Fewer Teens Smoking and New Cancer Research!

I check the health news each week and I have to say that sometimes it's quite depressing. More young people dying from opioid overdoses, another mosquito borne illness detected, cancer spreading and spreading...

BUT, this week, there were two good news stories that I want to share with you!

The first is that according to the CDC, fewer teens and adolescents smoked either real cigarettes or "vapes" in 2016. In fact, this is the first time that number has dropped since they’ve been keeping records! “The decline in use of tobacco products was primarily driven by a drop in e-cigarette use among middle and high school students from 3 million in 2015 to just under 2.2 million in 2016,” the CDC report says. After so many years of increased teen smoking, this is indeed good news. And how did it happen, you may ask? Well, the theory of both the CDC and anti-smoking groups is that a combination of tobacco restrictions, advertising and taxes has helped reduce smoking rates. Personally, I don’t care what methods they use, as long as it keeps working! Wouldn’t it be great to see cigarette use stop completely in our lifetimes?

The second, “good news,” report is regarding cancer metastasis. Most of the time, people don’t die from that tumor in their breast, or spot on their back, but from the spread of those cancer cells to other parts of the body. Metastasis is that spread, and 90% of cancer deaths are caused when cancer metastasizes.

Hasini Jayatilaka was a student at Johns Hopkins a few years ago who discovered that when the cancer cells she was studying became too densely packed, some would break off and start spreading. She, along with a team of scientists from Johns Hopkins, have spent seven years studying this process, with a three dimensional model that mimics human tissue, rather than cells in a petri dish. Very cutting edge technology! Now, they have discovered the biochemical mechanism that tells the cancer cells to break off from the primary tumor and spread throughout the body (metastasis).

Even better news is that the team found two existing, FDA-approved drugs that slow metastasis significantly. That means a quicker approval for use with humans! So far, the results with mice have been marvelous.

Anything that can change the high numbers of our family members and friends who are dying from all types of cancer is not just good news, it’s GREAT news! Way to go Hasini!

Best of Health,

Kathi