February 22, 2012 |
Colon cancer is the third deadliest cancer in the U.S.; it is expected to kill more than 51,000 Americans this year, according to the American Cancer Society. Physicians have long assumed that removing precancerous polyps during patient colonoscopies reduces the numbers of such deaths. Now researchers have proved it. In a large, multi-decade study of more than 2,600 patients who had precancerous polyps removed during colonoscopies between 1980 and 1990, scientists at the Memorial Sloan-Ketting Cancer Center in New York and colleagues at other institutions found that removing the polyps reduced deaths from colon cancer in the group by 53%. An article detailing their results was published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
November 20, 2012 |
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is calling for doctors to test most people ages 15 to 64, whether they fall in high-risk groups or not, for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. I see only one thing wrong with this proposal: We should have started doing it years ago. Decades ago. Admittedly, it's in more recent years that medicine has learned that treatment for HIV is more successful when it starts earlier rather than later. But long before we had any effective treatments for HIV infection, it was clear that if people knew they had AIDS, they could and usually would take steps to avoid infecting others, through safer-sex measures and the like.
October 19, 2011 |
An independent federal panel and several other leading medical groups are proposing new guidelines for cervical cancer screening -- in the same month that the federal panel made news by recommending against routine PSA tests to screen for prostate cancer. Among the recommendations: that women over age 21 should undergo Pap smears to test for cervical cancer only once every three years, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. This syncs somewhat with a new set of proposed guidelines from the American Cancer Society, the American Society for Clinical Pathology and the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, also released Wednesday.
November 27, 2012 |
More than a quarter of new HIV infections in the U.S. occur among people ages 13 to 24, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What's more, about 60% of those young people with HIV don't know they have the virus. The release represents the most recent analyses by the CDC. It was timed to coincide with World AIDS Day, which is Dec. 1. According to the CDC, about 12,200 young Americans became infected with HIV in 2010, with African Americans representing more than half of those newly infected.
November 18, 2009 |
A core tenet of the healthcare overhaul President Obama is pushing through Congress is that medical care can be improved -- and costs contained -- if the country relies more on experts to determine which procedures and treatments work best. But Monday's mammography report by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force delivered a swift and stark reminder that few ideas are more explosive in healthcare. The expert panel -- which recommended that women in their 40s should no longer get annual mammograms to screen for breast cancer -- sparked an outcry from those who say that the federal government is more interested in saving money than in improving women's health, even though the panel did not consider costs in its analysis.
December 17, 2013 |
Looking for ways to save money in 2014? Here's some advice from doctors: Stop buying vitamins. Time after time, studies have shown that vitamin and mineral supplements don't prevent disease or death. And yet consumers keep buying them, lament the authors of an editorial published in Tuesday's edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine. A 2011 report from the National Center for Health Statistics estimated that 53% of American adults used some type of supplement in the years 2003 to 2006, with multivitamin/multimineral formulations being the most popular.
October 10, 2011 |
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has released a draft recommendation that PSA tests no longer be used for routine screens for prostate cancer. What is PSA anyway? Prostate-specific antigen is an enzyme of a type called a protease; it cuts up other proteins. Scientists believe it helps liquefy semen, and it may help sperm find its way to an egg by digesting the mucus covering the cervix. When cancers develop in the prostate gland, levels of PSA can start to climb in the blood.
November 22, 2012 |
This might be tough for parents who want to swoop in and fix their children's every problem, but a study found that half of the teenagers who screened positive for depression got better in six weeks without treatment. Two aspects of the teenagers' conditions seemed to predict whether the depression would ease without treatment: the severity of the symptoms and whether the symptoms persisted for six weeks, the researchers, led by Dr. Laura Richardson of Seattle Children's Research Institute, said in an article published this week in the journal Pediatrics.
April 23, 2011 |
This story has been corrected. See note at bottom for details. For years, doctors have urged patients over the age of 50 to get colonoscopies to check for colorectal cancer , which kills 50,000 Americans a year. Their efforts were boosted last year by the federal health care law, which requires that key preventive services , including colonoscopies, be provided to patients at no out-of-pocket cost. But there's a wrinkle in the highly touted benefit. If doctors find and remove a polyp, which can be cancerous, some private insurers and Medicare hit the patient with a surprise: charges that could run several hundred dollars.
March 10, 1990 |
A routine physical checkup in the 1990s could become something quite different from what you're accustomed to. Doctors will probably be doing a lot less testing and a lot more talking about how to stay well. Most periodic physical exams should be devoted to counseling and motivating patients to adopt more healthful life styles, advises a recent report by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a group of 20 independent physicians and health experts working under the U.S.