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Prevention & Early Detection (31 posts)  RSS

The HPV vaccine: 3 shots of prevention

July 26, 2011

By Debbie Saslow, PhD


Many people ask me about whether or not their daughters should get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which can help prevent cervical cancer. As with all new vaccines, there has been some controversy. Some parents have been reluctant to get their daughters vaccinated before they are sexually active, yet this is precisely when the vaccine will be most effective. Others were concerned about safety; the HPV vaccines are extremely safe, based on tens of millions of doses distributed worldwide. There was also an initial push, generated by the manufacturer, to require HPV vaccination for middle school enrollment. To date only Virginia and Washington, D.C., have such a requirement.

To answer the question of whether to vaccinate, it helps to have some background:

In the United States, an estimated 12,200 cases of invasive cervical cancer were expected to be diagnosed in 2010, with an estimated 4,210 deaths. But there have been fewer deaths over the past several decades due to cancer screening tests. That's great news. But we can reduce the number of people even getting cervical cancer by doing what  we know works. More...

Ewwww, that's gross! A New Era in U.S. Cigarette Labeling

June 22, 2011

By Thomas J. Glynn, PhD

OK, admit it - you have no idea what current cigarette packs in the U.S. have to say about the dangers of tobacco use. I've been working in this field for nearly 30 years and I'm not really sure, either. And we're not alone - very few of us remember that they say things like "Quitting Smoking Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks to Your Health" in very tiny letters and are virtually hidden on one side of the pack. More...

From the Pyramid to the Plate

June 02, 2011

By Colleen Doyle, MS, RD


Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) unveiled a new graphic, a new icon designed to help make it easier for all of us to eat a healthier diet.  Called "MyPlate," this icon replaces the Food Guide Pyramid that, in one form or another, has been around since 1992. And it is a huge improvement. Especially because we eat off plates, not pyramids. More...

Quitting with a Little Help from Your Friends?

May 31, 2011

By J. Lee Westmaas, PhD


It's no secret that trying to quit smoking is hard. It can trigger irritability, anxiety, depression, and all sorts of other unpleasant emotions and physical feelings. But quitting is one of the most important things you can do for your health, and for the health of others. 

 

Sometimes smokers who want to quit are told that they should get their social network --the people around them -- to help, maybe by announcing to friends and family that they're going to quit, and asking for their support. More...

Suntan or Booth Tan: Your Skin Can't Tell the Difference

May 26, 2011

By Vilma Cokkinides, PhD


As summer approaches, we get a lot of reminders to protect our skin from the sun with sunscreen, shade, hats, and long sleeves. What doesn't get mentioned as often is indoor tanning.


Indoor tanning has become popular among young adult women and teenage girls. One chief motivation is that they believe they look more attractive and healthy with a tan. Many teens and their parents think getting a tan indoors is safer than tanning in the sun. But the truth is that tanning booths, lamps, or sunbeds emit ultraviolet (UV) radiation, just as the sun does. And exposure to UV radiation - whether from the sun or from a man-made source -- can raise your risk of skin cancer. More...

Another Reason to Have a Second Cup of Coffee?

May 25, 2011

By Colleen Doyle, MS, RD

I admit it; I'm a java junkie. I LOVE my morning (and mid-morning) cups of coffee.  So any study that looks at the potential health benefits of coffee gets my adrenaline pumping, whether I'm revved up on caffeine or not.


A study just published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute looked at whether or not coffee consumption was related to prostate cancer risk. The researchers were particularly interested in whether or not coffee consumption reduced the risk of advanced prostate cancer (by advanced, they mean that the cancer has spread beyond the prostate at the time of diagnosis).  As a matter of fact, this study is the first of its kind looking specifically at the relationship between coffee consumption and advanced prostate cancer.  While prostate cancer is one cancer I don't need to personally worry about, on behalf of all the men in my life, I took a look. More...

'May' We Talk about Getting Healthier?

May 10, 2011

By Colleen Doyle, MS, RD

 

I just heard on the radio the other day that spring is more than halfway over. Before we know it, the year will be halfway over - and at that point, I always like to reflect back on the last six months, think about those resolutions I set at the beginning of the year, and see how I'm doing. It's a time for me to take stock, get real, and get back on track if need be.

 

At the beginning of the year, I did a little research to see just how popular setting New Year's resolutions is. According to surveys, about 50% of us will make some kind of resolution. And likely, those resolutions will be related to eating better, being more active, and losing weight.

More...

Want to quit smoking? Here's how.

April 19, 2011

By Thomas J. Glynn, PhD


"I think I can. I think I can. I know I can. I know I can." These words are a familiar refrain to the millions of Americans who want to quit smoking. We promise ourselves that this is the year that we are going to get healthier, to save more money, or to be nicer to our friends and family. But there are so many challenges - it's too cold or rainy to exercise, I need that dress or that app, and who could be nice to Uncle Jack?


Yet there is good news if you are among the 45 million American adults who is still a smoker. You can become healthier, save more money, and do something wonderful for your friends and family- you can stop smoking.

More...

Hot dog! Headlines Can Be Deceiving.

March 31, 2011

By Colleen Doyle, MS, RD


Did you hear the one about the hot dog and the rotisserie chicken? Recent news reports suggest that, at least when it comes to cancer, the hot dog may be the better choice.


But don't reach for the mustard and relish just yet.


Researchers at Kansas State University, with funding in part from the American Meat Institute and the National Pork Board Check-off, tested the heterocyclic amine (HCA) levels of a variety of popular ready-to-eat meat products: hot dogs, deli meats, bacon, pepperoni and rotisserie chicken. HCAs are chemicals that are formed in meats when they are cooked at very high temperatures. Studies show that these chemicals can damage DNA and cause cancer in animals. It's not clear how much they may contribute to cancer risk in people. Even so, the American Cancer Society recommends cooking meats with methods that create fewer HCAs, such as baking or poaching.

More...

Is Cancer Screening Going to the Dogs?

March 22, 2011

By Ted Gansler, MD, MBA


There's been a lot of news lately about cancer-sniffing dogs after a new study by Japanese researcher Hideto Sonoda and his colleagues was published in the medical journal Gut. So we couldn't help but wonder, is that possible?

 

If you haven't heard about it, the recent study suggests that specially-trained dogs can identify the scent of volatile chemicals (those that evaporate into the air at room temperature) present in colon cancer. More...

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