New DNA stool test almost as good as dreaded colonoscopy

Last year alone, almost 50,000 Americans died of colon cancer, and nearly 150,000 new cases were discovered. In fact, it's the third most common cancer in the US, according to the American Cancer Society. And yet one in every three qualifying Americans doesn't follow colonoscopy guidelines: getting one at age 50 and every decade thereafter.

There may be many factors at play behind so many people not undergoing the procedure, but even for those who simply feel squeamish about it, it's hard to blame them. Colonoscopies are invasive, uncomfortable, and at least for some, downright … Read more

Scientists capture first super-res X-rays of living cells

Typically, to view super small objects like molecules, the samples must first be dipped in a chemical preservative bath of death that keeps all parts entirely locked in place and thus viewable via very sophisticated tech such as X-ray devices and electron microscopes. The problem, of course, is that those molecules don't behave the same in death as they do in life, so while our current views of life at the nanoscale level are extremely detailed, they're technically speaking views of death, or at the very least, life frozen.

Now scientists at the University of Göttingen … Read more

Pee here to find out if you have cancer

Peeing on a stick in the privacy of our bathrooms has long been a way to help us play doctor in our own homes. Diabetics can evaluate their glucose levels, would-be-moms can check on potential new pregnancies, and even pot users can judge the level of marijuana in their blood (or just get a good giggle watching a stick change color in a urine stream).

Soon, we might be able to use the pee-on-a-stick method for detecting cancer as well. … Read more

To diagnose prostate cancer faster, scientists bring aboard engineers

The earlier doctors find diseases, the better (typically) one's prognosis. Looking for biomarkers -- the biochemical signatures of certain diseases that are found in tissue, blood, and urine -- is one way to diagnose diseases earlier, even before a patient is symptomatic.

The good news is that scientists are identifying new biomarkers in labs on a regular basis; the bad news is that it can take years and even decades to study them in clinical trials, and it can be expensive to conduct those trials. So scientists are working more and more closely with engineers to build computational models … Read more

Radiation-free cancer scans may be on the horizon

Using whole-body scans to screen for cancer presents such a catch-22, especially in kids. While traditional radiation scanners like PET and CT are good at finding cancer, they expose patients to radiation that can be harmful and even induce cancer later in life -- more so in younger patients, because their cells are still dividing quickly and because, with more years ahead of them than adults, children also have a higher chance of being exposed to more radiation down the line.

The good news is that scientists have managed to reduce radiation exposure over the past several years without sacrificing … Read more

Scientists create 'highway of death' for cancer

Brain tumors known as Glioblastoma multiform cancer (GBM) are a particularly insidious form of the disease because they just don't stay still. They travel through the brain by sliding along blood vessels and nerve passageways. This means that sometimes they move to parts of the brain where surgery is extremely difficult -- if not impossible -- or that even if the bulk of a tumor can be removed, chances are good its tendrils would still exist throughout the brain.

Scientists at Georgia Tech may have come up with a novel solution for this problem; though, it may be years before the technique can be used on humans. It involves creating artificial pathways along which cancer can travel. These pathways could route cancer to a more easily operable area, or even to a deadly drug located in a gel outside the body. … Read more

Ah, Vanity: Wrinkle videos trump cancer vids in getting teens to bust out the sunscreen

Want to get kids to wear sunscreen more often? Teaching them about skin cancer and death apparently doesn't cut it; compare their face to a grape soon to be shriveled up like a raisin, however, and sunscreen becomes their new best friend.

It probably shouldn't come as much of a surprise that appealing to our vanity works better than a biology lecture, but the extent to which the approach increases sunscreen use is sizable.

Reporting in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, researchers at the University of California, Davis, say they showed 50 11th graders in … Read more

New ultrasound tech could improve cancer detection

Ultrasound as an imaging technique has several things going for it. For one, it's more affordable than CT and MRI scans, and it's portable, so it can easily travel to rural and low-infrastructure areas or patients who are house-bound. And unlike with CT scans and X-rays, there is no ionizing radiation exposure, hence its widespread use imaging fetuses in pregnant women.

Unfortunately, the high-frequency soundwave approach to viewing soft tissue doesn't provide great resolution, so despite all its perks, it's not the go-to imaging tech for cancer detection. Now, thanks to a new discovery out of … Read more

Scientists inch closer to blood test for pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer carries one of the worst prognoses of any disease, period. A whopping 99 percent of people diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer are dead within five years, and without any screening tests, it's usually found late. Even though it's one of the least diagnosed types of cancer in the US, it is the fourth-leading cause of cancer deaths. With such a grim record, scientists are hard at work looking for a test that can spot the disease earlier.

And while they caution that their work is preliminary, Danish scientists are reporting Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical AssociationRead more

Bosom buddy: Bra tweets every time it's unhooked

What do chocolate, Twitter, and bras have in common? They've all come together for a marketing campaign aimed at breast cancer awareness. The campaign hinges on a bra that sends a tweet each time the clasp is freed.

Despite the rich possibilities for teen-romp coming-of-age movies, the Tweeting Bra's aim is to encourage women to conduct breast self-exams every month.… Read more