Prostate Cancer and High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)

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“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”


PROSTATE CANCER AND HIGH INTENSITY FOCUSED ULTRASOUND (HIFU)

The two most commonly used treatments for early-stage prostate cancer, surgery and radiation therapy, are both associated with a significant risk of potential complications, including impotence and varying degrees of urinary incontinence.  Because of these serious side effects of prostate cancer therapy, new approaches to the management of this common type of cancer are constantly being evaluated.

High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a relatively new and non-invasive approach to cancer therapy.  Unlike more invasive cancer treatments, HIFU focuses very powerful ultrasound (sound wave) beams directly at a tumor.  These focused ultrasound beams then cause the tumor to become heated to the point that the tumor is killed.  Unlike radiation therapy, however, which is used to essentially destroy the entire prostate gland (or surgery, which requires the removal of the entire prostate gland), HIFU can be focused onto just the portion of the prostate gland where early-stage tumors are located.

A newly published research study, which appears in the current issue of the Journal of Urology, has evaluated the use of HIFU in carefully selected patients with very early prostate cancer.  In this small prospective clinical research study, 20 men with small, localized prostate cancer tumors were treated with HIFU.  Repeat biopsies of the prostate gland were then performed 6 months later, and these 20 men were then reassessed, once again, 12 months after undergoing HIFU treatment of their early prostate cancers.  (Low-risk cancers were present in 25 percent of these men, and intermediate-risk prostate cancers were present in the remaining 75 percent of these male volunteers.)

At 12 months following HIFU therapy, an amazing 95 percent of these men were still sexually potent.  Moreover, 90 percent of the men had complete control of their urinary stream (urinary continence), and 95 percent of these men did not require a protective pad in their underwear to prevent soiling of their clothes with urine.  Moreover, 89 percent of these men were simultaneously free of urinary leaks, impotence, and detectable recurrences of their prostate gland tumors at 12 months. (These extremely impressive results with HIFU reveal a complication rate that is far below what has been described for surgical removal of the prostate, and for radiation therapy for prostate cancer; as well as an excellent cancer control rate at 12 months.)

Now, a few caveats before anyone gets too excited about the results of this study.  First of all, this was a very small study, and the patients who participated in this study were very carefully selected based upon the very small size of their prostate cancer tumors.  Secondly, prostate cancer is, in general, a slow-growing cancer, and the 12-month period of follow-up of these study volunteers is much too brief to measure the long-term effectiveness of HIFU for the treatment of prostate cancer.  Finally, although HIFU is considered a non-invasive form of treatment, it generates very high temperatures within the tissues that are targeted by the ultrasound beams.  As with radiation therapy, HIFU can, therefore, also cause unintended damage to surrounding organs, and can cause some of the very same complications associated with radiation therapy.

While not yet ready for “prime time,” HIFU may still have an important future role in the management of localized prostate cancer.  However, in my view, larger clinical studies, and longer patient follow-up, will be necessary before HIFU proves itself to be equal to surgery and radiation therapy in the management of prostate cancer.

 

For a complete evidence-based discussion regarding an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!



On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity



Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author



For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam



I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.





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Fitness Video Games Compare Well with Traditional Exercise

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”



FITNESS VIDEO GAMES COMPARE WELL WITH TRADITIONAL EXERCISE

Although I was initially opposed to the idea, my wife recently decided to buy a Nintendo Wii game system for our 9 year-old daughter and 6 year-old son.  Like many school-age children, our two kids already seem to have more sports classes, academic classes outside of school, and play dates than they have time to attend.  (Oh, and let’s not forget about the daily deluge of homework that they bring home each evening from school!)  Having been overruled by my wife, however, I resigned myself to yet another distraction (centered around the television) for our children to deal with each day.

Soon after setting up the Wii gaming system in our home, our two children were happily immersed in playing various fantasy games with each other, leaping around our living room while clutching the wireless remotes, screaming and laughing the whole time.  Every now and then, despite my feigned lack of interest in their new gaming toy, I would also find myself drawn into a vigorous game of Wii bowling or Wii table tennis.  While playing these and other Wii games with our hyperkinetic 9 year-old daughter, I actually found myself working up a bit of a sweat in the process!  Soon thereafter, we purchased some additional “Wii Fitness” games, as well, including a “step pad” that allows players to perform stepping exercises with a group of imaginary fellow steppers.  And so I watched, with some amusement, as our rambunctious 9 year-old daughter briskly hopped up and down from the step pad along with her imaginary stepping friends, clapping her hands and flailing her arms about in the process.

While I still have some reservation about having a video gaming system in our home, I was impressed that our exercise-adverse kids had found an entertaining way to burn off some extra calories using Wii fitness games.  This week’s health research review column is, therefore, focused on the potential health benefits that may be associated with fitness-related video games (“exergames”), including the Nintendo Wii system that we have in our living room.

A newly published clinical research study, which appears in the current issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, sought to actually measure the amount of calories burned while playing video-based “exergames.”  In this study, 39 boys and girls (average age was 12 years) were asked to participate in several different fitness-related video games.  These games included Dance Dance Revolution, Light Space Bug Invasion, Nintendo Wii Boxing, Cybex Trazer Goalie Wars, Sportwall, and Xavix J-Mat.  These children were also asked to walk on a treadmill set at a 3 mile-per-hour (mph) pace.  Using standardized metabolic measuring equipment, the energy expenditure associated with these physical activities was measured in “metabolic equivalent task values” (or “mets”).

