For years now, aspirin has been called the “wonder drug.” What this has meant is that by taking a daily low dosage of aspirin, it has been found that aspirin benefits us as an anti-inflammatory and helps prevent heart disease.
Now it seems after research which took place over four years, Peter Rothwell of the University of Oxford writes in an article published in the Lancet, the medical journal, it has been found that aspirin may slightly reduce the cancer risk by about 20 per cent for colon cancer as well as other cancers such as esophagus cancer, lung cancer, and gastrointestinal cancers.
There may be a drawback for some people though. The daily usage of aspirin can cause stomach bleeding and bleeding in the intestines of some people.
The benefits for women taking a low dose aspirin have not been determined for sure as only a few women were used in the study. It is not known if the risk of breast cancer is reduced. The study was only performed with men who took 75 mg of aspirin a day. Have a conversation with your doctor if you think that you should be taking a low dose of aspirin on a daily basis. The study is not conclusive and this is perhaps the reason why you should speak to your doctor first before beginning to take a baby aspirin everyday for its health benefits.
According to a recent article in the BBC, the latest medical research has finally been able to answer the questions as to why some women do not respond to the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen. This discovery will lead to hope in the women who have breast cancer and are not successfully responding to treatment. This medical research was recently published in the Cancer Research Journal.
Scientists find why tamoxifen fails some breast cancers
“UK scientists say they have discovered why some women fail respond to breast cancer treatment, and it is a gene error they believe they can fix. Tamoxifen is given to most women diagnosed with breast cancer to prevent the cancer returning.
But not all women respond to the drug – experts estimate a third get no benefit. The work in the journal Cancer Research suggests the problem is too much of a gene called FGFR1. This discovery could lead to new treatments for these women as scientists “switch off” the action of FGFR1, enabling Tamoxifen to work.
The team of scientists in the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at The Institute of Cancer Research have already shown this is possible in the lab.
They introduced a drug which “switched off” the action of FGFR1.
Once FGFR1 was stopped, hormone-based treatments like Tamoxifen could get back to work in destroying cancer cells, they found.
The researchers believe this could ultimately help thousands of women each year.
They say one in 10 breast cancer patients has too much of the FGFR1 gene.
Dr Nick Turner, who led the research, said: “Understanding how this gene can cause Tamoxifen resistance reveals a new drug target for treating breast cancers in patients who would otherwise have a poor outcome.
“There are a number of drugs in development that stop FGFR1 working, and clinical studies are investigating whether these drugs work against cancers with too many copies of this gene.
“The next step is to set up a clinical trial to see whether a drug that blocks the action of this gene can counteract hormone therapy resistance in breast cancer patients.
“If these trials confirm our lab work we could be on the verge of a potentially exciting new treatment for breast cancer.” Dr Lesley Walker of Cancer Research UK, the charity which helped fund the work, said: “Cracking the problem of resistance to treatments such as Tamoxifen would be a major advance in treating breast cancer.” Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK affecting more than 45,500 women each year.
Tamoxifen blocks the female sex hormone estrogen that fuels the growth of some breast tumours. ”
Source: BBC News
Weight loss medication in the most recent health news is something known as Orlistat. There are not many prescription based weight loss pills on the market but Orlistat, also known as Xenical is one of the latest. Orlistat has been around for at least a decade and is claimed to promote weight loss by preventing digestion and absorption of fat in the intestine.
All fat when ingested is broken down by an enzyme released from the pancreas. The pancreas releases the enzyme lipase which breaks up the fat which can then be absorbed from the intestine into the body. Orlistat acts by blocking the lipase enzyme so that the fats are not broken down and hence not absorbed. The blockage on the lipase enzyme is not 100% but average about 50%-75%. The unabsorbed fat is then excreted into the stools.
Orlistat has been approved by the FDA for use in North America. There is also a lower dose of the drug available over the counter. The generic brand name sold over the counter is known as Alli and requires no prescription.
For weight loss, Orlistat has to be taken on a daily basis for 2-3 months. However, the pill itself does not always work in all individuals. Physicians recommend that Orlistat must be combined with exercise and a reduced intake of calories for the medication to have the most benefits. If the patient is suffering from weight gain as a result of hormone imbalance, the patient must first stabilize hormone levels and follow a hormone diet which achieve weightloss. The drug is often prescribed for individuals who are moderately obese (BMI > 25 kg/m2).
Studies indicate that the average weight loss with Orlistat after six months averages about 12-15 pounds.
The prescription pill (120mg) is taken three times a day, one hour before each meal.
Because Orlistat inhibits fat absorption, patients taking fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) should not take Orlistat at the same time.
While Orlistat is generally a safe drug it does have a few unpleasant side effects. The most common side effect includes soiling of the underwear. The soiling is from the unabsorbed fat which can occur at any time. Passage of excess gas, loose and oily stools is also common. Some individuals also develop abdominal cramps and bloating. The inability to control bowel movements is also a common complaint. These side effects do not occur in all individuals but when they do occur, they are disturbing. The side effects generally start a few weeks after starting treatment and in a few patients may resolve. However, in the majority of individuals the symptoms will persist as long as the pill is taken. To decrease the side effects, it is recommended that one eat a low fat diet and decrease the dose of Orlistat.
A rare side effect of the drug is the development of kidney stones.
Orlistat is not an inexpensive product. The average cost for 30 pills is about $60-$90. And remember one takes 3 pills a day and so it is an expensive undertaking with no guarantee of any benefit plus a definite chance of developing some type of side effect.
Speak with your physician if you feel you would like to try this medication before you embark on your weight loss program.