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November 18th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness

By cindyweiss cindyweiss

pancreatic cancer awareness purple ribbon

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and Mayo Clinic Cancer Center experts are available to discuss this often fatal illness, risk factors, treatments and advances in research. Pancreatic cancer accounts for only 3 percent of all cancers but is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. According to the National Cancer Institute, by the end of the year, 49,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and an estimated 41,000 will die from the disease.

Surgeon Horacio Asbun, M.D., from Mayo Clinic's Jacksonville campus and specializes in pancreatic and abdominal surgery, says pancreatic cancer is very challenging to treat. Due in part to its vague symptoms, pancreatic cancer is seldom diagnosed in the early stages. And with its proximity to other organs, cancer cells often spread quickly — including to the liver, gallbladder and intestines. "Surgery is the only chance for cure, but typically only about 20 percent of all patients are candidates, as often the disease has spread to other organs by the time it is diagnosed," he says. Those eligible for surgery usually undergo a Whipple procedure.

JOURNALISTS: Sound bites with Dr. Asbun are available in the downloads.
For interviews with Dr. Asbun  (in English or Spanish),  please contact Cynthia Weiss in Mayo Clinic Public Affairs at or 507-284-5005.

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Tags: #Newsapp, Dr Horacio Asbun, Pancreas, pancreatic cancer, Whipple

October 30th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Cologuard stool DNA test accurate in screening for colorectal cancer in Alaska Native people

By briankilen briankilen

Alaska Native people have twice the rates of colorectal cancer as rest of U.S.

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Cologuard stool DNA testing for colorectal cancer was found to be an accurate noninvasive screening option for Alaska Native people, a population with one of world’s highest rates of colorectal cancer, concluded researchers from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and Mayo Clinic.

The remote residence of many Alaska Native people in sparsely distributed communities across vast roadless regions creates a barrier to screening with conventional tools, such as a colonoscopy. Stool DNA testing, which was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), may offer a workable and effective screening method for this population. The research was published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings and funded by a competitive grant from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation.


David Ahlquist, M.D.

The stool DNA test is a noninvasive screening tool that identifies characteristic chemical changes in stool that signal the presence of cancer or precancerous polyps. The test, which requires no bowel preparation and no diet or medication restrictions, can be done from home via a mailed sampling kit.

“Stool DNA detects colorectal cancer and highest risk precancerous polyps with high accuracy, and its application within a screening program could translate into more effective prevention and control of the leading cancer among Alaska Native people,” says David Ahlquist, M.D., a study author and co-inventor of the stool DNA test.

Brian Kilen, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, Email:

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Tags: Ahlquist, Alaska, Colonoscopy, Colorectal Cancer, Minnesota news release, News Release, Screening, sDNA, USPSTF

October 29th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic responds to USPSTF draft recommendations on colorectal cancer screening

By briankilen briankilen

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death for men and women combined in the U.S. The goal of screening is to reduce the number of people who die from this common cancer. According to Mayo Clinic cancer experts there are gaps in current screening approaches in terms of detection accuracy, patient willingness to use them, and accessibility.

Recently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) announced draft recommendations on colorectal cancer screening. The task force recommended screening for colorectal cancer using the conventional tools, including, fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy in adults, beginning at age 50 years and continuing until age 75.

Dr. John Noseworthy

John Noseworthy, M.D.

The task force concluded that the evidence is less mature to support use of the stool DNA test as a screening modality for colorectal cancer and designated this new test as an alternative rather than front-line screening approach.  The innovative and noninvasive stool DNA test (Cologuard) was co-developed by Mayo Clinic and Exact Sciences scientists to improve screening accuracy, encourage participation with its user-friendly features, and remove access barriers. The stool DNA test has met the stringent reviews and been approved by both the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Mayo Clinic strongly urges the USPSTF to unambiguously support the stool DNA as a fully legitimate colorectal cancer screening option.

“There is compelling scientific evidence that this innovative approach can increase screening accuracy and potentially save lives,” says John Noseworthy, M.D., President and CEO, Mayo Clinic.  "We need to remove cost, cultural, location and other barriers to improve access to effective screening.”

