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Colorectal Cancer News in Brief: December 21

Briefly

It’s been tested, and it hurts less to rip a bandaid off fast.

NCCN has updated their guidelines for colon and rectal cancer to include testing for BRAF mutations in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

FDA announced a recall of some lots of Alka-Seltzer Plus Day and Night Cold Formula, and an aggressive program to manage respiratory infections at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance has kept patients there from getting H1N1 flu.

  • You already knew it — but now a randomized trial proves it.  It hurts less to remove a bandaid fast.  Tested on healthy volunteers in Australia, the average pain score on an 11 point scale for fast removal was 0.92 compared to 1.58 when the medium-sized bandage was removed slowly.  Women had less pain than men (0.91 versus 1.64) but, to be fair, men also had more body hair.  Skill helps.  Pain scores were consistently higher for one of the two researchers removing bandaids.  You can find the study abstract in the December 2009 issue of the Medical Journal of Australia.
  • The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has updated their Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology™ for Colon Cancer and Rectal Cancer to recommend BRAF testing for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who do not have KRAS tumor mutations.  A new footnote was added stating that “Patients with a known V600E BRAF mutation appear to be unlikely to benefit from anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies.” Anti-EGFR treatments include Erbitux® (cetuximab) and Vectibix™ (panitumumab).  A link to the new Version 1.2010 is available.
  • The FDA has announced a recall of one lot of Alka-Seltzer Plus® Day & Night Cold Formula Liquid Gels by Bayer Healthcare.  The recalled lot number is 296939L.  There are twenty capsules in each carton, 12 with a day formulation and 8 with nighttime medicine.  The labeling on some blister pack cards is reversed so that day and night formulations are not identified correctly.  The capsules themselves are labeled accurately.  Mixing up the day and night capsules could result in excessive sleepiness.
  • An aggressive influenza control program at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance protected cancer patients with compromised immune systems during spring of 2009 despite an hundred-fold increase in H1N1 virus in the Seattle area.  Patients who come to the outpatient clinic are met by volunteers or licensed practical nurses with hand sanitizer and information about respiratory infections.  Each is quizzed about possible flu symptoms, and patients who might have influenza are either rescheduled or seen in isolation rooms.   Patients who go through the procedure get a sticker, and no one is allowed in the clinic without one. Staff with respiratory symptoms are sent home, and all staff are required to have influenza vaccination.  Sick leave policy is tolerant of respiratory illness.
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