What You Need To Know About The Claim Linking Baby Powder To Ovarian Cancer

What You Need To Know About The Claim Linking Baby Powder To Ovarian CancerAs its name suggests, baby powder, a talcum powder blend that absorbs moisture and reduces chafing, used to be a common staple of diaper changing stations in homes all across America.

But Johnson & Johnson, the company that makes the leading baby powder, has been in the news lately for an alarming reason: Several lawsuits allege that decades-long use of the product has contributed to ovarian cancer in thousands of women.

Most recently, on October 27, a jury in St. Louis voted in favor of Deborah Giannecchini, awarding her more than $70 million to end the lawsuit she brought against Johnson & Johnson under the claim that years-long use of their product caused her ovarian cancer.

Previous cases with similar details have been thrown out of court for lack of evidence, while still others ended in verdicts like Giannecchini’s, in which Johnson & Johnson has been required to pay tens of millions to victims’ families.

Of course, lawsuits don’t determine whether a product actually contributes to or causes cancer. Science does that. And in this case, the science is unclear. While Giannecchini’s jury found enough evidence to decide that Johnson & Johnson misled the public by keeping the link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder hidden, scientific experts aren’t sure the link is meaningful.

“There is some literature suggesting there may be a connection between genital talcum use and ovarian cancer. It’s not entirely consistent,” Dr. Clarice Weinberg, deputy branch chief for the biostatistics and computational biology branch at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, told The Huffington Post.

Johnson & Johnson plans to appeal the verdict on the basis that their product is safe.

So what should you believe? Here’s everything we know, based on the research:

THE CLAIM: TALCUM POWDER CONTAINS A CANCER-LINKED MINERAL

False. Talc, a natural mineral comprised of magnesium, silicon and oxygen, is often used in powders meant to absorb moisture and reduce friction. In its purest form, talc can also contain the mineral asbestos, which is associated with lung cancer when its fibers are inhaled over an extremely long period of time. But that doesn’t mean there is a relationship between talcum and other various cancer. And in any case, all talcum products on U.S. shelves have been asbestos-free since the 1970s.

THE CLAIM: TALCUM POWDER IS A RISK FACTOR FOR OVARIAN CANCER

The jury’s still out. It’s hard for researchers to actually test if purified talcum powder causes ovarian cancer, as it would be unethical to ask a group of women to apply a potentially carcinogenic substance to their bodies for decades to see if they develop tumors. And small case studies that ask participants to self-report baby powder use can be unreliable. This is because individual memory can be shoddy, and there is no standard way to measure how much talcum powder was sprinkled on the genital area, as well as other factors could be impacting it.

The few studies that exist are contradictory. In some lab studies, scientists exposed asbestos-free talc to animals, which resulted in an increase in tumor formation in the animal. But other studies have not seen the same result, according to the American Cancer Society.

And smaller studies in which women self-reported talcum use has shown a slight increase in risk. But other studies have shown no increase.

Overall, ovarian cancer is the fifth most deadly cancer among women. It causes more deaths than any other cancer in the female reproductive system, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in 2016, just more than 22,200 American women were estimated to receive an ovarian cancer diagnosis, according to the American Cancer Society.

It is also more common in older women ― most people with ovarian cancer are older than 63. A family history of breast or ovarian cancer can increase your risk, and research shows inheriting the BRCA1 genetic mutation is associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. There is evidence that if you’ve never given birth to a child, have endometriosis or are just approaching middle age or older, your risk for ovarian cancer can increase as well, according to the CDC. This doesn’t mean that if you have all or any of these conditions that you will get ovarian cancer – just that these are some risk factors associated with it.

So what should you think?

While the International Agency for Research on Cancer considers genital use of talc-based body powder as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” the evidence that baby powder leads to ovarian cancer is far from conclusive.

It’s also worth pointing out that the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend using baby powder on babies in between diaper changes ― not because of the potential link between powder and cancer, but because babies could inhale the fine particles and damage their lungs.

If you’re uncomfortable with the possibility of a connection between baby powder and ovarian cancer, but still need something to solve chafing or absorb moisture, there are alternative products on the market. Burt’s Bees Dusting Powder is cornstarch-based, and Johnson’s has a pure cornstarch alternative as well. The Honest Company manufactures its baby powder using a cornstarch and kaolin clay blend instead of talcum.

