My Blue Dots Blog

Helpful Articles

Keep an eye out for these ovarian cancer signs

September 9, 2015

The American Cancer Society estimates that about 21,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year, and although it’s rare, it’s also the deadliest of all female reproductive cancers. Unlike breast, uterine, and cervical cancers which have screenings and can be detected early, only about 20 percent of ovarian cancer cases are...

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POLQ new druggable target identified for cancer therapy

August 12, 2015

Half of ovarian cancers have abnormal homologous recombination repair mechanism. Loss of homologous recombination POLQ is a protein that plays a role in the error-prone mirohomology-mediated end-joining (MMEJ) pathway, a pathway required for homologous recombination repair. This study demonstrated that a decreased POLQ expression in epithelial...

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Heat therapy in cancer treatment

August 5, 2015

Using heat to supplement conventional cancer treatments is highly controversial and requires substantial evidence from clinical trials. However, some believe using heat in addition to radiation therapy or chemotherapy may enhance the effects of these treatment methods. The idea comes from the role of using heat to reduce pain and infections in...

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Breast Cancer Screening

July 29, 2015

Breast cancer screening is one of the best ways to discover cancer at an early stage. Early detection and early treatment increases survival rate and improve the quality of life of breast cancer survivors. There are several ways to screen for breast cancer: 1. Mammogram - this is the most common type of screen test. Mammogram entails an X-ray...

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Effect of laughter in radiation therapy

July 22, 2015

A good laugh may have significant benefits in radiation treatments. A recent study by Kong et al. (2014) explored the effect of laughter therapy on radiation-induced dermatitis in breast cancer patients treated with radiation therapy. Radiation-induced dermatitis is one of the most common side-effects of radiation therapy such that 95% of patients...

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Celebrate summer without compromising your health!

July 8, 2015

Nothing says summer like a beach party and good ol’ barbecue smothered in sauce! And of course, there is the alcohol. However, for liver cancer patients and survivors, there are some dietary restrictions. Even with the limitations, there are still ways to indulge in the celebrations without harming one’s health. 1) Fill up on the healthy...

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Stanford Finds Mental Health Prescription: Nature

July 2, 2015

Study finds that walking in nature yields measurable mental benefits and may reduce risk of depression. Feeling down? Take a hike. A new study finds quantifiable evidence that walking in nature could lead to a lower risk of depression. Specifically, the study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, found that...

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Potential new technique to detect cancer

April 29, 2015

This Week's Helpful Article:  Blood tests may replace the need of invasive biopsy in diagnosing cancer. Read more here:...

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Radiation Therapy Markings and the Blue Dots

April 22, 2015

Several methods are used in skin marking during repeated radiation therapy in order to maintain consistency of the body region to be treated. Common marking techniques include marker pen, henna, and tattoo. Tattoo is the most commonly used method in radiation marking. A non-toxic ink is injected to the outer skin layer of the patient, and the...

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Radiation Therapy Treatment Process

April 15, 2015

This Week's Helpful Article: Pictorial Overview of the Radiation Therapy Treatment Process. To read more, please follow this link:...

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My Blue Dots Pin

April 8, 2015

My Blue Dots salutes and honors all those who are going through a cancer experience. These blue dot pins are created to state, in a non-verbal way, that we are standing with you as you go through this journey. Words are often inadequate for how much can you really say? However, by wearing this pin you are making a powerful non-verbal statement...

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Hope, Healing and Health

April 1, 2015

My Blue Dots represents Hope, Healing and Health on many levels. During this Holy Week, we look at the spiritual side of healing. Hope, Healing, Health Time stops when you hear those words, “Yes, you do have cancer”. From that moment forward, you are thrown into the merry-go-round of uncertainty. There are appointments to keep, decisions...

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Pregnant with Cancer

Pregnant Woman

March 25, 2015

  After years of debating whether to have a second child, my husband, Mark, and I decided to give it a try. Two weeks later, we found a lump. I was 35. When the diagnosis of breast cancer was made, we learned how treatment could affect fertility: chemo could jump-start menopause. Doctors wouldn't feel comfortable letting us try to...

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How To Act Around Someone Just Diagnosed With Cancer

March 18, 2015

I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer two years ago. It was a confusing whirlwind where I felt more alive than ever, then flushed with the irony of that, became scared and isolated. And then I just wanted everything to go back to normal. What I realized very quickly is that people don’t know what to say when something like this happens. And as...

