Archive for the ‘body parts’ Category

Why Liver Cancer Numbers Continue to Increase

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

The five-year survival rate for people with liver cancer remains at only 20 percent. Diabetes, hepatitis C, smoking, and alcohol are all factors.

Between 2009 and 2013, doctors diagnosed liver cancer in 7.7 people out of every 100,000.

That number has been increasing since the mid-1970s.

In addition, the death rate is rising faster than for any other cancer — it is one of America’s leading causes of cancer death.

Between 2010 and 2014, it stood at 6.3 people per 100,000.

The five-year survival rate is only about 20 percent.

Healthline spoke with Dr. Jack Jacoub, medical oncologist and director of thoracic oncology at MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in California.

He stated that liver cancer is “the second most common cancer killer in the world.”

This month, researchers at the American Cancer Society (ACS) published a groundbreaking study in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

During the study, researchers uncovered trends in liver cancer incidence, survival, and mortality rates.

Researchers used Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program data obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Read more: Get the facts on liver cancer »

Risk factors

The following risk factors contribute to liver cancer:

Dr. Anton Bilchik, professor of surgery and chief of gastrointestinal research at John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in California, also spoke with Healthline.

Bilchik said “the reason for the increase in primary liver cancer is largely related to the obesity epidemic that we have going on in this country.”

“Whereas hepatitis C used to be the most common cause of liver cancer, the most common cause now is related to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease,” he noted.

Jacoub, meanwhile, believes that hepatitis still poses the greatest risk.

“There is a very big spiking in hepatitis C infection over the past few decades. And that is the predominant risk factor in the United States for liver cancer,” he said.

Jacoub also suggested another risk factor. He cautioned that “anyone who has hereditary iron overload symptoms,” such as hemochromatosis, is at risk.

“[This] iron scenario causes iron overloading of the liver and [that] causes inflammation and scarring and then … cirrhosis,” he said.

“Whenever cirrhosis develops, you’re immediately at risk for liver cancer,” Jacoub explained.

Read more: Symptoms and warning signs of hepatitis C »

The influx of hepatitis C

“The incidence of hepatitis C in the baby boomer population [those born between 1945 and 1965] is as high as 2 to 3 percent,” reported Bilchik. “And it’s been recommended that all baby boomers should be at least checked for hepatitis C, particularly since recently we [now] have drugs that are very effective at curing patients of hepatitis C.”

Bilchik added, “The biggest breakthrough in this field has been the fact that relatively nontoxic antiviral medications are now FDA-approved that can eradicate hepatitis C.”

“The problem,” he said, “is that a very small percentage of baby boomers are being tested, or have been tested.”

Hepatitis B infection is also preventable. And there is an effective vaccine.

Starting in 1982, hepatitis B vaccinations became a part of routine childhood vaccinations.

As a result, in 2015 the vaccination rate among younger people varied from a low of 83 percent in Idaho, to a high of 98 percent in New Hampshire.

However, only 50 percent of older adults in the United States have been vaccinated.

Read more: Western diets are causing obesity in people around the world »

The risk associated with weight

Studies show that liver cancer risk increases by 26 percent for every five point increase in one’s Body Mass Index (BMI).

More men than women are overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9.) However, a greater number of women fall into the categories of obese (BMI 30-39.9), and class 3 obese (BMI 40+).

Bilchik noted, “Non-insulin dependent diabetes and lack of physical activity are often associated and linked to obesity.”

In the United States, 69 percent of adults over age 20 are overweight.

“It’s well known that up to 25 percent of kids, if not more, are overweight, if not obese,” stated Bilchik.


Indications are that greater weight control intervention can help, especially among children.

Interventions might help reduce obesity levels, type 2 diabetes, and ultimately liver cancer rates.

Read more: Get the facts on alcohol addiction »

Alcohol, tobacco risk factors

Regardless of amount, drinking alcohol increases your risk of liver cancer.

“Not just in alcoholics,” Bilchik noted, “but also in those people that are considered binge drinkers.”

