cancer

University of Kansas Hospital

This story was updated at 5:24 p.m. to include KU Hospital's statement. 

An explosive lawsuit filed by a University of Kansas Hospital pathologist charges that the head of the hospital’s pathology department wrongly diagnosed a patient with cancer and then covered up the mistake after an organ of the patient was removed.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

As soon as Nedra Bonds heard she had breast cancer, she knew one thing: She would somehow turn the experience into an art project.

Bonds is a textile artist, but she's far from the stereotypical creative introvert working alone in a studio.

"My thing is community," Bonds says. "I want people to be able to get free and express themselves.”

Miran Rijavec / Creative Commons-Flickr

The Kansas Legislature passed a bill Saturday banning tanning salons from serving minors, a measure advocates say will reduce cancer.

Free-market advocates had pushed for an amendment allowing tanning for customers under 18 with parental permission. But the House and Senate ultimately voted to join a dozen other states and Washington, D.C., in banning it completely.

Unless Gov. Sam Brownback vetoes the measure, it will become law as soon as it is published in the state statutes book.

McCaskill for Missouri

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, announced Monday she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She made the announcement on Twitter and linked to a short post on her Tumblr page.

Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

A legislative hearing Tuesday on a bill to prohibit Kansans under 18 from using commercial tanning beds produced emotional testimony from cancer victims and sharp exchanges between lawmakers and the proposal’s lone opponent.

And it seemed clear by the hearing’s end that the bill had the support of several lawmakers who normally would be troubled by the prospect of regulating private businesses.

Alex O' Toole / Wikimedia -- CC

Amy Holdman has a cautionary tale for Kansas lawmakers.

The 41-year-old mother of two from Overland Park is convinced that her frequent use of tanning beds as a teenager and young adult is the reason she’s had to endure three surgeries in the past year to remove chunks of cancerous skin from both arms.

Doctors had to dig deep to remove melanoma cancer cells from her right forearm in February 2015.

In the months that followed, she underwent dozens of painful biopsies and two more scarring surgeries.

What is the future of cancer treatment? Two doctors from The University of Kansas Cancer Center discuss some new innovations. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach of radiation and chemotherapy, doctors are taking cues from the human body — such as looking at a patient's particular genetic makeup before determining a method of treatment.

Guests:

Big Cities Health Coalition

Last month the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recognized Kansas City for its efforts to improve public health with its Culture of Health prize.

Now a newly released report by the Big Cities Health Coalition comparing health outcomes in the country’s 26 biggest cities offers a boatload of data suggesting Kansas City has made strides in many areas but lags in others.

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

Carl Adams has an aggressive form of blood cancer that has resisted multiple attempts to treat it through chemotherapy. So in September, the 47-year-old father of two young daughters traveled halfway around the world with his family from their native Australia to The University of Kansas Cancer Center. There, a clinical trial is underway to test a therapy that harnesses the power of a patient’s own immune system to attack malignant cells.

Robert J. Dole Federal Courthouse

More than two dozen lawsuits alleging that a laparoscopic device used to break up fibroid tissue caused cancerous cells to spread in women’s bodies have been consolidated in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas.

The device, known as a power morcellator, was the subject of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration warning last November. The agency said it posed a risk of spreading unsuspected cancerous tissue, notably uterine sarcomas, beyond the uterus and shouldn’t be used on most women.

Courtesy Aimee Larabee

The Hippocratic Oath that's guided doctors for centuries asks them to "remember that there is art to medicine as well as science." The late cardiac surgeon Jeffrey Piehler and Prairie Village filmmaker Aimee Larrabee shared that sentiment, and the result is her documentary Patient: A Surgeon's Journey, making its one-night local premiere October 1 at the Tivoli Cinema in Westport.

 

Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry played his first regular season NFL game last weekend — just 10 months after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Other high profile professional athletes, such Mario Lemieux in hockey and Jon Lester in baseball, have recovered from lymphoma and resumed their careers. Berry’s quick comeback, he says, was completed through his will, and with the help of those closest to him.

Olympian and cancer-survivor Scott Hamilton has overcome his share of challenges. We trace his incredible journey and discuss how it shaped his outlook on life.

Scott Hamilton is one of the presenters at TEDxKC, which takes place from 5-11 p.m. on August 29th at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts. For information, visit www.tedxkc.org

Wikimedia -- Creative Commons

Kansas and Missouri are in the bottom half of the class in a new report from the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network.

The report, “How Do You Measure Up,” judges states on a variety of policies related to cancer control and prevention. It uses a traffic signal color scheme to indicate state legislative progress: green for a positive trend, red for serious shortcomings and yellow for somewhere between.

