Sunday, June 30, 2019

Symptoms and signs of cancer(all types of cancer)

Young woman receiving thyroid exam from her doctor
If you have symptoms that last for a couple of weeks, it is important to see a doctor.
Credit: iStock
Cancer can cause many symptoms, but these symptoms are most often caused by illness, injury, benign tumors, or other problems. If you have symptoms that do not get better after a few weeks, see your doctor so that problems can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. Often, cancer does not cause pain, so do not wait to feel pain before seeing a doctor. 

To learn more about symptoms for a specific cancer, see the list of PDQ® cancer treatment summaries for adultand childhood cancers. Each summary includes detailed information about symptoms caused by a specific cancer.

Some of the symptoms that cancer may cause include:

Breast changes
  • Lump or firm feeling in your breast or under your arm
  • Nipple changes or discharge
  • Skin that is itchy, red, scaly, dimpled, or puckered
Bladder changes
  • Trouble urinating
  • Pain when urinating
  • Blood in the urine
Bleeding or bruising, for no known reason
Bowel changes 
  • Blood in the stools
  • Changes in bowel habits
Cough or hoarseness that does not go away
Eating problems
  • Pain after eating (heartburn or indigestion that doesn’t go away)
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Belly pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Appetite changes
Fatigue that is severe and lasts
Fever or night sweats for no known reason
Mouth changes
  • A white or red patch on the tongue or in your mouth
  • Bleeding, pain, or numbness in the lip or mouth
Neurological problems
  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Vision changes
  • Hearing changes
  • Drooping of the face
Skin changes
  • A flesh-colored lump that bleeds or turns scaly
  • A new mole or a change in an existing mole
  • A sore that does not heal
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
    Swelling or lumps anywhere such as in the neck, underarm, stomach, and groin
    Weight gain or weight loss for no known reason

    Is a diabetes drug the key to aggressive breast cancer?

    New research finds that the diabetes drug metformin changes stem cancer cells in a way that makes them easier to target with a new form of treatment. The findings could help treat triple-negative breast cancer, which is particularly aggressive.
    female hands holding pills
    New research suggests that the drug metformin may be the key to tackling triple-negative breast cancer.
    Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive form of breast cancer that often results in a poor outlook for people who receive a diagnosis for it.
    Most forms of breast cancer depend on hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, for growth and spread. Therefore, targeting these hormone receptors offers an often successful avenue for treatment.
    However, unlike these more widespread forms of breast cancer, triple-negative cancers lack all three hormone receptors: the estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2.
    As a result, doctors find this form of cancer particularly difficult to target and treat. Triple-negative breast cancers make up approximately 12% of all cancers, and in the United States, this form of cancer is twice as likely to occur in black women than white women.
    Recent studies have pointed to cancer stem cells as a potential target in the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer. Cancer stem cells seem to be key for the formation and advancement of triple-negative tumors.
    Now, researchers may have found a way to weaken these cells and make tumors more vulnerable to treatment.
    Specifically, a team led by Jeremy Blaydes, a reader in Cancer Cell Biology at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, found that the diabetes drug metformin changes the metabolism of cancer stem cells, making them easier to target by a new form of treatment.

    Blaydes and colleagues detail their findings in the journal Carcinogenesis.
    Usually, breast cancer stem cells depend on both oxygen and sugar (glucose) to produce the energy they need to survive and thrive.
    However, under dire environmental conditions, these cells can adapt their metabolism to rely more on glucose than oxygen.
    Cancer stem cells — like all cells — can break down glucose into smaller energy chunks through the process of glycolysis.
    In the new study, Blaydes and team treated breast cancer stem cells with a low dose of metformin, a drug that lowers blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
    The team applied a low dose of metformin to cultured breast cancer stem cells for an extended period of more than 8 weeks.
    Doing so forced the breast cancer cells to develop a glucose "addiction." The cells that became excessively reliant on glucose also displayed higher glycolysis rates, as well as higher activity in a type of protein called "C-terminal binding protein" (CtBP). CtBPs also fuel tumor growth.
    Changing the cancer cells' metabolism this way made them more vulnerable to treatment with CtBP-inhibiting drugs.
    Overall, applying metformin to the cancer cells, and then "switching off" CtBP genes by using CtBP inhibitors slashed the growth of cancer stem cells by 76%.
    "Our work has given us the first glimpse into how changes in metabolism can alter the behavior of breast cancer stem cells and reveal new targets for therapy," comments Blaydes, adding, "We are only beginning to scratch the surface in this area of research."
    "[W]e now need to push forward the development of CtBP inhibitors as breast cancer drugs. We hope these could lead to new treatment options for breast cancer patients who most need it."
    Jeremy Blaydes
    Next, the researchers plan to refine CtBP inhibitors further and test various combinations of metformin and CtBP inhibitors to stop the spread of triple negative breast cancers.

