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American Cancer Society turns 100 as cancer rates fall

The American Cancer Society - one of the nation's best known and influential health advocacy groups - is 100 years old this week. Back in 1913 when it was formed, cancer was a lesser threat for most Americans. The biggest killers then were flu, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and stomach bugs. At a time when average life expectancy was 47, few lived long enough to get cancer. But 15 doctors and businessmen in New York City thought cancer deserved serious attention, so they founded the American Society for the Control of Cancer. The modern name would come 31 years later. The cancer society's rise coincided with the taming of infectious diseases and lengthening life spans. “Cancer is a disease of aging, so as people live longer there will be more cancer,” explained Dr. Michael Kastan, executive director of Duke University's Cancer Institute. Cancer became the nation's No. 2 killer in 1938, a ranking it has held ever since. It also became perhaps the most feared disease - the patient's own cells growing out of control, responding only to brutal treatments: surgery, radiation and poisonous chemicals. The cancer society is credited with being the largest and most visible proponent of research funding, prevention and programs to help house and educate cancer patients. Last year, the organization had revenues of about $925 million. It employs 6,000 and has 3 million volunteers, calling itself the largest voluntary health organization in the nation. “The American Cancer Society really is in a league of its own,” Kastan said. The rate of new cancer cases has been trending downward ever so slightly. Some historical highlights: 1913 - The American Society for the Control of Cancer is founded in New York City. 1944 - The organization is renamed the American Cancer Society. The change is spurred by Mary Lasker, the wife of advertising mogul Albert Lasker. 1946 - A research program is launched, built on $1 million raised by Mary Lasker. A year later, Dr. Sidney Farber of Boston announces the first successful chemotherapy treatment. 1948 - The cancer society pushes the Pap test, which has been credited with driving a 70 percent decline in uterine and cervical cancer. 1964 - Prodded by the cancer society and other groups, U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry issues a report irrefutably linking smoking to cancer. 1971 - The cancer society helps lead passage of the National Cancer Act to ramp up research money. President Nixon declares a national “war on cancer,” which becomes an extended effort derided by some as a “medical Vietnam.” 1976 - The cancer society suggests women 40 and older consider a mammogram if their mother or sisters had breast cancer. 1976 - The cancer society hosts a California event to encourage smokers to quit for the day. A year later, the annual Great American Smokeout is launched nationally. 1988 - Atlanta becomes headquarters for the society. 1997 - The cancer society recommends yearly mammograms for women over 40. 2000 - Dr. Brian Druker of Oregon reports the first success with “targeted” cancer therapy. 2003 - The cancer society stops recommending monthly breast self-exams. But it continues to urge annual mammograms for most women over 40, even after a government task force says most don't need screening until 50. 2012 - The cancer society reports the rate of new cancer cases has been inching down by about half a percent each year since 1999.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/22/american-cancer-society-turns-100-as-us-cancer-rates-fall/

Foster Farms recalls grilled chicken breast strips for containing allergens

SAN FRANCISCO – & California-based chicken producer Foster Farms is recalling about 6,165 pounds of its ready-to-eat grilled chicken breast strips because the strips contain wheat and soy -- known allergens -- which are not listed on the labels of its packages, federal agriculture officials said. The mislabeled packages were discovered when a customer complained, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said in announcing the recall Tuesday. The problem occurred when labels for another chicken product that does not contain wheat or soy were inadvertently used, food safety inspectors and officials at Foster Farms said. There have been no reports of adverse reactions from the sale of the mislabeled products, officials said. The chicken breast strips being recalled were sold in 4.5-pound cases containing 12, 6-ounce trays of “Foster Farms Grilled Chicken Breast Strips Boneless & Skinless With Rib Meat 97% Fat Free,” with an identifying case code of “000606.” The recalled product bears the establishment number “P-20923” inside the USDA mark of inspection and a use-by date of “JUN 22 2013” printed on each tray. They were produced April 23 and were distributed to retailers in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Based in Porterville, Foster Farms is a family-owned company that has been operating since 1939, according to the company's website. In a statement, Fosters Farms spokeswoman Lorna Bush said “food safety is, and always has been, our top priority.”source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/22/foster-farms-recalls-grilled-chicken-breast-strips-for-containing-allergens/

