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No Halfway Measures in Quitting Smoking

By | News

A group of researchers from the UK recently published a meta-analysis of 141 studies examining the effects of cigarette smoking on coronary heart disease and stroke in the British Medical Journal. The authors were particularly interested in the risks of light smoking. While it was no surprise that people who smoked at least one pack per day had significantly increased risk, the authors found that the additional risk for coronary disease or stroke in men who smoked only one cigarette per day was about half that seen in men who smoked one pack per day, instead of 1/20th. For women, smoking one cigarette per day led to about one third the additional risk seen in women who smoked one pack per day, rather than 1/20th.

The bottom line here is that in terms of cardiovascular disease, there are no halfway measures in quitting smoking — even that last, single cigarette per day has significant health consequences.

Unhealthy Behavior Linked to Nearly Half of US Cancer Deaths

By | News

A recent report in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians looked at US cancer incidence and death rates by analyzing data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) National Program of Cancer Registries, the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results data base, and the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.

The authors concluded that 42% of cancers diagnosed, and 45% of cancer deaths, could be attributed to unhealthy behaviors. The most significant unhealthy behaviors include cigarette smoking, excess body weight, and alcohol intake, which by themselves accounted for 33% of cancer diagnoses and 39% of cancer deaths.

This represents one of those good news – bad news situation. The bad news is that Americans are developing and dying from cancer because of their unhealthy behaviors, but the good news is that these unhealthy behaviors are under our control, and that if Americans choose not to use tobacco, choose to maintain a healthy body weight, and choose to drink not at all or only in moderation, the incidence and death rates of cancer can be dramatically reduced.

Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder Common After Cancer Diagnosis

By | News

A recent report in Cancer by investigators in Boston and Malaysia reviewed 245 patients who were followed for over 4 years from diagnosis, and found that over one in five had developed PTSD within 6 months of diagnosis. At 4 years more than 6% still had symptoms. These issues can interfere with a patient’s recovery, since patients with PTSD are less likely to keep appointments or keep on their treatment.

Physicians need to actively question cancer patients for symptoms of PTSD, and cancer patients who experience such symptoms as anxiety, depression, insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, agitation,  irritability, hostility, social isolation, loss of interest in normal activities, or other troubling emotional problems should call them to their physicians’ attention.

More Good News for Coffee Drinkers

By | News

A recent report from the British Medical Journal identified over 200 meta-analyses of observational and interventional studies looking at the health effects of coffee drinking.

The greatest benefit was seen in people who drank 3 cups per day, who experienced a 19% reduction in the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, a 16% reduction in the risk of death from coronary heart disease, and a 30% reduction in the risk of death from stroke, but a reduction in the risk of premature death was seen with consumption of up to 7 cups per day.

Other benefits seen with coffee consumption included reductions in the risks of developing diabetes, liver disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, metabolic syndrome, gout, and kidney stones, as well as cancers of the uterus, prostate, liver, and skin.

The science is settled, so drink up with confidence! I take mine black. No sugar, thank you.

No Link Between Vasectomy and Prostate Cancer Deaths

By | News
Vasectomy represents an effective long term contraceptive method which is safer, quicker, and cheaper than tubal ligation, the equivalent operation in women. Despite these advantages, only 3% of the married population chooses this option. One reason for this is that starting in the late 1980s, reports began to appear in the medical and popular literature linking the procedure to an increased risk of prostate cancer, although there was no plausible medical explanation for the relationship.
A collaborative study between the Mayo Clinic and two major Canadian medical centers, published recently in JAMA Internal Medicine, examined 49 clinical studies which included 3 million men. The investigators found a small increase in prostate cancer diagnoses among men who had had vasectomies, representing a ~0.5% increase in lifetime risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. However, they found no association between vasectomy and high grade prostate cancer, advanced prostate cancer, or fatal prostate cancer. The authors concluded that there was no association between vasectomy and clinically significant prostate cancer.

