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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:14 am 
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Contrary To Parents' Concerns, HPV Vaccine Linked To Less Risky Sexual Behavior

(Reuters Health) - Contrary to concerns that getting vaccinated against human papilloma virus (HPV) will lead young people to have more or riskier sex, a new study in England finds less risky behavior among young women who got the HPV vaccine.

"To my knowledge no studies have shown that HPV vaccination increases risky sexual behavior among young women and some of these studies have shown this (less risky behavior) is also the case outside of the UK," said Dr. Laura Sadler of the University of Manchester, who led the study.

It's possible that getting vaccinated led to better education about sexual health, Sadler and her colleagues write in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care.

Sadler and other experts say it's also possible that young women who are already less likely to take risks are the ones who are more likely to get vaccinated.

HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections and causes the majority of cervical cancers. The virus has also been linked to anal and throat cancers. Two vaccines, Cervarix and Gardasil, are now available that protect against strains of HPV that cause most cervical cancers.

Even though public health officials recommend that girls and young women be vaccinated against HPV, some parents have hesitated, fearing that it could encourage sexual activity or unsafe sex.

For their study, Sadler's team reviewed the medical records of 363 women born in 1990 or later who attended an English clinic. Almost two-thirds of the young women in the group had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Full vaccination requires three vaccine shots.

The researchers compared the womens' histories of behaviors that are risky in themselves or tend to be linked to risky sexual behavior, such as not using condoms, having sex for the first time when they were 15 or younger, having six or more sexual partners and drinking alcohol two or more times a week.

They found five variables related to sexual behavior that were significantly different between women who had been vaccinated and those who hadn't.

Women who were not vaccinated were more likely to have had three sex partners in the last six months, to have attended the clinic with symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease, to have had anal intercourse with their last sexual contact and to have tested positive for Chlamydia (a common sexually transmitted infection) at their clinic visit.

Being vaccinated, in contrast, was associated with less-risky behaviors, such as using condoms.

"In this study, the lower prevalence of some risk outcomes among vaccinated women relative to unvaccinated women may be related to underlying differences in preventive care seeking and preventive health behaviors," said Robert A. Bednarczyk, an assistant professor at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, and who was not involved in the study.

"The women in our study were mainly from the catch-up vaccine program - older teens - and as in the other studies, it shows that among this group, vaccination was taken up by those demonstrating other types of preventive or less risky behaviors," Sadler told Reuters Health by email.

While the findings are encouraging, and consistent with other research demonstrating that HPV vaccination does not lead to riskier behaviors, the study does not demonstrate that vaccination causes less risky behaviors, said Dr. Jessica Kahn, a professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

"One explanation for the findings is that girls who are vaccinated receive education about sexual health and prevention which decreases riskier behaviors," Kahn said in an email.

Another explanation is that girls who practice healthier and less risky behaviors are more likely to receive the vaccine, she noted. "Preventive health behaviors tend to cluster, so it makes sense that girls who practice safer behaviors are more likely to be vaccinated."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/1 ... 71344.html


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:52 pm 
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Asthma combo therapy putting kids at risk

A potent mix of asthma treatments being prescribed by Australian doctors may be putting young lives at risk, medical experts say.

"We are concerned that combination therapy has become almost first-line preventer therapy," said Peter van Asperen, one of the authors of a report on child asthma deaths published in the Medical Journal of Australia on Monday.

"Whereas in fact very few children probably need that level of treatment anyway."

While deaths from asthma are rare, there has been an increase in recent years, says Professor Van Asperen, who is professor of paediatrics respiratory medicine at the University of Sydney.

There are two treatment options for asthma - reliever medications, like beta antagonist or ventolin, which help to open up the airways during an acute episode of wheezing, and preventive medications, which are used on a regular basis.

Of the 20 NSW children aged up to 17 years who died from asthma between 2004 to 2013, 15 of them were on a combination therapy of inhaled corticosteroid (ICSs) and long acting beta-agonist (LABA).

Prof van Asperen argues that doctors are not following guidelines set out in the Australian Asthma Handbook, which does not recommend the use of LABAs for children five years and under because of a lack of evidence in that age group.

Other potential factors contributing to an increased risk of death included asthma medications not being used by parent and children as recommended and health management issues, he said.

"Less than half of these children, who clearly had severe asthma based on their history, had not had a specialist review.

"And over half had had an admission to hospital in the year prior to their death and yet the follow up after that had been pretty ad hoc.

"The danger signs had been ignored and if the management had been a bit better then perhaps the deaths might have been avoidable."

http://www.9news.com.au/health/2015/02/ ... ds-at-risk


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:27 pm 
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Queensland focuses in on forgotten cancers

CANCER Council will today launch the Forgotten Cancers Project in Queensland, giving hope to men and women diagnosed with the State's less common cancers.

