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July 2007 Briefing - Oncology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Oncology for July 2007. 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.

Caffeine, Exercise Stimulate Death of Sun-Damaged Cells

TUESDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- Caffeine plus exercise synergistically stimulates the death of epithelial cells in mice that have sunburn-like damage due to ultraviolet light, according to a report published July 30 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. More study is needed to determine if the combination has an effect on human actinic keratoses or squamous cell carcinomas, the authors said.

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Magnetic Resonance Superior for Breast Cancer Diagnosis

TUESDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- Magnetic resonance imaging detects occult breast cancer in high-risk women better than mammography or ultrasound but is associated with a higher biopsy rate, according to a study in the August issue of Radiology.

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Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy Unneeded in Most Skin Cancer

MONDAY, July 30 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with high-risk nonmelanoma skin cancer, the yield from sentinel lymph node biopsy may be too low to justify its routine use, according to a small study published in the July issue of Dermatologic Surgery.

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Agent Orange May Boost Hypertension Risk

FRIDAY, July 27 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to the defoliant herbicide Agent Orange during the Vietnam War may be raising blood pressure levels for the aging veterans of that conflict.

More Information - Institute of Medicine

Chemotherapy, Stem Cells Beneficial in Testicular Cancer

FRIDAY, July 27 (HealthDay News) -- Metastatic testicular germ cell tumors may be curable with high-dose chemotherapy plus hematopoietic stem cell rescue, according to a report in the July 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Many Americans Believe Unsubstantiated Cancer Claims

THURSDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) -- Many Americans believe unsubstantiated claims regarding cancer, such as that cell phones can cause cancer, according to the results of a study published online July 27 in Cancer. The study found that members of populations most affected by cancer are among the most likely to believe false claims about the disease.

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Broccoli May Cut Aggressive Prostate Cancer Risk

THURSDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) -- Consumption of cruciferous vegetables is associated with a lower risk of being diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer, according to the results of a prospective study published online July 24 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Vioxx Increases Cardiovascular Events in Cancer Patients

WEDNESDAY, July 25 (HealthDay News) -- Vioxx (rofecoxib), a cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor, increases the risk of adverse cardiovascular events within two weeks of treatment, according to a report in the July 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study authors note that the trial was ended early due to withdrawal of Vioxx from the worldwide market.

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Link Seen Between Low Cholesterol and Cancer

WEDNESDAY, July 25 (HealthDay News) -- Cardiac patients who achieve low LDL levels with statin therapy may have a slightly increased risk of cancer, but the cardiovascular benefits of statin therapy still outweigh the risks, according to study findings published in the July 31 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Editorial - LaRosa
Editorial - DeMaria

Technologist Review Improves Breast Cancer Detection

WEDNESDAY, July 25 (HealthDay News) -- Cancer detection rates improve when mammograms are double screened by technologists in addition to radiologists, according to study findings published online July 24 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The study found that screening specificity decreased slightly with the added screenings.

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Selective and Narrowband UVB Equally Effective for Psoriasis

WEDNESDAY, July 25 (HealthDay News) -- Selective broadband ultraviolet B (UVB) lamps appear to be as effective in their treatment of psoriasis as narrowband UVB lamps and may be less carcinogenic, according to the results of a study published in the July issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

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Surgeon's Skill Linked to Prostate Cancer Recurrence

TUESDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- The chance that a patient's prostate cancer will recur after radical prostatectomy is significantly lower when an experienced surgeon performs the surgery, according to a study published online July 24 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The study also found that a surgeon's degree of success continues to improve through approximately 250 operations.

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Meta-Analyses Often Contain Data-Extraction Errors

TUESDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- A high percentage of meta-analyses based on standardized mean differences may contain data-extraction errors that negate or even reverse their findings, researchers report in the July 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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New Cancer Drugs Improve Breast Cancer Survival

TUESDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- Improving survival for women with metastatic breast cancer in the last decade appears to be related to the introduction of new therapeutic agents, including aromatase inhibitors, docetaxel and trastuzumab, according to the results of a large, population-based study published online July 23 in Cancer.

