Colorectal Cancer News in Brief: October 23

Briefly: Health care providers are less likely to recommend colorectal cancer screening to their patients with a high school education or less.  IV ibuprofen enhances morphine to control post-operative pain, reducing pain and letting patients use less morphine.

Superspreaders with dirty hands infect large numbers of patients with hospital-borne infections.

The United Ostomy Associations of America has a new video for new and potential ostomates that provides encouragement and support, and CR Magazine’s monthly podcast provides help coping with medical testing stress.

Research Reports

  • According to an analysis of the Health Information National Trend Survey (HINTS) there was a strong association between a health provider recommending colorectal cancer screening and a patient actually being screened.  However, the study also showed that providers were less likely to recommend screening to patients with only a high school education or less.  Income or insurance status didn’t make a difference in whether screening was recommended.  Writing in the October 2009 issue of Cancer Epidemiology,  Jaili Le and colleagues recommended, ” To increase awareness of colorectal cancer risks and the benefit of screening, health care providers need to make a concerted effort to recommend colorectal cancer screening to all relevant patients, regardless of socioeconomic status and other personal characteristics.”
  • A randomized, double-blinded clinical trial comparing two doses of IV ibuprofen to a placebo in addition to morphine to control post-operative pain found that 800 mg of IV ibuprofen every 6 hours after surgery decreased the amount of morphine patients used and significantly decreased pain at rest and during movement.  Patients in the study used patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pumps to administer morphine.  400 mg of ibuprofen reduced pain, but didn’t decrease morphine use.  Patients who got ibuprofen also had less nausea and fever, although they had more dizziness.  Stephen Southworth, MD, and his team report the full study in the September, 2009 issue of Clinical Therapeutics.

Other Headlines

  • One physical therapist, radiology technician, or other health care professional  who sees many patients just once a day without washing his or her hands can spread hospital infections far more rapidly than a nurse or doctor who sees a limited number or patients several times each day and also neglects handwashing.    In fact, this one “superspreader” can infect more patients alone than if all staff neglected hand hygiene 25 percent of the time.  Laura Temime and her team from France published their analysis in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, online October 19, 2009.
  • A new video from the United Ostomy Associations of America Living with an Ostomy can help patients faced with ostomy surgery cope with their diagnosis and move ahead.  Ostomates talk about their initial fears and all they can do now — working, jogging, swimming, biking, surfing, playing golf, farming, and even doing stand-up comedy, as C3 advocate Brenda Elsagher does.   For many ostomy surgery improved their quality of life, for others it saved their lives.
  • CR Magazine’s monthly podcast has tips for coping with the stress of medical tests.  Oncology social worker and cancer survivor Hester Hill Schnipper suggests being specific with your doctor about how and when you’ll hear results.  Be sure if your doctor will be phoning, that you get a call with either good or worrisome results so you’re not left with more anxiety if you don’t hear from the doctor.  Schnipper also talks about ways of managing MRI claustrophobia.  When you’re worried and waiting for tests, she suggests staying busy, exercising, spending time with friends and family, and indulging in at least one special treat.

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