Around the World in 5 Years – Granny’s 20,000 Mile Cart Trip as Unique Awareness Tour

It's been a long journey, but it's finally come to an end. The Welsh grandmother who, in an attempt to create awareness on prostate cancer had set out on a 20,000 mile journey around the world, has at long last returned home. Her trip spanned all of 5 years!

Rosie Swale-Pope, 61, had started her odyssey around the globe on her cart in 2003.

The granny of two received euphoric welcome with hundreds of well-wishers out on the road to cheer for her as her journey came to an end.

Swale-Pope described her journey as "just a fun run that's got out of hand".

"I can't believe you've all turned out for me. I'm overwhelmed. It's a journey that came out of sorrow and pain and heartache, but it's a journey that has turned to joy," Times Online quoted her as saying.

"Thank you for the most beautiful welcome anyone could have. This is a dream come true, and I hope everyone's dreams come true," she added.

Swale-Pope had pains in her legs caused by stress fractures that compelled a stay in a Haverfordwest hospital, and she hobbled the last stretch of her journey on crutches.

She said that she hoped that the project would help highlight the importance of early cancer screenings.

"The death of my husband, Clive, from prostate cancer taught me more than anything about how precious life is, how short it can be - that you have to grab life, do what you can while you can, and try to give something back," she said.

"If I can spread the message to people to get checked out, all this will have been worth it," she added.

In the 1980s Swale-Pope sailed solo in a yacht across the Atlantic. She has run across the Sahara and ridden through Chile on horseback.



Cancer Care Funds Boosted by Caring Staff

Tesco staff crawled the pubs in Rastrick and Brighouse for cancer funds and collected 120 for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Angela Wood and Jackie Ramsden, the store managers at Tesco Bradford Road and Brighouse were dressed as police officers on the occasion. They also collected 600 by holding a car boot sale.

Overall the store has collected 2000 pounds for the cancer charity so far.



Drug, Radiation Therapy Combo Effective in Shrinking Established Tumours

A new study has shown that anti cancer drugs combined with radiation therapy can help shrink well-established tumours.

Anti-cancer drugs such as Ipilimumab, boost the tumour-killing power of immune cells.

The immune system's tumour-fighting T cells are the most effective when maximally activated. Scientists have achieved this by blocking molecules that dampen the cells' activation, or by removing a population of regulatory T cells that block the killing ability of tumour-specific T cells.

But neither approach has worked well in patients with established tumours.

In a study conducted using mouse model, the researchers found that combining these two approaches caused small tumors to shrink but had no effect on large tumors, as blood vessels around large tumours lacked proteins required for killer T cells to crawl out of the circulation and into the tumour.

Radiation therapy has been shown to increase the expression of these vessel proteins.

The new study showed that combining the T cell-boosting treatment with radiation therapy was effective in shrinking large tumours.

The researchers would be conducting further studies to see whether combining radiation therapy with T cell-boosting drugs will be effective in humans.

The new study will be published online in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.



Skin Cancer Sufferers Prone to Other Cancers: Study

A significant link between having non-melanoma skin cancer and the chance of developing other types of cancers in the body over one's lifetime, has been shown by a US study published Tuesday.

The researchers, led by University of South Carolina medical doctor Anthony Alberg, said that the risk of coming down with another form of cancer doubles for people who have a history of benign, non-melanoma skin cancer.

They compared the histories over 16 years of 769 people diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancers, with more than 18,000 people who did not have cancer in the period.

The base figures showed that the skin-cancer sufferers in the study were 3.8 times as likely to be struck with another cancer.

After controlling for other factors such as sex, age, size and habits, the researchers placed the risk at about double.

The link was even more striking for the younger people surveyed, those 25-44, according to the study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer, newly affecting about one million people each year in the United States alone, according to the American Cancer Society.



Breastfeeding Reduces Risk of Cancer

A new study has pointed out the immense benefits of Breastfeeding for 6 months or longer, which can cut the risk of an aggressive form of breast cancer.

According to the study, a woman's breastfeeding practices, age at menopause are some of the factors that can influence her risk of developing certain types of breast cancer.

The study has been published in the October 1, 2008 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

The study's results suggest that there are distinct and separate hormonal risk factors associated with different subtypes of breast cancer.

Clinical differences among breast cancer subtypes have been well-described, but researchers have limited data on how the various subtypes arise and which individuals are at greatest risk.

Having this information could help physicians identify which women are more likely to develop certain subtypes of breast cancer, which respond differently to different anti-cancer therapies and have very different survival rates.

Amanda Phipps, a predoctoral research associate at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and her colleagues conducted a study to better understand the specific risk factors for the subtypes of breast cancer, which are classified by expression of the estrogen receptor, the progesterone receptor, and the HER2 receptor.

ome breast cancer types express one or more of these proteins on their cell surface, while others express none. The research team suspected that reproductive or hormonal factors may play a significant role in a woman's risk of developing different subtypes because these cell receptors are influenced by endogenous sex hormones.

