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CU Cancer Center News and Stories


Community    Awareness    Cancer    Stomach Cancer

Toby Keith’s Death Following Stomach Cancer Fight Brings Attention to a Less Common Cancer

Country music star Toby Keith died February 5, 2024 at age 62, according to an announcement on his official website, following his battle with stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer. The following blog post on his cancer was published June 14, 2022, shortly after he publicly disclosed his diagnosis.

Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date February 06, 2024
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Awareness    Stomach Cancer

A Quick Guide to Your Questions on Stomach Cancer

This November, Stomach Cancer Awareness Month allows us the opportunity to learn more about gastric oncology and dispel anxieties around the disease. While stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, accounts for a little over 1% of all new cancer cases per year, outcomes can be improved with prevention and earlier detection.

Author Mara Kalinoski | Publish Date November 13, 2023
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Awareness    Bladder Cancer    Urology

Awareness and Early Detection Key to Good Bladder Cancer Outcomes

In its early stages, bladder cancer can be easy to ignore or write off as something it isn’t – a UTI, a bladder infection, or other conditions that are commonly treated with an antibiotic.

Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date May 09, 2023
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Community    Awareness    Urology    Testicular cancer

Early Detection an Important Factor in Highly Treatable Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is a highly treatable cancer that isn’t always easy to talk about.

Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date April 04, 2023
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Patient Care    Awareness    Pancreatic Cancer    Surgical Oncology

Pancreatic Cancer Survivor is Eternally Grateful for her Surgery With Schulick

Laura Foote is now three years out from her pancreatic cancer diagnosis, thanks to a surgery performed by Richard Schulick, MD, MBA, director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center and chair of the Department of Surgery

Author Cancer Center | Publish Date November 08, 2022
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Patient Care    Awareness    Breast Cancer    Surgical Oncology

Breast Cancer Survivor Emphasizes Self Exams and Self-Advocacy

Scarlet Doyle was 29 when she was diagnosed with angiosarcoma, a rare type of breast cancer. She had found a lump and had to advocate for herself to get her breast cancer diagnosis. After having her care transferred to the University of Colorado Cancer Center, she was seen by Breelyn Wilky, MD, associate professor of medical oncology and deputy associate director of clinical research at the CU Cancer Center, and Gretchen Ahrendt, MD, professor of surgical oncology. 

Author Cancer Center | Publish Date October 20, 2022
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Community    Awareness    Breast Cancer

U.S. Supreme Court Dobbs Decision Will Harm Women Diagnosed with Breast Cancer During Pregnancy

Each year, about 27,000 women age 45 or younger are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. Of those, about 4% are pregnant at the time of their diagnosis.

Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date August 27, 2022
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Research    Patient Care    Awareness    Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal Cancer Patient Thriving and Optimistic after Multidisciplinary Care

Less than a year ago, Ken Herfert got a puppy and named her Bailey after the Colorado town where she was born.

This was a big deal for several reasons, including the responsibility of adopting a new family member, but perhaps the biggest was this: About six months after receiving a diagnosis of esophageal cancer in early 2018, Herfert’s oncologist in California told him he had maybe a year to live, maybe less.

Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date August 16, 2022
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Patient Care    Community    Awareness    Colorectal Cancer

Couple Both Battling Stage IV Colon Cancer Focused on Enjoying Each Moment as a Family

As they both deal with a stage IV colon cancer diagnosis, Kacie Peters and Erik Stanley are focused on living a normal, happy life with their son.

Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date June 20, 2022
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Awareness    Cancer    Metastasis

Understanding Metastasized Cancer

Receiving a cancer diagnosis can feel like crossing the border into a new country, one with its own language, customs, and laws. Following a cancer diagnosis, people may find themselves sprinting to absorb a new vocabulary of often intimidating words.

Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date May 04, 2022
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Research    Community    Awareness    Colorectal Cancer   

Younger Patients Increasingly Being Diagnosed with Late-Stage Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer, the third most commonly-diagnosed cancer in the United States (excluding skin cancers) and second leading cause of cancer-related mortality, is increasingly affecting people in their 20s and 30s, recently published research shows.

Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date March 23, 2022
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Research    Awareness    Pediatric Cancer    Brain and Spinal Cancer

Youngest Brain Tumor Patients Have Significantly Poorer Outcomes than Older Pediatric Patients

A University of Colorado (CU) Cancer Center researcher has found, through extensive data analysis, that the youngest patients with brain tumors – those ages birth to 3 months – have about half the five-year survival rate as children ages 1 to 19.

Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date March 18, 2022
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Community    Awareness    Cancer

6 Years After Bile Duct Cancer Diagnosis, Focus Shifts to Not Wasting Time

There were a lot of things Jim White thought he’d never do: stay in one place long enough to feel roots grow beneath his feet, meet the love of his life, have a child whose daily joy in discovering the world reignites White’s own joy.

Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date February 22, 2022
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Research    Community    Awareness    Gynecologic Cancer    Vaccinations    Cervical Cancer

HPV Education and Patient Navigation Project Seeks to Raise Awareness of Need for HPV Vaccine

Even as exciting developments are happening in cervical cancer research, an estimated 14,100 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year.

Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date February 16, 2022
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Community    Awareness    Lung Cancer    Public Health

Radon Exposure an Ongoing Cancer Concern for Colorado Homes and Indoor Spaces

When Colorado Governor Jared Polis declared January National Radon Action Month, he noted that about 50 percent of Colorado homes test at or above the guideline level at which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends remediation.

Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date January 20, 2022
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Research    Community    Awareness    Cancer   

Molecular and Cellular Oncology Program Co-Leaders Focus on Growing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Research

In the past, molecular and cellular oncology research often began with the idea that cells are cells and proteins are proteins, and it didn’t especially matter who provided the sample.

Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date December 22, 2021
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Patient Care    Community    Awareness    Pancreatic Cancer    Vascular Surgery

“You’ve Got to Believe that You’re Going to Get Through It”

“Maybe this getting older thing just sucks and that’s how it is.”

Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date December 17, 2021
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Patient Care    Awareness    Breast Cancer    Surgical Oncology    Plastic Surgery

Young Mom’s Breast Cancer Journey Highlights Importance of Breast Cancer Screening in Younger Women

Kirsten Stewart was just putting on lotion, like she does every morning after her shower. That particular morning, though, she noticed something different: a lump that hadn’t been there before and that definitely wasn’t normal. She was only 30 years old.

Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date October 07, 2021
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Community    Philanthropy    Awareness

CU Cancer Center is Taking a Leap for a Cure in 2021

The University of Colorado Cancer Center is at it again this year, gathering a group of 12 employees or members who will rappel 44 stories to raise money and awareness for Colorado-based cancer research. The Over the Edge event is put on by the Cancer League of Colorado (CLC).

Author Cancer Center | Publish Date June 21, 2021
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Research    Awareness    Pediatric Cancer    Kidney Cancer

Research supports the practice of personalized treatment to improve fertility outcomes for pediatric kidney cancer patients

Although rare, kidney cancer is the third most common type of solid tumor affecting children. Thankfully, pediatric kidney tumors are generally treatable and most have high cure rates. Treatment outcomes depend on several factors including age, tumor type, staging, genetics, the overall health of the patient, and the risk of treatment side effects.  

Author Noelle Musgrave | Publish Date April 09, 2021
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Research    Philanthropy    Awareness    Lung Cancer    Pediatric Cancer

Golfers Against Cancer Funds Three CU Cancer Center Researchers

The Denver chapter of Golfers Against Cancer this week named University of Colorado (CU) Cancer Center researchers Matthew Sikora, PhD, Jamie Studts, PhD, and Jenna Sopfe, MD, as the beneficiaries of three $50,000 grants for cancer research and clinical trials.

Author Cancer Center | Publish Date February 12, 2021
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Awareness    Support

Raising Awareness for Cancer

At the University of Colorado (CU) Cancer Center, we use awareness months and days to highlight and honor our patients – both past and present – that have fought these cancers, as well as educate about warning signs, new treatments, clinical trials, prevention methods, and support options.

Author Cancer Center | Publish Date February 05, 2021
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Education    Awareness    Magazine

Dustin Diamond’s Death Proves There is Still Much For Researchers to Learn About Cancer

Actor Dustin Diamond, best known for playing the nerdy character Screech on teen sitcom “Saved By the Bell,” died Monday at age 44. Diamond died just weeks after being diagnosed with stage 4 small cell carcinoma, a type of cancer that commonly occurs in the lungs but can also originate in the prostate or gastrointestinal tract.

Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date February 03, 2021
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Education    Awareness

CU Cancer Center Celebrates World Cancer Day

For the past 20 years, the Union for International Cancer Control has designated February 4 as World Cancer Day — a day to raise awareness, improve education, and catalyze personal, collective, and government action around the deadly disease. The organization hopes to reduce the number of premature deaths from cancer and noncommunicable diseases by one-third by 2030.

Author Cancer Center | Publish Date February 02, 2021
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Awareness    Pancreatic Cancer    Magazine    Surgical Oncology

Alex Trebek’s Death Raising Awareness and Questions About Pancreatic Cancer

Longtime “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek announced it to the world on March 6, 2019: Like 50,000 other Americans each year, he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date November 11, 2020
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Awareness    Lung Cancer    Advocacy

In new role at CU, Jamie Studts works to reduce stigma blocking use of lung cancer screening

It didn’t take long for Jamie Studts, PhD, to notice a big difference between Kentucky, where he worked for 13 years in the Department of Behavioral Science at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and Colorado, where he was recently appointed Co-Leader of the CU Cancer Center Cancer Prevention & Control Program: “After my recruitment, I was on a visit to search for a house and I went to a bar with some family who live in the area. Outside there were 100 people and not one of them was smoking. There were maybe two or three people vaping, but nobody was smoking. That’s pretty different in Kentucky,” he says.

