Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Study ties breast gene to high-risk uterine cancer

AP Chief Medical Writer

Women with a faulty breast cancer gene might face a greater chance of rare but deadly uterine tumors despite having their ovaries removed to lower their main cancer risks, doctors are reporting.

A study of nearly 300 women with bad BRCA1 genes found four cases of aggressive uterine cancers years after they had preventive surgery to remove their ovaries. That rate is 26 times greater than expected.

"One can happen. Two all of a sudden raises eyebrows," and four is highly suspicious, said Dr. Noah Kauff of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

His study, reported Monday at a cancer conference in Florida, is the first to make this link. Although it's not enough evidence to change practice now, doctors say women with these gene mutations should be told of the results and consider having their uterus removed along with their ovaries.

"It's important for women to have that information ... but I think it's too early to strongly recommend to patients that they undergo a hysterectomy" until more research confirms the finding, said Dr. Karen Lu, a specialist in women's cancers at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

She plans to study similar patients at her own hospital, the nation's largest cancer center, to see if they, too, have higher uterine cancer risks.

About 1 in 400 women in the U.S., and more of eastern European descent, have faulty BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes that greatly raise their risks for breast and ovarian cancer. Doctors advise them to be screened early and often for breast cancer, and to have their ovaries out as soon as they have finished having children to help prevent ovarian and breast cancer, because ovarian hormones affect breast cancer as well.

But the role of BRCA genes in uterine cancer isn't known, Kauff said.

His study looked at 1,200 women diagnosed with BRCA gene mutations since 1995 at Sloan Kettering. Doctors were able to track 525 of them for many years after they had surgery that removed their ovaries but left the uterus intact.

The vast majority of uterine cancers are low-risk types usually cured with surgery alone. Aggressive forms account for only 10 to 15 percent of cases but more than half of uterine cancer deaths.

Researchers were alarmed to see four of these cases among the 296 women with BRCA1 mutations. None were seen in women with BRCA2 mutations, Kauff said.

The study was discussed Monday at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology's annual meeting in Tampa, Fla.

Last year, the actress Angelina Jolie revealed she had preventive surgery to remove both breasts because of a BRCA1 mutation. Her mother had breast cancer and died of ovarian cancer, and her maternal grandmother also had ovarian cancer.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

9 Foods Men Need to Eat

While many men are less conscious about what they eat, experts say that at times, eating healthy can mean different things for men and women because both sexes have their own set of dietary requirements.

Tomatoes are also known as superfoods because of their numerous benefits. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which, studies say help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease and lower cholesterol - all common ailments in men.

Oysters have high levels of zinc - essential for men's fertility and sexual health. Zinc maintains healthy testosterone levels and is excellent for healthy sperm production. It is also great for the hair.

Whole grains
Whole grains contain healthy levels of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Whole grains like oats and brown rice have healthy amounts of B vitamins, good for over-all well-being and they also help alleviate depression. Studies also say that folate can keep sperm healthy, while biotin helps curb hair loss.

While garlic is known for the role it plays in protecting the heart, it is said that men who consume garlic regularly have lower cholesterol levels.

Not only is salmon a great source of protein, it is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to lowered levels of bad cholesterol. They also reduce the risk of heart disease, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and depression.

Experts say that blueberries have high levels of proanthocyanidins, which are linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Blueberries are also said to be effective in reducing the risk of heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes and age-related memory loss.

Broccoli, as well as cabbage and sprouts, contains a strong cancer-fighting chemical called sulphoraphane, which is said to reduce men's risk of developing bladder cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer.

Suffering from hair loss? Make sure you include eggs in your diet. Eggs have high sources of protein, important for hair growth. The yolk is also a good source of iron.

Pomegranate juice
Pomegranate juice helps lower cholesterol levels and prevent hypertension because it is packed with vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Some studies have also suggested that having pomegranate juice daily can slow down the progress of prostate cancer.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March is Lymphedema Awareness Month

Lymphedema is the fluid that is retained in your body, but mostly appendages, after cancer surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. 

There is treatment, which includes compression garments and manual lymphnode drainage massage therapy, however, Medicare and many other insurance policies do not pay for these garments and treatments, often leaving patients to suffer infections and increased disability.

HR3877, is currently being debated in the House of Representatives and if passed into legislation, the bill will set a precedent for insurers to follow and cover the cost of medically necessary compression supplies.

Contact your congressmen and senators and stress the importance of standing behind this bill. 

To write your representative now, go here for an easy interactive form from the Lymphedema Treatment Act Organization.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Vitamin D may boost breast cancer survival odds


Researchers reported in the March 6 issue of Anticancer Research that patients with high levels of Vitamin D in their blood were twice as likely to survive the disease than women with low levels of the nutrient.

The researchers think vitamin D should be included to supplement other breast cancer treatments.

