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April 2009 Briefing - Oncology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Oncology for April 2009. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Cancer Society Issues Health Disparities Policy Statement

THURSDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is launching an all-out campaign to eliminate cancer health disparities among Hispanics, blacks, Native Americans, and other minorities, who together will account for more than half of the United States' population by the year 2050, according to a policy statement released during a media telebriefing and published online ahead of print April 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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New Web-based Information Source to Support UK Clinicians

THURSDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- The United Kingdom's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has announced the launch of NHS Evidence, a Web-based evidence resource for clinicians, public health professionals of the National Health Service, and others involved in making patient care decisions. The announcement came in the April 30 issue of The Lancet.

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Aging, Changing Nation Will Affect New Cancer Diagnoses

THURSDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- Demographic changes in which older adults and minorities account for an increasing share of the population are expected to result in a soaring number of cancer cases in the next 20 years, according to a study released during a media telebriefing and published online ahead of print April 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Thromboembolism Linked to Cytotoxic Cancer Treatment

THURSDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- Cisplatin may be more thrombogenic than oxaliplatin in patients with advanced gastroesophageal cancer, and thromboembolism may shorten patients' survival, according to research published online April 27 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Smoking, Hypertension Judged the Leading US Death Risks

THURSDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking and high blood pressure are the leading risk factors contributing to death in the United States, according to a study reported April 28 in PLOS Medicine.

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Estrogen Status Affects Breast Cancer Resistance Mechanisms

THURSDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer cells develop different mechanisms of resistance to compounds such as tamoxifen depending on whether the cells are grown under premenopausal or postmenopausal conditions, researchers report in the May issue of Endocrinology.

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NEJM Commends New Conflict of Interest Proposal

THURSDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- A new proposal to control conflict of interest is notable for its breadth and variety of recommended solutions, according to a Perspective article published online April 29 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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FDA Requires OTC Pain Relievers to Display Warnings

WEDNESDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- Popular over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers and fever medications containing acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) will be required to display prominent warnings about the risks of liver damage and internal bleeding, under a new rule announced April 28 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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Dietary Acrylamide Link to Lung Cancer Studied

WEDNESDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- Higher intake of dietary acrylamide, a probable carcinogen found in heat-treated foods, may be associated with a lower risk of lung cancer in women, according to research published online April 28 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Consider Heart and Bones With Androgen-Deprivation Therapy

WEDNESDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- Androgen-deprivation therapy for men with prostate cancer carries significant risk for cardiovascular and bone-related side effects, as well as for diabetes, according to a review of the medical literature published online April 27 in the journal Cancer.

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Pharmacist Involvement May Decrease Medication Errors

TUESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- Adding a pharmacist to health care teams may significantly decrease patients' risk of adverse drug events and medication errors, according to a report published in the April 27 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. A second study indicates that an interdisciplinary medication reconciliation intervention can also reduce unintentional medication discrepancies with potential for harm.

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Lapatinib Can Be Effective in Relapsed HER+ Breast Cancer

TUESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- Lapatinib is a potentially effective treatment for women with relapsed HER2-positive breast cancer, but one with frequent adverse events, according to a report published online April 27 in The Lancet Oncology.

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Survival Poor in Adults with Rhabdomyosarcoma

TUESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- Adults with rhabdomyosarcoma, though rare, have significantly worse long-term survival than children with the disease, although many of the same factors predict survival in both cases, according to a study published online April 27 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Margins Important After Pancreatic Cancer Surgery

TUESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with pancreatic cancer have better long-term survival after surgery if the resected tumor has a margin clearance of more than 1.5 mm, according to a study published online ahead of print April 27 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Steep Copayments Increase Risk of Non-Adherence

TUESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- In patients who are newly diagnosed with a chronic disease, higher out-of-pocket costs for medications are associated with an increased likelihood of non-treatment, according to a study published in the April 27 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Mesothelioma Deaths Expected to Peak in 2010

MONDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- After decades on the increase, the number of U.S. deaths from malignant mesothelioma should peak next year, according to a statistical analysis published in the April 24 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Hormonal Contraceptive Link to HPV, Cervical Cancer Examined

FRIDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Women using hormonal contraception who tested positive for the human papillomavirus (HPV) are not at increased risk of developing cervical cancer, according to a study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. However, use of depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) is linked with higher risk of oncogenic HPV infection.

