What are the top cancer hospitals in the US?

Selecting your oncology team is one of the first and most challenging tasks every cancer patient faces. Working with a skilled and highly trained team of professionals is vital for many patients, yet they often are faced with a lengthy list of potential healthcare facilities, without knowing what are the top cancer hospitals in the US. One way to narrow down the choices is by considering the most highly regarded health facilities, such as those included on the prestigious U.S. World & News Report’s list of the nation’s top hospitals. Ten Excellent Cancer Hospitals Every year, the publication considers nearly 5,000 healthcare facilities for the honor. They ultimately name 50 top centers, including 10 specializing in cancer care, all of which have met the National Cancer Institute’s designation for standard of care. These are the leading cancer hospitals to keep on your radar if you’re looking for a well-respected facility for your care: Johns Hopkins Hospital: One of the most well-known healthcare facilities in the county has a cancer center based in Baltimore. M.D. Anderson Cancer Center: Based in Houston, Texas, the center is one of the nation’s first comprehensive cancer-treatment facilities, treating more than 135,000 people every year. Seattle Cancer Alliance: This organization specializes in prostate and gynecological cancers, delivering both inpatient and outpatient treatments. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital: This New York City nonprofit has a number of specialty programs and satellite locations throughout New York and New Jersey. H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center: The Florida-based nonprofit is considered to have one of the nation’s most leading-edge cancer facilities. Penn Presbyterian Medical Center: Operating out of Philadelphia’s University of...

How Can I Help with Cancer Research?

As cancer continues to ravage countless lives around the globe, you may find yourself asking, “How can I help cancer research?” Patients with cancer are part of a worldwide community and investing in efforts to make that community smaller year by year can help those fighting their personal battle feel a bit more empowered and inspired. Here are a few ways that cancer patients, along with their loved ones, can support cancer research: Donate tissue: To really understand the root causes of cancer, researchers need to see the disease in action, and one of the best ways to do that is through live tissue. Agencies like the National Cancer Institute run large-scale research studies to which patients can donate tissue. Healthy tissue may also sometimes be needed, so family and friends of those fighting cancer should also explore this option. Organize a penny drive: A penny may not seem like much in the grand scheme of the need for money for cancer patients, but every cent counts. A penny drive in your neighborhood, through a child’s athletic group or at a local business can be a good way for the entire community of supporters surrounding a patient to do their part to give back. Take part in a research study: Clinical trials are going on every day around the country as researchers look for innovative ways to fuse science and technology in the fight against cancer. Anyone considering participating in a research study should consult with their oncologist first, as well as explore frequently asked questions and considerations, such as those provided by the Cancer Research Institute. Life Credit Loans for Cancer...

5 Facts About Lung Cancer

Because of its commonly known association with smoking, lung cancer is likely one of the forms of the disease that most people could point to when they hear the word “cancer.” However, that doesn’t mean the public’s awareness about the condition is complete, or correct. Understanding the full extent of the risk factors, symptoms and treatments can help make all of us better informed and prepared should a diagnosis hit close to home. Beyond the 5 facts about lung cancer listed below, there are countless other nuances to the disease, so, should you find your own life impacted by lung cancer, it’s important to do your research and educate yourself. 5 Facts About Lung Cancer Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer. More than 1.8 million people around the world are diagnosed with lung cancer each year, including 222,500 Americans. It follows only breast cancer in the number of people affected. It has higher fatality rates than many other types of cancer. Nearly 160,000 people die of lung cancer each year—more than the rates for colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. Smoking is the leading — but not only — risk factor. Smoking cigarettes drastically increases your chances for contracting the disease, as does smoking cigars, pipes, and hookahs. However, up to 15% of lung cancer patients are non-smokers, with other risk factors including secondhand smoke, carcinogen exposure, and genetic mutations. There are four primary forms of lung cancer. The vast majority of cases are considered non-small cell lung cancer, while other forms include small cell lung cancer, mesothelioma, and carcinoid tumors. A registry exists for...

