New Online Support Group for People Affected by Gastrointestinal Conditions: IBS, Crohn’s, UC, GERD, Cancer and More

Are you suffering from a gastrointestinal (GI) tract condition? You are not alone! TheGIConnection is now available for patients, caregivers, […]

Aspirin Continues to Look Promising for Cancer Prevention

A combined analysis of 51 randomized trials found that daily aspirin use reduces the risk of new cancer diagnoses as […]

Stay on Top of Your Family History of Cancer

People who are at high risk of cancer as a result of their family history may be advised to undergo […]

Fewer Lung Cancer Deaths Among Women

The lung cancer death rate among women appears to be declining for the first time in 40 years, according to […]

Women with CIN at Higher Risk for Anal Cancer and Other Cancers

Women with CIN at Higher Risk for Anal Cancer and Other Cancers According to an early online publication in Lancet Oncology , women diagnosed with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) grade 3 are at an increased risk of developing vaginal, vulvar, and anal cancers. Further research into the impact of the human papillomaviruses on these risks is underway. Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia refers to pre-cancerous or abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix cell layer. The different grades of CIN refer to the severity of the cells? abnormality as viewed by a microscope as well as the depth of the abnormal cell layer. CIN3 refers to the highest grade of cellular abnormality, which is often treated in order to avoid progression to cervical cancer. Because the human papillomavirus (HPV) is thought to play an extensive role in the development of CIN3, researchers continue to evaluate HPV?s link to CIN along with the potential preventive effects of the vaccine now available against HPV. Researchers from Sweden recently conducted a clinical study to evaluate potential associations between CIN3 and increased risks of other cancers potentially caused by HPV. This study included women from Sweden between the ages of 18 and 50 years. Participants were evaluated between 1968 and 2004. Compared with women who had not been diagnosed with CIN3, women with a history of CIN3 had nearly a sevenfold increased risk of developing cancer of the vagina, more than a 4.5-fold increased risk of developing cancer of the anus, and a greater than twofold increased risk of developing cancer of the vulva. There was no increased risk for rectal cancer among women diagnosed with CIN3. The researchers concluded that women diagnosed with CIN 3 have a significantly increased risk of developing cancers of the vagina, vulva, and anus compared with the general population. The authors state, ?Further studies are needed to clarify the type of HPV associated with this increase in risk to determine the clinical applicability of the new HPV vaccines.? Women diagnosed with CIN3 may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of screening for cancers of the vagina, vulva, and anus. Reference: Edgren G, Sparen P. Risk of anogential cancer after diagnosis of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia: a prospective population-based study. Lancet Oncology [early online publication]. February 27, 2007. DOI:10.1016/S1470-2045(07)70043-8. Related News: ? American Cancer Society Develops Recommendations for HPV Vaccination (3/5/2007) HPV Test Identifies a Majority of Women with High-Grade CIN (4/13/2006)

New Colorectal Cancer Test Offers Hope for Early Detection

New Colorectal Cancer Test Offers Hope for Early Detection According to a report in the November issue of the journal Gastroenterology , early detection of colorectal cancer and precancerous tumors may be possible with a new screening test that involves looking for abnormal DNA in stool samples. When detected early, colorectal cancer is a highly curable disease. Colorectal cancer begins with the development of an adenomatous polyp, which is a small benign tumor that grows in the colon. These polyps take 10 to 15 years to transform into cancer. Since this development phase is so long, screening and early detection can play a crucial role in the prevention of colorectal cancer, as detection and removal of the polyps can prevent the development of the disease. As the polyp develops, there are changes in the tumor’s DNA. By examining tumors that have been removed from patients, researchers have identified some of these altered DNA molecules. The tumors shed cells into the intestine, which makes it possible to detect the abnormal DNA cells in stool samples. In a recent study at the Mayo Clinic, researchers examined the stool samples of three different groups: 22 people who had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, 11 people who had polyps, and 28 people without any colorectal tumors. They found abnormal DNA in 91% of the stool samples from cancer patients and 73% of the stool samples from the patients with polyps. None of the stool samples from tumor-free people had abnormal DNA. The results of this study show that DNA stool testing has the potential to become an efficient screening test for colorectal cancer. This could be an accurate and non-invasive test that people might be more willing to undergo than other more intrusive and uncomfortable tests. A 3-year clinical trial funded by the National Cancer Institute is scheduled to begin in January in order to further evaluate this procedure. In the meantime, it is still important for people to utilize the existing methods of screening for colorectal cancer, which include the fecal occult blood test (FOBT), sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy and the double-contrast barium enema. People concerned with screening for this disease can consult with their physicians for more information. Future clinical trials will help to establish the feasibility of using DNA stool testing as a standard screening procedure. People who are at a high-risk for developing colorectal cancer may wish to speak with their physicians about the risks and benefits of participating in a clinical trial in which DNA stool testing and other promising new screening techniques are being evaluated. Two sources of information about ongoing clinical trials include clinical trials listing services provided by the National Cancer Institute ( cancer.gov ) and eCancerTrials.com . eCancerTrials.com also performs personalized clinical trial searches on behalf of patients.

Selenium May Reduce Risk of Developing Lung, Colorectal, and Prostate Cancers

Selenium May Reduce Risk of Developing Lung, Colorectal, and Prostate Cancers The essential dietary nutrient, selenium, may help reduce the risk of developing cancers of the lung, colon, rectum, and prostate, as well as reduce the number of deaths in persons who have certain types of cancer, according to preliminary research findings. It is believed that cancer is caused by a number of factors, making prevention of the disease a challenge. Few cases of cancer have a causative association as clear as the one between smoking and lung cancer. However, ongoing research continues to elucidate characteristics or exposures that may increase the chance of developing different types of cancers ( risk factors ) as well as characteristics or exposures that may reduce the chance of developing those cancers ( protective factors ). Recently, much attention has been given to the potential protective effects of various dietary supplements and nutrients, including selenium. Selenium is a nutrient that is essential to the human body. A component of a number of the body’s enzymes, selenium is found predominantly in foods but also in water and air. Several scientific reports have shown an increased risk of developing certain cancers when the diet does not contain enough selenium. Similarly, some clinical studies have shown that selenium supplements in the diet may reduce the risk of developing some cancers. The side effects of most forms of selenium are low; however, certain forms (such as selenious acid) can be fatal if ingested. Excessive exposure to selenium, often characterized by a garlic odor on the breath, can result in chronic selenium poisoning. Further investigation of the potential protective effect of selenium from some types of cancer is ongoing. Researchers from several centers in the United States conducted a study to determine whether the use of selenium supplements would result in a reduced risk of developing cancer or a recurrence (return) of cancer in 1312 persons who had a history of basal cell or squamous cell cancer of the skin. The researchers assigned the patients to receive either 200 micrograms of selenium per day or a placebo. The findings showed that the selenium did not have any impact on whether the patients developed the skin cancer again. However, the selenium was associated with fewer cancer-related deaths. Of the group receiving placebo, 57 persons died of cancer; of the group receiving selenium, 29 persons died of cancer. Of the cancers that were diagnosed, 119 were in the placebo group and 77 were in the selenium group. Cancers that were shown to be reduced in the selenium group included lung, colorectal, and prostate cancers. Because of these favorable results showing reductions in the incidence of lung, colorectal, and prostate cancers and the reduction in deaths from cancer, this study was stopped early. The researchers concluded that the protective effects of selenium shown here appear promising; however, further studies are needed to confirm these findings. ( Journal of the American Medical Society , Vol 276, No 24, pp 1957-1963)