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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Cancer, to many of us, may seem scary, mysterious, or even inevitable. Now, a new study suggests that nearly half of the country’s cancers may be preventable through decisions we make every day.Researchers with the American Cancer Society looked at data on cancer incidence and deaths, finding that 42 percent of all cancer cases in the United States -– and nearly half of all cancer deaths – are linked to preventable risk factors like cigarette smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, excess body weight, alcohol intake and dietary choices.Cigarette smoking, in particular, was connected to far more cancer cases and deaths than any other single risk factor, accounting for 19 percent of all cancer cases and 28.8 percent of deaths. Overweight and obesity came in second, responsible for 7.8 percent of cases and 6.5 percent of deaths, while alcohol intake was the third most important factor, leading to 5.6 percent of cancer cases and 4 percent of deaths.“The results indicated that we can prevent a substantial proportion of cancers with the help of behavior and prevention strategies,” said lead study author Dr. Farhad Islami, Strategic Director of Cancer Surveillance Research at the American Cancer Society. Islami noted that he and his team believe that the percentages they reported are actually an underestimate of the cancers that could be prevented with simple lifestyle tweaks.The good news is that the rate of death from cancer in U.S. has decreased by 25% over the past several decades. But experts estimate that in 2017, 1.6 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed, and 600,000 people will die of their cancer –- which is why experts in the field agree that more needs to be known about how to prevent these cancers before they strike.“[The study] is an incredibly important piece of research because it is relevant to understanding cancer risk factors,” said Elizabeth A. Platz, deputy chair of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who was not involved in the study. “I am very excited about the paper. It furthers the point that primary prevention is the future. It would be better for everyone to prevent cancer upfront.”Platz added that the emphasis on obesity is particularly timely.“The obesity epidemic started in the 1980s; it then plateaued but now seems to be on the rise again,” she said. “The worst part is that this is evident in children too.”Out of the preventable cancers studied, lung cancer had the highest number of associated cases and deaths, followed by colorectal cancer. Interestingly, cancer cases and deaths linked to smoking, red and processed meat consumption, hepatitis C infection, UV radiation and HIV infection tended to be higher in men compared to women. On the other hand, cancer cases and deaths linked to excess body weight, alcohol intake, physical inactivity and human papilloma virus (HPV) infection were higher in women. Excess body weight causes twice as many cancers in women as in men.This article was written by Kanika Monga MD, a resident in the ABC News Medical Unit.
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  • Ed Hueck Photography(SAN FRANCISCO) -- One bride moved her wedding up five months so her father, who's battling leukemia, could walk her down the aisle.Vieneese Stanton surprised her stepfather Preston Rolan, who has raised her since she was 3 years old, with a wedding last Thursday inside UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco, where he's currently being treated.Rolan, 64, has been declining in health since he was diagnosed with leukemia back in February, but Stanton told ABC News she wanted her father to be part of the milestones he may miss.After talking with doctors last month about her father's prognosis, Stanton, 27, decided to push up her wedding, originally scheduled for next April."In the beginning of October, his doctors ... began to talk to me about his condition not get better," the private school admissions assistant explained. "They said I needed to start talking to my dad about where he wants to die ... and things like that. With that conversation being necessary, I talked to my fiancé and said, 'We've got to make some changes.'"Not only did Stanton want her father to walk her down the aisle when she married her boyfriend of two years, but she always wanted him to be there for the birth of their first child in March."My dad is excited about that. Those are his two big motivations to fight this cancer," Stanton said. "He's always talking about the baby, or talking about the wedding."Stanton admitted that couldn't do anything about her baby's due date, but she could move up her wedding. So she decided to surprise Rolan with the Nov. 16 wedding, wanting to have it inside UCSF Medical Center.Stanton said the nurses there kicked into high gear when she told them the plan.Assistant nurse manager Elaine Esler was one of the nurses on staff last Thursday and credits the entire 150-person nursing staff for pulling it off. After two nurses sent out an email with the secret wedding plan, other nurses brought in decorations, such as silk flowers."We don't allow real flowers in our unit because of the risk of infection," Esler, who's been on staff for three years, noted.The hospital's harpist, chaplains and chefs, who provided food and cupcakes for the nuptials, were also on hand for the occasion."It was really fun and really special to see," Esler said. "There were a lot of tears in people’s eyes."Stanton said her favorite part of the wedding was seeing the look on her father's face when he first saw her in her wedding gown."He had no idea," she gushed. "And just walking with him -- actually taking that walk -- was amazing. I was so glad we got to do that. I really got to talk with him and have him hold my arm, and that part was definitely the best."
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Authorities in western Minnesota are investigating the apparently accidental shooting of a 3-year-old girl by a 5-year-old boy.According to Lieutenant Keith Van Dyke of the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Department, the boy wounded the girl with a .22-caliber rifle. She is now in stable condition in a Minneapolis hospital but remains in intensive care.The sheriff’s office received a 911 call about the shooting around 7:30 a.m. Sunday. The caller said that a 5-year-old had shot the girl.“We believe it was an accident,” Van Dyke told ABC News. “But the investigation of the incident continues alongside the county’s Child Protective Services department.”Van Dyke added that criminal child endangerment charges are possible if the gun owner “created a dangerous environment by carelessly leaving the firearm in an area accessible to children.”Authorities said it will be some time before a decision is made about those potential charges.The investigation has been slowed because family members authorities want to interview have been by the girl’s bedside three hours away.
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  • Mark Wilson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Rev. Jesse Jackson revealed on Friday his battle with Parkinson's disease.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Republicans expect to include a repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate, which requires people to purchase health insurance or face penalties, in their tax plan, complicating the party's efforts to reshape the tax code by year's end.The change -- which President Trump called for yesterday in a surprise tweet from Asia -- would help Republicans pay for proposed tax cuts in their plan by slashing more than $300 billion in government spending on subsidized medical coverage over 10 years.“We’re optimistic that inserting the individual mandate repeal would be helpful,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, told reporters Tuesday.Republicans also say the mandate disproportionately impacts low-income Americans.The move would also leave 4 million more Americans without health insurance by 2019 and 13 million by 2027, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.Slipping the health care provision into the tax plan carries risks for Republicans.Doing so could ignite Democratic opposition to the tax bill and turn the tax push into a health care debate, complicating the GOP's top legislative priority and making it more difficult to achieve by the end of the year.The House is expected to vote on its version of the tax plan -- which won't include the individual mandate repeal -- as soon as Thursday.
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