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Dec 26, 2018 · Forefront: The Latest Edition of Mayo Clinic Cancer Center Magazine in Cancer Education Center


Volume 7, Issue 4, December 2018

The Winter 2018 issue of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center magazine, Forefront, has arrived. Features include brief news articles about Mayo Clinic Cancer Center research, video commentary from researchers, and investigator profiles. Click here to subscribe, read this newsletter edition or view any archives.

Director’s message: A few of my favorite things

A telethon, top rankings, a new liver cancer SPORE and the NCI grant renewal are among our 2018 highlights.

U.S. News & World Report ranks Mayo Clinic top in nation

The clinic is also first overall in the honor roll and ranks first, second or third in 11 specialties.

Blood sugar, diabetes offer clues about pancreatic cancer

Patients with high blood sugar and a high ENDPAC score should be tested for pancreatic cancer.

Team IDs genes that boost risk of triple-negative breast cancer

The findings will enable expanded genetic testing and may lead to better prevention strategies.

Study supports genetic testing for pancreatic cancer

Researchers identify six genes that contain mutations that may be passed down in families.

Mayo researchers find off/on switch for DNA repair protein

The work provides a new target for developing therapeutics to help kill ovarian cancer cells.

Florida campus opens new building for cancer, neurology

The Mangurian Building is a key to the clinic’s future in Florida as a destination medical center.

Meet the Investigator: Tanios S. Bekaii-Saab

In this video, Dr. Bekaii-Saab explains how his desire to improve treatment options inspires him.


Dec 5, 2018 · Reducing Stress During the Holidays in Cancer Education Center


As the song goes…”It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” For many, this is true. Some absolutely love the hustle and bustle, razzle and dazzle of the holiday season, yet there are others who find the demands to be too much. The array of stressors such as baking, cleaning, entertaining, shopping, etc. can feel like a full-time job. For those already undergoing major life-related issues, it’s easier for the stress to get you down. Below are some recommendations from Mayo Clinic including coping tips and strategies to assist you in getting through the season.

  1. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
  2. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others is also a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
  3. Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.
  4. Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
  5. Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.
    • Donate to a charity in someone’s name.
    • Give homemade gifts.
    • Start a family gift exchange.

Try these alternatives:

  1. Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.
  2. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
  3. Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.
    • Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.
    • Get plenty of sleep.
    • Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.

Try these suggestions:

  1. Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.
    • Taking a walk at night and stargazing.
    • Listening to soothing music.
    • Getting a massage.
    • Reading a book.
  2. Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.
  3. Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress and depression that can descend during the holidays.
  4. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the holidays.

Do you have any tips, strategies or traditions that help get you through the holiday season? Feel free to share what has worked for you.

References and Resources:

  1. Making the most of the holiday season. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/holiday-season.aspx. Accessed May 18, 2017.
  2. Tips for parents on managing holiday stress. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/parents-holiday.aspx. Accessed May 18, 2017.
  3. Holiday stress? Try out top 5 tips for a heart-healthy holiday season. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/StressManagement/FightStressWithHealthyHabits/Holiday-Stress-Try-Our-Top-5-Tips-for-a-Heart-Healthy-Holiday-Season_UCM_433252_Article.jsp#.WTb4wtjrvIU. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  4. Manage stress. Healthfinder.gov. https://healthfinder.gov/healthtopics/population/men/mental-health-and-relationships/manage-stress. Accessed May 18, 2017
  5. Specific to women – who tend to report higher levels of stress during the holidays – Mayo Clinic published an article about women, stress, and the holidays. In addition, you can view Dr. Jordan Rullo’s video about stress and the holidays for women.

Nov 8, 2018 · Lung Cancer Screening: Is it right for you? in Cancer Education Center


Thank you for sharing your personal experience with lung cancer and secondhand smoke. We are fortunate to now have generations going through life in the United States with smokefree restaurants and bars, shopping malls and stores, and even airplanes! It’s so nice to be in public and not smell like a human ashtray. Also, I’m glad to hear that you, in conjunction with the recommendation of your pulmonologist oncologist, are continuing with the scans. Keep sharing your story…I have no doubt others can learn from your experiences.

Nov 7, 2018 · Lung Cancer Screening: Is it right for you? in Cancer Education Center

Lung Xray Image

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control, cigarette smoking is linked to about 80% to 90% of lung cancer deaths in the United States. Secondhand smoke (smoke from other people’s cigarettes, pipes, or cigars), radon gas, which occurs naturally from rocks and dirt, and substances such as asbestos, arsenic, diesel exhaust, silica, and chromium can also cause lung cancer.