More effort put into alcohol abuse prevention programs may prove beneficial.

Smokers have a higher risk for liver cancer, too.

Tobacco users increase their risk of liver cancer by approximately 50 percent.

Read more: Poverty linked to poor health »

Race, ethnicity make a difference

There are now treatments for hepatitis C, vaccines for hepatitis B, and better public education about the risks of obesity.

As such, one might expect liver cancer rates to be falling.

But they’re not.

Until the publication of the ACS study, it was difficult to find information that explored total liver cancer mortality and survival rates in the United States.

This was also true for liver cancer mortality and survival rates with regard to race and ethnicity.

Regarding the study, Jacoub noted “liver cancer is one of the few cancers that really has extremely dramatic ethnic variations in population variations. And you’re seeing it in this report.”

The researchers found that the death rate for liver cancer in non-Hispanic whites was 5.5 per 100,000 people.

That compared with 8.4 per 100,000 for blacks, 11.9 per 100,000 for American Indians/Alaska Natives, 9.8 per 100,000 for Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 9.1 per 100,000 for Hispanics.

Digging deeper, the analysis showed that liver cancer incidence varies from state to state, and by race and ethnicity within each state.

Much of the disparity is due to a lack of public health education for certain at-risk groups.

Many of these same populations often also have limited access to quality healthcare.

Read more: Are there early signs of kidney cancer? »

Catching cancer early

The five-year survival rate after a diagnosis of liver cancer has been increasing ever since the early 1990s.

The increase, however, varies among racial and ethnic groups.

Generally, non-Hispanic whites have a lower death rate from liver cancer than blacks.

One of the reasons is that non-Hispanic whites are more likely to undergo surgery for their cancer.

Blacks as a group are more likely to lack health insurance, which may cause people to delay testing.

The stage of liver cancer at the time of diagnosis influences the survival rate.

Between 2006 and 2012, people with localized cancers accounted for between 40 and 45 percent of all liver cancer diagnoses. These patients had a survival rate of 37 percent.

That rate dropped to 4 percent for distant stage cancer diagnoses.

When researchers factored race and ethnicity into their analysis of localized disease, they saw a marked difference in survival rates.

It is possible to narrow the gap in survival rates between ethnic and racial groups?

Researchers believe the key is in finding ways to diagnose more liver cancers when they are still in the early, more localized stages.

Read more: Baby boomers changing the healthcare landscape »

Over the hump by 2030?

Death rates are expected to continue rising through 2030, and then begin to fall. Bilchik and Jacoub suggested a few possible reasons for the decline.

Baby boomers are currently the most at-risk generation for hepatitis C. Their numbers will continue to shrink as time passes.

In the meantime, more effective public health education will increase the number of baby boomers who seek out testing for hepatitis C.

Also, public education efforts worldwide should increase the number of people receiving hepatitis B vaccinations.

In time, the costs of treating hepatitis C will decline.

Fast food restaurants will continue the current trend of offering foods that are more nutritious

The number of tobacco smokers should continue to decline.

Jacoub stressed, “It’s important to know your risk profile.”

And Bilchik pointed out, “If you think about it, primary liver cancer is largely preventable because most of the causes of liver cancer are related to lifestyle.”

Henry Sapiecha

Ethics of Organ Donation from Prisoners on death row

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network

Dr David van der Poorten performs the transplant image

Rationale for Deliberation

prison pic-5

As the scarcity of suitable organs for transplantation continues to grow, alternative sources for organs have been reported and others suggested. One such suggestion is to recover organs that would otherwise seem to go to waste, such as those from condemned prisoners. Reportedly the People’s Republic of China recovers organs from executed prisoners, and recent U.S. news reports have alleged that organ brokers operate in this country who arrange transplantation of the foreign prisoner’s organs. This discussion is not restricted to third world countries. In the United States, proposals of this type have come from prominent figures and bodies. While one proposal suggested that prisoners be given the option of donating organs upon their death, another suggests that condemned prisoners be offered the option of trading a kidney or their bone marrow in exchange for a commuted sentence of life in prison without parole.

