Sleep problems are highly prevalent in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. This article reviews existing evidence on etiology, associated symptoms, and management of sleep problems associated with chemotherapy treatment during cancer. It also discusses limitations and methodological issues of current research. The existing literature suggests that subjectively and objectively measured sleep problems are the highest during the chemotherapy phase of cancer treatments. A possibly involved mechanism reviewed here includes the rise in the circulating proinflammatory cytokines and the associated disruption in circadian rhythm in the development and maintenance of sleep dysregulation in cancer patients during chemotherapy. Various approaches to the management of sleep problems during chemotherapy are discussed with behavioral intervention showing promise. Exercise, including yoga, also appear to be effective and safe at least for subclinical levels of sleep problems in cancer patients. Numerous challenges are associated with conducting research on sleep in cancer patients during chemotherapy treatments and they are discussed in this review. Dedicated intervention trials, methodologically sound and sufficiently powered, are needed to test current and novel treatments of sleep problems in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. Optimal management of sleep problems in patients with cancer receiving treatment may improve not only the well-being of patients, but also their prognosis given the emerging experimental and clinical evidence suggesting that sleep disruption might adversely impact treatment and recovery from cancer.
cancer; sleep; chemotherapy; intervention; circadian rhythm; cognitive behavioral therapy
The study assessed the effect of smoking on total symptom burden, the sum of 12 common treatment-related side effects, in patients undergoing treatment for cancer using data from private medical oncology practices that were part of the National Cancer Institute's Community Clinical Oncology Program. Smokers had a higher total symptom burden than nonsmokers during cancer treatment, and this persisted at a follow-up 6 months after treatment.
After completing this course, the reader will be able to:
Describe the influence of cigarette smoking on side effects during cancer treatment and following the end of cancer treatment.Identify areas in your practice in which smoking status can be assessed on a regular basis and devise a plan for disseminating cessation information and free cessation aids.
This article is available for continuing medical education credit at CME.TheOncologist.com
Cigarette smoking has long been implicated in cancer development and survival. However, few studies have investigated the impact of smoking on symptom burden in cancer survivors during treatment and at survivorship stage. This study examines the influence of cigarette smoking on side effects among 947 cancer patients during and 6 months following treatment.
Patients diagnosed with cancer and scheduled to receive chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy reported on current smoking status (yes, no) and total symptom burden [the sum of 12 common symptoms (fatigue, hair loss, memory, nausea, depression, sleep, pain, concentration, hot flashes, weight loss, skin problems, and dyspnea) scored on an 11-point scale ranging from 0 = “not present” to 10 = “as bad as you can imagine”] during treatment and at 6-month follow-up. The adjusted mean total symptom burden by smoking status was determined by analysis of covariance controlling for age, gender, race, education, occupation, treatment, cancer site, and Karnofsky performance score.
During treatment, smokers (S) had a significantly higher total symptom burden than nonsmokers (NS) (S = 46.3 vs. NS = 41.2; p < 0.05). At 6-month follow-up, smokers continued to report a higher total symptom burden than nonsmokers (S = 27.7 vs. NS = 21.9; p < 0.05). Participants who quit smoking before treatment levels had a total symptom burden similar to nonsmokers.
Smoking was associated with an increased symptom burden during and following treatments for cancer. Targeted cessation efforts for smokers to decrease symptom burden may limit the likelihood of treatment interruptions and increase quality of life following treatment.
Cancer control; Smoking; Symptom management; Symptom burden
To evaluate the relationship of age with symptoms and interference with daily function and QOL during RT.
A prospective observational study.
A university-based radiation oncology department.
903 cancer patients who received radiation therapy (RT). The mean age was 61 yrs (18-92) and 41% were ≥ 65 yrs.
