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How I defeated colon cancer: The real story of a survivor


Have you or someone close to you been diagnosed with cancer?

Are you preparing for a long hard fight?

It can be devastating news, hearing that you are suffering from cancer. The range of emotions you will feel at such a time will be wide and varied, but this sort of news is not the gloomy outlook it once was. In today’s world there are many ways to tackle cancer and inside the pages of this book you can learn things like:

- Using emotions and feelings in the fight
- Chemotherapy
- Surgery
- How to use diet to best effect
- Alternative treatments
- How to act and think during dark moments
- And much more…

Click here to read the book on Amazon.com

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DiCE Releases the CRC Screening Roadmap


In parallel to the White Paper on Colorectal Cancer Screening, we also present the Roadmap for Colorectal Cancer Screening. The first document is directed at policy-makers and highlights what needs to change in health policy to save hundreds of thousands of lives, the latter describes in a step-by-step approach how a colorectal cancer screening campaign should be set up. This approach is based on the experience of the three best practices in Europe: the Netherlands, Slovenia and the Basque region in Spain. All three examples have managed to achieve colorectal cancer screening participation rates between 62 and 72%, and at the same time significantly increasing the number of early stage diagnosis, resulting in better overall survival, and even reduction of the incidence (the number of patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer), because so many polyps were detected in a pre-cancerous stage. The Basque country demonstrated that colorectal cancer screening is not only cost-effective, but over time even cost-saving.

The three successful screening programmes have some elements in common:

  • Involvement of all stakeholders from the start to create a fully integrated and inclusive plan
  • Learning from other countries to apply best practices and to avoid common mistakes
  • Ambitious, sustained and long term perspective with support of all political parties and solid investments
  • A solid combination of healthcare hardware (operational organisation, laboratories, hospital capacity) and software (psychology, sociology, …)
  • Good integration of databases, registries, analyses and communication
  • Pilot Projects to test the system
  • Training, education and certification
  • Investments in ideal capacity track of testing, colonoscopy and surgery

The best practices also show that the higher the participation rate of the population, the better the cost-effectiveness becomes.

Colorectal cancer is a disease that evolves very slowly, sometimes even as long ten years between colon polyps and a late stage tumour. The problem with colorectal cancer is that the symptoms can only be identified by the patient once the disease is well advanced. If we only rely on patient-reported symptoms, we are too late to offer patients a good chance of survival. That is why screening is so critical. In Europe, only 15% of patients are diagnosed at stage I, when they have a chance of survival of 90% and more. The best practices in our Roadmap demonstrate that they are able to increase to 48% of patients now diagnosed at stage I.

The Roadmap offers an initial blueprint on how to set up a colorectal cancer screening campaign. The best practices exist. There is no reason not to apply them.

Click here to read and download the Colorectal Cancer Roadmap.

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DiCE Releases the CRC Screening White Paper


This year DiCE has released the Colorectal Cancer Screening White Paper.

The White Paper highlights the fact that despite the commitment from all EU Ministers of Health in 2003, only three Member States (France, Ireland and Slovenia) have organised Formal Population-based Colorectal cancer screening programmes addressed to all citizens between 50 and 74 years old. The best outcomes were achieved in the Netherlands (citizens older than 55), Slovenia and the Basque country:

- Increase in early detection from 15% to 48% of the population
- Decrease in colorectal cancer mortality
- Overall cost saving in the healthcare system

If all Member States achieved the same results, the number of citizens detected with early stage cancer could be improved from 55,000 to 185,000, and therefore significantly increasing chances of survival. Every year. Stefan Gijssels, Executive Director comments: “There is no rational reason not to organise formal national screening campaigns. It saves lives and money. The major barrier we see is a political one. It takes a lot of effort and time to organise, and screening campaigns require a sustained effort. The financial savings in the healthcare budget may only be visible ten years after the start, but the upside in the number of lives saved should justify screening. As we have seen, the quality of the screening programme is critical to its success. Luckily, several Member States are starting now to have a more professional approach to screening. We can assist them if needed.”

Click here to read and download the White Paper.

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We Launched ECCAM 2019 in EU Parliament!


On Thursday 28th February 2019 Digestive Cancers Europe launched a campaign to promote colorectal cancer screening at the occasion of the start of European Colon Cancer Awareness Month (ECCAM). The event took place at the European Parliament and was hosted by MEP Lieve Wierinck (ALDE).

Click here to view the PRESS RELEASE

Building on the successful 2018 theme #Time4Change, this year ECCAM will be focusing on making people aware of the benefits of detecting colorectal cancer early by taking the screening test which Digestive Cancers Europe believes may save an additional 130,000 lives every year.

Every year, 370,000 citizens in the European Union get a diagnosis of colorectal cancer and 170,000 of them die. Patients who are detected early (Stage I), have a chance of survival of 90% as compared to only 10% when detected in stage IV. Despite the fact that colorectal cancer evolves slowly, over a period of eight to ten years, the majority of patients are still detected in the late stage III & IV.
This makes the case for early screening an easy one, especially because the treatment of early stage cancer is cheaper than late stage, and over 3 billion euro of savings could be generated in the healthcare system every year.

