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Sugar and Cancer?


Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's Cancer Center Director Lewis Cantley, PhD, has soured on sugar. As he told the New York Times Magazine earlier this year, "Sugar scares me."

Here's the reason behind his fears: He believes that dietary sugar increases insulin resistance and that insulin signaling may be a necessary step in many human cancers, particularly breast and colon cancer.

Lewis Cantley, PhD, Director of the Cancer Center at BIDMC As the leader of one of five scientific "Dream Teams" financed by the national coalition Stand Up To Cancer, Cantley is studying the link between a specific insulin-signaling gene called PI3K and tumor development in breast cancers and other cancers common to women.

Last month, during the taping of an upcoming national television interview about the possible link between sugar and cancer, Cantley said he no longer eats refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup, if he can avoid it. Stay tuned for the broadcast later this year or early next to learn more about this intriguing new scientific theory.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.


Chronic Acid Reflux, Pre-Cancer, and New Treatment


Acid reflux, sometimes referred to as heartburn, is usually easy to treat. But when the condition becomes chronic and traditional treatments fail, rising stomach acid can damage the lining of the esophagus, leading to a pre-cancerous condition called Barrett's Esophagus (BE). As many as 3.3 million adults over the age of 50 are diagnosed with BE each year.

The Center for Advanced Endoscopy at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center became the first in Boston to offer a minimally invasive, outpatient treatment for BE. Radiofrequency Ablation Therapy delivers heat energy in a controlled, precise manner, completely removing the damaged tissue without impacting other structures. Research studies indicate BE patients can be safely cured 90 to 100 percent of the time with this technique.

"The standard of care for Barrett's with low grade dysplasia has now changed from cautious waiting to Radio Frequency (RF) ablation," says Dr. Ram Chuttani, Director of Interventional Gastroenterology at BIDMC. "Also, for many patients with high grade dysplasia in Barrett's, this is now the accepted therapy rather than major surgery."

"Even in some patients with non-dysplastic Barrett's, based on our landmark study with five-year follow-up showing 92 percent cure rate, RF ablation may become an acceptable option," adds Dr. Douglas Pleskow, Co-Director of GI Endoscopy at BIDMC.

To reach the Center for Advanced Endsocopy, call 617-667-4046.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.


Safety Concerns over Newer Forms of the Pill


The Food and Drug Administration will hold a public meeting next month after saying it is "concerned" that a newer generation of birth control pills may raise the risk for serious blood clots more than older forms of the Pill.

The FDA's renewed concern came one day after a study published in the British Medical Journal suggested women taking birth control pills with a newer progestin hormone, called drospirenone, had twice the risk of clots compared to those who took the older form of contraceptive pills.

Contraceptive pills containing drospirenone include Yaz or Yasmin. The review also found that women who take the Ortho Evra patch and the Nuvaring vaginal ring also had higher risk of blood clots.

For now, the FDA is not advising that most women switch to another form of contraception.

"If your birth control pill contains drospirenone, do not stop taking it without first talking to your health care professional," the agency said.

Dr. Allen Hamdan, Clinical Director of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center agrees, but says women should watch for signs of problems.

"Contact your health care professional immediately if you develop any symptoms of blood clots, including persistent leg pain, severe chest pain or sudden shortness of breath," Dr. Hamdan advises.

He also adds that if you smoke and are over 35 years of age, you should not take a combination oral contraceptive.

"Smoking and increased age heighten the risk that you could experience serious cardiovascular events, including blood clots," he notes.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Posted November 2011

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