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Having More Kids May Slow Mom's Aging, Study Says

Posted 13 Jan 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 13, 2016 – The more children women have, the slower they may age, new research suggests. Looking at chromosomes, scientists found that women who have more kids have longer telomeres, which helps slow the aging process. Telomeres are caps of DNA at the end of each chromosome. Like the tips found at the end of shoelaces, telomeres protect chromosomes and their critical genetic information from damage. Having sufficiently long telomeres is essential for cells to be able to multiply. As people age, telomeres shorten, eventually leading to cell death, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute. The new study by Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, included 75 women from two rural communities in Guatemala. Their telomere lengths were measured through cheek and saliva swabs taken twice 13 years apart. The research suggested – but did not prove – that ... Read more

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No Link Between 'the Pill' and Birth Defects: Study

Posted 7 Jan 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 6, 2016 – Becoming pregnant while taking birth control pills doesn't seem to increase the risk of birth defects, a new study suggests. Researchers found similar rates of birth defects – about 25 infants out of 1,000 – among women who never used birth control pills and those who took them before pregnancy or took them before realizing they were pregnant. "Women who become pregnant either soon after stopping oral contraceptives, or even while taking them, should know that this exposure is unlikely to cause the fetus to develop a birth defect," said lead researcher Brittany Charlton. "This should reassure women as well as their doctors," said Charlton, an instructor in the department of epidemiology at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. However, she cautioned that this study can't prove that birth control pills don't cause birth defects, only that ... Read more

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Girls Given Risky Meds Don't Get Contraceptive Advice

Posted 16 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 16, 2015 – New research from a Midwestern hospital suggests a wide majority of teen girls and young women fail to get information about contraceptives when they take medications that could cause birth defects. At issue are so-called "teratogenic" medications, used for conditions ranging from acne to anxiety, that boost the risk of birth defects when taken during pregnancy. Physicians often tell sexually active women to take birth control while they're on the drugs to avoid becoming pregnant, but it's unclear whether younger females routinely get the same kind of guidance. In the new study, researchers examined the medical records of nearly 1,700 females aged 14 to 25 who received just over 4,500 prescriptions for teratogenic medications in more than 4,100 visits from 2008-2012. All the participants had visited a large, unidentified pediatric medical center in the ... Read more

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Early Chemo Less Likely to Help Black Breast Cancer Patients: Study

Posted 12 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Dec. 11, 2015 – Early chemotherapy is less likely to benefit black women with breast cancer than those in other racial and ethnic groups, a new study finds. Advanced breast cancer is more common among black, Hispanic and Asian women than it is in white women. As a result, black women often receive chemotherapy before surgery in an effort to improve their outcomes, the Yale University Cancer Center researchers said. But their study of 27,300 women with stage 1 to 3 breast cancer showed that early (neoadjuvant) chemotherapy was less effective in black patients than in other women. "Even when we controlled for the fact that minority women often present with more advanced-stage, higher-grade tumors, and more aggressive types of breast cancer overall, our team was surprised to find that black women did not respond as well to neoadjuvant chemotherapy compared to other racial groups," ... Read more

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Two Drugs Equal in Preventing Early Breast Cancer's Return: Study

Posted 11 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Dec. 11, 2015 – Postmenopausal women who have an early, noninvasive form of breast cancer had similar recurrence rates of disease whether they took the drug tamoxifen or the aromatase inhibitor anastrozole after surgery, new research shows. However, the side effects of the two medications differed greatly, said study author Jack Cuzick, director of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Queen Mary University of London, England. His team looked at nearly 3,000 women, all past menopause, who had hormone-receptor positive ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) breast cancer and underwent surgery to excise it. With DCIS, the cells that line the milk ducts have changed but not spread into the surrounding breast tissue. Half the women were randomly assigned to take 1 milligram (mg) a day of anastrozole (Arimidex), while the other half took 20 mg a day of tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Each ... Read more

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U.S. Abortion Rate Hits Record Low: CDC

Posted 11 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Dec. 11, 2015 – The U.S. abortion rate has declined by more than one-third over the past two decades to a record low, federal officials reported Friday. Abortions fell 35 percent between 1990 and 2010, reaching 17.7 procedures per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, said report lead author Sally Curtin, a statistician for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. That's the lowest abortion rate since the CDC began tracking the procedure in 1976, Curtin said. "Abortion has been on a nearly steady decline since the rate peaked in 1980," she said. The pregnancy rate also hit an all-time low in 2010, according to the report. Many factors likely contribute to the reduction in abortions, but increased use of highly effective birth control is one of the most important trends, said report co-author Kathryn Kost, principal research scientist at the ... Read more

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Timing May Be Key to Success of Surgery, Chemo for Early Breast Cancer

Posted 10 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 10, 2015 – The sooner early stage breast cancer patients have surgery following their diagnosis, and chemotherapy after their surgery, the better their chances of survival, two new studies find. In one study, researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia analyzed data from more than 94,500 American women aged 66 and older. All were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1992 and 2009. The team, led by Dr. Richard Bleicher, found a 9 percent increased risk of death from all causes for each 30-day delay in the time from diagnosis to surgery. The link between time to surgery and risk of death from all causes was only statistically significant for patients with earlier stages of cancer, the researchers noted. In the study, delays seemed to affect prognosis for patients with stage 1 and stage 2 cancers, but not for those with stage 3 cancers. The findings were similar ... Read more

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Depression May Be Tied to Lower Breast Cancer Survival

Posted 10 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 10, 2015 – Breast cancer patients with depression may have a much higher risk of death than those without the mental illness, a new study suggests. "Low mood and depression are understandable reactions to a breast cancer diagnosis. Clinicians generally know to look out for this, but these findings emphasize the need to ask patients with cancer about their mood and for women to know it's OK to ask for help," Elizabeth Davies, of the division of health and social care research and cancer studies at King's College London, said in a school news release. "It is important women feel they can talk about these feelings and do not feel guilty about difficulty coping or depression, which can be a natural response to cancer diagnosis," she added. Although this study found a link between depression and breast cancer survival, it's important to note that the research can't prove ... Read more

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Lumpectomy Plus Radiation May Beat Mastectomy for Early Breast Cancer

Posted 10 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 10, 2015 – Women with early stage breast cancer may survive longer if they opt for the less-extensive surgery called lumpectomy, followed by radiation, rather than a mastectomy, a new study suggests. "I think these results offer women important information to discuss with their doctors when making a treatment decision for early stage breast cancer," said lead researcher Sabine Seisling, of the Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organization, in Utrecht. Mastectomy removes the entire the breast, while lumpectomy involves removing only the tumor with some surrounding tissue. Some studies have suggested that women with early stage breast cancer have a better five-year survival rate after lumpectomy. The new study, which included 37,000 Dutch women, found that the advantage may also extend to the longer term. Of nearly 22,000 patients who underwent lumpectomy plus radiation, ... Read more

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Cooling Cap to Reduce Chemo-Linked Hair Loss OK'd

Posted 9 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 9, 2015 – The Dignitana Cooling System cap has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help prevent hair loss in women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. A computer-controlled system circulates cooled liquid to the cap during chemotherapy. This is designed to constrict blood vessels in the scalp, limiting the amount of chemotherapy drugs that reach the hair follicles, the agency said in a news release. In clinical testing, more than two-thirds of women who wore the cap reported losing less than half of their hair. And the likelihood of chemotherapy drugs missing an isolated cluster of breast cancer cells in the scalp because of the cap was "extremely rare," the FDA said. But since the cap doesn't work with all chemotherapy drugs, any woman interested in using the product should speak with her doctor, the FDA advised. The most common side ... Read more

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CDC: Too Few Schools Teach Prevention of HIV, STDs, Pregnancy

