611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

Health Choice Integrated Care crisis Line
1-877-756-4090

AzCH Nurse Assist Line
1-866-495-6735

NAZCARE Warm Line
1-888-404-5530



SEABHS
611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

AzCH Nurse Assist Line
1-866-495-6735

NAZCARE Warm Line
1-888-404-5530


powered by centersite dot net

Getting Started
Here are some forms to get started. These can be printed and brought with you so that you can pre-fill out some known info ahead of time. More...


Cancer
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Drug Offers Hope Against a Tough-to-Treat Blood CancerMore Antibiotics, Higher Odds for Colon Cancer?U.S. Task Force Updates Breast Cancer Gene Testing RecommendationsNew Treatments Could Be Powerful Weapons Against Brain TumorsAmerica's Obesity Epidemic May Mean Some Cancers Are Striking SoonerAre You Still Putting Off Colon Cancer Screening?New Study Finds a Family Risk for Blood CancerNew DNA Blood Test May Help Guide Breast Cancer TreatmentDespite Cancer Screening, 'Oldest Old' Have Low Survival Odds: StudyRoutine Screening for Pancreatic Cancer Not Warranted, Expert Panel SaysAHA News: Common Prostate Cancer Treatment May Increase Risk of Fatal Heart ConditionFinances Affect Women's Choice of Breast Cancer Treatment: StudyDrug Duo May Be an Advance Against a Common LeukemiaVitamin A Linked to Lower Odds of Common Skin CancerChildhood Cancer Steals Over 11 Million Years of Healthy Life: StudySome of Most Common, Deadly Cancers Get the Least Research MoneyBreast Implants Tied to Rare Cancer RecalledNew Test Can Pinpoint Which Pancreatic Cysts Might Turn CancerousCan a Broken Heart Contribute to Cancer?Hurricanes Can Hurt Survival Odds Among Those With CancerNewer Lung Cancer Screening Saves More LivesSugary Sodas, Juices Tied to Higher Cancer RiskHormone Treatment for Prostate Cancer Linked to Heightened Alzheimer's RiskMillions of Life Years, Billions of Dollars Lost to Cancer Each YearMS Linked to Higher Cancer RiskCancer Risk Rises After Iodine Rx for Overactive Thyroid: StudyEarly Risers May Be a Little Less Likely to Get Breast CancerHPV Vaccine Making Headway Against Cancer-Causing Virus WorldwideNew Urine Test Might Show Whether Prostate Cancer Needs Treatment9/11 Dust Linked to Prostate Cancer in First RespondersBetter Treatments Needed to Boost Brain Cancer Survival: StudyCancer Survivors May Have Lower Odds for DementiaHeart Disease Is Lasting Threat to Breast Cancer SurvivorsHow Do Birth Defects Affect Childhood Cancer Risk?More Than 5 Million U.S. Cancer Survivors Deal With Chronic PainStatins May Lower Risk of Stroke After Cancer RadiotherapyYogurt Might Help Men Avoid Colon Cancer: StudyMany Advanced Colon Cancers Were 'Born' Ready to Spread'Double-Edged Sword': Lung Cancer Radiation Rx May Raise Heart Attack RiskYour Drinking Water May Harbor Cancer-Causing Nitrate: StudyNo Needle Prick: Laser-Based Test Hunts Stray Melanoma Cells in BloodChemoimmunotherapy Regimen Approved to Treat DLBCLCancer Survivors Predicted to Top 22 Million by 2030Guard Your Skin Against the Summer Sun'Focused' Radiation Could Lighten Treatment Burden for Early Breast Cancer1 in 4 Cancer Survivors Faces 'Financial Hardship' Due to Medical CostsFew Prostate Cancer Patients Are Getting Checkups They NeedTesticular Cancer Treatment Unlikely to Trigger Birth DefectsIs MRI Screening Worth It for Breast Cancer Survivors?Obamacare May Have Helped Close 'Race Gap' in Cancer Care
LinksBook ReviewsSelf-Help Groups
Related Topics

Medical Disorders
Pain Management

No Needle Prick: Laser-Based Test Hunts Stray Melanoma Cells in Blood

HealthDay News
by By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Jun 12th 2019

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, June 12, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Monitoring a melanoma patient's progress is challenging. But a laser-based test might allow doctors to quickly screen the patient's blood to spot tumor cells roaming the body, a preliminary study suggests.

