Cancer

Racial disparities and early-onset colorectal cancer: A call to action

In the last decade, overall rates of colorectal cancer have been falling among the general population in the US. However, African Americans are more likely to develop colorectal cancer at younger ages, and to die from it. The reasons for this disparity are unclear, but they are rooted in socioeconomic and racial inequities.

Do hair dyes increase cancer risk?

Shinjita Das, MD

Contributor

Many studies have explored the relationship between hair dye use and risk of cancer or cancer-related death, with conflicting findings. In a recent study, researchers analyzed survey data from over 117,000 women collected over several decades regarding hair dye use and overall cancer risk.

More intensive treatment of DCIS reduces the risk of invasive breast cancer

With increased rates of diagnosis of very early breast cancer known as ductal carcinoma in situ, there has been controversy about treatment. A recent study found that having DCIS increased the risk of invasive breast cancer later, and also that women who chose more intensive treatment early were less likely to have invasive breast cancer.

Can I take something to prevent colorectal cancer?

Screening for colorectal cancer can lower mortality, but it varies in effectiveness and is not always possible to perform, so alternatives are needed. Researchers analyzing studies found evidence for regular use of low-dose aspirin, leading the US Preventive Services Task Force to recommend it for some people.

Aspirin and breast cancer risk: How a wonder drug may become more wonderful

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Over the years, the list of aspirin’s potential benefits has grown: a number of studies suggest that taking aspirin regularly can lower the risk of certain types of cancer. Now recent studies suggest that aspirin may also reduce the risk of breast cancer.

New screening guidelines likely to identify more early lung cancers

The US Preventive Services Task Force has updated its lung cancer screening guidelines, to open up the screening to a wider range of people based on their age and smoking history, with the goal of detecting more cancers and reducing deaths.

Can appealing to teenagers’ vanity improve sun-protective behaviors?

Shinjita Das, MD

Contributor

Most people understand the risks of sun exposure, even if they do not regularly wear sunscreen, but getting younger people to pay attention to this concern can be difficult. A study chose a novel approach to this problem by appealing to teenagers’ vanity and focus on their appearance.

Tinted sunscreens: Benefits beyond an attractive glow

Tinted sunscreens offer all the benefits of traditional sun protection products, plus they have added pigments that give them the ability to block visible light, which can also be harmful to the skin.

And now for some good news on health

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Good news on health –– which seems hard to come by right now –– includes declines in the rates of six out of 10 major causes of death in the United States.

More sexual partners, more cancer?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A study of older adults found that those who had had more sexual partners were more likely to have developed cancer, but that does not mean there is a causal connection, and there are many ways that sexual behavior can affect cancer risk.