Older Men Don't Need Prostate Cancer Screening
Men over age 75 don't need to get screened for prostate cancer, according to newly updated guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. "The time frame is that the benefit, if there is any, from screening, is 10 years," Michael L. LeFevre, a member of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, told HealthDay. "The average life expectancy for men over 75 years is less than 10 years, so screening them can do more harm than good." For the same reason, men under age 75 with serious health problems and a life expectancy of less than 10 years should not get screened either, the task force report said. Prostate cancer affects 1 in every 6 men and is the most common nonskin cancer in the United States. The updated guidelines were published today in Annals of Internal Medicine.
In July, U.S. News's Adam Voiland explored whether some prostate cancer patients can skip hormone therapy. Previously, he explained how to prevent prostate cancer and described the promise of proton beam therapy.
Eating Fish May Help Preserve Memory, Avoid Stroke
Eating nonfried fish may help older people avoid strokes and memory loss, according to a study published today in the journal Neurology. Those who ate broiled or baked tuna or other fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids three or more times a week were less likely to end up with silent brain lesions that can lead to vascular stroke or cognitive decline, WebMD reports. Previous research has shown that fish and fish oil may help ward off stroke, but this study is one of the first to determine how fish affects these brain lesions in healthy, older adults. The researchers performed magnetic resonance imaging scans on the brains of 3,600 adults 65 and older and later did follow-up scans on 2,313 of those people and asked how much fish they regularly consumed. The researchers observed a 26 percent lower risk of silent brain lesions in those who ate nonfried fish and other fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids at least three times per week, compared with study subjects who ate these foods less often.
MRIs and Breast Cancer
Christina Applegate's breast cancer was detected, according to her publicist, using an MRI ordered by the 36-year-old's doctor. That order could prove lifesaving because the cancer was caught early and when it's most likely to be cured, Deborah Kotz reports. The exquisitely sensitive MRI is very good at detecting tumors in young women whose dense breast tissue often hides tumors on mammogram X-rays. But it's very expensive and all-too-frequently detects false abnormalities that necessitate biopsies. For this reason, the test is recommended only for those at increased risk of breast cancer.
Last year, Katherine Hobson explained that women at high risk of breast cancer are advised to get screened using MRIs.
Bike Commuting by the Numbers
Transportation planners in Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands have invested heavily in bicycle paths and lanes, discouraged the use of cars, and gone to great efforts to protect the legal rights and safety of cyclists, Adam Voiland reports. Not surprisingly, bicycle use in these countries is much greater than in the United States. Only 1 percent of trips in the United States are made on a bicycle, compared with 10 percent in Germany, 18 percent in Denmark, and 27 percent in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands and Germany, even when cyclists are disobeying traffic rules, motorists are legally responsible for collisions with children and elderly cyclists. However, bicyclists do have some responsibility. Those who disobey the rules of the road there are more likely to be ticketed that those in the United States.
In June, Voiland reported on comfy new commuter bikes for getting around town.
—January W. Payne