To read this entire article on The Huffington Post, please click here.

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Is Cancer In Your DNA?

Is Cancer In Your DNA? Looking at me, you wouldn’t think I have much in common with Hollywood A-lister Angelina Jolie. But you’d be wrong. We both carry a BRCA gene mutation, giving us a high risk of developing the cancers that killed our mothers and grandmothers.

The BRCA1 and BRCA2 human genes normally produce proteins that prevent tumors. But when these genes change, or mutate, they can lose the ability to repair damaged DNA. Women who have inherited these genetic mutations have a much higher risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Men also have an increased risk of breast and prostate cancers. And men and women both have a greater chance of getting melanoma and pancreatic cancers.

My mother, grandmother and my mother’s aunt were all diagnosed with breast cancer in their mid-40s. My mother died at 59 of pancreatic cancer. At least eight members of Jolie’s family have been diagnosed with a cancer that’s likely linked to the BRCA1 mutation, including her mother, grandmother and aunt.

At stake is whether people with these genetic mutations will live to see their kids grow up. The good news is that prophylactic surgeries to remove ovaries and breasts can reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancers by at least 90 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute. That’s better odds than for the general population.

But this kind of preventive surgery is a deeply personal choice. Jolie chronicled her bilateral mastectomy and oophorectomy (ovary removal) in The New York Times. I had my oophorectomy last spring and plan a bilateral mastectomy in the coming months. Women who choose not to remove body parts can still benefit by having frequent screenings, since that increases the odds of early detection.

Hard Choices

People with strong family histories of BRCA-related cancers easily meet insurers’ criteria for covering tests that can cost thousands of dollars.

But what about those whose histories show few signs of the mutation?

Several companies in Silicon Valley are working to make genetic tests a lot more affordable. Color Genomics and Counsyl, for example, offer full gene sequencing of more than two dozen genes at a fraction of the cost. For a mere $250, anyone can be screened by Color Genomics for 30 genes, which can have thousands of known gene mutations. Counsyl’s product costs $350.

“When the test costs thousands of dollars, it’s hard to rationalize wide-scale testing,” says Othman Laraki, president and co-founder of Color Genomics. “But the math on how many people we can test changes if we change the cost in a dramatic way.”

This focus on predicting life-altering illnesses is leading to major breakthroughs in the treatment and early detection of cancer and other diseases. But experts warn that, without proper understanding, such information could cause more harm than good.

Testing For All?

At $250 a pop, these tests aren’t much more expensive than other routine screenings, like Pap smears or mammograms. So why not test everyone? That’s exactly what experts like Mary-Claire King, the geneticist who identified the BRCA1 gene in 1990, believe. She suggests every woman starting at age 30 be screened for genes that may play a role in breast and ovarian cancers.

“The fact that the test is affordable has huge implications for how we screen people,” agrees Pamela Munster, co-director of the Center for BRCA Research with the University of California at San Francisco.

Four years ago, when Munster was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 48, she discovered she carries the BRCA2 mutation. A few months later, her father complained of abdominal pains. It turned out to be pancreatic cancer. He carries the mutation, too.

“If I had never been tested, we might not have put it together,” she says.

But while cheaper genetic testing sounds great, the reality is that genetics is a tricky business. Tests can often reveal what geneticists call “variants of unknown significance.”

“The problem with testing everyone is that not all genetic variations we can find, we know how to interpret,” says Austin. “You can get variations that we simply don’t know what they mean.”

Fed Crackdown

There’s also the question of whether tests are valid and understandable.

Three years ago, the Food and Drug Administration stopped 23andMe from selling kits to consumers that claimed to detect their risk for breast cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases, without proving the results were accurate.

When 23andMe relaunched in October 2015, it no longer tested for genetic risks of disease. The company’s test now provides information on genes for hair color, lactose intolerance and ancestry. It also provides genetic carrier information, which can reveal if parents could pass on genetic variances for illnesses like cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia or Tay-Sachs to their children.

“Genetic information is complicated, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be made simple and understandable,” says Erynn Gordon, 23andMe’s medical marketing director.

The FDA says it’s not trying to stop consumers from getting access to this information. It just wants to make sure the tests sold to consumers do what companies claim they do, and that the limitations and risks of the tests are made clear.

