Sunlight Linked to Cervical Cancer Risk

3/30/2004 By Jennifer Warner See sources at end of article The effects of sun exposure on women's health may be more than skin deep. A new study suggests that a woman's risk of cervical cancer may be much higher during sunny months. Researchers tracked nearly a million Pap smear results collected over 16 years in southern Holland and found that women were twice as likely to be infected with the human papilloma virus (HPV) during the sunny days of August than in the darker days of winter. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease. Pap smears that test for HPV infection are commonly used worldwide as a tool to screen for signs of cervical cancer. The vast majority of women with HPV infection will not develop cervical cancer, but cervical cancer is a rare complication of this common infection. About 20 of the more than 230 types of HPV are considered high risk because of their close association with the disease. HPV Risks Rise During Sunny Months? In the study, researchers looked at seasonal patterns of HPV infection among 920,359 consecutive Pap smears collected from 1983 to 1998 and compared it with differences in sunlight exposure. The results showed that the number of HPV infections was twice as high in August compared with the lowest month, and the rates of HPV infection were closely linked to available sunlight exposure. "The sunnier the year, the higher the HPV rate, and the sunnier the month, the higher the HPV rate," says [...]

2009-03-22T22:34:48-07:00March, 2004|Archive|

Tumor treatment determined by genetic profile, not clinical appearance

3/30/2004 Honolulu, Hawaii International Association for Dental Research, Annual Meeting presentation Detailed molecular analysis of tumors is now providing molecular portraits which show the genetic basis of the different clinical presentations of disease. This technology will help identify metastasis signatures and provide logical targets for drug discovery. This moves us closer to a time when we will treat patients based on the genetic profile of the tumor rather than the clinical presentation of the disease. Finding targets that are differentially expressed in cancer and normal tissue will also provide better tests for early diagnosis. There is also increasing interest in utilizing knowledge about tumor biology to address the vexing question as to why tumors recur despite seemingly adequate treatment. A new generation of ultra-sensitive diagnostics has highlighted the problem of subcutaneous foci of residual tumors that may remain at the operative site, or be disseminated throughout the body. These approaches have also revealed that the extent of spread of a precancerous patch is often much greater than previously realized. Long-term follow-up of cases screened by these molecular diagnostics suggests that detecting these troublesome foci of disease can help to identify individuals at risk of developing local and distant recurrence. In a Keynote Address during the 82nd General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, Dr. Maxine Partridge (King's College Hospital, London, UK) reports that a host of novel therapeutic strategies is now on the horizon for management of these problems. These include gene-mediated strategies to replace defective sequences, blocking [...]

2009-03-22T22:34:15-07:00March, 2004|Archive|

Environmental and dietary influences on cancer risk

3/29/2004 Orlando, FL By Aimee Frank American Association for Cancer Research Studies show how exposure to environmental carcinogens causes dna damage in smokers, women and their unborn children. Genetic damage triggered by environmental carcinogens, including smoking, is being further defined with the aid of new technology, including microarrays, polymorphisms and DNA adducts, one of the first steps in the carcinogen pathway that ultimately leads to tumor formation. In this press briefing at the 95th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, scientists report their findings of specific DNA damage resulting from combustion and smoking-related carcinogens, and in the case of two studies, the impact of prenatal exposures on unborn children. Levels of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Amniotic Fluid Samples from Smokers and Nonsmokers: Abstract No. 3189 The amniotic fluid of smoking women in their first trimester of pregnancy contains about 10 times the amount of a known tobacco carcinogen -- polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) – than nonsmokers. Similar results were found for another established cancer-causing agent, known as benzo(a)pyrenes. "This is the first study to show the presence of carcinogens in the fetus at this early stage of development," said Steven R. Myers, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and lead author of the study. In all, more than 500 women participated in the study, which involved routine amniocentesis performed between 16 to 20 weeks of pregnancy. The first trimester is a particularly critical period [...]

2009-03-22T22:33:38-07:00March, 2004|Archive|

Teen mouth cancer

3/24/2004 San Antonio, TX News 9, San Antonio Salivary Gland Tumors There are three main pairs of salivary glands. The first and largest are the parotid glands in front and just below the ears. The second largest are the submandibular glands at the back of the mouth under the side of the jaw. The third pair is the sublingual glands. They are found in the floor of the mouth under the tongue. There are several other minor salivary glands scattered below the lining of the mouth and throat. The salivary glands secrete saliva into the mouth through ducts. Saliva moistens food, makes it easier for us to chew food and swallow, and aids in breaking down food for digestion. Saliva also washes away bacteria and food particles and keeps the mouth moist. Salivary tumors are rare, especially in children. The tumors can be benign or malignant and most commonly are located in the parotid glands. Signs of a possible tumor include: development of a painless lump or growth, swelling or gradual increase in the size of a gland, or, in rare cases, facial paralysis. Diagnosing and treating salivary tumors Sometimes salivary tumors are detected during a routine dental exam. A fine needle may be used to withdraw some cells for laboratory examination. From this information, doctors will determine if the tumor is benign or malignant and what steps need to be taken for treatment. If a tumor is malignant, surgeons need to remove the tumor and a small margin of [...]

