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An Indonesian woman exhales cigarette smoke into the mouth of a gaunt, naked patient at a Jakarta clinic, where tobacco is openly touted as a cancer cure.
The Western patient is suffering from emphysema, a condition she developed from decades of smoking. Along with cancer and autism, it’s just one of the ailments the Griya Balur clinic claims it can cure with cigarettes.
“I missed this,” says the woman, a regular customer, with an American accent, as Phil Collins?s “I Can Feel It” blares in the background.
Griya Balur would be shut down in many parts of the world, but not in Indonesia, one of the developing-country new frontiers for big tobacco as it seeks to replace its dwindling profits in the health-conscious West.
Long traditions of tobacco use combined with poor regulation and the billions of dollars that flow into government coffers from the tobacco industry mean places like Griya Balur go unchallenged.
Tag Archives | Cancer
Just when you thought that drinking a few glasses of red wine every day was going to prolong your life comes this report in the British Medical Journal that it raises the risk of cancer. From AFP:
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About one in 10 cancers in men and one in 33 in women in western European countries are caused by current and past alcohol consumption, according to a study released on Friday.
For some types of cancer, the rates are significantly higher, it said.
In 2008, for men, 44, 25 and 33 percent of upper digestive track, liver and colon cancers respectively were caused by alcohol in six of the countries examined, the study found.
The countries were Britain, Italy, Spain, Greece, Germany and Denmark.
The study also showed that half of these cancer cases occurred in men who drank more than a recommended daily limit of 24 grammes of alcohol, roughly two small glasses of wine or a pint of beer.
How do you feel about drinking milk with trace radiation from Fukushima’s nuclear disaster, even if our government assures us there’s no health hazard? From US News:
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In an update to its ongoing radiation monitoring following the Fukushima Daiichi reactor crisis in Japan, U.S. government officials announced late Wednesday that milk sampled March 25 in Washington state contained low levels of radiation not likely to cause harm to humans.
In a statement released jointly by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, the two agencies said that their screening of milk from Spokane, Wash., showed levels of iodine-131 that were “more than 5,000 times lower than the Derived Intervention Level” set by the FDA.
The level of iodine-131 found in the Spokane milk is “far below levels of public health concern, including for infants and children,” the FDA and the EPA both said.
Cancer is one of the most difficult foes medical science has ever faced, but a controversial new idea might just show a way to victory. A group of scientists have evidence that cancer might be an evolutionary throwback to our most distant animal ancestor. Astrobiologists Charles Lineweaver of the Australian National University and Paul Davies of Arizona State have proposed that cancerous cells are a so-called "living fossil", the last remnant of a crucial evolutionary juncture some 600 million years ago. It's been proposed before that cancer dates back to the beginning of multi-cellular animals, an evolutionary innovation that required cells to stop replicating whenever they wanted and start coordinating with the rest of the organism. Cancer is what happens when these very ancient controls on cell replication break down, causing runaway cellular replication. But here's where Lineweaver and Davies take the idea a step further - they suggest cancer actually is our earliest animal ancestor. They suggest these organisms were the first to figure out some measure of control over cell replication, but they lacked more precise control over cell growth. This hypothesis, they argue, fits known tumor behavior better than the view that all cancer cells act independently. They point to angiogenesis, in which cancer cells built blood vessel networks to bring nutrients into the tumor, which suggests cooperation amongst the cells...
This may be a breakthrough in the treatment of lung cancer, but it doesn’t mean you should pick up smoking just yet. BBC reports:
French doctors say they have made a significant breakthrough in the treatment of lung cancer.
A medical team at Bobigny hospital in Paris removed a patient’s cancerous growth, and then gave him an artificial airway, or bronchus.
The bronchus was made from reconstituted aorta, the body’s largest artery.
The pioneering treatment in October 2009 avoided the complete removal of the patient’s lung.
In the later stages of lung cancer, only a third of patients survive a year.
The Paris patient, 78, is said be fit and well, some 16 months after surgery.
