Cancer patients’ use of vitamins questioned

1/31/2006 New York, NY Tara Parker-Pope DelawareOnline ( Many cancer patients take a range of antioxidant vitamins in hope of improving their odds, but some research suggests the supplements may be doing more harm than good. A report published in CA, an American Cancer Society medical journal, says cancer patients shouldn't use antioxidants during radiation or chemotherapy because the supplements may reduce the effectiveness of treatment. Worse, some research suggests that antioxidants may actually feed cancers, protecting the very cancer cells patients are trying to attack. The news further clouds the role that vitamins play in promoting good health. Earlier this year, a major study showed that certain people who regularly take vitamin E supplements had a higher risk for heart failure. The notion that antioxidants may be harmful is likely to be upsetting and confusing to the large number of cancer patients gobbling down vitamins and supplements to help fight the disease. Studies show that as many as a third to half of cancer patients are taking antioxidants, vitamins and other supplements. Antioxidants include beta carotene, lycopene and vitamins A, B, C and E, among others. In the body, antioxidants mop up rogue molecules called free radicals, which have the potential to cause extensive cell damage and are believed to play a role in heart disease, cancer and numerous other health problems. A substance that attacks free radicals would seem to battle cancer in theory. But the results of both lab and human studies of cancer and antioxidants have [...]

2009-04-10T05:39:56-07:00January, 2006|Archive|

Treatment Method Improves Survival for Advanced Laryngeal Cancer

1/31/2006 Ann Arbor, MI press release Newswise ( Chemotherapy and radiation can be effective at treating cancer of the larynx, or voice box, without removing the organ that controls speech and swallowing. But it doesn’t work for everyone. Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that determining early into treatment which patients would benefit from the chemoradiation treatment and which would be better off having surgery led to better survival rates than typically expected for this type of cancer. “Approximately 30 percent to 40 percent of patients with advanced laryngeal cancer will not be cured with chemotherapy and radiation. The survival rates for such patients have traditionally been poor. That’s why these patients should be identified as early as possible. When we did that, we found that the survival rate for these patients was markedly improved, as was the survival rate for the group of patients who were successfully treated with chemotherapy and radiation,” says study author Gregory Wolf, M.D., professor and chair of otolaryngology at the U-M Medical School. The study appears in the Feb. 1, 2006 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study looked at 97 patients with advanced-stage laryngeal cancer. The larynx, or voice box, plays a role in breathing, swallowing and talking. Traditional treatment for this type of cancer has been surgery to remove the voice box or part of the voice box, leading to significant quality of life concerns. In this study, patients began with six days of chemotherapy, after [...]

2009-04-10T05:39:31-07:00January, 2006|Archive|

Protein holds back growth of head and neck tumors

1/31/2006 Pittsburgh, PA press release EurekAlert (www.eurekalert.ort) A protein associated with the growth of head and neck tumors may be a tumor suppressor that could prevent the spread of cancer when it is expressed above normal levels, according to a study published in the Feb. 1 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI). The study, led by University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine professor of otolaryngology and pharmacology, Jennifer Grandis, M.D., is the first to show that the expression of a protein called STAT1 may play a vital role in preventing head and neck tumor growth. STAT1 belongs to a family of proteins called signal transducers and activators of transcription that have been linked to tumor progression in many cancers. "While the activation of STAT1 has been associated with increased survival in breast cancer patients, its role in head and neck cancer has not been clearly understood," said Dr. Grandis. "Our study reveals that it is a critical survival pathway in head and neck cancer and that therapeutic strategies to restore its functioning may be of benefit to patients." Dr. Grandis, who also is director of the Head and Neck Cancer Program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), and colleagues compared the expression of STAT1 in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) tumors to its expression in normal tissue samples. They found that STAT1 was expressed in lower levels in the tumor cells than in the normal cells. And, when they chemically [...]

2009-04-10T05:39:07-07:00January, 2006|Archive|

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Do Not Lower Cancer Risk

1/31/2006 Ketchum, ID staff Researchers affiliated with the Southern California Evidence-Based Practice Center have reviewed 38 medical publications and concluded that there was no significant association between omega-3 fatty acid intake and the risk of cancer. The details of this report appeared in the January 25, 2006, edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Omega-3 fatty acids have been purported to play a role in the prevention of various cancers. However, the literature is confusing with some studies showing a preventative effect, some showing an increased incidence of some cancers and most showing no effect. The current study involved 38 articles involving 20 cohorts of patients from 7 different countries. Risks of 11 different cancers were evaluated in several different statistical methods. Of the 11 studies involving breast cancer, one showed a significant increase in risk, 3 showed a decreased risk and 7 showed no effect with increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids. In colorectal cancer, 17 of 18 studies showed no effect of omega-3 fatty acid intake on risk. In lung cancer there were 4 studies that showed no effect, one showed an increased risk and one showed a decreased risk with high intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Similar findings were reported for prostate cancer with 15 of 16 studies showing no effect. The single study of skin cancer showed an increased incidence with increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids. In other cancers such as head and neck, bladder, ovarian, pancreatic, stomach and lymphoma there was [...]