Now that you know these causes of lung cancer, CDC recommends doing the following to reduce your risk for lung cancer:

  • Don’t smoke,
  • Avoid secondhand smoke,
  • Get your home tested for radon gas, and
  • Follow safety guidelines at work for substances that can cause cancer.

For smokers who have struggled to quit, Mayo Clinic’s Nicotine Dependence Center offers caring and non-judgmental support and works to help you develop the skills needed to stop using tobacco.

According to the Mayo Clinic website, lung cancer screening is a process that’s used to detect the presence of lung cancer in otherwise healthy people with a high risk of lung cancer. Doctors use a low-dose computerized tomography (LDCT) scan of the lungs to look for lung cancer. If lung cancer is detected at an early stage, it’s more likely to be cured with treatment.

You should discuss the benefits and risks of lung cancer screening using LDCT with your health care provider. Mayo Clinic notes that lung cancer screening is usually reserved for people with the greatest risk of lung cancer, including:

  • Older adults who are current or former smokers. Lung cancer screening is generally offered to smokers and former smokers 55 and older.
  • People who have smoked heavily for many years. You may consider lung cancer screening if you have a history of smoking for 30 pack years or longer. Pack years are calculated by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes smoked a day and the number of years that you smoked.

For example, a person with 30 pack years of smoking history may have smoked a pack a day for 30 years, two packs a day for 15 years or three-quarters of a pack a day for 40 years. Even if your smoking habits changed over the years, your recollection about your smoking history can be used to determine whether lung cancer screening may be beneficial for you.

  • People who once smoked heavily but quit. If you were a heavy smoker for a long time and you quit smoking, you may consider lung cancer screening.
  • People in generally good health. If you have serious health problems, you may be less likely to benefit from lung cancer screening and more likely to experience complications from follow-up tests. For this reason, lung cancer screening is offered to people who are in generally good health.

Screening is generally not recommended for those who have poor lung function or other serious conditions that would make surgery difficult. Mayo Clinic’s lung cancer screening website indicates this might include:

  • People with adverse health issues such as those who need continuous supplemental oxygen, have experienced unexplained weight loss in the past year, have coughed up blood recently or who have had a chest CT scan in the last year.
  • People with a history of lung cancer. If you were treated for lung cancer more than five years ago, you may consider lung cancer screening.
  • People with other risk factors for lung cancer. People who have other risk factors for lung cancer may include those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), those with a family history of lung cancer and those who are exposed to asbestos at work.

Together, you and your health care provider can decide whether screening is right for you.

If you and your health care provider determine you are a candidate for lung cancer screening, the obvious next question is, how long should you continue to be screened for lung cancer? Unfortunately, there is no specific consensus at what age lung cancer screening should be stopped. In general, you should continue annual lung cancer screening until you are unlikely to benefit from screening, such as if a serious health condition has been diagnosed.

For additional information about lung cancer and lung cancer screening:

CDC: Lung Cancer Screening Quiz – 4 questions about lung cancer screening

Dr. Shanda Blackmon, a thoracic surgeon at Mayo Clinic, explains lung cancer screening and surgical options for treating the disease, September 2018

Mayo Clinic: Lung Cancer Screening

CDC: Lung Cancer Screening: Is it right for you?

Have you been screened for lung cancer or participated in a lung cancer screening trial? What has been your experience with lung cancer screening? Feel free to share your experiences here.


Find support from people like you in the Mayo Clinic Connect Lung Cancer group or in the discussion on trying to quit smoking while undergoing medical treatment.

Oct 11, 2018 · Forefront: The Latest Edition of Mayo Clinic Cancer Center Magazine in Cancer Education Center


Thank you for sharing your story with us. As you read the information in Forefront, I hope you are comforted by the ongoing research and state-of-the art treatment in cancer and medicine. As a cancer survivor, I hope you continue to share your story and the impact it had on you and your family.

Oct 9, 2018 · Forefront: The Latest Edition of Mayo Clinic Cancer Center Magazine in Cancer Education Center


The Fall 2018 issue of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center magazine, Forefront, has arrived. Features include brief news articles about Mayo Clinic Cancer Center research, video commentary from researchers, and investigator profiles. Click here to subscribe, read this newsletter edition or view any archives.

