Number of New Cancer Patients Expected to
The number of new cancer patients is expected to more than double in the
over the next half-century from 1.36 million recorded in 2000 to almost 3.0
million in 2050. This estimate is based largely on the growing and aging
population. The number of cancer cases was projected from the latest
information on types of cancer and survival rates from the National Cancer
Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program
highlighted in a report which appeared in The Oncologist, the monthly
international peer-reviewed journal for physicians devoted to cancer care.
According to the paper, the likelihood of developing cancer in the
during one's lifetime is approximately one in two for men and one in three
The SEER Program was created as a result of the
1971 National Cancer Act, which mandated the collection, analysis, and
dissemination of cancer data for use in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and
treatment. Other key statistics include: Blacks have the highest incidence and
mortality rates for men and women for all types of cancers; five-year patient
survival for all cancer stages combined range as low as only 16% for lung
cancer patients to 100% for prostate cancer patients; and cancer survival
varies by stage of disease and race, with lower survival in blacks compared
More Work Needs to Be Done by States in
Preventing Cervical Cancer
A new state-to-state comparison report released by Women in Government, a
non-profit, bi-partisan organization representing women state legislators,
shows that while states have made significant progress in the fight against
cervical cancer, real disparities still exist in cervical cancer incidence.
The report, titled "Partnering for Progress 2007:
The ‘State' of Cervical Cancer Prevention in America," looked at current data
for each state on cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates; screening
rates, including for low-income women; women's access to screening using the
most up-to-date technology; uninsured women; and the legislative priority
being put on this issue.
Some key results were: For the first time, a
state--Minnesota--received a grade of Excellent; a majority of states and the
District of Columbia saw a decrease in both cervical cancer incidence and
mortality; last year alone, more than 25 policy measures addressing cervical
cancer prevention were introduced in legislatures around the country; just
under half (49%) of the states experienced an increase in their rate of
insured women; and in most states, incidence and mortality rates for black and
Hispanic women were higher than for white women.
Rising Weight Increases Risk of Prostate Cancer
A prospective study published in the journal Cancer showed that extra
pounds may increase the risk of dying from aggressive forms of prostate cancer
in men who have already been diagnosed with the disease. However, the study
did not find a correlation between obesity and developing the malignancy in
the first place.
According to Margaret Wright, PhD, and her
colleagues at the National Cancer Institute, body mass index and adult weight
gain each "were linked with higher prostate cancer progression leading to
death." In fact, the study revealed that compared with normal-weight men,
overly obese men had twice the risk of dying of prostate cancer. Men who had
gained significant amounts of weight since the age of 18 also had an increased
risk of a fatal outcome.
In an unrelated study reported by Susan Harlap,
MB, and her colleagues at
, fathers who have sons may possess some protection from developing prostate
cancer. It appears that the risk of the disease declines with each additional
son. What does all of this mean? It could mean that there is a genetic
link with the possibility of prostate cancer genes lurking on the Y
chromosome. The risk also appeared to increase with the size of boy-free
families. For example, men who had only one child, a daughter, had a relative
risk of 1.25; men with two girls had a relative risk of 1.41; and those with
three daughters and no sons had a relative risk of 1.6.
Reduced Levels of Fat May Decrease Risk of
Breast Cancer Recurrence
According to results from the Women's Intervention Nutrition Study (WINS),
postmenopausal women who reduce their consumption of dietary fat and have been
treated for early-stage breast cancer may reduce their chances for breast
cancer recurrence or a second case of breast cancer.
The study, which was sponsored by the National
Cancer Institute (NCI) and recently published in the journal National
Cancer Institute, revealed that an intervention aimed at reducing dietary
fat consumption can reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence. "It is also
clear that some women benefit a lot more than others from a reduction in
dietary intake of fat, possibly because a person's genetics may well be
setting the tone for the benefits of dietary intervention," said John Milner,
PhD, Chief of the Nutritional Science Research Group at NCI. He also cautioned
that reduction of fat should be considered just one of many dietary
modifications that may influence the development of cancer.
Hormonal Contraception Does Not Appear to
Increase HIV Risk
A study published on the web site of the journal AIDS reports that
using hormonal contraception does not appear to increase women's overall risk
of infection with the AIDS virus. The study, the largest and most
comprehensive of its kind to date, was commissioned by the National Institute
of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health
However, NIH project officer for the study, H.
Trent MacKay, MD, MPH, Chief of the Contraception and Reproductive Health
Branch, said the study findings do not provide a basis for changing current
recommendations regarding contraceptive use. Dr. MacKay cautioned that
hormonal contraception does not protect against HIV or other sexually
The authors concluded, "This large, multi-site
study found no overall increased risk of HIV acquisition associated with
contraceptive use. This provides reassurance for women in moderate and high
HIV prevalence settings who need effective contraception that any increased
overall risk associated with hormonal contraception is, at most, modest."
Selenium May Slow HIV Progression
A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial showed that daily doses
of selenium supplements appeared to slow the progress of HIV. The results of
the trial were reported by Dr. Barry Hurwitz, PhD, of the
in the Archives of Internal Medicine. He said the study was based on
the observations that selenium appears to improve immune function and that the
metal is often deficient in people with HIV. The researchers found that
compared with patients taking a placebo, volunteers who got selenium had
increased serum levels of the metal and decreased HIV viral load.
Additionally, they saw their CD4 cell count increase as an indirect result of
good viral control. Dr. Hurwitz and colleagues concluded that while the study
did not determine how long the effect will last, the results support adding
selenium to HIV therapies "as a simple, inexpensive and safe adjunct therapy."
It is believed that selenium may repair damage done to immune cells or work
directly on the HIV virion to suppress replication.
Compliance an Issue Among Breast Cancer Patients
According to a study by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and funded
in part by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, one out of five women prescribed
hormone therapy drugs may not take them regularly.
Postmenopausal women with early stage,
hormone-sensitive breast cancer have a lower risk of disease recurrence when
their treatment includes a new class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors.
Their mechanism of action is to reduce the production of the hormone estrogen
by blocking aromatase, an enzyme that converts the hormone androgen into
estrogen. Studies have shown that lowering estrogen levels in postmenopausal
women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer can reduce their risk of
"These data are very concerning because hormonal
therapy for breast cancer is one of the most effective treatments in all of
oncology," said Ann Partridge, MD, MPH, the study's lead author. "Women may be
compromising their care, and ultimately their survival, if they do not take
these medications as recommended."
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