You read a lot about cancer at ZDNet Healthcare in 2009

The most real healthcare subject out there is cancer. Some of the most popular posts of the year were on that subject.
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

On a blog called ZDNet Healthcare you're pulled in multiple directions.

ZDNet is an IT site, and it would be easy to write about IT all day, every day. But healthcare is not an IT subject. It's very real. And when I write about it, you read it, approve it, and talk about it.

The most real healthcare subject out there is cancer. Some of the most popular posts of the year were on that subject.

Another WiFi health scare breaks out --This story combined tech and cancer, adding my own cosmic yelp. It was our 16th most popular post with over 3,000 page views. It ran April 8, after a teachers' group in England demanded WiFi be ripped out of schools because it might harm the little darlings.

My purpose was to debunk health concerns about WiFi. This met with your approval, a rating of +5 and 23 talkbacks. If I tell you what you want to hear you like it. Surprising that a similar story on cell phones and cancer, from December, has yet to draw that much interest. But there's still time -- maybe you can make it a winner in 2010.

We meat lovers are so screwed --I have eaten my share of tasty animals, so this one was hard to do. It came out in March, after an analysis of 500,000 health records found those who were the biggest meat-eaters had the most trouble later on.

This was our 14th most-popular post with over 4,000 pageviews, 47 talkbacks and just as many people voting thumbs-down as thumbs-up. The worst news is that my favorite meats, like bacon and processed sausage, are worse for you than any others. That's why I put one of the Chick Fil A cows on there.

The Canada Dry cancer cure? -- In retrospect an unfortunate headline. But this was my hook for doing the piece, which was actually about studies showing ginger can help those with cancer deal with the pain of chemotherapy.

I found that the amount of herb being tested was not much more than in an ordinary soda, so I spent time getting the Canada Dry logo in there. You weren't happy. While this was the 13th most-read post of the year, many of the 34 talkbacks were angry, and I wound up regretting my choices.

PARP inhibitors working against inherited cancers --A great example of how headlines and the metrics I usually use to judge the success of a piece can be completely wrong. Few talkbacks, few votes one way or another, but this story from June was the second most popular post on the blog this year, with over 13,000 page views.

My second paragraph offered hope.

Poly (ADP-Ribose) Polymerase (PARP) is a protein cells use to repair genetic injuries naturally. But cancer cells also use this protein to repair their own DNA damage. Inhibiting this action allows chemotherapy and radiation to do its job against cancers resulting from genetic mutation.

My guess is a lot of cancer patients, and their families, passed this story around. I learned in posting this that this particular blog doesn't take ordinary YouTube videos -- you will notice a reference to a Monty Python piece. I should have gone with the picture above instead, which I used at Open Source. It shows a French Taunter doll I found for sale at PythonOnline.

Dutch scientists gave a PARP inhibitor to advanced cancer patients and showed some reduction in the size of the tumors, so you can see the reason for hope. I am hopeful for 2010 as well.

Editorial standards