By Katrina Burton
MD Anderson is standing by a recommendation that women 40 years old and older receive annual mammograms, despite a recent study that raised
controversy regarding breast
"We are not recommending that women
change their screening practices," says Therese Bevers, M.D., medical director
of MD Anderson's Cancer Prevention Center. "We stand by our guidelines that
recommend women have annual mammograms beginning at age 40 and continue to be
screened as long as they are in good health."
But a study by the Canadian National
Breast Screening says annual mammography in women ages 40-59 does not
reduce mortality from breast cancer and mammography screening should be
The results of the study, published in the
BMJ Journal on Feb. 11, are in
direct contrast to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation
that women should begin annual mammograms
starting at age 50, and of guidelines by MD Anderson, the American Cancer
Society and others that call for annual breast cancer screening to begin at age
Continue reading When should women get mammograms?.
Souto Strom was growing up in Argentina, she wanted to be a mathematician. But
she became a marine biologist instead. Then a cancer researcher.
can happen when nothing much daunts you, not even pursuing a Ph.D. or two.
associate professor in Epidemiology,
she's followed a career path that looks a lot like an expedition.
Call of the wild
recalls having a scientific, inquiring mind even as a child in Buenos Aires.
Whether exploring the patterns of numbers or nature, Strom was drawn to
discovery. When her twin sister was getting interested in boys, Strom was
getting serious about zoology.
merely the dispassionate interest of a scientist.
like any animal that moves," she says. "Jellyfish, lizards, horses. Human
beings, too. They all need help."
Strom set her sights on marine biology, and she spent seven years earning
bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Buenos Aires.
as a marine biologist led her to the discovery of a new species of one-celled
protozoa -- and to her future husband. She was studying plankton on a research
vessel off the coast of Antarctica when she met Gary Strom. He was the
American-born first mate.
Continue reading From cancer researcher to stomach cancer survivor.
This Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, marks the 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General's 1964 Report on Smoking and Health, the first major statement in the United States linking smoking to lung cancer.
With more than 200,000 people diagnosed with lung cancer each year in the United States and smoking contributing to 87% of lung cancer deaths and 30% of all cancer deaths, this landmark report and the 30 subsequent Surgeon General's Reports on smoking have greatly influenced what we do here at MD Anderson.
Here are four ways the Surgeon General's Report has impacted our work and -- and our cancer patients and their families.
1. We've hired more researchers focused on smoking and cancer.
"The 1964 Surgeon General's Report set the stage for extraordinary increase in knowledge and research on tobacco and cancer that's occurred since then," says Ellen R. Gritz, Ph.D., chair of Behavioral Science at MD Anderson and an author and/or editor for nine Surgeon General's reports on smoking and tobacco.
Continue reading 4 ways the Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health impacts our work .
By Karen Basen-Engquist, Ph.D.
It's that time of year ... when we resolve to lose weight, exercise more and eat more healthfully.
Changes like these can reduce our chances of developing cancer and improve our overall health and quality of life. But our experience and studies show that New Year's resolutions often fall by the wayside a few weeks into the year. We know what we need to do, and have good intentions, but most of us are not able to turn resolutions into reality.
If you're serious about making changes, consider the following tips.
Continue reading Turning resolutions into action: Three tips for a healthier new year .
By Brittany Cordeiro
Each day in the United States, about 4,000 kids smoke their
first cigarette. Many of them will become daily smokers.
"For teens, it may seem cool to smoke. But tobacco use at a
young age can cause immediate and long-term health problems like cancer," says Alexander Prokhorov,
M.D., Ph.D., director of the Tobacco Outreach Education Program at MD
Recent data shows that the declining number of teen
tobacco users has stalled. And, the tobacco industry may be to blame.
The industry advertises products, like e-cigarettes,
flavored cigarillos and hookahs, as "safe" and is capturing the attention of
"All tobacco products are dangerous," Prokhorov says. "We
need to be proactive about educating our communities, schools and governments
about the dangers of these products."
Use the facts below to educate kids about the health risks
of trendy tobacco products.
use among high school students rose from 7% in 2009 to 12% in 2011. One
main factor: flavored cigarillos.
Continue reading E-cigarettes, cigarillos and hookahs: Latest tobacco trends target youth .
By Brittany Cordeiro
As a cancer caregiver, you face unique challenges. The loved one you're nurturing often requires your time, energy and attention, making it hard to focus on your health and wellness.
But an unhealthy caregiver could do more harm than good. Your loved one needs you to stay in fighting shape, so you can provide the care he or she needs. Plus, maintaining a healthy diet and weight helps lower your cancer risks.
Not sure where to start?
"Research shows that making small changes can lead to bigger diet changes over time and better health," says Mary Ellen Herndon, a wellness dietitian at MD Anderson.
Try these smart food tips to maintain good health.
Dine out less
"Restaurant foods are usually loaded with extra fat, salt and calories," Herndon says. "Eating out or getting takeout even just a few times a week can cause weight gain over time."
Continue reading 3 nutrition tips for cancer caregivers.
