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Life Beyond the Cancer Clinic

Life Beyond the Cancer Clinic | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Three years.

"That’s the total amount of time we train to be oncologists.

"It’s both a lot of time and not enough.

"When we enter our oncology fellowships, most of us have spent four years in college, four or five years in medical school, and three years completing an internal medicine residency. We donate our 20s — what are supposed to be our “fabulous years” — to studying how to be doctors. Is it any wonder we emerge just a little bit socially awkward and behind the times? And then we dedicate what seems like an eternity — another three years — to specialize in cancer."

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The New York Times  |  May 29, 2014

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The New York Times  |  May 29, 2014

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The New York Times  |  May 29, 2014

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NeoStem Presents Data at ASCO Annual Meeting

"NeoStem, Inc., a leader in the emerging cellular therapy industry, today announced results of a pooled analysis indicating that Melapuldencel-T, an investigational patient-specific immunotherapy for metastatic melanoma, may increase survival rates significantly for patients at the most advanced stages of the disease. The findings will be presented on Sunday, June 1 in a poster by Robert O. Dillman, MD, study author and Vice-President, NeoStem Oncology, at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), taking place in Chicago."


Editor's note: This is a press release from a company that manufactures an immunotherapy treatment for melanoma. The treatment, called Melapuldencel-T, is meant to boost a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. A recent study testing Melapuldencel-T in patients found promising results for the treatment.

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NeoStem  |  May 29, 2014

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Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Completes Enrollment in Phase 2 Trial of SPI-2012 - A Novel Long-Acting Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor (GCSF) to Treat Chemotherapy-induced Neutropenia

"Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (SPPI), a biotechnology company with fully integrated commercial and drug development operations and with a primary focus in Hematology and Oncology, today announced that the key phase 2 trial of its long-acting granulocyte stimulating factor analog developed using LAPSCOVERY technology (SPI-2012) has completed its Phase 2 study enrollment; this positions Spectrum for Phase 3 decision making before year end."


Editor's note: Neutropenia is a potentially life-threatening side effect of chemotherapy. This clinical trial is testing whether a treatment called LAPSCOVERY is effective against neutropenia.

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Yahoo!  |  May 29, 2014

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Yahoo!  |  May 29, 2014

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Yahoo!  |  May 29, 2014

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Blistering Sunburns in Adolescence Linked with 80% Higher Risk for Melanoma

Blistering Sunburns in Adolescence Linked with 80% Higher Risk for Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The risk for developing melanoma is significantly linked with severe sunburns before age 20 years among young white women, according to recent findings.


"Specifically, the risk for onset of melanoma in adulthood was increased by 80% among those who suffered at least five blistering sunburns between the ages of 15 and 20 years."

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Healio  |  May 29, 2014

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Rare Skin Cancer on Palms and Soles More Likely to Come Back Compared to Other Melanomas

Rare Skin Cancer on Palms and Soles More Likely to Come Back Compared to Other Melanomas | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"A rare type of melanoma that disproportionately attacks the palms and soles and under the nails of Asians, African-Americans, and Hispanics, who all generally have darker skins, and is not caused by sun exposure, is almost twice as likely to recur than other similar types of skin cancer, according to results of a study in 244 patients.


"The finding about acral lentiginous melanoma, as the potentially deadly cancer is known, is part of a study to be presented May 31 by researchers at the Perlmutter Cancer Center of NYU Langone at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago."

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Medical Xpress  |  May 29, 2014

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New Skin Cancer Checking Software Set to Benefit Survivors

New Skin Cancer Checking Software Set to Benefit Survivors | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Skin cancer survivors are to be aided in checking for signs of the condition returning by new technology developed by experts at the University of Aberdeen.


"Initially targeted at those living in remote and rural areas, the software will educate out-patients in how to carry out self-examinations and enable them to send images of skin abnormalities directly to specialists."

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Medical Xpress  |  May 26, 2014

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Worse Side Effects from Chemotherapy Experienced When Biological Rhythms Interrupted

"Patients receiving chemical treatment for cancer often suffer fatigue and body weight loss, two of the most worrying effects of this therapy linked to the alteration of their circadian rhythms.


"The circadian system, better known as our biological clock, is responsible for coordinating all the processes that take place in our organism.


"If it does not function correctly, what is known as a circadian disruption or chronodisruption, has for years been linked to an increased incidence of cancer, obesity, diabetes, depression, cognitive problems or cardiovascular diseases."


Editor's note: This research opens up the possibility of personalizing the timing of chemotherapy treatments to minimize side effects.

