Archive for March, 2010

Ovarian cancer prevention mentions avoiding Talc products

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer in a group or population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower the number of deaths caused by cancer.

To prevent new cancers from starting, scientists look at risk factors and protective factors. Anything that increases your chance of developing cancer is called a cancer risk factor; anything that decreases your chance of developing cancer is called a cancer protective factor.

Some risk factors for cancer can be avoided, but many cannot. For example, both smoking and inheriting certain genes are risk factors for some types of cancer, but only smoking can be avoided. Regular exercise and a healthy diet may be protective factors for some types of cancer. Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may lower your risk but it does not mean that you will not get cancer.

Different ways to prevent cancer are being studied, including:

  • Changing lifestyle or eating habits.
  • Avoiding things known to cause cancer.
  • Taking medicines to treat a precancerouscondition or to keep cancer from starting.

Ovarian cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the ovaries.

The ovaries are a pair of organs in the female reproductive system. They are in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus (the hollow, pear-shaped organ where a fetus grows). Each ovary is about the size and shape of an almond. The ovaries make eggs and female hormones (chemicals that control the way certain cells or organs work in the body).

Anatomy of the female reproductive system. The organs in the female reproductive system include the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, and vagina. The uterus has a muscular outer layer called the myometrium and an inner lining called the endometrium.

Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer of the female reproductive system.

Since 1987, the number of new cases of ovarian cancer has gone down slightly, but the chance of dying from ovarian cancer has stayed the same.

It is hard to find ovarian cancer early. Early ovarian cancer may not cause any symptoms. When symptoms do appear, ovarian cancer is often advanced.

See the following PDQ summaries for more information about ovarian cancer:

  • Ovarian Cancer Screening
  • Ovarian Epithelial Cancer Treatment
  • Ovarian Germ Cell Tumors Treatment
  • Ovarian Low Malignant Potential Tumors Treatment
  • Genetics of Breast and Ovarian Cancer

Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may help prevent cancer.

Avoiding cancerrisk factors such as smoking, being overweight, and lack of exercise may help prevent certain cancers. Increasing protective factors such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising may also help prevent some cancers. Talk to your doctor or other health care professional about how you might lower your risk of cancer.

The following risk factors may increase the risk of ovarian cancer:

Family history of ovarian cancer

A woman whose mother or sister had ovarian cancer has an increased risk of ovarian cancer. A woman with two or more relatives with ovarian cancer also has an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Inherited risk

The risk of ovarian cancer is increased in women who have inherited certain changes in the following genes:

  • BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
  • Genes that are linked to hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC; Lynch syndrome).

Hormone replacement therapy

The use of estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after menopause increases the risk of ovarian cancer. The longer estrogen replacement therapy is used, the greater the risk may be. It is not clear whether the risk of ovarian cancer is increased with the use of HRT that has both estrogen and progestin.

Fertility drugs

The use of fertilitydrugs may be linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Talc

The use of talc may increase the risk of ovarian cancer. Talcum powder dusted on the perineum (the area between the vagina and the anus) may reach the ovaries by entering the vagina.

Obesity

Having too much body fat, especially during the teenage years, is linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Being obese is linked to an increased risk of death from ovarian cancer.

The following protective factors may decrease the risk of ovarian cancer:

Oral contraceptives

The use of oral contraceptives (“the pill”) lowers ovarian cancer risk. The longer oral contraceptives are used, the lower the risk may be. The decrease in risk may last up to 25 years after a woman has stopped using oral contraceptives.

Taking oral contraceptives increases the risk of blood clots. This risk is higher in women who also smoke. There may be a slight increase in a woman’s risk of breast cancer during the time she is taking oral contraceptives. This risk decreases over time.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Pregnancy and breastfeeding are linked to a decreased risk of ovarian cancer. Ovulation stops or occurs less often in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Some experts believe that women who ovulate less often have a decreased risk of ovarian cancer.

Bilateral tubal ligation or hysterectomy

The risk of ovarian cancer is decreased in women who have a bilateraltubal ligation (surgery to close both fallopian tubes) or a hysterectomy (surgery to remove the uterus).