Volume 7, Issue 3, September 2018

Director’s message: Speeding up the pace of cancer research
Sobering statistics about ovarian cancer underscore the need to quickly develop novel therapies.

Mayo researchers a step closer to DNA test for liver cancer
The confirmation of abnormal markers may pave the way for a blood test for primary liver cancer.

Breast cancer survivors aren’t getting recommended mammograms
Post-surgery screening mammography rates miss the mark, especially for African-American women.

Finding may lead to personalized ovarian, brain cancer therapy
Researchers discovered a molecular communication pathway has a key role in oncolytic virus therapy.

Potential new treatment for triple negative breast cancer ID’d
Results from the BEAUTY study show that the drug decitabine had an effect at a low therapeutic dose.

New technology overcomes false-positives in CT for lung cancer
Researchers used radiomics to test variables to distinguish a benign nodule from a cancerous nodule.

Mayo Clinic joins network to improve access to clinical trials
A partnership for the Cancer Center and Mayo Clinic Health System reduces travel burdens for patients.

Meet the investigator: Roxana S. Dronca, M.D.
In this video, Dr. Dronca, a hematologist-oncologist, discusses her research on tumor immunology.

Jun 28, 2018 · Forefront: The Latest Edition of Mayo Clinic Cancer Center Magazine in Cancer Education Center


The Summer 2018 issue of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center magazine, Forefront, has arrived. Features include brief news articles about Mayo Clinic Cancer Center research, video commentary from researchers, and investigator profiles. Click here to subscribe, read this newsletter edition or view any archives.

Volume 7, Issue 2, June 2018

Director’s message: Our rich tradition of cancer research
Advances in clinical research and basic research translate to improvements in patient care.

Predicting which colon polyps might transform to cancer
This discovery would be a major clinical step forward in individualizing patient care.

New test links BRCA2 gene mutations to breast, ovarian cancer
The findings may help patients make better decisions about results obtained from genetic testing.

MGUS poses lifelong risk of progression to multiple myeloma
Patients should be checked for progression and receive all routine preventive services as they age.

Late biostatistician’s plan for clinical trial bears fruit
Results from the IDEA colon cancer study show that patients may be able to reduce chemotherapy.

Immunity-boosting vaccine targets aggressive breast cancer
Future studies will help determine the duration of immunity in HER2 and identify tumor subtypes.

Meet the Investigator: Stephen M. Ansell, M.D., Ph.D.
In this video, Dr. Ansell, a hematologist, discusses his research on lymphoma biology and treatment.

Jun 1, 2018 · Early Cancer Therapeutics Group and Clinical Trials at Mayo Clinic in Cancer Education Center


The Early Cancer Therapeutics Group within the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center provides access to the most current phase I clinical trials available from Mayo Clinic researchers, pharmaceutical companies and the National Cancer Institute. These trials are offered at all three Mayo Clinic campuses in Arizona, Florida, and Minnesota.

Phase I trials are designed to study the safety of the new treatment. In contrast, later phases of clinical trials – phase II and III – seek to determine the effectiveness of the new treatment while also still continuing to study its safety.

At the time of this publishing, Mayo Clinic is currently offering 46 phase I studies among our three Mayo Clinic sites. You can search the list of phase I clinical trials offered at Mayo Clinic.

You can also search our listing of all cancer clinical trials offered through our Cancer Center at Mayo Clinic by typing in your search terms and/or using the filters on the left side of the page. In addition, you can contact the Mayo Clinic Cancer Clinical Trials Referral Office toll-free at 855- 776-0015 for assistance in searching for Mayo Clinic Cancer Clinical Trials or completing the clinical trials request form.

Adult patients who have not responded to standard treatment options and are interested in phase I trials at Mayo Clinic should plan to be evaluated in our Early Therapeutics Group for an initial consultation at any of our three Mayo Clinic sites in Arizona, Florida, or Minnesota. At the appointment, a specialist will discuss potential trial opportunities, may conduct initial test to screen for eligibility, and discuss more details of a study in which you may be eligible. If, at the time of the consultation, we do not offer a study in which the cancer patient is eligible, the patients name will be placed on a wait-list.

All cancer patients should feel free to talk to your cancer medical specialist about all treatment options including clinical trials. A referral to Mayo Clinic is helpful but not always necessary. Also, be sure to check with your insurance plan to make sure you understand you coverage as it relates to the Mayo Clinic site in which you are interested in pursuing an appointment.

Have you received care as part of a clinical trial? What has been your experience? We would appreciate hearing from you.