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cancer

Cancer drugs cost far less to develop than industry-backed research asserts, an analysis published Monday asserts. Research and development costs are a major reason that drug companies justify high prices, so this dispute has a direct bearing on the cost of medical care.

BiliScreen is a new smartphone app that can screen for pancreatic cancer by having users snap a selfie.
Courtesy of the University of Washington/Dennis Wise

University of Washington researchers have created a smartphone app that could help users screen themselves for a range of diseases, including pancreatic cancer, by simply taking a selfie.

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday announced what the agency calls a "historic action" — the first approval of a cell-based gene therapy in the United States.

The FDA approved Kymriah, which scientists refer to as a "living drug" because it involves using genetically modified immune cells from patients to attack their cancer.

If you were worried you had cancer, who would you call for information? Chances are a federally-funded cancer helpline isn't the first place that pops into your mind.

But for 40 years, a helpline funded primarily by the National Cancer Institute has been answering people's questions about cancer.

My mom knew she was going to lose her hair when she went to chemotherapy, so she got it cut and made into this wig.
Courtesy of Jad Vianu

My mom’s hair has always been a source of pride for her.

Alexes Harris, Sociology Professor at UW
Stacie Youngblood Photography

When Professor Alexes Harris learned she had a rare form of leukemia, she knew she was in a fight for her life. But she didn't realize how difficult it would be to find a bone marrow match as a woman of color. This is her story.

You want technology? Then pay for scientific research

Mar 23, 2017
You can't make a radio unless you understand how electromagnetic radiation travels through air. This is an animation of a half-wave dipole antenna radiating radio waves, showing the electric field lines.
Wikipedia Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal

Let's talk for a minute about how invention works in our world.

One way to divide the process of inventing is into 1) basic science research, and 2) technological application. The first helps us gain an understanding of how our world works and what it looks like. The second takes that knowledge, then figures out what we should do with it to gain some sort of advantage.

Women with breast cancer who are at high risk for having a BRCA mutation that raises cancer risk often don't get genetic testing, or even a chance to speak with a genetic counselor who'd help them weigh the necessity of such a test, a study finds.

The first results from a major project to measure the reliability of cancer research have highlighted a big problem: Labs trying to repeat published experiments often can't.

That's not to say that the original studies are wrong. But the results of a review published Thursday, in the open-access journal eLife, are a sobering reminder that science often fails at one of its most basic requirements — an experiment in one lab ought to be reproducible in another one.

Two widely used tests to analyze the genetics of tumors often don't come to the same conclusions, according to head-to-head analyses.

Authors of two recent studies comparing these tests say doctors need to be careful not to assume that these tests are providing a complete picture of a tumor's genetic variants, when using them to select treatments for cancer patients.

Kathy Plonka - kathypl@spokesman.com / Tacoma News Tribune

Bill Radke speaks with Tacoma News Tribune columnist Matt Driscoll about the sad story of Tacoma kindergarten teacher Klara Bowman, who became infamous as 'Drunk Teacher.' 

Women are less likely to die of breast cancer than they were a decade ago, but not all women are benefiting from that trend.

White women saw more of a drop in death rates than black women — 1.9 percent a year from 2010 to 2014, compared to a 1.5 percent decrease for black women, according to a report published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mammography can prevent deaths from breast cancer, but it's not a perfect test.

It misses some cancers, especially in women with dense breast tissue, and flags abnormalities for follow-up tests that turn out to be benign, among other issues. So there's a lot of interest in additional tests that might make screening more accurate in women who have dense breasts.

Isolde Raftery/KUOW

Bill Radke speaks with comedian Quincy Jones. In July of 2015, Jones was diagnosed with cancer and given a year to live. He had one wish: to tape an hour long stand-up special. With the help of an appearance on The Ellen Show, HBO aired his special back in May. Now, Jones is performing in his native Seattle on Friday, Sept 23 at the Neptune Theater

Vancouver, B.C. -- A meeting of business and political leaders from Washington state and British Columbia has resulted in two agreements. One of those agreements hopes to speed up treatments for cancer. The other would create a border-straddling effort to boost innovation.

Privately insured people with cancer were diagnosed earlier and lived longer than those who were uninsured or were covered by Medicaid, according to two recent studies.

Lung cancer isn't just a smoker's disease

Sep 13, 2016
Lung cancer carries the stigma of being caused by a person's own actions, but many get lung cancer without ever having smoked.
Flickr Photo/Hannah Sorensson (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/o8CRgP

Bill Radke speaks with writer Janet Freeman-Daily, a lung cancer survivor, about the fact that lung cancer is not just a smoker's disease. Freeman-Daily says the association between lung cancer and smoking makes it harder for lung cancer researchers to get funding because it's seen as something people bring upon themselves. Freeman-Daily herself has never been a smoker. 

