This week in the News: May 27, 2007
Presidential hopefuls are faced with a variety of challenges along the campaign trail: generating funds, rallying supporters, clarifying their views on hot issues, and exposing much of their personal lives to the public.
On Thursday, March 22, 2007, presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, announced an especially tough personal hurdle this campaign season: cancer had been found in Elizabeth's body—again.
In October 2004, when Sen. Edwards was in the final stretch of his campaign as the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Elizabeth discovered she had breast cancer. Since then, she had been undergoing treatment and doctors felt confident it was in remission. But after fracturing a rib recently, a small area of untreated cancer was discovered. The doctors, Sen. Edwards said at a press conference, were "optimistic that it is limited and treatable."
Meanwhile, Elizabeth is also optimistic. She knows that she is not the only one to fight cancer, and to fight it more than once. Many of those diagnosed have died, but many have also lived—sometimes for decades longer than expected.
So, what exactly is cancer? What makes it different, and more difficult to treat than other afflictions? You will discover the answers to those questions and more during this week's lesson.
What Is Cancer?
Start your exploration with the National Cancer Institute's Understanding Cancer Series.
Begin browsing through the pages and slides to find out, What is Cancer? On each screen, a slide illustration and text provide explanations. Print out or copy by hand the Different Kinds of Cancer and the method of Naming Cancers for later reference.
Next, learn about how cancer arises from Loss of Normal Growth Control. See an Example of Normal Growth, The Beginning of Cancerous Growth, and then, Tumors emerge. What happens when Invasion and Metastasis develop? What is the difference between Malignant versus Benign Tumors? Why Is Cancer Potentially Dangerous?
Now, find out more about Cancer Detection and Diagnosis, and how Early Cancer May Not Have Any Symptoms. Why are routine exams, such as a Cervical Cancer Screening, Breast Cancer Screening, Prostate and Ovarian Cancer Screening, and Colon Cancer Screening so important, especially as we age? In what ways does each test examine specific physiological changes that can help detect the possible presence of cancer?
If preliminary test results are suspicious, then doctors usually perform a Biopsy to examine the affected tissue. This can help them to see whether or not there is a Microscopic Appearance of Cancer Cells, and if Hyperplasia, Dysplasia, or Carcinoma in Situ has developed. Microscopic examination can also reveal Tumor Grading and Tumor Staging, which can help doctors determine the best treatment methods to boost a patient's survival rate.
What are the risks related to Heredity? Behaviors? Other Factors? In what ways are Tobacco Use and Cancer linked? How can Low-Strength Radiation and High-Strength Radiation increase cancer risks? Why is there often a Lag Time between exposure and cancer development?
To cover the remaining topics at this site, continue through all 61 slide screens or use the Series Index to select specific topics, including ways to reduce risk. You may also wish to review some of the Cancer Statistics, using the Fast Stats page, for example.
Cancers & Treatments In Action
On the Animations page, watch the clip showing Angiogenesis and how VEGF plays a role in blood vessel recruitment. (To see videos of cancer growth stages, visit NOVA's Cancer Warrior site, and watch Cancer Caught on Video clips in Quicktime or RealPlayer.) What are the advantages of being able to recruit blood vessels?
Next at HHMI, watch how Gleevac, an experimental drug, works and shows promise in treating some forms of cancer. How exactly does the drug prevent cancer cell growth?
In the Click and Learn page, learn more about p53: The Guardian of the Genome. What is the importance of the transactivation domain, the DNA binding domain, and the complexing domain? Back in the Animations page, see how Mismatch Repair normally works to fix genetic mutations, how a p53 protein molecule functions to initiate mRNA transcription, and how Using p53 to Fight Cancer can be done. To read an overview of other therapies, visit NOVA's Cancer Warrior site and review the Possible Cancer Treatments.
Browse current issues of The Sacramento Bee and news archives looking for articles related in some way to cancer. Identify different types and locations of cancer featured in each article. Work individually or with a partner, and select one type of cancer to research in-depth. Diagram the process by which this type of cancer generally develops. What factors can promote growth? What factors may inhibit it? What are the common treatment methods? What are the survival rates by age, sex, and race? Present your findings to the class, explaining the original context (that is, newspaper article) in which you identified your case study; compare and contrast cancer types that others have researched.
Weekly News Topics
Each week The Bee publishes a new weekly news topic for students who use the Internet and newspaper as learning resources. The weekly news topic are tied to current events in the news and help students extend their knowledge on a wide range of subjects. Click here to return to the table of contents.
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