Vitamins, calcium supplements may cut women’s breast cancer risk
WASHINGTON Vitamins and calcium supplements appear to reduce the risk of breast cancer, according to findings presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 101st Annual Meeting 2010, the association announced Sunday.
"It is not an immediate effect. You don’t take a vitamin today and your breast cancer risk is reduced tomorrow," stated Jaime Matta, professor in the Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico. "However, we did see a long-term effect in terms of breast cancer reduction."
Matta said the findings suggest that the calcium supplements are acting to enhance DNA repair capacity, a complex biological process involving more than 200 proteins that, if disrupted, can lead to cancer.
"This process involves at least five separate pathways and is critical for maintaining genomic stability," Matta said. "When the DNA is not repaired, it leads to mutation that leads to cancer."
The study included 268 women with breast cancer and 457 healthy controls. Women were more likely to have breast cancer if they were older, had a family history of breast cancer, had no history of breastfeeding and had lower DNA repair capacity.
Vitamin supplements appeared to reduce the risk of breast cancer by about 30%. Calcium supplements reduced the risk of breast cancer by 40%. After controlling for the level of DNA repair capacity, calcium supplements were no longer as protective, but the link between vitamin supplements and breast cancer reduction remained.
"We’re not talking about mega doses of these vitamins and calcium supplements, so this is definitely one way to reduce risk," Matta said.
CDC: African-Americans, Hispanics experience severe arthritis compared with whites
ATLANTA Arthritis causes more pain and limitations for African-Americans and Hispanics than for whites, according to a study released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
African-Americans were 17% less likely to report having arthritis than whites, and Hispanics were 46% less likely to report the condition than whites, the study said. However, African-Americans and Hispanics with arthritis were almost twice as likely to report severe joint pain and work limitations attributed to their arthritis when compared with whites, the study added.
The study, “Difference in the Prevalence and Impact of Arthritis among Racial/Ethnic Groups,” was published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.
The reason for the racial and ethnic differences, while unknown, may result from a lack of access to health care, language barriers and cultural differences, the report suggested.
“We must address these stark differences in arthritis impact by using what we know,” stated Jennifer Hootman, an epidemiologist for the CDC National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and co-author of the report. “We can educate those with arthritis about increasing physical activity and self-management and reducing obesity, especially those in groups bearing a disproportionate burden from arthritis.”
The data, collected from the CDC National Health Interview Survey, are the first to estimate the national prevalence of arthritis and assess its impact among smaller racial and ethnic groups that are usually grouped together when reporting health statistics.
NACDS emphasizes pharmacy’s role in preventing meth abuse, production
ALEXANDRIA, Va. In a statement to Congress Tuesday, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores emphasized pharmacy’s voluntary and proactive measures to help fight methamphetamine production and abuse, and urged against requiring patients to obtain prescriptions for pseudoephedrine products.
“Our membership remains committed to working with law enforcement to address this ongoing problem in a manner that stops criminal activity while ensuring that legitimate consumers continue to have access to medications for treatment of colds, flu, and allergies,” NACDS stated.
The statement was made in response to the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, which held a hearing Tuesday morning on “The Status of Meth: Oregon’s Experience Making Pseudoephedrine Prescription Only.”
NACDS suggested that a nationwide electronic system to track sales of these products would be more effective at crime-fighting and more patient-friendly than a move to prescription-only status for these products.
Earlier Tuesday morning, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association suggested Congress ought to amend and strengthen the federal Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act by requiring nationwide electronic tracking for all over-the-counter sales of cold-and-allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine.
CHPA president Linda Suydam committed on behalf of industry to fund a national e-tracking system, the system that NACDS is endorsing, and work with the retail community to expand the National Precursor Log Exchange system currently being implemented in eight states that have passed e-tracking legislation.
“We are asking Congress to significantly improve the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act by leveraging cutting-edge technology to block illegal pseudoephedrine sales nationwide,” Suydam stated. “Electronic tracking offers the best solution to reducing methamphetamine labs without imposing a costly and unnecessary prescription mandate. Our goal is to stop illegal pseudoephedrine sales while maintaining important over-the-counter access to the 15 million consumers who rely on these medicines each year.”