Posts Tagged ‘
Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
Standard screening tests for ovarian cancer, including blood tests and ultrasound images of the ovaries, do not lower the death rate from the disease, and in fact yield an alarming number of false positive results, the United States Preventative Services Task Force has found. The New York Times reports:
“There is no existing method of screening for ovarian cancer that is effective in reducing deaths,” said Dr. Virginia A. Moyer, the chairwoman of the expert panel, the United States Preventive Services Task Force. “In fact, a high percentage of women who undergo screening experience false-positive test results and consequently may be subjected to unnecessary harms, such as major surgery.”
The advice against testing applies only to healthy women with an average risk of ovarian cancer, not to those with suspicious symptoms or those at high risk because they carry certain genetic mutations or have a family history of the disease.
The recommendations are just the latest in a series of challenges to cancer screenings issued by the panel, which has also rejected P.S.A. screening for prostate cancer in men and routine mammograms in women under 50. The task force is a group of 16 experts, appointed by the government but independent, that makes recommendations about screening tests and other efforts to prevent disease. Its advice is based on medical evidence, not cost.
Image: Woman getting blood test, via Shutterstock
Thursday, July 26th, 2012
Women who have children in their 30s or 40s may have a lower risk of endometrial cancer, which is cancer of the lining of the uterus, according to a new study. From MSNBC.com:
Women who give birth over age 40 were 44 percent less likely to have the cancer than women whose last birth occurred at or before age 25, the researchers found.
For women whose last birth occurred between ages 35 to 39, the risk decreased by 32 percent, and for women who last gave birth between ages 30 and 34, their risk decreased by 17 percent, compared to those who delivered their last baby by age 25.
The effect was seen even as the women aged, showing that the “protection persists for many years,” said author Wendy Setiawan, a professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.
Image: Mother and baby, via Shutterstock.
Thursday, June 14th, 2012
A program at a Los Angeles hospital is working to help children with cancer cope with the daily stresses, worries, and complications associated with their illnesses by giving them digital cameras and teaching them some general principles of photography. NBC News reports on the Pablove Shutterbugs program:
Layne [Simkins, age 12], now in remission, has come a long way as a photographer. His mother, Wendy Simkins, said she’s also noticed another kind of growth.
“It’s helped him come out of his shell a little bit more,” she said. “Since he’s been diagnosed with the cancer, he’s had a tough time, ’cause he’s stuck at home. This gave him an opportunity, when he was able to go out or do things, that he can look through the lens and not really think about what was going on with himself. [He] could really think about, ‘Wow. There’s a whole world out there, but this is just a small part of my life that I’m battling now. But I have such a great future to look forward to. And the world really is a beautiful place.”
Pablove Shutterbugs co-founder Jo Ann Thrailkill said part of the program’s purpose is to help bring a sense of normalcy to the lives of children afflicted with cancer.
Image: Digital camera, via Shutterstock
Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
Two types of cancer that affects children have declined in frequency since more pregnant women started taking folic acid supplements during pregnancy and folic acid has been added to grain products like cereals, a new study has found. The benefit is in addition to the number of neural tube defects that are known to be prevented by the supplement. The New York Times has more:
The study, published online May 21 in Pediatrics, found no difference in the incidence of all childhood cancers combined. But for two types, the difference was significant.
The incidence of primitive neuroectodermal tumors, a nervous system lesion, declined by 44 percent, while the incidence of Wilms tumor, a kidney cancer, declined by 20 percent.
The scientists acknowledge that no causal relationship can be inferred from the finding. Still, the lead author, Amy M. Linabery, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota, said, “We feel that this is a positive message — folic acid fortification is not increasing rates of cancer.”
She continued: “We’ve generated some new hypotheses, but we need follow-up studies.”
Image: Pregnant woman with vitamins, via Shutterstock.
Monday, April 2nd, 2012
In response to a Facebook campaign that garnered more than 150,000 supporters, the toymaker Mattel has announced it will make a bald doll as part of the Barbie franchise to offer support for children who are either going through cancer treatment or living with a condition that causes them to lose their hair.
On its Facebook page, Mattel announced that the doll will be released next year directly to children’s hospitals, but not to the public:
Play is vital for children, especially during difficult times. We are pleased to share with our community that next year we will be producing a fashion doll, that will be a friend of Barbie, which will include wigs, hats, scarves and other fashion accessories to provide girls with a traditional fashion play experience. For those girls who choose, the wigs and head coverings can be interchanged or completely removed. We will work with our longstanding partner, the Children’s Hospital Association, to donate and distribute the dolls exclusively to children’s hospitals directly reaching girls who are most affected by hair loss. A limited number of dolls and monetary donations will also be made to CureSearch for Children’s Cancer and the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.
The group that petitioned Mattel also is collecting signatures to urge toymaker Hasbro to create a bald GI Joe doll.
Image: Mattel logo, via http://logos.wikia.com/