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Medical News Today  |  May 23, 2014

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Medical News Today  |  May 23, 2014

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Medical News Today  |  May 23, 2014

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FDA Grants Merck’s Anti-PD1 Antibody Priority Review

FDA Grants Merck’s Anti-PD1 Antibody Priority Review | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The FDA has granted Merck’s anti-PD1 antibody MK-3475 a priority review designation for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic melanoma in patients who have previously been treated with ipilimumab. Priority review status is reserved for drugs considered to offer a significant improvement in the safety or efficacy of the treatment of a serious condition. It will shorten the drug’s FDA review period from 10 months to 6 months."


Editor's note: MK-3475 is an immunotherapy drug that works by boosting a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. Once it is approved by the FDA for unresectable or metastatic melanoma, doctors in the U.S. will be able to prescribe it to their patients outside of the clinical trial system.

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Cancer Network  |  May 21, 2014

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Cancer Network  |  May 21, 2014

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Cancer Network  |  May 21, 2014

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Landmark Gift of $100 Million from the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Foundation Will Support Groundbreaking Approach to Precision Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Landmark Gift of $100 Million from the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Foundation Will Support Groundbreaking Approach to Precision Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center today launched an ambitious initiative to improve cancer care and research through genomic analysis. The new program will reshape clinical trials and speed the translation of novel molecular discoveries into routine clinical practice...


“ 'Progress in our understanding of the biology of cancer has completely shifted the way we think about and treat cancer,' says Craig Thompson, MD, MSK President and CEO. 'We’re moving away from the concept of treating cancer as many different types of the same disease and toward treating each person’s cancer as its own unique disease. Now, thanks to the inspiring generosity of the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Foundation, we will be able to expand and intensify this effort, ushering in what will truly be a new era of precision medicine.' ”


Editor's note: Learn more about personalized approaches to cancer treatment.

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Yahoo!  |  May 20, 2014

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Yahoo!  |  May 20, 2014

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Yahoo!  |  May 20, 2014

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Cancer Patient Demands Rarely Lead to Unnecessary Tests and Treatments

Cancer Patient Demands Rarely Lead to Unnecessary Tests and Treatments | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Despite claims suggesting otherwise, inappropriate cancer patient demands are few and very rarely lead to unnecessary tests and treatments from their health care providers, according to new results from a study that will be presented by researchers in the Abramson Cancer Center (ACC) and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania during the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago in early June (Abstract #6530)."

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Medical Xpress  |  May 14, 2014

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Medical Xpress  |  May 14, 2014

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IMS Study Shows Cancer Treatment Costs Driven Up by 340B Drug Pricing Program

IMS Study Shows Cancer Treatment Costs Driven Up by 340B Drug Pricing Program | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics issued a detailed report titled, 'Innovations in Cancer Care and Implications for Health Systems,' and the Alliance for Integrity and Reform of 340B said the report shows that the drug discount program is a driver in the rise in treatment costs for patients with cancer."

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Healio  |  May 13, 2014

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Diets Rich in Antioxidant Resveratrol Fail to Reduce Deaths, Heart Disease or Cancer

Diets Rich in Antioxidant Resveratrol Fail to Reduce Deaths, Heart Disease or Cancer | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"A study of Italians who consume a diet rich in resveratrol -- the compound found in red wine, dark chocolate and berries -- finds they live no longer than and are just as likely to develop cardiovascular disease or cancer as those who eat or drink smaller amounts of the antioxidant."

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ScienceDaily  |  May 12, 2014

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ScienceDaily  |  May 12, 2014

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ScienceDaily  |  May 12, 2014

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Patient’s Cells Deployed to Attack Aggressive Cancer

Patient’s Cells Deployed to Attack Aggressive Cancer | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Doctors have taken an important step toward a long-sought goal: harnessing a person’s own immune system to fight cancer.


"An article published Thursday in the journal Science describes the treatment of a 43-year-old woman with an advanced and deadly type of cancer that had spread from her bile duct to her liver and lungs, despite chemotherapy.


"Researchers at the National Cancer Institute sequenced the genome of her cancer and identified cells from her immune system that attacked a specific mutation in the malignant cells. Then they grew those immune cells in the laboratory and infused billions of them back into her bloodstream.

"The tumors began 'melting away,' said Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg, the senior author of the article and chief of the surgery branch at the cancer institute."


Editor's note: This story is about an "immunotherapy" technique meant to boost a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. Learn more about immunotherapy here.

