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cancer

The Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center as seen from Lake Union.
Flickr Photo/sea turtle (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Luke Timmerman, of the Timmerman Report, about the Fred Hutchinson's Cancer Research Center's efforts to find new ways to bring in revenue for research. 

MaryAnn Anselmo feared for the worst when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor called a glioblastoma in late 2013.

"You start doing research on that type of tumor, and you're saying, 'Oh my God, you're history.' It's like a death sentence," says, Anselmo, now 59.

Only for her it wasn't.

Anselmo's successful treatment shows how precision medicine — tailoring therapy to each patient's genetic needs — is beginning to transform cancer care.

As you’ve probably heard, a well-respected group of World Health Organization scientists said glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s wildly popular Roundup herbicide and its generic cousins, is probably capable of causing cancer in humans.

Here are five things you should know:

1. What the report said: Roundup could cause cancer in humans.

When children are diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia now, they have more than a 90 percent chance of survival.

But when James Eversull was told he had leukemia in 1964, there wasn't much hope.

He was just 18 months old when his parents discovered what was wrong.

Breast cancer: Radiographic marker in lumpectomy specimen
Flickr Photo/Ed Uthman (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Dr. Joann Elmore, University of Washington professor of medicine, about the findings of her new study that suggest the results of breast cancer biopsy tests might not be accurate.

Dr. Mary-Claire King
University of Washington/Mary Levin

Marcie Sillman talks with University of Washington professor Dr. Mary-Claire King about her groundbreaking research that changed the way we treat breast cancer today. 

When a doctor tells a patient that she has cancer and has just a year left to live, that patient often hears very little afterward. It's as though the physician said "cancer" and then "blah, blah, blah."

Anxiety makes it difficult to remember details and the worse the prognosis, the less the patient tends to remember. Recent studies have found that cancer patients retain less than half of what their doctors tell them.

When Barbara Marder was diagnosed with lung cancer three years ago, she had part of her right lung removed, went through a round of chemotherapy and tried to move on with her life.

"I had hoped that everything was fine — that I would not create difficulty for my children, that I would get to see my grandchildren grow up," says Marder, 73, of Arnold, Md.

But a routine scan a year later found bad news: The cancer was back — this time in her other lung.

Heather Weinert Owain Weinert cancer vaccines
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Owain Weinert, at age 8, hadn’t been eating breakfast and was sleeping 12 to 14 hours a night. For months, mysterious fevers came and went.

His mother took him to the pediatrician, who in turn sent them to a lab for a blood test. They then went to lunch, which Owain didn’t eat.

biotech file photo
Flickr Photo/HCC PIO (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Marcie Sillman talks to Luke Timmerman about the growth of a Seattle biotech company, Adaptive Biotechnologies, and what it means for the city's biotechnology industry.

China Warns Of Cancer Epidemic

Nov 19, 2014

Cancer rates may be falling in many Western countries, but they are rising steadily in China. The country’s top health officials have issued a strong warning about the spread of cancer.

All types of the disease are, it seems, becoming increasingly common. Blame the effects of pollution and unhealthy habits.

The BBC’s Celia Hatton traveled to the coastal city of Tianjin to see how Asia’s largest cancer treatment center is handling the onslaught.

Ross Reynolds talks to Seattle biotech writer Luke Timmerman about the biotech company Dendreon, which filed for bankruptcy after their prostate cancer drug failed to make a sizable profit.

Flickr Photo/Lisa Parker (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Dr. Parveen Bhatti, environmental epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, about how researchers determine causality.

Marcie Sillman talks to biotech writer Luke Timmerman about the influx of money to cancer immunotherapy companies like VentriRx, which just received $50 million to increase their research efforts.

Flickr Photo/Chesapeake Bay Program (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Fred Hutchinson cancer researcher Dr. Jim Olson about the development of a new human drug-testing model.

Since Richard Nixon declared war on cancer in 1971, the National Cancer Institute has poured some $90 billion into research and treatments. Yet a cure remains elusive.

Courtesy of Susie Fitzhugh/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

After removing a tumor, surgeons are confronted with an unfortunate reality: They can’t be sure they got it all. It can be difficult to distinguish between normal tissue and cancerous cells while operating.

Dr. Jim Olson, a researcher at Fred Hutchinson Research Center and oncologist at the University of Washington, was inspired by his young patients to find a way to ensure that surgeons didn’t miss anything.

Testicular cancer is on the rise among young Latinos, according to a new study by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University Of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital.

The American College of Physicians said Monday that it strongly recommends against annual pelvic exams for healthy, low-risk women.

In fact, the intrusive exams may do more harm than good for women who aren't pregnant or don't have signs of problems, a group of doctors wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Marcie Sillman talks to biotech journalist Luke Timmerman about the pharmaceutical company Merck buying the biotech company Idenix for  over $3 billion and what that means for the future of a hepatitis C treatment. Also, they discuss the latest from the American Society Of Clinical Oncology meeting.

A Pack Of Smokes Might Get Pricier

May 16, 2014
Flickr Photo/Valerie Everett (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Sandeep Kaushik, spokesperson for the initiative that is looking at increasing the tax on tobacco by $1 in order to fund a cancer prevention program.

Back in the 1970s, a geneticist named Mary-Claire King decided she needed to figure out why women in some families were much more likely to get breast cancer.

Nike chairman Phil Knight is offering a prominent Oregon medical school $500 million for cancer research. However, it comes with a huge string attached.

Flickr Photo/Kristie Wells (CC BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Dr. Julie Gralow, medical oncologist at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, about a new study on mammograms.

West Salem Neighborhood Association

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigation into possible environmental causes for a string of childhood cancer cases in West Salem, Ore. has turned up no contamination or other issues.

Exercise helps recovery after cancer treatment, but fatigue can make working out hard. Yoga can help reduce fatigue for breast cancer survivors, a study finds. It's one of a growing number of efforts using randomized controlled trials to see if the ancient practice offers medical benefits.

Women who took a yoga class three hours a week for three months reported less fatigue compared with a group of breast cancer survivors who did not do yoga.

It may not be news that soda is unhealthy, but today, Consumer Reports is saying that in addition to the sugar and empty calories most soda consumers may worry about, they also should be concerned about the color of the soda.

Tests show that the caramel color used to make most sodas brown, contains a potential carcinogen, and one of the the worst offenders is the diet brand Pepsi One.

Our four-legged friends suffer from many of the same cancers that we do. But one type of dog tumor acts like no other: It's contagious.

The tumor spreads from one pooch to another when the dogs have sex or even just touch or lick each other.

"It's a common disease in street dogs all around the world," says geneticist Elizabeth Murchison at the University of Cambridge. "People in the U.S. and U.K. haven't heard of it because it's found mostly in free-roaming dogs in developing countries."

Fred Hutch Photo/Bo Jungmayer

Imagine if rivals Boeing and Airbus teamed up on a new plane, or Microsoft and Apple built a computer.

That’s a bit like what Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center are attempting. Together, the two have launched a start-up, the goal being to develop a new cancer treatment that targets immune cells in the body and turns them into cancer-fighting soldiers.

'Mommy Has Something Called Cancer': Stories Of Bad News

Nov 13, 2013

If you've ever had to share bad news with the people you love, this short piece about breast cancer should resonate. It manages to wring precious humor from a bad situation. The piece, produced by Albert Dayan & Eric Drachman, won second place in KCRW's 24-Hour Radio Race, in which contestants had 24 hours to write, record, and edit a non-fiction radio story.

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