Bisher AKIL, MD

Archive for the ‘Cancer’ Category

Could stress cause cancer?

In Cancer, General Health on March 1, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Psychological stress prompts physiological responses (e.g., release of stress hormones), which might trigger cancer-promoting effects. However, whether stress is associated with cancer is unclear. In this meta-analysis of 12 prospective European studies, researchers examined whether work-related stress is associated with cancer risk. The analysis included 116,000 working adults (age range, 17–70) who were cancer-free at baseline. Self-reported job strain (defined as high demands and low control at work) was measured at baseline using a validated questionnaire. During a mean follow-up of 12 years, nearly 5% of participants developed cancer. In analyses adjusted for multiple confounders (including socioeconomic status, smoking, and alcohol use), job strain was not associated with overall cancer risk or with risk for colorectal, lung, breast, or prostate cancer. No combination of work demand (high vs. low) and control (high vs. low) was associated with overall cancer risk.

Published in Journal Watch General Medicine

Citation: Heikkilä K et al. Work stress and risk of cancer: Meta-analysis of 5700 incident cancer events in 116 000 European men and women. BMJ 2013 Feb 7; 346:f165.

Comment: So, no, you can not blame your job for causing cancer; however, there are data to connect heart problems with the stress of job. In a study in 2012 (The Lancet; Volume 380, Issue 9852, 27 October–2 November 2012, Pages 1491–1497),the authors “analysed the relation between job strain and coronary heart disease with a meta-analysis of published and unpublished studies”, and their “findings suggest that prevention of workplace stress might decrease disease incidence; however, this strategy would have a much smaller effect than would tackling of standard risk factors, such as smoking”.



PSA, should we check it?

In Cancer on April 28, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Prostate cancer is the most common noncutaneous cancer in men in the United States. Despite its prevalence, the natural history of this disease is remarkably heterogeneous. In many patients, the cancer progresses slowly, resulting in tumors that remain localized to the prostate gland. Although potentially life-threatening, such cancers are most often curable.  Many patients with low grade and volume cancers may be candidates for active surveillance. In other patients, however, tumor growth may be more rapid, resulting in cancer spreading beyond the confines of the prostate. In such cases, long-term survival may be considerably diminished compared to survival associated with organ-confined cancers. Strategies for managing prostate cancer have therefore been aimed at early detection, with selective, tailored treatment.  Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a tumor marker currently used for early detection of prostate cancer. The American Urological Association has recommended that baseline prostate-specific antigen testing (and digital rectal exam) be offered to men as young as age 40 — with life expectancies of 10 years or more — after a discussion of testing’s benefits and risks. The recommendation appears in the group’s updated “Best Practice Statement” on PSA testing and contrasts with guidelines issued by other groups, including the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. In August 2008, the USPSTF concluded that “the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of prostate cancer screening in men younger than age 75”; the group also recommended against screening those aged 75 or older. Ref: Comments: Two reports came out recently against routine testing for PSA. The reports created a lot of stir and made front page for may newspapers. The definitive study is yet to be done; in the meantime, testing for younger men, along with proper counseling, digital exam and common medical sense is the way to go for now_BA

Folic Acid Supplementation Increases the Risk for Prostate Cancer

In Cancer on March 31, 2009 at 11:55 pm

The Aspirin/Folate Polyp Prevention Study (AFPPS) involved two comparisons in patients with recently resected colorectal adenomas — aspirin versus placebo and folic acid versus placebo (JW Mar 19 2009). Previously published results from the folic acid portion of the study indicated that daily supplementation (1 mg) did not prevent recurrent colorectal adenomas; in fact, investigators found a nonsignificant trend toward more high-grade adenomas in the folic acid group (2007). Now, the researchers report on another outcome — prostate cancer — among 643 participating men (mean age at enrollment, 57).
During a median follow-up of 7 years, prostate cancer was diagnosed in 25 folic acid recipients and in 9 placebo recipients. The estimated 10-year probability of prostate cancer was significantly higher in the folic acid group than in the placebo group (9.7% vs. 3.3%).
Comments: So men who took folic acid daily were more likely to develop cancer during 7 years of follow-up, almost 3-to-1. The etiology is unclear _ BA