WHO links processed meat to cancer

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), has evaluated the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat.

Researchers classified the consumption of red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans, based on limited evidence that the consumption of red meat causes cancer in humans and strong mechanistic evidence supporting a carcinogenic effect. Processed meat was classified as carcinogenic to humans.

The WHO did stress that meat also had health benefits. Cancer Research UK said this was a reason to cut down rather than give up red and processed meats.

Reference to the research:

International Agency for Research on Cancer Monograph Working Group. Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat. The Lancet Oncology, 2015

Further reading :

Processed meat and cancer – what you need to know. Cancer Research UK

Processed meats do cause cancer – WHO   BBC News

Cancer diagnosis by area

Cancer Research UK has issued a press release summarising stages of cancer diagnosis for different areas of England.  The analysis looked at available data on 10 types of cancer across 25 areas of England in 2012 and 2013, and whether the disease was diagnosed early (at stage 1 or 2) or later (at stage 3 or 4).  The results found that people’s chances of being diagnosed early could also depend on which cancer they have, with areas that were among the best for diagnosing one type of cancer early not always doing as well when it came to other types of the disease.

Outreach increases completion of HPV vaccination series by adolescent girls

A joint study by UT Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Health & Hospital System investigators found that a multicomponent outreach program increased completion of the three-dose human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination series that reduces the risk of cervical cancer caused by the virus.

The 814 girls in the study were randomly assigned to one of two groups. Those in one group received a general adolescent vaccine brochure. Members of the other group received an HPV vaccine-specific brochure, plus telephone calls to parents who declined, and reminder calls to patients overdue for the second and third doses of the vaccine. One year later, HPV one-dose and three-dose coverage rates were assessed via electronic health records.

Full Reference: Tiro, J et al. J. Promoting HPV Vaccination in Safety-Net Clinics: A Randomized Trial. Pediatrics, October 2015

Prior oral contraceptive use in ovarian cancer patients: assessing associations with overall and progression-free survival

BMC Cancer 2015, 15:711

contraceptive pill

Prior studies have described a reduced risk of developing ovarian cancer with the use of oral contraceptives. In this context, we decided to examine if oral contraceptive use prior to a diagnosis of ovarian cancer is associated with better overall and progression-free survival.

This retrospective cohort study included ovarian cancer patients who were seen at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota from 2000 through 2013. Patients completed a risk factor questionnaire about previous oral contraceptive use, and clinical data were extracted from the electronic medical record.

A total of 1398 ovarian cancer patients responded to questions on oral contraceptive use; 571 reported no prior use with all others having responded affirmatively to oral contraceptive use. Univariate analyses found that oral contraceptive use (for example, ever versus never) was associated with better overall survival (hazard ratio (HR) 0.73 (95 % confidence interval (CI): 0.62, 0.86); p = 0.0002) and better progression-free survival (HR 0.71 (95 % CI: 0.61, 0.83); p < 0.0001). In multivariate analyses, contraceptive use continued to yield a favorable, statistically significant association with progression-free survival, but such was not the case with overall survival.

This study suggests that previous oral contraceptive use is associated with improved progression-free survival in patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

via BMC Cancer | Abstract | Prior oral contraceptive use in ovarian cancer patients: assessing associations with overall and progression-free survival.

Colorectal cancer screening is appropriate for some adults aged 76 to 85, US panel concludes | The BMJ

BMJ 2015;351:h5512

Adults who are at average risk of colorectal cancer and who do not have a family history of genetic disorders that increases their risk should be screened for the cancer from age 50 and continue until 75, say new draft recommendations.1

Released by the US Preventive Services Task Force on 6 October, the recommendations say that the decision to screen adults 76 or older should be made on an individual basis, on the basis of the patient’s prior history of screening and overall health.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States, causing 50 000 deaths a year, yet about a third of eligible adults in the US have never been screened. The cancer is most often diagnosed among adults aged 65 to 74 years, and the median age of death from it is 73 years.

The evidence that screening adults aged 50-75 reduces colorectal cancer mortality was “convincing,” the panel said, but it added that it had “found no head-to-head studies that demonstrated that any of the recommended screening strategies are more effective than others.”

Read the full article via Colorectal cancer screening is appropriate for some adults aged 76 to 85, US panel concludes | The BMJ.

The dilemma of screening for prostate cancer

Primary care providers are put in a difficult position when screening their patients for prostate cancer – some guidelines suggest that testing the general population lacks evidence whereas others state that it is appropriate in certain patients.  This new perspective piece offers some guidance on when to screen patients and how to involve them in decisions about screening and treatment.