A symptom inventory was administered pre- and post-RT. Patients rated 10 symptoms and their interference with daily function and QOL on a Likert scale from 0 (not present) to 10 (as bad as possible). A total symptom score was calculated by adding the ratings of individual symptoms. T-tests, Pearson correlation coefficients, and mixed modeling were used to investigate relationships between symptoms and their interference with daily function and QOL.
For older and younger patients, the total symptom score worsened during RT (p's < .001). There were no differences in the change in total symptom burden and interference with QOL between older and younger patients during RT. After RT, although younger patients reported significantly worse pain (p = .03), nausea (p <.01), and sleep disturbance (p <.01), symptom interference with walking was more severe in older patients (p = .01). Mixed modeling showed that older age (p=<.001), time of survey (after RT, p<.001), and age*time interaction (p<.001) increased the likelihood of reporting that symptoms interfered with walking.
The prevalence of symptoms was similar for older and younger patients during RT. Older patients are more likely to report that symptoms interfere with walking after RT.
elderly; cancer; symptoms; radiotherapy
Treatments for breast cancer produce a host of side effects, which can become debilitating. Some cancer treatment-related side effects occur in up to 90% of patients during treatment and can persist for months or years after treatment has ended. As the number of breast cancer survivors steadily increases, the need for cancer control intervention research to alleviate side effects also grows. This review provides a general overview of recent clinical research studies of selected topics in the areas of symptom management for breast cancer with a focus on cognitive difficulties, fatigue, cardiotoxicity, bone loss, insomnia, and cancer pain. We review both pharmacological and behavioral intervention clinical research studies, conducted with breast cancer patients and survivors. Additionally, clinical perspectives on symptom management and recommendations for areas of needed research are provided.
Cancer treatment; Symptom management; Side effects; Interventions; Intervention mechanisms
A cancer diagnosis elicits strong psychophysiological reactions that characterize stress. Stress is experienced by all patients but is usually not discussed during patient-healthcare professional interaction; thus underdiagnosed, very few are referred to support services. The prevalence of CAM use in patients with history of cancer is growing. The purpose of the paper is to review the aspects of cancer-related stress and interventions of commonly used complementary and alternative techniques/products for amelioration of cancer-related stress. Feasibility of intervention of several CAM techniques and products commonly used by cancer patients and survivors has been established in some cancer populations. Efficacy of some CAM techniques and products in reducing stress has been documented as well as stress-related symptoms in patients with cancer such as mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga, Tai Chi Chuan, acupuncture, energy-based techniques, and physical activity. Much of the research limitations include small study samples and variety of intervention length and content. Efficacy and safety of many CAM techniques and some herbs and vitamin B and D supplements need to be confirmed in further studies using scientific methodology. Several complementary and alternative medicine therapies could be integrated into standard cancer care to ameliorate cancer-related stress.
As the number of cancer survivors expands, the need for cancer control and survivorship research becomes increasingly important. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cooperative Groups may offer a viable platform to perform such research. Observational, preventive, and behavioral research can often be performed within the cooperative group setting, especially if resources needed for evaluation are fairly simple, if protocols are easily implemented within the typical clinical setting, and if interventions are well standardized. Some protocols are better suited to cooperative groups than are others, and there are advantages and disadvantages to conducting survivorship research within the cooperative group setting. Behavioral researchers currently involved in cooperative groups, as well as program staff within the NCI, can serve as sources of information for those wishing to pursue symptom management and survivorship studies within the clinical trial setting. The structure of the cooperative groups is currently changing, but going forward, survivorship is bound to be a topic of interest and one that perhaps may be more easily addressed using the proposed more centralized structure.
To identify whether a history of cancer is associated with specific geriatric syndromes in older patients.
Patients and Methods
Using the 2003 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey, we analyzed a national sample of 12,480 community-based elders. Differences in prevalence of geriatric syndromes between those with and without cancer were estimated. Multivariable logistic regressions were used to evaluate whether cancer was independently associated with geriatric syndromes.
