cancer

A lot of attention is showered on health concerns such as heart disease and cancer. There's much less attention and effort being directed to something that is the cause of more than half of all hospital deaths: sepsis. Sepsis accounts for more deaths than prostate cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined.  Dr Jack Iwashyna  is an associate professor in the Pulmonary and Critical Care Division of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan - and Marianne Udow-Phillips directs the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation.  Hear our interview with them below. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Terminally ill patients in Michigan may soon have a new avenue to pursue unproven treatments.

The State House Health Policy committee Tuesday approved "right-to-try" legislation. The state Senate has already approved the legislation, which tries to give patients a better chance of getting drugs or medical devices that show promise, but have not been fully tested.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan state lawmakers need to do more to help protect people from cancer. That’s the finding of a new study by the American Cancer Society.

The American Cancer Society says 58,610 people in Michigan will be diagnosed with cancer this year;  20,800 will die.

Nationwide, the society estimates 1.6 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in 2014, and 580,000 will die from the disease. 

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s annual “How Do You Measure Up” report says Michigan state lawmakers should be doing more to reduce cancer risks.

nationalwritersseries.org / nationalwritersseries.org

A cancer diagnosis, either for yourself or for a loved one, is an incredibly frightening experience. When Greg Holmes received the diagnosis of a very rare and highly fatal cancer, he and his wife Katherine Roth found themselves trying to find hope in what seemed like a hopeless situation.

They’ve shared their journey in the memoir The Good Fight: A Story of Cancer, Love, and Triumph.

Below is an excerpt from the book where Katherine gives the news to her husband that he has cancer.

“I hesitated as one does when facing a huge precipice. I knew that telling Greg would make it real and send us free falling into a nightmare. I longed to hold back and return to our innocence, but reality pushed me forward. I asked Greg if he was sitting down and then I jumped. I don’t remember how I told him or the words I chose, but each one felt cruel. Each word was irretrievable, shattering our world and life as we knew it. Nothing remained except the harsh wind-swept shoreline of our tentative future.”

Greg Holmes and Katherine Roth joined Stateside to talk about their book and share their experience.

*Listen to the full interview with Greg Holmes and Katherine Roth above.

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The number of younger men diagnosed with late-stage prostate cancer has been rising sharply over the past two decades.

Prostate cancer has generally been associated with aging. But researchers at the University of Michigan say it's time to rethink that.

Dr. Kathleen Cooney is professor of internal medicine and urology at the university. She said there could also be a genetic factor that makes some men more susceptible to the disease earlier in their lives.

Amy Temple / The Center for Public Integrity

Arsenic is nearly synonymous with poison. But most people don't realize that they consume small amounts of it in the food they eat and the water they drink.

Recent research suggests even small levels of arsenic may be harmful. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been prepared to say since 2008 that arsenic is 17 times more toxic as a carcinogen than the agency now reports.

Women are especially vulnerable. EPA scientists have concluded that if 100,000 women consumed the legal limit of arsenic each day, 730 of them eventually would get lung or bladder cancer.

The EPA, however, hasn’t been able to make its findings official, an action that could trigger stricter drinking water standards. The roadblock: a single paragraph inserted into a committee report by a member of Congress, an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity found.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan firefighters are a step closer to getting help paying for treatment of a serious illness they may contract on the job.

The state Senate this week overwhelmingly approved a bill to create a $15 million fund to cover the medical costs firefighters incur when they fall sick with cancer.

The fund would compensate insurance companies that cover firefighters who make claims for treatment of bladder, skin, brain and a half dozen other forms of cancer. 

The broad view of the giant colon.
American Cancer Society

That one got our attention too.

The press release from the University of Michigan News Service starts with "here's your chance:"

The University of Michigan Health System will partner with the American Cancer Society to bring a 32-foot-long, 14-foot-high giant replica of the colon to Briarwood Mall, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. March 22, to raise awareness  of colorectal cancer.