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Kaposi Sarcoma Lesions Predominately Multiclonal

TUESDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- The majority of Kaposi sarcoma lesions are multiclonal in origin, and disseminated lesions are reactive proliferations rather than true malignancies, according to a report in the July 18 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Editorial

New Protocol Helps Children with Intracranial Ependymoma

TUESDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- In very young children with intracranial ependymoma, a primary postoperative chemotherapy strategy can help avoid or delay the need for radiotherapy that can damage the patients' developing nervous systems. And it can do so without compromising survival, according to study findings published online July 20 in The Lancet Oncology.

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Sperm Banking Underused in Young Male Cancer Patients

TUESDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- Sperm banking is effective for young male cancer patients who need to undergo surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, but it is often underutilized, according to the results of a study published July 23 in Cancer. Although 15 to 30 percent of young male cancer patients will be permanently sterile after treatment, only 18 percent of males under 30 banked sperm prior to treatment.

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Taking Tykerb with Food Boosts Bioavailability, Could Cut Cost

TUESDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- Although the package insert for lapatinib (Tykerb) indicates that this oral targeted therapy for breast cancer should be taken at least an hour before or after food, taking it with food boosts bioavailability and could allow a smaller, less-expensive dose and reduced side effects, according to a commentary in the Aug. 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Residents' Decreased Duty-Hours May Have Downside

MONDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- Most internal medicine faculty members believe that decreased resident duty-hours have had adverse effects on both residents and faculty, according to a report published in the July 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Group Therapy Doesn't Improve Breast Cancer Survival

MONDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- Among women with metastatic breast cancer, participation in weekly group psychotherapy does not prolong survival compared to controls, according to a report published online July 23 in Cancer. However, researchers did find increased survival of women with estrogen receptor-negative tumors who underwent supportive group therapy.

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If Child Has Cancer, Parents Often Unprepared for Death

MONDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians can help parents become intellectually and emotionally aware of a child's impending death from cancer, which may decrease the risk of depression, particularly in fathers, according to a report published online July 20 in The Lancet Oncology.

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Two Drugs Best For Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

FRIDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- Combining fludarabine and cyclophosphamide increases progression-free survival and complete response rates among patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), when compared to treatments with either fludarabine or chlorambucil alone, researchers report in the July 21 issue of The Lancet.

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Protocol Improves Survival in Infants with Leukemia

FRIDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- A new hybrid treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that borrows some elements from the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia may improve survival in infants with the disease, according to new data published in the July 21 issue of The Lancet.

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In-Home Palliative Care for Terminally Ill More Satisfying

FRIDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- A palliative care program for homebound terminally ill patients provides more satisfaction for patients and costs less than standard care by reducing emergency room visits and hospitalizations, according to study findings published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Branch-Duct Pancreatic Tumors Less Likely to Be Malignant

FRIDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs) in the branch ducts of the pancreas are significantly less likely to be malignant than IPMNs arising in the main ducts, according to a report in the July issue of Gastroenterology.

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Poor Prognosis for Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Ureter

THURSDAY, July 19 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the renal pelvis and ureter, fewer than 10 percent survive five years following surgery, according to a report published in the July issue of the Journal of Urology.

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High Levels of Vitamin D Linked to Lower Colon Cancer Risk

THURSDAY, July 19 (HealthDay News) -- High plasma levels of vitamin D are associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer, particularly colon cancer, according to the results of a nested case-control study published in the July 18 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The association was stronger in lean, physically active patients than in sedentary or overweight patients.

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Prostate Cancer Patients May Not Need Digital Rectal Exam

THURSDAY, July 19 (HealthDay News) -- In men who undergo radical treatment for prostate cancer, routine digital rectal examination is usually not necessary because prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests can reliably identify disease recurrence, according to a report published in the July issue of the Journal of Urology.

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β2-Microglobulin Blockade May Inhibit Renal Carcinoma

WEDNESDAY, July 18 (HealthDay News) -- Blocking a subunit of the major histocompatibility complex class I protein may help curb the growth of renal cell carcinomas, according to the results of a study of cultured cells published in the July issue of the Journal of Urology. The protein, β2-microglobulin, appears to promote the growth of renal cell carcinoma cells via a pair of signaling pathways, while anti-β2-microglobulin antibodies can induce apoptosis.