Wikimedia--CC

The rate of life-threatening skin cancer has more than doubled in the past three decades in the United States, according to a national report.

And without more efforts at prevention, health officials say the problem will get worse. 

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Discussions about the dangers of the human papillomavirus (HPV) tend to focus on the risks it poses for cervical cancer.

But as physicians and one local survivor emphasized in a discussion after the screening of a documentary shown Wednesday in Kansas City, HPV is not only a danger to women.

“It is under-recognized as a disease of males,” said Dr. Terance Tsue, a head and neck surgeon and physician-in-chief at the University of Kansas Cancer Center.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

If all it took were a few shots to virtually eliminate the chances of contracting one type of cancer, you’d think at-risk people would be lining up for treatment in droves.

There is, in fact, a three-dose regimen that experts say essentially prevents cervical cancer, which is newly diagnosed in more than 12,000 American women a year and kills about 4,000.

Bridgit Bowden / Heartland Health Monitor

If you have cancer – and your dog has cancer – it turns out you may be treated with the exact same drugs.

Dr. Carolyn Henry, a veterinary oncologist at the University of Missouri veterinary school, says that, unlike lab mice, dogs get cancer naturally, just like humans. So their cancers are more likely to behave like human cancer when treated.

“It’s the same disease, it really doesn’t matter what the species is,” Henry says. “It’s the same disease if it occurs naturally. And so, answers in one species should translate to answers in other species in many cases.”

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

A cancer diagnosis is often the beginning of a life-or-death struggle. Patients want to go into that fight armed with the most powerful weapons available.

In many cases, that involves treatments still in their experimental stages that are only available through clinical trials, which are typically found at academic medical centers. But the University of Kansas Cancer Center has created a partnership to bring those options closer to home for rural Kansans.

Todd Feeback / KCPT

The 40-mile stretch of highway between Olathe, Kansas, and Liberty, Missouri, is a key artery in the region’s health care system, bookended by community hospitals and passing a few more medical centers along the way.

Yet this part of Interstate 35 is quickly becoming something more: a cancer corridor, dotted with expanding oncology programs and bordering even more in the urban core of Kansas City, Missouri, and in the suburbs on both sides of the state line.

Wahid Mulla / Rong Li Lab-Stowers Institute

One of the big challenges in treating cancer is that cancer cells mutate and become resistant to treatment. A drug may work for a while, then lose its effectiveness. Cancer cells’ ability to mutate has long frustrated researchers, but some now view it as an opportunity to try new approaches to treatment.

In Kansas City, one scientist is leading the way by trying to create an ‘evolutionary trap’ to fight the disease.

Shari Hartbauer / Lincoln Journal Star

Jeff Piehler, the retired Prairie Village thoracic surgeon who built his own coffin, died Friday after a 12-year battle with prostate cancer. He was 67.

In February, Piehler penned a New York Times op-ed about his decision to build his own coffin. Though his family believed it was morbid at first, building the coffin helped Piehler come to terms with his own mortality. 

The Midwest Cancer Alliance on Tuesday announced the formal opening of a clinic designed especially for adult survivors of childhood cancer.

“This program helps give pediatric cancer survivors access to long-term care tailored to their unique needs," Dr. Becky Lowry, the new clinic’s medical director, said in a prepared statement.

Survivors of childhood cancer, she said, often are prone to secondary cancers, fertility issues, cardiovascular disease, weakened immune systems and endocrine problems.

Eds. note: We are re-airing this story Jan. 2 as we look back on 2014. Jeff Piehler died in November 2014.

Local woodworker and artist Peter Warren met Dr. Jeff Piehler, a retired thoracic surgeon, at an art opening some years ago. But last year, the doctor came to visit Warren at his studio with an unusual request.

“He came to me and said ‘what do you think about building a casket?’” Warren said. "I told him I was fine with that."

Shari Hartbauer / Lincoln Journal Star

It’s one thing for a doctor to counsel a seriously-ill patient about how to deal with his illness and how to face the idea of death. But imagine going from being the doctor to being the patient.

Developing a medicine that attacks the genes of a disease may seem like science fiction, but it’s already been done.

There’s no shortage of entertainment talent in Kansas City, and SNL funnyman Jason Sudeikis is putting his to good use.

An American ex-pat writes satirically about corporate life in a Copenhagen office.

Fresno Pet ER

An uncharacteristically mild winter has led to an unusually warm spring.  You probably packed up your winter coat early and started wearing sandals sometime last month. 

By now it's hardly news that the U.S. spends more than every other industrialized country on health care. But a new study suggests that at least when it comes to cancer care, Americans may actually be getting decent value.

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