doctor in hospital looking at results on tablet
Finding common threads among rare cancers helps improve treatments

For many years, doctors have diagnosed cancer according to its location in the body. But thanks to new technologies, researchers are able to look at the inner workings of cancer cells and are starting to think about cancer differently. Cancers that start in the same place can be very different from each other, and cancers that start in different places can have similarities.

3D illustration of cancer cell
How might obesity promote breast cancer?

Obesity is related to a variety of health problems, but its connection to cancer may not be as well known. Yet, researchers know that being overweight or obese increases the risk of a number of cancers, including breast cancer, and people who are obese are more likely to have aggressive forms of the disease. But researchers haven’t had a good understanding of the reasons behind these observations.

Your trusted source for the most up-to-date cancer statistics in Canada

For more than 30 years, the Canadian Cancer Statistics publication has provided comprehensive, up-to-date cancer statistics for Canada. Developed collaboratively by the Canadian Cancer Society, Public Health Agency of Canada, Statistics Canada and provincial and territorial cancer registries, the 2017 edition was released on June 20.

zoomed-in view of the body’s blood vessels
Detecting cancer early in the blood

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animation of a CAR-T cell interacting with a target protein on a cancer cell
How CAR-T cells work to fight cancer

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cartoon of cancer stem cell resisting treatment
The challenges behind the fight against cancer

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New directions in cancer prevention research

Often, people think cancer research is about developing new treatments. But finding ways to prevent cancer is also important. More than 200,000 Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year, and this number will keep increasing as our population grows and ages, placing a significant burden on the health care system.

Can we detect esophageal cancer years before symptoms appear?

There are no existing tests that can predict esophageal cancer in people with Barrett’s esophagus, a condition that affects the cells lining the esophagus and can lead to cancer in some people. Researchers from the University of Cambridge have identified patterns of gene mutations that can predict cancer years before symptoms appear. These findings can help doctors diagnose and treat esophageal cancer earlier. Learn more in an article from Medical Xpress.

Rare liver cancer driven by fused genes

Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma is a rare and typically lethal form of liver cancer that can affect young people. A collaborative research team found that this disease was driven by the fusion of 2 genes that are normally far apart. This finding may support the development of new and improved therapies to treat this disease. Learn more in an article from The Rockefeller University.

Genetic features of early-stage bladder cancer

People with non-invasive bladder cancer are often treated similarly, even though their tumours may be unique. Researchers have found that these tumours can have different genetic mutations that could be targeted for personalized treatment. Learn more in an article from the University of Leeds.

Matching young cancer patients to the right therapy

Precision medicine is an important treatment strategy for cancer, as each person’s genetic makeup can affect which therapy will work for them. A new program in Canada aims to let experts in the field to examine the genes of a young cancer patient and match him or her to the most promising treatments. This program could potentially reduce the time it takes for people to access cancer treatment. Learn more in an article from the Globe and Mail.

Skin scanner prototype looks for hot cancer cells

Cancer cells often grow and divide more quickly than normal cells, generating heat in this process. Recent graduates from McMaster University designed a handheld device that may eventually detect cancerous cells in the skin based on their heat signature. This innovative technology could change the way skin cancer is diagnosed. Learn more in an article from CBC News.