SKIN CANCER UP IN U.K.; TANNING BEDS to BLAME?
Melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, is now the most common cancer in young British women, the country's leading cancer organization said Wednesday. Skin cancer has overtaken cervical cancer as the top cancer striking women in their 20s, according to the latest data from Cancer Research UK. The trend is particularly worrying since younger people are not generally those most susceptible to melanoma. Rates of skin cancer are typically highest in people over age 75. Experts worry that increasing numbers of younger people being diagnosed with skin cancer could be the start of a dangerous trend. Women in their 20s make up a small percentage of all patients diagnosed with melanoma in Britain, but nearly a third of all cases occur in people younger than 50. Cancer experts attribute the rising number of skin cancer cases largely to the surge in people using tanning salons. "Spending time on sunbeds is just as dangerous as staying out too long in the sun," said Caroline Cerny of Cancer Research UK. In the United States, several states require parental approval before minors can use tanning salons. Wisconsin bans people 16 and under from using tanning beds, and others ban children under 14. At least 29 states have regulations governing minors' use of tanning salons.
Mild flu season is winding down
The waning flu season is turning out to be one of the mildest in years, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One possible explanation: The flu vaccine generally was well-matched to the circulating flu viruses. The CDC compares flu seasons by looking at adult deaths from the flu or pneumonia in 122 cities, and at reports of flu-related deaths in children. Both were down significantly this year compared with the severe 2007-08 season. The flu causes 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths annually, according to official estimates. Figures for this season haven't been released. The elderly, young children and people with chronic illnesses are at greatest risk.
New cancer drugs show promise
Early trials of a new drug for advanced prostate cancer are showing some success, researchers report. Of the first 30 patients treated with MDV3100, 13 showed declines of more than 50 percent in the levels of chemicals in the blood that indicate cancer. However, the tests are only in phase 1 and 2, where drugs are checked for safety, side effects and early indications of effectiveness. The drug still faces a larger phase 3 test of effectiveness. The preliminary findings, by a team led by Charles L. Sawyers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, are to be reported in Friday's online edition of the journal Science. The treatment is for prostate cancer that has metastasized, or spread to other areas.
Compiled from Times wires