Herpes zoster vaccine reduces chances of shingles after stem cell transplants
A non-live vaccine against herpes zoster provides good, though partial protection for adults undergoing autologous (using the patient’s own) stem cell transplant for treatment of blood cancers. These people cannot use the usual live vaccine, because of their suppressed immune system.
An industry-funded trial of the vaccine involved 1,846 patients from 28 countries, including the UK. Two doses of the vaccine resulted in a 68% reduction in cases of shingles over 21 months of follow-up. Shin...
Early suppression of male hormones is better than delayed therapy for advanced prostate cancer on balance
Offering early hormone suppression therapy to men with advanced prostate cancer that is causing no symptoms improves outcomes compared with waiting until symptoms of cancer spread arise. Early treatment is associated with 23 to 57 fewer deaths per 1,000 men over five years, depending on the men’s baseline risk. However, this comes with an increased chance of some non-serious side effects.
Hormone suppression works by lowering levels of the male sex hormones that fuel the cancer’s gr...
Exercise training improves physical capacity after lung cancer surgery
People who receive exercise training following surgery for lung cancer can walk about 57 metres further in six minutes than controls who did not exercise. After surgery like thisto remove all or part of a lung, people typically manage about 500 metres in six minutes on the test, and anything above 20 metres is considered a worthwhile improvement. Exercise also increases leg strength and quality of life.
A decline in physical fitness is a common and debilitating effect of lung resection. Exerci...
Virtual reality can help reduce the pain and anxiety of stressful medical procedures for children
Virtual reality shows promise in helping to distract children from self-reported pain and anxiety during medical procedures. Younger children in particular may benefit from the intervention.
This review of seventeen trials looked at virtual reality interventions tested in trials with children receiving treatment for burns, dental and tumour related health needs, and during needle insertion for intravenous access. Results suggested a marked impact on pain and anxiety of children from these immer...
Whole-body MRI scans are as accurate as standard imaging pathways for lung cancer staging
Using whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the initial investigation pathway is as good as standard pathways for detecting metastatic disease in adults with non-small-cell lung cancer. This NIHR-funded study also found that WB-MRI used for diagnosis and staging is quicker, cheaper and requires fewer other investigations than standard pathways.
Although patients reported that having whole-body MRI was a greater burden than standard imaging, they generally preferred whole-body MRI if it...
Whole-body MRI is effective for identifying metastatic disease in colorectal cancer patients
Initial investigation which includes whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is as good as standard pathways for detecting metastatic disease in adults with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer. This NIHR-funded study also found that whole-body MRI reduces the number of investigations needed, the length of the staging process, and costs less than standard pathways.
The treatment options for colorectal cancer depend on the stage of the cancer. For example, if a patient has metastatic disease (s...
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...
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...
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...
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...