While it is beyond the scope of the UNOS Ethics Committee to examine the moral and ethical issues encompassing the death penalty, it is worth noting that this topic is both ethically and judicially controversial. Acknowledgment should at least be made that the death penalty is rarely available or applied in most industrialized western nations, except for the United States. All western European countries, Canada, Mexico, Central and South American, with the exception of Chile, have abolished the death penalty. Recent U. S. data show an inequitable application of the death penalty with a significant evidence of racial bias particularly in the south. The data indicate that blacks are five times more likely to be sentenced to death than whites convicted of similar crimes and that the economically disadvantaged as well are more likely than the wealthy to receive the death penalty.

Any law or proposal that allows a person to trade an organ for a reduction in sentence, particularly a sentence from death to life in prison, raises numerous issues. Application of the death penalty is spasmodic and seemingly discriminatorily applied, which would suggest that these types of proposals would be coercive to particular classes of individuals–minorities and the poor. Would the reduction in sentence apply to the offer to donate, or would it only be honored if the act of donation took place? If the act of donation would exclusively qualify for the reduction in sentence, then the law or policy would discriminate against individuals found to be medically unsuitable to donate organs. Examples include:

  • those with common prison infections such as tuberculosis, HIV or hepatitis B
  • the prisoners with a single functioning kidney, or on dialysis, or with diabetes or other renal diseases

Were prisoners allowed to trade a kidney to mitigate a death sentence, it may affect the actual imposition of the death penalty. With greater publicity surrounding these types of proposals/laws, potential jurors could be influenced and ultimately impose the death penalty more often with a potential societal benefit in mind. Jurors might hope that the convicted persons would choose to trade their kidney for their life. This would present a gross inequity for those unable or unwilling to donate a kidney and who might otherwise have not received a death sentence.

The proposals that concern organ recovery from executed prisoners unveil another host of problems. One method of execution suggested is the act of organ donation itself. From a utilitarian standpoint this would make sense; the anesthetizing of the condemned and the recovery of organs in the usual manner would produce optimum organs for transplantation. However, the cross-clamping the aorta and the ensuing cardiectomy, followed by the disconnection of the ventilator, create an unacceptable situation for the organ recovery team. It clearly places the organ recovery team in the role of executioner. Many physician groups, including the American Medical Association, have prohibited physician participation in state executions on ethical grounds.

Issues of informed consent of potential donors as well as recipients need to be addressed. Obviously a person condemned to death cannot consider organ or bone marrow donation as a coercion-free option. Even a death row inmate should have the option of refusing an invasive surgical procedure–although unlikely, given the alternative. Correspondingly a person to be executed, or their next of kin/surrogate, should be able to make an informed decision regarding any donation options, including informed refusal if they so chose. Ultimately the potential organ/bone marrow recipient(s) should be informed that the source of the donation was a condemned prisoner, while maintaining the prisoner’s confidentiality. Individuals in opposition to the death penalty might object to accepting an organ from either an executed prisoner or a prisoner who traded their organ for their life.

Consider the effect that such a policy/law could have on organ donation overall. The number of potential organs recovered from condemned prisoners would be small. The conceivable stigma that would be attached to organ donation from its coupling with execution could lead to decreases in donation rates. This may especially be true within certain minority groups. Any notion that particular groups of people were receiving increased numbers of death sentences to provide organs for the rest of society would clearly make it difficult to attempt to obtain consent for altruistic donation from these groups.


The UNOS Ethics Committee has raised a small number of the many issues regarding organ donation from condemned prisoners. The Committee opposes any strategy or proposed statute regarding organ donation from condemned prisoners until all of the potential ethical concerns have been satisfactorily addressed.


Henry Sapiecha


Saturday, October 8th, 2016

Remarkably preserved body mystifies scientists as to how it was done.

