This Week in Health: Chemo after breast cancer could affect employment - Metro US

This Week in Health: Chemo after breast cancer could affect employment

Chemotherapy cancer treatment Women who receive chemo for breast cancer are less likely to be working four years later.
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Chemoforbreastcancercouldaffect employment

Studysubjects:Over 2,000 women from LA and Detroit who were diagnosed withnonmetastatic breast cancer


Results:Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System have found an associationbetween chemotherapy and unemployment. In a recent study, women with early-stage breastcancer who received chemo as part of their initial treatment were less likely to be working afterfour years. Of the more than 1,000 women who were under the age of 65 and did not experiencecancer recurrence, three-quarters were working at the time of diagnosis. However, 30 percentwere no longer working four years later.

Significance:Researchers say that lingering effects from chemotherapy, like long-termnerve damage, may make it harder for some women to return to work. “Or it may be thatin the current economy, it’s really hard to keep your job or get it back after you’ve misseda lot of work or stopped working during treatment,” said Dr. Reshma Jagsi, an associateprofessor at the University of Michigan Health System. She added that the findings supportefforts to identify patients who can safely avoid chemotherapy.


Locationofstudy: U.S.

Studysubjects: 18 headache sufferers

Results: Capsaicin, the chili pepper extract that gives the plant its heat, was shown in a recentstudy to significantly improve migraines. When participants were asked to use capsaicinintranasally to treat their migraines without using any other medications, nearly three-quartersexperienced complete relief. The majority of others reported at least some improvement in pain.“When we gave this nasal spray to patients, what was amazing was that two out of three patientsreported relief in less than three minutes,” said neurologist and migraine expert Dr. AnjanChatterjee.

Significance: Capsaicin works by desensitizing the trigeminal nerve, which supplies the bloodvessels that become enlarged and enflamed during a headache. It does not change the naturalcourse of the headache, but blocks the sensation of pain. The only downside of the nasal spray(called Ausanil) is stinging in the nose that lasts anywhere from two to 10 minutes. Even so, 17of the 18 study participants said it wasn’t enough to keep them from using the product again.

Aggressiveprostatecancer and vitaminDdeficiency

Locationofstudy: U.S.

Studysubjects:667 men aged 40 to 79 who’d had abnormal prostate exam results

Results: Vitamin D deficiency was found to be an indicator of aggressive prostate cancer amongmen in a recent study. All of the men included in the research were prompted to undergo theirfirst prostate biopsy due to abnormal prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests and/or digital rectalexams (DRE). Researchers say that men with low levels of the vitamin were significantly morelikely to either have fast-spreading prostate cancer or stage two tumors. Another key finding wasthat African American men were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancerif they had low vitamin D levels.

Significance: “Vitamin D deficiency seems to be important for general wellness and may beinvolved in the formation or progression of several human cancers,” Dr. Adam B. Murphy, anassistant professor in the Department of Urology at the Northwestern University Feinberg Schoolof Medicine, said in a statement. According to Murphy, it would be wise to be screened forvitamin D deficiency and treated. Researchers say that skin color determines cumulative vitaminD levels from sun exposure, which may help partly explain why African American men appearto be at higher risk.


Locationofstudy: Worldwide

Results: On a global level, both child and maternal deaths during childbirth are on a sharpdecline. However, maternal death rates in the U.S. are increasing at a startling rate. In arecent study, the United States was among eight countries that actually exhibited a spikein maternal deaths. According to a Washington Post report, roughly 18.5 percent of U.S.mothers died for every 100,000 births in 2013. This translates to nearly 800 fatalities.

Significance: The research shows that maternal education and income growth have significantlyreduced child deaths worldwide. Researchers say that for each additional year of school thatmothers complete, child deaths drop by over 8 percent. Vaccines and other drug innovations alsoseem to play an important role. But the reasons for the increased maternal death rate in the U.S.are unclear to researchers.

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