Tag Archive | "prostate cancer"

Film Director Highlights Assisted Suicide

It may sound contradicting but the director of a documentary entitled “How to Die in Oregon” hopes that his film teaches people a thing or two about living life. The documentary is about physician-assisted suicide law in Oregon.

The film director, 31-year old Peter Richardson, wants us to better understand the “Death with Dignity Act” in Oregon that has been in place for 17 years. Oregon is one of the very few states that allow physician-assisted suicide. Doctors can basically prescribe and administer lethal drugs to a patient who is terminally ill and has less than six months to live.

Richardson said it is not going to be a depressing film. In fact, he added that those who have seen the documentary are surprised by how much laughter and humor there is in the movie. He describes his film as “tragic but life affirming.”

The film revolves around a 54-year old woman, Cody Curtis, who has been given only six months to live after she has been diagnoses with advance stage liver cancer. The thoughts of her doctors, her husband and kids, and her own were caught on camera during heart-wrenching interviews.

Richardson said that in the film you will understand that going through physician-assisted suicide is not an easy choice. He added that although Curtis has grace and dignity in suffering, she also thinks there is dignity in accepting the things we cannot change.

The film also documented the lives of those who are not too happy with the law, including an uninsured 53-year old man with prostate cancer. In the film, the state denied him of health care and his doctors offered physician-assisted suicide instead.

The documentary won as the best nonfiction film at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and is scheduled to debut on HBO on Thursday.

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Early Prostate Cancer Patients May Benefit From Aggressive Treatment

Based on a long-term study conducted in Europe, men under the age of 65 suffering from the early stages of prostate cancer benefit more from the removal of prostate glands than doing the “watchful waiting approach.”

However, Dr. Richard Greenberg said that the findings of the study are not practice-changing at all. Dr. Greenberg is the chief of urologic oncology in Philadelphia’s Fox Chase Cancer Center and is not involved in the conduct of the study.

Dr. Greenberg said that the study targeted early stage disease and it only shows what is expected of it: people who have more years to live based on their prognosis will have better chances of survival during aggresive treatment than those who are in the end stage of their cancer.

Men who have prostate cancer face a more problems than their medical condition per se. There are a lot of options and one becomes more confusing than the other. Some say surgery is ideal, other say that hormonal therapy is sufficient. In fact, many doctors believe that forgoing medical treatment – called “watchful waiting” – may also work.

Watchful waiting is usually recommended for men who have great prognosis and would like to avoid the risks of suffering from adverse reactions to prostate cancer treatment. Some of these unwanted side effects are erectile dysfunction due to surgery, secondary cancers as a result of radiation therapy, and breast growth because of hormonal therapy.

Dr. Marc Danziger, a urologist from New York, said that the benefits and side effects of treatment still has to be addresses on individual basis based on the individual needs of prostate cancer patients.

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CDC Says Cancer Survivors Are Increasing

Cancer survivors in United States are growing by number each year, health officials informed on Thursday. At the moment, about one out of 20 adults is afflicted with the disease.

Officials explained why more individuals are surviving cancer, and that is partly because of earlier detection and enhanced treatment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 11.7 million residents in United States have history of cancer in 2007. Forty years ago, there were only around 3 million individuals who survived cancer. However, that has grown to 10 million survivors in 2001 and to 11.4 million survivors in 2006.

Health officials said eating healthy foods, decreased smoking and other steps to prevent the disease may have also played a part in the increase.

Also, demographics are a factor that could affect the increase of survivors. Cancer is an illness that is usually common in older people from 65 years old. According to the CDC, 7 million or about 60 percent of the total survivors were aged 65 years and older.

Most of the cancer survivors came from women who were diagnosed with breast cancer. They made up about 22 percent of the survivors. Meanwhile, 19 percent were made up by men who survived prostate cancer.

The estimated number of people who survived cancer came from the National Cancer Institute, as well as CDC. They based their information from nine cancer patient registries located in United States.

Anyone who was diagnosed with cancer, successfully treated, or still getting treated are included in the survivor count. Those people who might be dying from the disease are also included.

Based on the acquired information, there were about 65 percent who had survived cancer for at least five years while about 40 percent had survived it for 10 years or more.

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Certain Prostate Cancer Treatment May Increase the Risk of Colon Cancer

Hormone-blocking therapy used by the male population to treat prostate cancer may increase their risk of developing colon cancer, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The drug treatment is called ‘androgen deprivation therapy’ also known as ADT, which is used to suppress the production of male hormone testosterone which increases the development of prostate cancer.

ADT is commonly used to treat prostate cancer even though it has known potential effects such as diabetes and obesity. Diabetes and obesity are the two main risk factors in the development of colon cancer.

The U.S Food and Drug Administration just informed last month that hormonal treatments for prostate cancer such as Lupron and Trelstar should bear new warnings regarding their potential risks of heart problems and diabetes.

According to the researchers, studies in animals suggested that the male hormones stop the signals that cause cancer cells to grow, which in turn suppresses the development of colon cancer.

The authors say it might be possible that inhibiting the release of hormones in the body could lead to greater risk for colon cancer.

Dr. Vahakn Shahinian of the University of Michigan, along with his colleagues studied more than 100,000 older men that were diagnosed with prostate cancer between the years 1993 and 2002.

They discovered that those men who received ADT had about 30 to 40 percent greater risk of developing colon cancer during the follow-up period. However, the case is still based on an observational study, and not a proven cause and effect.

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