Cancer and Pain: What You Need to Know

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Pain is a frequent yet often overlooked consequence of cancer. An estimated 70 percent of those with cancer experience significant pain during their illness, yet fewer than half receive adequate treatment for their pain. If pain is not managed properly, it can worsen the physical, emotional and psychological toll of cancer.
Pain can result from a variety of sources, including the cancer itself (tumor growth, spinal cord compression), medical tests, and treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Uncontrolled pain may interfere with cancer treatment, weaken the body, and impair the healing process. It can also prevent people from engaging in everyday activities that make life more fulfilling.
According to Kim Thiboldeaux, president and CEO of the Cancer Support Community, managing pain can and should be an important part of overall cancer care.
“Pain doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of cancer,” says Thiboldeaux. “There are multiple options available to manage pain. For instance, many patients can benefit from an integrative approach that combines prescription or over-the-counter medications with complementary therapies such as yoga, acupuncture and guided imagery.”
One of the keys to effective pain management is open and honest communication with your healthcare professional. Prepare for medical appointments by keeping a journal, and note the severity, location, frequency, and duration of pain. Thiboldeaux also urges patients to learn as much as possible about pain management, and to be actively involved in the development of an individualized treatment plan.
To learn more, go to http://www.partnersagainstpain.com/pain-management/cancer-pain.aspx. The site features tools and information to help patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals better understand and manage pain.

When Breast Cancer Fights Back

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – We’ve all heard about the fight against breast cancer — but did you know that breast cancer fights back?

Breast cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women, is found in 1.3 million women throughout the world each year. Early detection and improved treatments have decreased death rates, but the American Cancer Society predicts that 40,910 Americans will die of breast cancer in 2009.

What makes breast cancer difficult to treat? Typically, doctors treat breast cancer through surgery to remove the tumor, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. But some cancers prove difficult to remove, others come back. And some tumors stop responding to chemotherapy drugs. When this happens, the cancer is said to have developed drug resistance.

Some cancer cells become drug resistant when they develop the ability to pump out drugs from their bodies. Other chemotherapy drugs target specific proteins within the cancer cell. In response, the cancer cells produce more of that protein. Chemotherapy drugs can destroy healthy tissue, so doctors are limited in the dosages that they can administer. The cancer cells produce more proteins than the chemotherapy drugs can target, allowing the cancer cells to overwhelm the body despite chemotherapy treatments.

But breaking-edge companies are developing new drugs that can treat resistant cancers and give patients new hope. For example, Cellceutix Corporation, a cancer and anti-inflammatory drug developer, has developed a unique technology called Kevetrin that targets growth signals in tumor cells as opposed to being toxic to all cells, which is the traditional chemotherapy treatment.

In the experiments, mice were implanted with human tumor cells known to be drug resistant. Kevetrin reduced tumor volume by 68 percent and delayed tumor growth by more than 62 percent, compared to controls.

“Kevetrin continues to demonstrate consistent success in fighting drug resistant cancers, the leading cause of chemotherapy failure,” says Mr. George Evans, CEO of Cellceutix. “We are optimistic that Kevetrin will continue to progress on the developmental pathway as a treatment for these very difficult cancers, providing hope to its patients.”

For more information about the Kevetrin experiment results, visit www.cellceutix.com.

Targeted for Success: Advances in Radiation Therapy Tailor Treatments

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Whether used alone or with surgery or chemotherapy, radiation therapy remains a common cancer treatment. But today’s cutting-edge radiation techniques treat more cancers more effectively than any of their predecessors.

Radiation oncologists must target cancer cells while avoiding as much healthy tissue as possible. New technologies allow doctors to target specific areas with higher doses of radiation while minimizing damage to other areas. As a result, radiation treatments fight cancer more effectively while causing fewer side effects.

“At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), our integrated care model is designed to customize treatment plans for each individual patient so that they can maintain strength and their quality of life throughout treatment,” said Pablo Lavagnini, MD, radiation oncologist. “That individualized approach, along with a wide array of new technology, is making a difference in the lives of patients.”

One new linear accelerator, Varian Trilogy, is the first in a new generation of radiation technologies offering precise, versatile and efficient treatment tailored to help different types of cancer patients.

For example, with RapidArc radiotherapy, radiation oncologists can conform radiation to a tumor’s exact size and shape. RapidArc uses 2D or 3D imaging to deliver more accurate treatment in higher doses — the tumor gets a high dose of radiation, the healthy cells surrounding the tumor get less. For patients, this means shorter treatment times and fewer side effects.

Trilogy also allows for respiratory gating, a technique in which radiation is delivered at a single point in the breathing cycle. As a woman with breast cancer breathes, her tumor moves. If the radiation does not accommodate her breathing cycle, it risks hurting healthy tissue. Respiratory gating ensures that the radiation treats targets at a single point.

Patients with a rare lymphoma called Mycosis Fungoides benefit from a procedure called Total Skin Electron Therapy (TSET), which uses electrons to treat lymphoma without penetrating far into the body, thereby reducing side effects.

“New technologies allow us to tailor the treatment to the individual patient and individual tumor. One of the clear patient benefits we are seeing with the advanced radiation therapies of today is the speed of treatment,” said Lavagnini. “For patients who may be experiencing pain or discomfort, this is a huge quality-of-life benefit.”

Advanced treatments are available at CTCA. For more information, visit www.cancercenter.com.