Health Tips ... from UPI

By LIDIA WASOWICZ, UPI Senior Science Writer  |  Feb. 28, 2005 at 9:01 AM
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An American Cancer Society report says taking preventive steps such as using screening tests could prevent most deaths from colorectal cancer. This is the third leading cause of cancer and cancer death in men and women in the United States, ACS scientists say in a special edition of the Society's Facts and Figures, created for the sixth annual National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, March 2005. "The tests we have right now allow doctors to detect this killer at its earliest, most treatable stage or even prevent it altogether," says Dr. Stephen Sener, the society's national volunteer president. "Unfortunately, despite recommendations from the American Cancer Society and other health organizations to begin screening at age 50, less than half of Americans 50 and over have had a recent test." The society estimates 145,290 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year, and 56,290 will die of the disease.


Too much salt has been deemed harmful, potentially leading to hypertension, but too little also can have a deleterious effect on health, scientists say. For the body to function well, there should be a proper balance between potassium and sodium, which plays a part in such key processes as circulation, digestion, metabolism and nerve impulses, says Roger Clemens, a sodium and nutritional biochemistry expert with the Institute of Food Technologists and adjunct professor at the University of Southern California. He says the rate of salt intake by U.S. consumers has not changed substantially over the past 25 years. "By paying more attention to the Nutrition Facts Label included on all processed foods, individuals whose hypertension is affected by sodium can begin to take control over their sodium intake," Clemens advises.


Researchers say the drug finasteride might save lives if given to men to prevent prostate cancer. The study, published in the journal Cancer, indicates any increase from the drug in the incidence of higher-grade tumors could be offset by an overall reduction in prostate cancer cases in the general population, the study authors say. In the study, finasteride reduced the incidence of prostate cancer by 24.8 percent, compared to a placebo. However, the researchers also noted an increase in the number of high-grade tumors in the trial. A subsequent analysis by Joseph Unger and a team of researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle indicates a net reduction in person-years saved over 10 years using finasteride.


A study shows men treated with hormone therapy for prostate cancer may experience temporary changes in their ability to speak, see and remember. The study by Dr. Eeva Salminen and colleagues at Turku University Hospital in Finland, published in the journal Cancer, shows the treatment results in a decline in serum estradiol, affecting verbal fluency, visual recognition and visual memory. Androgen-deprivation therapy is used as an adjuvant therapy in the treatment of prostate cancer to reduce levels of testosterone, which acts as a tumor stimulant, and estradiol, a form of estrogen in men. Testosterone and estradiol affect neurological development and play a key role in the cognitive areas of learning and memory, scientists say.

(Editors: For more information about CANCER, contact David Sampson at (213) 368.8523. For SALT, James Klapthor (312) 782-8424, ext. 231 or For CANCER, David Greenberg at (201) 748-6484 or For HORMONE, David Greenberg at (201) 748-6484 or

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