At Penn, Joe Biden Spells Out How Cancer “Moonshot” Will Work

Vice President Joe Biden, pictured with Penn's Dr. Amy Gutmann, launches a "moonshot" initiative to hasten a cure for cancer at Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia on January 15, 2016.

Vice President Joe Biden, pictured with Penn president Dr. Amy Gutmann, launches a “moonshot” initiative to hasten a cure for cancer at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia on January 15, 2016.

Joe Biden called it a moonshot, but the vice president says he’s realistic about the fight against cancer. He doesn’t want people to think the push against cancer, announced by President Obama in Tuesday’s State of the Union address, is some over-the-top declaration that we’re going to find a cure for cancer immediately.

“My goal is that we find absolute cures, but for some cancers where we get to the point where we can manage them and they become chronic diseases,” Biden said at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center on Friday afternoon. “The goal is: Whatever breakthroughs we can make in 10 years, my goal is to make sure we can do it in five years.”

Biden was in West Philadelphia to talk with doctors and kick off the push against cancer, which Biden says is less of a program and more of a way to see how he and the U.S. government can be a “value-add” to the fight against the disease. Biden’s son, Beau, died of brain cancer last year at the age of 57.

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Blue Bell Native Turns to Finger-Painting in Her Battle With Cancer

Photo courtesy of Sarah Frank

Photo courtesy of Sarah Frank

Sarah Frank, of Blue Bell, Pa., was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in March of this year. Upon first hearing the devastating news, the 23-year-old was told her chances of being cured were 80 to 90 percent. However, she relapsed back in August and was forced to go on leave in her last year at Drexel University when her chances of survival dropped to around 40 percent. Frank has since undertaken a form of art therapy to help her cope.

An example of one of Frank's floral paintings.

An example of one of Frank’s floral paintings.

“I long for a sense of control, but it’s hard to find it in much: not in my own health, not in others’ reactions to my situation, not in how I feel physically and emotionally day-to-day,” says Frank. “Making art takes me out of my own head and gives me a break from the chaos of the outside world. It gives me the chance to focus on something totally my own, totally within my control.”

The young artist first stumbled upon finger-painting a few years back when she was suffering with depression. She turned to acrylics as a method of escape from the chaos and anxiety. “Its an activity kindergarteners embrace. I figured I couldn’t fail, and I had the potential to surprise myself.” Surprise herself, she did. Frank continues to embrace the craft today in her more recent battle with Hodgkin’s — and come to find out, she has a real talent for it.

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Processed Meat Is Carcinogenic to Humans, New WHO Report Says

A new report released today by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer labels processed meat — hot dogs, bacon, cold cuts, and so on — a Group 1 carcinogen, in the same group as cigarettes. So what does that mean, you ask? Well, it means that, after lots of research, WHO now considers processed meat carcinogenic to humans. Red meat was placed in Group 2, as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Yikes. Read more »

An Orgasm a Day Keeps the Prostate Cancer Away

man in bed

A new study out of Harvard proves what horn dogs have been trying to tell us for years: orgasming doesn’t only feel good—it can make you live longer, too!

The study reveals that men who ejaculate more often during their lifetime—about 21 times a month—have a 22 percent lower risk of getting prostate cancer.

There’s some heft behind the results, too: There were 32,000 males in good health involved in the study over the course of 18 years, which makes it the largest scientific study to date on male ejaculation. To get the results, subjects chronicled and shared their monthly ejaculation practices—from masturbation to full-on sex—between the ages of 20 and 29, and 40 and 49.

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Taylor Swift Reaches Out to Fan Who Lost Her Mother to Cancer

Taylor Swift

In April, Taylor Swift shared that her mother, Andrea Finlay, was diagnosed with cancer. The mother-daughter duo made the world cry a month later, when they appeared on the CMAs so Swift could pick up a Milestone Award. Through all this, they’ve been able to shine a light on victims suffering with the disease, and maybe provide some comfort to those with loved ones who have been diagnosed. One such example comes this week, when a fan reached out to Swift on Mother’s Day to tell her that she had recently lost her mom:

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How Philly Doctors Are Saving the World

For our latest Top Doctors cover story, we went beyond the doctor’s office to the labs where Philadelphia-based researchers work to eradicate diseases that claim millions of lives each year. To read about their bold advances, scroll down or use these links to jump to a specific topic: Read more »

Cancer Survivor Designs Cards a Sick Person Would Actually Want to Receive

Photo via Instagram | @emilymcdowell_

Photo via Instagram | @emilymcdowell_

Cancer, mental illness, debilitating chronic pain: These are all big beasts to confront, whether you’re fighting them yourself, or just know someone who is. And because they’re scary, people whose loved ones are struggling with these sicknesses often end up falling off the face of the planet and not saying a word or, on the other end of the spectrum, blabbering at lighting speed and saying all the wrong things. Read: “Everything happens for a reason,” and “This is just a part of your journey. You will get through this.”  Read more »

Fish Cancer Confirmed for First Time in Pennsylvania River

Smallmouth bass with confirmed malignant tumor. Caught by angler in Susquehanna River near Duncannon, Dauphin County, on Nov. 3, 2014. Photo credit: John Arway.

Smallmouth bass with confirmed malignant tumor. Caught by angler in Susquehanna River near Duncannon, Dauphin County, on Nov. 3, 2014. Photo credit: John Arway.

The grotesque image seen here is not a movie still from some awful Sharknado spinoff. It is a photograph of a smallmouth bass caught by a fisherman in the Susquehanna River, and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has confirmed that the growth on the fish is a cancerous tumor. It’s the first time a smallmouth bass has been documented with a cancerous tumor in the state. It’s also the first documented instance of fish cancer among all species in the Susquehanna River. Read more »

Angelina Jolie: “Knowledge is Power” When It Comes to Cancer Prevention

Via Shutterstock.

Via Shutterstock.

Actress, director, and U.N. envoy Angelina Jolie is in the headlines today for her New York Times Op-Ed where she announced the removal her ovaries in a preventative measure to avoid cancer. The 39-year old weighed in on the difficult decision to undergo not only her double mastectomy two years ago, but the choice to undergo her current medical procedure:

“A simple blood test had revealed that I carried a mutation in the BRCA1 gene. It gave me an estimated 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. I lost my mother, grandmother and aunt to cancer. I wanted other women at risk to know about the options.”

After Jolie’s doctor revealed that her CA-125 proteins, often used as a marker to indicate ovarian cancer, were “normal,” but that there were other “inflammatory markers that were elevated,” Jolie became alarmed, especially since her mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 49:

“I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt. I told myself to stay calm, to be strong, and that I had no reason to think I wouldn’t live to see my children grow up and to meet my grandchildren. I called my husband in France, who was on a plane within hours. The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters. It is polarizing, and it is peaceful. That same day I went to see the surgeon, who had treated my mother. I last saw her the day my mother passed away, and she teared up when she saw me: ‘You look just like her.’ I broke down. But we smiled at each other and agreed we were there to deal with any problem, so ‘let’s get on with it.’

Jolie describes her most recent procedure, “a laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy,” and explains to her readers that, although she has undergone these surgeries, her cancer risk is still not completely full proof:

“It is not possible to remove all risk, and the fact is I remain prone to cancer. I will look for natural ways to strengthen my immune system. I feel feminine, and grounded in the choices I am making for myself and my family. I know my children will never have to say, ‘Mom died of ovarian cancer.'”

You can read more of Jolie’s Op-Ed here.

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