[Continues at BBC]
Labrador retrievers are known to be trained for many things. They can work as seeing-eye dogs, therapy dogs, sniff for drugs, sniff for bombs, and now, sniff bowel cancer? BBC News reports:
A Labrador retriever has sniffed out bowel cancer in breath and stool samples during a study in Japan.
The research, in the journal Gut, showed the dog was able to identify early stages of the disease.
It has already been suggested that dogs can use their noses to detect skin, bladder, lung, ovarian and breast cancers.
Cancer Research UK said it would be extremely difficult to use dogs for routine cancer testing.
The biology of a tumour is thought to include a distinct smell and a series of studies have used dogs to try to detect it.
[Continues at BBC News]
No doubt conservative Christians are going to make hay with this, claiming they knew it was a sin all along… Amanda Gardner reports on a new study showing that oral sex may be a principal cause of head and neck cancers, in USA Today:
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There’s a worrisome uptick in the incidence of certain head and neck cancers among middle-aged and even younger Americans, and some experts link the trend to a rise in the popularity of oral sex over the past few decades.
That’s because the human papillomavirus (HPV) is a major trigger for these cancers, and HPV can be transmitted through this type of sexual activity.
“It seems like a pretty good link that more sexual activity, particularly oral sex, is associated with increased HPV infection,” said Dr. Greg Hartig, professor of otolaryngology — head and neck surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison.
There is currently no way to know how widespread this kind of chemical contamination is in food. Emily Sohn writes in Discovery News:
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As part of an ongoing investigation into chemicals in our food supply, scientists found extremely high concentrations of a flame-retardant compound in a supermarket sample of brand-name butter.
It is the first documented case of serious contamination in food in the United States with a class of chemicals known as PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers.
Commonly used in furniture and electronics, among other products, PBDEs are known to disrupt hormone function and have been associated with a range of health concerns, including cancer as well as reproductive, developmental, and neurological problems.
Since no federal agencies currently track levels of chemicals like these in food, there is no way to know how widespread this kind of chemical contamination is in butter or other products. But it clearly happens at least sometimes.
Scaremongering to create a worldwide carbon tax? Or is this a reality? From the Daily Mail:
Melting glaciers and ice sheets are releasing cancer-causing pollutants into the air and oceans, scientists say. The long-lasting chemicals get into the food chain and build up in people’s bodies – triggering tumours, heart disease and infertility.
The warning comes in a new international study into the links between climate change and a class of man-made toxins called persistent organic pollutants. The study – due to be published next month – says rising temperatures and more extreme weather are increasing human exposure to pollutants around the world, including in Britain.
Scientists are concerned about Persistent Organic Pollutants, or POPs, because they last decades in the environment and accumulate in body tissue. They include pesticides such as DDT and chemicals called PCBs used in electrical goods.
Donald Cooper, of the United Nations Environment Programme which published the report at the UN climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, said melting glaciers and ice sheets were releasing POPs trapped years ago into the air and seas…
[continues in the Daily Mail]
Basing their findings on research conducted at the University of Manchester’s KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology, professors Rosalie David and visiting Villanova professor Michael Zimmerman assert:
“In an ancient society lacking surgical intervention, evidence of cancer should remain in all cases. The virtual absence of malignancies in mummies must be interpreted as indicating their rarity in antiquity, indicating that cancer causing factors are limited to societies affected by modern industrialization”.
You can read more here
Moving from prehistory to modern times utilizing literary and mummified remains, there is little occurrence or reference to cancer, until the 17th century, where the team found the first reports in scientific literature of operations for breast and other types of cancer.
It has been suggested that the short life span of individuals in antiquity precluded the development of cancer. Although this statistical construct is true, individuals in ancient Egypt and Greece did live long enough to develop such diseases as atherosclerosis, Paget’s disease of bone, and osteoporosis, and, in modern populations, bone tumors primarily affect the young.… Read the rest