What does such a thing look like? We asked for a few photos.

U of M physicians will also be on hand to answer any questions visitors might have.

Detroit's Police Chief for the day is nine year old Jayvon Felton - a fourth grader who is fighting leukemia, but one day hopes to fight crime as a Detroit Police Officer.

This morning Jayvon made his way to work by helicopter, taking a ride from Coleman A. Young International Airport, over Belle Isle, Comerica Park and the Ambassador Bridge. Upon his arrival, he was greeted by a group of Detroit Police Officers, Felton's classmates from Roberto Clemente Academy, and Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

http://uofmhealthblogs.org

A new organization in Ypsilanti that promotes cancer awareness for Native Americans is struggling to stay afloat.

Shoshana Beth Phillips is executive director of Heritage of Healing. It incorporates native traditions and activities into its services, and supports families with a parent dealing with cancer. (Phillips is originally from the Omaha Nation of Nebraska and was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer seven years ago.) 

On today's show, we took a look at key election results from around the state, from marijuana to gay rights. How did you vote?  And what's the take away from Election 2013?

Then, we spoke with Michigan singer-songwriter Stewart Franke as he takes us inside his battle with leukemia.

And, we talked Michigan beer. A new film looks at the craft beer scene in our state.

First on the show, it has been quite a journey for a candidate who got booted off the primary ballot, was going to fold his tent and walk away, then was urged to mount a write-in campaign, swept the primary and today, is the new Mayor-Elect of Detroit.

Mike Duggan has become Detroit's first white mayor in 40 years, beating Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek has covered the Duggan campaign and was at the victory party last night. She joined us today.

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Whenever you talk about the key players in Michigan's music scene, one of the names that inevitably comes up is that of Stewart Francke.

Born in Saginaw, he's made his home, raised his family and built his music career in Metro Detroit.

Writer and critic Jim McFarlin calls Stewart Francke "Detroit's workingman's troubadour," a title he's earned and maintained over decades of making his music.

But today we are going to hear about another journey Stewart Francke has been on, a journey into the world of cancer. A journey that began when he was diagnosed with leukemia that forced Stew and his family and circle of friends to join together to wage a ferocious battle.

He's now telling the story of his cancer battle in his e-book from Untreed Reads. The title says it all, "What Don't Kill Me Just Makes Me Strong."

Stewart Francke joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Being handed a diagnosis of cancer is a life-shattering experience.

Every single patient has his or her story of coping with cancer, fighting cancer, and there is infinite wisdom in each of these stories.

Alex Kip has one of those stories. He was 22 when he was diagnosed with non hodgkins lymphoma.

The U of M musical theatre graduate has turned his cancer battle into a play, "My Other Voice" is now running at the Arthur Miller Theatre through this weekend.

Alex Kip joined us in the studio.

Listen to the audio above.

NCI

Michigan's cancer profile can cause unease, especially if you live or work near polluted waterways or land. Federal health data show that where you live might determine whether you will get cancer and what type.

Journalist Norm Sinclair looked at the "cancer hot spots" in Michigan for the August issue of DBusiness magazine, and he joined us today from Oakland County.

Federal health data show that where you live may determine whether you will get cancer and what type.

On today’s show, we explored Michigan's cancer profile.

And, we traveled to the Headlands International Dark Sky Park near Mackinac City, one of only 10 designated sky parks in the entire world.

Also, we spoke with Rick Pluta about the write-in candidates in Detroit’s primary election.

First on the show, it's not uncommon for voter turnout to be lower on primary Election Days than on the big general Election Days in November, but so much is at stake in Detroit's primary today.

Voters will narrow the field in races for Mayor and City Council.

They'll be choosing a district-based council for the first time in nearly 100 years. These leaders will be working closely with emergency manager Kevyn Orr during the city's historic bankruptcy, and they will be running the show after Orr leaves.

