FOR PATIENTS, SURVIVORS AND FRIENDS
Less-Frequent Zometa Equally Effective in Preventing Bone Metastases Complications
A clinical trial of 1,822 breast cancer, prostate cancer and multiple myeloma patients with bone metastases found that
patients treated with Zometa (zoledronic acid) every 12 weeks were not more likely to get fractures or experience other
bone problems than patients treated every four weeks. Of the 795 patients who completed the two-year study, 29. 5 percent
received Zometa every four weeks and 28. 6 percent received Zometa every 12 weeks. The researchers conclude that being
treated with Zometa every 12 weeks is acceptable and could be more cost-effective.
LEARN MORE IN THE JAN. 3, 2017, JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION.
Track your cancer treatments, organize your
medical records and look for clinical trials with
the help of Belong: Beating Cancer Together.
The new app makes it easy to exchange tips
with other cancer patients and caregivers. There
are also opportunities to get your questions
answered by radiologists, oncologists and other
Young adult cancer survivors can get help
navigating financial issues with Finances 101,
developed by the Samfund and Triage Cancer. The
online toolkit currently focuses on health insurance
options. Other topics are coming soon. The Samfund
also provides grants to survivors ages 21 to 39 to
help with medical and home expenses.
Use My Cancer Genome to learn more about
genetic mutations and search for clinical trials
that you may qualify for because your tumor has a
specific type of mutation. The website also provides
information on how tumors are tested and the
different types of treatments currently available for
tumors with certain mutations.
Q: What is inflammation?
A: Inflammation is the immune system’s
reaction to infection, trauma or foreign
items like splinters that invade the body.
The normal roles of inflammation are
getting rid of foreign organisms and
wound healing, which stimulates the
regeneration of normal cells.
Q: How does inflammation cause cancer?
A: When inflammation goes on for a
long time, it can stimulate the growth
of cancer cells. This chronic inflammation also inhibits people’s immunity,
suppressing the ability of the immune
system to recognize cancer as foreign
and reject it.
Q: What causes chronic inflammation?
A: This is something that we don’t
understand very well. Sometimes your
immune system can’t get rid of bacteria,
and this persistent infection can cause
chronic inflammation. For example,
gastric ulcers are caused by chronic
bacterial infection, and gastritis can
increase the risk of stomach cancer.
Q: Can people tell if they have
A: Sometimes. If you have inflammatory bowel disease, you don’t feel well
so you know you have it. But if you
have chronic hepatitis and do not have
jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), fever
or pain, you may not know without a
Q: Can cancer occur without
A: The majority—90 percent or more—
of colorectal cancer is not associated
with pre-existing inflammation.
However, cancer can cause inflam-
mation, and that inflammation can
help the cancer grow and metastasize
(spread to other parts of the body).
Q: Are there other causes?
A: Lifestyle factors such as smoking,
alcohol consumption and obesity can
cause inflammation. Tobacco smoke
causes inflammation. It also delivers
a carcinogen to your lungs. Studies
show that stopping smoking, drinking less alcohol, getting more exercise and improving one’s diet reduce
inflammation—and the risk of cancer-related death.
Liver cancer in adults is almost always
caused by inflammation. Most liver
cancer is caused by hepatitis, which
can be spread through shared needles
or sexual transmission. Drinking too
much alcohol can also cause hepatitis.
In obese people, fatty liver disease can
cause inflammation. Exercise helps
burn fat, and exercise and diet can probably reverse early fatty liver disease, but
there is very little data so far.
Q: Is there anything else people can do
to reduce chronic inflammation?
A: If you can’t identify the cause of
inflammation, you could try anti-inflammatory drugs. Aspirin has been
shown to reduce cancer risk. But you
should consult your doctor before
starting to take aspirin daily. You
shouldn’t treat yourself.
Q: What is the most important take-home message from your research for
the average person?
A: People should not just sit and think
that cancer is just a roll of the dice. Not
every cancer is just bad luck. Making
lifestyle choices that will reduce
inflammation can reduce the risk of
cancer. —ROBIN MEADOWS