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Talking About Cancer, Then and Now

NIH-NCI Cancer Research

March 11, 2015

Today, cancer tends to be spoken about with openness. But 60 years ago, the medical approach to the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer was frequently a matter of how to deliver the worst news in the best possible way. In the 1950s, WNYC Radio and The New York Academy of Medicine produced a series of "Cancer Alerts" for doctors. According...

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Blood Cancers

Blood Cancer Awareness

March 4, 2015

March has been dedicated to honor the Red Cross as we celebrate the power of blood in fueling our bodies. However, even such a life-sustaining fluid is not protected against cancer. It is estimated that one person in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer every 3 minutes and account for 9.4% of all cancer deaths. There are 3 main types...

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Before I Go

Paul Kalanithi

February 25, 2015

In residency, there’s a saying: The days are long, but the years are short. In neurosurgical training, the day usually began a little before 6 a.m., and lasted until the operating was done, which depended, in part, on how quick you were in the OR. A resident’s surgical skill is judged by his technique and his speed. You can’t be sloppy and...

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Changing Cancer Treatments

February 18, 2015

Immunotherapy has shown remarkable gains in treating cancer by harnessing the body’s own immune system, and Dr. Jedd Wolchok, chief of the Melanoma and Immunotherapeutics Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is one of the leading researchers in the field. His patient, senior staff writer at Mary Elizabeth Williams, is the...

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Harnessing the Immune System to Fight Cancer

February 11, 2015

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...

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Feelings and Cancer

February 4, 2015

Feelings and Cancer Just as cancer affects your physical health, it can bring up a wide range of feelings you’re not used to dealing with. It can also make many feelings seem more intense. They may change daily, hourly, or even minute to minute. This is true whether you’re currently in treatment, done with treatment, or a friend or family...

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Music and Medicine

January 27, 2015

February is in full swing and love is in the air! Not only are emotions elicited by loved ones, a wide range of emotions can also be triggered by listening to music. It was previously shown that listening to Mozart’s piano sonata was associated with increased reasoning skills in solving spatial programs. A more recent study has extended this...

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Radiotherapy and Green Tea

January 21, 2015

Background: Radiation-induced discomfort is frequently observed during pelvic radiotherapy. This study was performed to determine the effect of a green tea tablet to reduce the incidence of radiation-induced diarrhea and vomiting in patients with abdomen and pelvic malignancy. Materials and Methods: This randomized controlled clinical...

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Tips and tools for helping cancer survivors manage fatigue


January 14, 2015

There are an estimated 14.5 million cancer survivors in the United States, and this figure is expected to grow to almost 19 million in the next decade, according to the latest data (.pdf) from American Cancer Society. At a recent Stanford Health Library talk, Kelly Bugos, a nurse practitioner and manager of the Stanford Cancer Survivorship...

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Genetic screening could reduce number of breast cancer cases


January 7, 2015

Genetic screening for breast cancer could help women make choices to limit the disease, researchers say. Should every newborn baby girl be genetically screened for breast-cancer risk? That isn’t cost-effective — yet. But if it were, would it be worthwhile? A previous study said no. But in a paper published Oct. 23 inCancer Epidemiology,...

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Influences on breast cancer diagnosis

Tree in field

December 31, 2014

Geographical and seasonal influences on breast cancer diagnosis It is highly recommended for women age of 40 and older to receive annual mammogram since early cancer detection is associated with improved survival and treatment outcome. However, numerous barriers stand in the way of receiving mammograms in a timely manner. For instance, a recent...

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Happy Thanksgiving!


November 1, 2014

By Michelle Jin November kicks off the holiday season with a great feast on the Thanksgiving dinner table. It’s a time for celebration, spending time with the loved ones in your life, and perhaps most importantly, the food. Juicy turkey, succulent mashed potatoes, sweet cranberry jam, all glazed with a thick layer of gravy is the...

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Mutation in PALB2 associated with increased breast cancer risk

October 1, 2014

By Michelle Jin It is well known that mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are associated with increased breast cancer risk. However, a new study identifies another protein, PALB2, that when mutated, is associated with 48% increased risk in developing breast cancer. The wild-type (non-mutated) PALB2’s function is to repair damaged DNA and...

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