Two thousand three hundred forty-nine (18%) reported a history of cancer. Among those with cancer, 60.3% reported one or more geriatric syndromes as compared with 53.2% of those without cancer (P < .001). Those with cancer overall had a statistically significantly higher prevalence of hearing trouble, urinary incontinence, falls, depression, and osteoporosis than those without cancer. Adjusting for possible confounders, those with a history of cancer were more likely to experience depression (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.15; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.30; P = .023), falls (adjusted OR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.04 to 1.32; P = .010), osteoporosis (adjusted OR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.06 to 1.38; P = .004), hearing trouble (adjusted OR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.08 to 1.52; P = .005), and urinary incontinence (adjusted OR, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.20 to 1.69; P < .001). Analysis of specific cancer subtypes showed that lung cancer was associated with vision, hearing, and eating trouble; prostate cancer was associated with incontinence and falls; cervical/uterine cancer was associated with falls and osteoporosis; and colon cancer was associated with depression and osteoporosis.
Elderly patients with cancer experience a higher prevalence of geriatric syndromes than those without cancer. Prospective studies that establish the causal relationships between cancer and geriatric syndromes are necessary.
In many neurodegenerative diseases abnormal concentrations of cytokines and chemokines affect neuronal integrity leading to cognitive impairments; altered levels of these molecules could also play a role in cancer- and cancer-treatment related cognitive difficulties. Patients receiving doxorubicin-based (with cyclophosphamide, or cyclophosphamide plus fluorouracil; AC/CAF) chemotherapy or cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil (CMF) chemotherapy report experiencing cognitive difficulties; because these regimens work by different modes of action, it is possible that they differentially affect cytokine levels.
This secondary study examined the relationships between cytokine levels (i.e., IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1) and type of chemotherapy among 54 early-stage breast cancer patients receiving AC/CAF or CMF. Cytokine levels were assessed at two time-points: prior to on-study chemotherapy cycle 2 (Cycle 2) and after 2 consecutive chemotherapy cycles (prior to on-study cycle 4; Cycle 4).
Analyses of variance using Cycle 2 levels as a covariate (ANCOVA) were used to determine differences between chemotherapy groups. Levels of IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1 increased in the AC/CAF group and decreased in the CMF group; the only significant between-group change was in IL-6 (p<0.05).
These preliminary results suggest that AC/CAF chemotherapy is more cytokine inducing than CMF; future studies should explore the distinct inflammatory responses elicited by different chemotherapy regimens.
chemotherapy; cytokines; cancer; cognitive impairment; immune response
Cancer-related fatigue is the most common side effect reported by cancer patients during and after treatment. Cancer-related fatigue significantly interferes with a patient’s ability to perform activities of daily living and maintain functional independence and quality of life. Cancer-related fatigue can also interfere with a patient’s ability to complete treatments. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of cancer-related fatigue, its pathopsychophysiology, and the role of exercise in the management of this side effect.
Cancer; fatigue; exercise; symptoms
Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) is an integrative medicine mind-body practice with a physical activity component that has positive effects on aerobic capacity, muscular strength, and quality of life among cancer survivors, similar to the effects elicited by other modes of moderate intensity exercise. Inflammatory cytokines, and insulin and insulin-related signaling molecules may contribute to weight gain and affect cancer recurrence rates and survival; exercise can curb cancer- and treatment-related weight gain, increase survival, and reduce levels of insulin and inflammatory cytokines. Despite knowing the beneficial effects of conventional exercise interventions on these mediators, little is known about the physiologic effects of TCC, a mind-body practice with a physical activity component, on these pathways in breast cancer survivors.
We assessed the effects of a 12-week, moderately intense, TCC intervention (n=9) compared to a non-physical activity control (n=10) consisting of psychosocial support therapy (PST) on levels of insulin, IGF-1, IGFBP-1, IGFBP-3 and cytokines IL-6, IL-2, and IFN-γ in breast cancer survivors.