    Friday, June 28, 2019

    Phage therapy to prevent cholera infections – and possibly those caused by other deadly bacteria

    In the latest of a string of high-profile cases in the U.S., a cocktail of bacteria-killing viruses successfully treated a cystic fibrosis patientsuffering from a deadly infection caused by a pathogen that was resistant to multiple forms of antibiotics.
    Curing infections is great, of course. But what about using these bacteria-killing viruses – bacteriophages – to prevent infections in the first place? Could this work for some diseases? Although using viruses to prevent infections caused by bacterial infections might seem counterintuitive, in the case of bacteriophages: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
    Discovered a little more than 100 years ago, bacteriophages, or phages, are generating renewed interest as potential weapons to fight bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics – the so-called superbugs. Although the recent phage therapy has been focused on the treatment of sick patients, preventing infection stops a disease before it begins, keeping people healthy and preventing the spread of the germ to others.
    We are microbiologists who study cholera because this ancient disease continues to thrive and can have a devastating impact on communities and entire countries. The Camilli lab has been focused on the disease for over two decades. We are interested in developing vaccines and phage products to prevent cholera from sickening people and triggering outbreaks.
    This cholera patient is drinking oral rehydration solution in order to counteract his cholera-induced dehydration. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library

    Cholera outbreaks occur worldwide

    In the case of cholera, which is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, prevention is preferred because it spreads like wildfire once it strikes a community. When this bacterial pathogen is ingested, it inhabits the small intestine, where it releases a potent toxin that triggers vomiting and watery diarrhea, which cause severe dehydration. The vomiting and diarrhea encourage the spread of the pathogen within households and contaminate local water sources. Left untreated, cholera kills 40% of its victims, sometimes within hours of the onset of symptoms. Fortunately, death can be largely prevented by prompt rehydration of cholera victims.
    In regions of the world lacking clean water and proper sanitation, 2.5 billion people are at risk, and the CDC estimates that there are up to 4 million cholera cases per year. New epidemics such as the recent massive epidemic in Yemen which has so far sickened over 1.2 million people and the outbreak in Mozambique are often the consequence of humanitarian crises. War and natural disasters often cause shortages of clean water and impact the poorest and most vulnerable communities.
    Cholera is highly transmissible in the community and within households. During outbreaks, an estimated 80% of cases are believed to result from rapid transmission within households, presumably occurring through contamination of household food, water or surfaces with diarrhea or vomit from the initial cholera victim.
    Family members typically experience cholera symptoms themselves two to three days after the initial household member became sick. Thus, the people in the most danger are usually siblings and loved ones taking care of the sick person. There is currently no approved medical intervention to immediately protect household members from contracting cholera when it strikes a household. Vaccines for cholera require at least 10 days to take effect, and thus miss the mark in this emergency situation.

