Posted by on March 6, 2013 - 2:28pm

As today's cancer treatments increase survivorship, many young cancer patients now look at their potential for parenting children. The decision to have children, if fertility is sustained, is complicated and filled with legal, ethical and financial considerations.  The Oncofertility Consortium based at Northwestern University hosts a monthly webcast that explores a variety of reproductive options for individuals who have been treated for cancer and everyone is welcome.   Tomorrow's CME lecture will discuss: Contraceptive Options during and following Cancer Treatment.    It will begin on March 7, 2013 at  9:50 AM Central US Time and last for one-hour.

To view a detailed flyer on this event including  how to connect, click HERE

Posted by on February 16, 2013 - 11:49am

When people with Type 2 diabetes are diagnosed with cancer – a disease for which they are at higher risk – they ignore their diabetes care to focus on cancer treatment, according to new Northwestern Medicine® research. But uncontrolled high blood sugar is more likely to kill them and impair their immune system’s ability to fight cancer.

However, people with Type 2 diabetes who received diabetes education after a cancer diagnosis were more likely to take care of their blood sugar. As a result, they had fewer visits to the emergency room, fewer hospital admissions, lower health care costs, and they tested their blood sugar levels more often than people who didn’t have the education. They also had more hemoglobin a-1c level tests at their doctor’s offices. The latter is a critical marker of how well someone has managed their diabetes and blood sugar over the last three months.

“People with diabetes hear cancer and they think that it is a death sentence, so who cares about diabetes at this point?” said June McKoy, MD, director of geriatric oncology at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. “But if they’re not careful, it’s the diabetes that will take them out of this world, not the cancer. That’s why this education is so critical when cancer comes on board. Patients must take care of both illnesses.”

McKoy is the senior author of the study recently published in the journal Population Health Management. Lauren Irizarry, a fourth-year medical student at Feinberg, is the lead author.

Uncontrolled high blood sugar can result in kidney damage and failure as well as blindness and amputation of the feet as blood vessels are damaged by excess sugar. In addition, Type 2 diabetes dampens the immune system and hampers the body’s ability to fight cancer.    People with diabetes have a higher incidence of liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer, and endometrial cancer.

Source:   Northwestern NewCenter


Posted by on December 6, 2012 - 4:25pm

Mesothelioma is typically regarded as a men’s cancer.  The primary cause – occupational asbestos exposure – was the biggest threat in male-dominated industries, such as mining, construction and factory work. During the early and mid-20th century, when asbestos was most heavily used by manufacturers, women made up only a small percentage of the workforce.  However, female patients continue to come forward, sharing their stories of how they ended up with this aggressive disease.

Women and Asbestos Exposure
For women, asbestos exposure was more likely to come from a secondhand or environmental source.   Secondhand asbestos exposure includes contact with the skin, hair or work clothing of another asbestos-exposure individual. Many female mesothelioma patients recall hugging their parents after they worked with asbestos or washing their spouses’ asbestos-contaminated clothing.

Other female mesothelioma patients attribute their disease to environmental asbestos exposure. In towns with thriving asbestos mines, the fibers often contaminated the air and soil throughout the community. Women may have purchased asbestos-laden gardening soil or taken their children to play in parks where the fibers were present in the dirt.

In one study, these various types of environmental exposure led to a much higher risk for mesothelioma in women; females had a relative risk of 159.9 per 100,000, while men had a relative risk of 114.8 per 100,000.

Although they were less likely to handle asbestos products in the workplace, women did face exposure risks from certain household products. Until the 1980s, items such as talcum powder and hairdryers contained asbestos fibers. Regular use may have led them to develop illness several decades down the road.

Like men, women typically develop asbestos-related diseases 20 to 50 years after they were exposed. However, some studies suggest that women have a better long-term survival with mesothelioma. As a result, some medical professionals recognize female gender (along with younger age and early cancer stage) as a positive prognostic factor for the disease.

Author bio: Faith Franz has spent nearly two years researching and writing for The Mesothelioma Center.   Check out our up-to-date tweets about mesothelioma cancer here

Smith, D. (2002). Women and Mesothelioma. Chest; 122 (6).

Wolf, A. S., Richards, W. G., Tilleman, T., R., Chirieac, L., Hurwitz, S., Bueno, R. and Sugarbaker, D. (2010). Characteristics of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma in Women. Annals of Thoracic Surgery; 90. 


Posted by on February 4, 2010 - 10:58am

Research led by Teresa Woodruff, PhD, director of the Institute for Women's Health Research at Northwestern University was featured in the first edition of  Horizons in Bioscience, a publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, that describes scientific discoveries on the brink of clinical application.   This publication is shared with members of Congress who track National Institute of Health funding.

In 2006, Dr. Woodruff coined the term 'oncofertility' to describe the merging of two fields: oncology and fertility. Advances in chemotherapy and radiation have increased survival in cancer patients but many of these life-saving treatments often result in the loss of fertility. Breakthroughs in ovarian tissue cryopreservation and in vitro follicle maturation are brightening the outlook for preserving fertility in young women with cancer and other diseases that are treated with potent therapies. Based on promising science being done in her lab, Woodruff was awarded a prestigious Roadmap Grant from the NIH to advance her work in 2007. She now heads a national Oncofertility Consortium, an interdisciplinary team of biomedical and social scientists, oncologists, pediatricians, engineers, and ethicists from universities across the country--bringing national experts together to accelerate the new field.

For more information about Dr. Woodruff and her work, visit the newly updated website of the Oncofertility Consortium.