Melanoma is a skin cancer many of us are familiar with. But have you heard of a skin cancer called cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC)? If not, you might be surprised to learn that CSCC is actually one of the most common skin cancers in the world – even more common than melanoma with an estimated 700,000 new cases diagnosed in the U.S. annually. CSCC can also be a deadly skin cancer. Every year, an estimated 7,000 people in the U.S. die of CSCC.
(BPT) - Most of us look forward to the balmy breezes and cheerful sunshine brought about by spring and summer, especially those of us living in climates where winter is long, gloomy and bitterly cold. Yet as we get our shorts, polo shirts and swimsuits out of storage, it’s important to remind ourselves to stay sun smart and vigilant against skin cancer.
Melanoma is a skin cancer many of us are familiar with. But have you heard of a skin cancer called cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC)? If not, you might be surprised to learn that CSCC is actually one of the most common skin cancers in the world – even more common than melanoma with an estimated 700,000 new cases diagnosed in the U.S. annually.
CSCC can also be a deadly skin cancer. Every year, an estimated 7,000 people in the U.S. die of CSCC. And in the southern part of the U.S., the number of deaths from CSCC may actually be higher than deaths from melanoma.
“The good news is that CSCC is usually highly treatable when detected early,” notes Dr. Sunandana Chandra, a medical oncologist at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center Northwestern University. “That’s why it is important to know about CSCC, so you can take the necessary precautions to protect yourself, know how to identify early signs of the cancer, and to understand your treatment options if it progresses. Being vigilant about your skin and reaching out to your doctor early with any concerns will allow you to consider more treatment options and possibly have better outcomes.”
So what do you need to know about CSCC? Here are three important tips:
If you think you or someone you know may have CSCC, contact a doctor and visit SkinCancer.org.
(BPT) - Each year, more people die of lung cancer than any other form of cancer — more than colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. The American Cancer Society estimates of the 224,000 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed each year, 155,000 will succumb to the disease.
Many have heard the statistics about lung cancer, but for those who have lived through it, or who have a friend or loved one battling the disease, these numbers are even more personal and frightening. The low five-year survival rate (five to 14 percent) for late-stage lung cancer patients makes the search for a way to treat this deadly disease all the more urgent.
To beat cancer, early detection is critical. Scientific research over the past several decades has revealed that cancer is a disease primarily caused by changes — or mutations — in the genes. This discovery has led to a major shift in how early cancer can be detected and treated. Now, researchers are able to identify mutations in the genetic code that are most likely to cause potentially deadly cancers. This has led to the development of new testing technology and drugs that target those specific mutations.
This approach is in stark contrast to traditional detection methods that are limited in their ability to test for a small number of specific mutations linked to only one possible treatment. This painstakingly long process can take several weeks to identify an effective treatment.
In a matter of days, modern techniques using next-generation sequencing technology can save valuable time by avoiding the need to run multiple tests by simultaneously screening tumor samples for multiple mutations and multiple potential therapies. The new technology also reduces the likelihood of subjecting patients to unnecessary and invasive secondary biopsy procedures.
New advancements in early detection and treatment
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the Oncomine(TM) Dx Target Test, a first-of-its-kind genetic screening solution that can detect multiple gene mutations associated with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) from a single tissue sample. The test has also been approved to aid in selecting which specific FDA-approved NSCLC treatment the patient may be eligible for.
Take action and talk to your doctor
A recent survey by the Journal of Precision Medicine showed that only about a third of patients and caregivers had a good understanding of genomic tools for cancer detection. That’s why talking to a doctor, loved ones and others about new techniques like sequencing-based tests to help inform more effective treatment options is important. Doctors and healthcare networks have a responsibility to their patients to provide the most effective innovations so patients receive the best care possible.
(BPT) - Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly cancers, with a mere 29 percent one-year survival rate. In 2016, pancreatic cancer became the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States, surpassing breast cancer.
The time frame between diagnosis and death is often short. Only 7 percent of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive five years. This is incredibly small compared to prostate cancer or breast cancer, where more than 90 percent of patients survive for five years after diagnosis.
"Most people are unaware of how deadly pancreatic cancer is," says Jim Rolfe, president of Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation. "These chilling statistics can serve as an eye-opener that motivates people to learn more about their risks and contact their health care professional."
Early detection is important
Although pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly cancers, early detection can significantly impact survival rates. The five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer approaches 25 percent if cancers are surgically removed while they are still small and have not spread to the lymph nodes.
Know your family, know your risk
Family history is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. When you know more about your genetics and which members of your family have been affected by pancreatic cancer, you can better manage your own health.
To make the process easier, the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation has introduced a new series of online tools. Visit www.KnowMyRisk.org to download a worksheet and access other helpful tools that let you explore your family history and become your own health advocate.
Print out the worksheet and call or visit your grandparents, parents and other extended family members. You may not be aware that someone a few generations removed from you was affected by cancer. Having this conversation can be empowering, because once you know your risks you can take charge of your future.
Consider genetic counseling
When considering how personal a cancer or disease diagnosis can be, it is no surprise that medicine is looking at our DNA to uncover information. This makes genetic counselors an important part of the health care team, helping you ask the right questions and uncover familial genetic risk factors.
If you learn you have a history of pancreatic cancer in multiple family members, you should consider meeting with a genetic counselor to assess your level of risk. From there, the counselor and your doctor can decide on a course of action.
To learn more about genetic counseling and find a local certified genetic counselor at the National Society of Genetic Counselors' database, visit www.KnowMyRisk.org.
Take charge and be empowered
"Don't take a backseat when it comes to your health," says Rolfe. "The first step toward early detection of pancreatic cancer is understanding your family history. From there, you can make informed decisions that help you live a full, healthy life."
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