Levels of insulin are significantly different in TCC and PST groups; levels remained stable in the TCC group, but increased in the PST control group (p=0.099). Bivariate analysis revealed novel and significant correlations (all r >0.45, all p≤0.05) of both decreased fat mass and increased fat-free mass with increased IL-6 and decreased IL-2 levels.
This pilot study shows that TCC may be associated with maintenance of insulin levels and changes in cytokine levels that may be important for maintenance of lean body mass in breast cancer survivors.
Tai Chi Chuan; survivorship; weight gain; insulin; cytokines; biomarkers
Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is the most frequently reported side effect of cancer and its treatment. In previous research, Polarity Therapy (PT), an energy therapy, was shown to reduce CRF in patients receiving radiation. This study reports on a small randomized clinical trial designed to collect preliminary data on the efficacy of PT compared with an active control (massage) and passive control (standard care) for CRF among cancer patients receiving radiation therapy.
Forty-five women undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer were randomized to I of 3 weekly treatment conditions. Patients received standard clinical care, 3 modified massages, or 3 PT treatments. CRF and healthrelated quality of life (HRQL) were assessed during baseline and the 3 intervention weeks.
TResults show CRF ratings were reduced after PT. The effect sizes for PT versus modified massage and versus standard care were small when using the primary measure of CRF (Brief Fatigue Inventory) and large when using the secondary measure of CRF (Daily CRF Diaries).The effect size was medium when assessing the benefit of PT on maintaining HRQL compared with standard care with very little difference between the PT and modified massage conditions. Patients’ feedback showed that both the modified massage and PT treatments were deemed useful by radiation patients. Conclusion. The present pilot randomized clinical trial supports previous experimental research showing that PT, a noninvasive and gentle energy therapy, may be effective in controlling CRF. Further confirmatory studies as well as investigations of the possible mechanisms of PT are warranted.
cancer-related fatigue; radiation; Polarity Therapy; massage; quality of life; complementary and integrative medicine
Vitamin D deficiency in the patients treated for breast cancer is associated with numerous adverse effects (bone loss, arthralgia, and falls). The first aim of this study was to assess vitamin D status, determined by 25-OH vitamin D levels, among women diagnosed with breast cancer according to demographic/clinical variables and bone mineral density (BMD). The second aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of daily low-dose and weekly high-dose vitamin D supplementation on 25-OH vitamin D levels. This retrospective study included 224 women diagnosed with stage 0–III breast cancer who received treatment at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Total 25-OH vitamin D levels (D2 + D3) were determined at baseline for all participants. Vitamin D deficiency was defined as a 25-OH vitamin D level < 20 ng/ml, insufficiency as 20–31 ng/ml, and sufficiency as ≥32 ng/ml. BMD was assessed during the period between 3 months before and 6 months following the baseline vitamin D assessment. Based on the participants’ baseline levels, they received either no supplementation, low-dose supplementation (1,000 IU/day), or high-dose supplementation (≥50,000 IU/week), and 25-OH vitamin D was reassessed in the following 8–16 weeks. Approximately 66.5% had deficient/insufficient vitamin D levels at baseline. Deficiency/insufficiency was more common among non-Caucasians, women with later-stage disease, and those who had previously received radiation therapy (P < 0.05). Breast cancer patients with deficient/insufficient 25-OH vitamin D levels had significantly lower lumbar BMD (P = 0.03). Compared to the no-supplementation group, weekly high-dose supplementation significantly increased 25-OH vitamin D levels, while daily low-dose supplementation did not significantly increase levels. Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency were common among women with breast cancer and associated with reduced BMD in the spine. Clinicians should carefully consider vitamin D supplementation regimens when treating vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency in breast cancer patients.
