Study: Men Should Be Screened For Colon Cancer At Earlier Age Than Women

The Los Angeles Times (9/28, Stein) “Booster Shots” blog reports, “Men and women may need different screening guidelines for colonoscopies because of varying tumor rates between the genders,” according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Investigators “analyzed the results of 44,350 colonoscopy screenings over four years; the tests covered adenomas (benign tumors), advanced adenomas, and colorectal cancer.”

        Bloomberg News (9/28) reports, “Researchers found that men were 1.8 times more likely than women to have advanced adenomas, which are polyps or lesions most susceptible to turning malignant, and twice as likely to have colon cancer.” The investigators also found “that men got precancerous polyps and colon cancers 10 years earlier than women.” Bloomberg News points out that “Joel Brill…chief medical officer of the American Gastroenterological Association’s Digestive Health Outcomes Registry, said in a telephone interview that there may be a benefit for starting colon cancer screenings earlier, though today’s study alone shouldn’t change at what age screening begins based on sex.”

        AFP (9/28) reports that “the study stopped short of saying what that new age should be, saying further studies ‘are needed to demonstrate the relative clinical effectiveness of screening at different ages.'”

        The Wall Street Journal (9/28, Hobson) “Health Blog” reports that earlier this year, the CDC said that colorectal-cancer screening was responsible for a portion of the drop in mortality from the disease in recent years. Also covering the story were the UK’s Telegraph (9/28, Adams), the UK’s Daily Mail (9/28, Neville), MedPage Today (9/28, ), HealthDay (9/28, Gordon), and WebMD (9/28, McMillen).

        Fatalism May Be Barrier To Colon Cancer Screening For Some. The Los Angeles Times (9/28, Brown) “Booster Shots” blog reports that, according to a study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, some individuals may forego colorectal cancer screening because they “believe if they’re going to get cancer, they’ll die from it anyway, so why bother?” Investigators “team looked at mail questionnaires…that had been filled out by 529 adults, age 60 to 69, in the London area between August 2005 and January 2006.” Then the investigators, “with the permission of the respondents and their doctors…checked with the London Bowel Cancer Screening Hub to see which of the people had taken part in a national colon cancer screening program that provided a fecal occult blood test.”

        HealthDay (9/28, Preidt) reports that “poorer people who felt that colorectal cancer screenings wouldn’t help, or that they were going to die of cancer anyway, often ignored screening recommendations.” Individuals “with higher socioeconomic status, better self-rated health and lower cancer fatalism were 56 percent more likely to have a fecal occult blood test.”

Veggies, Fruits May Differentially Decrease Colon Cancer Risk

The Boston Globe (9/27, Blake) “Nutrition and You!” blog reports that “a poor diet, specifically one that is skimpy on fruits and vegetables, may also play a role” in colon cancer, according to a study published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Researchers found that “cruciferous vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli were associated with a reduced incidence of proximal and distal cancers. A diet abundant in both fruits and veggies, especially apples and dark yellow vegetables, such as carrots and pumpkin, appeared to decrease the risk of distal cancer.”

        HealthDay (9/27, Preidt) reports that to reach these conclusions, “researchers examined the diets of 918 colorectal cancer patients and 1,021 people with no history of the disease.” WebMD (9/27, Rubin) and the Toronto Sun /QMI Agency (9/27) also report this study.

New Hepatitis C Drug Regimen May Provide Faster Treatment For Some


HealthDay (9/15, Behen) reports that according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a new drug regimen for hepatitis C composed of “peginterferon and ribavirin, two drugs that have been the standard of care for hepatitis C for more than a decade,” and “a recently approved hepatitis C medication called telaprevir,” a protease inhibitor, can cure patients “in half the normal time.” In particular, “tailoring patients’ treatment regimen to their response to the drugs, which is known as response-guided therapy, enabled many patients to cut treatment time in half.” Hepatitis C “can lead to liver cancer and is the number one cause of liver transplants in the United States.”

        MedPage Today (9/15, Smith) reports that patients “patients who responded early and strongly” and consequently received “the shorter therapy had significantly fewer adverse events.” Those “who did not have an extended rapid response…were nonrandomly assigned to the longer treatment arm.” Notably, 92% of early responders and 88% of the rest “sustained virologic response — defined as undetectable HCV both at the end of treatment and 24 weeks later.” Medscape (9/15, Hitt) also covers the story.