So the need for competent, passionate elected officials is greater than ever, and yet, turnout at the polls in Detroit is expected to be in the 15-17% range.

We wanted to talk about what's behind that chronically low number. Could it be something besides disaffected, uninvolved residents?

Nancy Derringer, a writer for Bridge Magazine, and Karen Dumas, the former chief of communications for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and a communications/PR strategist, joined us today.

Michigan's home foreclosure rate is falling and our state is certainly no longer number one in foreclosures in the country. We found out why on today's show.

And, Michigan Radio's Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry joined us to take a look at how your state lawmakers are spending their summer recess.

And, a Michigan videographer is heading to Greenland to document the effects of pollution on glaciers for a project called “Dark Snow.”

Also, we spoke with the father of a 12-year-old Ohio State fan who found a creative way to use the rivalry between OSU and U of M to help him beat brain cancer.

And, Scott DeRue, who teaches at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, joined us to talk about his recent climb to the summit of Mount Everest.

First on the show, it’s Thursday which means it’s the time we turn to Daniel Howes – Columnist at the Detroit News.

Today he took a look at Kevyn Orr and the meetings he had this week with Detroit’s creditors and bond holders.

Detroit Free Press

It's a safe bet to state that one of the greatest sports rivalries in America is the one between Michigan and Ohio State.

Well, there's a "Beat Michigan" campaign happening right now in Buckeye-land that even the most die-hard Wolverine fan could not complain about.

A 12-year-old Ohio State fan---a true Ohio State fan---has been fighting brain cancer for the past two years. And to get him through the grueling chemo to help him marshal every bit of energy towards beating that cancer, young Grant Reed has named his tumor "Michigan."

And guess what, it's working! And there's nothing like some Internet fame to take a kid's mind off of the tough realities of a cancer battle.

Grant's dad, Troy Reed, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

user: anyjazz65 / Flickr

Gilda's Club is an organization that consists of groups across the country which provide laughter and support to cancer patients.

The organization is named after Gilda Radner. She was one of the brightest faces in comedy. The University of Michigan alum was in the original cast of Saturday Night Live. She passed away from ovarian cancer in 1989. 

One of her close friends and partner in comedy, Allen Zweibel, spoke with Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty about Radner.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are grappling with an issue that pits Michigan’s firefighters against insurance companies.

A bill before the Senate Judiciary committee would expand workers compensation coverage to Michigan’s five thousand paid firefighters to include ten types of cancer, including respiratory tract, bladder, skin, and brain.

The change would ‘presume’ fighting fires caused the cancers and not require firefighters to prove exposure on the job is responsible.

Christy Barnes / University of Michigan

University of Michigan researchers are developing a new use for an old drug.

Small doses of medicine already used to treat cancer may reduce inflammation in patients after a bone marrow transplant.

These transplants can save a cancer patient's life, but many recipients suffer from a life-threatening side effect called Graft-versus-host disease. It occurs when the donated cells attack their new host's tissues.

The drug Vorinostat could help reduce that risk. For the first time, researchers at U-of-M's Comprehensive Cancer Center are testing that possibility on human patients.

John Eisenschenk / Creative Commons

The National Cancer Institute has chosen the Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids to lead a new study on pancreatic cancer.

The NCI estimates 43,000 people in the U.S. will get pancreatic cancer in 2012; leading to 37,000 deaths.

Brian Haab Ph.D., Head of Van Andel Institute’s Laboratory of Cancer Immunodiagnostics, will head the research team.

Many times pancreatic cancer spreads to internal organs before people realize they have it and by then the prognosis is usually not so good. "It’s an aggressive disease. It doesn’t respond well to almost anything we’ve tried. Though there are individual cases that have worked out well,” Haab said.

He says pancreatic cancer is still hard to detect.

“It can be a long, expensive, and sometimes invasive process to do that and we want blood tests that can make it quick and inexpensive process,” Haab said.

