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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. TheOver the Edgeevent is put on by theCancer League of Colorado(CLC).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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:
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 forruralColoradoans 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.
“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.
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.
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 theLung Cancer Colorado Fund(LCCF) bringing the fund over the $1 million mark.
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.