    Prevention of cholera using phages

    To address this need, we developed a cocktail of phages to be taken orally each day by household members prior to, or soon after, exposure to Vibrio cholerae to protect them from contracting the disease. We believe the phages should remain in the intestinal tract long enough to serve as a shield against the incoming cholera bacteria. Although this has only been proven in animal models of cholera, we hope that the phage cocktail will work similarly in humans. There are three advantages to using phages in this manner.
    First, phages provide immediate protection. By acting fast, phages can eliminate the cholera bacteria from the gut in a targeted manner. That is important because cholera kills quickly.
    Second, phages infect and kill multi-drug resistant strains of bacteria just as well as drug-sensitive ones. This is crucial since the cholera bacteria have become multi-drug resistant in many parts of the world due to widespread antibiotic use.
    Third, in contrast to antibiotics, which kill bacteria indiscriminately, phages are very specific and infect only their particular host species of bacteria. Thus, when using phages against a pathogen, they will not disrupt the good bacteria residing in and on our patients’ bodies which are part of the microbiome. In research in our lab phages, called ICP1, ICP2 and ICP3, which we are using, kill only Vibrio cholerae and should not disrupt the good bacteria in the intestinal tract. This is important because our good bacteria are essential for defending the body against other pathogens and vital for our general nutrition and health.
    People fill buckets with water from a well that is alleged to be contaminated water with the bacterium Vibrio cholera, on the outskirts of Yemen. Yemen’s raging two-year conflict has served as an incubator for lethal cholera. AP Photo/Hani Mohammed

    From test tube to product

    In collaboration with international researchers, we have been studying the cholera bacteria and its phages for over two decades at Tufts University, trying to uncover the details of how cholera spreads and how phages might affect its spread. The use of phages for prevention of cholera transmission was a natural outcome of this research, but by no means was it straightforward.
    Development of our phage product required finding phages that kill Vibrio cholerae in the intestinal tract, having intimate knowledge of how the phages infect the bacteria and discovering how the bacteria become resistant to the phages and how this affects their virulence.
    Our goal now is to test the phage cocktail in people during a cholera epidemic. Specifically, we need to determine if it is effective at preventing cholera transmission to family members in households where cholera strikes.
    In this day and age, we need to change the paradigm of relying entirely on antibiotics to treat infections and develop other types of antimicrobial solutions. It’s time to bring phages in from the cold, and utilize them both for treating multi-drug resistant bacterial infections and in the prevention of infections.

    Are viruses the best weapon for fighting superbugs?

    Antibiotics won the battle against resistant bacteria, but they may not win the war.
    You probably know that antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as superbugs, have hampered physicians’ ability to treat infections. You may also be aware that there has been a steep decline in the number of new antibiotics coming to market. Some headlines suggest humanity is doomed by antimicrobial resistance; even politicians and governments have weighed in, comparing rising antimicrobial resistance to other popular crises such as climate change. Although I believe these assertions are exaggerated, antimicrobial resistance is a serious problem.
    I am a physician scientist with a specialty in infectious diseases. I have been fascinated by the role that bacteria play in human health, and the potential for using viruses to treat bacterial infections.

    What causes antimicrobial resistance?

    One significant factor contributing to antimicrobial resistance is the excessive use of antibiotics. In the U.S., where antibiotics are widely available, some patients demand these drugs for many different illnesses. Many physicians appease their patients because they don’t understand when and when not to use them and because there is no regulatory structure to limit their use. Anyone with a prescription pad can prescribe any antibiotic to treat any condition and rarely, if ever, face any consequences. There are some efforts to reduce antibiotic use, but the scope of the problem in the U.S. remains large.
    Some countries, such as Sweden, use incentives to encourage doctors to improve antibiotic uses. But there is no counterpart for this system in U.S. hospitals and clinics.
    The problem goes beyond humans; 70 percent of all antibiotics are actually used on animals. This means that humans can be exposed to antibiotics by just handling animal products. The drumstick you are preparing for dinner might also have antibiotic-resistant bacteria tagging along.
    Once antimicrobial resistance develops in a bacterium, it doesn’t always go away. For example, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) evolved resistance to multiple different antibiotics; yet, despite efforts to reduce its spread by limiting the use of antibiotics that led to its emergence, MRSA still persists in hospitals and the community.

