750, receiving colossal backlash from the general population. We as a nation can’t have people doing that because it breaks the bridge that took years to set up which is why this study done by the Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands is so vital to the progression of medicinal science.

Forget “save the tatas!”

October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pink ribbons were sported on shirts and “think pink” sporting events were held almost daily. Many car decals and t-shirts supporting breast cancer research could be seen wherever you went. Two of the most popular campaigns around often use the slogans, “Save the Tatas,” and “Save Second Base!” Although I think “Save Second Base” is a cute slogan for baseball games supporting breast cancer research, my more sensitive side can’t help but think that these slogans are really inappropriate.

Beating cancer is what should be focused on, not losing a breast. Graphic from M Live
Beating cancer is what should be focused on, not losing a breast. Graphic from M Live

I feel like “Save the Tatas” is seen on more cars than any ribbons supporting a family member or saying, “I’m a survivor” as a symbol of hope for others suffering from this horrible disease. Although these things do work towards raising awareness, I want to see more stories of survival and triumph over this disease.

It’s sad that women have become so overly-sexualized that saving their breasts is the center of a lot of breast cancer awareness campaigns. It’s no wonder breast cancer survivors are often so afraid to get mastectomies when even campaigns to save them have negative connotations about losing their breasts. Many women feel insecure and endure terrible harassment when they choose to get a mastectomy to beat cancer. It breaks my heart that these brave women who have stared death straight in the eye are still looked down on and talked down to just because they chose their health over a secondary sex organ.The most important thing is that the woman is healthy again, not that she has breasts and maintains a “womanly figure.”

Being healthy is more beautiful than anything in the world. Female cancer survivors often have to make difficult decisions such as shaving their hair off, removing their breasts and often times it can be near impossible to feel beautiful when you’re that sick. That shouldn’t even be a worry! No woman should ever feel pressure to be beautiful in a time in their life when they’re fighting just to make it to tomorrow. All she should be worried about is kicking cancer’s ass and returning to her old inner self. There’s no reason and no excuse that these women should be put down when they’re some of the toughest people on the planet.

It’s time we all start focusing on the person who is living in the body wracked with cancer. That person can’t live without their body, but they can live a healthy, normal life without their breasts. My hope is that women will not have to think twice or be insecure if they’re faced with having to get a mastectomy.


Human cloning reaches new milestone

18 years ago, Dolly the sheep was the first major achievement for scientists involved with cloning. Now, credit is going in large part to Young Gie Chung of the CHA Stem Cell Institute in South Korea, who’s the first in her field to have published new, successful developments in the field of human cloning. Continue reading Human cloning reaches new milestone

Book review: The fault in our stars

The Fault in Our Stars is John Green at his best – emotional and gripping, with witty characters and a story that keeps you glued to the book until the end. The book follows a terminal cancer patient named Hazel Lancaster as she falls in love and learns important lessons about life, death and dreams. It is, as Markus Zusak says, “A novel of life and death and the people caught in between.”

A touching story about a terminal cancer patient named Hazel Lancaster who learns about life, death and everything in between. Photo by Creative Commons.

However, some readers may not like the somber tone of the story. Most of the main characters are either dying or debilitated, or related to those who are. With that in mind, let’s delve deeper into the story. Continue reading Book review: The fault in our stars

The health benefits of green tea

How many of us like to begin our day with a cup of coffee in the morning, but are growing tired of its bland taste? If you’re looking for something packed with better health benefits and a bit more zesty flavor, green tea may be for you. While some may cringe at its bitter, almost sour effect, we should consider the health benefits of green tea before counting it out. Continue reading The health benefits of green tea

Bigger is not better: Quadruple helix in cells linked to cancer

Quick! 2013 marks the 60th anniversary of what world-changing historic event?

Let me rephrase that: 2013 marks the 60th anniversary of what world-changing historic event that’s neither the birth of James Bond nor the first color televisions? Hint: this is the science, tech and health section, so it’s something related to one of those things. Continue reading Bigger is not better: Quadruple helix in cells linked to cancer

A lesson in perseverance

I was walking to my homeroom one morning during my junior year of high school when I saw a woman struggling up the hill to our gym building.

