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NIHR Signal Meaningful increases in physical activity levels after cancer can be sustained for three months or more
People who have had cancer, who are able to keep mobile, can benefit from interventions aimed at increasing physical activity. Being active regularly is already known to improve health and may also reduce the risk of cancer returning and improve life expectancy. This NIHR-funded review looked at what kinds of exercise interventions can lead to behaviour change in adult cancer survivors. Researchers specifically looked at the components that are linked to continued physical activity at least thr...
NIHR Signal One gram a day of omega-3 supplements does not reduce the risk of cancer or cardiovascular disease
A trial of omega-3 fatty acid supplements showed they have little or no effect on the risk of cancer or cardiovascular disease in the general population. The finding contradicts the widespread belief that these supplements at usual doses protect the heart. A large trial of 25,871 men and women in the United States compared the impact of taking about 1g a day of omega-3 fatty acid supplements with placebo on major cardiovascular events and invasive cancer. The results are consistent with a recen...
NIHR Signal Dermoscopy plus visual inspection aids melanoma diagnosis
Dermoscopy, using a relatively cheap handheld magnifying device alongside naked eye observation, is more accurate in the diagnosis of melanoma than visual inspection alone. It can also provide a photographic record which can be used for reference during follow-up. This NIHR-funded review included 104 studies of skin lesions in the dermatology clinic that looked suspicious or were present in those at high risk of developing melanoma. Melanoma is a rare form of skin cancer. Inspection of the lesi...
NIHR Signal Honey may help painful mouth inflammation caused by cancer treatments
Compared to usual care, honey was more likely to reduce moderate or severe pain for patients after radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy treatment. This systematic review looked at trials from around the world comparing different types of honey with other treatments such as chamomile, golden syrup or placebo. The main outcome was the onset of moderately severe oral mucositis as measured by a range of standardised assessment scales. The findings suggest that honey might be useful, although whether t...
NIHR Signal Radiotherapy benefits some men whose prostate cancer has spread to their bones
Adding radiotherapy directed at the prostate to hormone treatment for all men with metastatic prostate cancer makes no difference to overall survival. However, when men with a limited number of metastases confined to the bones of the pelvis and spine are treated with radiotherapy to the prostate, their survival improves. The standard treatment for men with metastatic prostate cancer is anti-androgen hormone therapy, and this is sometimes combined with chemotherapy. Radiotherapy of the prostate ...
NIHR Signal Aspirin did not prevent deaths or disability in healthy older adults
In the ASPREE trial, older adults with no apparent cardiovascular disease who took daily aspirin saw no benefit in terms of reducing the chance of dying or having dementia or disability. Instead, it slightly increased their mortality and bleeding risk - aspirin was associated with an excess of 1.6 deaths per 1,000 people per year. Half of these deaths were due to cancer. Aspirin is an established ‘secondary’ preventative treatment for people who have known cardiovascular disease. Ho...
NIHR Signal The best dose of aspirin for cardiovascular protection may depend on body weight
Low dose aspirin only appears to be effective at preventing stroke or heart attack for people weighing less than 70kg, while higher doses are better for people who weigh over 70kg. Researchers analysed data from 13 trials of aspirin for primary or secondary prevention of cardiovascular events, totalling over 115,000 participants. They found that 75 to 100mg aspirin only benefitted people who weighed less than 70kg, while only those who weighed 70kg or more benefited from doses of 325mg or above...
NIHR Signal Supervised exercise sessions increase physical activity and fitness of cancer survivors
Aerobic exercise and resistance sessions that include supervision help people living with cancer to meet guideline physical activity levels. Common behaviour change techniques that were shown to increase physical activity are goal setting, graded tasks (e.g. increasing exercise duration or intensity over time), and instruction on how to perform particular exercises. This review update looked at the most effective ways to increase and sustain physical activity for 1,372 sedentary adults living w...
NIHR Signal Sodium thiosulfate reduces hearing loss in children treated with chemotherapy
Treatment with sodium thiosulfate alongside cisplatin chemotherapy can reduce hearing loss in children with a liver tumour called hepatoblastoma. The risk of hearing loss was reduced by 48% in children who had the combination treatment compared with those who had cisplatin only. This phase 3 trial involved 109 children with standard-risk hepatoblastoma and tested the addition of sodium thiosulfate six hours after cisplatin treatment. The additional drug caused few major side effects, and there ...
NIHR Signal Factors in men’s choice of active surveillance for low-risk prostate cancer
Many personal, organisational and national factors can help or hinder men from choosing active surveillance over radical treatment when they have low-risk prostate cancer. Men are more likely to adhere to this plan of regular monitoring if they and their families are fully informed and understand that it includes the option of further treatment if necessary. The recent ProtecT trial demonstrated that there was no difference in 10-year survival rates between men with low risk localised prostate ...
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