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New prostate surgery not necessarily better: study


New prostate surgery not necessarily better: study

Men who have less invasive prostate cancer surgery — often done robotically — are more likely to be incontinent and have erectile dysfunction than men who have conventional open surgery, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

Many men, especially those who are wealthy and highly educated, favor minimally invasive surgery because they assume the high-tech approach will yield better results, but the evidence on that is mixed, the team reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“We found men undergoing minimally invasive versus open surgery were more likely to have a diagnosis of incontinence and erectile dysfunction,” Dr. Jim Hu of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston said in a telephone briefing.

Hu said use of minimally invasive surgery has taken off since the introduction and heavy marketing of robot-assisted surgery, such as the da Vinci system made by Intuitive Surgical Inc.

The system consists of robotic arms, controlled from a console, that allow surgeons to perform less invasive surgeries. Hospitals advertise the systems as being able to reduce trauma, blood loss, risk of infection, scarring and often pain.

Hu said so far, there have been few studies that compare minimally invasive surgery with open surgery.

To do that, he and colleagues used billing data from the Medicare insurance program for the elderly on procedures done from 2003 to 2007. During that time, use of minimally invasive surgery for prostate cancer increased fivefold.

While both approaches fared equally well as a cancer treatment, they found that men who got the minimally invasive approach had shorter hospital stays, were less likely to need blood transfusions, and had fewer breathing problems after surgery than those who got conventional surgery.

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Lifestyle affects risk of second breast cancer


Lifestyle affects risk of second breast cancer

Surviving breast cancer is no guarantee that a new cancer won’t appear in the other breast. However, research now suggests that women can build their own personal armor to at least partially protect themselves from this occurring.

All it takes, says Dr. Christopher I. Li, is to “stay at a normal weight, don’t smoke, and drink in moderation.”

The research, headed up by Li at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, Washington, suggests that obesity, smoking and drinking too much are all risk factors for breast cancer in the opposite breast — also called the “contralateral” breast — of women who’ve had an “estrogen receptor-positive invasive breast cancer.”

That’s because estrogen can fuel these tumors’ growth, and both fat tissue and excessive alcohol use directly increase estrogen levels in the body, Li and his team propose. They believe that smoking contributes to the risk because of all the cancer-causing substances one inhales when smoking.

Until now, there haven’t been many studies regarding ways that women could protect themselves from second breast cancers, according to the report in the September 8th online issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The new study included 365 women with a first estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer and a second contralateral cancer and 726 control subjects. By reviewing medical charts and interviewing the women directly, the researchers determined body mass index (BMI) and alcohol and tobacco use. BMI is an estimate of a person’s relative body fat calculated from her height and weight.

Compared with normal weight women, those who were obese were almost half again – by 40% — as likely to develop a contralateral breast cancer. Consumption of 7 or more alcoholic drinks per week nearly doubled the risk compared with no alcohol use. Findings were similar for current smoking.

Women who both smoke and drink following diagnosis of the first cancer had an even greater risk of a second cancer. The study showed that consuming 7 or more alcoholic drinks per week coupled with current smoking increased the odds of contralateral breast cancer more than 7-fold.

In a related editorial, Dr. Jennifer A. Ligibel, from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, points out that the study by Li and his team took place before use of hormonal therapy for estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer became routine. Therefore, a more modern study examining the effect of modifiable lifestyle factors should involve patients treated according to current guidelines.

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Cell Phone Cancer

Myth: Cell phones cause brain cancer

Lawsuits and news headlines have fueled the myth that cell phones cause cancer, particularly brain cancer, and 30 percent of Americans still believe this myth, according to the Discovery Health/Prevention telephone survey. Consumers could easily have missed the reports showing no danger from cell phones because they didn’t receive alarming front-page coverage like the original reports. A few studies suggested a link with certain rare types of brain tumors, but the consensus among well-designed population studies is that there is no consistent association between cell phone use and brain cancer. [Source]

Interesting Fact:The very first patent for a cell phone like device (wireless telephone) was granted in 1908 to Nathan B. Stubblefield who some people claim invented the radio before Tesla and Marconi. Stubblefield died as a self-imposed hermit by starving to death.