2009-04-10T05:38:43-07:00January, 2006|Archive|

Swallowing After Cancer

1/31/2006 Fresno, CA staff abc action news ( Each year, there are nearly 30,000 cases of head and neck cancer. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation all have their benefits but can leave patients with a difficult time swallowing. Now, doctors are working to improve that. Allen Clark, M.D., is a plastic surgeon. But two years ago, he became a patient. "I actually had a lymph node come up in my neck," he says. "Being a physician -- a surgeon -- knowing what that means, I was pretty sure I had cancer." It was throat cancer. Doctors recommended chemotherapy and radiation. But radiation caused Clark's throat to tighten, and swallowing became excruciatingly painful. "It's almost like you're drinking hot coffee that's too hot, and you burn your throat, but you do that every day for six or seven weeks," Bill Carroll, M.D., an otolaryngologist at University of Alabama at Birmingham, tells Ivanhoe. Dr. Carroll and colleagues noticed patients who continued to swallow during treatment, instead of relying on a feeding tube, did better. Now, patients are taught a series of swallowing exercises they do before and during treatment. "One of the exercises that we did was we'd hold my tongue between my teeth and swallow," Clark says. Another is making a high-pitch "E" sound to elevate the larynx. All the exercises work to strengthen the tongue and throat muscles. Patients say the exercises are simple but can be painful. "But most of them do try," Dr. Carroll says. "And for the ones [...]

2009-04-10T05:38:17-07:00January, 2006|Archive|

Alcohol underestimated as cancer cause -scientists

1/30/2006 London, England Patricia Reaney Reuters ( Along with smoking and chronic infections, alcohol consumption is an important cause of several types of cancer, researchers said on Monday. Excessive drinking raises the risk of cancer of the mouth, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colon and breast. It may also be linked with cancer of the pancreas and lung. "Alcohol is underestimated as a cause of cancer in many parts of the world," said Dr Paolo Boffetta of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France. "A sizeable proportion of cancer today is due to alcohol intake and this is increasing in many regions, particularly in east Asia and eastern Europe," he added in an interview. Boffetta and Mia Hashibe, who reviewed research into the link between alcohol and cancer, found the more alcohol consumed, the higher the risk of developing cancer. But they advised people to drink moderately, rather than give up alcohol completely, because of its protective benefits against cardiovascular disease. "Total avoidance of alcohol, although optimum for cancer control, cannot be recommended in terms of broad perspective of public health, in particular in countries with high incidence of cardiovascular disease," Boffetta said in a report in The Lancet Oncology journal. Instead, the scientists said men and women should limit how much alcohol they drink to reap the benefits but avoid the dangers. "The most recent version of the European code against cancer recommends keeping daily consumption to two drinks for men and one for women," Boffetta noted. [...]

2009-04-10T05:37:53-07:00January, 2006|Archive|

Can you catch cancer?

1/30/2006 Zaire Sarah Boseley Mail & Guardian Online ( Within a few years, girls will be vaccinated against cancer. Not every cancer — at least, not yet. But the cervical cancer jab is well on its way. A couple of shots in the arm, perhaps, and young women may never have to think about it again. That is possible because cervical cancer is spread by a virus called human papilloma virus (HPV). You can catch it by sleeping with somebody who has it, so women with more sexual partners are more likely to get it. The vaccine does not act against cancer per se, but protects against the virus that causes it. Which makes cervical cancer, effectively, an infectious disease. Can you really catch cancer? And if cervical cancer is caused by an infection, is it remotely possible that we might also catch breast cancer, or prostate cancer, or bowel cancer? The answer is yes and no. Certainly, catching cancers is not the same as catching a cold. HPV may trigger cervical cancer, but many women infected with it will never develop the disease. There must also be other factors. Where a virus is involved in cancer, it appears, it is one of many causes — a trigger in a chain of triggers. Along with the virus, there may have to be something in your genes that tips your chances of getting this particular cancer. Diet affects some cancers, alcohol and smoking others, and air pollution is under suspicion. But [...]

