Week in Review: May 22

The Week in Review provides an overview of the past week’s top health care content, including industry news and trends, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical Laboratories news, and upcoming events.


Cancer Screening: An Example of When Less Can Be More, Experts Say 

Americans get too many tests to screen for common types of cancer, and the American College of Physicians wants them to stop. New clinical guidelines from the medical group include a litany of statistics that illustrate our obsession with cancer screening. Among them: About 6 in 10 adults submitted to a colonoscopy more often than they needed to. One-third of men who got a PSA test to screen for prostate cancer couldn’t remember being asked by their doctor to do so. And 69% of women who had their cervix removed during a hysterectomy still got tested for cervical cancer. Via LA Times.

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Dense Breasts Are Just One Part Of The Cancer Risk Calculus 

Almost half the states now require doctors to tell women if they have dense breasts because they're at higher risk of breast cancer, and those cancers are harder to find. But not all women with dense breasts have the same risks, a study says. Those differences need to be taken into account when figuring out each woman's risk of breast cancer, the study says, and also weighed against other factors, including family history, age and ethnicity. The researchers looked at the records of 365,426 women who had a normal mammogram, then looked to see which ones were diagnosed with breast cancer within a year — a cancer that may have been missed by the mammogram. Via NPR. 

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Four Cancer Charities Are Accused of Fraud

There were subscriptions to dating websites, meals at Hooters and purchases at Victoria’s Secret — not to mention jet ski joy rides and couples’ cruises to the Caribbean.  All of it was paid for with the nearly $200 million donated to cancer charities, and was enjoyed by the healthy friends and family members of those running the groups, in what government officials said was one of the largest charity fraud cases ever. At the center of the operation was James T. Reynolds Sr., who opened the Cancer Fund of America in 1987. Via NY Times.

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Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome in the U.S. Has Stabilized. Can it Last? 

As U.S. obesity rates have leveled off in recent years, one side benefit appears to be that the prevalence of metabolic syndrome has stabilized as well. About 35% of American adults had metabolic syndrome in 2011-12, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. That was essentially the same as the 36% prevalence in 2007-08, though still higher than the 33% rate seen in 2003-04, according to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Via LA Times.

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Shift Work May Promote Unhealthy Lifestyle 

Shift work may lead to a poor diet and too little exercise, accounting for at least some of the increased health risks seen among people who work changing hours or regular overnights, a new study suggests. Tracking airline employees in Finland, researchers found that people who worked varying shifts and night shifts on the ground consumed more fat and fewer vegetables and fruits than daytime ground personnel and in-flight workers. Via Reuters.

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Study Offers Solution for HER2 Resistance in Breast Cancer 

By targeting the HER2 protein’s ability to transform cells, therapies such as trastuzumab (Herceptin) and pertuzumab (Perjeta) have significantly extended the survival of women with HER2-positive breast cancer. However, major treatment challenges still remain for this breast cancer subtype, according to Ruth Lupu, Ph.D., professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic. Via OncLive.

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Family History Of Breast Cancer Doesn't Affect Chance Of Successful Treatment For Women With Disease, Study Finds

Women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer do not have a reduced chance of successful treatment if they have a family history of the disease, according to a new study. Researchers from the University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust examined the cases of 2,850 women under the age of 41 who were diagnosed with breast cancer and treated in the UK. The Prospective Outcomes in Sporadic versus Hereditary breast cancer (POSH) study found that there were no significant differences in cancer recurrence rates after treatment for women with a history of breast cancer in their family compared with those without. Via Huffington Post UK

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Optimization of Melanoma Treatment Advances Remains a Work in Progress

Immunotherapies and targeted therapies have led to significant strides in the treatment of patients with melanoma. However, determining which therapies are best for which patients and how to treat patients who don’t respond or stop responding to these new therapies is still a challenge. For further insight on optimizing the recent treatment breakthroughs in melanoma, OncLive spoke with Alan Bryce, M.D., medical director of the Genomic Oncology Clinic at Mayo Clinic. Via OncLive.

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Genes Predict Adjuvant Trastuzumab Outcomes in HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

Researchers have taken a first stride toward the goal of developing a gene test that predicts a breast cancer patient’s likelihood of a favorable clinical outcome in response to adjuvant trastuzumab. A massive gene expression profiling analysis of baseline pretreatment tumor specimens obtained from 372 breast cancer patients identified 32 genes that correlated strongly with 5-year relapse-free survival, each with a P value less than .001, Dr. Edith A. Perez reported at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. "We are on our way to developing a predictive test that can define the right treatment for individual patients, and that is very exciting," declared Dr. Perez, deputy director at large of the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center and director of the breast cancer translational genomics program at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. Via OB GYN News.

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Mayo Clinic Hospitals Rated High Performing in All Common Care Categories by U.S. News & World Report

Mayo Clinic Hospitals in Rochester, Minn, and Phoenix earned the top-tier High Performing distinction in all five common care categories in the latest ratings by U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News Best Hospitals for Common Care evaluated how well more than 4,500 hospitals nationwide performed on routine individual procedures and conditions. The five areas of focus are heart bypass surgery, hip replacement, knee replacement, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart failure. Only about 10 percent of the hospitals were rated as high performers in any category. Via Mayo Clinic News Network.

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Kelley Schreiber

Kelley Schreiber is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Medical Laboratories. She is the principle editor and writer of Insights and leads social media and direct marketing strategy. Kelley has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2013. Outside of work, you can find Kelley running, traveling, playing with her new kitten, and exploring new foods.