Mastermind, Magnus Magnusson, Dies Of Pancreatic Cancer

magnus magnusson Mastermind, Magnus Magnusson, Dies Of Pancreatic CancerMagnus Magnusson, former host of the BBC quiz show Mastermind, died just days ago after a four-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He died peacefully at his Glasgow home at the age of 77.

Magnusson, a journalist, author, and presenter, is best known for his 25 years of work on Mastermind, a show he called an “undemanding program for insomniac academics late at night.” His presence defined the program, a prime time BBC show watched by more than 22 million viewers, from 1972 until 1997.”Magnus Magnusson was one of the defining faces and voices of the BBC,” said Mark Thompson, the director general of the BBC. “To the contestants of Mastermind, he was a tough but always fair question-master, but behind this screen persona there was a family man of tremendous warmth and humanity.”

Magnusson, who focused on his writing career after Mastermind ratings began to slump and a new host took his place, first became ill in 2004 when he was hospitalized for emergency abdominal surgery. He recovered from this episode but was diagnosed with cancer last October, on his 77th birthday.

Magnusson, who coined the quiz show phrase, “I’ve started, so I’ll finish,” is survived by his wife of 52 years and his four children.

High Sugar Intake Can Cause Pancreatic Cancer

fizzy drink cancer High Sugar Intake Can Cause Pancreatic CancerAccording to a Swedish research, People who drink large quantities of fizzy drinks or add sugar to coffee or tea run a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is a very serious form of cancer that is possibly caused when the pancreas produces heightened levels of insulin as a consequence of upset glucose metabolism. A well-known way of increasing insulin production is to eat a lot of sugar. Scientists have now, for the first time, shown that the consumption of sweetened food and drink affects a person’s chances of developing pancreatic cancer.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute studied the diets of almost 80,000 men and women between 1997 and 2005. A total of 131 developed pancreatic cancer, a deadly form of the disease that is difficult to treat.

The research team came to the conclusion that people who consume fizzy drinks twice a day or more almost double the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Taking sugar in your coffee five times a day increases the risk by 70 per cent.

Scientists believe the risk of developing pancreatic cancer rises when the pancreas produces higher levels of insulin. Eating a lot of sugar is a well-known way of increasing insulin production.

“Insulin in itself affects cells in the pancreas, and we believe that this is a risk factor for cancer growth,” said Susanna Larsson, one of the researchers behind the study.

About 216,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer, mostly in developed countries, are diagnosed each year. The illness is most common in people aged over 60. It is difficult to treat because it is often not diagnosed until it has spread beyond the pancreas.

“It is perhaps the most serious form of cancer, with very poor prognoses for its victims. Since it’s difficult to treat and is often discovered too late, it’s particularly important that we learn to prevent it,” Larsson said.

Authorities in the UK have hinted they may target sugar reductions in products in the same way they have pressured firms to cut salt content.

Chemotherapy On Mice For Benefit Of Pancreatic Cancer Patients

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center specialists have figured out how to accurately test drive chemotherapy drugs to learn in advance which drug treatments offer each individual pancreatic cancer patient the best therapeutic journey.Test driving cancer drugs is used widely to test cancer therapies, the Hopkins design is personalized to each patient who has relapsed after an initial course of chemotherapy. The standard drug given at this point is gemcitabine, which has a success rate of less than 10 percent.

Reporting on their work in a recent issue of Clinical Cancer Research and at the September meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Chicago, the Hopkins team said it took tiny bits of a patient’s tumor removed after surgery, and implanted them into one or two mice. This process currently requires about six months to get the information on which drugs work best.

Manuel Hidalgo, M.D. Ph.D., associate professor at Hopkin’s Kimmel Cancer Center says that “In the meantime, most patients are receiving their first rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. This information can guide therapy once patients relapse, which is generally in nine to twelve months with pancreatic cancer”.

Pancreatic cancer accounts for more than 33,000 new cases in the United States and almost as many deaths. Less than five percent of patients living beyond five years.

Vitamin D Can Nearly Halve The Risk Of Pancreatic Cancer

A new study indicates that intake of Vitamin D may significantly cut the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Vitamin D is essential for good bone and good health as it helps the body to absorb calcium from food. It is found in the diet in foods like fish oils, fortified margarines and dairy products, while the rest of this vitamin is made by the skin from sunlight.

A research team that comprised of US researchers analyzed 46,771 men aged 40 to 75 and 75,437 women aged, aged 38 to 65. Out of these participants, 365 cases of pancreatic cancer were detected.

The study found that people, who included 400mgs of vitamin D in their daily diet, reduced their risk of developing the disease by 43%. However by comparison, those who consumed less than 150mgs of vitamin D only experienced a 22% reduced risk. Consuming more than 400mgs of vitamin D per day did not appear to provide any additional benefits however.

