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Cancer Patients

April 4, 2012 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Cancer can kill long before malignant tumors take their toll, new research shows. A study involving more than 6 million Swedes reveals that the risk of suicide and cardiovascular death increases immediately after a cancer diagnosis. Within the first week of being told they had cancer, patients were 12.6 times more likely to commit suicide than people of similar backgrounds who were cancer-free. The newly diagnosed patients were also 5.6 times more likely to die from a heart attack or other cardiovascular complication in those first seven days, according to a study published in Thursday's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.
January 17, 2012 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
A medication for people with advanced colorectal cancer who have exhausted all other treatment options appears to slow tumor growth and extend life, according to new data. Bayer HealthCare, the makers of regorafenib, said it would seek Food and Drug Administration approval of the medication this year. If approved, regorafenib would be the first new treatment for colorectal cancer in more than five years. Although chemotherapy and other medications can extend life in people with metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread throughout the body)
December 29, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog
Doctors and patients eager for better ways to treat advanced ovarian cancer were encouraged by two new studies showing that adding Avastin to traditional chemotherapy drugs allowed women with the disease to live a few months before their cancer returned or worsened. The two large , international studies credited Avastin with providing an additional 3.8 months and 3.6 months of “progression-free survival.” (The reports in Thursday's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine weren't able to say whether the women who took Avastin lived longer overall.)
December 7, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
The FDA last month rescinded approval for Avastin to treat advanced breast cancer because although preliminary studies show it led to longer periods of disease-free survival it did not increase overall survival. But a study presented Wednesday suggests their may be a role for Avastin after all. The phase-3 study was conducted among 424 women a type of breast called HER-2 positive disease. A new analysis of the data, presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium found that adding Avastin to a regimen of Herceptin and docetaxel resulted in a 28% reduced rate of disease progression or death.
December 4, 2011 | Steve Lopez
The cancer that started 11 years ago has now ravaged the body of Freddie Ramos. It attacked a kidney first, then a lung, and the 57-year-old family man knows that death waits in the near distance. He's not ready to go, he says, but he's prepared. "Living in fear of death is no way to live," Ramos told me in the living room of the Los Feliz home he shares with his wife, Robin, and their daughters Bailey and Maya. INTERACTIVE: Share your story A Santana concert poster hangs on the wall, Hollywood Bowl, 2002, and a Diego Rivera art poster is nearby.
December 3, 2011 | By Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times
Norman Smith, who has liver cancer, was placed on the transplant list at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center last year. But early this year, doctors removed him because he was using medical marijuana and failed to show up for a drug test. To get back on the list, Smith, 63, has to spend six months avoiding medical marijuana, submitting to random drug tests and receiving counseling. He is still undergoing chemotherapy and radiation for the cancer, which recently returned after being in remission.
November 18, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
The cancer drug Avastin should not be used to treat breast cancer that has spread to other organs because it doesn't help patients enough to justify its risky side effects, the Food and Drug Administration ruled Friday. The decision comes five months after an FDA advisory committee recommended that the federal agency withdraw its approval of Avastin for breast cancer patients. Clinical trial results have fueled doubts for years about its value for treating breast cancer. Still, FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg said the choice was difficult because so many women and their doctors have put their faith in the drug and lobbied hard on its behalf.
November 14, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Here's new evidence that the condition known as “chemo brain” is real: A study of breast cancer patients finds that women who had chemotherapy along with surgery to treat their disease had more trouble kicking their brains into high gear than women who were treated with surgery alone. They also performed much worse on tests of mental function than a group of healthy women who served as controls. The study , published Monday in Archives of Neurology, included 25 breast cancer survivors who had surgery and chemotherapy, 19 breast cancer survivors who had surgery but no chemotherapy, and 18 women with no history of breast cancer who were picked because their ages, level of education and menopausal status were similar to those of the women who had chemo.
November 13, 2011 | By Martin Eichner
Question: I live alone in an upper-level apartment. I was recently diagnosed with cancer and began chemotherapy treatments. The side effects of the treatment include dizziness and exhaustion. My physician has suggested that I try to minimize my exposure to situations that may result in injury from the side effects. He also suggested that I move to a ground-floor unit to make things easier. One the same size as mine is available, so I asked my manager if I could transfer. The manager told me she would not allow me to transfer since my lease has three more months to go. I thought because of my disability status and condition, I could request this type of transfer.
November 8, 2011 | By Rosie Mestel, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Monthly shots of a cancer vaccine produced encouraging results in a small, very early trial of 26 women with metastatic breast or ovarian cancer (cancer that has spread to other sites around the body), most of whom already had had three or more rounds of chemotherapy. Among the 12 breast cancer patients, median survival time was 13.7 months and one patient was still alive at 37 months, when the paper was written up. Four remained stable during the course of the trial. Among the 14 ovarian cancer patients, median survival was 15 months.
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