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World Cancer Day 2015: ‘Not Beyond Us’

Article date: January 30, 2015

By Stacy Simon


Wednesday, February 4th is World Cancer Day, when organizations and individuals around the world unite to raise awareness about cancer and work to make it a global health priority. Every year approximately 8 million people die from cancer worldwide.

One of the most visible events marking the occasion in the United States will be in New York, where the Empire State Building will be lit blue and orange for the fifth year in a row. The colors are those of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), which organizes World Cancer Day.

Participate in an event

Join our webcast and Twitter chat at 12pm Eastern time February 4th to discuss the global fight against cancer. American Cancer Society Chief Medical Officer Otis Brawley, MD and American Cancer Society Senior Vice President, Global Health Sally Cowal will be joined by Barak Goodman, director of the upcoming PBS documentaryCancer: The Emperor of All Maladies using the hashtags #FightWorldCancer and #CancerFilm.

Around the world, communities will hold festivals, walks, seminars, public information campaigns and other events to raise awareness and educate people on how to fight cancer through screening and early detection, through healthy eating and physical activity, by quitting smoking, and by urging public officials to make cancer issues a priority.


Not Beyond Us

This year the theme of World Cancer Day is “Not Beyond Us,” to emphasize that solutions exist and are reachable. The campaign’s goal is to implement what is already known in the areas of cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, and care.

In many countries, cancer carries a stigma that makes it harder for people to get accurate information about the disease. World Cancer Day 2015 has identified 4 main areas for education and action:


  • Choosing healthy lives: Healthy lifestyle choices can lower the risk for cancer. They include avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol consumption,eating right, getting plenty of exercise, and staying away from the sun and other sources of UV rays.

  • Early detection: For many cancers, there are warning signs and symptoms and the benefits of early detection are indisputable.

  • Achieving treatment for all: All people have the right to access proven and effective cancer treatments and services on equal terms, and without suffering hardship as a consequence.

  • Maximizing quality of life: People with cancer and their caregiversdeserve high-quality, compassionate care during treatment and survivorship. This includes care for the emotional, mental, and physical effects of cancer.

Reviewed by: Members of the ACS Medical Content Staff


Article date: January 28, 2015

By Robert Preidt


(HealthDay News) -- Organ transplants have saved more than 2 million years of life in the United States over 25 years, new research shows.

But less than half of the people who needed a transplant in that time period got one, according to a report published in the Jan. 28 online edition of the journalJAMA Surgery.

"The critical shortage of donors continues to hamper this field: only 47.9 percent of patients on the waiting list during the 25-year study period underwent a transplant. The need is increasing: therefore, organ donation must increase," Dr. Abbas Rana, of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues wrote.


More Than 2 Million Years of Life Saved With Organ Transplants, Experts Estimate




The researchers analyzed the medical records of more than 530,000 people who received organ transplants between 1987 and 2012, and of almost 580,000 people who were placed on a waiting list but never received a transplant.

During that time, transplants saved about 2.2 million years of life, with an average of slightly more than four years of life saved for every person who received an organ transplant, the study authors pointed out in a journal news release.

The number of years of life saved by type of organ transplant were: kidney, 1.3 million years; liver, more than 460,000; heart, almost 270,000; lung, close to 65,000; pancreas-kidney, almost 80,000; pancreas, just under 15,000; and intestine, about 4,500.

One expert noted the relevance of the findings.

"This study highlights the importance of organ donation and shows that solid-organ transplants save lives. One organ donor can impact as many as 50 lives," said Dr. Kareem Abu-Elmagd, director of Cleveland Clinic's Transplant Center, in Ohio.

"The field of transplantation continues to look for ways to save more lives," Abu-Elmagd said. "For instance, the ex-vivo organ perfusion program at Cleveland Clinic has been studying perfusion technology to better preserve donor organs."

With perfusion technology, a machine pumps oxygen and a nutrient-enriched solution through the donor organ to prevent damage or deterioration of the organ before it is transplanted into a waiting patient, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

The Baylor researchers suggested a straightforward solution.

"We call for deepened support of solid-organ transplant and donation -- worthy endeavors with a remarkable record of achievement and a tremendous potential to do even more good for humankind in the future," the study authors concluded.

Folic Acid Saves 1,300 Babies Each Year From Serious Birth Defects Of Brain And Spine, Study Finds

WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK — Thursday, January 15, 2015


Fortifying grain foods with the B vitamin folic acid has saved about 1,300 babies every year from being born with serious birth defects of the brain and spine known as neural tube defects (NTDs), according to new data published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).The number of babies born in the United States with these conditions has declined by 35 percent since 1998.

About 3,000 pregnancies in the U.S. still are affected by NTDs annually. The March of Dimes says that even with fortified grain products, many women still may not be getting enough folic acid. The organization urges all women to take vitamins containing folic acid, but only about one-third of women do.

“All women capable of having a baby should be taking a multivitamin containing folic acid every day,” advises Siobhan M. Dolan, M.D., MPH, coauthor of the first March of Dimes book Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby: The Ultimate Pregnancy Guide. “It’s also good to eat foods that contain folate, the natural form of folic acid, including lentils, green leafy vegetables, black beans, and orange juice, as well as foods fortified with folic acid, such as bread and pasta, and enriched cereals.”

Since folic acid fortification went into effect in 1998, the percentage of babies born with NTDs declined by 35 percent, according to the CDC analysis in the paper “Updated Neural Tube Defect Prevalence Estimates after Mandatory Folic Acid Fortification – United States, 1995-2011,” published in today’s MMWR. A separate paper, “Supplement Use and Other Characteristics among Pregnant Women with a Previous Neural Tube Defect-Affected Pregnancy—United States, 1997-2009,” also published today in the MMWR, found that among women who had a prior baby born with an NTD those who took high-dose folic acid (4 milligrams) with a subsequent pregnancy were less likely to have a baby with an NTD than those who did not take folic acid. The papers are available at

The authors urge women who had a previous pregnancy affected by an NTD to follow CDC recommendations to take high-dose folic acid beginning at least four weeks before becoming pregnant and continuing through the first trimester of pregnancy

Hispanic women continue to be about 20 percent more likely to have a child with an NTD than non-Hispanic white women, according to the new research. One reason may be that wheat flour is fortified with folic acid, but corn masa flour, more popular among Hispanic women, is not.

The March of Dimes and other organizations have petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to fortify corn masa flour with folic acid in the hope of lowering the rate of NTDs among Hispanics.



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