Author Cancer Center | Publish Date March 25, 2020
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Research    Awareness

HPV Vaccine Delivery Practices by Primary Care Physicians

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: To examine, among pediatricians and family physicians (FPs) (1) human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine delivery practices, (2) delivery experiences, and (3) attitudes regarding new 2-dose HPV vaccination schedules.

Author Cancer Center | Publish Date December 23, 2019
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Awareness    Melanoma

Jeremy Hugh,MD, to run Boston for melanoma awareness

Boston-area native, Jeremy Hugh, MD, willing to be photographed with wife wearing Yankees hat

There are marathons and then there’s the Boston Marathon, when the city takes a holiday and 500,000 people line the streets ten-deep to cheer on runners from all over the world. This year, Jeremy Hugh, who was born just north of Boston in Nashua, NH, will be running with them.

“My birthday is within a few days of the marathon and my dad and I always used to go down to watch. I’ve been to I don’t even know how many Boston Marathons, since about age five, all through college at U. Mass, until heading off for med school in New York,” says Hugh, who is a University of Colorado Cancer Center investigator and skin cancer specialist at Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center.

There are two ways to earn an invite to run the Boston Marathon. First, you can be astoundingly fast, running a qualifying time of about three hours for Hugh’s age group; or second, you can fundraise for one of the marathon’s charities. Hugh chose the second option, and maybe it’s not a surprise that he chose to fundraise for IMPACT Melanoma, an organization that raises awareness about the need for sun protection to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

“I’ve been wanting to do it and figured now is a good time. We’re probably going to start a family soon and so now seems like the best time to train. I started looking into it the last couple years and decided to apply this year,” Hugh says.

According to Hugh, melanoma is one of the cancers for which awareness makes a big difference.

Jeremy Hugh, MD (left) with CU Cancer Center dermatology colleague, Neil Box, MD, offering free skin cancer screening at the Denver Veteran’s Day parade.

“If you get it early enough, it’s not that big of a deal, but if not, there’s a pretty good chance of dying from it. What that means is that awareness is a big deal – it’s something where awareness can have a big impact,” says Hugh, who recently volunteered with the Sun Bus to offer free skin cancer screenings at the Denver Veteran’s Day parade.

Not only does Hugh spend his own time offering free skin cancer screenings and fundraising for IMPACT Melanoma, but he recently wrote a scientific paper using the organization’s data on how the placement of free sunscreen dispensers affects awareness of skin cancer risk and sun-safe behaviors.

“The other thing they do is educate people who do hair or work in nail salons, massage therapists, etc., so if they see something suspicious, they can send people to a dermatologist. Plenty of times in my short career that’s the reason someone with melanoma comes to us,” Hugh says.

If you’re thinking about helping Dr. Hugh raise money for the race, here’s a little something to sweeten the deal: a $25 donation to his team earns entry into a raffle supported by Dr. Hugh’s dermatologist friends (specify if you’d like to be in any of the drawings when you donate!). Prizes include an area of Botox ($300 value), a $300 credit at the cosmetics center, or a vial of Jovederm filler treatment at the CU Boulder Dermatology office ($575 value).

“This was my city growing up, and the marathon is an iconic thing that Boston has,” Hugh says. “I feel lucky to be able to combine this event that has always meant so much to me with my current work in skin cancer. If feels like a real milestone.”

Author Cancer Center | Publish Date November 18, 2019
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Awareness    Lung Cancer

5 Misconceptions about Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer Misconceptions

Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer related death in both men and women in the United States. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. 

Despite advances in research, there are still misconceptions about the disease. I sat down with Dr. Ross Camidge, MD, PhD, Joyce Zeff Chair in Lung Cancer Research at University of Colorado Cancer Center to discuss the most common misconceptions he encounters:

Author Cancer Center | Publish Date November 01, 2019
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Honors    Awareness    Cancer

Rural Colorado missing out on cancer prevention, detection, and care. Now, $4.2M project seeks to change that.

The difference in cancer outcomes between urban and rural Americans is so pronounced that the National Institutes of Health list “rurality” as a risk factor for death from the disease. For example, the 5-year survival rate for Coloradoans diagnosed with lung cancer is 70 percent, but the 5-year survival for rural Coloradoans with the same diagnosis is only 55 percent. While we certainly continue to learn more about this urban-rural cancer care gap, the picture is already pretty clear: Not just in Colorado, but across the country, rural Americans diagnosed with cancer are more likely to die from their conditions than are urban Americans. The question has been what to do about it.