“I don’t think consumers understand which tests have been looked at by the FDA and whether such tests are accurate and truthful in their claims,” says Alberto Gutierrez, director of the FDA’s Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health. “We know there are companies out there making lots of claims that are probably not sustainable. And that’s why we’ll be looking more closely at all these labs.”

Companies like Color Genomics and Counsyl do not sell directly to consumers. Counsyl’s test is ordered through a doctor. Color Genomics’ test can be ordered online, but requires a doctor’s prescription. Both companies strongly recommend genetic counseling as part of the process. Color Genomics offers counseling with one of its contracted professionals as part of its $250 price tag.

At the end of the day, experts say that family history is still the most effective tool in figuring out who might be susceptible to a genetically linked disease and who won’t.

“One of the most important things I need to learn about my patients is their family medical history,” says Dr. Theodora Ross, an oncologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

“People need to talk to their families,” she says. “It could save lives.”

To read this entire article on CNET.com, please click here.

Onion Compound Suppresses Ovarian Cancer Cell Proliferation

Onion Compound Suppresses Ovarian Cancer Cell ProliferationOnions are low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This pungent vegetable has previously been cited for its health benefits, including lowering risk of certain cancers and helping with depression. But now, a new study has found that a compound found in onions has anti-ovarian cancer effects.

The research comes from Kumamoto University in Japan and is published inScientific Reports.

According to the team, a 2014 review from the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the most common type of ovarian cancer. With a 5-year survival rate of approximately 40 percent, effective treatments for the illness are needed.

Although new cases of EOC ranks 10th among female malignancies, the team says the number of deaths due to this type of ovarian cancer ranks fifth in the United States.

About 80 percent of patients with EOC have a relapse after initial chemotherapy treatment. As such, the researchers looked into the effects that a natural compound in onions – called onionin A, or ONA – has on EOC.

After examining the effects of ONA on a preclinical model of EOC in cells, the researchers found that the growth of EOCs slowed down after the team introduced ONA.

They also discovered that ONA inhibited pro-tumor activities of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC), which the researchers say are linked with the suppression of the anti-tumor immune response of host lymphocytes.

Furthermore, they found that ONA enhanced anti-cancer drugs’ effects by boosting their anti-proliferation ability.

First Study To Report Anti-Ovarian Cancer Effect Of ONA

In further experiments on an ovarian cancer mouse model, the researchers used oral doses of ONA. Results showed that the mice had longer lifespans and showed diminished ovarian cancer tumor development.

The researchers say their study demonstrates that ONA slows progression of ovarian cancer tumors by interrupting myeloid cells’ pro-tumor activity.

They add, “We found that ONA reduced the extent of ovarian cancer cell proliferation induced by co-culture with human macrophages. In addition, we found that ONA directly suppressed cancer cell proliferation.

Thus, ONA is considered useful for the additional treatment of patients with ovarian cancer owing to its suppression of the pro-tumor activation of [tumor-associated macrophages] and direct cytotoxicity against cancer cells.”

The investigators did not observe side effects in animals, and they say with more testing, an oral ONA supplement could help cancer patients.

They conclude their study by noting it is the first to report an anti-ovarian cancer effect of ONA.

In a previous study, the same research team found that ONA suppressed the pro-tumor activation of host myeloid cells.

Medical News Today previously investigated the health benefits of onions. Because they are a strong source of the antioxidant vitamin C, onions help to combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer.

To read this entire article on MedicalNewsToday.com, please click here.

Is Cancer In Your DNA?

Is Cancer In Your DNA? Looking at me, you wouldn’t think I have much in common with Hollywood A-lister Angelina Jolie. But you’d be wrong. We both carry a BRCA gene mutation, giving us a high risk of developing the cancers that killed our mothers and grandmothers.

The BRCA1 and BRCA2 human genes normally produce proteins that prevent tumors. But when these genes change, or mutate, they can lose the ability to repair damaged DNA. Women who have inherited these genetic mutations have a much higher risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Men also have an increased risk of breast and prostate cancers. And men and women both have a greater chance of getting melanoma and pancreatic cancers.

My mother, grandmother and my mother’s aunt were all diagnosed with breast cancer in their mid-40s. My mother died at 59 of pancreatic cancer. At least eight members of Jolie’s family have been diagnosed with a cancer that’s likely linked to the BRCA1 mutation, including her mother, grandmother and aunt.