It is difficult to detect and control pancreatic cancer. And thus, the early diagnose of this cancer is very important. Dr Halcyon Skinner of Northwestern University said “Because there is no effective screening for pancreatic cancer, identifying controllable risk factors for the disease is essential for developing strategies that can prevent cancer” He also explained that vitamin D has already shown strong potential for preventing and treating prostate cancer and areas with greater sunlight exposure have lower incidence and mortality rates for a number of cancers, including breast and colon cancer. “This led us to investigate a role for vitamin D in pancreatic cancer risk. Few studies have examined this association and we did observe a reduced risk for pancreatic cancer with higher intake of vitamin D”, he said. “Our results point to a possible role for vitamin D in the prevention and possible reduction in mortality of pancreatic cancer. Since no other environmental or dietary factor showed this risk relationship, more study of vitamin D’s role is warranted”, Dr Skinner added.

The study has been published in the journal, Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.

Breast Cancer In Forefront, Pancreatic Cancer Remains Hidden

Celebrities have a way of motivating the public to take action. They help dictate fashion trends and set standards for mostly unattainable body shapes and sizes. They add hype to political views and philosophies and make influential statements about all sorts of issues. Like breast cancer. With its backing from celebrities like Melissa Etheridge and Sheryl Crow and Kylie Minogue — all breast cancer survivors who are speaking out and raising awareness — breast cancer has burst onto the media scene and is receiving powerful, positive attention. Kylie Minogue’s public diagnosis spurred so many women into getting their breasts checked that the Medical Journal of Australia reports a 40 percent increase in bookings for mammograms. But sometimes, celebrity diagnoses don’t elicit a response at all.

Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last month — yet the announcement barely registered on the public’s radar. Perhaps he does not command the same kind of reaction as pop singers do. Or perhaps it’s the type of cancer that keeps his public battle on the sidelines.

The breasts are a visible icon of femininity — out in the forefront for all to see. And so the issue of breast cancer is in the forefront. The pancreas, on the other hand, are hidden behind the stomach and are out of sight — and out of mind. When Apple chief executive Steve Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004, he didn’t even know where to find his pancreas. And so this organ does not attract much fanfare — and therefore does not attract the funding and research that breast cancer does. Which is sad because this cancer is not just hidden inside the body. It’s also a hidden killer. It can’t be felt like breasts can be felt. And there is no easy way to detect it, like with mammogram and other imaging techniques. Often a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer — the fourth leading cause of cancer death in Western societies — comes with a death sentence. And more and more, breast cancer diagnoses come with promising expectations of survival.

We may not know as much as about pancreatic cancer as we do breast cancer. But there are some behaviors that may contribute to this deadly disease. So in the spirit of prevention, consider this:

  • If nobody smoked, 25 percent of pancreatic cancer cases wouldn’t happen.
  • Alcohol consumption can increase the risk by 15 times.
  • Some studies link high meat consumption and low vegetable consumption to incidences of pancreatic cancer.
  • Folate, the B vitamin in green leafy vegetables, oranges, legumes, and whole grains seem to reduce the risk. But folate supplements don’t seem to have the same healthy effect.

Annabeth Black Loses Battle With Pancreatic Cancer

VICTORIA — Black Press co-owner Annabeth Black, wife of company founder David Black and one of the driving forces behind the newspaper chain’s success, died of pancreatic cancer overnight Tuesday. She was 60.

“Annabeth was good to all of us both professionally and personally. She was full of energy, good wishes,” says Jim Tighe, president of Black Press Vancouver Island. “She put herself behind the company on all levels. I have a great image of her planting flowers outside our building, her arms deep in the dirt.

“She will be missed.”

An avid gardener, Annabeth helped David run the company.

“There was hardly a decision that got made without her input,” says computer systems manager Al McGee, who has worked closely with David Black since 1979.

Even after the cancer diagnosis in 2005, Annabeth continued monitoring editorial content.

David and Annabeth married in 1970 and raised four children, twin sons Alan and Fraser, 34, and daughters Morgan, 32, and Catherine, 30. Comox Valley Record sports editor Earle Couper recalled babysitting the children in the mid-1970s. Couper was writing for the Williams Lake Tribune at the time and the Blacks had recently moved to town to take over from David’s father, Alan.

“She was a dynamic lady with a warm smile and always had a twinkle in her eye. The Blacks hosted summer staff parties … where the likes of (Tribune writer) Jerry MacDonald and other fun-seekers passed many an enjoyable hour.”

Annabeth never forgot the early days, Couper said.

“I was pleasantly surprised a few years ago to receive a phone call from Victoria from Annabeth. She just phoned to say she had enjoyed reading the Record sports section.”

David Black once told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, purchased in 2000, that he was “very, very lucky” to find Annabeth.

“She brings quiet to my life, focuses me less on business and more on my family,” Black said.

Pavarotti Believes Cancer Punishment For Good Fortune

In July, opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer. Although reported to have come through the operation well, all 2006 concerts were cancelled. At the time, he remained positive that he would return to performing.

However, less than a month later, cancer seems to be taking a terrible toll on Pavarotti’s spirit. Recently, in an interview with an Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, he is quoted as saying he believes cancer was punishment for his good fortune. In the interview, he goes on to say he cannot stand to hear his own singing voice.

“I don’t want to hear myself. If you invite me to dinner, and to please me, you put on one of my own recordings, I would walk out on you,” Pavarotti said.