2009-03-22T22:33:05-07:00March, 2004|Archive|

HPV Test Catching On as the More Definitive Cervical Cancer Screening

4/23/2004 Associated Press A more definitive cervical cancer screening test that helps reduce uncertainty in diagnosing the disease is gaining support from doctors and health insurers. Aetna, the nation's largest health insurer, on Wednesday became the latest plan to cover the new DNA test that checks for the presence of a virus that studies show causes more than 99 percent of cervical cancers. The test is used when a Pap smear proves inconclusive, which happens about 5 percent of the time. Kaiser Permanente, United Healthcare and most Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans already cover the test for human papillomavirus, or HPV, according to the test's maker, Digene Corp. of Gaithersburg, Maryland. About 400,000 U.S. women had the HPV test in the past year, a Digene spokeswoman said. If the test shows no sign of HPV, a woman is assured she doesn't have cancer. If the HPV virus present, there is a greater likelihood the woman has cancer and she is sent for additional testing which most likely include a biopsy. ``Aetna is a bellwether for the adoption of HPV testing as a standard of care in cervical cancer screening,'' said Evan Jones, Chairman and CEO of Digene Corporation. About 50 million Pap smears are performed annually in the United States. Before the HPV test was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1999, women who had an inconclusive Pap test would have to get another Pap test or an outpatient procedure that would likely include a biopsy. The [...]

2009-03-22T22:44:08-07:00March, 2004|Archive|

Widow awarded $1.8M in lawsuit

3/20/2004 SHEILA BURKE The Tennessean When Melvin Wilson went to the doctor three years ago complaining of neck pain, he told his doctor he was concerned because his family had a history of cancer. Doctors performed a CT scan and assured him he was fine. But Wilson wasn't. He died last June at age 63. A Davidson County Circuit Court jury in Judge Walter Kurtz's court awarded his widow $1.8 million for Wilson's wrongful death. The jury's award last week will be challenged, defense attorneys said. His widow, Patricia Wilson, of Gallatin sued radiologist Dr. Gregory Weaver and his company, Radiology Alliance, claiming her husband wouldn't have died had the cancer been diagnosed earlier. The doctor's attorneys fiercely disputed that allegation. They claimed Wilson still would have had less than a 50% chance of survival. Melvin Wilson was diagnosed with tongue cancer a year after he had the CT scan. His widow's attorney said Melvin Wilson had two cancerous nodes when the CT scan was taken and said that Weaver had misread the results. There was no indication that the tongue cancer had spread past two nodes on his neck when he was given the CT scan in February 2001, said Daniel Clayton, the widow's attorney. Each side had its own set of medical experts. Two professors at Vanderbilt University Medical Center said the man would have had less than a 50% chance of survival with an earlier diagnosis, Weaver's attorney, Phillip North, said. Other expert testimony contended that Wilson [...]

2009-03-22T22:32:30-07:00March, 2004|Archive|

University Of Pittsburgh Researchers Find Pet/Ct Imaging Better At Localizing And Monitoring Head And Neck Cancer

3/19/2004 Toronto University of Pittsburgh University of Pittsburgh researchers have found the combined PET/CT scanner is the most powerful imaging tool available for localizing, evaluating and therapeutic monitoring of head and neck cancer and may be equally useful for other cancers that are difficult to pinpoint. Results of a study showing PET/CT has a distinct advantage over PET or CT alone were presented today at the annual meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine. According to the researchers, the prototype of the combined PET/CT machine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is able to effectively localize cancerous activity in the head and neck, an area of the body that presents substantial challenges to other imaging methods because of densely packed tissue structures and the frequent involvement of lymph nodes. Separately, computed tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET) do not provide images with the necessary combination of clear structural definition and metabolic activity that is achieved with the PET/CT. "The PET/CT tells us the exact size, shape and location of the cancer and provides a specific target for surgery or other treatment," said Carolyn Cidis Meltzer, M.D., associate professor of radiology and psychiatry and medical director of the UPMC PET Facility. "The PET/CT can also be used to help us develop the best course of treatment for an individual, then monitor that individual's progress during treatment." Head and neck cancers often have already involved lymph nodes when first discovered and can spread rapidly if they are not found and [...]