For their study, the scientists pooled two population-based studies of breast cancer in women aged 55-79 years. Their analysis included 1,023 women with breast cancer whose cells express the estrogen and progesterone receptors (called luminal cancers), 39 women with HER2-overexpressing breast cancer, and 78 triple-negative cases (no expression of estrogen, progesterone, or HER2 receptors). The study also included 1,476 women without breast cancer.

The investigators found that reproductive risk factors varied considerably by breast cancer subtype. For example, early age at menarche was associated with risk of HER2-overexpressing disease but not with any other subtype.

Breastfeeding for 6 months or longer was associated with a lower risk of luminal cancer as well as triple-negative cancer, a type that can be particularly aggressive and difficult to treat.

Both late age at menopause and use of estrogen plus progestin hormone therapy were associated with an increased risk of luminal disease. Finally, no differences in risks associated with number of children or the age when a woman first gave birth were observed by subtype.

The study authors concluded that their results indicate that "certain reproductive factors may have a greater impact on risk of certain molecular subtypes of disease compared to others."

They added that additional studies on the causes of breast cancer subtypes are needed to better understand the biology of the disease.



Study Finds Public’s Mistaken Beliefs About Causes of Cancer

People are deeply confused about what causes cancer and the most effective means of prevention, with many favouring more fruit rather than cutting down alcohol, a new study said Wednesday.

"Many people hold mistaken beliefs about what causes cancer, tending to inflate the threat from environmental factors that have relatively little impact while minimising the hazards of behaviour," the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) said in a statement.

The study was released on the first day of the UICC's World Cancer Congress in Geneva, and was based on interviews with 29,925 people in 29 countries over the past year carried out by Roy Morgan Research and Gallup International.

It found that in high-income countries like the United States, Britain and Spain, 59 percent of people thought not eating enough fruit and vegetables was a cancer risk, while only 51 percent viewed alcohol intake in the same way.

"The scientific evidence for the protective effect of fruit and vegetables is weaker than the evidence that alcohol intake is harmful," the UICC said.

Moreover, 42 percent of people questioned in high-income countries said that drinking alcohol does not increase the risk of causing cancer -- a claim not borne out by statistics, according to the UICC.

"In fact, cancer risk rises as alcohol intake increases," it said.

In low- and middle-income countries, many people still adopt a fatalistic approach to the disease, with 48 percent of respondents saying they believed "not much can be done" to treat the illness -- against just 17 percent in high-income countries.

"Such a misbelief is worrying because it might deter people from participating in cancer screening programmes, which are important for saving lives," the UICC warned.

"In general, people in all countries are more ready to accept that things outside of their control might cause cancer (such as air pollution), than things that are within their control," such as being overweight, it added.

UICC President-elect David Hill said the survey showed "some big unheard messages".

"We know that people need to be given a reason why they should change. They need to be shown how to change; they need to be given resources or support to change; they need to remember to change," he said.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, killing close to eight million people each year -- more than malaria, AIDS and TB combined, the UICC noted.

By 2030, this will increase to almost 16 million cases and around 11.5 million deaths per year, if current trends continue, it said.

World Health Organisation Director-General Margaret Chan told the opening of the Congress that "the time is right to make cancer control a development priority."

Cancer is no longer an "affluent" disease but affects millions of people in poor and developing countries whose infrastructure struggles to cope with the impact of the disease, she warned.

"Developing countries are now face-to-face with problems that affluent countries confronted decades ago ... but with the shift in the cancer burden, a nation's resource level can no longer be viewed as a barrier to cancer control," she urged.



Beware of Cancer Causing Agarbattis and Incense Sticks

Keep this in mind the next time you light an agarbatti for a puja. The sweet-smelling incense that burning agarbattis emit may help create an ambience of worship. But a new study has revealed that long-term exposure to incense can also put you at risk of cancer of the respiratory tract.

The analysis, which the authors say is the first prospective investigation of incense and cancer risk, appears in the October 1, 2008 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

Researchers have shown that burning incense-which is made of plant materials mixed with oils-produces a mixture of possible carcinogens, including polyaromatic hydrocarbons, carbonyls and benzene.

Because incense smoke is inhaled, a number of studies have looked at the possible link between incense burning and lung cancer, but results have been inconsistent. In addition, the possible association of incense use and other respiratory tract cancers has not been analyzed.

To investigate this, Dr. Jeppe Friborg of the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark and colleagues in Singapore and the U.S. studied the associations between exposure to incense and the whole spectrum of respiratory tract cancers in a large population in Singapore.

The study involved 61,320 Singapore Chinese who were free of cancer and aged 45-74 years in 1993-1998. At that time, they completed a comprehensive interview on living conditions and dietary and lifestyle factors.

The investigators followed these individuals through 2005, noting which participants developed cancer during that time.

Dr. Friborg's team documented a total of 325 upper respiratory tract cancers (including nasal/sinus, tongue, mouth, laryngeal and other cancers) and 821 lung cancers during follow-up.

Incense use was associated with a significantly increased risk of upper respiratory tract cancer (other than nasopharyngeal), but there was no overall effect on lung cancer.