Brian Kilen, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Cologuard, Colorectal Cancer, Dr Robert Diasio, John Noseworthy MD, Minnesota news release, sDNA

October 20th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines Revised

By ddouda ddouda

woman having a mammogram, checking for breast cancer

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has updated its recommendations for breast cancer screening for women at average risk of the disease. The recommendations strongly support the value of mammograms and provide some further direction for women at both ends of the age spectrum.

Sandhya Pruthi, M.D., a Breast Clinic physician and Mayo Clinic Cancer Center researcher says,"This is an important paper and we are pleased that ACS has paid attention to and respected patient preferences and values in its recommendation. While the ACS now recommends annual screening mammograms for women who have no risk factors at age 45, it did recommend that women age 40 and up still receive an annual screening mammograms if they choose to seek screening. This shared-decision making approach between a patient and her provider is something we support at Mayo Clinic. Overall, the new ACS recommendations reaffirm that screening mammography for women in their 40s is associated with a decrease in breast cancer deaths."

Breast Cancer is the most common cancer among women and the second deadliest cancer for women, surpassed only by lung cancer. More than 230,000 women in the United States are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

The new guidelines were just released in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association). Among the key updates by age:

  • 40-44 Should have opportunity for annual mammograms
  • 45+     Strongly recommend regular mammogram screening
  • 45-54  Annual mammogram screening
  • 55+     Mammograms every two years/annual opportunity
  • 70+     Mammograms for those in good health

Dr. Pruthi says, “So, we have been recommending for years that women in their forties be screened annually with mammogram. So, it’s nice to have the American Cancer Society support what we’ve been telling patients at Mayo Clinic.”

Dr. Pruthi does say she was surprised, however, that the ACS no longer recommends clinical breast exams by physicians for women of average risk. "One surprising part of the recommendation was that ACS no longer supports annual clinical breast exams. We know that mammograms can miss detecting a breast cancer due to the presence of very dense breast tissue. Clinical breast exams conducted by providers can improve the opportunity to detect breast cancers or abnormalities early.  Women are encouraged to be aware of breast changes and bring this to the attention of their providers promptly for evaluation."

Journalists: Broadcast quality sound bites are available in the downloads. Mammogram b-roll is also available. Click here for a transcript of Dr. Pruthi's comments, .

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Tags: #Newsapp, Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Screening, Dr. Sandhya Pruthi, Mammogram, Mayo Clinic Breast Clinic

October 11th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic and St. Vincent’s HealthCare collaborate on cancer care services

By kevinpunsky kevinpunsky

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus and St. Vincent’s HealthCare, a ministry of Ascension Health, are collaborating to bring Mayo Clinic’s nationally ranked cancer services to patients in a newly built medical suite on the campus of St. Vincent’s Riverside. The goal is to offer Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center’s programs and services to more patients directly in the community.

Construction of the 11,500-square-foot medical suite is expected to be completed in summer of 2016. Financial details of the agreement will not be disclosed.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with a local health system that is known worldwide for delivering superior cancer care,” says Michael Schatzlein, M.D., President and CEO of St. Vincent’s HealthCare. “Every year, thousands of patients travel across the globe to be treated by Mayo Clinic physicians, and, now, St. Vincent’s will offer our patients the same high-quality care right here on our Riverside campus.”

Kevin Punsky, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, email:
Kyle Sieg, St. Vincent’s HealthCare, 904-308-7992,

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Tags: Cancer, collaboration, Florida News Release, News Release, St Vincents HealthCare

September 21st, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine Welcomes New NIH Initiative

By ddouda ddouda

Journalists: Broadcast quality sound bites with Dr. Stewart are available in the downloads. Click here for the transcript.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a new framework this week for beginning to collect and decode the genetic information of a huge sampling of volunteers over the next three years in an effort to improve health care at an individualized level. Called the Precision Medicine Cohort Initiative, it's part of the President's Initiative on Precision Medicine announced earlier this year.

The director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, A. Keith Stewart, M.B., Ch.B., welcomes the announcement. "This is a project to take the DNA of one million Americans, across all walks of life and diversity of populations, and to sequence the genome of each of those individuals and then follow them over time to understand what the genome could tell us and what it could predict about our future health," says Dr. Stewart. "It’s a highly important project."

NIH says $130 million of the $215 million budgeted in fiscal year 2016 for the President's Personalized Medicine Initiative is allocated for development of the participant cohort, meaning the group of patients who will be involved in the research. To read the full NIH news release on the program, click here.