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Cervical Cancer Risk Persists After Age 50

FRIDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Women over the age of 50 who have several consecutive negative smear test results are at similar risk of cervical cancer as their younger counterparts with the same test history, according to a study published online April 24 in BMJ.

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Having Health Insurance May Not Improve Mortality Risk

THURSDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- People without health insurance have about the same mortality rate as people with health insurance, according to an observational study published online April 21 in Health Services Research.

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Oral Bisphosphonates Link to Esophageal Cancer Analyzed

WEDNESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Oral bisphosphonate does not appear to increase risk for esophageal cancer, according to analyses of Danish and U.S. data reported by separate researchers in the April 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Stretches Without Health Insurance More Common

WEDNESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Periods of uninsurance have become more common in recent decades, particularly among those with less education, according to research published in the April 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Melanoma Screening Strategies Examined

WEDNESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- In middle-aged and older men, new strategies are needed to foster the early detection and treatment of melanoma, according to two studies published in the April issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids Inhibit Ovarian Cancer Growth

WEDNESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and plant oils inhibit the growth of some ovarian cancer cells, where growth inhibition correlates with changes in the transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) signaling pathway, according to a study in the May issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Radiation Exposure Affects Course of Thyroid Cancer

WEDNESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with thyroid cancer, increased radiation exposure is associated with poorer outcomes, according to a study published in the April issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery.

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Continuity of Care Declining for Medicare Beneficiaries

TUESDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- Medicare beneficiaries in the hospital in 2006 were much less likely to be seen there by a familiar physician than those in the hospital a decade earlier, according to a study reported in the April 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Phenol Peels Show Benefit in Treating Skin Conditions

MONDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- Phenol peels may be effective in treating actinic keratosis and Bowen disease, according to research published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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Antibody Effective Against Pancreatic Cancers in Mice

MONDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- An antibody against the insulin-like growth factor type I receptor (IGF-IR) reduces the growth and survival of pancreatic cancers in mice, according to a study published online April 14 in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

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Minimally Invasive Surgery for Gastric Cancer Effective

MONDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with gastric cancer who undergo laparoscopic surgery have shorter hospital stays, less pain, and fewer complications than patients undergoing open surgery, with similar survival, according to a study published online April 4 in Annals of Surgical Oncology.

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AACR: Genetic Profiling May Optimize Cancer Treatment

MONDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- Testing for genetic variations may allow clinicians to adjust cancer treatments that optimize progression-free survival, according to several studies presented at the 100th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research held from April 18 to 22 in Denver.

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Merchant Compliance Linked to Reduced Teen Smoking

MONDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- Greater merchant compliance with laws restricting the sale of tobacco to underage consumers has helped reduce smoking among adolescents, according to a study published online April 17 in BMC Public Health.

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Neoplasm Death Rates High for Retinoblastoma Survivors

FRIDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- People who have had retinoblastoma, especially the hereditary form of the disease, have a high risk of dying from subsequent malignant neoplasm, according to a study reported April 7 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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New Cancer Drug Gets First Trial in Humans

THURSDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- The first human trial of the experimental cancer drug poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor ABT-888 has successfully demonstrated its inhibitory effect and paved the way for a phase I clinical trial, according to a report published online April 13 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Pelvic Cooling Technique Beneficial in Prostatectomy

THURSDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- Hypothermic nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy is a safe and feasible procedure that results in an earlier return to continence, according to a report published in the April issue of Urology.