At stake is whether people with these genetic mutations will live to see their kids grow up. The good news is that prophylactic surgeries to remove ovaries and breasts can reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancers by at least 90 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute. That’s better odds than for the general population.

But this kind of preventive surgery is a deeply personal choice. Jolie chronicled her bilateral mastectomy and oophorectomy (ovary removal) in The New York Times. I had my oophorectomy last spring and plan a bilateral mastectomy in the coming months. Women who choose not to remove body parts can still benefit by having frequent screenings, since that increases the odds of early detection.

Hard Choices

People with strong family histories of BRCA-related cancers easily meet insurers’ criteria for covering tests that can cost thousands of dollars.

But what about those whose histories show few signs of the mutation?

Several companies in Silicon Valley are working to make genetic tests a lot more affordable. Color Genomics and Counsyl, for example, offer full gene sequencing of more than two dozen genes at a fraction of the cost. For a mere $250, anyone can be screened by Color Genomics for 30 genes, which can have thousands of known gene mutations. Counsyl’s product costs $350.

“When the test costs thousands of dollars, it’s hard to rationalize wide-scale testing,” says Othman Laraki, president and co-founder of Color Genomics. “But the math on how many people we can test changes if we change the cost in a dramatic way.”

This focus on predicting life-altering illnesses is leading to major breakthroughs in the treatment and early detection of cancer and other diseases. But experts warn that, without proper understanding, such information could cause more harm than good.

Testing For All?

At $250 a pop, these tests aren’t much more expensive than other routine screenings, like Pap smears or mammograms. So why not test everyone? That’s exactly what experts like Mary-Claire King, the geneticist who identified the BRCA1 gene in 1990, believe. She suggests every woman starting at age 30 be screened for genes that may play a role in breast and ovarian cancers.

“The fact that the test is affordable has huge implications for how we screen people,” agrees Pamela Munster, co-director of the Center for BRCA Research with the University of California at San Francisco.

Four years ago, when Munster was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 48, she discovered she carries the BRCA2 mutation. A few months later, her father complained of abdominal pains. It turned out to be pancreatic cancer. He carries the mutation, too.

“If I had never been tested, we might not have put it together,” she says.

But while cheaper genetic testing sounds great, the reality is that genetics is a tricky business. Tests can often reveal what geneticists call “variants of unknown significance.”

“The problem with testing everyone is that not all genetic variations we can find, we know how to interpret,” says Austin. “You can get variations that we simply don’t know what they mean.”

Fed Crackdown

There’s also the question of whether tests are valid and understandable.

Three years ago, the Food and Drug Administration stopped 23andMe from selling kits to consumers that claimed to detect their risk for breast cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases, without proving the results were accurate.

When 23andMe relaunched in October 2015, it no longer tested for genetic risks of disease. The company’s test now provides information on genes for hair color, lactose intolerance and ancestry. It also provides genetic carrier information, which can reveal if parents could pass on genetic variances for illnesses like cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia or Tay-Sachs to their children.

“Genetic information is complicated, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be made simple and understandable,” says Erynn Gordon, 23andMe’s medical marketing director.

The FDA says it’s not trying to stop consumers from getting access to this information. It just wants to make sure the tests sold to consumers do what companies claim they do, and that the limitations and risks of the tests are made clear.

“I don’t think consumers understand which tests have been looked at by the FDA and whether such tests are accurate and truthful in their claims,” says Alberto Gutierrez, director of the FDA’s Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health. “We know there are companies out there making lots of claims that are probably not sustainable. And that’s why we’ll be looking more closely at all these labs.”

Companies like Color Genomics and Counsyl do not sell directly to consumers. Counsyl’s test is ordered through a doctor. Color Genomics’ test can be ordered online, but requires a doctor’s prescription. Both companies strongly recommend genetic counseling as part of the process. Color Genomics offers counseling with one of its contracted professionals as part of its $250 price tag.

At the end of the day, experts say that family history is still the most effective tool in figuring out who might be susceptible to a genetically linked disease and who won’t.

“One of the most important things I need to learn about my patients is their family medical history,” says Dr. Theodora Ross, an oncologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

“People need to talk to their families,” she says. “It could save lives.”

To read this entire article on CNET.com, please click here.