The 2000-year-old corpse of a Chinese woman named Xin Zhui still had pliable organs & limbs


Henry Sapiecha

This Chemical Compound #29 Could Melt Away Cataracts

Friday, November 27th, 2015
Eye drops made from “compound 29” have been shown to reduce cataracts in mice. Researchers hope the same will hold true for humans.

cataract.eye image

Eye drops made from “compound 29” have been shown to reduce cataracts in mice. Researchers hope the same will hold true for humans.

Imagine looking through a fogged-up car window. You can see shapes and movement on the other side, but everything is blurry, the colors muted. Now imagine if that’s what the world looked like every time you opened your eyes. That’s what life is like for the millions of people living with cataracts, the leading cause of blindness globally.

While cataracts can be easily removed with surgery, this is an invasive and expensive option. In the developing world, patients may not have access to surgery at all. So a recently announced non-surgical treatment for the condition—a chemical compound that could “melt” cataracts away when applied as an eye drop—has the potential to make a big impact in the medical community.

The compound was discovered by a team of scientists from several U.S. universities. Their findings were published this month in the journal Science.

The lens of the human eye is made mostly of water and proteins. While most proteins in the human body are renewed on a regular basis, this is not true of lens proteins.

“Your lens proteins are the same proteins that you’re born with,” says Jason Gestwicki, a professor of pharmaceutical chemistry at University of California, San Francisco. “They’re as old as you are.”

In a healthy lens, the proteins are neatly folded. But age, genetics and environmental factors can cause the proteins to form clumps, called amyloids. These clumps interfere with vision, causing the characteristic clouding associated with cataracts. The amyloids can first appear in a person’s 40s or 50s, but may not cause significant vision impairment until their 60s or later.

Gestwicki and his team members wondered if it would be possible to find a chemical compound that could affect amyloids. The possibilities were many: they started with nearly 2,500 compounds, eventually winnowing the field down to 12 compounds in the chemical class known as sterols. One sterol, called lanosterol, has previously been shown to affect cataracts, but only when injected directly into the eye. The team wanted something that could be used in eye drop form. Another of the 12 sterols stood out. Called “compound 29” by the team, it was shown in petri dish testing to dissolve amyloid clumps with a high degree of efficiency.

The next step was testing compound 29 on mice with cataracts. These mice were treated three times a week for six weeks, using drops of compound 29 in their right eye and an inert control in their left eye. At the end of the six week period, researchers examined the mice using a slit-lamp exam, which is how ophthalmologists measure cataracts in humans. The drops seemed to have dissolved many of the amyloids, making the lenses transparent again.

The next step will be human testing. Gestwicki and fellow researcher Leah Makley have founded a company, ViewPoint Therapeutics, which hopes to develop a safe cataract-fighting eye drop. “If everything goes right,” Gestwicki says, they will begin human testing in the next two years or so.

The implications of compound 29 don’t end with cataracts. Amyloids are the signature of a number of age-related diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. If it’s possible to melt these clumps of protein in the human eye, then in theory a similar approach could work on the brain as well. Gestwicki hopes to look at this possibility in the near future. Compound 29 itself might not be the breakthrough to treating neurological amyloid diseases, he says. But it’s given scientists a better understanding of how such a process could work.

“Compound 29 really showed us the features of such a molecule that we might want,” Gestwicki says. “I think it was a really important milestone.”


Henry Sapiecha

China’s gruesome shameful live organ harvest & crimes against humanity exposed in these 3 video documentaries

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Human rigts lawyer David Matas has spoken out about organ harvesting in China.image

Human rigts lawyer David Matas has spoken out about organ harvesting in China.

China’s hospitals are harvesting the body parts of thousands of political prisoners and removing their vital organs while they are still alive, according to a harrowing documentary exposing the horrific state-sanctioned practice.

Doctors and medical students working in state-run civilian and military hospitals take up to 11,000 organs a year from donors under no anaesthetic to supply China’s lucrative “organs on-demand” transplant program, say a network of invesitgators comprised of international researchers, doctors and human rights lawyers attempting to end the macabre abuses.

