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Physical Activity Reduces Colon Cancer Risks

Australian investigators suggest that physical activity helps reduce the risk of proximal and distal colon cancers. In a study, the risk of proximal colon cancer was 27% lower among the most physically active participants when compared with the least active. Similar results were seen with risk for distal colon cancer. Abstract: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, October 22,...

High Variation in Colon Cancer Treatment

According to MD Anderson Cancer Center researchers, colon cancer treatment appears to vary significantly in the United States. Guideline-based treatment was most likely to be provided to patients with stage I disease (96%), when compared with patients with stage II (low risk, 66%; high risk, 36%), stage III (71%), or stage IV (73%) disease. Across all stages, factors associated with guideline adherence included: Age. Comorbidities. Later year of diagnosis. Insurance Status. The study authors noted that the impact of non-adherence to guidelines on patient outcomes requires further research. Abstract: Journal of Clinical Oncology, March  20,...

The Burden of Pain & Depression in Cancer Patients

The role of somatic symptoms has been investigated in many studies and in various clinical settings because of its impact on patients. Studies have shown that somatic symptoms are frequently persistent, accounting for more than half of all general medical visits. Physical and psychological factors also appear to contribute to somatic symptom reporting. “Somatic symptoms are associated with substantial functional impairment, disability, and healthcare use, even after controlling for medical and psychiatric comorbidities,” says Kurt Kroenke, MD. In investigations on the prevalence of symptoms in cancer, research has often focused on patients with advanced cancer or with certain types of cancer. Data demonstrate that symptoms like fatigue, pain, weakness, appetite loss, dry mouth, depressed mood, constipation, insomnia, dyspnea, nausea, and anxiety occur in at least 30% of patients with cancer. “These symptoms can have a substantial effect on functional status and quality of life,” explains Dr. Kroenke. “In some circumstances, they can hasten the desire of patients to die.” The relationship between psychological distress and somatic symptoms—somatization—has not been studied extensively in cancer, but Dr. Kroenke and colleagues recently addressed this knowledge gap. In a study published in the October 11, 2010 Archives of Internal Medicine, they examined the impact of somatic symptom burden on disability and healthcare use in patients with cancer experiencing pain, depression, or both. “Pain and depression are two of the most common and potentially treatable symptoms in patients with cancer,” Dr. Kroenke says. “We measured somatic symptom burden using a 22-item scale. We also sought to determine the association of somatic symptom burden with disability and healthcare use.” Analyzing Prevalence of Somatic Symptoms According to...
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