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January 29, 2010, 8:08 AM CT

Change in mammography guidelines

Change in mammography guidelines
The methodology and evidence behind a widely publicized change in national mammography guidelines is questionable, as per a review in the Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JDMS), published by SAGE.

In November 2009, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) published a report in the Annals of Internal Medicine discussing the screening techniques for the early detection of breast cancer. A few isolated portions of that report, regarding recommended changes for the use of mammography, were widely discussed in the media, and garnered tremendous public attention.

This new JDMS article provides an evidenced-based review of the work and recommendations contained in the USPSTF report and raises the question whether the controversial conclusions for breast cancer screening were supported by established scientific measurement and research standards. The JDMS review found low methodological scores in the USPSTF report, which may place in question the recommendations generated from the report.

The article concludes that, despite the report's depiction as a systematic review, the USPSTF report was actually just a review of literature, which reduces the overall scientific impact of the report to a much lower level in the hierarchy of evidence.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 26, 2010, 8:46 AM CT

Virtual colonoscopy is effective

Virtual colonoscopy is effective
Computed tomographic colonography (CTC), also known as virtual colonoscopy, remains effective in screening older patients for colorectal cancer (CRC), produces low referral for colonoscopy rates similar to other screening exams now covered by Medicare, and does not result in unreasonable levels of additional testing resulting from extracolonic findings, as per a research studyreported in the recent issue of Radiology.

CT colonography employs virtual reality technology to produce a three-dimensional visualization that permits a thorough and minimally invasive assessment of the entire colon and rectum. Prior CTC trials have demonstrated excellent performance in average risk individuals. However, concerns remained that such results may not be applicable to older Medicare beneficiaries. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health analyzed various CTC performance and program outcome measures for screening individuals aged 65-79.

"These results confirm that CTC is a safe and effective colorectal cancer screening tool for the older individual. There is no significant difference in the way CTC performs in older patients as opposed to younger patients," said David H. Kim, MD, associate professor of radiology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and principal investigator of the study.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


January 22, 2010, 8:24 AM CT

Lung cancer patients who quit smoking

Lung cancer patients who quit smoking
People diagnosed with early stage lung cancer can double their chances of survival over five years if they stop smoking compared with those who continue to smoke, finds a study published on bmj.com today.

This is the first review of studies to measure the effects of continued smoking after diagnosis of lung cancer and suggests that it appears to be worthwhile to offer smoking cessation therapy to patients with early stage lung cancer.

Worldwide, lung cancer is the most usually diagnosed form of cancer. In the UK, it is second only to breast cancer, accounting for around 39,000 new cancer diagnoses annually.

Smoking increases the risk of developing a primary lung cancer; lifelong smokers have a 20-fold increased risk compared with non-smokers. But it is not known whether quitting after a diagnosis of lung cancer has any benefit.

So scientists at the University of Birmingham analysed the results of 10 studies that measured the effect of quitting smoking after diagnosis of lung cancer on prognosis.

Differences in study design and quality were taken into account to minimise bias.

They observed that people who continued to smoke after a diagnosis of early stage lung cancer had a substantially higher risk of death and a greater risk of the tumour returning compared with those who stopped smoking at that time. Data suggested that most of the increased risk of death was due to cancer progression.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


January 14, 2010, 8:01 AM CT

Who's afraid of the HPV vaccine?

Who's afraid of the HPV vaccine?
A newly released study concludes that people tend to match their risk perceptions about policy issues with their cultural values, which may explain the intense disagreement about proposals to vaccinate elementary-school girls against human-papillomavirus (HPV). The study also says people's values shape their perceptions of expert opinion on the vaccine.

HPV is a widespread disease that, when sexually transmitted, can cause cervical cancer. In October of 2009, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that the vaccine be given to all girls ages 11 or 12. However, the recommendation has been mired in controversy, and so far adopted in only one state and the District of Columbia.

An online experiment involving more than 1,500 U.S. adults reveals that individuals who have cultural values that favor authority and individualism perceive the vaccine as risky, in part because they believe it will lead girls to engage in unsafe sex. But individuals with cultural values that favor gender equality and pro-community/government involvement in basic health care are more likely to see the vaccine as low risk and high benefit.

