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What’s New in Cancer Research?

Highlights of the 49th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology

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Combating Cancer Pain

by Nathan J. Neufeld, DO, and Paul J. Christo, MD, MBA

Unrelieved pain can affect all areas of a person’s quality of life. Hence, interventional pain-relieving therapies can be invaluable in the quest for pain reduction among cancer survivors experiencing unyielding pain. In addi­tion to oral medicines, interventional pain therapies like nerve blocks and pain pumps can be quite effective. These specialized procedures offer the opportunity for more powerful pain control, with few side effects.

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Leveraging the Power of Genomics

Ten years ago, a collaboration of hundreds of scientists announced it had finally completed sequencing the human genome – the location map for all the bits of genetic information that tell our cells when and where to develop, how to grow and feed them­selves, and eventually, how to die. For diseases like cancer, this new under­standing confirmed what researchers and physicians had begun to suspect and had found the first evidence for several decades earlier: Cancer is not a single disease.

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You Don’t Have to Live in Pain

by Gary E. Deng, MD, PhD

Most people will experi­ence pain at some point during their lives. If you have cancer, you may experience pain caused by the cancer itself or by its treatment, such as neuropathic pain caused by chemotherapy. If you’re experiencing pain, don’t try to tough it out. Chronic pain can lead to anxiety and depression and can increase stress. And chronic stress hurts both the body and the mind.

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Making Sense of Your Pathology Report

A pathology report is a medical document written by a pathologist, a doctor who special­izes in interpreting laboratory tests and evaluating cells, tissues, and organs to diagnose disease. The report specifies a diagnosis based on the pathologist’s examination of a sample of tissue taken from a tumor. This tissue sample, or specimen, is obtained through a biopsy.

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Get Relief from Gastrointestinal Side Effects

by Marie Morande, RD, CSO, LD

While cancer treatments affect everyone differently, radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery all pose potential side effects. Cancer treatment can affect your body’s ability to absorb food, reduce how much you enjoy food, and cause disruptive gastrointestinal issues. Common gastrointestinal side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and sore mouth or throat.

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Genetic Markers Linked To the Development of Lymphedema in Breast Cancer Survivors

A new University of California San Francisco (UCSF) study has found a clear association between certain genes and the development of lymphedema, a painful and chronic condition that often occurs after breast cancer surgery and some other cancer treatments. The researchers also learned that the risks of developing lymphedema increased significantly for women who had more advanced breast cancer at the time of diagnosis, more lymph nodes removed or a significantly higher body mass index.

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Medication Duloxetine Helps Reduce Pain From Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy

Among patients with painful chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, use of the anti-depressant drug duloxetine for 5 weeks re­sulted in a greater reduction in pain compared with placebo, according to a study in the April 3, 2013, issue of JAMA.

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