The documentary, Human Harvest: China’s Organ Trafficking, by Canadian filmmaker Leon Lee, followed these investigators for eight years as they worked to mobilise international condemnation of what they say is a booming billion-dollar organ harvesting industry for the benefit of wealthy paying organ recipients.

“When I cut through [the body] blood was still running … this person was not dead,” said one doctor of his first encounter with live organ harvesting as a medical student filmed by Lee.

“I took the liver and two kidneys. It took me 30 minutes,” he said.

A former Chinese hospital worker and doctor’s wife, whose identity was withheld, told Lee that her husband had removed the corneas of 2000 people while they were still alive. Afterwards the bodies were secretly incinerated.

China has the second highest rate of transplants in the world, with startlingly short wait times for transplant recipients of just two to three weeks.

But a recent Red Cross report found only 37 people nationwide were registered organ donors and harvesting organs from executed prisoners did not come close to accounting for the more than 10,000 transplant procedures performed every year.

Human Rights Lawyer and nobel peace prize nominee David Matas told Lee that living political prisoners make up for the shortfall, with the long-persecuted and banned religious group, the Falun Gong, key targets

religious Falun Gong have been identified as key targets of China's live organ harvesting program in a documentary.image

“Somebody’s being killed for the organs,” human rights lawyer David Matas says.

“There’s no other way to explain what’s happening.”

Chinese officials have denied the allegations, claiming organ donors are volunteers. However, under China’s president Xi Jinping, the government has vowed the program would we wound up by August this year, hanging the blame on former security chief Zhou Yongkang.

But Matas and his colleagues are pushing for the perpetrators to stand before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

The film aired on SBS Dateline on Tuesday night.


Henry Sapiecha

Australian biomedical engineering team builds Google Maps for the body as this video report reveals

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Biomedical engineer Melissa Knothe Tate's team have invented a Google Maps for the body.

Biomedical engineer Melissa Knothe Tate’s team have invented a Google Maps for the body.

Google’s mapping technologies quite literally open our eyes to the whole world. With the click of a mouse, you can zoom from a view of the world to a view of a country, then a city, a street, even a house.

Now the same kind of mapping can be achieved on the human body.

On Sunday, UNSW biomedical engineer Professor Melissa Knothe Tate announced at a conference in the US a new imaging technology that allows researchers, and eventually clinicians, to view an entire organ or bone before zooming down to an individual cell in that tissue.

“This is the first Google Maps of the human body,” she said.

Many diseases can start with damage to individual cells.

“It all starts with a single cell and then through the confluence of events we get global disaster,” said Professor Knothe Tate, the Paul Trainor Chair of Biomedical Engineering.

Her team have used the new technology to explore the human hip joint and the development of osteoarthritis, the leading cause of disability in ageing adults.

For the first time they were able to tie malfunction in individual cells to the condition. Other research teams at Harvard University and Heidelberg University in Germany are using the imaging to map neural paths in mice brains.

The technology offers several medical advantages: clinicians will be able to identify damage to an organ earlier and potentially prevent further progression of the condition.

Future research could also reverse the deterioration of tissues, said Professor Knothe Tate.

“This could open the door to as yet unknown new therapies and preventions,” she said.

The imaging technology was originally invented for the computer industry by German optical and industrial measurement manufacturer, Zeiss.

In 2011, while working in Germany, Professor Knothe Tate sat next to a Zeiss worker while on a bus home from a scientific meeting. When she explained her work the man mentioned his company’s “top secret” technology – known as the rapid throughput electron microscopy imaging system – that had been developed to quickly assess the quality of silicon wafers widely used by the electronics industry.

“He asked me whether I could imagine some applications [of this technology] in the life sciences sector,” she said.

“I answered immediately that I could think of about 10.”

From there the company teamed up with Professor Knothe Tate and other international researchers to apply this sophisticated microscopy to produce images over different length scales, from centimetres-long human joints to nanometre-sized molecules inside a single cell inhabiting the tissue. Using Google Maps algorithms the team then crunches enormous data-sets to allow researchers, and the public, to zoom in and out of the images.

