Bladder cancer: What is a survivor?

Bladder cancer: What is a survivor? By Kathleen Hoffman, PhD, MSPH Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men. When detected early, it is considered highly treatable.1 In 2021, about 83,000 people were expected to be diagnosed with bladder cancer (64,280 in men and 19,450 in women).2 Ninety percent of these cancers are urothelial carcinomas (UC), or cancers of the lining of the urinary tract. Unfortunately, UC may also recur. For example, consider that about 50% of all bladder cancers are discovered while the cancer is only in the inner layer of the bladder wall [...]

Melanoma a “fake cancer”? — Public perception and research strides

Melanoma a “fake cancer”? — Public perception and research strides By Kathleen Hoffman, PhD, MSPH In a discussion of melanoma on Inspire, a caregiver said to fellow members: The doctors and drug companies are making tremendous strides in the treatment of this terrible disease!! Her message of hope resonates strongly today. Unfortunately, misconceptions about this cancer linger among the general population. One newly diagnosed patient on Inspire described their confusion: I was recently diagnosed with stage 3C...I honestly always thought melanoma was “fake” cancer, because you just cut it off, right? The fact that people didn’t associate [...]

Are we moving beyond Levodopa for Parkinson’s Disease?

Are we moving beyond Levodopa for Parkinson’s Disease? By Kathleen Hoffman, PhD, MSPH In November, the American Academy of Neurologists (AAN) updated their 2002 guidelines for treatment of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) with dopaminergic drugs (drugs that improve dopamine release). The preeminent drug for treatment of early Parkinson’s, levodopa, creates the dopamine neurotransmitter that people with Parkinson’s progressively lack. Despite the fact that levodopa was approved to treat Parkinson’s over fifty years ago, the updated guidelines reaffirm that levodopa combined with carbidopa is still the best first-line treatment for motor symptoms of early PD when compared with the [...]

Beating back chronic myelogenous leukemia

Beating back chronic myelogenous leukemia By Kathleen Hoffman, PhD, MSPH A patient feels fine, but a routine complete blood count (CBC) test reveals an unusually high white blood cell count. High white blood cell counts may result from many conditions, but if it’s accompanied by other signs such as high or low platelet counts and anemia, further tests may reveal that the patient has Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, or CML. CML is a blood cancer that starts in the bone marrow and results in an overgrowth of damaged white blood cells. Most people’s diagnosis begins after a routine [...]

“Still alive and kicking” – The importance of sickle cell disease clinical trial awareness

"Still alive and kicking" - The importance of sickle cell disease clinical trial awareness By Kathleen Hoffman, PhD, MSPH Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a rare disease: an inherited and incurable blood disorder that causes red blood cells to be misshapen and rigid, affecting their ability to provide oxygen to tissues. Their shape and rigidity cause random blood vessel inflammation and blockages anywhere in the body, with associated organ damage. Six million people suffer from SCD worldwide and many more carry the trait that causes it.1 It prevails in people whose genetics include a connection with sub-Saharan [...]