Friday Frontline: Cancer Updates, Research and Education on August 9, 2019


From hereditary cancer risk among twins to study findings in squamous cell carcinoma, here’s what is making headlines in the cancer space this week.

Identical twins found matching breast tumors just weeks apart — one sister in the right breast and the other in her left breast. Hanna Thompson and Metta Siebert (who won a silver medal in fencing at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China), both aged 35, learned they were BRCA2-positive following their stage 2a diagnoses. A surgeon who specializes in breast disease and cancer at NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center in New York City, Dr. Deborah Axelrod explained the identical twins share the same genes, chromosomes and genetic makeup — which means their mother was a carrier of the mutation.

"I was in shock and disbelief," Thompson said in an article on "I was hoping the twin thing would not continue to this extreme."

Both twins are currently undergoing chemotherapy and will likely need radiation afterwards.

Eating foods rich in vitamin A may help to prevent squamous cell carcinoma, according to findings published in JAMA Dermatology. Every four years, participants in the study filled out food questionnaires about the whole foods and supplements they were consuming and how often.

The researchers found that the highest amount of vitamin A in patients’ diets led to a 15% lower risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma — a type of nonmelanoma skin cancer.

Whole foods rich in vitamin A include sweet potatoes, carrots, beef liver, spinach, red peppers and cantaloupe.

The National Health Service (NHS) approved the first cancer-related fatigue app, Untire. Following assessment to determine the app was safe and secure, the organization added it to its NHS Apps Library.

“Untire aims to help users gain better control of their energy levels by getting and keeping them mentally and psychologically active,” founding partner of Untire Door Vonk, said in a press release. “The program offers a combination of insightful themes, such as sleep, anxiety, setting limits and nutrition, guidelines for managing energy, physical exercises to build strength, activities to reduce stress, and tips to improve mood.”

Kevin Roster, a World Series of Poker player, used California’s Medical Aid-in-Dying following a terminal sarcoma prognosis. Roster, 36, partnered with Compassion and Choices to urge lawmakers nationwide to authorize medical aid in dying. He originally planned to use the new New Jersey medical aid-in-dying law, which took effect on Aug. 1, but his doctors told him in May that he likely would not live long enough to use it.

So, he moved from his long-time home in New Jersey to California to access the law. Roster died peacefully in his sleep on July 26, shortly after taking the medication at his apartment in Rancho Cordova.

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