Friday, November 05, 2010

Cancer Carnival #39

This month is Movember, the annual prostate cancer fundraising and awareness campaign involving men showing off their (mutton) chops and growing some fine facial hair. Read more about Movember here, and if you'd like to donate but don't know a participant, why not throw a few bucks at this effort and tell him the Bayblab sent you (full disclosure: he's my brother). In Canada, prostate cancer is the number one most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, with an estimated 24,600 new cases and 4,300 deaths in 2010. November is also Lung Cancer Awareness month, the number one cancer killer among both men and women, accounting for more cancer deaths than the next three cancers (colorectal, breast and prostate) combined. (Statistics according to the Canadian Cancer Society).

With that in mind, it's also time for the latest edition of the Cancer Research Blog Carnival. It's a short one this month - remember that the carnival depends on submissions from readers, so be sure to submit your posts for next month.

First off, last month's host Highlight HEALTH sends us news of a campaign to end breast cancer by 2020, the first initiative of which is to develop a breast cancer vaccine.
Key to this strategy and the challenge for researchers will be the identification of molecular mechanisms shared among the various breast cancer subtypes that cause the disease. A breast cancer vaccine may be closer than you think. A report in Nature Medicine earlier this year reported an experimental vaccine that prevented breast cancer in mouse models.
The National Breast Cancer Coalition has done more than just set an arbitrary deadline - January 1, 2020 - but has outlined a plan to get there. Read more about the efforts at Highlight HEALTH.

Here at the Bayblab, I take a look a paper that explores what it means to be "cancer literate" and what kind of public education is needed for a cancer literate public.
[T]he authors assembled a panel of cancer experts (oncologists, GPs, nurses from oncology wards, social workers, public health experts) who refined the answer over a number of rounds. For their purposes, literacy was "the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions."
While there are some obvious answers, there are also some surprises as to what is included and excluded from a definition of cancer literacy.

Elsewhere, Christie at Observations of a Nerd debunks the myth that sharks don't get cancer.
There are a lot of myths out there about the marine world, but by far the one that bothers me the most is the notion that sharks don't get cancer. This simply untrue statement has led to the slaughter of millions of sharks via the industry for shark cartilage pills, which are sold to desperate cancer patients under the false pretense that they can help reduce or cure their illness.
Meanwhile, Orac also takes a look "alternative" cancer therapy as he describes "Yet another cancer cure testimonial that tells us nothing".

Finally, White Coat Underground has a post up about sulforaphane-rich vegetables (eg. broccoli), cancer prevention and how to properly evaluate risk.
The other day, I took issue with a press release published on another website. It was titled, Discovery may help scientists boost broccoli’s cancer-fighting power, which I found to by hyperbolic and deceptive. The actual study being reported regarded the ability of certain compounds found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli to be absorbed from the cecums of rats. I dismissed the entire piece as being unsupportive of its ambitious headline.
Read the whole post for a more detailed look at some aspects of the broccoli-cancer connection, and important tips on how to critically read the medical literature.

That's it for this month's Cancer Research Blog Carnival. For older editions, visit the Carnival Homepage. Don't forget, the CRBC has subscription options; you can follow by email or RSS feed. An aggregated feed of credible, rotating health and medicine blog carnivals is also available. For a broader collection of science-related blog carnivals, sign up for the Science, Medicine, Environment and Nature Blog Carnival Twitter Feed.