Tag Archive | "cancer cells"

Blood Pressure: A Good Indicator of Kidney Cancer Outcome

New research shows blood pressure is a great indicator how of end stage kidney cancer patient’s medication is working. Ironically, high blood pressure is linked to better prognosis and longer survival.

The proponents of the study observed 544 kidney cancer patients who are being treated with Sutent. The researchers discovered that those people with a systolic BP of more than 40mmHg lived almost four times longer than patients who had lower systolic blood pressure.

Moreover, researchers found out that during the time that the tumor does not shrink or grow is five times longer in patients with high systolic reading – systolic pressure is the top number in blood pressure readings.

Lead researcher Dr. Brian Rini said that the findings of their study supports the theory that hypertension is a biomarker of the drug’s effectiveness in tumor growth. This also means that oncologists should now closely monitor their patient’s BP to gauge Sutent’s job in treating kidney cancer in its advance stage.

Survival rates for kidney cancer are associated with the progression of the cancer, the tumor size, and its metastasis. If the cancer cells have spread in the tissues around the organ, the survival rate will drop to around 60 percent; and it drops further if the cancer cells have attacked the lymph nodes.

This study was successfully published online on April 28 of this year in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute after passing an extensive peer review.

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$93,000 Cost of Prostate Cancer Drug will be Paid by Medicare

Officials from Medicare already announced, Wednesday, that they will cover the $93,000 cost of Provenge. Provenge is a drug that is said to give men with end-stage prostate cancer four more months to live.

Medicare said that the drug manufactured by Dendreon Corporation is a very important drug and they want to ensure the drug will become accessible to a lot of men. Because of this, analysts said that Dendreon could sell up to $1 billion worth of the drugs. The decision will be finalized on June 30 and is said to be very important because most men with prostate cancer are 65 years old and above.

Naturally, Medicare covers drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration. FDA cleared Provenge April 2010. Medicare’s decision to review coverage of the drug caused outburst from the public. They said that this is only the government’s way of avoiding reimbursing a costly drug.

Provenge is one of a kind as it is the first, and so far the only drug that utilizes the patient’s immune system to fight the cancer cells. Studies have shown that it can increase prognosis of prostate cancer by 100%. Moreover, it causes fewer side effects than chemotherapy.

Jim Kiefert, a prostate cancer patient, said that among all the treatments he had, Provenge had the least number of side effects. He further said that no one can put a price tag on human health, especially for a drug with very minimal side effects.

Bioethicists, however, argue that Medicare’s decision shows how bias the overall health care system in the U.S. is. Health care takes one fifth of the country’s economy only because the government tends to take pride in high technology, rather than going back to the basics.

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Certain Prostate Cancer Treatment May Increase the Risk of Colon Cancer

Hormone-blocking therapy used by the male population to treat prostate cancer may increase their risk of developing colon cancer, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The drug treatment is called ‘androgen deprivation therapy’ also known as ADT, which is used to suppress the production of male hormone testosterone which increases the development of prostate cancer.

ADT is commonly used to treat prostate cancer even though it has known potential effects such as diabetes and obesity. Diabetes and obesity are the two main risk factors in the development of colon cancer.

The U.S Food and Drug Administration just informed last month that hormonal treatments for prostate cancer such as Lupron and Trelstar should bear new warnings regarding their potential risks of heart problems and diabetes.

According to the researchers, studies in animals suggested that the male hormones stop the signals that cause cancer cells to grow, which in turn suppresses the development of colon cancer.

The authors say it might be possible that inhibiting the release of hormones in the body could lead to greater risk for colon cancer.

Dr. Vahakn Shahinian of the University of Michigan, along with his colleagues studied more than 100,000 older men that were diagnosed with prostate cancer between the years 1993 and 2002.

They discovered that those men who received ADT had about 30 to 40 percent greater risk of developing colon cancer during the follow-up period. However, the case is still based on an observational study, and not a proven cause and effect.

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