Who can pass judgment on another for what they believe or how they choose to handle the struggle with cancer? No one. Too, we cannot be certain these are actual statements he made without speaking to him directly — the press has been known to exaggerate information.

Cancer is not a punishment. Throughout history, both saints and sinners have been victims of cancer. Although Pavarotti states he will remain optimistic until his death, it seems in direct conflict to the other statements he makes in the same interview, and I hope that those close to Pavarotti can intervene to bring more clarity to his thoughts about cancer and the fortunes of life.

Zebra Fish Helpful In Lab Research

Phylonix Pharmaceuticals researchers have announced results that show zebrafish are an efficient and effective animal model for assessing human melanoma, colorectal and pancreatic cancer cells at various stages of tumorigenesis.

According to the researchers, human cancer cells were not rejected by zebrafish embryos, a major problem with other animal models and new zebrafish angiogenic vessels formed in and around human cancer cell masses, similar to the process of cancer progression in humans.

There is growing interest in using zebrafish and some of the advantages in using zebrafish is that they are small; provide an opportunity in short experimental time; there is a statistically significant number of animals per test; zebrafish require only a small amount of drug and they are inexpensive to maintain.

Olympic Rower Andrew Sudduth Dies from Pancreatic Cancer

Olympic rower Andrew Sudduth, who rowed on eight national and Olympics teams in the 1980s, won four medals at the World Rowing Championships, and was a five-time winner in singles sculling at the Head of the Charles regatta, has died of pancreatic cancer.

At Cisco Systems, he helped develop server technology.

“He was technically one of the most brilliant people I ever worked with,” said Brian Shorey, a friend who was Sudduth’s boss at Cisco Systems Inc., where he worked until recently. “His mind went a mile a minute and it was tough to keep up with him.”

In 1988, Sudduth was the first to notify the world that a computer virus was sweeping the fledgling internet. He was 44.

Tenor Luciano Pavarotti Recovering Well

Tenor Luciano Pavarotti underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer and is ”recovering well,” his manager said Friday.

The 70-year-old singer was preparing to leave New York last week to resume his farewell world concert tour in Britain when doctors discovered a malignant pancreatic mass, Terri Robson said from her London office.

”Fortunately, the mass was able to be completely removed at surgery,” she said in a statement. ”Mr. Pavarotti is recovering well and his physicians are encouraged by the physical and emotional resilience of their patient.”

He underwent surgery within the past week at a hospital in New York that Robson declined to identify. She said he remained hospitalized Friday.

As a result of Pavarotti’s treatment, all remaining 2006 concerts have been canceled, she said. It is anticipated that tour plans will resume in early 2007.

Concerts had been scheduled for Finland, Norway, Austria, Switzerland and Portugal in September.

Pavarotti was forced to postpone five June dates because of complications from back surgery. He canceled eight concerts in April, saying he had been advised not to travel or perform while undergoing back treatment.

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Cancer surgery for star Pavarotti

Opera singer Luciano Pavarotti has had surgery for pancreatic cancer in New York, his manager has revealed.

The 70-year-old Italian tenor is “recovering well”, she said – but all remaining 2006 dates of his farewell tour have been cancelled.

Pavarotti was preparing to leave the US last week when doctors discovered a malignant pancreatic mass, Terri Robson said in a statement.

“Fortunately the mass was able to be completely removed,” she said.

The tenor’s website said he was “recovering well and his physicians are encouraged by the physical and emotional resilience of their patient”.

The twice-married father of four will remain in hospital in New York while he recuperates, his manager said.

He had been scheduled to perform in Finland, Norway, Austria, Switzerland and Portugal in September.

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Procedure helps rid man of pancreatic cancer

ARLINGTON — Ed Hodges has survived gunshot wounds, beatings, car wrecks and helicopter crashes.

So last year when the Vietnam veteran faced pancreatic cancer, he approached it with the same strong will that has always gotten him through hard times.

“I think 90 percent of the reason I’m alive today is willpower,” said Hodges, 65, a longtime Arlington resident who runs a private investigation firm. “I got mad and decided no damn cancer is going to kill me.”

After a complicated surgery to remove part of his pancreas, Hodges is cancer-free.

“I know the odds, and I should have been dead by Christmas.” he said. “I’m kind of a miracle, I guess.”

Hodges, a grandfather of 11, got lucky. The American Cancer Society predicts that in 2006, about 33,730 people in the U.S. will be found to have pancreatic cancer, and about 32,300 will die of the disease.

Only about 5 percent of pancreatic-cancer patients survive five years, according to the American Cancer Society. Fewer than one in five tumors are detected at an early stage when the prognosis is somewhat better: About 15 percent of patients survive five years at that stage.

Hodges sought treatment last summer after his skin turned yellow and he grew weaker by the day. He was sent to Methodist Dallas Medical Center, where Dr. Jeffrey Linder, a gastroenterologist, used an endoscopic ultrasound to find the tumor on Hodges’ pancreas.

The technology helps doctors pinpoint small tumors and makes it possible to identify the best candidates for surgery, said Dr. Alejandro Mejia, a transplant surgeon on the Methodist medical staff. With traditional technology, such as CT scans, small tumors can be obscured by other organs in the abdomen.

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