The Problem With Ovarian Cancer Screening Tests

The Problem With Ovarian Cancer Screening Tests

The Problem with Ovarian Cancer Screening Tests

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a warning against the use of products marketed as ovarian cancer screening tests. While these products may be useful in limited scenarios, such as monitoring cancer treatment, the FDA does not want physicians or their patients to be misled into thinking the tests can accurately detect ovarian cancer. The FDA advises against relying on them to guide treatment decisions, because they often provide inaccurate results leading to false diagnoses.

The Need for Effective Ovarian Cancer Screening Tests

Screening for cervical cancer through the use of PAP smears and human papilloma virus tests is a quintessential example of a successful cancer screening program: one that allows doctors to detect cancer early or find a precancerous lesion before it turns into cancer. The medical community is trying to replicate that model for ovarian cancer, a potentially devastating disease usually found at an advanced stage, when it has already spread beyond the pelvis. A successful ovarian cancer screening program would enable us to detect the cancer earlier, when it is localized to the ovary and treatment is more effective.

Tests Are Unproven, Despite Marketing

Extensive research has been conducted in this area, and some of that research has developed into products marketed to physicians as ovarian cancer screening tests. Companies are bringing more and more of these products to market and encouraging physicians to employ them. The most widely used is the CA-125 blood test, which measures a type of protein that is a marker for ovarian cancer. But the bottom line is that, despite all the research and available products, none of them have been shown to be truly effective in detecting ovarian cancer early. Nor have they been demonstrated to improve the survival rate of patients who develop ovarian cancer.

Accept No Substitutes

At this point, these tests are no substitute for guidance based on a patient’s history, physical examination, clinical data collected, and judgment of her physician, or for a consultation with a gynecologic oncologist (a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers of the female reproductive system). The concern is that these tests often return “false-positive” and “false-negative” results, possibly leading to life-threatening consequences.

For example, a false-positive result indicating a high chance that a lesion is cancerous even though no cancer is present could cause a woman to unnecessarily undergo surgery and possibly end up with a severe surgery-related complication.

A false-negative result can be equally devastating because the patient might actually have a lesion that should cause concern, but if the test shows negative, she might decide against having it removed, and then months later end up with advanced ovarian cancer.

High-Risk Concerns

In addition, some women at high risk for developing ovarian cancer, such as those with a significant family history of breast or ovarian cancer or those with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation, may think, falsely, that they are protected when they use these tests to watch for cancer. The FDA is especially concerned that relying on these unproven tests could lead these patients to delay or forgo potentially life-saving preventive treatment, such as surgical removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Watch for Symptoms

Ovarian cancer is very treatable, even when caught late, but patients who are diagnosed early have significantly better survival rates. Since there are no recommended screening tests, the best way to catch ovarian cancer as early as possible is to be aware of the symptoms and see a doctor if you have any concerns. Unfortunately, the warning signs can be vague and are often missed or mistaken for gastrointestinal ailments.

Here are things to watch for:

• Early satiety—when eating, feeling full sooner than you normally do;
• Unusual bloating and increased abdominal girth;
• Pelvic pain or pressure;
• Constipation;
• Nausea while eating.

If a symptom lasts longer than four or five days, do not hesitate to call your physician for advice. In general, pay attention to your body. Know what is normal for you and what is not, so you will recognize when there is a change.

Hopes for Future Screening

We are in the midst of a technological and scientific explosion in medical advancements. That’s why I believe there will be effective ways to screen for ovarian cancer in the future, but we are just not there yet. Until that time, use good judgment, have a close relationship with your physician, and consider seeing a gynecologic oncologist if you have any serious concerns about symptoms.

To read the entire article on Huffington Post, please click here.

Rucaparib Demonstrates Strong Activity in BRCA-Mutated Advanced Ovarian Cancer

The oral PARP inhibitor rucaparib showed strong activity and an acceptable safety profile in women with high-grade, BRCA-mutated ovarian carcinoma who had previously received at least two lines of chemotherapy, according to a pooled analysis of early studies presented at the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2016 Congress in Copenhagen.
Rucaparib’s manufacturer, Clovis Oncology, submitted a new drug application (NDA) to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this year, and the FDA granted the agent priority review in August. Rucaparib also received Breakthrough Designation from the agency in April 2015. Rucaparib Demonstrates Strong Activity in BRCA-Mutated Advanced Ovarian Cancer

The data presented at the ESMO Congress included patients from two single-arm, open-label, phase II studies. In total, there were 106 patients analyzed for rucaparib’s efficacy, and 377 included in a safety analysis. The results were presented by Rebecca S. Kristeleit, MD, PhD, of the University College London; the dataset has been submitted to the FDA.