By Katie Bispeck
It is well-known that obesity
is an enormous problem in the United States. More than one-third of U.S. adults are considered obese. 18% of children ages 6-11 and 18% of adolescents ages 12-19 are obese.
Obesity has been shown to contribute to the development of many diseases, including diabetes
, heart disease
, hypertension, high cholesterol and osteoarthritis.
Scientists say that obesity will soon be the number one preventable cause of cancer and that we should expect to see about 500,000 new cases of cancer as a result of obesity by 2030.
Defining obesity: What your BMI means
The term obese is used to describe a person with an unhealthy proportion of body fat. It's measured by taking a ratio of height-versus-weight. This is called your Body Mass Index (BMI)
. Adults with a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese. This is typically 50 pounds overweight.
To determine your own BMI, take your weight (kilograms) and divide it by your height (meters squared).
Obesity has become such an important issue that the American Medical Association has recently classified it as a disease.
Continue reading Obesity and cancer prevention: What you should know.
By Liz Hill
Living in southern Louisiana, my family learned to endure the heat,
humidity and sun. But we struggled when it came to protection from its effects,
My mom was a redheaded, blue-eyed, extremely fair-skinned woman. She
had her fair share of sun exposure as a child. As an adult, after several basal
and squamous skin cancer scares, she realized the value
of sunscreen and, really, just avoidance of the sun. She passed those values
on to me since I have reddish hair, blue/green eyes and extremely fair skin.
My mother's malignant melanoma
Mom had a growth on her face that had been examined by a local
dermatologist many times, but my mom had been advised not to worry about it.
Continue reading My mother's melanoma diagnosis: What a caregiver learned.
With a steady decline in traditional cigarettes, tobacco companies are looking for new ways to get people addicted to smoking.
Now, with the third largest U.S. tobacco company launching a massive campaign to promote electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, smoking may be on rise again. In fact, about 6% of adults have tried e-cigarettes, a number that has nearly doubled since 2010, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The e-cigarette is a smokeless electronic device that allows the user to inhale a vapor of liquid nicotine in order to imitate traditional
smoking methods. The new gadget is touted as safe and harmless by tobacco
companies, but our tobacco prevention and cessation experts tell a different
e-cigarettes are 'safe' are misleading
been telling society for the past 30 years that they shouldn't smoke, and that
tobacco is bad," says Paul Cinciripini, Ph.D., director of MD
Anderson's Tobacco Treatment Program. "But tobacco companies
are smart and have a good marketing strategy when it comes to promoting new products."
Continue reading The dangers and risks of e-cigarettes.
By Brittany Cordeiro
When caring for a loved one, your health and wellness may often take a backseat. All your time and energy is devoted to nurturing your friend
or family member. You grab fast food at the hospital or skip meals entirely to
stay by his or her side.
But as a caregiver, it's essential you stay healthy so you
can better care for your loved one. In addition, you'll be in better shape to
fight off diseases like cancer.
"Research shows that making small changes can lead to bigger
diet changes over time and better health," says Mary Ellen Herndon, a wellness
dietician at MD Anderson.
Try these tips to maintain
good health with a balanced diet.
Continue reading 5 health tips for cancer caregivers .
had the honor of participating in a tour of MD Anderson's campus and research
facilities. I learned about the many services available to patients.
I now know
that I did not fully utilize the services that were available to me when I was
a cervical cancer patient. The likely reason for that is simply geography. I
flew to MD Anderson for my chemo treatments and then home.
If I lived
closer, I would have participated in more of the programs that I learned about,
such as services offered by the Integrative
Medicine Center, which range from nutrition lectures to Pilates and yoga.
The patient services are endless. They also offer quiet rooms where you or your
caregiver can sleep, as well as a library where patients can research their
specific diagnoses. The goal seems to genuinely be to help the patient navigate
cancer with many tools in their arsenal.
Learning about cancer prevention at MD
read about the Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Science in the most
recent issue of MD Anderson's Conquest
So, I was happy that our tour took us to the Cancer
, which includes the Behavioral
Research and Treatment Center
. They are studying how certain behaviors have
an impact on cancer prevention and recurrence. I am most interested in the
research they are doing regarding exercise and its impact on cancer.
Continue reading What I learned about cancer research advances during my tour of MD Anderson.
The number of throat
cancer cases is on the rise, with about 12,000-15,000 people expected to be
diagnosed with throat cancer in 2013.
The biggest reason for this increase is the human
papillomavirus (HPV) -- the same sexually transmitted infection that causes cervical
cancer. In fact, by 2020, HPV may cause more throat cancers than cervical
We recently spoke with Erich
Sturgis, M.D., professor of Head and Neck Surgery, about HPV and throat cancer.
Here's what he had to say.
What's the connection
between HPV and cancer?
There are over 100 types of HPV, and they're all spread through contact.
Some of the most dangerous types are especially spread through sexual contact, including
oral sex. Many people will contract HPV at some point, but the body often clears
Continue reading Q&A: HPV and throat cancer.