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Human Papillomavirus More Prevalent in Poor Women

WEDNESDAY, July 18 (HealthDay News) -- Compared with women with more resources, low-income American women are at higher risk for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, researchers report in the July issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Healthy Diet Has No Effect on Breast Cancer Recurrence

TUESDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fiber has no effect on breast cancer recurrence or all-cause mortality, according to a report published in the July 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Radiation from Cardiac Scans May Increase Risk of Cancer

TUESDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- Computed tomography coronary angiography (CTCA) scans for coronary artery disease may impart an increased lifetime risk of cancer, according to a report published in the July 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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PSA Can Be Elevated in Prostate Cancer-Free Men

TUESDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- About one in five men with no clinical evidence of prostate cancer have levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) above 2.5 ng/mL and half have a percentage free/total PSA that is less than 25 percent, according to the results of a study in the July issue of the British Journal of Urology.

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FDA OKs Rapid Molecular Test for Sentinel Lymph Nodes

TUESDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a rapid molecular test that can be used to detect breast cancer metastasis in sentinel and other lymph nodes. The GeneSearch BLN (Breast Lymph Node) Assay has a sensitivity and specificity similar to more extensive microscopic examination, which typically takes one to two days.

More Information - FDA
More Information - Veridex

Cranial Irradiation Affects Child's School Performance

TUESDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- Most children who undergo cranial irradiation therapy for the treatment of a brain tumor complete their secondary school education on time, but the treatment adversely affects their grades compared to their healthy counterparts, researchers report in the July 17 issue of Neurology.

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Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma Incidence on the Rise

MONDAY, July 16 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma is on the rise in the United States, but the reason for this escalation is unknown, according to a report in the July issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

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Bladder Cancer Therapy May Lower Disease-Free Survival

FRIDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment of T1 high-grade bladder cancer with potentially bladder-sparing intravesical therapy (IVT), including chemotherapy and immunotherapy before progressing to radical cystectomy, may decrease disease-free survival, according to study findings in the July issue of the British Journal of Urology.

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Herceptin More Cardiotoxic in Sequential Therapy

FRIDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- One in five breast cancer patients who receive trastuzumab sequentially after primary chemotherapy may experience cardiotoxicity, a higher rate than in women treated concurrently, according to a letter published July 5 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Post-Radiation Therapy Skin Lesions Difficult to Diagnose

FRIDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- In breast cancer patients who undergo postoperative radiation therapy and develop vascular proliferations in mammary skin, there may be a significant overlap between atypical vascular lesions and angiosarcoma, according to a report published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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Combination Therapy May Be Better for Colon Cancer

FRIDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- First-line combination therapy with cytotoxic drugs may be better for treatment of most patients with advanced colon cancer but the optimal strategy should be tailored for each patient, according to two reports in the July 14 issue of The Lancet.

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Editorial

Many Factors Contribute to Delay in Child Cancer Diagnosis

THURSDAY, July 12 (HealthDay News) -- There are a number of reasons for delays in the diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancer, including misinterpretation of ambiguous symptoms by patients, parents and physicians, according to a review published online July 9 in Cancer.

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BRCA Mutations Do Not Affect Risk of Breast Cancer Death

WEDNESDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- The presence of a mutation in the BRCA genes has no significant effect on the risk of death from breast cancer in women with invasive breast cancer, according to a study conducted in Israel and published in the July 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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H. pylori May Play Role in Some Cases of Cardia Cancer

WEDNESDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- Although Helicobacter pylori infection is thought to be unrelated to cardia cancer, or possibly to lower the risk of the disease, some cases of cardia cancer appear to be associated with H. pylori-related atrophic gastritis, according to a study in the July issue of Gut.

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FDA Review Suggests Lycopene Doesn't Cut Cancer Risk

WEDNESDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- Scientific studies do not support the claim that tomato and/or lycopene consumption reduces the overall risk of cancer, according to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration evidence-based review published in the July 18 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. However, very limited evidence suggests that there may be an association between tomato consumption and a reduced risk of certain types of cancer, including prostate, ovarian, gastric and pancreatic cancer.