“This is something we’ve dreamed about doing,” she said.

Previously, visualising body parts over different length scales meant using different imaging techniques and bridging them together.

Professor Knothe Tate presented the new technology at the Orthopedic Research Society meeting in Las Vegas on Sunday.

Henry Sapiecha


Monday, September 1st, 2014

Nasal septum cartilage cells can easily be coaxed into reproducing, providing a patient with their own source of replacement joint cartilage  image

Depending on the part of the body and the nature of the injury, cartilage either doesn’t grow back at all, or does so very slowly. That’s why joint injuries often take a long time to heal, to the point that scientists are looking into using things like hydrogels and 3D printers to help speed the process. Now, however, researchers from Switzerland’s University of Basel are reporting that cartilage cells harvested from a patient’s own nose can be used to grow replacement cartilage for their knee.

In the ongoing study, 6 mm-wide plugs of cartilage are being taken from test subjects’ nasal septum (the bit inside the nose, that separates the nostrils). Cells are extracted from that tissue, multiplied in the lab, and then applied to a piece of biocompatible scaffolding-like material.

Once the lab-grown cells have colonized that material, it’s formed into a 30 x 40-mm graft. That graft is then used to replace damaged articular cartilage (the tissue that covers the ends of the bones, where they meet to form joints), which has been surgically removed from one of the patient’s knees. So far, the results are described as “very promising,” with the nose cartilage adapting well to its new environment.

Nasal septum cartilage cells differ from articular cartilage cells, in that they don’t express certain homeobox (HOX) genes. What this means in practical terms is that the nasal cells reproduce much more readily, so growing cartilage from them is a lot easier. The cells possess this quality throughout a person’s lifetime, so the treatment should work even on the elderly, who are the ones most likely to require it as their joints deteriorate. That said, it could conceivably be used on anyone suffering from cartilage injuries or defects.

The research is being led by professors Ivan Martin and Marcel Jakob

Henry Sapiecha

Family run in Bridge to Brisbane Qld Australia to raise awareness of stomach cancer

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Stomach cancer death of Tony Worden

Gillian Worden, of Murarrie and her children Charli, 8, and Tate, 6, image

TONY Worden died from one of the “forgotten cancers” but his wife is determined to shine a spotlight on the killer that robbed their two young children of a father.

Mr Worden was only 41, a regular gym-goer and nonsmoker with a healthy diet when doctors discovered an 11cm stomach tumour.

Tony Worden died of stomach cancer in 2013 image

He had no known family history of stomach cancer and died in January last year, just 14 months after the diagnosis.

Tony Worden died of stomach cancer in 2013 and now his family will run in his memory.

His wife Gillian, and their daughter Charli, 8, and son Tate, 6, have entered the 5km event in The Sunday Mail Suncorp Bank Bridge to Brisbane on Father’s Day to raise much-needed research funding for the Gastrointestinal Cancer Institute in Tony’s honour.

Mrs Worden said her husband’s only symptom before diagnosis was reflux, which lasted for about two months before he saw a GP.

“We were expecting it to be a stomach ulcer. We weren’t even considering that it would be anything more sinister than that,” she said.

Mr Worden had chemotherapy followed by radiation to try and shrink the tumour for surgery but doctors deemed the cancer too advanced to operate.

“Stomach cancer just doesn’t attract the same sort of awareness as other cancers,” Mrs Worden said. “There’s such a poor outcome with stomach cancers.”

The family has been struck by serious illness before, when Tate was diagnosed with an optic glioma, a type of brain tumour, when he was just nine months old. He had 18 months of chemotherapy to shrink the tumour and still has six-monthly scans to make sure it has not started growing again.

The Wordens are determined to carry on as Tony would have wanted them to, doing all the things they would have done if he was still alive, including camping trips.