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Laser Treatment Effective for Mouth Ulcers

WEDNESDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- Low-power laser treatment is effective in treating or preventing oral mucositis, a painful side effect of radiotherapy, in cancer patients, according to a study published online April 3 in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.

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Antiandrogens Show Potential Against Prostate Cancer

TUESDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- Two compounds that bind to androgen receptors in prostate cancer cells may hold promise as therapies for advanced prostate cancer, according to research published online April 9 in Science.

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Pancreatic Cancer Biomarkers Systematically Examined

MONDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- A compendium of biomarkers for pancreatic cancer has for the first time gathered together information on detection of the disease from multiple sources in a systematic fashion, according to an article published April 7 in PLoS Medicine.

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Model Separates Benign, Malignant Breast Disease

MONDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- A logistic regression model combined with radiologists' assessments is better than either alone in discriminating between benign and malignant mammography findings, according to research published in the April issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

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Intensive Bladder Cancer Care May Not Improve Mortality Risk

MONDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Intensive treatment in early-stage bladder cancer does not appear to affect patient survival or avert major interventions later, according to a study published online April 7 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Blacks Less Likely to Receive Lung Cancer Treatment

MONDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), racial disparities in treatment did not significantly narrow during a recent 12-year period, according to an article published online April 13 in Cancer.

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Drugs Effective in Treating Advanced Prostate Cancer

MONDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Two compounds are effective in treating advanced prostate cancer resistant to first-line treatments, according to research published online April 9 in Science.

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Financial Rewards for Healthy Behavior Can Be Effective

FRIDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Although paying people to engage in healthy behaviors or successfully tackle unhealthy ones can be effective, it may carry unintended consequences, according to an editorial published online April 9 in BMJ.

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Vitamin D Deficiency Common in Breast Cancer Patients

THURSDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- In premenopausal breast cancer patients who are undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy, vitamin D supplementation at even double the current recommended dietary allowance is too low to increase serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) to sufficient levels, according to a report published online ahead of print April 6 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Two Industrial Chemicals Not Implicated in Risk of Cancers

WEDNESDAY, April 8 (HealthDay News) -- In the general population, plasma concentrations of perfluorooctanoate and perfluorooctanesulfonate do not seem to be linked to the risk of several types of cancers, according to research published in the April 15 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Lifestyle Changes Key to Cutting Colorectal Cancer in UK

WEDNESDAY, April 8 (HealthDay News) -- Improved diet, exercise and reduced alcohol consumption could substantially reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer in the United Kingdom by 2024, according to a report released online Feb. 20 in advance of publication in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention.

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Combination Pharmacotherapy Helps Ill Smokers Quit

TUESDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Smokers with medical conditions are significantly more likely to become abstinent with flexibly dosed triple combination pharmacotherapy than with standard-duration nicotine patch therapy. In addition, smokers on pharmacotherapy who are intensively managed may be more likely to quit, according to two studies published in the April 7 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Healthy Seniors Likely to Forgo Colorectal Screening

TUESDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Among older veterans, colorectal cancer screening rates are low among those without comorbidities, suggesting that many healthy older patients with substantial life expectancies are not being screened, according to study findings published in the April 7 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Compassion Fatigue in Cancer Care Poorly Understood

TUESDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Compassion fatigue is a familiar problem for cancer care professionals, yet compassion fatigue is vaguely defined, its effects are not clearly understood and its management is inadequately addressed, researchers report in the March issue of the Journal of Health Psychology.

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Broccoli Sprouts Show Effects Against Helicobacter pylori

TUESDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Consumption of broccoli sprouts may reduce gastric inflammation in individuals with H. pylori infection, according to research published in the April Cancer Prevention Research.

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Home Life and Popular Culture Pose Smoking Risk to Children

TUESDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking remains a serious health risk for children, who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or influenced to take it up themselves by its depiction in popular movies, according to two studies published in the April issue of the journal Pediatrics.