25-OH vitamin D levels; Vitamin D; Bone mineral density; Breast cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common malignancy in older men. With the aging of the population, the number of older men with prostate cancer will grow rapidly. Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is the mainstay of treatment for men with systemic disease and is increasingly utilized as primary therapy or in combination with other therapies for localized disease. Side effects of therapy are multifold and include hot flashes, osteoporosis, and adverse psychological and metabolic effects. Recent research has illustrated that ADT can negatively impact the functional, cognitive, and physical performance of older men. Patients with prostate cancer, despite recurrence of the disease, have a long life expectancy and may be subjected to the side effects of ADT for many years. This review highlights the complications of ADT and approaches to management. We also provide recommendations for assessment and management of ADT complications among the most vulnerable and frail older male patients.
Disability; Geriatric assessment; Prostate cancer; Vulnerable elders; Functional impairment; Androgen deprivation; Quality of life; Complications
Treatments for breast cancer, specifically hormonal therapy, accelerate bone loss (BL) among breast cancer survivors, leading to osteoporosis and an increase in fracture risk. Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) is a moderate form of weight-bearing exercise, equivalent to walking, and it has been shown to improve aerobic capacity and strength among breast cancer survivors and might also be effective in slowing bone loss in breast cancer survivors. This pilot study compared the influence of TCC with that of standard support therapy (ST; exercise control) on BL biomarkers among breast cancer survivors.
Patients and Methods
Randomly assigned breast cancer survivors (N = 16; median age, 53 years; < 30 months after treatment) completed 12 weeks (3 times per week, 60 minutes per session) of TCC or ST. Serum levels of N-telopeptides of type I collagen (NTx), a marker of bone resorption, and bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BSAP), a marker of bone formation, were determined according to enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay at baseline and after the intervention.
Using analysis of covariance, survivors in the TCC group experienced a greater increase in levels of bone formation (BSAP [µg/L]: before, 8.3; after, 10.2; change, 1.9 µg/L and 22.4%), compared with survivors in ST (BSAP [µg/L]: before, 7.6; after, 8.1; change, 0.5 µg/L [6.3%]). Survivors in the TCC group also experienced a significant decrease in bone resorption (NTx [nanomoles bone collagen equivalent; nmBCE]: before, 17.6; after, 11.1; change, −6.5 nmBCE; −36.9%), whereas women in the ST group did not (NTx [nmBCE]: before, 20.8; after, 18.8; change, −2.0 nmBCE; −9.6%).
This pilot study suggests that weight-bearing exercise exerts positive effects on BL, through increased bone formation and decreased bone resorption. Further examinations of the influence of TCC on bone health are warranted.
Given the high incidence and prevalence of cancer in older adults and the anticipated growth of this population over the next few decades, oncologists, geriatricians and primary care providers will be challenged to provide timely and appropriate post-treatment care to a diverse population of older cancer survivors. Few post-treatment epidemiologic or clinical trial studies have investigated the mental, social and physical health issues among older cancer survivors. The behavioral oncology, gerontology, geriatric and psychology literature on cancer survivorship and aging is reviewed. This article highlights several methodological challenges investigators face when conducting epidemiological and cancer clinical trial research with older cancer survivors following treatment. These challenges must be considered and overcome to develop an informative body of scientific knowledge to address the post-treatment health care needs of this growing population. Future research directions, new models of care, and the need for trans-disciplinary approaches are discussed.
Cancer survivorship; aging; elderly; quality of life; well being
During radiation therapy, cancer patients may report cancer-related fatigue (CRF), which impairs aerobic capacity, strength, muscle mass, and, ultimately, quality of life (QOL). The purpose of this pilot clinical trial was to examine the feasibility and initial efficacy of a home-based aerobic and progressive resistance exercise intervention for aerobic capacity, strength, muscle mass, CRF, and QOL. Daily steps walked (DSW), daily minutes of resistance exercise (MRE), and number of resistance exercise days (RED) were assessed to evaluate intervention adherence. Breast and prostate cancer patients (n = 38) beginning radiation therapy were randomized to undergo 4 weeks of exercise or no exercise. Participants in the exercise group demonstrated good adherence to the exercise intervention, with significantly more DSW, MRE, and RED at post intervention and 3 month follow-up than controls. Participants in the exercise intervention exhibited significantly higher QOL and significantly lower CRF post intervention and at 3-month follow-up than controls. Results of this pilot study provide positive preliminary evidence that exercise during radiation may be beneficial for cancer patients.
