The Health Issue: Awareness and Research

Medical office - middle-aged male doctor greeting patient, shaking hands.
(via flickr)

The New York Times Magazine of May 15th 2016 issue was dedicated to the anatomy of cancer. For most of us it is a very sad and disturbing issue, and in majority people do not like to talk about it or even mention the word. I know that it is not a pleasant topic, but I think that it is very important to build a good understanding and spread awareness about different health issues including “The big C”. One of the starting points in understanding is the development and genetics behind the disease. One of the articles does a great job in creating a clear picture through images and facts what the development of cancer looks like:

CANCER DEVELOPMENT: “Cancer works the same way all life works, through the process of cell division and mutation. All living things grow and heal through cell division, and all living things evolve and change through the occasional mutations that occur as the cells divide. But some mutations can be deadly, leading to the unchecked growth that defines cancer. More than 14 million Americans have a history of cancer; it is expected to kill 600,000 Americans this year.”



Researchers have discovered that cancers they once assumed were quite different might be similar genetically, which means a treatment that used to work for only a small group of patients now might help a much larger group. Mutations in the gene E2F3, for example, are found in breast, lung, bladder and prostate cancers, among others. Knowing this, it’s possible to develop similar drugs that target the gene across different cancers.”

c2Furthermore, the article continues to explore how genetic research helps in developing pathways and possible therapy and treatments. I am not going to cover or review the articles any further. I guess some of you might have read them or will in the future for you own understanding, but what I am hoping to do today with this blog is bring some awareness to all of us about screening and prevention. Sometimes even doctors can’t find a definite explanation, but it is our responsibility to be aware and screen regularly to hopefully prevent a life threatening catastrophe. For more information on Cancer Prevention and Control you can go to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Another issue I want to bring to the table is research, and cancer research in particular. If you are interested in finding more information or gathering literature on a specific research topic related to any cancer, Touro College Library resources and databases are going to be very helpful. I started my own investigation by using two of Touro College Library databases:
PubMed @ Touro
  and Proquest Medical Library.

My family name is no stranger to cancer research, so I decided to find article on the topic of cancer research by author last name.  And this is another way of exploring literature review if you know some authors on the field. Here are some of my findings on PubMed:

Improving outcomes in cancer diagnosis, prevention and control: barriers, facilitators and the need for health literacy in Ibadan Nigeria. Adedimeji AA, Lounsbury D, Popoola O, Asuzu C, Lawal A, Oladoyin V, Crifase C, Agalliu I, Shankar V, Adebiyi A., 2016

The feasibility of epidemiological research on prostate cancer in African men in Ibadan, Nigeria by Agalliu I, Adebiyi AO, Lounsbury DW, Popoola O, Jinadu K, Amodu O, Paul S, Adedimeji A, Asuzu C, Asuzu M, Ogunbiyi OJ, Rohan T, Shittu OB, 2015

I know that these are research articles and for most part are not for general public, but let me explain to you what I have learned through numerous family dinners with both my brothers. One of them has been researching prostate cancer for quite some time, and as you can see from articles listed above the focus of his research is prostate cancer in African men in Nigeria. The other interesting focus that I think will find a lot of awareness and interest in the Touro Community is prostate cancer in men of Ashkenazic Descent. Here are some of those articles:

Characterization of SNPs Associated with Prostate Cancer in Men of Ashkenazic Descent from the Set of GWAS Identified SNPs: Impact of Cancer Family History and Cumulative SNP Risk Prediction: e60083 by Agalliu, Ilir; Wang, Zhaoming; Wang, Tao; Dunn, Anne; Parikh, Hemang; et al., 2013

Y chromosome haplogroups and prostate cancer in populations of European and Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry by Wang, Zhaoming; Parikh, Hemang; Jia, Jinping; Myers, Timothy; Yeager, Meredith; et al., 2012

In conclusion to all health issues, awareness, and research, I cannot stress enough prevention and screening. Please get informed, learn more, and educate yourself before it is too late.



Contributed by: Edlira Agalliu, Librarian, Midwood

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