Launched by Cancer Council Victoria in 2011, the Forgotten Cancers Project aims to understand the causes of less common and/or under-researched cancers for better outcomes.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said 32 per cent of all cancer deaths in Queensland were attributed to less common cancers.

"Less common cancers cause a large number of annual deaths, despite accounting for only 25 per cent of diagnoses in Queensland each year," Ms Clift said.

"The five most common cancers - breast, bowel, prostate, melanoma and lung - account for 61 per cent of cancer diagnoses in Queensland annually.

"We have considerably improved our understanding of common cancers over the past few years, but the resources available to invest into less common cancers have been more scarce.

"Because a smaller portion of the population are diagnosed with these cancers, large-scale studies to make powerful analyses have been difficult.

"But it's imperative that we fund research into these forgotten cancers - to discover how to prevent them and detect them earlier, and to reduce mortality rates.

"We're proud to be shining a light on these less common cancers, giving Queenslanders the opportunity to share their experience and participate in groundbreaking research for the future."

The Forgotten Cancers Project invites Queenslanders diagnosed with one or more of 15 targeted cancers to complete an online survey, and to give DNA from either saliva or blood samples.

The 15 forgotten cancers are non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukaemia, multiple myeloma, kidney, bladder, stomach, brain, liver, oesophagus, pancreas, uterus, thyroid, gallbladder, small intestine and bone cancer.

"Nationally, the project needs 1000 people with each type of cancer, and a matching number of relatives, to gather sufficient data," Ms Clift said.

"Because these cancers are less common, we need as many people as possible to support this research project and come forward to share information about their diagnoses.

"The 15 targeted cancers have been selected deliberately - some have poor survival rates, and some cancers were selected that may have genetic causes, which would be identified through DNA analysis."

Australians over 18 years of age who have been diagnosed with one or more of the 15 targeted cancers are invited to participate in the Forgotten Cancers study.

If eligible, a nominated family member not affected by the same cancer may also be invited to take part.

More information about The Forgotten Cancers Project is available at forgottencancers.com.au.

http://www.news-mail.com.au/news/queens ... s/2544953/


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:56 am 
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Majority of women support idea of more frequent breast screening for individuals at higher risk of cancer

Most women (85 per cent) would back the idea of more frequent breast screening if they are at higher genetic risk of developing breast cancer, according to research published today by The Breast.

Fewer women (60 per cent) would be happy to be screened less often if they were found to be at lower risk.

More than 940 women from across the UK were asked for their views on the possibility of tailoring breast screening to people's genetic risk in a study funded by Cancer Research UK and The Eve Appeal. Two-thirds (66 per cent) supported the idea of adjusting the frequency of screening on the basis of risk.

The NHS breast screening programme offers routine mammograms based on age, rather than genetic risk. All women between 50 and 70 are invited for screening every three years, and women over 70 can request screening if they wish, because older women are at increased risk of the disease. Women with a strong family history of breast cancer may be offered a different pattern of screening.

Breast screening can help detect cancers early, when treatment is more likely to be effective, and is estimated to save around 1,300 lives from breast cancer in the UK each year.

But as well as picking up cancers that need treating, screening can also detect very slow-growing cancers that would not have been picked up without screening. This means some women are treated unnecessarily for a cancer that would not have caused any problem during their lifetimes.

Dr Susanne Meisel, research psychologist at UCL (University College London), said: "Looking at whether genetic risk could be used to tailor and improve the breast screening programme is still at an early stage, but it's useful to find out now what the public might think about this idea. Our study showed that, overall, women seem to support it.

"It's interesting there was less support for the idea of less frequent screening for people at lower risk of cancer. This could be because many women tend to see screening as beneficial or feel they have a right to screening, or some women might take a 'better safe than sorry' approach to cancer screening which may make them more accepting of potential harm from it."

Women who took part in the study were asked five questions to assess what they believed their risk of developing breast cancer was, and their attitude to genetic testing and using genetic risk to vary screening frequency. Limited information was provided on how a modified screening programme might work, and no information was given on the current screening programme.

Athena Lamnisos, CEO of The Eve Appeal, said: "Women at increased risk of cancer deserve more than the one-size fits all approach. This study shows that women were positive about the idea of adjusting the frequency of mammography screening in line with personal genetic risk. It also shows how critical it is to develop effective communication materials - both for women at high risk and those at lower genetic risk."

Jessica Kirby, senior health information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: "Breast screening saves lives, but it also has risks. One suggestion to try to maximise the benefit and reduce the risk is to tailor screening more effectively to people's risk of breast cancer, but more research is needed to show whether this approach will be effective or possible.

"This interesting study suggests that women are generally positive about the idea of tailoring screening, but in the meantime, it's critical that women are offered proper information about the benefits and risks of screening, and supported to make an informed decision."

http://www.news-medical.net/news/201502 ... ancer.aspx


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