The campaign consists of three activities:
- #MyBest10Seconds - The launch of a Public Awareness Campaign on the importance of getting screened. This social media campaign focuses on the little effort it takes to get screened and the huge life-saving impact it may have. A video shows other small daily things that take up ten seconds of anybody’s time. In colorectal cancer screening, this little effort may save one’s life.
- A White Paper on Colorectal Cancer Screening in Europe – the paper comes with ten policy recommendations to improve the current situation in the European Union.
- A Roadmap for Colorectal Cancer Screening. The publication offers a step-by-step approach on how to organise colorectal cancer screening campaigns at national level, based on the good results of Slovenia, the Netherlands and the Basque region in Spain.

The Public Awareness Campaign will be launched through social media in Finland, France, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain. The video and social media campaign is addressed at citizens of 50 and older. Ads will appear in news feeds on Facebook and as ‘pre-roll’ on You Tube, aiming to reach over 1 million citizens. National Associations will further amplify the efforts locally.

The official campaign microsite can be found at www.mybest10seconds.com
The official campaign video 'My Best 10 Seconds' can be viewed and shared here.

Jola Gore-Booth, Executive Director comments: “We want to make people aware that they can have control over their own life. Many people are still hesitant to test themselves, yet it’s clear that everybody older than 50 should get screened. The effort is minor, and there are no downsides to it. The testing is easy, as is colonoscopy. There is really no reason to risk one’s life by not participating in screening programmes. Still too many people wait. That’s why our campaign is so important.”

The White Paper highlights the fact that despite the commitment from all EU Ministers of Health in 2003, only three Member States (France, Ireland and Slovenia) have organised Formal Population-based Colorectal cancer screening programmes addressed to all citizens between 50 and 74 years old. The best outcomes were achieved in the Netherlands (citizens older than 55), Slovenia and the Basque country:
- Increase in early detection from 15% to 48% of the population
- Decrease in colorectal cancer mortality
- Overall cost saving in the healthcare system

If all Member States achieved the same results, the number of citizens detected with early stage cancer could be improved from 55,000 to 185,000, and therefore significantly increasing chances of survival. Every year.

Stefan Gijssels, Executive Director comments: “There is no rational reason not to organise formal national screening campaigns. It saves lives and money. The major barrier we see is a political one. It takes a lot of effort and time to organise, and screening campaigns require a sustained effort. The financial savings in the healthcare budget may only be visible ten years after the start, but the upside in the number of lives saved should justify screening. As we have seen, the quality of the screening programme is critical to its success. Luckily, several Member States are starting now to have a more professional approach to screening. We can assist them if needed.”

Digestive Cancers Europe represents 40 National Associations in 30 European countries and is active in the areas of oesophageal, gastric, pancreatic, colon, rectum and rare cancers of the digestive tract. The Organisation collaborates with Pancreatic Cancer Europe.

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Join our ECCAM 2019 Online Campaign!


March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month!

This year Digestive Cancers Europe have launched a social media campaign across 6 European countries to raise awareness of screening. The screening test only takes 10 seconds to complete and could save your life!
What else could you do in 10 seconds to have such an impact?

Visit the official campaign microsite in your language and find out more www.mybest10seconds.com

Watch and share the official campaign video 'My Best 10 Seconds' here.

Use the official hashtags to share media:
#Mybest10seconds
#ECCAM2019

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Doctor, I've been on the internet again


I sat grim-faced in the examining room, waiting for my doctor so I could tell her my bad news.

"What's wrong?" my doctor, Milissa Cooper, asked, pulling a stool up close so we were knee-to-knee.

"I have colon cancer," I told her, as gently as I could. I won't go into the gory details, but I had all the symptoms.

"And how do you know this?" she asked.

"WebMD.com," I said matter-of-factly.

Did she just roll her eyes at me? I thought she'd be devastated.

I apparently wasn't the first patient she'd seen who had come up with an alarming self-diagnosis on the Internet. I probably wasn't even the first one she'd seen that day.

Over the past 15 years, Dr. Cooper has seen an increase in patients who come in with reams of research they have pulled off the Internet.

She remembers what it was like in medical school, where students diagnosed themselves with the diseases they studied. She admires her patients' desire for knowledge and takes their concerns seriously but worries they cause themselves undue anxiety.

OK, so it's more likely I have gastroenteritis or a bug, but I was imagining me with a colostomy bag instead of picking up a case of Activia.

The official term for this is “cyberchondria,” coined in 2000 to describe otherwise rational Internet users tapping out symptoms and latching on to the worst possible diagnosis.

Every headache is a potential aneurysm. Thirsty? I'm diabetic.

Dr. Cooper gave me probiotics, which helped, and ran some tests (all negative). She suggested I lay off WebMD.

Here are the new rules: I can use the Internet to clarify what my doctor tells me and to help me ask smart questions, but I can't make my own diagnosis.

