|City Rounds || || |
|No link between contraceptive use and breast cancer death|
Women with breast cancer might wonder if the birth control medications they took in the years before diagnosis could affect their chances of beating the disease — but City of Hope researchers and their colleagues recently showed that use of “The Pill” has no bearing on women’s mortality risk.
Between 2006 and 2008, some 43.8 million women across the U.S. used oral contraceptives, which consist of variations of the hormones estrogen and progestin. While research has shown that the modern pill has little or no effect on women’s risk of developing breast cancer, the few studies looking at relationships between oral contraceptive use and breast cancer deaths have been inconsistent.
Now an analysis of about 8,500 women shows that taking oral contraceptives regularly in the years before cancer diagnosis has no influence on a woman’s risk of dying from the disease. The research was published online in May 2011 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.
Yani Lu, M.D., Ph.D., assistant research professor in the Division of Cancer Etiology, was lead author on the paper, while Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., director of the Division of Cancer Etiology, was senior author.
The scientists used data from the Women’s Contraceptive and Reproductive Experiences Study and the California Teachers Study for the project.
|Spanish-language website provides outreach to Latino community |
City of Hope launched a new, Spanish-language version of its public website in September 2011.
The site is a streamlined version of the institution’s English language public website, found at www.cityofhope.org, and aims to provide prospective Spanish-speaking patients with information to make knowledgeable choices for their health care. The Spanish-language site also features a calendar of events with information on City of Hope’s free Spanish-language yoga and nutrition classes, as well as health newsstories in Spanish.
The new site can be accessed at http://espanol.cityofhope.org.
|Blog presents City of Hope news, social media and video in one place |
Supporters, patients, caregivers, faculty and staff have a new way of keeping abreast of City of Hope news as it happens. Breakthroughs, the institution’s official blog, launched in October 2011.
The blog aims to illuminate City of Hope research accomplishments and share perspectives from doctors, nurses and other experts on current health topics, such as new treatments and screening guidelines, as well as interviews with City of Hope patients.
The blog also brings together City of Hope’s social media efforts in one place on the Web. These include videos from City of Hope’s YouTube channel featuring interviews with City of Hope researchers. It also links to photographs from City of Hope’s Flickr album and displays City of Hope’s Twitter feed.
Breakthroughs can be seen at http://breakthroughs.cityofhope.org
|City of Hope among top 20 cancer hospitals in U.S.News & World Report’s rankings |
City of Hope’s national ranking as a cancer hospital increased this year to its highest position ever in U.S.News & World Report’s 2011-12 Best Hospitals report.
Rising three places to 17th on the list of top U.S. cancer hospitals, City of Hope is the second-highest-ranked cancer hospital in the Los Angeles area and one of only nine centers in California to appear on the cancer list.
“Ranking among the top 20 cancer hospitals nationally for the second consecutive year is a reflection of the talent and hard work of not only our dedicated physicians, nurses and care teams, but of all components of our institution,” said Michael A. Friedman, M.D., president, chief executive officer and Irell & Manella Cancer Center Director’s Distinguished Chair.
City of Hope is one of only 140 medical centers to appear on the prestigious annual list. Hospitals were selected from 4,825 eligible hospitals nationwide in 16 specialty areas. This marks the institution’s eighth year on the top cancer hospitals list.
According to data from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, City of Hope is the fourth-largest provider of cancer care in California and the second-leading provider in Southern California.
Complete rankings of the top hospitals are available online at www.usnews.com/besthospitals.
PHOTO: MARKIE RAMIREZ
City of Hope climbed up the ranks of top U.S. cancer hospitals.
|New tool predicts older patients’ chemotherapy tolerance |
It often takes aggressive chemotherapy to knock out cancer. But no one can precisely predict how much chemotherapy a particular patient can safely tolerate. Physicians know that side effects from too much chemotherapy can jeopardize patients’ health, particularly among older patients.
A new assessment tool may help physicians be tough on cancer while being gentle on the seniors diagnosed with it. The tool takes into account a variety of risk factors specific to each patient to better calculate chemotherapy’s risks for that patient.
“Cancer is still primarily a disease of age, and with our graying population there is a growing, critical need for assessment tools to weigh the risks and benefits of chemotherapy,” said Arti Hurria, M.D., associate professor of medical oncology and director of City of Hope’s Cancer and Aging Research Program. She has helped guide studies used to develop the new tool.
People older than 65 accounted for 60 percent of the more than 1.5 million new cancer cases diagnosed in the U.S. in 2010, according to the American Cancer Society — and the number of older adults nationwide will mushroom within the next two decades.
As the cases grow, physicians will need better tools to determine chemotherapy choices for these older patients, she said. Research suggests that older adults derive similar benefits from chemotherapy as younger adults. But older patients today are less likely to be offered chemotherapy because of concerns about their ability to tolerate the treatment, according to Hurria.
In the most recent study by Hurria and her colleagues, researchers tested the assessment model to see how well it could predict when treatment toxicity would be severe or life-threatening.
The study, conducted across seven institutions, included 500 cancer patients between the ages of 65 and 91 with lung, gastrointestinal, gynecologic, breast or genitourinary cancers. And it included dozens of pieces of information about each patient ranging from tumor characteristics to social support.
In the end, the new system had a greater ability to predict risk of chemotherapy toxicity in older patients than the standard tool, said Hurria.