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CURRENT RESEARCH: New Study Finds That The Potential To Tan May Influence Prostate Cancer Risk

9 Dec

prostate cancerResearch published in the journal In Vivo showed that tanning potential, but not sunlight and vitamin D, is a significant risk factor for prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men in the United States. African American men have the highest risk of developing prostate cancer out of all the ethnic groups and are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease at an advanced stage.

Researchers have hypothesized that the high incidence of prostate cancer in African Americans may be due to a deficiency of vitamin D caused by a reduction in the synthesis of vitamin D from the skin.

It is important to note that prostate cancer research has only looked at sunlight or vitamin D, and not both at the same time. Therefore, researchers conducted a study to determine the relationship between vitamin D, UV exposure and prostate cancer in African American men by looking at tanning potential and vitamin D status.

They recruited 91 African American men with prostate cancer and 92 African American men without prostate cancer.

They then looked at the difference between the two groups in terms of UV exposure, tanning potential, and vitamin D status.

UV exposure was assessed using a UV questionnaire designed to calculate the total amount of UV light exposure from birth until the age of diagnosis of prostate cancer, or age of data collection for controls.

Tanning potential was assessed by measuring the difference in the melanin concentration and color of unexposed areas of the skin and the melanin concentration and color that develops in skin that is exposed to sunlight. Tanning potential is a quantitative index of sun exposure that is related to cumulative lifetime sun exposure. An increased tanning potential indicates increased cumulative sun exposure.

A single vitamin D measurement was taken during the study to assess vitamin D status.

The researchers were interested in learning if vitamin D, UV exposure, and tanning potential all similarly affected risk of prostate cancer. This would indicate that sun exposure plays a role in prostate cancer, and this role is likely mediated in part by vitamin D production.

Here’s what they found:

  • The average vitamin D level for the control group was 29.06 ng/ml and the average vitamin D level for the prostate cancer group was 26.75 ng/ml.
  • Age and tanning potential were significantly negatively associated with prostate cancer risk (p=0.05, for both)
  • UV exposure and vitamin D status were negatively associated with prostate cancer risk, however this association was not significant (p>0.05)
  • After adjusting for both age and vitamin D status, tanning potential remained a significant predictor of prostate cancer risk (p=0.04).

The researchers stated,

“In the present study, we examined the association of serum vitamin D, skin tanning potential, and UV exposure with prostate cancer risk in African Americans. We found a significant association between skin tanning potential and prostate cancer. However, our results showed no significant association between prostate cancer and UV exposure or serum vitamin D.”

One large limitation of the study is selection bias. All of the participants were residents of the Washington, DC metropolitan area who all received similar levels of sunlight. Another limitation was the use of a single vitamin D measurement, which may not reflect long-term circulating vitamin D levels.

These results are puzzling, but the researchers offered a possible explanation: all of the participants were dark-skinned, meaning they likely had similar absorption due to melanin.

The researchers posited that the inverse association between tanning potential and prostate cancer is most likely due to a loss of melanin with age. The less melanin there is, the higher the potential for tanning. This explanation is supported by the fact that age also was strongly and significantly associated with prostate cancer risk.

The low vitamin D levels in both groups may have been the reason as to why a significant relationship was not found between vitamin D status and prostate cancer. There may be threshold beyond which vitamin D status becomes increasingly protective against prostate cancer.

Future research needs to utilize multiple vitamin D measurements in large populations over long periods of time and prospectively assess the risk of developing prostate cancer.

Source

Beyene, D. Use of Tanning Potential as a Predictor for Prostate Cancer Risk in African-American Men. In Vivo, 2014.

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HIGHLIGHTED STORIES: National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

6 Mar

Howard K. Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services released the following statement regarding National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month:

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.  Colorectal cancer is the nation’s second leading cancer killer of men and women in the United States and a cause of considerable suffering among the 137,000 adults diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year.  In 2010, over 52,000 Americans died from this cancer;1  however, when colorectal cancer is detected early, illness and death can be prevented. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is committed to boosting public awareness about the importance of screening and treatment for colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer poses the greatest risk to adults over the age of 50, and the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that all individuals aged 50-75 be screened for colorectal cancer as part of routine preventive health care. Currently, about 1 in 3 adults between the ages of 50 and 75 are not receiving recommended screening. These are most likely to be Hispanics, those aged 50-64, men, American Indian or Alaska natives, those who don’t live in a city, and people with lower education and income.