Those cells, known as circulating tumor cells, are "shed" from the original cancer site into the blood vessels or lymph system. They are considered a potential red flag. They could be a sign that a current treatment is not working, or that the cancer is more likely to spread to distant sites in the body.

Right now, though, doctors have no good way to detect circulating tumor cells. They are not abundant, so they can easily be missed by analyzing a patient's blood sample.

And it's simply not feasible to draw large amounts of blood from a patient, explained Vladimir Zharov, the senior researcher on the new study.

He is chair of cancer research at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, in Little Rock.

Zharov's team has been developing an alternative to blood draws. It's a laser-based system designed to screen patients' blood from the outside -- spotting tumor cells as they pass through veins in the arm.

In a nutshell, Zharov explained, it works like this: Laser pulses are applied to a vein through the skin. If melanoma cells -- which contain the light-absorbing pigment melanin -- cross the laser beam, they produce a sound wave. That, in turn, is captured by a small ultrasound probe placed on the skin.

Melanoma is the least common but deadliest form of skin cancer.

In this study, the researchers found that the system detected circulating tumor cells in 27 of 28 patients with later-stage melanoma -- in as little as 10 seconds. And it generated no false alarms when used to screen 19 healthy volunteers.

According to Zharov, the approach was 1,000 times more sensitive than previous tests researchers have developed for catching circulating tumor cells.

The findings are an early step. Melanoma experts said much more research is needed.

"This is a fascinating study," said Dr. Zeynep Eroglu, a skin cancer specialist at Moffitt Cancer Center, in Tampa, Fla.

There is a need for blood-based tests in monitoring patients with more advanced melanoma, she said. Doctors can use CT scans to see whether a treatment is working, but those scans can only be done every three months or so, Eroglu explained.

A blood test could be done more often.

"The inherent limitation is the amount of blood you need to draw," Eroglu said. "This system essentially gets around that."

However, it's not yet clear what doctors can do with the finding that a patient has some circulating tumor cells.

Eroglu said future studies could, for instance, follow melanoma patients after they receive treatment. "You could look at how well the detection of circulating tumor cells correlates with patients' outcomes," she said.

Other researchers have been working on blood tests that detect bits of DNA from tumor cells, Eroglu noted. There is evidence that among patients who've had surgery for earlier-stage melanoma, those with detectable tumor DNA afterward have a higher risk of relapse, she said.

One of the researchers working on those tests is Dr. David Polsky, a professor of dermatologic oncology at NYU Langone Health, in New York City. He agreed that the current study is "interesting."

"But a lot more validation work needs to be done before it could be used clinically," Polsky said.

According to Zharov, the approach holds promise for not only monitoring melanoma patients' responses to treatment, but also catching any recurrences after treatment, or helping to diagnose the cancer in the first place.

There are also hints that the laser might even kill off some of the circulating tumor cells.

For now, though, Zharov said his team is focused on using the technology for diagnosis and monitoring.

There's also the question of whether the test could weed out circulating tumor cells from other types of cancer. Zharov said that is possible -- though the approach would have to be modified because other types of tumor cells do not contain melanin.

The American Cancer Society estimates that about 96,500 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma this year, and over 7,200 will die from the disease.

When melanoma is caught early, it is highly curable. Once it has spread to distant sites, like the lungs or brain, the five-year survival rate is about 23%, the cancer society says.

The study was published June 12 in Science Translational Medicine.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on melanoma.