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Age, Disease Stage May Decide Vaginal Cancer Outcome

MONDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- Women treated with laser vaporization for vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia may be at greater risk of recurrence if they are aged 48 or younger or if they were diagnosed with stage III cancer, compared to their older counterparts and those with less advanced disease, according to a study published online March 16 in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.

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Binge Drinking Causes Half of Alcohol-Related Deaths

MONDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- Binge drinking caused an estimated 43,731 (54.9 percent) of the 79,646 alcohol-related deaths each year from 2001 to 2005 in the United States, and is more common among men than women, with whites aged 18 to 34 those most likely to drink in this way, according to a report published in the April 3 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Intensive Dialysis Restores Renal Function in Myeloma

FRIDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- An intensive dialysis regimen can restore renal function in patients with multiple myeloma-induced cast nephropathy, but only when there is effective concurrent chemotherapy, according to research published in the April 1 issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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Light-Sensitive Drug Delivery Under Development

FRIDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- Light-sensitive intelligent materials that can selectively deliver drugs to appropriate sites or in response to changes in the body have been developed but still need improvement, according to a review published online Feb. 13 in Photochemistry and Photobiology.

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Marijuana Active Ingredient Stimulates Cancer Cell Death

FRIDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with the active ingredient of marijuana, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can destroy human and mouse cancer cells by stimulating autophagy, the natural process leading to cell death, according to a report in the April 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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Physician Roles Unclear in Cancer Survivor Care

FRIDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- Cancer survivors, their oncologists and primary care physicians (PCPs) have divergent views of their respective roles in follow-up cancer screening and general health care, potentially leading to gaps or overlaps in care, according to a report published online March 30 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Concurrent Radiation, Chemo Tolerated After Lumpectomy

THURSDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- For women who have undergone lumpectomy, partial breast irradiation (PBI) and chemotherapy can be used concurrently without producing intolerable toxicities, according to a report published online March 30 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Electronic Prescribing Online-Learning Tools Launched

THURSDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. physicians will be able to better evaluate electronic prescribing systems thanks to a new online learning center on ePrescribing launched April 1 by the American Medical Association.

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Survey Looks at Smokers and Health Care Providers

THURSDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- A considerable number of smokers have never discussed smoking with a health care provider, according to the results of a survey from the American Legacy Foundation that was released on April 1.

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Gene Variant Predicts Colon Cancer Mortality in Blacks

THURSDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- A variant of the p53 gene is associated with a higher risk of death in black patients with colorectal cancer compared with white patients, researchers report in the April 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

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Cetuximab Plus Drug Combo Slows Colorectal Cancer

WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- Adding cetuximab to the combination treatment of fluorouracil and leucovorin (FOLFIRI) for the first-line treatment of metastasized colorectal cancer can retard disease progression, according to a report in the April 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Changes Needed in New-Drug Evaluation Process

WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- The evaluation process for new drugs is overdue for an overhaul, which could provide benefits for the public and the pharmaceutical industry, according to a point-counterpoint commentary published online March 31 in BMJ.

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New Health Program Leads to Questions in the UK

WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- A new British program to improve patient choices and competition in the health care marketplace may lead to excess capacity in some areas and instability in others, according to a commentary published online March 31 in BMJ.

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Surgeon Experience Affects Outcomes After Laparoscopy

WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- Among prostate cancer surgery patients, lower recurrence rates have been found among those whose surgeon has performed more laparoscopic prostatectomies than among patients with low-volume surgeons, but the learning curve for laparoscopic prostatectomy is slower than for open surgery, according to a report published online April 1 in The Lancet Oncology.

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Radiation Exposure Linked to Increased Cancer Risk

WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- The cancer risk from computed tomographic (CT) scanning increases incrementally with repeated scans and should be part of the risk-benefit consideration for each patient, according to a report in the April issue of Radiology.

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Physician's Briefing