With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a major barrier to regular screening—cost of access to preventive care—has been removed. For the first time in our nation’s history, many Americans can receive without cost sharing high value preventive services, such as screening for colorectal cancer and other diseases that threaten health and shorten lives.

Colorectal cancer and death from this disease can be prevented thanks to effective screening tools.  Many people do not realize that three tests—colonoscopy, highly sensitive stool tests (FOBT, fecal occult blood test, or FIT, fecal immunochemical test) and flexible sigmoidoscopy— are all effective at finding cancer early, and the best test is the test that gets done.

In summary, colorectal cancer screening has been proven to save lives.  We are committed to eliminating colorectal cancer as a major public health problem.  Increasing the nation’s screening rate to 80 percent  by the year 2018 is absolutely possible, but there is much work to be done, especially in communities where those without insurance can’t regularly access the health care system.  We need greater national efforts to inform and remind appropriate patients that they are due for colorectal cancer screening, and ensure that all Americans between the ages of 50 and 75 receive this important life-saving intervention.

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1 Source: U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2010 Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2013. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/uscs.

 

Kick Butts Day 2014 is March 19!

16 Jan

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Kick Butts Day 2014 is March 19!
On Kick Butts Day, teachers, youth leaders and health advocates organize events to raise awareness of the problem of tobacco use in their state or community.They encourage youth to reject the tobacco industry’s deceptive marketing and stay tobacco-free. This year is the 50th anniversary of the landmark Surgeon General’s report that definitively linked tobacco use to cancer. Even 50 years after clear evidence of the link of tobacco and cancer, we have much work to do. That’s why this year we want to make our voices louder than ever to make sure that 50 years from now, tobacco is no longer the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S.

Join the fight and register an event  (http://www.kickbuttsday.org/) today to keep the fight against Big Tobacco going.

Your event is vital to building the next generation of the tobacco control movement. Remember, Kick Butts Day registration is now open, so be sure to check out the revamped Kick Butts Day website (http://www.kickbuttsday.org/)      and register to host an event today!

CURRENT RESEARCH: African American blood cancer patients do fare worse

30 Jul

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Despite receiving similar cancer treatment as other patients, African Americans with a common form of leukemia didn’t live as long in a new study that was aimed at understanding the racial disparity in cancer outcomes. The black patients tended to have chromosome mutations and other characteristics that are known to be linked with a worse prognosis.

The head of this study was unsure whether the disparity was caused by biological factors or non-biological factors (cultural, socioeconomic, etc). Research into potential biological differences in cancer for African Americans and whites may help elucidate the roots of this disparity

Read more here: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/07/09/us-african-american-idUKBRE96810120130709

HIGHTLIGHTED STORIES: American Lung Association Calls for Swift FDA Action to Remove Menthol Cigarettes from the Marketplace

30 Jul

The US Food and Drug Administration has released a report concluding that menthol cigarettes pose a greater risk to public health than those without. In response, the American Lung Association is calling for the FDA to remove those cigarettes from the market. This recommendation is also based on data that the availability of menthol cigarettes reduces smoking cessation, especially among African Americans and increases the overall prevalence of smoking among African Americans (as they are disproportionately marketed per capita to African Americans).
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Read more at: http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=177779#.UfABGuPZ9vo

CURRENT RESEARCH: Even with Equal Care, Racial Disparity Persists in Blood Cancer, Study Finds

18 Jul

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia progressed more quickly in black patients than whites even when both groups received the same treatment – suggesting that there are probably biological differences between the races that cause this disparity.

Read more about the Study here: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_138488.html

CURRENT RESEARCH: Racial, Cultural diversity in cancer research helps reveal better answers

18 Jul

A new study (the American Cancer Society’s third Cancer Prevention Study) is recruiting 300,000 adults with no personal history of cancer from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds in order to better understand the roots of the disease and disparities in affliction rates. Researchers will examine the lifestyle, environment and genetics of participants in the hopes of finding some common factor that causes (or prevents) cancer.

More on the story here: http://www.stlamerican.com/your_health_matters/health_news/article_28e3e930-e7f4-11e2-896f-0019bb2963f4.html

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