Men experience a decrease in lean muscle mass and strength during the first year of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). The prevalence of falls and physical and functional impairment in this population have not been well described.
A total of 50 men aged 70 years and older (median 78) receiving ADT for systemic prostate cancer (80% biochemical recurrence) underwent functional and physical assessments. The functional assessments included Katz’s Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Lawton’s Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). Patients completed the Vulnerable Elder’s Survey-13, a short screening tool of self-perceived functional and physical performance ability. Physical performance was assessed using the Short Physical Performance Battery. The history of falls was recorded. Of the 50 patients, 40 underwent follow-up assessment with the same instruments 3 months after the initial assessment.
Of the 50 men, 24% had impairment in the ADLs, 42% had impairment in the IADLs, 56% had abnormal Short Physical Performance Battery findings, and 22% reported falls within the previous 3 months. Within the Short Physical Performance Battery, deficits occurred within all subcomponents (balance, walking, and chair stands). On univariate analysis, age, deficits in ADLs and IADLs, and abnormal cognitive and functional screen findings were associated with an increased risk of abnormal physical performance. ADL deficits, the use of an assistive device, and abnormal functional screen findings were associated with an increased risk of falling.
The results of our study have shown that older men with prostate cancer receiving long-term ADT exhibit significant functional and physical impairment and are at risk of falls that is greater than that for similar-aged cohorts. Careful assessment of the functional and physical deficits in older patients receiving ADT is warranted.
Cancer patients often report impaired sleep quality. Impaired sleep quality may be due to increased levels of sleep-mediating cytokines resulting from cancer treatment. Exercise may have a positive influence on sleep-mediating cytokines, such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), and soluble tumor necrosis factor-alpha receptor (sTNF-R), which may improve sleep quality. This two-arm pilot study compared the influence of a home-based exercise intervention with standard care/control on sleep quality and mediators of sleep. Breast and prostate cancer patients (n = 38) beginning radiation therapy were randomized to a 4-week exercise program or no exercise arm. Global sleep quality, subjective sleep quality, sleep latency, sleep duration, sleep efficiency, sleep disturbances, use of sleep medication, and daytime dysfunction were assessed with the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. IL-6, TNF-α, and sTNF-R were measured before and after intervention. There was a greater improvement in sleep quality in the exercise group from pre- to postintervention, although the difference was not significant. Additionally, there were associations between IL-6 and sleep efficiency and duration, suggesting that regulation of sleep-mediating cytokines by exercise may mediate improvements in sleep-quality components.
Sleep disruption is prevalent in patients with cancer and survivors, but the prevalence of insomnia, a distressing sleep disorder, in these populations has yet to be determined in large-scale studies.
Patients and Methods
A total of 823 patients with cancer receiving chemotherapy (mean age, 58 years; 597 female patients) reported on sleep difficulties in a prospective study.
During day 7 of cycle 1 of chemotherapy, 36.6% (n = 301) of the patients with cancer reported insomnia symptoms, and 43% (n = 362) met the diagnostic criteria for insomnia syndrome. Patients with cancer younger than 58 years were significantly more likely to experience either symptoms of insomnia or insomnia syndrome (χ2 = 13.6; P = .0002). Patients with breast cancer had the highest number of overall insomnia complaints. A significant positive association was found between symptoms of insomnia during cycles 1 and 2 of chemotherapy (ϕ = .62, P < .0001), showing persistence of insomnia during the first two cycles of chemotherapy. Sixty percent of the patient sample reported that their insomnia symptoms remained unchanged from cycle 1 to cycle 2. Those with insomnia complaints had significantly more depression and fatigue than good sleepers (all P < .0001).