2009-03-22T22:31:02-07:00March, 2004|Archive|

Trying to stop cancer’s start

3/18/2004 Irvine, Ca. Linda Marsa LA Times Because the early signs of oral cancer — white spots or red areas in the mouth —are painless and difficult to detect, diagnosis usually occurs only after the disease has spread to the lymph nodes in the neck. Consequently, patients often need aggressive, disfiguring surgical treatments. Half of those diagnosed will die of the disease. "Mortality rates haven't changed in 40 years because we don't have any good treatments beyond surgery, and no way of preventing cancers from returning," says Dr. Frank L. Meyskens Jr., an oncologist at the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UC Irvine Medical Center. But Meyskens and other scientists are testing a soy-derived experimental treatment that could reduce this deadly toll — by stopping oral cancers from developing in the first place. If the drug proves effective, it may be used routinely to protect against oral cancer in people who are at increased risk. "Survival rates haven't improved much over the years, so a preventive agent would be very useful," says Sol Silverman, a professor of oral medicine at UC San Francisco Medical School and spokesman for the American Dental Assn. in Chicago. "This approach seems promising." About 30,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year, and only 57% survive more than five years. Tobacco use is the culprit behind about 75% of oral cancer cases, and alcohol also is a major contributing factor. Oral cancer is the leading cancer among men in India, and incidence [...]

2009-03-22T22:30:33-07:00March, 2004|Archive|

In Saliva Veritas

3/17/2004 Eugene Russo Spit's potential diagnostic value has funding agencies putting money where the mouth is Human Saliva magnified 100x A trip to the doctor's office generally entails a deposit of blood or urine from which some diagnoses can be produced after a laborious process. Now, groups of biologists and engineers are working to make disease diagnoses quicker and more efficient by giving credit to a less conventional humor--the Rodney Dangerfield of bodily fluids--spit. In the past year and a half, the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) has used a set of seven grants totaling $27 million (US) through 2006 to form a Salivary Diagnostics Group for technology development. Once disparate disciplines, oral salivary biology and engineering are melding in order to give saliva its due respect as a diagnostic fluid. Scientists and healthcare workers have long known the power of saliva to indicate HIV exposure or drug abuse. Indeed, certain informative molecules or analytes in saliva, such as DNA, RNA, peptides, or fatty acids, could indicate a variety of conditions including cancer, Alzheimer, and heart disease. "It turns out that almost anything you can measure in blood, you can measure in saliva," says NIDCR director Lawrence Tabak. But often, informative saliva analytes are present in hard-to-detect levels--one hundredth to one thousandth of what's found in blood. Qualitative measures are feasible, for example, when someone tests positive for HIV antibodies. But quantitative measures, such as a precise glucose level, are not. Nanoscale [...]

2009-03-22T22:30:00-07:00March, 2004|Archive|

HPV in Oral Exfoliated Cells Associated With Head and Neck Cancer

3/16/2004 New York Rueters Infection of oral epithelial cells with oncogenic types of human papillomavirus (HPV) is an independent risk factor for the development of head and neck cancer, investigators report in the March 17th issue of The Journal of the National Cancer Institute. In a case-control study, Dr. Elaine M. Smith of the University of Iowa and colleagues detected oncogenic HPV types in oral exfoliated cells from 22.9% of 201 patients with head and neck cancer and 10.8% of 333 cancer-free control subjects. HPV 16 was the most frequently detected type, present in 19% of cases and 10% of controls. In analyses adjusting for age, tobacco use, and alcohol intake, the risk of head and neck cancer was statistically significantly greater in subjects infected with high-risk HPV types, with an adjusted odds ratio of 2.6, but not in those infected with non-oncogenic HPV types (adjusted OR = 0.8)compared with HPV-negative individuals. There was also a significant synergistic effect between detection of high-risk HPV types and heavy alcohol use (OR=18.8) and an additive effect between detection of high-risk HPV and tobacco use (OR = 5.5). "Any biologic interaction effect with HPV is associated primarily with alcohol consumption and not with tobacco use," the researchers note. The team also found a significant association between detection of high-risk HPV in oral cells and detection of high-risk HPV in tumor tissue. Head and neck cancers cause "clinically significant morbidity and disfiguration," Dr. Smith and colleagues remind readers, making "early detection of disease and [...]

2009-03-22T22:29:26-07:00March, 2004|Archive|
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