Author Cancer Center | Publish Date October 10, 2019
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Awareness    Cancer

Evelinn Borrayo, PhD, brings experience, ideas to healing the cancer care divide in Colorado

“There are people in underserved communities and in rural areas in Colorado that are dying of cancers that are preventable and treatable,” says Evelinn Borrayo, PhD, the newly appointed Associate Director for Community Outreach and Engagement at University of Colorado Cancer Center. Her goal is to decrease these cancer disparities – to make sure that everyone in Colorado has equal access to cancer prevention and treatment.

Author Cancer Center | Publish Date September 04, 2019
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Awareness    Sarcoma    Cancer

Ben Walburn: All the Time in the World

I met Ben Walburn at 4:00am on a slushy spring morning four years ago in a Boulder parking lot outside the house of a mutual friend, Adam. It was still dark and clouds spit little wet icicles as Ben and I huddled by our cars in the glow of headlamps, blowing steam off insulated coffee cups while trying to raise Adam via text. The plan was to exploit Adam’s birthday as an excuse for a weekend rock-climbing trip somewhere dryer and warmer – was it Escalante or maybe it was Penitente? Finally, Adam texted back: His young kids had gotten sick overnight and he had to bail. Without Adam, the trip fell apart. Ben and I made vague plans to climb together at some point, but it never seemed to come together. He was in his early 40s, I was in my late 30s, and we were both busy. Besides, it wasn’t pressing – we had all the time in the world to make it happen.

Author Cancer Center | Publish Date July 02, 2019
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Patient Care    Awareness    Lung Cancer

Survivor Raises Money for Lung Cancer Research

Emily Daniels was 32 years-old and pregnant with her second child when she was diagnosed with lung cancer.  One year later, Emily presented a check for more than $100,000 to the Lung Cancer Colorado Fund (LCCF) bringing the fund over the $1 million mark.

Author Erika Matich | Publish Date February 28, 2019
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Faculty    Awareness    Lung Cancer

Hope for a Cure

At 32 years old and 33 weeks pregnant, Emily Daniels lived the kind of life that many of us strive to achieve. With a baby boy on the way, a loving husband, a healthy and happy 3-year-old daughter, family and friends close by, a good job, and an active social life, there was much to be grateful for. By all accounts, her day-to-day was perfectly normal and just the right amount of hectic.

Author Cancer Center | Publish Date January 03, 2019
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CU Cancer Center In the News

News Medical

Study shows effectiveness of treating pancreatic cancer patients with chemotherapy before surgery

news outletNews Medical
Publish DateJune 19, 2024

A new study led by University of Colorado Cancer Center member Marco Del Chiaro, MD, PhD, reveals that nearly 5% of pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients achieved a pathological complete response (pCR) after pre-surgical chemotherapy or chemoradiotherapy. This significant finding indicates that patients with pCR have a 63% five-year survival rate, compared to 30% for those without pCR, suggesting the potential for tailored treatments to improve outcomes.

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Cancer Network

Liso-cel May Show Benefit in Earlier Therapy Lines for Lymphoma Subgroups

news outletCancer Network
Publish DateJune 14, 2024

In a conversation at the 2024 European Hematology Association Congress, CU Cancer Center member Manali Kamdar, MD, discussed potential future research on lisocabtagene maraleucel (liso-cel; Breyanzi) for mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) and other lymphoma subgroups. She highlighted findings from the phase 1 TRANSCEND NHL 001 trial, noting improved efficacy and safety in patients with fewer prior therapies and non-refractory disease, suggesting liso-cel's utility in earlier treatment lines and specific lymphoma subgroups.

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Cancer Health

2024 Cancer Health 25: People Who Power Clinical Trials

news outletCancer Health
Publish DateJune 11, 2024

This year's Cancer Health 25 highlights the transformative power and promise of clinical trials. University of Colorado Cancer Center member Jessica McDermott, MD, MSCS, is leading clinical trials at both the CU Cancer Center and the Rocky Mountain Regional Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Additionally, she serves as the CU Cancer Center's deputy associate director for diversity and inclusion in clinical research.

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Cancer Network

Learning to “Aim High” Within Male-Dominated Fields in Public Health

news outletCancer Network
Publish DateJune 10, 2024

Cathy Bradley, PhD, deputy director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center and dean of the Colorado School of Public Health, is a trailblazer in health economics. At a Breaking Barriers: Women in Oncology discussion, she shared insights on overcoming challenges as a woman in a male-dominated field and discussed her research on the impact of employment on cancer patients' health insurance decisions.

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