Author: Editor - Health News

Helping Children Cope When a Mass Tragedy Strikes

MONDAY, Nov. 6, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Mass slayings, like the church shooting in Texas Sunday that left at least 26 dead, are hard enough for adults to comprehend. For children, these tragedies can make the world seem like a terrifying place. In the wake of such bloodshed, a New Jersey family physician offers guidance to parents trying to help children manage their fears. Start by shielding your kids from the news reports, suggested Dr. Jennifer Caudle, an associate professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford. “Children may become upset by news coverage,” Caudle said. So monitor and limit what they see, hear or read. This may reduce their anxiety and help them deal with these unsettling events, she explained. The Sutherland Springs, Texas, massacre was just the latest in a series of recent mass killings in the United States. In New York City on Halloween, a terrorist using a rented van killed eight people on a bike path. And on Oct. 1, a gunman in Las Vegas opened fire on hundreds of concert-goers, killing 58 and wounding nearly 550 more victims. Parents who want to help their children cope with such carnage should be mindful of their own reactions, Caudle said. Kids may look to you to help them understand what has happened, and they’ll pick up on your emotional cues, she noted. Here are...

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Zelboraf Approved for Rare Blood Cancer

MONDAY, Nov. 6, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Zelboraf (vemurafenib) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the first drug to treat Erdheim-Chester Disease, a rare but deadly blood cancer. The approval covers patients who have a genetic mutation called BRAF V600. Erdheim-Chester Disease is a slow-growing cancer that originates in bone marrow, causing a spike in a type of white blood cell called a histiocyte. This can spur tumors that develop in the heart, lung, brain and elsewhere, the FDA said Monday in a news release. The cancer only affects about 700 people worldwide, about half of whom have the BRAF V600 mutation. Life expectancy is short among patients, the agency said. “This [drug] was first approved in 2011 to treat certain patients with melanoma [skin cancer] that harbor the BRAF V600 mutation, and we are now bringing the therapy to patients with a rare cancer with no approved therapies,” said Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of the agency’s Oncology Center of Excellence. Zelboraf is a kinase inhibitor that’s designed to inhibit enzymes that spur cancer cell growth. The most common side effects include joint pain, skin rash, hair loss, fatigue and heart problems, the FDA said. Less common but more severe adverse reactions could include development of other cancers, severe skin reactions, liver damage and kidney failure. Pregnant women shouldn’t take the drug, since it...

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Older Women Can ‘Walk Away From the Grim Reaper’

MONDAY, Nov. 6, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Ladies, slip on your sneakers and walk briskly every day, and you might prolong your life. In a new study, women who logged an average of nearly 70 minutes daily had up to a 70 percent lower risk of death compared to the least active women, who moved just eight minutes a day. The study also found that the benefits were significant mainly for women who participated in moderate to vigorous exercise. “Overall, this study’s results are consistent with other evidence that repeatedly demonstrates the importance of regular activity, like brisk walking,” said American Heart Association spokesperson Dr. JoAnn Manson. “This study provides further evidence that you can literally walk away from the grim reaper. Exercise really is as close as we come to a magic bullet for good health. Exercise reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, depression and cognitive [mental] decline,” Manson said. The researchers said that what makes their findings stand out is the fact that exercise levels were measured objectively. The study’s lead author, Dr. I-Min Lee from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said, “The idea that physical activity is good for your health is nothing new.” What is new about the current study is that the researchers didn’t rely on people to tell them how much they exercised. Instead, the women in...

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Could a Common Blood Thinner Lower Cancer Risk?

MONDAY, Nov. 6, 2017 (HealthDay News) — A pill widely taken to prevent heart attack and stroke may also guard against cancer, new research suggests. Warfarin is an inexpensive blood thinner. It’s typically prescribed for patients whose leg arteries are prone to clots and for patients with the abnormal heartbeat called atrial fibrillation. Now, Norwegian investigators say it may also protect against any type of cancer and from prostate, lung and breast cancer, in particular. Lower colon cancer risk was also reported, but only in people taking warfarin for A-fib, according to the study. The findings don’t prove that warfarin reduces the risk of cancer, cautioned lead researcher James Lorens. “This is an observational study using data on more than 1.25 million people 50 and older from Norwegian national registries, and cannot prove a cause-and-effect relationship,” said Lorens, a professor of biomedicine at the University of Bergen in Norway. Among adults taking warfarin, however, fewer developed cancer compared with those not taking the drug, Lorens said. This study suggests there is something about warfarin that might reduce the risk of cancer, said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society. However, “the study does not suggest that we should be prescribing warfarin to reduce cancer risk,” he said. “No one should be taking warfarin as a cancer prevention measure.” Lichtenfeld added that a healthy diet...

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Why Many Breast Cancer Patients Short-Circuit Their Treatment

MONDAY, Nov. 6, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Many breast cancer patients skip recommended treatment after surgery because they lack faith in the health care system, a new study indicates. A patient survey found those who reported a general distrust of medical institutions and insurers were more likely to forgo follow-up breast cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy or radiation. Trust or distrust of their own doctors did not emerge as a factor. “If we want more women with breast cancer to complete their treatment, we’ll need to deal with their beliefs about the health care system — and I do think we can modify those beliefs,” said study lead author Lorraine Dean. She’s an assistant professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University. Dean’s team surveyed more than 2,700 patients in Florida and Pennsylvania after breast cancer surgery. More than 30 percent disregarded their doctor’s advice to start or complete follow-up therapy aimed at killing any remaining tumor cells. Patients who opted out of follow-up treatment were 40 percent more likely to have a cancer recurrence during the two-year study period than those who followed their doctor’s recommendations, the researchers found. “While it is surprising in general that nearly one-third of patients are not following up with recommended adjuvant treatment, some earlier, more localized studies have reported even higher discordance rates, and it’s possible that our own figures would...

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