The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force expanded recommendations for lung cancer screening from the age of 55 down to the age of 50, while smoking intensity has been reduced from 30 to 20 pack year history (meaning one pack a day for 20 years or two packs a day for 10 years). The new criteria is expected to increase eligibility from 6.4 million adults to 14.5 million, according to an editorial by University of North Carolina School of Medicine professors which was published in the journal JAMA. “There’s a huge need to diagnosing patients early,” Dr. David Carbone, an oncologist and lung cancer specialist at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, told USA Today.
Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green has emerged from relative obscurity with a potential cure for cancer. She is the first doctor to cure cancer in mice by using laser-activated nanoparticles. A study published by the American Cancer Society estimated 607K people died from cancer in 2020. Dr. Green’s cure does not require chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. Following the successful initial research project, she has received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to expand the nanoparticle cancer treatment research. She is fulfilling a lifelong dream after the death of her aunt Ora Lea, and her uncle, General Lee Smith, who both had cancer. If you or a loved one are struggling with a cancer diagnosis, talk to someone at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. CHOMP has a 24,000 square foot Comprehensive Cancer Support Center with a research library, information on clinical trials and support groups.
Coronavirus may be keeping you from going to the doctor as much as you need to. However, telemedicine makes it easy to see a doctor. Even dermatologists are now available via videoconference. A company called DermTech is transforming telemedicine to detect skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma has a 99% five-year survival rate if caught early. However, this survival rate drops to 65% if it has spread locally and 25% if spread distantly. For more information, go to https://dermtech.com/
COVID-19has surpassed heart disease and cancer as the leading cause of death in America, according to a report which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “It’s been a long time since an infectious disease was the leading cause of death for the whole country, Dr. Steven Woolf, lead author of the paper, told USA Today.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is now recommending lowering the recommended age for colon and rectal cancer screening from age 50 to age 45. Colorectal cancer recently took the life of “Black Panther” movie star Chadwick Boseman. He was just 43. Under the Affordable Care Act, most health insurers would be required to cover the additional screening after the recommendation becomes final, following a one month public comment period.
Blood tests have come a long way over the past decade. There are now what are called liquid biopsies which picks up genetic material shed by cancer tumors into the blood. This allows doctors to avoid invasive procedures where they have to go in and actually do surgery and cut off a piece of the suspected tissue. The liquid biopsies are also useful for sampling hard-to-reach tumors that are deeply embedded in internal organs. For now, the blood tests are not used to screen for cancers in healthy people but to guide treatments for those who have already been diagnosed. Someday, however, they may replace biopsies for a number of types of potential cancers. Speak to one of the oncologists at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula to get more information.