At a time when obesity is rampant among both adults and children, the findings of this new study have further decreased my reservations regarding the Nintendo Wii gaming system that now resides in our living room.  First of all, the six different measured activities all significantly raised these children’s energy expenditures above resting levels.  Walking at a moderately brisk 3 mph on a treadmill resulted in an average energy expenditure of 4.9 mets.  In comparison, while playing Wii Boxing, these kids reached an average of 4.2 mets.  The energy expenditure of the remaining four “exergames” was even more impressive:  5.4 mets for Dance Dance Revolution, 5.9 mets for Cybex Trazer Goalie Wars, 6.4 mets for Light Space Bug Invasion, 7.0 mets for Xavix J-Mat, and 7.1 mets for Sportwall.

The findings of this study are very impressive.  Just to place the measured energy expenditures noted with the six activities assessed in this clinical research study into perspective, moderate physical activity, which includes activities such as walking at a brisk pace, swimming, and moderate-paced bicycle riding is associated with an average energy expenditure of 3 to 6 mets.  Vigorous physical activity, which includes such activities as jogging, mountain climbing, singles tennis, or riding a bicycle uphill, involves an energy expenditure of more than 6 mets.  All five of these “exergames” were associated with an energy expenditure level of at least “moderate physical activity,” while three of these gaming systems were actually associated with “vigorous physical activity” levels more commonly associated with intense levels of aerobic exercise.

As we struggle with the rising incidence of obesity among an increasingly sedentary generation of boys and girls in the United States, and in many other countries around the world, the use of “exergames,” such as those that were evaluated in this clinical research study, may offer our children an opportunity to combine the video gaming that so many of them love to play with levels of exercise that were formerly associated with the high-intensity sports that are, increasingly, being eliminated from school-based and after-school physical fitness programs.  The findings of this important study strongly suggest that it is possible to combine video-gaming with significant levels of exercise, and in a format that many children will find entertaining and fun to engage in.  So, in the end, my wife’s decision to purchase the Nintendo Wii system may not have been such a bad idea after all….

 

For a complete evidence-based discussion about exercise as part of an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race. For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!


On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.





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Vitamin D Significantly Reduces Colorectal Cancer Risk

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”



VITAMIN D SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCES COLORECTAL CANCER RISK

As I discuss in my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, recent high-level clinical research studies have pretty much debunked the widely held belief that Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, beta-carotene, or selenium supplements are able to decrease cancer risk in humans,  However, as I also discuss in my book, there is an abundance of research data suggesting that Vitamin D (which actually functions more like a hormone than a vitamin) may, indeed, offer protection against certain types of cancer (as well as cardiovascular disease).  Unfortunately, however, as with all laboratory and clinical research findings, one can easily find other research studies that have reached contradictory results.

Meta-analysis is a powerful method of statistically combining the results of multiple smaller research studies, which often differ from each other in their methods, into one large “meta-study.”  While meta-analysis cannot always overcome the limitations of poorly conducted or otherwise weak research studies, it is a valuable tool to use in studying clinical problems for which large-scale prospective randomized clinical research trials have not yet been performed.

A newly published meta-analysis of the effects of Vitamin D on colorectal cancer risk appears in the current issue of the journalCancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.  In this meta-analysis, the findings of multiple previous Vitamin D clinical research studies were analyzed.  For every 100 IU of Vitamin D intake per day (up to 600 IU per day), a 5 percent decrease in the risk of colorectal cancer was observed.  Similarly, for every 100 IU/liter increase in the concentration of Vitamin D in the blood (up to 1800 IU/liter), colorectal cancer risk decreased by 4 percent.

The results of this meta-analysis confirm the findings numerous other prospective clinical research studies linking increased dietary intake of Vitamin D, and higher levels of Vitamin D in the blood, with a significant reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer.

Because excessive Vitamin D intake can cause serious health problems, I always recommend that you check with your doctor, first, before starting Vitamin D supplements (or other vitamin supplements).

For a complete evidence-based discussion of Vitamin D as a cancer prevention nutrient, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

 


On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity



Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author



For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam



I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.





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Tobacco, Smoking and Breast Cancer Risk

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”


TOBACCO, SMOKING AND BREAST CANCER

Tobacco smoke is unquestionably the single greatest cause of preventable cancer cases.  However, the link between smoking (including passive exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke) and breast cancer has been rather unclear, so far.  Now, a newly published study, which appears in the current issue of the British Medical Journal, has strongly linked exposure to tobacco smoke with breast cancer risk.

More than 79,000 women (ages 50 to 79 years) enrolled in the enormous landmark, prospective Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study between 1993 and 1998.  (This is the very same study that confirmed the long suspected link between hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer risk.)  All participants in this huge clinical study provided detailed information regarding their history of both active and passive exposure to tobacco smoke.  Known risk factors for breast cancer were also assessed, and accounted for, when analyzing this study’s data.  During more than 10 years of follow-up, 3,520 cases of breast cancer were diagnosed within this very large group of women.

Compared with women who had never smoked, former smokers were 9 percent more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, while current active smokers were 16 percent more likely than never-smokers to develop breast cancer.  Women who had smoked for 50 years or more were at especially high risk of developing breast cancer (they were 35 percent more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer when compared to never-smokers).

Among women who had never smoked, women with 10 or more years of childhood exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke, or 20 or more years exposure as an adult, had a 32 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer than never-smokers who had not been exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke.

Taken together, these new findings from the powerful WHI study significantly link both active exposure to tobacco smoke and exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke with large increases in the risk of developing breast cancer.  As if there were not already enough reasons to avoid tobacco, this very powerful prospective clinical research study’s findings confirm yet another life-threatening risk associated with tobacco (including exposure to secondhand smoke).

For a complete discussion of evidence-based approaches to cancer risk and cancer prevention, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.




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