The latest medical news in Breast Cancer and Cancer from Google Alerts, for the week ending 12 September 2014.
Wahey, it’s the week of the American Society of Oncology Symposium! As usual it’s yielded the results of new trials or new research into cancer treatments. Yet I’ve chosen to lead with another article on cancer-sniffing dogs. Why is this?
While I appreciate what modern science is doing to prolong life and achieve remission, these treatments or diagnoses come with side-effects and long-term issues. The research is also very technical and full of stats – nothing to touch the heart there.
So whenever I see a new method of detection that is simplicity in itself and with minimal side-effects, I cheer! In previous posts I’ve covered how dogs have miraculously detected cancer in their owners. There are also organisations that are now investigating how dogs detect cancer. If you do not have cancer and would like to volunteer to provide a breath sample, please contact the number in the article.
As a layman, I’m interested in prevention, and things that I can do to help prevent or keep the cancer in remission, for example, diet – hence the article which implies that soy is dangerous for women with breast cancer, and another on how a probiotic, lactobacillus plantarum may help prevent cancer.
Another subject that is close to my heart is oncolytic virotherapthy, harnessing the body’s own immune system to fight the cancer. In May this year, I posted about a woman with Stage 4 multiple myeloma who was went into remission thanks to a specially-engineered measles vaccine. She now has a blog, Let’s Go Viral. Please note that this is not a cure-all – there was another patient who had the vaccine at the same time and did not go into remission. Interestingly, the side-effects from the measles vaccine resembled those of Removab (a tri-functional antibody) – fever, shivering, headaches – but possibly more severe.
Daisy the Dog, awaiting for instruction at the testing centre
1. Medical Detection Dogs need volunteers (without breast cancer) for the first ever canine breast cancer detection trail
News development for Breast Cancer and Cancer, aggregated from Google Alerts, for the week ending 8 August 2014.
This week leads with an article on wasp venom. Using venom is nothing new – I’ve heard of blue scorpion venom being used as a cancer treatment. Apparently the main source of the blue scorpion venom is Cuba. It’s not a cheap product (we’re talking hundreds of pounds for a month’s supply). But the reason for the expense is it’s not easy to harvest the venom [and if I were a scorpion, I would make it very very hard if someone came after my venom!]. The harvesting of the venom is not pretty – it involves using an electric probe to get it to sting and release its venom. It’s reached mainstream use too – Prof Nesslehut of dendritic cell vaccine fame uses blue scorpion venom.
This post could also be called the radiotherapy edition with some controversy surrounding the use of brachytherapy [i.e. radiotherapy that is administered intra-operatively, rather than post-surgery].
The material on flaxseed lignans and breast cancer is not new, and I apologise for including it. The internet is full of information on flaxseed and cancer, in fact most cancer nutritionists recommend taking flaxseed. As pointed out by one reader, JustOnePix, the lead author (Thomson LU) of the research article had written as early as 1995 on flaxseed: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Thompson%20LU[Author]&cauthor=true&cauthor_uid=24869971 and also a trial in 2005: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15897583. Thank you for bringing this to my attention – it is much appreciated as I want my readers to have accurate information.
Moooo … buzz. How scorpion venom is obtained: Each scorpion is milked once a month for two years,” explains Valdés, who says the average lifespan of R. junceus is ten years. “Then it’s released back into the wild to repopulate the species. Photo : Ferrán Pestaña
1. Wasp Venom Targets Breast Cancer in New Therapy
The weekly round-up of breast cancer news from Google Alerts, for the week ending 7 February 2014.
In the past few weeks, animals have been at the forefront of new discoveries in cancer treatments. We’ve had rats and mice (of course) as they’re always been used for trials, a naked mole rat, and last week a fruit fly. I didn’t have to hunt far this week: a woman reported that her Dobermann sniffed out her breast cancer. It’s one of those stories about the bond between human and pet that makes me go aww…
Dog scan: the latest tool in breast cancer detection
Our dogs’ ability to sniff out cancer is nothing new. I posted about this about a Springer Spaniel who had done the same, in the 30 August edition of Best of Breast this year. Programmes are now being tested to train dogs to sniff out ovarian cancer. I’m all for favour of dogs helping us beat this disease, in a non-invasive test. Wouldn’t it be nice to go to a hospital for a dog scan instead of a Cat scan?
On the more serious side, top billing goes towards French scientists who are using detailed testing of genes to create personalised cancer protocols – if it saves women from unnecessary treatment or overtreatment, that’s fantastic. Also, more top news: a modified virus has been developed to fight one of the most challenging of cancers, triple-negative breast cancer.