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New York Times  |  May 8, 2014

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New York Times  |  May 8, 2014

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New York Times  |  May 8, 2014

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Study: Cancer Center Ads Long on Emotions, Short on Facts

Study: Cancer Center Ads Long on Emotions, Short on Facts | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

Advertisements for cancer centers often appeal to consumers’ emotions but rarely provide useful information about the benefits, risks, or costs of treatment, a recent analysis concluded.


“ 'We found that cancer therapies were promoted more commonly than supportive or screening services and were often described in vague or general terms,' the authors wrote in the May 27 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. 'Advertisements commonly evoked hope for survival, promoted innovative treatment advances, and used language about fighting cancer while providing relatively limited information about benefits, risks, costs, or insurance coverage of advertised therapies.' "

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Cancer Network  |  May 30, 2014

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Cancer Network  |  May 30, 2014

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Cancer Network  |  May 30, 2014

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T-cell Changes: Why Only Some Respond to Ipilimumab

"The immunotherapy ipilimumab (Yervoy, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company) works amazingly well in some patients, hardly at all in others. A groundbreaking study that used deep sequencing techniques offers some clues as to why.


"Ipilimumab, which is marketed for melanoma but is being explored in several other cancer types, including prostate cancer, acts as a checkpoint blocker by inhibiting cytotoxic T lymphocyte– associated antigen–4 (CTLA-4).


"Immune repertoire sequencing has confirmed that blocking CTLA-4 increased turnover and diversity of the T-cell repertoire in some patients with advanced prostate cancer or metastatic melanoma, but also showed that patients who survived longest maintained clones of high-frequency T-cells they had developed before starting treatment."


Editor's note: Ipilimumab is a drug that boosts a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. It works by activating immune system cells called T cells, some subtypes of which may then attack tumors. Ipilimumab works very well for some patients, but not for others. This study found that patients who had certain tumor-fighting T cell subtypes already present before ipilimumab treatment were more likely to respond well and survive longer, possibly because these cells were readily available to fight cancer upon activation. The study also found that ipilimumab may prompt the immune system to "re-shuffle" the body's T cell subtypes, allowing patients with only a small amount of tumor-fighting T cells to generate more. (This may explain why some patients take longer to respond to ipilimumab than others; their immune systems need more time to build up the right T cells.) Based on the results, doctors may be able to monitor a patient's T cell subtypes ("immune repertoire sequencing") to determine whether ipilimumab will work, or to keep tabs on the effectiveness of ongoing ipilimumab treatment.

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Medscape  |  May 28, 2014

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Medscape  |  May 28, 2014

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Melanoma of the Eye Caused by Two Gene Mutations

Melanoma of the Eye Caused by Two Gene Mutations | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified a therapeutic target for treating the most common form of eye cancer in adults. They have also, in experiments with mice, been able to slow eye tumor growth with an existing FDA-approved drug.


"The findings are published online in the May 29 issue of the journal Cancer Cell.


" 'The beauty of our study is its simplicity,' said Kun-Liang Guan, PhD, professor of pharmacology at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center and co-author of the study. 'The genetics of this cancer are very simple and our results have clear implications for therapeutic treatments for the disease.' "


Editor's note: More and more, oncologists are using molecular testing to look for genetic mutations that may allow a tumor to be fought with a drug targeted for a specific mutation. In this study of uveal melanoma, scientists found two mutated proteins that suggested a drug called verteporfin might be effective. They tested the drug in mice and found that it suppresses the growth of uveal melanoma tumors derived from human tumors. It will probably be a while before the treatment is okay-ed for use in humans, but the investigational process might be quicker than is usual for new treatments because verteporfin is already FDA-approved to treat another eye condition.

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Medical Xpress  |  May 29, 2014

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Indoor Tanning, Even Without Burning, Increases the Risk of Melanoma

Indoor Tanning, Even Without Burning, Increases the Risk of Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"People sometimes use indoor tanning in the belief that this will prevent burns when they tan outdoors. However, indoor tanning raises the risk of developing melanoma even if a person has never had burns from either indoor or outdoor tanning, according to a study published May 29 in the JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute.


"To test the hypothesis that indoor tanning without burns prevents sunburn and subsequent skin cancer, researchers at the Masonic Cancer Center, Department of Dermatology, and Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis used data from a case-control study on indoor tanning and the risk of melanoma. The researchers had detailed information on indoor tanning and sun exposure for the study participants and excluded those who experienced a burn while tanning indoors."

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Medical Xpress  |  May 28, 2014

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Old Cancer Drug Gets Fresh Look

Old Cancer Drug Gets Fresh Look | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"When Dave deBronkart was diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer in 2007, he learned about a treatment called high-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) that fires up the body’s immune system to fight the disease. The response rate was not great — tumours shrank in only about 15% of patients. And as many as 4% of people died from the treatment. But some of those who responded survived for years or even decades."