Posted 9 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 9, 2015 – Too few U.S. schools teach students how to protect themselves from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, how to prevent pregnancy, and other important sexual health information, federal officials reported Wednesday. In most of the country, fewer than half of high schools and only one-fifth of middle schools teach all 16 sexual health education topics recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 44 states, the proportion of high schools that teach all 16 topics in grades 9, 10, 11 or 12 ranges from 21 percent in Arizona to 90 percent in New Jersey. Only three states – New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York – have more than 75 percent of high schools teaching all of the topics. The proportion of middle schools that teach all 16 topics in grades 6, 7 or 8 ranges from 4 percent in Arizona to 46 percent in North Carolina. No state ... Read more

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Drugs May Protect the Heart During Chemotherapy

Posted 9 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 9, 2015 – Two kinds of medications can prevent heart damage in breast cancer patients as they undergo chemotherapy, a new study suggests. Chemotherapy improves survival among women with early-stage breast cancer, but can dramatically increase their risk of heart failure, the researchers explained. This five-year study of 100 early-stage breast cancer patients in Canada found that two kinds of heart medicines – beta blockers and ACE inhibitors – seem to protect the heart during chemotherapy. "We think this is practice-changing. This will improve the safety of the cancer treatment that we provide," study co-investigator Edith Pituskin, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Nursing and Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta in Canada, said in a university news release. The heart medications not only protect the heart, but may also improve ... Read more

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Researchers Focus on Risk Factors for Leukemia After Breast Cancer Treatment

Posted 7 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Dec. 7, 2015 – Researchers say they're zeroing in on factors that may increase the risk of leukemia after breast cancer treatment. The findings are a step forward in determining ways to prevent this complication in breast cancer survivors. While the breast cancer treatments target malignant cells, they can also affect healthy cells and could increase the risk of leukemia later, the researchers said. The scientists looked at 88 breast cancer survivors with treatment-related leukemia and found that many had a personal and family history of cancer, suggesting a genetic susceptibility to cancer. Also, 20 percent of the women had an inherited gene mutation that increases the risk of breast cancer, according to the study published Dec. 7 in the journal Cancer. "The findings justify a long-term, follow-up study of women with and without inherited breast cancer gene mutations who are ... Read more

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Weight Gain Between Pregnancies May Affect Infant Survival

Posted 3 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 3, 2015 – Weight gain after a first pregnancy might raise the risk of infant death and stillbirth in a second pregnancy, a new study suggests. In mothers who were previously a healthy weight, even moderate weight gain between the two pregnancies was associated with increasing the odds for infant death, researchers reported Dec. 3 in The Lancet. "The public health implications are profound," study author Sven Cnattingius, a professor at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said in a journal news release. "Around a fifth of women in our study gained enough weight between pregnancies to increase their risk of stillbirth by 30 to 50 percent, and their likelihood of giving birth to babies who die in infancy increased by 27 to 60 percent, if they had a healthy weight during their first pregnancy," Cnattingius said. But while the study detected an association between mother's ... Read more

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Risk of More Aggressive Early Breast Cancers Rises With Age, Study Finds

Posted 27 Oct 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Oct. 27, 2015 – While experts know the chances of finding a type of early stage breast cancer known as DCIS increase with age, a new study from Germany shows these cancers are more likely to be aggressive when discovered in older women. "DCIS detection rates increase with age, mostly due to a rise of DCIS high- and intermediate-grade [tumors]," said Dr. Stefanie Weigel, a researcher at University Hospital Muenster in Germany. These tumors, she said, are lesions that "carry a higher risk for transition to aggressive cancers than DCIS low-grade." DCIS, or ductal carcinoma in situ, is an early stage cancer that is potentially invasive. It is confined within the milk ducts and a common finding on mammography. Treating DCIS is controversial, because some cases may never progress and cause problems during a woman's lifetime. Weigel's team aimed to look at the link between age at ... Read more

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