Agent orange exposure linked to life-threatening prostate cancer

The herbicide Agent Orange was heavily used during the Vietnam War era and was often contaminated with dioxin, a dangerous toxin and potential carcinogen. Prior research suggests that exposure to Agent Orange may increase men’s risk of developing prostate cancer, but it is unclear whether it specifically increases their risk of developing lethal forms of the disease…

Vietnam War chemical tied to aggressive prostate cancer risk

Men who were exposed to Agent Orange chemicals used during the Vietnam War are at higher risk for life-threatening prostate cancer than unexposed veterans, researchers have found. What's more, those who served where the herbicide was used were diagnosed with cancer about five years earlier than other men, on average, in the new study. “This is a very, very strong predictor of lethal cancer,” said urologist Dr. Mark Garzotto, who worked on the study at the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Oregon. “If you're a person who's otherwise healthy and you've been exposed to Agent Orange, that has important implications for whether you should be screened or not screened,” he told Reuters Health. But one researcher not involved in the new study said it's hard to take much away from it, given the imprecise way it measured exposure. Agent Orange - named after the giant orange drums in which the chemicals were stored - was used by the U.S. military to destroy foliage, mainly in southern Vietnam. The herbicide was often contaminated with a type of dioxin, a potently carcinogenic chemical. The Vietnam Red Cross Society has estimated that up to one million Vietnamese suffered disabilities or health problems as a result of Agent Orange, including children born with birth defects years after their parents were exposed. Past research has also suggested that U.S. veterans who served where Agent Orange was used are at an increased risk of lymphoma and certain other cancers, including prostate cancer. For the new study, researchers wanted to see whether exposure was more closely linked to slow-growing prostate cancers or aggressive tumors. They analyzed medical records belonging to 2,720 veterans who were referred to the Portland VA for a prostate biopsy. About one in 13 of those men had been exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, according to their VA intake interviews. One third of all men in the study were diagnosed with prostate cancer, about half of which were high-grade cancers - the more aggressive and fast-growing type. When the researchers took men's age, race, weight and family history of cancer into account, they found those with Agent Orange exposure were 52 percent more likely than unexposed men to have any form of prostate cancer. Separating out different types of tumors showed the herbicide was not linked to an increased risk of slower-growing, low-grade cancer. But it was tied to a 75 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer, the study team reported Monday in the journal Cancer. “The increase in the rate of cancers was almost exclusively driven by the potentially lethal cancers,” said Garzotto, also from Oregon Health & Science University. More research is needed to figure out exactly why that is, he said. In the meantime, Garzotto said veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange should discuss that with their doctors. But Dr. Arnold Schecter, from the University of Texas School of Public Health's Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Program in Dallas, said there's a “big problem” with just asking veterans if they were exposed to Agent Orange or served in an area where it was sprayed. “Of those most heavily exposed in the military as best we know, only a relatively small percentage of them had elevated dioxin from Agent Orange in their blood when tested by (the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention),” he told Reuters Health. Schecter said that in Vietnam, people who have high levels of that type of dioxin in their blood live in places where the chemical has become integrated into the food supply - or were sprayed directly with Agent Orange. Another researcher who has studied the effects of Agent Orange agreed that not having blood dioxin levels is a drawback, but said the findings are consistent with past research and general thinking about the chemical. “Almost all studies have implicated that men with Agent Orange (exposure) either have higher-grade prostate cancer or a more aggressive clinical course,” said Dr. Gregory Merrick, head of Wheeling Hospital's Schiffler Cancer Center in West Virginia, who also wasn't involved in the new research. But, he added, as long as men are getting into the VA system and getting regular evaluations and treatment for cancer, Agent Orange exposure “is not a death sentence by any means.”source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/13/vietnam-war-chemical-tied-to-aggressive-prostate-cancer-risk/