April 2007 Archives

UB study: Tonsil removal and breast cancer

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tonsils Women who had their tonsils removed in childhood may be at increased risk of developing pre-menopausal breast cancer, according to University at Buffalo researchers.

Study leader Theodore Brasky said an apparent association may be related to the loss of protective function of the tonsils when they are removed.

Alternatively, tonsils that needed to be removed may have been markers for severe or chronic infections in childhood, and that such infections cause inflammation that may contribute to cancer, Brasky said.

Abortion does not raise breast cancer risk

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breast cancerAbortion and miscarriage do not raise the risk of breast cancer, according to a study published Monday by the US National Cancer Institute in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The 10-year study, performed on a sample of 105,716 US participants, rejects prior studies that suggested a link between prematurely terminated pregnancies and breast cancer.

The subjects were nurses aged 29-46 at the start of the study. They answered questions every two years via anonymous questionnaire about their medical history, including whether they had abortions, miscarriages and breast cancer.

"Among this predominantly pre-menopausal population, neither induced nor spontaneous abortion was associated with the incidence of breast cancer," said the study's authors from Brigham and Women's hospital and Harvard Medical School in the northeastern state of Massachusetts.

DNA Variations Tied to Prostate Cancer Risk

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prostate cancerScientists have pinpointed a set of common variations in human DNA that signal a higher risk for prostate cancer in men who carry them. Some of these variations are more common in African-American men, which may help explain why prostate cancer rates are higher in African Americans than in men of other races.

The findings, published in 3 separate studies, may lead to genetic tests that will help identify those most at risk for the disease. The findings may also help unlock the biological mysteries behind prostate cancer, which could speed up the discovery of new treatments.

The 3 studies focus on DNA variations located on chromosome 8 in some men. The variations may be linked to as many as 68% of prostate cancer cases in African Americans, 60% in Japanese Americans, 46% in Latinos, 45% in native Hawaiians and 32% in whites, the authors of 1 of the studies calculate.

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