Prophylactic oophorectomy

Some women who have a high risk of ovarian cancer may choose to have a prophylactic oophorectomy (surgery to remove both ovaries when there are no signs of cancer). This includes women who have inherited certain changes in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes or in the genes linked to hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC). (See the PDQ summary on Genetics of Breast and Ovarian Cancer for more information.)

It is very important to have a cancer risk assessment and counseling before making this decision. These and other factors should be discussed:

  • Early menopause: The drop in estrogen levels caused by removing the ovaries can cause early menopause. Symptoms of menopause include the following:
    • Hot flashes.
    • Night sweats.
    • Trouble sleeping.
    • Mood changes.
    • Decreased sex drive.
    • Heart disease.
    • Vaginal dryness.
    • Osteoporosis (decreased bone density).

    These symptoms may not be the same in all women. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be needed to lessen these symptoms.

  • Risk of ovarian cancer in the peritoneum: Women who have had a prophylacticoophorectomy continue to have a small risk of ovarian cancer in the peritoneum (thin layer of tissue that lines the inside of the abdomen). This may occur if ovarian cancer cells had already spread to the peritoneum before the surgery or if some ovarian tissue remains after surgery.

Cancer prevention clinical trials are used to study ways to prevent cancer.

Cancer preventionclinical trials are used to study ways to lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Some cancer prevention trials are conducted with healthy people who have not had cancer but who have an increased risk for cancer. Other prevention trials are conducted with people who have had cancer and are trying to prevent another cancer of the same type or to lower their chance of developing a new type of cancer. Other trials are done with healthy volunteers who are not known to have any risk factors for cancer.

The purpose of some cancer prevention clinical trials is to find out whether actions people take can prevent cancer. These may include eating fruits and vegetables, exercising, quitting smoking, or taking certain medicines, vitamins, minerals, or food supplements.

New ways to prevent ovarian cancer are being studied in clinical trials.

Clinical trials are taking place in many parts of the country. Information about clinical trials can be found in the Clinical Trials section of the NCI Web site. Check for clinical trials in NCI’s PDQ Cancer Clinical Trials Registry for ovarian cancer prevention trials that are now accepting patients.

Home Remedies for Women and Herpes Relief Raise Cancer Fears

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Home Remedies

Patients can manage most herpes simplex infections that develop on the skin at home with over-the-counter painkillers and measures to relieve symptoms.

SYMPTOMATIC RELIEF

Several simple steps can produce some relief:

  • Hygiene is important. Avoid touching the sores. Wash hands frequently during the day. Fingernails should be scrubbed daily. Keep the body clean.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Keep blisters or sores clean and dry with cornstarch or similar product. (Women should not use talcum powder because it may increase their risk for ovarian cancer.)
  • Some people report that drying the genital area with a blow dryer on the cool setting offers relief.
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothing, which restricts air circulation and slows healing of the sores.
  • Choose cotton underwear, rather than synthetic materials.
  • Local application of ice packs may alleviate the pain and help reduce recurrences by suppressing the virus.
  • Lukewarm baths may be helpful.
  • Wearing sun block helps prevent sun-triggered recurrence of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1).
  • Avoid sex during both outbreaks and prodromes (the early symptoms of herpes), when signs include tingling, itching, or tenderness in the infected areas.
  • Over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), can be used to reduce fever and local tenderness.

HERBS AND SUPPLEMENTS

Generally, manufacturers of herbal remedies and dietary supplements do not need FDA approval to sell their products. Just like a drug, herbs and supplements can affect the body’s chemistry, and therefore have the potential to produce side effects that may be harmful. There have been several reported cases of serious and even lethal side effects from herbal products. Always check with your doctor before using any herbal remedies or dietary supplements.