Full reference: M. T. Rosenberg, A. C. Spring, E. David Crawford. Prostate cancer and the PCP: the screening dilemma.International Journal of Clinical Practice, 2015;

Backlash against “pinkwashing” of breast cancer awareness campaigns

Latest Health News

BMJ 2015;351:h5399

pink bow

Big business is keen to jump on the breast cancer awareness bandwagon but do its messages around screening do more harm than good? Meg Carter reports

Each October, breast cancer awareness month provides an annual focus for pink ribbon themed campaigns—many of which are backed by commercial partners eager to be seen to support a worthy cause.

The pink ribbon began as a grassroots movement, with survivors wearing ribbons to show solidarity with each other.1 But it was quickly appropriated by commercial businesses such as Estée Lauder and breast cancer organisations, led by the US based Susan G Komen Foundation, to show support ranging from financial donations to goodwill.2

The amount of cash raised with commercial backing can be substantial. America’s Breast Cancer Research Foundation, founded by former Estée Lauder senior vice president Evelyn Lauder, has raised £207m ($320m; €280m) in donations since 1993. Asda’s Tickled…

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Cancer incidence and mortality attributable to alcohol consumption

International Journal of Cancer: Published online October 2015

Alcohol consumption is a major cause of disease and death. In a previous study, we reported that in 2002, 3.6% of all cases of cancer and a similar proportion of cancer deaths were attributable to the consumption of alcohol. We aimed to update these figures to 2012 using global estimates of cancer cases and cancer deaths, data on the prevalence of drinkers from the World Health Organization (WHO) global survey on alcohol and health, and relative risks for alcohol-related neoplasms from a recent meta-analysis.

Over the 10-year period coCollection of Glassesnsidered, the total number of alcohol-attributable cancer cases increased to approximately 770,000 worldwide (5.5% of the total number of cancer cases) – 540,000 men (7.2%) and 230,000 women (3.5%). Corresponding figures for cancer deaths attributable to alcohol consumption increased to approximately 480,000 (5.8% of the total number of cancer deaths) in both sexes combined – 360,000 (7.8%) men and 115,000 (3.3%) women.

These proportions were particularly high in the WHO Western Pacific region, the WHO European Region and the WHO South-East Asia region. A high burden of cancer mortality and morbidity is attributable to alcohol, and public health measures should be adopted in order to limit excessive alcohol consumption.

via Cancer incidence and mortality attributable to alcohol consumption – Praud – International Journal of Cancer – Wiley Online Library.

Survivorship and Quality of Life in Head and Neck Cancer

JCO October 10, 2015 vol. 33 no. 29 3322-3327


Head and neck cancer is becoming more common, and survival rates are improving. Human papillomavirus–associated oropharyngeal cancer, in particular, is increasing in incidence and is associated with an excellent prognosis.

However, toxicity from disease and treatment leads to long-term impairment, disability, and handicap. Currently, more than 60% of survivors have unmet needs. As the numbers of survivors increase, current models of care will be increasingly inadequate to meet their needs.

Exploration of new strategies and models of care to better address quality-of-life issues and meet the needs of survivors of head and neck cancer is urgently required.

via Survivorship and Quality of Life in Head and Neck Cancer.

Organ Preservation for Advanced Larynx Cancer: Issues and Outcomes

JCO: October 10, 2015 vol. 33 no. 29 3262-3268

Purpose To provide a review of the clinical data, controversies, and limitations that underpin current recommendations for approaches to larynx preservation for locally advanced larynx cancer requiring total laryngectomy.

Methods The key findings from pivotal randomized controlled trials are discussed, including quality of life, late effects, and function assessments. Trials investigating taxane inclusion in induction chemotherapy and trials of epidermal growth factor receptor inhibition for radiosensitization are put into perspective for larynx cancer. Controversies in the management of T4 primaries and the opportunities for conservation laryngeal surgery are reviewed.

Results There are data from clinical trials to support induction chemotherapy, followed by radiotherapy (preferred approach in Europe) and concomitant cisplatin plus radiotherapy (preferred in North America) for nonsurgical preservation of the larynx. Treatment intensification by a sequential approach of induction, followed by concomitant treatment, is investigational. Transoral laryngeal microsurgery and transoral robotic partial laryngectomy have application in selected patients.

Conclusion The management of locally advanced larynx cancer is challenging and requires an experienced multidisciplinary team for initial evaluation, response assessment, and support during and after treatment to achieve optimal function, quality of life, and overall survival. Patient expectations, in addition to tumor extent, pretreatment laryngeal function, and coexisting chronic disease, are critical factors in selecting surgical or nonsurgical primary treatment.

via Organ Preservation for Advanced Larynx Cancer: Issues and Outcomes.