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Health briefs: Faulty gene tied to uterine cancer

  • April 12, 2014 - 2:00 PM

faulty gene tied to uterine cancer

Women with a faulty breast cancer gene might face a greater chance of rare but deadly uterine tumors despite having their ovaries removed to lower their main cancer risks, doctors said. A study of nearly 300 women with bad BRCA1 genes found four cases of aggressive uterine cancers years after they had preventive surgery to remove their ovaries. That rate is 26 times greater than expected. “One can happen. Two all of a sudden raises eyebrows,” and four is highly suspicious, said Dr. Noah Kauff of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. His study is the first to make this link. Although it’s not enough evidence to change practice now, doctors say women with these gene mutations should be told of the results and consider having their uterus removed along with their ovaries. Circumcision gains outweigh risks

A review of studies has found that the health benefits of infant male circumcision vastly outweigh the risks involved. The authors of the study, published online in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, conclude that the benefits — among them reduced risks of urinary tract infection, prostate cancer, sexually transmitted diseases and, in female partners, cervical cancer — outweigh the risks of infection or bleeding. One analysis that considered infant urinary tract infections and STDs found that if circumcision rates were decreased to the 10 percent typical in European countries, the additional direct medical costs during 10 years of births would be more than $4.4 billion. “Male circumcision is in principle equivalent to childhood vaccination,” said Brian J. Morris, emeritus professor of medical sciences at the University of Sydney in Australia.

Antidepressants and Pregnancy

A new study adds to the evidence that the use of antidepressants during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of premature birth, though many factors most likely play a role and the relationship is complex. Researchers who reviewed data from 41 studies found no increase in the risk of early birth with the use of antidepressants during the first trimester, a 53 percent higher risk overall and a 96 percent higher risk with antidepressant use late in pregnancy. Depression itself is a risk factor for premature births. Generally, researchers still found a higher, though diminished, risk from taking antidepressants. The review was published in March in PLOS One. Doctors cautioned that the analysis does not mean that pregnant women should avoid these drugs.

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