New Tools to Fight Cancer

1 decade 2 years 11 months ago Monday, August 20 2007 Aug 20, 2007 Monday, August 20, 2007 5:12:15 PM CDT August 20, 2007 in News
The Power of the Pen

Some cancer survivors are unleashing the power of the pen as a new weapon in their battle. Students in a hospital writing class have all been on the journey called cancer. And in their classroom with cartoons on the walls, they write about and they read about their most life changing moments. Writing for Wellness was the idea of Julie Davey, both a writing teacher and a cancer survivor. Her life path led logically to this place and yet she had doubts.

"I wasn't sure anyone would show up and then I also thought, you know I'm not a psychiatrist and what if this makes things worse for people," Davey said.

Each of them have been through hell. But they are quick to laugh, and sometimes cry. They are philosophers and lawyers, emboldened and road weary. The room is full of joy and admiration. City of Hope welcomed this class without hesitation knowing healing can come from almost anywhere and from almost anyone.

"The key is really how to make each moment the most meaningful that we can. Time is the most precious thing and every good moment is the most important thing," Dr. Michael Friedman from City of Hope said.

And these inspired and inspirational writers come eagerly to every class, with the joy that comes from knowing they can.

How Far and How Bad

How far a patient needs to travel to visit a dermatologist may predict how serious their case of skin cancer will be. In a new study researchers looked at the medical records of more than 600 melanoma patients. They found patients who had to travel more than 15 miles had tumors that were 20 percent thicker than patients who had less distance to cover. They also found patients who were elderly or poor had an increased risk for late-stage diagnosis. Experts say they are still investigating the reasons why travel distance affects diagnosis.

Color and Cancer

Compounds that give some fruits their deep red, purple and blue colors could also help protect against colon cancer. In lab experiments at Ohio State University researchers treated human colon cancer cells with compounds called anthocyanins which are also responsible for the rich colors of grapes, many berries and even purple carrots. Some of the pigments slowed the growth of cancer cells anywhere from 50 to 80 percent. Other types of the compounds completely stopped the growth and even killed about 20 percent of the cancer cells while leaving healthy tissue alone.

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