Editor's note: IL-2 is an immunotherapy drug, meaning that it boosts a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. It and other new immunotherapies are showing promise for patients across many different cancer types.

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Nature  |  May 27, 2014

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Nature  |  May 27, 2014

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Nature  |  May 27, 2014

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Six Fast Facts About Exceptional Responders

Six Fast Facts About Exceptional Responders | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"They are, unfortunately, a rarity — the so-called “exceptional responders” who are particularly sensitive to certain cancer treatments when most others fail to respond at all. According to the National Cancer Institute, an “exceptional responder” is a patient who has a complete or partial response that lasts at least 6 months post-treatment, in a clinical trial in which fewer than 10% of patients responded.


"Because they are exceptional, and because they do exceptionally well, oncologists are eager to better understand these patients. And while genomic sequencing appears to be yielding some answers, the implementation of this approach is not yet cost-effective."


Editor's note: If oncologists can learn why certain patients respond exceptionally well to cancer treatment, they may get insight into how to treat other patients.

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Healio  |  May 23, 2014

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Scientists Find New Way to Combat Drug Resistance in Skin Cancer

Scientists Find New Way to Combat Drug Resistance in Skin Cancer | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Rapid resistance to vemurafenib – a treatment for a type of advanced melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer – could be prevented by blocking a druggable family of proteins, according to research published in Nature Communications today.


"Scientists at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, based at the University of Manchester, have revealed the MLK family of four enzymes 'undoes' the tumour-shrinking effects of vemurafenib."


Editor's note: This story describes a potential new way to treat melanoma that has become resistant to vemurafenib. While promising, the research is still in preliminary stages, so new treatments are not yet available for patients.

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Medical Xpress  |  May 22, 2014

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Eye Cancer and the Relevance of Genetic Testing

Eye Cancer and the Relevance of Genetic Testing | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Today is National Eye Patch Day, a fundraising initiative organised by the charity OcuMel UK to increase awareness of a rare eye cancer called 'uveal melanoma' (UM). This is the most common intraocular tumour in adults and about 800 new patients are diagnosed each year in the UK.


"Despite successful local control of the eye tumour through eye-sparing radiotherapy or surgery, about half of UM patients develop metastatic disease, which occurs mainly in the liver."


Editor's note: Learn more about personalized treatment for melanoma.

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Medical Xpress  |  May 20, 2014

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Patients with Primary Invasive Melanoma at Increased Risk for Subsequent Invasive Melanoma

Patients with Primary Invasive Melanoma at Increased Risk for Subsequent Invasive Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Patients with a primary invasive or in situ melanoma had a significantly increased relative risk for developing a subsequent invasive melanoma, according to recent study results.


"Danny R. Youlden, BSc, and fellow researchers used population-based data for melanoma diagnoses collected by the Queensland Cancer Registry in Australia to conduct a retrospective cohort study. All Queensland residents aged 15 years and older diagnosed with a first primary invasive or in situ melanoma between 1982 and 2005 were included. There were 39,668 cases of first primary invasive melanoma (55.8% male) and 22,845 cases of first primary in situ melanoma (54.4% male) identified through 2010."

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Healio  |  May 19, 2014

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10 Issues to Consider During National Skin Cancer Awareness Month

10 Issues to Consider During National Skin Cancer Awareness Month | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Accounting for approximately half of all cancers in the United States, skin cancer is widely recognized as the most common cause of cancer nationwide. More than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year, and according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, incidences of skin cancer outnumber all combined cases of breast, colon, lung and prostate cancers.


"With the month of May designated as National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, HemOnc Today highlights 10 issues for oncologists and dermatologists to consider for their patients, as well as the new guideline revisions and research regarding the identification, treatment and management of patients with melanoma and skin cancer."

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Healio  |  May 15, 2014

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Depression and Cancer: 10 Things You Should Know

Depression and Cancer: 10 Things You Should Know | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"At first glance, the connection between a cancer diagnosis and depression might seem to be an obvious one. However, in patients battling this life-threatening disease, depression can have a serious impact, and even worsen the odds of survival. While the best approach to interrupting this vicious cycle is not fully understood, clinicians can help patients improve their odds by availing them of therapeutic resources and open communication."

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Healio  |  May 13, 2014

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Tambre Leighn's curator insight, May 24, 2014 3:29 PM

So few survivors are being screened for anxiety and depression - which impact quality of life.  It's important for survivors and caregivers to be aware of these ten things and communicate with healthcare providers when necessary.

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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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