Rare Cancer: Decision to remove healthy stomach daunts family fearful of mutation

Jemma Caprioli is preparing to undergo radical surgery to remove what could be her perfectly healthy stomach.

When she was about 20 years old, Ms Caprioli and her older brother learned they carried a genetic mutation for a rare and aggressive cancer that killed 12 members of their family, including their much-loved uncle months earlier.

Their mother had also developed microscopic traces of the stomach cancer known as hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (HDGC), and had her stomach removed almost immediately.

“My brother and I were so young when we found out we had this mutation … it’s a very daunting thing to be forced to confront,” Ms Caprioli said. …

Former Australian of the year to trial new cancer treatment

Former Australian of the Year Ian Frazer is close to starting clinical human trials on a new vaccine that could be used to treat head and neck cancer.

Admedus Immunotherapies is working with Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital on the breakthrough, which is based on the use of Professor Frazer’s human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

Professor Frazer said HPV-associated cancers made up 20 per cent of all people diagnosed worldwide.

“Unfortunately, conventional treatments are not always successful,” he said in a statement on Sunday.

“Harnessing the immune system is a new way to treat these virus-associated cancers.”

Admedus Immunotherapies chief executive Neil Finlayson said the new HPV …

$187,000 to $6.30: Turnbull government subsidy gives hope to cancer sufferers

A breakthrough leukaemia and lymphoma drug that normally costs $187,000 per treatment will become easily affordable under a new $460 million Turnbull government subsidy.

Ibrutinib, known as Imbruvica, will cost patients $38.80 a script – or $6.30 for concessional patients – once it is listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme from December 1.

The drug will be available to all eligible patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL).

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will announce the listing on Monday, saying the drug – considered significantly more effective than many of the treatments already available through the PBS – will change …

Breast cancer breakthrough: New genetic markers discovered

SCIENTISTS have discovered dozens of new genetic markers that increase a woman’s breast cancer chances, paving the way for the possibility of more effective screening, better treatments and risk-reduction medications.

Queensland scientist Georgia Chenevix-Trench, one of the leaders of the international collaboration which uncovered the 72 new markers, said that combined with existing knowledge, the research could eventually contribute to a predictive breast cancer test for women.

Providing doctors with a better understanding of breast cancer risk may change the advice they give to individual women about the age they should start mammograms and how often they have them. Read …

Debunking links between menopausal hormone therapy and cancer

Women are enduring the crippling effects of menopause ­unnec­essarily because of fear and ignor­ance of the benefits of menopausal hormone therapy, the Australasian Menopause Society says.

The experts blame a flawed study by the US Women’s Health Initiative study, published in 2002, for setting off a mostly unfounded scare about the link between MHT and breast cancer. The media story spread like wildfire and pharmaceutical companies stopped distributing MHT and GPs stopped prescribing it.
Clinical associate professor Sheila O’Neill chaired this month’s 21st AMS congress in Sydney that set out to explore the ­research around menopause, ­debunk the …

Urgent action needed to help GPs prescribe fewer antibiotics: study

A Queensland academic has called for monitoring of antibiotic resistance rates in the community, new targets and help for GPs to reduce how much of the drug they prescribe.

About 1600 people die directly from antibiotic resistance in Australia every year, according to a piece published in the latest Medical Journal of Australia.

The authors, led by Bond University academic Professor Chris Del Mar, said the situation would get steadily worse until 2050, when deaths from currently treatable infections would overtake total cancer deaths.

The antibiotic resistance crisis would also pose serious problems for now routine high-technology medical care.

Without reliable antibiotics, procedures such as chemotherapy, bone …

Women with family history of breast and ovarian cancer able to undergo free genetic tests

WOMEN with a family history of breast and ovarian cancer will soon be able to undergo free genetic tests to see if they are at risk of developing the potentially deadly diseases.

The tests to see if patients have inherited genetic mutations linked to breast and ovarian cancers will be listed on the Medicare Benefits Schedule from November 1.

The tests also will provide women and their families an estimate of their relative risk of developing a new primary cancer during their lifetime.

The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia’s genetics advisory committee chair Dr Melody Caramins says making the tests …

New skin cancer warning: not all suspect moles are dark

Be warned — you may have more potential skin cancers than you think.
Until now, public health messages about skin cancer haven’t warned about paler, less obvious lesions.

“Typically, a lot of people assume, wrongly, that melanomas are associated with dark pigmented moles,” said Chris McMillan, the CEO of Cancer Council Queensland.

But research has shown that risks missing a significant number of potential lethal melanomas.

“Realistically, we find that 20 per cent of melanomas are pale-coloured lesions,” Mr McMillan said. Read more… 

Cancer and work: A compatible duo?

You might assume a cancer diagnosis is a reason to stop working. In many cases that’s true due to what can be a debilitating disease and the harsh treatment that usually follows.

For many others, however, the diagnosis is a reason to continue working. It’s a way of deriving meaning throughout a period when meaning and purpose are themselves being questioned.

In a study due to be published this month in the Disability and Rehabilitation journal, researchers interviewed a number of cancer survivors on the role their work played during their recovery and in the years that followed.

A 44-year-old man made the …

Breast cancer patients with private health insurance paying thousands.

A new report has found that privately insured women with breast cancer are paying thousands in gap fees and other out-of-pocket expenses for their treatment.
The report by Deloitte Access and the Breast Cancer Network Australia surveyed more than 2,000 women with breast cancer last year and found their out-of-pocket costs varied considerably.

It found a quarter of patients paid more than $17,000 and some paid more than $21,000 in treatment costs.

Women with private health insurance paid almost twice as much as women in the public healthcare system.

Women without health insurance paid around $3,600 in out-of-pocket costs while women with private …

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