In research this week Japanese surgeons report very good outcomes when lung tumors from colorectal cancer tumors can be completely removed, colonoscopies done in the morning find more polyps, and high levels of vitamin D in the blood predict better survival after colorectal cancer diagnosis.
US life expectancy reached a record high in 2007 according to the CDC. A veteran treated at the Miami VA Health Center is suing the US government because of HIV infection allegedly contracted during a colonoscopy.
- In a Japanese study, long term outlook was excellent when all lung tumors that had spread from a colorectal cancer were completely removed surgically (R0 resection). Nearly 7 out of 10 patients (67.8 percent) were alive five years later. Almost all (94 percent) of those with a low CEA level less than 5 ng/ml before surgery and no cancer spread from lungs to lymph nodes lived five years. Previous surgery for liver tumors or repeated lung surgeries had no impact on survival. The surgical oncology team led by K. Watanabe reported their results in the British Journal of Surgery, online August 11, 2009.
- Doctors find more polyps (adenomas) when colonoscopies are done in the morning than in the afternoon. In the morning about 30 of every 100 patients had at least one polyp found during their colonoscopy. In the afternoon polyps were only found in 25 of every 100 patients. The adenoma detection rate tended to go down with each hour of the day. Whether or not this is due to physician fatigue or some other factor isn’t yet clear. Madhusudhan R Sanaka MD and the team at the Cleveland Clinic discuss their study in the July 2009 issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.
- Higher levels of vitamin D in the blood led to better survival after colorectal cancer diagnosis. In the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, the 20 percent of patients with the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood after diagnosis had a 50 percent greater chance of not dying of colorectal cancer and a 38 percent better chance of being alive five years after their diagnosis. Kimmie Ng and colleagues in Boston report the results of their work in the British Journal of Cancer online august 18, 2009.
- Life expectancy in the United States reached a record high of almost 78 years (77.9)in 2007 according to the Centers for Disease Control. Over the past ten years US life expectancy has increased 1.4 years. Women live about five years longer then men, with life expectancy of 80.4 years compared to 75.3 for men. Black men had life expectancy of 70 years. About half of all deaths came from cancer or heart disease. Although infant mortality rose in 2007, the rate of increase was not statistically significant. More information is available from the CDC National Center for Health Statistics.
- Army veteran Juan Rivera has filed notice that he is suing the federal government for $20 million. He claims he was infected with HIV during a colonoscopy in May 2008. Equipment used in the exam was allegedly not properly sterilized. In March, the Miami Veterans Administration Health Care System notified over 3,200 patients that tubing used during colonoscopies was rinsed but not disinfected between procedures raising the risk of HIV or hepatitis infection. More details of Rivera’s case were in the Miami Herald on August 19, 2009.