As he prepares to host Mayo Clinic's 4th International Individualized Medicine Conference beginning September 20th, Dr. Stewart says, "Here at Mayo Clinic, we’ve long recognized that this is going to transform medicine and we’re very pleased to see this project moving forward and to be, potentially, a part of that going into the future.”

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Tags: center for individualized medicine, Dr A Keith Stewart, genetics, genomics

September 17th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Changing clinical practice: Too fast or too slow?

By joedangor joedangor

The ups and downs of incorporating a new treatment to try to prevent chemotherapy-associated neuropathy

word cloud with patient, medicine, healthcare, qualityROCHESTER, Minn. — In this age of the 24-hour news cycle, instant access to all information everywhere, PubMed, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and hundreds of other ways to glean and share knowledge beyond the traditional stack of printed journals delivered to their door, physicians continue to struggle to arm themselves with the most effective therapies.

Fast access to information may result in practice change; however, subsequent data may disprove effectiveness and require even more practice change. The cycle may continue over several years and several studies, with the potential for missed information growing with each practice-change decision.

In a study released today in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Mayo Clinic researchers, looking at one drug used for one condition, show how, even in a fairly narrow field with limited general consumer involvement, the quick penetration of information resulted in several practice shifts and reversals across the nation that stretched over a decade. The researchers looked at the timeline and impacts of various events on the use of calcium magnesium (CaMg) for oxaliplatin-induced neuropathy.

MEDIA CONTACT: Joe Dangor, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, Email: 

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Tags: Dr Andreas Beutler, Dr Axel Grothey, Dr Charles Loprinzi, Dr Joleen Hubbard, Dr Kathryn Ruddy, Dr Nilay Shah, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Minnesota news release, News Release, OptumLabs, research

September 10th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

3D Printing of Patients’ Anatomy Aids in Surgical Planning

By ddouda ddouda

Not all great advances in surgery happen in the operating room. Some are coming off the printer – a 3D printer. At Mayo Clinic, radiologists and surgeons are teaming up to discover every possible detail about complex cases before the operation. In some situations, it means patients experience less pain, shorter hospital stays and quicker recoveries. Here’s Dennis Douda for the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Journalists: A broadcast quality video package is available in the downloads. To read the full script, click here

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Tags: 3d printing, Dr Jane Matsumoto, Dr Shanda Blackmon, HL, laparoscopic surgery, lung cancer, lung tumor, Pancoast tumor, Thoracic Surgery

September 2nd, 2015 · Leave a Comment

From Marine to Miracle Cancer Survivor

By ddouda ddouda

marine Josh Russell in uniform, eating breakfast
Integrated care. A multidisciplinary approach. These are words often heard when talking about the way Mayo Clinic seamlessly incorporates many medical specialties to diagnose and treat patients. A young man from Wisconsin offers up a couple more – lifesaving teamwork. Here’s Dennis Douda for the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Journalists: A broadcast quality video package is available in the downloads. To read the full script, click here.



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Tags: Cancer, Dr Bradley Leibovich, Dr Dennis Wigle, Dr James Lynch, Dr Jan Kasperbauer, Dr Thomas Bower, Endovascular, Oncology, surgery, teratoma, Testicular Cancer, Thoracic Oncology, Thoracic Surgery, Urology

August 31st, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Mayo researchers examine risk factors and patient outcomes associated with colorectal cancer operations, identify benchmarks

By elizabethzimmermann elizabethzimmermann

colon cancer mets2ROCHESTER, Minn. — About 20 percent of colorectal cancer patients have cancers that have spread (metastasized) beyond the colon at the time of their diagnosis. The liver is the most common site for these metastases. The approach to treating primary tumors within the colon and metastatic tumors in the liver continues to evolve; however, it typically involves chemotherapy plus surgical removal (resection) of both types of tumors. However, experts continue to debate whether surgical resection of primary tumors and metastatic tumors should be performed at the same time (synchronously) or in separate operations (sequentially).

In the August issue of the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Mayo Clinic researchers provided a detailed comparison of patient outcomes associated with synchronous and sequential colorectal and liver resections in patients with stage IV colorectal cancer, identifying some benchmarks for surgical practice.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Elizabeth Zimmermann Young, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Christopher Shubert, Colon Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, David Nagorney, Minnesota news release, News Release, surgery