Entries in Risk (5)


Young Cancer Survivors Face Later Health Risks

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- While much progress has been made in the field of cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment as whole, these same trends are not evident in cancer among young adults.

The National Cancer Institute reports survival rates in young adults have not improved significantly over the years, and a new study by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that young adult and adolescent cancer survivors are at higher risk for developing chronic diseases, engaging in risky health behaviors such as smoking and having mental health problems.

The study authors analyzed data from the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a nationwide, ongoing phone survey that monitors risky behaviors and health problems.

They compared data from 4,054 adolescent and young adult survivors with more than 300,000 people who never had cancer and found that more young cancer survivors smoked, were obese, had chronic medical conditions such as hypertension and asthma and also suffered from more mental health problems.

"I think it illustrates that this population, which is already vulnerable because of their prior cancer, is continuing to engage in behaviors that lead to long-term outcomes, which can lead to problems down the road for them," said Dr. Eric Tai, the study's lead author and a medical officer with CDC's Cancer Prevention and Control division.

There is evidence from other studies, the authors wrote, that certain risky behaviors such as smoking and drinking may be linked to an increased risk of secondary cancers later on.

Significantly more young cancer survivors also reported having heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes compared with those with no cancer history. "This is consistent with late effects of cancer treatment, including cardiac and pulmonary complications, among childhood cancer survivors," they said.

Tai added that young survivors struggled much more with their psychological well-being, which suggests they may benefit from counseling and care that revolves around promoting healthy behavior after cancer. They may also benefit from interventions that address their risky behaviors, such as smoking cessation programs.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Daylight Saving Time Increases Heart-Attack Risk, Health Experts Find

Erik Snyder/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Daylight saving time not only affects sleep habits, but it could also have an impact on your heart, according to health experts.

HealthDay reports that heart-attack risk increases after daylight saving time that occurred early Sunday morning.

The Monday and Tuesday after moving the clocks ahead “is associated with a 10 percent increase in the risk of having a heart attack," Martin Young, an associate professor in the cardiovascular disease division at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a university news release. "The opposite is true when falling back in October. This risk decreases by about 10 percent."

The risk peaks on Monday, when most people wake up an hour earlier for work, Young said.

"Exactly why this happens is not known but there are several theories," Young said. "Sleep deprivation, the body's circadian clock and immune responses all can come into play when considering reasons that changing the time by an hour can be detrimental to someone's health."

While the recently released study found an association between sleep loss and heart-attack risk, it failed to provide a cause-and-effect relationship.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hormones and Weight Among Biggest Breast Cancer Risks

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SAN ANTONIO) -- A new report by the Institute of Medicine found that some environmental exposures play a well-established role in elevating breast cancer risk, while others -- such as certain chemicals -- have no impact at all, drawing its conclusions from previous research.

IOM researchers, who presented their findings at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, evaluated the impact of numerous environmental factors on the risk of developing breast cancer and found women could take a few preventive steps to possibly lower their risk. Women could, for example, avoid unnecessary medical tests that involve radiation, skip certain types of post-menopausal hormone replacement therapies, drink alcohol in moderation, exercise and maintain a healthy weight and not smoke.

Ionizing radiation from medical diagnostic tests, estrogen-progestin hormone replacement therapy and being overweight are well-established risk factors uncovered in previous studies, the authors found. For the purposes of their research, they determined environmental factors can be anything not determined by DNA.

But scientific evidence is less conclusive about other environmental factors, such as exposure to the chemicals benzene, 1,3-butadiene and ethylene oxide, found in such common substances as tobacco smoke and gasoline fumes.

"The epidemiologic evidence is more limited, contradictory or absent," they wrote. "Evidence from animal or mechanistic studies sometimes adds support to the epidemiologic evidence or suggests biologic plausibility when human evidence is lacking for a particular factor."

Studies on animals also suggest that chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) "suggest biological plausibility as a hazard," but findings from some other studies are contradictory.

The researchers also found that hair dyes and ionizing radiation from cell phones and other devices did not impact a woman's risk for breast cancer.

Despite their findings, the authors said since exposure varies from woman to woman, so does potential risk. Since much of the data on some of these substances are inconclusive, and exposure does vary so widely, the breast cancer community needs to develop better ways to study the impact of some environmental factors, according to the report.

Experts said while the IOM findings aren't new, they helped highlight how difficult it can be to determine breast cancer risk, since so many factors may play a role. The report, they say, also serves as further evidence that for breast cancer, the environment plays a much bigger role than genetics.

The authors hope their report leads research into a new direction, including a closer look at certain chemical exposures.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Siblings Face High Recurrence Risk for Autism

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(DAVIS, Calif.) -- Infants who have siblings with autism have a three to 10 percent increased risk for autism -- a higher chance than the one percent risk among the general population.  But a new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics now suggests the risk is higher than previously thought.

The study, considered the largest autism study to follow infants for sibling recurrence, found that infants with an older autistic sibling have a near 19 percent risk that they too will develop the disorder.

"We were surprised and distressed to see how high the recurrence risk is," said Sally Ozonoff, professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at the MIND Institute at University of California Davis.

Researchers from 12 different sites across the U.S. and Canada followed 664 infants with at least one older sibling diagnosed with autism.  Within three years, nearly 19 percent of the infants were diagnosed with autism.  Thirty-two percent of those infants who had more than one sibling with autism were also diagnosed with the disorder.

And the risk of autism nearly doubled for male infants, the study found.

Since there are several risk factors for autism that could include genetic markers, an individual family's risk differs, Ozonoff said.

In fact, many parents overestimate the recurrence risk.  Ozonoff said that in her clinic, many parents predict as high as 50 percent likelihood that their subsequent child will have autism.

"For parents, it's awareness and a more accurate estimate," said Ozonoff.

These findings could help parents who may be considering another child understand their overall quantifiable risk of autism recurrence.  But these findings do not mean that every family is at the higher spectrum of risk, Ozonoff said.

Ozonoff said the findings could also change the way pediatricians examine infants with familial risk for autism.

"These children need careful monitoring and special surveillance [more] than what would be done at a well child visit," said Ozonoff.

A closer look at infants at higher risk could lead to earlier detection of autism symptoms, Ozonoff said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Drinking Coffee May Cut a Woman's Stroke Risk, Study Finds

John Foxx/Thinkstock(STOCKHOLM) -- Swedish researchers say women who have at least one cup of coffee each day may reduce their risk of stroke by up to 25 percent.

They add that women who do not drink coffee may be increasing their risk of suffering a stroke.

"Results from our study in women showed that consumption of one to five cups of coffee per day was associated with a 22 to 25 percent lower risk of stroke, compared with consumption of less than one cup a day," said Susana Larsson, the lead researcher from the National Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

In the study, published in Thursday's issue of Stroke, the researchers examined data on 34,670 women, ages 49 to 83.  They found that between 1998 and 2008, 1,680 women suffered a stroke, but coffee drinkers saw a 22-25 percent lower risk.

Investigators in the study theorized that the coffee might reduce inflammation, improve insulin resistance and lessen oxidative stress, causing a decreased risk of stroke.

Critics of the study note that there are too many factors not accounted for and say the link does not provide proof of a causal relationship.

However, the researchers did say that their findings were preliminary and that people should not change their coffee-drinking habits based on the study alone.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio