Quotes of the Month

May 2002
     I apologize for being so late with this month's Webletter, but the month of May has been a very active one for the Turner Family. The time to research and publish has just not been there. I did read some interesting articles in the May 2002 issue of Hem/Onc Today and I thought they were worthy of reporting to our readers.

     Dominque Michaud, ScD from the Nutritional Epidemiology Branch of the National Cancer Institute said after studying a large data base which was followed for years, her research group could find no relationship between alcohol and coffee and an increased incidence or risk of pancreatic cancer.
     Ed. This question has been reported pro and con in many research projects. It is good to see the lack of a relationship. Remember - moderation.

     Researchers from the FDA and NCI reported physicians may, in the near future, have available to them a test to screen their patients for ovarian cancer. The test involves proteomic technology. A negative point is a 5% false positive rate that could stimulate unnecessary tests if large segments of a female population were screened. Prospective testing in high-risk clinics will be utilized according to Emanuel Petricoin III, PhD from the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
     Ed. Hopefully the kinks in this possible test can be worked out so that it is practical. Ovarian cancer is a devastating malignancy mostly because almost 80% are diagnosed at a late stage. The ovaries are difficult to palpate on a physical exam and by the time the tumor is large enough to cause symptoms or become palpable it is generally far advanced. A screening test would be wonderful and certainly raise the cure rate by making early surgical removal possible.

     On the subject of ovarian cancer, a paper presented at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Society Gynecologic Oncologists indicated that Danazol, a drug used sometimes for the treatment of endometriosis, could increase the incidence of ovarian cancer in women who have taken it for long intervals. Endometriosis is known to increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer by about 50% and Danazol would add to increasing the incidence.
     Ed. Danazol is sometimes used for the treatment of severe incapacitating chronic cystic disease of the breast. I was reluctant to use it because of possible masculinizing side effects. This is another reason not to prescribe it.

     The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recently released a report which evaluated the correlation between milk consumption and prostate cancer. According to Helen A. Norman,PhD,associate director of research for AICR they could find no conclusive evidence that a diet rich in dairy products increased the risk of prostatic cancer in humans.
     Ed. This question has been around for a long time. Animal and cellular studies have shown a relationship but as in most nutritional research extrapolation of the data to humans is not generally valid.

     Again another report in Hem/Onc Today (May 2002). SAN FRANCISCO - "Metabolic factors related to increased body weight can raise the risk for postmenopausal breast cancer, according to three studies presented here at the 93rd meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research."
     Ed. This is another controversial risk factor that has surfaced time and time again. If it is valid then it seems to be more evident in women who gain weight at menopause and maintain it after and also maintain a significant weight gain after pregnancy.

     St. John's wort, the popular alternative medicine for depression, has been shown to interfere with the effectiveness of many chemotherapeutic medications used for cancer treatment especially irinotecan (Camptosar,Pharmacia). This was reported at the 93rd meeting of the AACR by Ron A.H.J. Mathijssen, M.D., of the Rotterdam Cancer Institute in the Netherlands.
     Ed. As I have reported in a previous Webletter on alternative medicines, it is extremely important to tell your physician ALL medications that you are taking because of possible drug interaction. Do not be embarassed to say you take an alternative medication.

"There is a pleasure in the pathless
There is a rapture on the lonely
There is society, where none
By the deep Sea, and music in it's
I love not man less, but Nature
     - Lord Byron (1788-1824) British Poet
     Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, IV

"Nature admits no lie."
     - Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish Historian and essayist
     Latter Day Pamphlets, 5

"Nature is but a name for an effect
Whose cause is God."
     - William Cowper (1731-1800) British Poet
     The Task

"We must turn to nature itself, to
The observations of the body in
Health and disease to learn the
     - Hippocrates (c.460 BC-c.377 BC) Greek physician
Take care until next time,
Richard J.Turner, III, M.D., F.A.C.S.

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     Notes from the Spring Texas Surgical Society Meeting
     Alternative Medicine
     Breast Cancer Symposium
     Vitamin B, Passive Smoking, Statin Therapy, Common Cough
     Type 2 Diabetus Mellitus
     Antihistamines and Alcohol
     The Journal Club
     Let's Keep It Simple
     Number One Cancer Killer - Lung Cancer
     Millennium Hoopla
     Caffeine Consumption