A University of Washington Medical Center employee says researchers have sometimes claimed patient tissues before diagnosis was complete. The medical center says it is strengthening its policies on this issue.
KUOW PHOTO/AMY RADIL

When cancer tissue is removed from a patient, doctors are supposed to hand it over to someone to form diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

Leftover tissue goes to research.

Author and illustrator Elisha Cooper
Courtesy of Elisha Cooper/Christopher Smith

In his new memoir, “Falling: A Daughter, A Father, and a Journey Back,"  author Elisha Cooper recalls how he and his family faced and survived his daughter Zoe’s cancer.

The act of reflection, some years after the events, is cathartic for Cooper. The result is the chronicle of a life-changing period, marked by terrifying uncertainty and resilience. He tells the story with humor and a palpable sense of awe. 

A major study about the best way to treat early-stage breast cancer reveals that "precision medicine" doesn't provide unambiguous answers about how to choose the best therapy.

"Precision doesn't mean certainty," says David Hunter, a professor of cancer prevention at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

That point is illustrated in a large study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, involving decisions about chemotherapy.

Dozens of cancer patients in Seattle have been told they might have made contact with a healthcare worker infected with tuberculosis.

The worker was an employee at the University of Washington Medical Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and officials say the employee had contact with patients since February.


If coffee is your favorite morning pick-me-up, read on.

The World Health Organization's cancer research agency has given coffee the green light. The group concludes that coffee does not pose a cancer risk, and experts say a regular coffee habit may even be protective of good health.

Sharon Belvin's nightmare with cancer began in 2004, when she was just 22.

Belvin was an avid runner but said she suddenly found she couldn't climb the stairs without "a lot of difficulty breathing."

Eventually, after months of fruitless treatments for lung ailments like bronchitis, she was diagnosed with melanoma — a very serious skin cancer. It had already spread to her lungs, and the prognosis was grim. She had about a 50-50 chance of surviving the next six months.

"Yeah, that was the turning point of life, right there," she says.

'Isis' painting by Noah Davis.
Courtesy Frye Art Museum

Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes believes that to be an artist, one must live life to the max.

“I meet people all the time that don’t live full enough lives,” he says. “I’m real adamant about living. If people ask me, I’d be more inclined to say I’m a bon vivant than to tell you I’m an artist.”

Health officials announced Friday that they have discovered a small but "statistically significant" increase in the number of bladder cancers in North Portland between 1999 and 2003.

The Oregon Health Authority has been looking at cancer rates in neighborhoods around two glass manufacturers in Portland after a notable increase in air pollution was detected earlier this year.

The manufacturers had been using heavy metals like cadmium and arsenic to color glass, and elevated levels were found nearby.

We all know that cancer screenings are important, but it doesn’t mean they always get done. For some Latina women, a conversation with a peer can nudge them to action.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among Latina women. Dr. Gloria Coronado, epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Oregon, said that’s because Latinas are likely to be diagnosed when the disease is already advanced.

Vice President Joe Biden toured the lab at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center before holding a roundtable meeting with scientists there. Biden says he's encouraged to see more cooperation between researchers and doctors.
Fred Hutch News Service Photo/Robert Hood

Vice President Joe Biden urged scientists to collaborate to help speed up the process to cure cancer. Biden was in Seattle Monday. He toured a lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, then held a roundtable discussion with scientists.

Cancer dogma holds that most malignancies are caused by DNA mutations inside the nuclei of cells, mutations that ultimately lead to runaway cellular proliferation. Given the countless genetic blips that have been associated with various cancers, the illness has actually come to be seen as a complex of diseases for which personalized treatments might offer the best chances of success.

Vyvyn Lazonga, a tattoo artist for 43 years, now dedicates half of her practice to women who have had mastectomies, meaning the removal of one or more breasts. She works in a shop next to Pike Place Market in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Audio Pending...

Thirty years ago, a woman walked into Vyvyn Lazonga’s San Francisco shop and asked the tattoo artist to ink new nipples onto her chest.

The woman had undergone a mastectomy after a breast cancer diagnosis, and she wanted to recreate a semblance of the breast she’d lost.

That was Lazonga’s first foray into post-mastectomy tattooing. Although she can’t say for certain, Lazonga believes she was the first person in the country to tattoo over mastectomy scars.

Portlanders Demand Action On Heavy Metal Air Pollution

Feb 10, 2016

Hundreds of people crowded into Cleveland High School Tuesday night with questions, concerns and demands for officials addressing Portland's air pollution.

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