"The study has implications for including vitamin D as an adjuvant to conventional breast cancer therapy," study co-author Dr. Heather Hofflich, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California San Diego, said in a press release.

Vitamin D is produced naturally by the body from exposure to sunlight, but it's also fortified in milks, cereals and other foods. Very few foods contain vitamin D naturally, but the best sources are fatty fish and fish liver oils, according to the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements.

It can also be taken in supplement form. The NIH's recommended daily allowance for vitamin D is 600 IU for adults and 800 IU for people over 70 years old.

The researchers reviewed five studies of Vitamin D that included more than 4,440 women with breast cancer.

The studies measured the amount of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the blood, a metabolite produced in the body from ingesting the vitamin.

There was variation in absorption, but the researchers said people who consume 4,000 IUs of vitamins per day had a serum level of 50 nanograms per milliliter. One tablespoon of cod liver oil has 1,360 IUs, a can of tuna contains 154 IUs per serving, and a cup of fortified milk and orange juice contains between 115 and 137 IUs of vitamin D, respectively.

The researchers discovered that women who had 30 nanograms per milliliter of the metabolite in their blood were twice as likely to survive breast cancer than women who had 17 nanograms per milliliter of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

"There is no compelling reason to wait for further studies to incorporate vitamin D supplements into standard care regimens since a safe dose of vitamin D needed to achieve high serum levels above 30 nanograms per milliliter has already been established," lead study author Dr. Cedric F. Garland of UCSD, added in a statement.

The researchers explained vitamin D metabolites switch on a protein that blocks aggressive cell division. This prevents tumor growth and keeps the cancer from expanding in the blood supply, he said.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Top 5 Reasons for Hair Loss in Women

1. Over styling: Greater dependence on heated styling products like straighteners, curling irons and hair dryers are believed to be contributing to the greater incidence of hair loss in women, particularly young women. This is exacerbated by hairspray, gel or even the type of shampoo used. Tight ponytails and harsh brushing can also cause hair to break and/or thin.

2. Low Iron and B12: More and more women are presenting to their doctors with low iron and/or B12 which is thought to be due to a trend toward reduced red meat consumption. The good news on this front is that once the proper levels are restored with the help of supplements and/or diet changes, hair growth can return to normal.

3. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Researchers from the University of Adelaide have warned that PCOS, another common cause of hair loss in women, is on the rise.

4. Menopause: Though menopause itself isn't new, the ways women manage it are always changing. Hair loss increases at this time due to the fluctuation and overall drop in estrogen levels and is likely to temporarily worsen whenever a hormone regime is altered.

5. Childbirth: Like menopause, childbirth isn't new but the circumstances surrounding it are changing. During pregnancy, a lot of women will actually experience thicker hair due to the peak in estrogen levels. This ceases, however, once your baby is born so it is common to experience hair loss after childbirth. These days, however, more and more women are using fertility medications which can exacerbate this effect and lead to more noticeable hair loss.

If you are experiencing hair loss, call us at 713-623-4247 for a free consultation with our master hair duplication stylist.  Let us help get to the root of your problem and customize a solution for your hair loss.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Clinical Trial to Research Breast Cancer Hair Loss Prevention

Researchers from the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at Baylor College of Medicine are recruiting newly diagnosed breast cancer patients to participate in a new clinical trial testing the safety and efficacy of an investigational scalp cooling device to prevent hair loss associated with chemotherapy.

Participants interested in enrolling in the study must:
  • Have a new diagnosis of breast cancer stage 1 or 2 and under the age of 70
  • Plan to undergo neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy with curative intent

  • Chemotherapy must be planned for at least four cycles of full-dose anthracycline or taxane based chemotherapy regimen, defined as one of the following chemotherapy regimens:
  • Adriamycin 60mg/m2 with cyclophosphamide 600mg/m2
  • Epirubicin 90-100mg/m2 with cyclophosphamide 600mg/m2
  • Paclitaxel 80mg-90/m2 weekly (every three weeks constitute a cycle), or 175 mg/m2 every 2-3 weeks as a single agent
  • Docetaxel 100mg/m2 as a single agent
  • Docetaxel 75mg/m2 with cyclophosphamide 600mg/m2
  • Docetaxel 75mg/m2 with carboplatin AUC of 6 and traztuzumab at standard doses

  • Study participants will be followed until 2-4 weeks after completion of chemotherapy when the final alopecia (hair loss) assessment will occur and the questionnaires will be administered. For more information or to enroll, please call Afife Batarse at 713-798-1911.

    We are hopeful that there will be a breakthrough in preventing hair loss for cancer patients in the near future.  In the meantime, our team at Ricky Knowles Hair & Wellness specializes in creating a private and supportive environment for our clients.  If you are looking for a hair duplication solution while you are undergoing cancer treatment, please call us at 713-623-4247.