What Cancer Patients Need to Know About Preserving Fertility

Cancer has a wealth of immediate impacts on a patient’s life: disrupting normal routines, work and school commitments, finances and countless other areas. It can also have a long-lasting effect on family-planning. However, with enough forward-thinking and preparation—and plenty of research about what cancer patients need to know about preserving fertility—those who are aiming to become parents don’t have to let their plans get knocked off course. There are a number of reasons that infertility and cancer are known to go hand in hand. For one, treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation can do extensive damage to both men and women’s reproductive systems, damaging both eggs and sperm. Miscarriages are an unfortunate reality for many patients, and treatment-related damage can also lead to birth defects if a child is carried to term. While the risk for treatment-related genetic damage does subside a year after a treatment, some patients may be permanently affected. Additionally, both treatments and medications can also affect hormones and other organs, making conceiving and carrying a challenge. However, there are options for those who still want to fulfill their goal of starting or expanding a family. Here’s what cancer patients need to know about preserving fertility: Embryo freezing: In this method, before a woman begins cancer treatment, her eggs are retrieved and fertilized with the sperm of a partner or donor. The resulting embryos are frozen and stored for future use, at which time they can be reimplanted in the woman’s uterus or that of a surrogate. While a successful approach, it can be costly, with prices as high as $8,000. It can also be time-consuming,...

Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month: 5 Things You Need to Know

September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month, a time when those affected by the disease, researchers and others assess all that we know about thyroid cancer, and all that there is still to learn. From signs of thyroid cancer to treatment options, it’s important to keep yourself apprised of the latest research so that, should your life be touched by thyroid cancer, you can be more prepared to face the diagnosis head-on. Here are five things you should know about thyroid cancer to protect yourself and your loved ones: 1. Rates are on the rise: According to the American Cancer Society, thyroid cancer is the fastest-growing cancer in the country, with rates more than tripling in the last decade. While there are a number of factors that could contribute to that growth, among them better screening and testing techniques, more aggressive forms of the cancer are also becoming more prominent. 2. It is most common among young women: Because the cancer is less complex than some other forms, which may involve a number of genetic mutations, it’s often diagnosed earlier. Women are disproportionately affected, with only about a quarter of diagnoses in America in men. 3. The signs of thyroid cancer: While thyroid cancer is most commonly diagnosed after the presence of a lump, the vast majority of thyroid-related lumps are benign. Other signs of thyroid cancer include pain in the thyroid area, trouble swallowing and persistent hoarseness. 4. Survival rates are decreasing: Mortality rates vary depending on a number of circumstances, but survival is usually quite common, especially if the cancer is caught early; however, survival rates are lowering,...

Cancer Research: Killing Dormant Tumor Cells

It’s an unfortunate reality that, many times, even when oncology teams are able to target and kill active cancer cells, the patient may not be out of the woods — as cancer cells frequently spread, or metastasize. These cells may lie dormant for years, hiding within the bones, lymph nodes or other areas of the body — making effective treatment an ongoing challenge. However, a new research study has highlighted one approach that showed promising results for rooting out and killing cancer cells that are hiding in the body. How Does Cancer Spread? First, it’s important to understand, how does cancer spread or metastasize? Infected cancer cells can break away from the primary tumor and become insulated within healthy cells. These normal cells surrounding the tumor, known as the tumor microenvironment, can provide unfortunate protection for the surviving cancer cells. In their experiments with mice, the researchers found that these escaped cells were often clustered around blood vessels in an area called the perivascular niche. In particular, the vessels’ endothelial cells were guarding the cancer cells, making them resistant to treatments like chemotherapy. The researchers also found molecules called integrins that were interacting with the endothelial cells. Integrins are a natural part of healing and are designed to protect cells — but that tendency may be helping infected cells continue to thrive and spread. What’s Next for Cancer Researchers? Using this data, researchers developed two antibodies designed to target the integrins. In mice that were administered only chemo, 75% experienced metastasis; however, those who were also treated with the anti-integrin antibodies had much more success, with only 22% of...