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Few Circulating Cancer Cells Could Cue Risk of Metastases

"A simple noninvasive blood test matched with state-of-the-art molecular imaging of individual cells could help oncologists understand their patients' chances of survival, say researchers. Metastasis accounts for an estimated 90 percent of cancer deaths. For decades, researchers tried to develop a way to gauge a cancer's risk of metastasizing from a blood sample -- the long-sought-after liquid biopsy."

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ScienceDaily  |  Jun 9, 2014

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ScienceDaily | Jun 9, 2014
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ScienceDaily | Jun 9, 2014

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Sidestepping the Biopsy With New Tools to Spot Cancer

Sidestepping the Biopsy With New Tools to Spot Cancer | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"For people with cancer or suspected cancer, the biopsy is a necessary evil — an uncomfortable and somewhat risky procedure to extract tissue for diagnosis or analysis.


"Lynn Lewis, a breast cancer patient in Brooklyn, has had her cancer analyzed an easier way: simple blood tests that are being called 'liquid biopsies.'


"Telltale traces of a tumor are often present in the blood. These traces — either intact cancer cells or fragments of tumor DNA — are present in minuscule amounts, but numerous companies are now coming to market with sophisticated tests that can detect and analyze them."

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The New York Times  |  Apr 7, 2014

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The New York Times  |  Apr 7, 2014

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The New York Times  |  Apr 7, 2014

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Biopsy Staging Ups Survival in Melanoma

Biopsy Staging Ups Survival in Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Biopsy-based staging of thicker melanomas led to significantly better 10-year metastasis-free and disease-specific survival compared with wide excision and nodal observation, a randomized trial showed."

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MedPage Today  |  Feb 12, 2014

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Three Metastasis Myths, Debunked

Three Metastasis Myths, Debunked | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

Persistent rumors claim that a needle biopsy – a procedure in which a surgeon removes a small part of a suspected tumor using a needle – can cause cancer to spread. However, there is no evidence that this is the case. On the contrary, biopsies often allow early diagnosis and timely treatment of cancers. Likewise, there is no evidence that massage promotes cancer spread. Indeed, massage therapy for cancer patients can reduce pain, muscle tension, mental stress, and nausea. Cancer spread is driven by biological changes inside the cancer cells, not outside mechanical forces like a biopsy needle or a massage. Finally, sugar does not “feed” cancer. Excess sugar consumption can contribute to obesity, which is associated with increased risk of several cancers, but by itself, sugar does not have any effect on cancer spread.

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ScienceDaily | Oct 25, 2013

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ScienceDaily | Oct 25, 2013

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ScienceDaily | Oct 25, 2013

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Melanoma Detection Enhanced with Blood Biomarkers

Melanoma Detection Enhanced with Blood Biomarkers | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The need for invasive skin biopsies could be reduced extensively with Edith Cowan University researchers working on ways to detect melanoma in early stages, using a blood test in conjunction with visual scans.


"A $450,000 National Health and Medical Research Council development grant has enabled them to expand on a 2012 preliminary investigation of 40 people that identified eight blood biomarkers that indicated the early presence of melanoma tumour.


"ECU School of Medical Sciences Professor Mel Ziman conducted the original investigation and is working with PhD student Pauline Zaenker and postdoctoral research fellow Dr Elin Gray on the latest study."

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Medical Xpress  |  May 13, 2014

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Oncologists Differ Widely on Offering Cancer Gene Testing, Study Finds

Oncologists Differ Widely on Offering Cancer Gene Testing, Study Finds | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Many cancer researchers believe that cutting-edge advances in genomics will pave the way for personalized or "precision" cancer medicine for all patients in the near future. A new study by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, however, suggest that not all doctors are ready to embrace tests that look for hundreds of DNA changes in patients' tumor samples, while others plan to offer this type of cancer gene testing to most of their patients. The findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.


"The wide variation in attitudes was in part determined by physicians' genomic confidence. Physicians who had a lot of confidence in their ability to use and explain genomic findings were more likely to want to prescribe the test and consider using test results when making treatment recommendations. Physicians with lower levels of genomic confidence were more reluctant to offer such testing. These findings are particularly interesting because the survey was carried out at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC), which has a comprehensive research program that allows all consenting patients to have tumor testing that could find mutations and other DNA changes that drive their cancer. In some cases those genomic tumor profiles can provide targets for specific drugs known to be effective against particular mutations."


Editor's note: Cancer gene testing, or molecular testing, can be a powerful tool to help guide treatment decisions. Learn more about it.

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Medical Xpress  |  Mar 24, 2014

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Medical Xpress  |  Mar 24, 2014

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Medical Xpress  |  Mar 24, 2014

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Noninvasive Melanoma Diagnosis May Cut Biopsies

Noninvasive Melanoma Diagnosis May Cut Biopsies | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

A new way to detect melanomas sidesteps the discomfort and disfiguration of biopsies by letting dermatologists look directly into intact skin. Called confocal microscopy, the method shows cells deep enough to distinguish most skin cancers—including melanomas, basal cell carcinomas, and squamous cell carcinomas—from benign lesions that do not need treatment. According to a dermatologist who is trained in this method, confocal microscopy could ultimately spare half of patients from biopsies.

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Medical Xpress│Nov 20, 2013

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