Nothing beats the feeling when you make it to the top. Graphic by Steve Furtado.

Tall, but almost terrifyingly skinny, she held herself straight. Her legs could only carry her half a foot at a time. Her bags were weighing her down, and she had perspiration glistening on her face. Yet she continued taking each six-inch step toward the school, uphill. Continue reading A lesson in perseverance

BPA increases anxiety, soy protects

What do water bottles, food cans and paper money all have in common?

They all contain BPA, also known as bisphenol-A. A recent study done on rats by researchers at North Carolina State University shows that exposure to the chemical early in life can affect gene expression in the amygdala, an area of the brain known to process emotions. The study also showed that a diet rich in soy seems to mitigate the harmful effects of exposure to BPA.

About 93 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their bloodstreams. The chemical has been linked to behavior and brain alterations, alteration of infant prostate glands, breast cancer and early puberty in girls.

Is the BPA in your products doing something to you? Graphic by Brad Wolfla.

This particular study examined how exposure during gestation, lactation, and throughout puberty influenced the rats’ brains and behaviors. Subjects were divided into four groups, the first of which was fed only soy, the second a soy-free diet, the third fed only soy and exposed to BPA, and the fourth fed no soy and exposed to BPA.

The fourth group showed higher levels of anxiety than the others. Researchers think this was due to alterations in two genes, estrogen receptor beta and melanocortin receptor four. Both of these genes are involved in the release of oxytocin, a hormone that influences social behavior and bonding. Altered oxytocin release can cause abnormal social behavior.

The third group  (rats exposed to BPA and fed with soy) did not show increased anxiety. Researchers aren’t certain how soy protects the developing brain, but they hope to find out with future research.

The study was lead by Dr. Heather Patisaul, NC State associate professor of biology, and was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

BPA is found in many products including food containers, water bottles and even epoxy resins; BPA can actually transfer from the containers to the food or drink inside. Rats and mice exposed to BPA in the study were found to have levels of the chemical comparable to what is commonly found in humans.

The study focused on the effects of BPA during early development, and did not provide information regarding the effects of a soy-rich diet in adulthood. Researchers are currently searching for ways that soy can be used to prevent and negate the effects of BPA, but consumers should practice common-sense safety and avoid products likely to contain the chemical. While not all products containing the chemical are marked, some manufacturers cater to health-conscious customers by labeling their products as BPA-free.

Generic diabetes drug may fight cancer

A diabetes drug released in 1995 shows promise of possibly being a cancer-fighting treatment for those in need.

Metformin, which has been on the market for over 7 years, was approved by the FDA to help those with diabetes control their sugar intake. Since its introduction, it has become one of the most widespread drugs used for this purpose. The reason for this is the patent for metformin expired in 2002. This made the drug much cheaper, lowering the cost to a few pennies per pill as generic versions began hitting the market. Continue reading Generic diabetes drug may fight cancer


There are more health concerns for people living today than can possibly be counted. Pollution, overpopulation, obesity and chemical exposure — each can strike a person the wrong way, causing serious medical conditions and even death. Perhaps no concern is more serious than that of cancer, at least to hear people talk about it. It seems everything could potentially cause cancer: sun exposure, old age, improper diet, family history, bad genes, environmental factors and technology use.

But what about that soda in your hand? Sure, it’s not great for you; it’s full of artificial sugars, mysterious preservatives and tooth-weakening acids. But could something in your Coke actually give you cancer? Continue reading Coca-cancer?

Redbox review: “50/50″ beats the odds

These days, it seems like everything causes cancer and that everybody knows someone with cancer. Naturally, Hollywood has followed suit and has been making more movies with characters who have cancer. Cancer is a difficult issue to tackle because everyone who goes through it has a different experience, and it can be difficult to capture all of the emotions and really do it justice in a 2-hour time period. “50/50″ is one of a few films that beat the odds. They created a movie that successfully paints a picture of what it’s like to live with cancer or to know someone with it. Continue reading Redbox review: “50/50″ beats the odds