February is National Heart Month in the US. What is not well known is that it is also the Cancer Prevention Month. Hence, we are bringing you some news on this topic…
In November 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released recommendations for breast cancer for women to begin routine screening biennially, beginning at age 50 and ending at age 74 years. Prior to that time, the USPSTF – and other organizations – recommended screening mammography every 1-2 years for women beginning at age 40. The ACS recommends annual screening mammography starting at age 40.
Americna experts belived that the new guidelines raising the age for routine mammograms will cost lives. This is according to an analysis conducted by Edward Hendrick and Mark A. Helvie based on an average of six CISNET (Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network) models of benefit. The authors report:
“These analyses also show that the individual harms from the additional screening, including the risks of recall for additional testing, biopsy, and radiation-induced breast cancers, are minimal compared with the life-saving benefit of early detection for women electing screening.”
… can help reduce mortality due to prostate cancer. This is according to a study by researcerhs at the Harvard School of Public Health. The study looked at 2700 men with prostate cancer and their lifestyle.
Chemotherapy may stop cancer in its tracks but it can cause damage to the heart that can lead to heart failure. Scientists at Queen’s University Centre for Vision and Vascular Science may have a found a way to prevent heart failure in cancer patients by blocking the enzyme NADPH oxidase. According to the researchers:
“Although we have known about the NADPH oxidase enzyme for many years, until now, we were not aware of its crucial role in causing heart damage associated with chemotherapy. Our research findings hold clear potential for the creation of new drugs to block the action of the enzyme, which could significantly reduce heart damage in cancer patients.
Ultimately, this could allow for the safer use of higher doses of chemotherapy drugs and make the treatment more effective against tumours. Despite improved treatments, cancer is currently responsible for 25 per cent of all mortality in the western world. By reducing the risk of heart failure associated with chemotherapy, patient survival rates could be significantly increased.”