About 23,000 Australians are diagnosed with gastro­intestinal cancers each year, including tumours of the stomach, oesophagus, gall bladder, liver, pancreas and bowel.

In 2007, 9896 people died of GI cancers compared to 2706 with breast cancer and 2938 with prostate cancer.

Henry Sapiecha


1…I am a survivor, they removed a 14cm malignant  tumour from my large bowel, cutting out 24 cm, I wore a Stoma bag for 7 months, had no Chemo or Radiation, they only found mine after I had a hip replacement and was not making enough Iron, luckily I had a very caring Dr,  I had a reversal done 3 weeks ago, now getting back to a normal life with no Cancer, I have been given the all clear, I am 72 years old, .the first thing that enters your mind  is why me, I was not overweight, I ate healthy, very little Supermarket food, never drank soft drinks, the best thing is to think positive all the time, and my advice is to have regular Colonoscopies, after you turn 50, it will save your life like it did mine. the fact is guys you are not bulletproof

2…My heart goes out to Gillian Charli & Tate & I wish them every success for the future (in particular Tate’s continuing to keeping the brain tumour at bay!) I cannot help but wonder WHY men like Tony wait 2 months before going to a Dr to seek an opinion about a condition that obviously needed addressing! I’ve heard of so many men who just continue on & keep shrugging off symptoms with the attitude ‘She’ll be right mate!’Gentleman PLEASE if a symptom persists for more than a couple of days have it checked out! Not only could it save your life, it will save your family a lifetime of misery!

3…Reflux and Barretts often lead to Oesophageal cancer.. Not big numbers get this cancer and not many survive. I had to get support and information from the US during my husbands battle 10 years ago. He was fit and healthy and lived  only 15 months.  In the US my friends, EC Awareness, are getting states to declare one month a year, Esophageal Cancer month and we should take up this fight too.. it does not discriminate, young or old and it is not a nice cancer either.  Can’t find the Australian figures but they are something like 1600 diagnosed and 1400 die in a year, and few survivors after five years.

4…My sister died from stomach cancer at 40 after 12 months from when she was diagnosed and left behind 6 children the youngest only 2.RIP Janet Glesson nee Single.

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Thursday, December 26th, 2013






















Wednesday, September 18th, 2013


A rare melanoma may have claimed the tip of her finger but it won’t take away Samantha Holder’s smile as she walks down the aisle on her wedding day.

Next Thursday, the 39-year-old will get married just a few weeks after a medical scare left her counting her lucky stars.

Ms Holder attended a cosmetic clinic for a little facial “freshen up” in the lead-up to her wedding when physician and skin cancer expert, Dr Eddie Roos, noticed an unusual blemish under the nail of her left index finger.

The thumb showing the signs of the rare form of cancer.
The thumb showing the sign of the rare form of cancer.

“The first thing he noticed was my index finger nail with the brown streak through it,” she said.

“I had a biopsy and one week later he confirmed it was a rare nail bed cancer. Another week later they took it off.

“It is a very aggressive melanoma that can quickly turn into lymphoma cancer.”

Ms Holder had an operation to remove the tip and first knuckle of her index finger.

“It was a scary experience because it happened so quickly,” she said.

“It was like a dream.”

As a self-confessed sun lover, Ms Holder said the experience had changed her attitude.

“I am a lot more conscience of sun safety now,” she said.

“I will have to have check-ups every three months, then every six months and then every 12 months.”

Dr Roos said the prevalence of subungual melanoma was about one per million people each year.

“They are more common on thumbs and big toes, but they can be present on any digit,” he said.

“Look out for parallel brown or black pigmented lines from the nail bed to the tip of the nail. It looks different to a blood blister.

“While this form of skin cancer is not common, occurrence of melanoma on the rest of the body is approximately one in 100 people, and we encourage people to have regular skin checks, especially the younger generation as melanoma is prevalent in the 15 to 45 age group.

“If you notice a lesion that changes in size, shape, colour or bleeds and does not heal properly, you should see a doctor about it straight away.”


Henry Sapiecha

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