Weekly Cancer News Roundup – 16th June 2017

  • Member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) have unanimously adopted the WHO 2017 Cancer Resolution. To uphold the resolution, member countries must develop comprehensive cancer prevention plans, increase access to cancer services, and strengthen health systems both locally and nationally. The Resolution will also force countries to improve their data collection and reporting on national cancer levels.

  • In the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new kind of treatment that is suitable for treating cancers that have a specific genetic mutation. The medicine is a form of immunotherapy called Keytruda (pembrolizumab) and it works by blocking a protective shield that cancer tumours use to avoid being detected by the body’s immune system. Once the protective shield is disrupted, the immune system knows to target cancer tumours directly. The introduction of Keytruda is exciting because it is the first cancer medicine that targets tumours based on a genetic mutation, and not simply the location of the cancer tumour in the body.
  • In Australia, cancer researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and Peter MacCallum Cancer Center have conducted a study on the benefits of combining immunotherapy and chemotherapy in breast cancer treatment. The study showed some promising results: combining two immunotherapy drugs with chemotherapy increased survival rates in mice who were given the treatment regimen. Treatments like these might be especially helpful for people with the BRCA1 gene mutation, and those with triple-negative breast cancer.
  • Research from the University of Rochester has shown that yoga might help to alleviate fatigue in cancer patients. Patients who were enrolled in the study received 75-minute yoga sessions twice a week and were also taught breathing and mindfulness strategies. The result? Patients who practised yoga saw a large improvement in cancer-related fatigue (CRF). 22% of this change was due to an improvement in overall sleep quality, and 37% of the improvement was related to a decrease in “daytime dysfunction.” Patients practising yoga took far fewer naps during the day than their non-yoga counterparts and had less fatigue overall. These findings will contribute to a wealth of research that demonstrates the benefits of yoga for cancer patients.
  • Ian Toothill, a 47-year-old personal trainer, has become the first known cancer patient to climb Mount Everest. After successfully overcoming a bowel cancer diagnosis in June 2015, Ian’s cancer recently returned and is terminal. Despite this, Ian remained determined to fulfil his lifelong dream of making it to the summit. And while his climb was not without challenges, he was successful. All of us at Live Better With would like to congratulate Ian on this huge accomplishment.

Ian is raising money for MacMillan Cancer Support, and you can contribute to his fund here.

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