Many herbal and dietary supplement products claim to help fight herpes infection by boosting the immune system. There has been little research on these products, and little evidence to show that they really work. Some are capsules taken by mouth. Others come in the form of ointment that is applied to the skin. Popular herbal and supplement remedies for herpes simplex include:

  • Echinacea ( Echinacea purpurea )
  • Siberian ginseng ( Eleutherococcus senticosus )
  • Aloe ( Aloe vera )
  • Bee products that contain propolis, a tree resin collected by bees
  • Lysine
  • Zinc

The following are special concerns for people taking natural remedies for herpes simplex:

  • Echinacea can lower white blood cell levels when taken for long periods of time. This herb can also interfere with drugs that are used to treat immune system disorders.
  • Siberian ginseng can raise blood pressure levels.
  • Bee products (like propolis) can cause allergic reactions in people who are allergic to bee stings.
  • Lysine should not be taken with certain types of antibiotics.
  • Taking zinc in large amounts (more than 200 mg/day) can cause stomach upset.

Screening may hold the key to beating ovarian cancer

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Survival rates in British women with cancer of the ovary are well below those of their peers in the US and most of Europe. This is a situation that the Department of Health and leading cancer charities hope to address through a joint campaign to increase awareness of the symptoms of the disease – both among women and healthcare professionals. So what are the early signs? Who is most at risk? And what steps can women take to protect themselves?

Around 7,000 women in the UK, most of them over 50, will develop ovarian cancer this year. The majority will not survive because by the time their cancer is picked up it will be too advanced to be cured – a characteristic that has earned ovarian cancer a reputation as a “silent killer”. It is not silent and there are early warning signs, but they are vague, often ignored and/or attributed to less sinister causes.

Abdominal discomfort – particularly bloating or feeling full and uncomfortable after meals – is a recurring complaint in women with cancer of the ovary, and one that is often confused with the much more common irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). But new-onset IBS is unusual over the age of 45 and this sort of story should ring alarm bells, particularly if the symptoms are persistent rather than intermittent.

Other features include a change in bowel habit (also often wrongly attributed to IBS), urinary problems (such as needing to go more often, or a feeling of incomplete emptying when infection has been excluded), extreme fatigue, back pain, discomfort on making love and, in the later stages, an obvious swelling. Once again it is the persistent, rather than intermittent, nature of the symptoms that warrants a closer look.

Basic investigations that can pick up the disease include an internal examination, a blood test (looking for raised levels of a tumour marker called CA125) and a pelvic ultrasound scan. All can be ordered by a suspicious GP before referring on to a gynaecologist to clinch the diagnosis.

The average GP will see only one case of ovarian cancer every five years. Indeed, I have picked up only two cases in closer to 20. One I caught early by accident – a scan performed for another reason spotted suspicious changes in her ovary – and the other was in a woman with recurrent bouts of “cystitis” in whom I didn’t need to do a scan to discover something was awry. I could feel her enlarged ovary through her tummy.

As with most cancers, time is critical and the outlook for my patients was very different. Treatment focuses on surgery and chemotherapy, and at least three quarters of women can expect to beat the disease if it is caught at an early stage, compared with less than a third if it has spread beyond the ovary.

Ovarian cancer can strike at any age but is rare before 40, with nine out of ten cases occurring in women over 50. It is linked to certain genes – such as the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 – but these familial types of cancer of the ovary account for only around 10 per cent of all cases. Still, if a woman has a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, particularly in relatives under the age of 50, then she should talk to her GP about screening.

There are two big UK-based trials looking at the benefits of screening women for the disease. Both use a combination of the CA125 blood test and ultrasound scans and early results are promising. Screening does appear to help to pick up the cancer at a much more treatable stage, but is not foolproof and will still miss around 1 in 10 cases.

Whatever the trials conclude, it will be some time before screening is introduced, if ever. In the meantime there are steps women can take to reduce their risk. The Pill, and other hormonal contraceptives that prevent monthly ovulation, appear to have a significant protective effect, as does having children and breast feeding. The disease is also much less common in women who have been sterilised.

Taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for more than five years increases the risk, as does being very overweight. And several studies have suggested an association with the use of talcum powder (which can gain entry to the pelvis and ovary by travelling up through the vagina and womb), but the link remains unclear. That said, I advise my female patients never to use talcum powder below the waist, except on their feet.

But better awareness of the symptoms, and pushing for them to be taken seriously if they fit the criteria above, will remain a woman’s best defence.

Talcum Powder Cancer Alarm

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Saying that talcum powder and other cosmetic talc products may pose a risk of ovarian cancer, two scientist scientists have again asked the Food and Drug Administration to require talc products have warning labels.