The researchers also noted that the duration and intensity of incense use were associated with an increased risk of squamous cell carcinomas in the entire respiratory tract.

Squamous cells cover the internal and external surfaces of the body.

According to the study data, incense use seemed to add to the increased risk of upper respiratory tract squamous cell carcinoma in smokers. It also considerably increased the risk in never smokers, which points to an independent effect of incense smoke.

"Given the widespread and sometimes involuntary exposure to smoke of burning incense, these findings carry significant public health implications," the researchers said.

"Besides initiatives to reduce incense smoke exposure, future studies should be undertaken to identify the least harmful types of incense," they added.



Chemical Odor of Skin Cancer Identified

A new study has revealed that US chemists have identified the odor that emanates from skin cancer. This development will advance diagnosis and treatment of the deadly disease, researchers hope.

The creation of a "profile" of the chemical odors linked to skin cancer, may lead to a day when diagnoses can be made by waving a scanner over the skin, researchers told the annual conference of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Doctors have already know that skin cancer carries a particular odor, and recent studies have shown that dogs are able to detect tumors because they smell differently than normal skin.

"Researchers have speculated that tumors give off different odors, but we're the first to identify and quantify the compounds involved in skin cancer odors," said chemist Michelle Gallagher, who conducted the study at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Gallagher and colleagues analyzed the air above tumor sites in 11 patients diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer, and compared the finding with those taken from healthy patients.

They found "a different profile of chemicals above tumor sites relative to healthy skin; the same chemicals are present, but at skin cancer sites some chemicals are increased, while others are decreased compared to healthy individuals."

Around one million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year.

The scientists did not reveal the specific chemicals found, but they plan to identify a reliable "odor profile" of all three forms of skin cancer, including squamous cell cancer and melanoma, the deadliest form.

Gallagher said she hoped the findings would "open doors to potential new approaches to skin cancer diagnosis based on the profile of skin odors, hopefully leading to more rapid and non-invasive detection and diagnosis."

Skin cancer is currently diagnosed by taking biopsies of irregular moles or lesions.



South American Dwarf Community “Immune” to Cancer

Scientists have discovered that a community of dwarfs in Ecuador called the Laron Dwarfs is "immune" to cancer! They now believe that this small South American community may reveal the cure for the killer disease.

The community of only 100 dwarfs, living in remote area of Ecuador, lack a hormone called Insulin-like Growth factor 1 (IGF1), too much of which in ordinary humans can lead to breast, prostate or bowel cancer at an early age.

These dwarfs grow to an average height of 4ft, are perfectly proportioned, live longer, and appear immune to cancer in all its forms.

Scientists believe that having less IGF1 would mean less DNA damage, which promotes cancer in certain cases.

Cancer Research UK has appreciated the findings, and called for more research.

"Laboratory work in mice, flies and worms shows that if IGF1 is removed, the animals tend not to get cancer," the Daily Express quoted Professor Bass Hassan, a Cancer Research UK oncologist and scientist at Oxford University, as saying.

"This is now mirrored in research into small humans who turn out to have no IGF1, as in Laron dwarfs.

"It might be possible to reduce it and so live longer with a reduced risk of cancer. This might lead us into to an important aspect of cancer prevention but it needs more research," Hassan added.



New Research may Improve Survival Chances in Bowel Cancer Patients

Researchers in Britain have developed a more accurate technique for spotting the most aggressive forms of bowel cancer, according to a new study.

The discovery will help doctors to rapidly identify patients who need chemotherapy, boosting their chances of survival, the study said.

"We only want to use chemotherapy where we think there's a good chance it will help. This test will help use determine that," said co-author Robert Wilson, a surgeon at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, England.

Colorectal, or bowel, cancer is the third most deadly form of cancer worldwide, accounting for nearly 680,000 deaths in 2007, according to the World Health Organisation.

Almost three-quarters of all cases -- linked to diet and lifestyle -- occur in people aged 65 and over.

"There is a desperate need for more effective treatments for bowel cancer," noted Mark Matfield of the Association for International Cancer Research, commenting on the study.

"The problem is identifying which cancers need which treatment. This discovery may show us the way to do that and help save a lot of lives," he said.

Stem-cell researchers led by Christopher Hutchison of Durham University examined tissue samples from 700 bowel cancer patients.

They found that patients who had a stem cell marker protein called "Lamin A" were more likely to have an especially aggressive and tenacious form of the disease.

If detected in the early stages of the cancer's progression, the marker could signal the need for chemotherapy in addition to the more standard use of surgery to remove tumours, they concluded.

Scientists identify four stages in the development of bowel cancer. In the first two stages -- before patients develop lymph nodes -- patients normally have an operation to remove cancerous tissue.

They are rarely given chemotherapy, which can sometimes cause more harm then benefit.

But the new study shows that one third of these patients will express the Lamin A stem cell marker, and would thus be good candidates for the more aggressive form of treatment.

The study was published in the open-access science journal Public Library of Science One (PLoS One).