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and is being published online this week in the journal Law and Human Behavior. It observed that people exposed to unattributed, balanced information about HPV vaccines tended to produce something called "biased assimilation," a phenomenon in which culturally-identifiable groups draw opposing conclusions and become more divided rather than less divided as they consider evidence.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


January 5, 2010, 9:04 AM CT

Nano Cocktail to Target Tumors

Nano Cocktail to Target Tumors
Doxorubicin-loaded liposomes are designed to kill tumors.
A team of scientists in California and Massachusetts has developed a "cocktail" of different nanometer-sized particles that work in concert within the bloodstream to locate, adhere to and kill malignant tumors.

"This study represents the first example of the benefits of employing a cooperative nanosystem to fight cancer," said Michael Sailor, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego and the primary author of a paper describing the results, which is being published in a forthcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. An early online version of the paper appeared last week.

In their study, the UC San Diego chemists, bioengineers at MIT and cell biologists at UC Santa Barbara developed a system containing two different nanomaterials the size of only a few nanometers, or a thousand times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, that can be injected into the bloodstream. One nanomaterial was designed to find and adhere to tumors in mice, while the second nanomaterial was fabricated to kill those tumors.

These researchers and others had previously designed nanometer-sized devices to attach to diseased cells or deliver drugs specifically to the diseased cells while ignoring healthy cells. But the functions of those devices, the scientists discovered, often conflicted with one another.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 5, 2010, 8:51 AM CT

Pomegranate to prevent breast cancer?

Pomegranate to prevent breast cancer?
Eating fruit, such as pomegranates, that contain anti-aromatase phytochemicals reduces the occurence rate of hormone-dependent breast cancer, as per results of a study reported in the recent issue of Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Pomegranate is enriched in a series of compounds known as ellagitannins that, as shown in this study, appear to be responsible for the anti-proliferative effect of the pomegranate.

"Phytochemicals suppress estrogen production that prevents the proliferation of breast cancer cells and the growth of estrogen-responsive tumors," said principal investigator Shiuan Chen, Ph.D., director of the Division of Tumor Cell Biology and co-leader of the Breast Cancer Research Program at City of Hope in Duarte, Calif.

Prior research has shown that pomegranate juice punica granatum L is high in antioxidant activity, which is generally attributed to the fruit's high polyphenol content. Ellagic acid found in pomegranates inhibits aromatase, an enzyme that converts androgen to estrogen. Aromatase plays a key role in breast carcinogenesis; therefore, the growth of breast cancer is inhibited.

Chen, along with Lynn Adams, Ph.D., a research fellow at Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, and his colleagues, reviewed whether phytochemicals in pomegranates can suppress aromatase and ultimately inhibit cancer growth.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 5, 2010, 8:39 AM CT

Celebrex may prevent skin cancers

Celebrex may prevent skin cancers
A widely-available anti-inflammatory prescription drug can reduce the risk of a common skin cancer in humans, as per a researcher at Stanford's School of Medicine. Eventhough oral administration of the drug, celecoxib, is linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in some people, it's possible that topical application could have a safer, protective effect for people prone to developing the cancers, called basal cell carcinomas, the researcher believes.

"Basal cell carcinomas are the most common human cancer in the United States," said Jean Tang, MD, PhD, assistant professor of dermatology, "and their incidence is increasing steadily. This work identifies a possible way to prevent them." She and her colleagues dovetailed studies in mice with a randomized, double-blinded clinical trial in humans to reach their conclusions.

Tang was an assistant professor at UC-San Francisco and Children's Hospital Oakland when the trial was conducted. She is the main author of the research, which will be published in Cancer Prevention Research on Jan. 5. Tang also recently published a separate study in Cancer Causes Control showing that elderly men with relatively high levels of Vitamin D in their blood were less likely to develop non-melanoma skin cancer than were men with lower levels of the vitamin.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


January 4, 2010, 8:04 AM CT

Experimental drug shows promise against cancers

Experimental drug shows promise against cancers
An experimental drug currently being tested against breast and lung cancer shows promise in fighting the brain cancer glioblastoma and prostate cancer, scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found in two preclinical studies.

