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October 12, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Having mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes lead to a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancers in women, but the mutations don't affect health outcomes in exactly the same way. A team led by researchers from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston reported Tuesday that having a mutated BRCA2 gene was associated with improved survival and chemotherapy response among a group of women with ovarian cancer.   In fact, women with BRCA2 mutations had better survival after treatment than women without mutations on either gene, the group wrote in a study published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Assn.
October 3, 2011 | Lisa Zamosky, Zamosky has been writing about how to access and pay for healthcare for more than 10 years
I recently had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from my breast and will soon be starting chemotherapy. I was surprised by the amount of medication I was told to take before I begin chemo, including anti-nausea and allergy medications. I'm wondering if this is common. How are patients typically prepared for chemo treatment? Anti-nausea and anti-allergy medications are routinely given to breast cancer patients preparing for chemotherapy, says Dr. Christy A. Russell, co-director of the breast center at USC Norris Cancer Hospital and past president of the California division of the American Cancer Society.
July 19, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
An early menopause is often in store for women under age 40 who have chemotherapy for breast cancer. Women can choose to have some eggs removed in advance of the treatment in order to preserve some chance of having a baby later, but that can be a difficult and complicated process. Now, however, there may be a medication to treat these women to avoid premature menopause. A study published Tuesday found a drug called triptorelin (a hormone analogue, which mimics the actions of a hormone)
July 5, 2011
The debate over whether federal regulators should allow Avastin to be marketed as a breast cancer treatment has been characterized as a battle between science and emotion. On one side stands a Food and Drug Administration appeals panel that urged the agency last week to rescind its approval of the drug's use against advanced breast cancer, citing clinical studies that showed no improvement in a patient's chances of survival or quality of life. On the other is a group of women who told the panel at a hearing that they'd be dead if not for Avastin.
May 11, 2011 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog
A cocktail of four chemotherapy drugs improves average survival by more than 60% in people with pancreatic cancer, French researchers reported Wednesday. The drugs had a variety of side effects, but did not impair the quality of life for the survivors. Because survival is so poor with the disease, many patients are happy to accept the side effects of the drug to gain a few months of life. Pancreatic cancer, which strikes 43,000 Americans annually, killing 36,800 of them, is one of the most deadly forms of cancer.
April 18, 2011 | By Marissa Cevallos, HealthKey
Brain tumors may soon encounter a new weapon. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new device that uses electrical energy to kill brain cancer cells. The device, approved for those who have malignant tumors known as glioblastoma multiforme, adds a potential new alternative to chemotherapy for patients with advanced brain tumors. The device, called NovoTTF, delivers low-intensity electrical fields directly to a patient’s scalp via four electrodes. The electrical fields appear to interfere with the process of cell division, halting the tumor’s growth.
April 17, 2011 | By Melissa Magsaysay, Los Angeles Times
"I just got my first haircut in two years, which is great, but it's coming in so thin," says Jeri Brown, a 51-year-old Los Angeles resident who is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer that has metastasized into her spine. She catches her self-critical tone and digresses. "See, I'm complaining, but really, it's like, thank God I have hair. It used to be so healthy, it would bounce, and now it's like straw, but you know what, it's there. " The problems with hair loss during chemotherapy treatments are well known.
April 15, 2011 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
A shortage of the chemotherapy drug cytarabine is threatening the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in children around the country, with some hospitals rationing supplies of the drug and others turning away new patients. Cytarabine is a key ingredient in the drug cocktails given to such children. "Without it, most patients die," Louis J. DeGennaro, chief mission officer of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, told Bloomberg News . "There's really no substitute for cytarabine in those chemotherapy regimens.
February 7, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
Breast cancer survival rates have improved in recent years, and women have more treatment choices, including -- in cases of early-stage cancer -- the opportunity to forgo chemotherapy. A new study shows, however, that women who undergo chemotherapy experience more symptoms in the year after surgery. Researchers led by Dr. Patricia A. Ganz of UCLA, found that women who have chemotherapy can have symptoms that persist for even a year. These include vaginal symptoms, musculoskeletal pain and weight problems.
October 25, 2010
Robert Benmosche, AIG’s chief executive, is reportedly undergoing what’s been termed "aggressive chemotherapy," but what is aggressive chemotherapy? Details are scant about Benmosche’s condition at the moment, much less his type of cancer – or treatment. ALSO: AIG’s agrees, in principle, to repay taxpayer money But the National Cancer Institute says this about how often – and how long – a patient receives chemotherapy: "Treatment schedules for chemotherapy vary widely.
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