January 30, 2013
By Debbie Saslow, PhD
A lot has happened in the area of cervical cancer this past year. The American Cancer Society, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists all released virtually identical screening guidelines, leading to less confusion and higher acceptance from health care professionals and the public.
Thanks to screening, cervical cancer is not very common in the U.S., with about 12,340 new cases of invasive cervical cancer expected to be diagnosed in 2013. Unfortunately the same is not true around the world, where more than half a million women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. It is actually the 2nd largest cancer killer among women in most low- and middle-income countries.
Sadly, this disease threatens to undermine the important gains worldwide that have been made in sexual and reproductive health, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDs and other infectious diseases. For women in many countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, cervical cancer is often detected late, when there is little hope for successful treatment. And it can be devastating to the whole family, both emotionally and financially.
The good news is that a lot has been happening in global cervical cancer. Indeed, many underserved societies have been actively advocating for improved cervical cancer control policies. In response, governments are increasingly making the HPV vaccine available through their health systems and are supporting new cervical cancer screening methods appropriate for their needs and resources. More...
January 23, 2013
By Charles (Karl) Saxe, PhD
Something patients do not want to hear and physicians do not want to say is "your cancer has metastasized."
Metastasis is the process whereby cancer cells spread from the site of the original tumor to one or more other places in the body. And with upwards of 90% of all cancer suffering and death associated with metastasis, it is the single most significant challenge to management of the disease.
It's no wonder, then, that a major goal of cancer research is to understand what causes metastasis and how it happens. More...
January 11, 2013
By Otis W. Brawley, MD, FACP
This week the American Cancer Society announces its lung cancer screening guidelines. In short, we recommend that health care professionals with access to high-quality lung cancer screening and treatment centers should discuss screening with healthy patients aged 55 years to 74 years who have at least a 30-year history of pack-a-day cigarette smoking and who currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. The health care professional and patient should discuss all the known benefits and known harms associated with lung cancer screening.
These guidelines were developed after a meticulous process in which a group of cancer screening and treatment experts reviewed all the major lung cancer screening studies that have been published over the past several decades. More...
January 02, 2013
By J. Lee Westmaas, PhD
Do you occasionally have a cigarette, maybe not even every day? Although people resolve to quit smoking in the new year, you might think only heavy smokers need to quit. But that isn't the case.
Light or intermittent smoking has become a very common pattern for people of any age. Many of these people do not feel addicted to tobacco and do not even call themselves "smokers." There are, however, some real risks associated with any level of smoking. Non-daily smoking, or smoking 1-5 cigarettes a day, was first noticed as far back as 1989 because it was a stark contrast to the more common pattern at that time -- 20 to 30 cigarettes a day. At that time, very light smokers were labeled "chippers" (a term that also referred to occasional users of opiates who appeared to not be addicted). Chippers didn't appear to smoke to relieve withdrawal, and sometimes didn't smoke for a day or more. More...