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Editorial - Paul M. Coates
Editorial - Edward Giovannucci

Many Retain Fertility After Ovarian Cancer Treatment

TUESDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- Many women with malignant ovarian germ cell tumors who undergo fertility-sparing surgery and platinum-based chemotherapy can retain reproductive and sexual functioning after treatment, according to a report in the July 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Receptor Plays Role in Pancreatic Cancer Migration

TUESDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- Unlike normal pancreatic tissue, most pancreatic cancers express the RON receptor, and blockade of the receptor can prevent cancer cell invasion and migration and promote cell death, according to the results of an in vitro study published in the July 1 issue of Cancer Research.

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Breast Cancer Diagnosed Later in Blacks Than Whites

TUESDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- Black women are often diagnosed with more-advanced breast cancers than white women, and their tumors are more likely to express Ki-67 and p53, and less likely to have estrogen receptors, according to a report published online July 9 in Cancer.

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Inappropriate PSA Screening Common in VA Hospitals

MONDAY, July 9 (HealthDay News) -- Many physicians do not follow evidence-based guidelines for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening, according to a report in the July 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Smoking in Youth May Increase Breast Cancer Risk

MONDAY, July 9 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking may increase the risk of breast cancer, with the greatest risk associated with smoking from menarche to first childbirth, but declining afterwards, according to a report published in the July 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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Von Hippel-Lindau Disease Linked to Hearing Loss

THURSDAY, July 5 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with von Hippel-Lindau disease, irreversible sensorineural hearing loss associated with endolymphatic sac tumors may occur suddenly or gradually, suggesting a need for early intervention, according to a study published in the July 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Residual Cells Do Not Effect Outcome After Breast Cancer

THURSDAY, July 5 (HealthDay News) -- Residual ductal carcinoma in situ in patients with eradicated invasive breast cancer does not signal a poor outcome, according to a report in the July 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Finasteride Has Minimal Impact on Sexual Function

WEDNESDAY, July 4 (HealthDay News) -- The prostate cancer prevention drug finasteride has only a minor impact on sexual function and the effect diminishes over time, according to study findings published in the July 4 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Liquid-Based Cytology Detects More Cervical Cancer

TUESDAY, July 3 (HealthDay News) -- Liquid-based cytology detects more cervical cancers than conventional cytology in Pap smears and also reduces the percentage of unsatisfactory smears, according to the results of two studies published online June 29 in BMJ.

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Anastrozole After Tamoxifen Improves Cancer Outcomes

TUESDAY, July 3 (HealthDay News) -- Women who have taken tamoxifen for two years as adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer may receive greater clinical benefit if they switch to anastrozole rather than continuing with tamoxifen, researchers report in the July 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Spermicidal May Raise Risk for Sexually Transmitted Disease

TUESDAY, July 3 (HealthDay News) -- The commonly used vaginal spermicide, nonoxynol-9, may facilitate human papillomavirus (HPV) infection while vaginal lubricants containing the polysaccharide carrageenan may help prevent infection, according to the results of a study in mice published in the July issue of Nature Medicine.

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Psychotherapy Improves Survival from Cancer

MONDAY, July 2 (HealthDay News) -- Including inpatient psychotherapeutic support for patients undergoing surgery for gastrointestinal cancer has a significant benefit on long-term survival, researchers report in the July 1 edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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New Treatments for Breast Cancer Also Cost-Effective

MONDAY, July 2 (HealthDay News) -- Two newer adjuvant treatments for breast cancer -- Herceptin (trastuzumab) and the aromatase inhibitor, exemestane -- are cost-effective when compared to other oncology treatments, according to two reports in the Aug. 1 issue of Cancer.

Abstract - Garrison
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Abstract - Mittmann
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Plasma Testosterone Linked to Recurrent Cancer in Women

MONDAY, July 2 (HealthDay News) -- Postmenopausal women with surgically removed but otherwise untreated breast cancer are likely to have a poorer outcome if they are found to have high levels of testosterone, according to study results published in the July 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Lymph Node Biopsies Detect Early Breast Cancer

MONDAY, July 2 (HealthDay News) -- The growing trend of diagnostic use of sentinel lymph node biopsies in community settings correlates with the rising rate of some early-stage metastatic breast cancers, according to the results of a population-based study published online June 27 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Physician's Briefing
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