Friday Frontline: Cancer Updates, Research and Education on August 16, 2019

August 16, 2019
Katie Kosko

From an FDA warning to real-life superheroes, here’s what is making headlines in the cancer space this week.

Consumers should not drink a so-called “miracle cure” for cancer because it is essentially bleach, warned Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials on Monday. This is the second warning since 2010 for Miracle Mineral Supplement and related products that use names such as Miracle or Master Mineral Solution, MMS, Chlorine Dioxide Protocol and Water Purification Solution.

When mixed, Miracle Mineral Supplement develops into a dangerous bleach and has caused serious and potentially life-threatening side effects, including severe vomiting and diarrhea, low blood pressure caused by dehydration and acute liver failure, according to the FDA press release.

These products have been touted on social media as cures for cancer, autism, HIV and the flu.

“Miracle Mineral Solution and similar products are not FDA-approved, and ingesting these products is the same as drinking bleach,” Dr. Ned Sharpless, FDA acting commissioner, said in a statement. “Consumers should not use these products, and parents should not give these products to their children for any reason.”

Women with severe sleep apnea are at greater risk of developing cancer, according to study findings recently published in European Respiratory Journal. Researchers in Europe examined data of 20,000 adults with sleep apnea to determine if there was a link. Roughly 2% of patients had a cancer diagnosis.

They suspected and were correct that advanced age was associated with an elevated cancer risk. And after adjusting data for age, gender, body mass index, smoking and alcohol use, the results showed a possible connection between intermittent hypoxia at night and higher cancer prevalence, noted the researchers.

“Our results indicate a cancer risk that's elevated two- to three-fold among women with pronounced sleep apnea,” said Ludger Grote, adjunct professor and chief physician in sleep medicine at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. “It's impossible to say for sure what causes underlie the association between sleep apnea and cancer, but the indication means we need to study it in more depth.”

Olivia Newton-John strutted the red carpet on Wednesday after relearning to walk. The actress and singer, who is living with stage 4 breast cancer, attended the Industry Dance Awards & Cancer Benefit Show this week at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood and revealed that she broke her sacrum, the structure that forms the posterior pelvic wall and stabilizes the pelvis, earlier this year.

“I just want everyone to know, I'm here, I'm doing great,” the 70-year-old told Entertainment Tonight. “I'm doing really well and I'm really healthy.”

At the event, Newton-John received a Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also presented with a donation for the Cancer Wellness & Research Center in Australia, which she says will support programs such as meditation and yoga, group therapies, music therapy and acupuncture.

A 15-member team, including three patients with multiple myeloma, hiked through “Fire and Ice.” The crew headed to Iceland for a five-day trek to raise money and awareness for the incurable blood cancer.

The Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma program, a collaboration between CURE Media Group and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), launched in 2016. Through its climbs, participants have raised more than $2 million that goes directly to the MMRF to accelerate new treatment options for patients with multiple myeloma.

“Throughout the trek I couldn’t help but think about the metaphorical mountains that my stepmother climbed while she was battling cancer,” wrote Shannon Altimari, global lead for patient advocacy at GlaxoSmithKline, the company that sponsored the climb. “She confronted unknown terrain but was never alone in her journey. Of course, she had us, her family, but I now realize that she also had the support of a much larger community.”

A husband and wife duo have turned into real-life superheroes. They purchased an SUV earlier this year to drive young patients with cancer and veterans to their hospital appointments — free of charge.

Pamela and Steve Barry of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, worked with a local artist to decorate the vehicle with fictional and everyday superheroes, including local children who died of the disease.

“We just really wanted to help critically ill children and wounded warriors,” Pamela Barry told Good Morning America. “We want to be a small part in making people's lives better.”

They unveiled the vehicle on July 27 at the Gettysburg Battlefield Bash, an annual event that raises money for the Pennsylvania Wounded Warriors and critically ill children.

The Barrys say they want their car to offer “hope and healing.”

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