cancer

When we think of the word cure, we think of it as the end when, in fact, it is often the end of a beginning. For those surgically “cured” from cancer, enduring amputation from sepsis or receiving a transplanted organ, the story —though different and uncharted—begins anew.

Why? Because we live in extraordinary times of tremendous medical advances where life’s quality is considered more and more on par with one’s survival. The result is often trading in one life-threatening condition for more manageable ones.

I use the example of basic pharmacology. At this point, we tend to laugh in unison at the endless litany of side effects and seemingly random symptoms certain advertised medications list in their television commercials. So much so, they are now frequently...

Actress Shannen Doherty revealed in an Instagram message that she is in remission from breast cancer. In it, she eloquently articulated a very harsh reality for cancer patients about what remission does and does not mean.

As she indicated, the word “remission” does not mean she's in the clear. It is instead a hope that treatment and disease are about to become a closed chapter in the book of her life. She recognizes that before then it means five years of monitoring and surveillance and fluid emotions...

Vitamin D status and supplements seem to have become a societal preoccupation. Encouraging the latter’s use as a cure-all, the “magic bullet” commercialization of vitamins and supplements has created a multi-billion dollar industry. One that is often unchecked due to absent regulation and universally promotes these items whose mechanisms of action are poorly understood and of questionable value—let’s not forget that they also have the capacity to do harm. (1,2)

Hence, why it is important to write about a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that set out to determine if vitamin D3 and Calcium supplementation in older women would reduce their...

"Lying" is considered one of those words civilized people should never say. That's why politicians never use it. Instead, their opponents are "misinformed" or "misspeaking" or "using alternative facts." 

Well, the time for civility is over. Journalist -- if we can actually call him that -- Danny Hakim is lying to you. And it's not his first rodeo, either. He's built quite a track record for himself at the New York Times, publishing distorted information about GMOs and comparing agricultural pesticides to "Nazi-made sarin gas." 

Now, Mr. Hakim has written an...

No matter the evidence, some people always will refuse to accept it. Some of those people are university professors.

Joel Moskowitz is one of those professors. With a background in mathematics and social psychology, he now serves as Director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California-Berkeley School of Public Health. And he is on a crusade to prove that California (yes, the state that passed Proposition 65, which labels almost anything a carcinogen) is secretly hiding data that shows cell phones are giving people cancer.

Like 9/11 and vaccine truthers, Dr....

Multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer. B-cells, immune cells that play a crucial role in adaptive immunity, differentiate into plasma cells that secrete the antibodies we need to fight infections and other foreign invaders. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of these plasma cells.

A common treatment for multiple myeloma is itself an antibody called daratumumab. (Pro tip: A drug name that contains the suffix -mab indicates the drug is an antibody.) The antibody targets a cell membrane protein called CD38, which is highly expressed on malignant plasma cells. This triggers an immune response against the malignant cells, resulting in their death.

B-cells and plasma cells also play a role in allergies....

Let's call progress against cancer a mixed bag. Until 20 years ago, chemotherapy drugs — poisons that kill or stop the division of cells— have been the mainstay of cancer treatment. These cytotoxic drugs, many of which are more than 50 years old, work on the principal that cancer cells divide more rapidly (1). So that anything that poisoned all cells would disproportionately affect cancer cells. It works-- sort of. 

Some commonly used cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs and the year they were discovered or approved. Progress?

Two of the many flaws in the use of cytotoxic drugs are...

HPV—Human Papillomavirus— is a frequently overshadowed sexually transmitted infection when the topic of STDs hits the spotlight. This is unfortunate as HPV impacts an estimated 79 million Americans currently infected. (1) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports “every year approximately 17,600 women and 9,300 men are affected by cancers caused by HPV.” (2)

Due to the existence of many strains of HPV, the result of infection can lead to health issues like genital warts or an array of oropharyngeal (aka oral and throat) and anogenital (aka anus, vulva, cervical, vagina, penis) cancers. Many infected are unaware of their status and naturally clear the virus on...

Anyone who searches long enough can find that pretty much everything has been linked to cancer. Bacon. Cell phones. Wi-fi. Looking at Ana Dolaskie. At some point the insanity has to stop. Unfortunately, we have yet to reach that point.

Variations of the headline "Nutella may cause cancer" are going viral. As usual, there is almost no support for such hysteria. According to Reuters:

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said in May that palm oil generated more of a potentially carcinogenic contaminant...

Who among us hasn’t been tormented by the itch after a mosquito bite? This is due to the histamine release at the offending site. In some, it is a bit more exaggerated and an oral antihistamine or topical cream with the passage of time does the trick to provide optimal relief.

Now imagine that intensity and urge to scratch diffusely spread over your entire body in a constant and unrelenting fashion. Night and day. Where a more significant underlying cause won’t be benefitted and cured by time or a Benadryl, for instance.

That is called chronic “generalized pruritus” and its etiologies can range from the readily fixable to the necessitation of a liver transplant in those where treatment for the symptom might be refractory. In the extreme, sleep is impaired and even...