The controversy over talc, which many women use to mask genital odors, goes back to 1994, when the Cancer Prevention Coalition petitioned the FDA. That petition was rejected at the end of the Clinton Administration, in December 2000.

Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer among women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers), with one in 71 women affected, according to the American Cancer Society. There will be an estimated 21,650 new cases diagnosed in 2008, and 15,520 deaths. Overall, though, the incidence of ovarian cancer has declined slightly in the past 20 years.

“Nevertheless, the industry and, worse still the FDA, remain recklessly unresponsive to these dangers,” write the two scientists, Dr. Samuel S. Epstein, chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, and Dr. Quentin Young, chairman of the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group. “The FDA has neither banned the genital use of talcum powder, nor required industry to label it with explicit warnings.”

Women warned of talcum powder cancer risk

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Women should stop using talcum power because of the risk of ovarian cancer, according to researchers.

Scientists fear particles applied to the private parts may travel to the ovaries and trigger a process of inflammation that allows cancer cells to flourish.

Although previous studies have raised concerns over talc, the latest findings from the United States suggest woman who use it are 40 per cent more likely to get ovarian cancer – a much greater risk than first thought.

Experts from Harvard Medical School in Boston studied more than 3,000 women and found using talc merely once a week raised the risk of cancer by 36 per cent, rising to 41 per cent for those applying powder every day.

Dr Maggie Gates, who led the study, said that until the outcome of further research women should avoid using talc in the genital area. An alternative is cornstarch powder.

But Dr Jodie Moffat of Cancer Research UK said: “It is important to remember that very few women who use talcum powder will ever develop ovarian cancer.”

The study revealed that the risks were greater still for those with a certain genetic profile. Women carrying a gene called glutathione S-transferase M1, or GSTM1, but lacking a gene called glutathione S-transferase T1 ( GSTT1), were nearly three times as likely to develop tumours. Around one in ten Caucasian women are thought to have this genetic profile, putting them at sharply increased risk.

Talc is made from a soft mineral called hydrous magnesium silicate, which is found throughout the world. It is crushed, dried and milled to produce powder used in cosmetic products by millions. Some experts say it has chemical similarities to asbestos, which can cause a deadly form of lung cancer.

The findings, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, apply only to talcum powder used around the private parts, not on the rest of the body.

Laboratory tests show ovarian cells exposed to talc divide more rapidly – a characteristic sign of cancer.

But until recently there was no proof that powder could travel through a woman’s reproductive tract as far as the pelvis and then on to the ovaries.

However, last year, a separate group of doctors at Harvard Medical School identified tiny particles of powder in the pelvis of a 68-year-old woman with advanced ovarian cancer who had used talc every day for 30 years.

More than 6,000 women a year in the UK are diagnosed with cancer of the ovaries.

The main risk factors include a family history of the disease, having already had breast cancer and starting periods at a young age.

Women who are overweight or use hormone replacement therapy are also thought to be more at risk.

Talcum Powder Lawsuit Hotline – 1 (866) 952-1422

Attorney R. Allen Smith, Jr., of The Talc Litigation Group, filed the very first talcum ovarian cancer lawsuit on December 7, 2009. This talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit seeks damages against several talcum powder mining companies, refiners, manufacturers and product distributors for continuing to manufacture, market, and sell a product that has been medically proven to cause cancers such as ovarian cancer. Talc Litigation Group offers a free talcum powder cancer case review and ovarian cancer screenings in all 50 states.Women should stop using talcum power because of the risk of ovarian cancer, according to researchers.