Vaping May Represent a Valuable Smoking Cessation Strategy

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Although nicotine substitution in the form of nicotine gum (“Nicorette”) or delivery through the skin (“the patch”) has been widely accepted as a strategy for tobacco abatement and cessation, opinion has been sharply divided regarding the harms versus benefits of e-cigarettes (“vaping”).
A recent report in the British Medical Journal – Tobacco Control examined the potential benefits of vaping on mortality in the US. The authors projected smoking rates and health outcomes in the absence of vaping, to those where cigarette use was replaced by vaping over a 10-year period. The investigators ran their projection under two sets of assumptions – an Optimistic Scenario based upon current use patterns of e-cigarettes and published estimates of harm reduction due to vaping, and a Pessimistic Scenario based upon an increase in the number of people vaping, and with e-cigarettes more harmful than evidence suggests. Mortality by age and sex were projected and compared from 2016 to 2100 to determine the public health impact. Compared with the status quo, under the Optimistic Scenario we could expect to see 6.6 million fewer premature deaths, with 86.7 million fewer life years lost, and even with the Pessimistic Scenario, we would expect to see 1.6 million fewer premature deaths, with 20.8 million fewer life years lost. Young people saw the most benefit.
The authors concluded that substitution of e-cigarettes for cigarette use provides a tremendous potential to avert premature deaths due to smoking, even under pessimistic assumptions.

For Good Health, Eat Fruit, Limit Carbohydrate Intake, and Don’t Worry So Much About Fat

By | News

A publication from a Canadian group this week in The Lancet described findings from the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology study, which enrolled over 135,000 individuals from 18 different countries across 5 continents, including people from North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, China, and South Asia. Participants provided data about their socioeconomic situation, lifestyle, and medical issues, and were followed up for an average of 7.5 years. A higher total fat intake – providing 35% of calories – was linked with a 23% lower death rate from all causes, while a higher carbohydrate intake – providing 77% of calories – was linked with a 28% higher death rate from all causes. A separate publication from the same group found that consuming 3-4 servings of fruits, vegetables, and legumes (beans, peas, lentils, etc.) – equivalent to about 16 ounces – reduced the risk of death. There was little benefit found for a higher intake, and fruit intake was associated with a higher benefit than vegetables. Furthermore, raw vegetables were more healthful than cooked vegetables.

Yet More Evidence for the Health Benefits of Coffee Drinking

By | News

A report by a Spanish group presented at the European Society of Cardiology this week analyzed nearly 20,000 individuals, who completed a questionnaire regarding food consumption, demographic and lifestyle characteristics, body measurements, and other health issues, and who were followed up for an average of 10 years. The researchers found that those who consumed at least 4 cups of coffee per day had a 64% lower risk of death than those who never or almost never drank coffee. Every additional 2 cups/day consumed led to a 22% reduction in death rate. This effect appeared to be limited to those who were over 45 years of age.

I take mine black, thank you. No cream, no sugar.

Vitamin D and Cancer Prevention

By | News

Because cancer represents the second leading cause of death in the US and represents a major public health burden, there is interest in interventions which could reduce its incidence. There has been some evidence that vitamin D may protect against cancer, so a group of researchers at the University of Nebraska recently published an article in the JAMA describing the effects of calcium and vitamin D supplementation on cancer development in healthy postmenopausal women. The study enrolled over 2300 women, lasted 4 years, and examined the development of all cancer types except for skin cancers. Unfortunately, the investigators were unable to demonstrate a significant reduction in the development of cancer in the women who were prescribed calcium and vitamin D.

Even though vitamin D supplementation does not appear to reduce the risk of cancer, it remains important in the prevention of bone loss, particularly in overcast climates like we have in WV.

Gynecologic Oncology News

By | News

Standard-of-care treatment for locally advanced cervical cancer includes radiation, chemotherapy and brachytherapy (in which radiation is implanted internally). A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published in the journal Gynecologic Oncology shows that only 44 percent of patients in a large, national sample received all three components of this accepted, best treatment….

“A lot of this has to do with the fact that brachytherapy requires equipment and expertise,” Fisher says. “And there’s no substitute for it”.Click here for the full article

The Carl Larson Cancer Center is the only cancer center south of Charleston that offers brachytherapy and provides the full Standard-of-care treatment in house! Please call us for more details.