- Prostate Cancer Overdiagnosed in U.S.: Study
- U.S. Mental Health Care Gets Low Score
- Diarrhea Kills 2 Million Children Each Year: WHO
- Well-Being Highest in U.S. West: Survey
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Prostate Cancer Overdiagnosed in U.S.: Study
Overdiagnosis of prostate cancer is a problem in the United States, according to a study that found as many as 42 percent of prostate cancer tumors detected through prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening tests are too slow-growing to ever be a threat.
Researchers used three different models to analyze prostate cancer diagnosed in U.S. men ages 54 to 80 between 1985 and 2000. They found that between 23 percent and 42 percent of PSA-detected prostate cancers would otherwise not have been detected in the patient's lifetime, the Associated Press reported.
The study was published online Tuesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Overdiagnosis of prostate cancer is a concern, because detecting an early tumor forces men to decide between watchful waiting, radiation, surgery, or hormone therapy. Some treatments cause side effects such as impotence and incontinence, which means that men with tumors that pose no threat may needlessly suffer treatment-related complications, the AP reported.
The study "reinforces the message that we are overdiagnosing prostate cancer," said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld of the American Cancer Society.
U.S. Mental Health Care Gets Low Score
Mental health care services for adults in the United States received a D in a report card issued Wednesday by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
The advocacy group issued the same grade three years ago and said there hasn't been enough improvement to warrant a better score, CNN reported. In addition, state budget cuts threaten to further reduce mental health care.
"Ironically, state budget cuts occur during a time of economic crisis, when mental health services are needed even more urgently than before," Michael Fitzpatrick, NAMI's executive director, said in a statement. "It's a vicious cycle that can lead to ruin."
Since the last report card, 14 states improved their grade, and 12 states lost ground. Oklahoma improved from a D to a B, while South Carolina had the largest drop, from a B to a D, CNN reported.
About 25 percent of Americans suffer mental illness at some point in their lives, and mental illness is the greatest cause of disability in the United States, according to NAMI.
Diarrhea Kills 2 Million Children Each Year: WHO
Although relatively simple to treat, diarrhea kills almost 2 million children worldwide each year, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.
The agency noted that research into childhood diarrhea has declined since the 1980s, Agence France Presse reported.
"Funds available for research into diarrhea are much lower than those devoted to other diseases that cause comparatively few deaths," the WHO said in a statement.
It's essential that all children with diarrhea have access to treatment consisting of zinc tablets and a mixture called Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS), said Dr. Olivier Fontaine, a WHO medical officer specializing in child health, AFP reported.
"ORS is essentially a pinch of salt and a handful of sugar mixed with clean water," Fontaine explained.
The mixture, which costs about 30 cents per child, has saved about 50 million children over the years, the WHO estimates.
Well-Being Highest in U.S. West: Survey
States in the West tend to have the highest levels of well-being, while those in the South and Midwest tend to have the lowest levels, according to a survey that included more than 350,000 adults.
Utah, Hawaii and Wyoming topped the United States in well-being, while West Virginia, Kentucky and Mississippi were at the bottom, United Press International reported.