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UK cancer patient has 14cm horn-shaped growth removed



A UK man has shocked doctors after a 14cm cancerous horn-shaped growth sprouted from his lower back, despite no history of skin cancer.

According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, the doctor’s determined it was an “enormous” cancerous horn-shaped growth, or cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC), that had been growing for more than three years.

What surprised the journal’s authors was that the man, who worked as a labourer, was a low-risk patient.

The cancerous horn from a left lateral view.
The cancerous horn from a left lateral view. Credit: BMJ

The man’s family had no history of skin cancer and he had experienced no “significant” sun exposure.

The 50-year-old had the growth removed at a hospital in Chester, UK, with a skin graft taken from his thigh, according to the BBC.

‘Rare case’

They say the find is a “rare case” but chose to share their findings to raise awareness about this type of cancer.

The growth was “neglected by a patient living in a developed country with access to free healthcare”.

The cancerous horn from a right lateral view.The cancerous horn from a right lateral view.
The cancerous horn from a right lateral view. Credit: BMJ

“This highlights that despite current public skin cancer awareness and rigorous healthcare measures, cases like this can still arise and slip through the net,” the report said.

Common cancer

While the man’s circumstances are rare, the report’s authors say cSCC is “the second most common non-melanoma skin cancer”.

Although most cases are diagnosed and treated before becoming ‘dragon horns’.

The cancerous horn from a posterior view.The cancerous horn from a posterior view.
The cancerous horn from a posterior view. Credit: BMJ

‘Dragon horns’ are appearing more frequently in both the USA and Europe, with increased risk factors including “light skin, age, male sex, exposure to sunlight or other ultraviolet radiation” among others, the report said.

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Using plasma to treat COVID-19 still in question after clinical trial results –



Using convalescent plasma from the blood of people who have recovered from COVID-19 to treat other patients failed to prevent deaths or worsening illness in one clinical trial. But Canadian researchers continue to study its potential.

Investigators in India randomly split 464 adults hospitalized with COVID-19 between April and July into two groups. About half received transfusions of plasma with virus-fighting antibodies, and the others received standard care only.

In this week’s issue of the BMJ, researchers said that after seven days, use of convalescent plasma seemed to improve some symptoms, such as shortness of breath and fatigue. But this did not translate into a reduction in deaths or progression to severe COVID-19 after 28 days, based on clinical exams, lab tests and check-ins by phone.

The investigators said future research could explore using plasma with high levels of “neutralizing antibodies” to see if this might work better.

Jeannie Callum, a transfusion medicine specialist and hematologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto said it’s logical that convalescent plasma would help fight viral infections, but it remains an unproven therapy. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

Jeannie Callum, a transfusion medicine specialist and hematologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, commended the Indian researchers for completing the trial with nearly 40 centres under real-world conditions.

Plasma treatment aims to eliminate virus

Here’s how convalescent plasma is thought to work: The virus binds to cells in the body. People with COVID-19 who have recovered develop what are known as antibodies — proteins that white blood cells make to bind to the virus and help eliminate it. 

“We believe that these antibodies actually neutralize the virus so it can’t reinfect your cells,” said Callum.

By clearing the virus from the bloodstream and tissues, she said it’s hoped that patients will be pushed into a state of recovery. 

Callum said that while it is logical that convalescent plasma would help fight viral infections, it remains an unproven therapy.

High level of antibodies needed

Dana Devine, chief scientist at Canadian Blood Services, is part of a Canadian project called CONCOR that is also trying to determine if the straw-coloured liquid component of blood helps patients to fight off COVID-19.

Devine said not all plasma from recovered people can be used in the ” target=”_blank”>Canadian trials on adults, children and teens who are admitted to hospital or intensive care with COVID-19 at sites across the country.

“Their own antibody levels are falling because they’re recovered from the virus,” Devine said. “You retain your immunity, but you don’t have that really high level of antibodies that we need for therapeutic [purposes] for other people.”

Large, randomized clinical trials are needed to answer the question of whether convalescent plasma helps people who are infected — a question that dates back to the 1918 flu pandemic.

The U.S. has temporarily approved plasma as a treatment for COVID-19 and it has been used in some 100,000 patients in that country, despite the limited evidence on its efficacy.

WATCH | Plasma’s benefits unproven, doctor says:

The way FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn characterized the benefits of convalescent plasma for COVID-19 patients raises concerns about political interference, says Dr. Samir Gupta, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto. 5:01

Scientists also say larger trials are needed for COVID-19 patients who have milder cases of the disease and for those who are newly infected. 

“One could well imagine that the treatment might work particularly well in those earlier in the course of the disease or who have not been able to mount a good antibody response to the virus of their own,” said Martin Landray, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Britain’s Oxford University. “But such speculation needs to be tested.”

As for other treatments, so far, only the steroid dexamethasone has been shown to cut the risk of death from COVID-19.

On July 27, Health Canada approved the use of the antiviral medication remdesivir, with conditions, to treat COVID-19 in adults and youth 12 years and older with pneumonia needing supplemental oxygen.

Remdesivir was also the first drug authorized to treat Canadian patients hospitalized with severe symptoms.

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News Releases | COVID-19 Bulletin #230 –



Need More Info?

Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.

Media requests for general information, contact Communications Services Manitoba: 204-945-3765.

Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-794-0732.

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Sunnybrook Hospital in Torontno declares outbreak of novel coronavirus in surgical unit – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News



Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre has declared an outbreak of COVID-19 in one of its surgical units today after five cases of the virus were identified.

In a statement released Friday morning, the hospital, which is located near Bayview and Lawrence avenues, said an initial three cases that were linked to each other were discovered though “regular surveillance.”

The cases, the hospital said, triggered “initial control measures and broader testing” in the unit and two additional cases were subsequently identified.

All of the patients are asymptomatic, according to the hospital, and one has been discharged.

“All outbreak control measures are in place and there has been no transmission to other patient care areas of the hospital,” the statement read.

“Sunnybrook remains open for all scheduled clinics and procedures and emergency visits.”

Six other Toronto hospitals have declared COVID-19 outbreaks.

The Scarborough Health Network said Thursday that six patients in a unit at its general hospital are infected with the virus, and the University Health Network also confirmed that it is responding to an outbreak involving four patients at the musculoskeletal, multisystem and geriatric rehab in-patient unit at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.

An outbreak is defined as two COVID-19 cases within a 14-day period, where both cases could reasonably have been acquired in hospital.

Outbreaks have also been confirmed at St. Michael’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, Toronto Western Hospital, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Speaking to CP24 on Friday morning, Mayor John Tory said the outbreaks illustrate a need for the city to continue to strictly follow public health measures.

“It is why we can’t let off our discipline with respect to all of this,” he said.

“An outbreak is defined as two cases or more, so we are not talking here about hundreds of cases, but we are talking about something that is serious because of where it is and we are talking about a virus that is still very much present in our city.”

Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said while it is “unfortunate” that hospitals are seeing outbreaks, it should not deter people from going to the hospital if they are in need of care.

“Sometimes people hear about this on the news and they get a bit nervous. They say, ‘Well you know what, there is an outbreak at a hospital. I shouldn’t go in.’ And the answer couldn’t be farther from the truth,” Bogoch said.

“There are certain protocols in place to keep patients safe so this should not push anyone away from coming to hospital if they need to be here. There were outbreaks with the first wave. We are seeing a few outbreaks with the second wave. They get under control pretty quickly.”

-With files from The Canadian Press

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