Among the 106 patients in the efficacy population, the objective response rate (ORR) was 54%. There were 9 complete responses and 48 partial responses, and another 36 patients (34%) had stable disease as their best response; 9 patients had progressive disease, and 4 were not evaluable.

ORR was also assessed according to various subgroups. Patients with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations both had ORRs of 54%; those with a germline BRCA mutation had a 53% response rate, compared with 46% in those with somatic mutations.

Most of the patients (61%) had received three or more prior therapies, and 39% had received two; the latter group achieved an ORR of 68%. Patients who had a progression-free interval (PFI) of less than 6 months (27 patients) had an ORR of only 19%, while those with a PFI of 6 to 12 months had an ORR of 63%, and those with a PFI above 12 months had an ORR of 74%. The median progression-free survival was 10 months in the efficacy population.

All patients experienced at least one treatment-emergent adverse event (AE), and 61% of the 377-patient safety population experienced at least one event of grade 3 or higher. Forty-seven percent of patients experienced at least one treatment-related AE of grade 3 or higher. AEs that led to dose interruption occurred in 59% of patients.

The most common AEs related to dose reduction included anemia (17%), asthenia/fatigue (14%), and nausea (11%). Treatment discontinuation was commonly related to asthenia/fatigue (2%), small intestinal obstruction (2%), and nausea (1%). There were nine deaths (2%) related to AEs; eight of those were due to disease progression, and one was due to sepsis, which was deemed unrelated to the study drug.

“These results demonstrate that rucaparib may represent an important option for women with multiply relapsed BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer based on its encouraging efficacy and tolerability,” Kristeleit said in a press release. “In my opinion, rucaparib has the hallmarks of an important new therapeutic option for ovarian cancer patients.”

To view this article on CancerNetwork.com, please click here.

NFL’s Breast Cancer Program Does Real Good

Together with the NFL, the American Cancer Society is bringing breast cancer information and screening resources where they are needed most.

Regarding Dr. Marty Makary’s “The NFL’s Pink Publicity Stunt Isn’t About Fighting Cancer” (op-ed, Oct. 1): If you want to know whether all the pink on the football fields this October has purpose, you need only look at the results.

NFL’s Breast Cancer Program Does Real Good

Since 2009, the NFL’s “A Crucial Catch” campaign has served women across the country who have the greatest breast-cancer risk and lowest screening rates. Through more than 130 grants in 55 communities, the NFL’s partnership with the American Cancer Society has provided 260,000 outreach and education interventions to underserved women and contributed to 120,000 breast-cancer screenings provided at low or no cost.

The nearly $15 million received from the NFL, franchise clubs, partners and players allows the American Cancer Society to help address the unequal burden of cancer by reaching underserved individuals through our Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity program. This program puts research into practice to bridge the gap of cancer disparities across the country.

The NFL is using the power of its platform to reach millions of women and educate them on the importance of getting screened.

Cancer is a disease that can affect anyone, but it doesn’t affect everyone equally. Statistics show that some populations and people who lack access to health care are more likely to develop cancer—and die from it—than the general U.S. population.

Together with the NFL, the American Cancer Society is going beyond the stadium to bring breast-cancer information and screening resources to where they are needed most.

Richard C. Wender, M.D.
American Cancer Society
Atlanta

Ovarian cancer is more difficult to diagnose than breast cancer and much more deadly. The color teal is the standard color for the ovarian-cancer ribbon. The ovarian-cancer community could use the help of the NFL in its cause. Fifteen million dollars in seven years is a good start toward funding women’s cancers. Maybe the NFL money machine would like to step up its funding rate to a significant number and incorporate ovarian cancer into its campaign. One team could wear pink ribbons and the other teal.

John E. McElhiney, Ph.D.
Centennial, Colo.

An important statistic to know is that the American Cancer Society has about three million volunteers, but women volunteer at far higher rates than men. If Dr. Makary would like to see more funds invested in pancreatic research, one place to start is to recruit more male volunteers.

Mary Sneed
Inverness, Ill.

To read this entire letter on The Wall Street Journal, please click here.