Morphine in hospice care

An article in Cancer suggests that too little morphine is used in hospice care. As was discussed previously, alleviation of pain and maximizing comfort is paramount in hospice situations. Interestingly, those who were given larger doses of morphine lived longer.

Screening for ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from a gynecologic malignancy, and there is continual interest whether the general population should be screened for this disease. A recent report has suggested a new blood test testing for early ovarian cancer. Here's how the media portrayed this:

BY THE TIME MANY WOMEN FIND OUT THEY HAVE OVARIAN CANCER, IT'S TOO LATE.

THAT'S BECAUSE THERE'S NEVER BEEN A ...

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Can’t get enough

More on screening MRIs for breast cancer. JAMA released a study examining screening MRIs for patients with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutation (those who have this mutation have an 85 percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer):

"This study of 236 BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers demonstrates that the addition of annual MRI and ultrasound to mammography and CBE significantly improves the sensitivity of surveillance for detecting ...

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Cheers

I don't often give the mainstream media many kudos when reporting medical news, but I'm happy to see MSNBC highlighting the appropriate context of a screening MRI for breast cancer. The story even made the MSNBC home page. Echoing what was written here, MSNBC reports:

If you're not at high risk for breast cancer, make sure you get a yearly mammogram. But at this point, MRI is not ...

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Screening for breast cancer

In a good news/bad news kind of article, it suggested that most women are receiving their mammograms by the age of 40, but aren't following-up as suggested:

A new study finds most women now follow the recommendation to receive their first screening mammogram at age 40, but there is widespread failure to return promptly for subsequent exams and several sub-populations of women still are not being screened by the ...

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Active euthanasia

What an incredible story today from Medpundit:

An elderly, "comfort care only" patient was transferred from her nursing home to the ER in the middle of the night because the nursing home didn't know what to do when she developed abdominal pain. She was much too frail to withstand surgery, and since she was "comfort care only," that wasn't an option anyways. The emergency room doctor who drew her ...

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PSA and prostate cancer screening

So I read this catchy headline today: "Prostate test 'all but useless'":

The team studied prostate tissues collected over 20 years, from the time it first became standard to remove prostates in response to high PSA levels. Thomas Stamey, who led the research, said they concluded that the test indicated nothing more than the size of the prostate gland. "Our study raises a very serious question of whether a man ...

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Whenever I recommend a screening colonoscopy, there are always patients who ask me about CT colonoscopy (i.e. virtual colonoscopy). The bottom-line is that while it holds promise, it cannot be recommended for general, clinical use yet. It is not as sensitive as a conventional colonoscopy, especially for smaller lesions. And if any lesions are seen, a conventional colonoscopy is needed regardless. One point that seems to ...

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Drug companies wooing the GOP

It seems that the major drug companies are flexing their muscle at the GOP convention:

They include an afternoon tea with New York state first lady Libby Pataki, sponsored by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals; a nomination-night party for top members of President Bush's re-election team, co-sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb; and a breast-cancer awareness luncheon funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

Pfizer is one of the most active drug makers. Its events include a ...

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Full-body scams indeed

As was commented on by RangelMD and Medpundit, I only have to re-iterate it here. A study was released detailing the harms of full-body scans:

. . . a 45-year-old who has annual full-body scans for 30 years would accumulate an estimated lifetime cancer mortality risk of 1.9 percent, or almost one in 50.

"The radiation dose from a full-body CT scan is comparable to the ...

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