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Cancer Answers is hosted by Dr. Anees Chagpar, Associate Professor of Surgical Oncology and Director of The Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and Dr. Francine Foss, Professor of Medical Oncology. The show features a guest cancer specialist who will share the most recent advances in cancer therapy and respond to listeners questions. Myths, facts and advances in cancer diagnosis and treatment are discussed, with a different focus eachweek. Nationally acclaimed specialists in various types of cancer research, diagnosis, and treatment discuss common misconceptions about the disease and respond to questions from the community.Listeners can submit questions to be answered on the program at canceranswers@yale.edu or by leaving a message at (888) 234-4YCC. As a resource, archived programs from 2006 through the present are available in both audio and written versions on the Yale Cancer Center website.

An Increase in Ticks Carrying Lyme Disease in Connecticut

There's been a seven percent increase in ticks infected with Lyme disease over the average of the last five years.

As the summer hiking season kicks off, scientists say more ticks in Connecticut are testing positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. 

Connecticut's Agricultural Experiment Station has been testing ticks for Lyme Disease since 1990. Over the last 25 years the state has gathered a lot of information about black-legged, or deer ticks, which transmit the Lyme disease to humans through bites.

GourdarzMolaeiis a research scientist with the state. He said his office has examined nearly 12,000 black-legged ticks during the last five years.

On average, scientists found about 27 percent of ticks tested positive for the Lyme-disease bacterium. "However, this year, we are early in the season, and we have found that nearly 34 percent of these ticks are infected with Lyme disease," he said.

That's a seven percent increase over the average of the last five years.

Molaei said one obvious explanation for the rise is an increase in deer populations. Changing weather and temperatures are also being considered -- although Molaei said drawing any correlation there is beyond the scope of his office.

The experiment station is also reporting an increase in two other infections carried by black-legged ticks -- babesiosis and anaplasmosis. Both can cause fevers, muscle pain, and headaches. Rates of those pathogens are still relatively low -- but the state will be tracking it.

Meanwhile, Molaei said people headed outdoors this summer should walk in the center of trails, wear bug spray, and always shower and do a tick check after a hike.

Interactive map by Charlie Smart for WNPR.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at pskahill@ctpublic.org.

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