    An alternative to antibiotics

    Another reason for finding alternatives to antibiotics is that we share our microbes with the people and pets who live around us; thus, others can acquire one of these superbugs without ever taking an antibiotic.
    A not-so-obvious reason for developing new therapies is that our bodies are home to a large community of microorganisms, including bacteria, called our microbiome. These microorganisms are necessary to maintain our health. Those same antibiotics that kill harmful bacteria also kill the good ones.
    There is an alternative to antibiotics, but it was dismissed by medicine years ago.
    Antibiotics or wrong diet damage the good and bad bacteria flora living in the gut. Soleil Nordic/Shutterstockcom

    The original phage therapy story

    That alternative was something called phage therapy, which uses viruses that infect bacteria, called bacteriophages, to kill disease-causing bacteria. Bacteriophages, or phages, were used frequently in the early- and pre- antibiotic eras between the 1920s and ‘40s to treat life-threatening infections.
    But phage therapy had many disadvantages. The first was that phages were unpredictable. One type of phage might wipe out the bad bacteria in one individual but not another’s. So hospitals had to keep a broad collection of phages to kill disease-causing bacteria from all their patients. An antibiotic such as vancomycin, by comparison, predictably kills entire groups of bacteria.
    Another downside is that phage collections require maintenance. So not only did hospitals have to keep a large variety of phages on hand, but they had to keep them in shape. So medicine chose antibiotics for convenience, and hadn’t looked back in any meaningful way, until recently.

    Making a comeback?

    So, why is phage therapy making a comeback? Antibiotic resistance is an obvious answer, but doesn’t explain the full story.
    As a specialist in infectious diseases, I have been interested in phage therapy as long as I can remember, but only recently have I felt comfortable saying this out loud. Why? A physician might be considered a “quack” just for mentioning phage therapy because the early attempts were neither a rousing success or a colossal failure. Like any therapeutic, it had its strengths and weaknesses.
    However, now scientific advances can guide us toward which phage is best for destroying a particular microbe. With the rising antimicrobial resistance crisis, physicians and scientists have a well-timed opportunity to work together to develop effective phage therapies.
    The proof of this comes from recent landmark phage therapy cases. The successful treatment of a physician with a life-threatening infection and a grave prognosis caused by a multi-drug resistant bacterium at my institution serves as a great example. Another pivotal case circulating in popular media has kept this trend going. We physicians may be able to treat just about any disease-causing bacterium; it is just a matter of finding a suitable phage.
    A big part of phage therapy research is devoted to “phage hunting,” where we microbiologists scour the soil, the oceans and the human body to identify phages with the potential to kill the bacteria that ail us. While the pace of these studies has been slow, the new research is revealing the therapeutic potential of phages in medicine.
    You might think that with all the phage hunting and landmark cases that we would start using phage therapy all the time, but we don’t.
    Bacteriophages target only specific stains of bacteria. Design_Cells/

    The case for using phages

    One advantage of antibiotics is that since they have been used for decades, we know a lot about their safety. Physicians make simple calculations every day about the risk-benefit ratio of using antibiotics, but aren’t equipped to make the same calculations about phages. Does anyone really want a doctor injecting them with a virus to cure a bacterial infection? I doubt that would be anyone’s choice when the question is posed that way.
    But, remember that phages are natural. They’re on every surface of your body. They are in the ocean and soil, and in your toilet and sink. They are literally everywhere. Thus, putting a phage into your body to kill a bacterium quite frankly is something that nature does to us every single day, and as far as we know, we are no worse for the wear.
    Phages are estimated to kill half the world’s bacteria every 48 hours and are probably the most potent antibacterial agents out there. Is there really a compelling reason to be concerned when a doctor gives us a phage instead of us acquiring that same phage from our sink at home? Only time will tell. Unfortunately, as antimicrobial resistance continues to rise, time may not be on our side.

