Health Highlights: July 29, 201307/29/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Major Changes In Cancer Definition, Treatment Advised by
Reconsidering the very definition of cancer is among the
sweeping changes in cancer detection and treatment recommended by a
group of experts advising the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
For example, the word "cancer" should not be used to describe
many growths (lesions) detected during breast, prostate, thyroid,
lung or other cancer screenings. Instead, these growths should be
reclassified as IDLE (indolent lesions of epithelial origin)
The New York Timesreported.
The NCI working group, which includes some of the top scientists
in cancer research, also said that the some pre-cancerous
conditions should be renamed to remove the word carcinoma. They
said doing so would reduce patients' level of fear and make them
less likely to seek what may be unnecessary and potentially harmful
The recommendations were published Monday in the
Journal of the American Medical Association.
There is likely to be sharp disagreement from some cancer
experts, and some or all of the recommendations may not be
implemented for years, if at all. However, the fact that the report
is from a leading group of cancer experts backed by the NCI is
likely to change discussions in the United States about cancer, its
definition, its treatment and future research, according to
There is growing concern among scientists, doctors and patient
advocates that hundreds of thousands of Americans are undergoing
needless and sometimes harmful and disfiguring treatments for
pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions that grow so slowly they are
unlikely to ever cause harm to patients.
"We need a 21st-century definition of cancer instead of a 19th-century definition of cancer, which is what we've been using," Dr. Otis Brawley, the chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, told The Times. He was not directly involved in the report.
Overdiagnosis is a major public health issue and a priority of
"We're still having trouble convincing people that the things that get found as a consequence of mammography and PSA testing and other screening devices are not always malignancies in the classical sense that will kill you," NCI Director Dr. Harold Varmus told The Times. "Just as the general public is catching up to this idea, there are scientists who are catching up, too."
Coffee May Reduce Suicide Risk: Study
People who drank more than four cups of coffee a day were 53
percent less likely to commit suicide than those who drank less
than one cup a day, a new study found.
Those who drank two to three cups of coffee a day had a 45
percent lower risk of suicide, according to the analysis of data
from more than 208,000 people who were followed from 1988 to 2008.
During that time, there were 277 suicides,
The study was published in the July issue of the
World Journal of Biological Psychiatry.
The researchers said that caffeine in coffee can increased
neurotransmitters, which can lift a person's mood and act as a mild
"Unlike previous investigations, we were able to assess association of consumption of caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages, and we identify caffeine as the most likely candidate of any putative protective effect of coffee," study author Michel Lucas, a research fellow in the department of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, said in a news release.
Vitamin B Supplement Contains Anabolic Steroids: FDA
A product marketed as a vitamin B dietary supplement contains
two potentially harmful anabolic steroids and should not be used by
consumers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.
Laboratory analysis showed that Healthy Life Chemistry By Purity
First B-50 contains methasterone and dimethazine. These ingredients
are not listed on the label and should not be in a dietary
The FDA has received reports of 29 incidents of health problems
associated with the product, including fatigue, muscle cramping,
muscle pain, and problems with liver and thyroid function and
Women who used this product reported unusual hair growth and
missed periods, and men who used the product reported impotence and
low testosterone. People who take Healthy Life Chemistry By Purity
First B-50 and experience any of these symptoms should consult a
doctor and report the incident to the FDA, the agency said.
Healthy Life Chemistry By Purity First B-50 is made by Mira
Health Products Ltd. in Farmingdale, N.Y., and sold on various
websites and in retail stores. The company has refused to
voluntarily recall the product or to warn consumers about the
potential for injury.
Taking products that contain anabolic steroids may cause liver
damage. Some of the people who took Healthy Life Chemistry By
Purity First B-50 had to be hospitalized, but there were no reports
of death or liver failure, the FDA said.
Anabolic steroids can cause other serious long-term consequences
in women, men and children, including: harmful changes in levels of
blood fats; increased risk of heart attack and stroke;
masculinization of women; shrinkage of the testicles; breast
enlargement; infertility in males; and short stature in
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