By Alastair Jamieson
Published: 12:00PM BST 27 Sep 2008
Scientists fear particles applied to the private parts may travel to the ovaries and trigger a process of inflammation that allows cancer cells to flourish.
Although previous studies have raised concerns over talc, the latest findings from the United States suggest woman who use it are 40 per cent more likely to get ovarian cancer – a much greater risk than first thought.
Experts from Harvard Medical School in Boston studied more than 3,000 women and found using talc merely once a week raised the risk of cancer by 36 per cent, rising to 41 per cent for those applying powder every day.
Dr Maggie Gates, who led the study, said that until the outcome of further research women should avoid using talc in the genital area. An alternative is cornstarch powder.
But Dr Jodie Moffat of Cancer Research UK said: “It is important to remember that very few women who use talcum powder will ever develop ovarian cancer.”
The study revealed that the risks were greater still for those with a certain genetic profile. Women carrying a gene called glutathione S-transferase M1, or GSTM1, but lacking a gene called glutathione S-transferase T1 ( GSTT1), were nearly three times as likely to develop tumours. Around one in ten Caucasian women are thought to have this genetic profile, putting them at sharply increased risk.
Talc is made from a soft mineral called hydrous magnesium silicate, which is found throughout the world. It is crushed, dried and milled to produce powder used in cosmetic products by millions. Some experts say it has chemical similarities to asbestos, which can cause a deadly form of lung cancer.
The findings, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, apply only to talcum powder used around the private parts, not on the rest of the body.
Laboratory tests show ovarian cells exposed to talc divide more rapidly – a characteristic sign of cancer.
But until recently there was no proof that powder could travel through a woman’s reproductive tract as far as the pelvis and then on to the ovaries.
However, last year, a separate group of doctors at Harvard Medical School identified tiny particles of powder in the pelvis of a 68-year-old woman with advanced ovarian cancer who had used talc every day for 30 years.
More than 6,000 women a year in the UK are diagnosed with cancer of the ovaries.
The main risk factors include a family history of the disease, having already had breast cancer and starting periods at a young age.
Women who are overweight or use hormone replacement therapy are also thought to be more at risk.
Talcum Powder Lawsuit Hotline – 1 (866) 952-1422
Attorney R. Allen Smith, Jr., of The Talc Litigation Group, filed the very first talcum ovarian cancer lawsuit on December 7, 2009. This talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit seeks damages against several talcum powder mining companies, refiners, manufacturers and product distributors for continuing to manufacture, market, and sell a product that has been medically proven to cause cancers such as ovarian cancer. Talc Litigation Group offers a free talcum powder cancer case review and ovarian cancer screenings in all 50 states.

Talc use raises risk of ovarian cancer

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Women have been warned to stop using talcum powder around their genitals after research found it could increase the risk of ovarian cancer by up to 40%.

Although previous studies have raised concern about talcum powder, American scientists now fear it can travel up a woman’s reproductive tract as far as the ovaries and cause inflammation that allows cancer cells to flourish.

Scientists at Harvard Medical School studied more than 3000 women and found using talc once a week raised the risk of ovarian cancer by 36%, rising to 41% for those who use it every day.

The findings, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, apply only to talcum powder used around the genital area, not the rest of the body.

Cancer Council of Australia chief executive Professor Ian Olver said women should avoid using talcum powder on their genitals until the outcome of further research. “It doesn’t make the case definitively, but given we have no way of screening for ovarian cancer and it’s difficult to pick up the symptoms, this is something women can do to reduce their risk,” he said.

The study revealed that the risks were greater still for those with a certain genetic profile.

Women carrying a gene called glutathione S-transferase M1, or GSTM1, but lacking a gene called glutathione S-transferase T1 (GSTT1), were nearly three times as likely to develop tumours. About one in 10 Caucasian women is thought to have this genetic profile.

Ovarian cancer is often termed the silent cancer, as it grows quietly and is often detected only in the final stages. It is the sixth biggest killer of all cancers for Australian women. About 1200 new cases are diagnosed annually with 800 deaths.

Until now, it has been thought the main risk factors included a family history of the disease, having already had breast cancer and starting periods at a young age.

Talcum Powder Lawsuit Hotline – 1 (866) 952-1422

Attorney R. Allen Smith, Jr., of The Talc Litigation Group, filed the very first talcum ovarian cancer lawsuit on December 7, 2009. This talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit seeks damages against several talcum powder mining companies, refiners, manufacturers and product distributors for continuing to manufacture, market, and sell a product that has been medically proven to cause cancers such as ovarian cancer. Talc Litigation Group offers a free talcum powder cancer case review and ovarian cancer screenings in all 50 states.