    Sunday, June 23, 2019

    Types of pathology well explained

    Image result for pathology
    Pathology is a branch of medical science that involves the study and diagnosis of disease through the examination of surgically removed organs, tissues (biopsy samples), bodily fluids, and in some cases the whole body (autopsy).
    Pathology is a branch of medical science that involves the study and diagnosis of disease through the examination of surgically removed organs, tissues (biopsy samples), bodily fluids, and in some cases the whole body (autopsy)
    Pathology is a branch of medical science that involves the study and diagnosis of disease through the examination of surgically removed organs, tissues (biopsy samples), bodily fluids, and in some cases the whole body (autopsy).
    Anatomical pathology
    Anatomical pathology involves examining tissue specimens taken from the human body. The examination is conducted for diagnostic purposes. For example, a pathologist may examine tissue removed during surgery in order to determine if cancer cells are present. Anatomical pathologists play a critical role in determining an accurate diagnosis.
    Clinical pathology
    A clinical pathologist is involved in conducting and overseeing laboratory tests on body fluids, such as blood. Tests are performed to identify the presence of disease- causing organisms, such as parasites, bacteria and viruses. The main difference between clinical pathology and anatomical pathology is that the later deals with tissue samples from an organ.  
    Forensic pathology
    Forensic pathologists examine evidence collected in sudden, unexplained deaths, such as homicides and accidents. Evidence may include human tissue, blood, fibers from clothing and hair samples. The examination of forensic evidence can help determine how an individual died. It also helps law enforcement officials identify suspects in crimes and prosecute cases.
    In addition to the different branches of pathology listed above, there are also subspecialties in each branch. A subspecialty of pathology allows a physician to narrow his or her focus even further. Below are some of the subspecialties:
    Transfusion medicine: A pathologist who works in transfusion medicine ensures there is an adequate supply of blood in a hospital’s blood bank. He or she also performs pre-transfusion testing on the blood and makes sure all safety protocols are being met.
    Cytopathologist: This subspecialty of pathology performs a very specific type of work. Cytopathologists examine cells obtained from body fluids and secretions to help diagnose various types of diseases. 
    Neuropathologist: Pathologists may specialize in examining tissues related to a specific type of disease or organ system. Neuropathologists are experts in assisting neurologists in diagnosing diseases of the central nervous system by examining cells and tissue samples. 

    Friday, June 21, 2019

    Quest Diagnostics insider(Their Outstanding science and innovation in human health diagnosis)

    Image result for Quest Diagnostics
    Quest Diagnostics Incorporated is an American clinical laboratory founded in 1967 as Metropolitan Pathology Laboratory, Inc. It became an independent corporation with the Quest name on December 31, 1996. As a Fortune 500 company, Quest operates in the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico, and Brazil Quest also maintains collaborative agreements with various hospitals and clinics across the globe.
    Quest Diagnostics Incorporated
    Traded asNYSE: DGX
    S&P 500 Component
    IndustryHealth care
    FoundedNew York CityUnited States(1967)
    FounderPaul Brown
    United States
    Area served
    Key people
    Steve Rusckowski
    (ChairmanPresident, & CEO)
    RevenueIncrease US$7.709 billion (2017)
    Decrease US$1.165 billion (2017)
    Increase US$772 million (2017)
    Total assetsIncrease US$10.503 billion (2017)
    Total equityIncrease US$4.921 billion (2017)
    Number of employees
    ~45,000 (December 2017)[1] Edit this at Wikidata
    As of 2017 the company had approximately 45,000 employees, and generated more than $7.7 billion in revenue.The company offers access to diagnostic testing services for cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, neurological disorders and employment and court ordered drug testing.
    Quest Diagnostics set a record in April 2009 when it paid $302 million to the government to settle a Medicare fraud case alleging the company sold faulty medical testing kits. It was the largest qui tam (whistleblower) settlement paid by a medical lab for manufacturing and distributing a faulty product. In May 2011, Quest paid $241 million to the state of California to settle a False Claims Act case that alleged the company had overcharged Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, and provided illegal kickbacks as incentives for healthcare providers to use Quest labs.

    In 2018, Quest Diagnostics was among a number of US based labs linked to inaccuracies of over 200 women's cervical smear tests for CervicalCheck, Ireland's national screening programme.

    On June 3, 2019 Quest announced that American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA), a billing collections service provider, had informed Quest Diagnostics that an unauthorized user had access to AMCA’s system containing personal information AMCA received from various entities, including from Quest. AMCA provides billing collections services to Optum360, which in turn is a Quest contractor.
    Watch the video about outstanding science and innovation at Quest Laboratories