2009-04-10T05:33:34-07:00January, 2006|Archive|

IMRTcancer treatment much more precise

1/29/2006 Springield, IL Dean Olsen State Journal Register Online ( Lying on his back on a hard table, Michael Robinson holds himself perfectly still, closes his eyes, quietly sings gospel songs to himself and seeks guidance from above. During the next 10 to 15 minutes, a machine that looks like an oversized hair dryer from a beauty shop swivels around his head, buzzing and shooting high-energy X-rays into his mouth. "I pray, 'Lord, give me the strength to endure this, and please heal this,'" said Robinson, 56, of Jacksonville. Robinson, an account technician for the Illinois Department of Human Services, began daily radiation treatment for cancer Jan. 9 at St. John's Hospital. A routine checkup last year turned up what doctors later determined was a tumor on his right tonsil. Robinson said he feels better knowing that the painless radiation therapy represents what St. John's officials call a "giant leap" forward in treatment. For the past several months, St. John's has treated about two dozen cancer patients with radiation beams that are mapped and focused by special equipment and computer hardware and software. The hospital began offering intensity-modulated radiation therapy as part of radiation technology upgrades that cost St. John's about $2.5 million, said Dr. Bruce Shevlin, a Springfield radiation oncologist. Shevlin is working with Dr. James Wynstra, a fellow radiation oncologist, to lead the IMRT treatment team at St. John's. Memorial Medical Center is in the midst of a $4 million to $5 million technology upgrade that will allow [...]

2009-04-10T05:33:04-07:00January, 2006|Archive|

Voice therapy helpful after early throat cancer

1/27/2006 New York, NY staff Reuters ( A small study suggests that a few months of voice therapy may improve a person's ability to speak after treatment of early-stage glottic cancer, a form of cancer that affects the vocal cords. Past research has yielded mixed results on the effectiveness of voice therapy after treatment of tumors of the throat. In one study, patients who did not undergo voice therapy after their cancer treatment actually did better in terms of voice quality. The new study, published in the journal Cancer, looked at 23 patients who had voice impairments after laser surgery or radiation therapy for early-stage glottic cancer. Dr. Christine D. L. van Gogh and her colleagues at Vrije University Medical Center in Amsterdam randomly assigned the patients to a voice-therapy group or a comparison group that did not receive the therapy. Those who underwent voice therapy had a maximum of 24 sessions with a speech-language pathologist, focusing on voice and breathing exercises to improve their vocal quality. Overall, the patients who underwent therapy reported more improvements in their voice than the comparison group did. There were also improvements in certain objective measures of voice quality, such as vocal "jitter." Of the 177 patients approached to participate in this study, the researchers note, most refused to do so. This may be because of the fact that voice therapy is time-consuming, they speculate, but it could also reflect an assumption that vocal problems are an inevitable consequence of throat cancer treatment. They [...]

2009-04-10T05:32:37-07:00January, 2006|Archive|

Levels of toxins in oral tobacco products in the UK

1/26/2006 London, England A. McNeill et al. Tobacco Control 2006;15:64-67; doi:10.1136/tc.2005.013011 Objective: This study examined the constituents of smokeless tobacco products available in the UK and compared them with products available in India, Sweden, and the USA Methods: even UK brands of smokeless tobacco, including a tooth cleaning powder, and four international brands of smokeless tobacco were tested for a range of toxins and known carcinogens, such as tobacco specific N-nitrosamines (TSNA), as well as nicotine availability. Results: Ten of the 11 brands tested had detectable levels of tobacco specific nitrosamines, which are proven carcinogens, and levels varied 130-fold. All had detectable levels of benzo(a)pyrene, another proven carcinogen (with around 175-fold variation) and several toxic metals (with nearly 150-fold variation). Nicotine availability varied in the UK products from 0.1 mg/g to 63.2 mg/g. All the tobacco products tested are likely to be hazardous to users’ health, but the data indicate that it should be possible to reduce key toxins to non-detectable levels. Conclusions: Smokeless tobacco products should be regulated and standards set for maximum levels of toxins and carcin Authors: A McNeill(1), R Bedi(2), S Islam(2), M N Alkhatib(2) and R West(1) Authors' affiliations: (1) Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK (2) Department of Dental Public Health, King’s College London, London, UK

2009-04-10T05:32:09-07:00January, 2006|Archive|
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