The drug's actions, observed in isolated human cells in one trial and in rodents in the other, are particularly encouraging because they attacked not only the bulk of the tumor cells but also the rare cancer stem cells that are thought to beresponsible for most of a cancer's growth, said Dr. Jerry Shay, professor of cell biology and a senior co-author of both papers. The glioblastoma study appears in the recent issue of Clinical Cancer Research The prostate cancer study is available online in the International Journal of Cancer.

In the glioblastoma study, performed in mice, the drug also crossed from the bloodstream into the brain, which is particularly important because a number of drugs are not able to cross the blood-brain barrier.

"Because it attacks a mechanism that's active in most cancers, it might prove to be widely useful, particularly when combined with other therapies," said Dr. Shay.

Dr. Shay and colleagues study telomeres, bits of DNA that help control how a number of times a cell divides. Telomeres are protective "caps" of DNA on the ends of chromosomes, the structures that contain the body's genes. As long as telomeres are longer than a certain minimum length, a cell can keep dividing. But telomeres shorten with each cell division, so a cell stops dividing once the telomeres are whittled down to that minimum.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 30, 2009, 8:16 AM CT

Acupuncture reduces hot flashes

Acupuncture reduces hot flashes
Not only is acupuncture as effective as drug treatment at reducing hot flashes in patients with breast cancer, it has the added benefit of potentially increasing a woman's sex drive and improving her sense of well-being, as per a Henry Ford Hospital study.

Study results show that acupuncture, when in comparison to drug treatment, has a longer-lasting effect on the reduction of hot flashes and night sweats for women receiving hormone treatment for breast cancer therapy. Women also report that acupuncture improves their energy and clarity of thought.

The study, published online this week in the Journal of Oncology, is the first randomly controlled trial to compare acupuncture and drug treatment in this way.

"Acupuncture offers patients a safe, effective and durable therapy option for hot flashes, something that affects the majority of breast cancer survivors. In comparison to drug treatment, acupuncture actually has benefits, as opposed to more side effects," says study main author Eleanor Walker, M.D., division director of breast services in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Henry Ford Hospital.

As per the National Cancer Institute, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. For these women, conventional medical therapy involves chemotherapy and five years of hormone treatment. With such a long course of therapy, side effects of hormone treatment such as vasomotor symptoms hot flashes and night sweats can become a major cause of decreased quality of life, and even discontinuation of therapy.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 24, 2009, 10:10 PM CT

Self-seeding of cancer cells

Self-seeding of cancer cells
Cancer progression is usually thought of as a process involving the growth of a primary tumor followed by metastasis, in which cancer cells leave the primary tumor and spread to distant organs. A newly released study by scientists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center shows that circulating tumor cells cancer cells that break away from a primary tumor and disseminate to other areas of the body can also return to and grow in their tumor of origin, a newly discovered process called "self-seeding."

The findings of the study, reported in the December 25 issue of the journal Cell, suggest that self-seeding can enhance tumor growth through the release of signals that promote angiogenesis, invasion, and metastasis.

"Our work not only provides evidence for the self-seeding phenomenon and reveals the mechanism of this process, but it also shows the possible role of self-seeding in tumor progression," said the study's first author Mi-Young Kim, PhD, Research Fellow in the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.

As per the research, which was conducted in mice, self-seeding involves two distinct functions: the ability of a tumor to attract its own circulating progeny and the ability of circulating tumor cells to re-infiltrate the tumor in response to this attraction. The researchers identified four genes that are responsible for executing these functions: IL-6 and IL-8, which attract the most aggressive segment of the circulating tumor cells population, and FSCN1 and MMP1, which mediate the infiltration of circulating tumor cells into a tumor.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source



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Cancer
Cancer is a very common disease, approximately one out of every two American men and one out of every three American women will have some type of cancer at some point during the course of their life. Cancer is more common in the elderly and 77 percent of cancers occur in people above age 55 or older. Cancer is also common in children. Cancer incidence is said to have two peaks once during early childhood and then during late years in life. No age period is completely exempted from development of cancers. Some cancers occur predominantly in the elderly, other types occur in children, Cancer occurs in all ethnic races, however the cancer rates and rates of specific cancer types may vary from group to group. Late stages of cancer may be incurable in most cases, but with the advancement of medicine, more and more cancers are becoming curable.

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