John Klein Wilson / Michigan Radio

Yesterday, we hosted a live web chat that coincided with the airing of our one-hour documentary, "Living with Cancer."

People who logged on could ask our cancer experts, Dr. Anthony Shields and Dr. Michael Harbut from the Karmanos Cancer Institute, their questions about cancer and the environment. Some weighed in via Facebook and our blog, as well.

Here is a recap of the chat:

Michigan Radio

Welcome to our live Web chat with the producers of our documentary, Living with Cancer: Rebecca Williams, Meg Cramer and Sarah Alvarez.

The show is airing now on Michigan Radio, 91.7 FM/91.1 FM/104.1 FM, or you can listen to the live stream above.

John Klein Wilson / Michigan Radio

It’s something we don’t like to talk about, but cancer is all around us. It would be hard to find someone who hasn’t been touched by cancer - not just someone you know - but someone you love.

In Living with Cancer, a special one-hour documentary from Michigan Radio, we'll explore how much we really know about the connections between cancer and the chemicals in our environment.

We’ll meet both regular people and scientists trying to figure out if certain towns around Michigan are struggling with more cancer cases than other places because of current or past pollution. You'll hear about whether or not turning to the courts makes sense when it seems a company might to be blame for putting people at risk of cancer or other illnesses. Finally, we'll look at where we go from here. What do researchers know, and where are they looking next?

Listen live at 3pm on air on Michigan Radio or you can listen to the show at the audio links below:

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The chairman of the House's tax-writing committee says he's been diagnosed with a "very early, highly treatable and curable type" of cancer.

GOP Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan says in a statement that doctors found non-Hodgkin lymphoma during a recent physical. Camp says he'll continue in Congress and retain his committee chairmanship during chemotherapy.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system. The 59-year-old Camp says he has large B-cell lymphoma. B-cells are a type of white blood cell that helps fight infections.

MSU Physical Plant / flickr

The Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids has developed a new diagnostic test for cancer, based on the discovery of a gene that contributes to the illness.

George Vande Woude is the founding research director at the Van Andel Institute. He discovered what is called the MET gene in the 1980's. He says the MET gene is frequently activated in many cancers.

"What is important in this discovery is the diagnostic tests can be performed to determine whether patients' tumor is positive for the gene or not," he says.

The diagnostic test may be able to diagnose as many as 30 forms of cancer.

A new national ad campaign to get people to quit smoking is already showing dramatic results in Michigan.

The Center for Disease Control launched the ads two weeks ago. They feature former smokers who’ve had heart attacks, strokes or parts of their bodies amputated because of tobacco use.

Angela Minicuci is with the Michigan Department of Community Health. She says the number of calls coming into the Michigan Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669) has skyrocketed.

“We’ve had a 200-percent increase in the two weeks since the campaign has launched and that’s not something that we’ve ever seen before,” Minicuci said. She said the early results are similar across the country.

Last week, we brought you a series on cancer and the environment.

I put together this visual representation of some of the statistics we learned about cancer and our lives.

Welcome to our live Web chat with the producers of our week-long series "Cancer & Environment: Searching for Answers."

Dr. Arnold Schecter will also join us today at 12:30 p.m.

He's a professor of epidemiology, human genetics and environmental sciences at the University of Texas Dallas, and he's been studying the health effects of toxic substances for over 30 years.

If you have any questions or comments for the producers, simply type them into the chat box below. We will try to address them in the order they are submitted. Or you can just sit back and watch the discussion.

Thanks for participating!

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

There have been breakthroughs in treating cancer, but what about preventing it in the first place?

In 1970, the nation launched a “War on Cancer.” The goal was to cure it in 25 years, but back then, researchers didn’t know what we know now. That cancer is a disease of our genes… “a distorted version of our normal selves” as Nobel Prize winner Dr. Harold Varmus said.

In the final part of our week-long series, I visited some researchers at the University of Michigan's Comprehensive Cancer Center who are looking deep into our cells for answers.

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