At least not until I finish medical school.

Click here to read the original article sourced from EU AZ Central.

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We Support World Cancer Day 2019!


4th February 2019 is World Cancer Day

Each year on 4 February, World Cancer Day empowers all of us across the world to show support, raise our collective voice, take personal action and press our governments to do more. World Cancer Day is the only day on the global health calendar where we can all unite and rally under the one banner of cancer in a positive and inspiring way.

Click here to find out more about WCD, download information sheets and share your support!

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New combination blood test for pancreatic cancer


A new approach to pancreatic cancer screening may help doctors detect the disease in people at high risk before it reaches more advanced and difficult-to treat stages.

A team led by Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) scientists has developed a new, simple blood test that, when combined with an existing test, detects nearly 70 percent of pancreatic cancers with a less than 5 percent false-positive rate.

The results of the blinded study were published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Pancreatic cancer is difficult to diagnose because it often doesn't have obvious early symptoms.

By the time the disease is found, it typically is quite advanced, complicating treatment and leading to poorer outcomes.

Only 8.5 percent of people with pancreatic cancer survive past five years, a figure that has risen just slightly since the early 1990s.

"Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive disease made even more devastating by its tendency to spread before detection, which is a serious roadblock to successful medical treatment," said Brian Haab, Ph.D., a VARI professor and the study's senior author.

"We hope that our new test, when used in conjunction with the currently available test, will help doctors catch and treat pancreatic cancer in high-risk individuals before the disease has spread."

Both tests detect and measure levels of sugars produced by pancreatic cancer cells that subsequently escape into the blood stream.

The sugar measured by the new test - sTRA - is produced by a different subset of pancreatic cancers than CA-19-9, the sugar measured by the existing test.

When used together, the tests cast a broader net and detect subtypes of pancreatic cancer that may have been missed by using one of the two tests on its own.

The CA-19-9 test was developed almost 40 years ago and detects only about 40 percent of pancreatic cancers.

It currently is used to confirm diagnosis of pancreatic cancer or track disease progression rather than screen for the disease.

The improved detection rate offered by the combined use of the sTRA and CA-19-9 tests makes this approach a viable option for screening and early intervention, particularly in people who have a higher risk for developing the disease.

This includes people who have a family history of pancreatic cancer, who have had pancreatic cysts or chronic pancreatitis, or who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes later in life.

Emerging evidence has suggested that sudden onset of diabetes after age 50 could be an early symptom of some pancreatic cancers.

Currently, life-long diabetes is not considered to be a risk factor for or indicator of pancreatic cancer.

"We believe using these tests in a complementary fashion will help physicians detect pancreatic cancers much sooner in the disease process, which significantly improves a patient's chance for survival," Haab said.

"Right now, there are few options for people suspected to have pancreatic cancer. This combined blood test could be a simple, cost-effective way to detect disease early enough to improve patient outcomes."

Haab and his collaborators plan to partner with clinical laboratories to gain additional real-world validation for their method.

If successful as expected, they envision the test becoming widely available as a screening tool for high-risk individuals.

Source: Val Andel Research Institute

Click here to read more at ecancernews

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Scientists connect dots between colitis and colon cancer


Lingering inflammation in the colon is a known risk factor for colorectal cancer and now scientists report one way it resets the stage to enable this common and often deadly cancer.

Inflammation is supposed to be a short-term response to an infection or other irritant in the body that is essential to eliminating it. But when inflammation persists, it can contribute to a myriad of common conditions, from cancer to cardiovascular disease.

In their quest to determine just how chronic inflammation of our large intestines, or colon, enables cancer, a scientific team led by Dr. Kebin Liu at the Medical College of Georgia and Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University has found it turns one more protective mechanism against us and silences another.

The pathway to cancer they delineated in the journal Cell Reports goes like this: The chronic inflammation of ulcerative colitis prompts high levels of myeloid-derived suppressor cells, or MDSCs, to accumulate in the colon. High levels of MDSCs, in turn, produce higher levels of IL-10, a cytokine known to suppress inflammation. But at this high level, the function of IL-10, like the environment in the colon, changes. IL-10 instead activates STAT3, a protein that works as a gene regulator, which in turn increases expression of two genes—DNMT1 and DNMT3b—in the colon. These genes alter the DNA of and ultimately silence a tumor suppressor called interferon regulator factor 8, or IRF8.

Liu notes that the pathway they found that ends with silencing IRF8, likely is not a factor for non-colitis associated colon cancer.

Next steps include finding ways to inhibit high expression of IL-10 in the colon.

"IL-10 has a dual function. It can either be promoting or interfering with an immune response," says Liu. "What we found here is IL-10 promotes colon cancer."

In a healthy state, IL-10 and IRF8 have no known interaction but both work in different ways to protect against invaders, says Liu, a cancer immunologist in the MCG Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The scientists set out to look at whether and how the two are connected in a chronically inflamed colon and test the hypothesis that IRF8 functions as a colorectal cancer suppressor.

Click here to continue reading this article sourced from Medical Xpress.


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