The proportions of patients with cancer in this sample reporting symptoms of insomnia and meeting diagnostic criteria for insomnia syndrome during chemotherapy are approximately three times higher than the proportions reported in the general population. Insomnia complaints persist throughout the second chemotherapy cycle for the majority of patients with cancer in this study. Insomnia is prevalent, underrecognized, undermanaged, and understudied among patients with cancer receiving chemotherapy.
Physical activity may play an important role in the rehabilitation of cancer survivors during and following treatment. Current research suggests numerous beneficial outcomes are experienced in cancer survivors undergoing exercise interventions during or following cancer treatment. Exercise not only plays a role in managing side effects but also improves functional capacity and quality of life. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the oncology literature supporting the use of exercise as an effective intervention for improving cancer-related fatigue, other side effects, functional capacity, and quality of life among cancer survivors.
The majority of recent, well-designed studies have shown that long-term cigarette smoking increases colorectal cancer risk, but older studies with shorter durations of exposure often found no association. This study aimed to examine colorectal cancer risk by smoking exposure using data collected in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
This case-control study examined colorectal cancer risk by lifetime smoking history. There were 1,365 patients who visited Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) between 1957 and 1965 diagnosed with primary, incident colorectal cancers that were matched to 4,096 malignancy-free controls on gender and age. Odds ratios were calculated using separate logistic regression models for each smoking exposure, while controlling for other tobacco use, county of residence, race, age, gender, and body mass index (BMI).
The adjusted OR for individuals who reported their greatest level of smoking to be more than 1 pack/day was 0.87 (95% CI=0.67–1.15). Among those who smoked 42 or more years, the adjusted OR was 0.89 (95% CI=0.68–1.15) compared to those who never smoked. For individuals who smoked more than 45 pack-years, the OR was 0.92 (95% CI=0.72–1.19). The results did not differ significantly by gender, although men had considerably greater exposure compared to women. Results also did not differ by colorectal sub-site.
No association was found between long-term cigarette smoking and colorectal cancer risk. These results are in accord with studies that followed cohorts throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Methodological limitations, such as missing data on covariates and the higher incidence of smoking-related illness in a hospital setting, may have contributed to the null results found in this study. Prolonged population exposure to cigarettes and perhaps a changing product may explain why more recent studies have reported a positive association between smoking and colorectal cancer.
colorectal cancer; cigarette smoking; case-control study
A large percentage of the population continues to be exposed to secondhand smoke (SHS). Although studies have consistently linked active smoking to various pregnancy outcomes, results from the few studies examining SHS exposure and pregnancy difficulties have been inconsistent.
Approximately 4,800 women who presented to Roswell Park Cancer Institute between 1982 and 1998 and reported being pregnant at least once were queried about their childhood and adult exposures to SHS using a standardized questionnaire. Women were asked to report on selected prenatal pregnancy outcomes (fetal loss and difficulty becoming pregnant).
Approximately 11.3% of women reported difficulty becoming pregnant, while 32% reported a fetal loss or 12.4% reported multiple fetal losses. Forty percent reported any prenatal pregnancy difficulty (fetal loss and/or difficulty becoming pregnant). SHS exposures from their parents were associated with difficulty becoming pregnant (OR=1.26, 95%CI 1.07–1.48) and lasting > 1 year (OR=1.34, 95%CI 1.12–1.60). Exposure to SHS in both at home during childhood and at the time of survey completion was also associated with fetal loss (OR=1.39, 95%CI 1.17–1.66) and multiple fetal losses (OR=1.62, 95%CI 1.25–2.11). Increasing current daily hours of SHS exposure as an adult was related to the occurrence of both multiple fetal loss and reduced fecundity (ptrend<0.05).
Reports of exposures to SHS during childhood and as an adult were associated with increased odds for prenatal pregnancy difficulties. These findings underscore the public health perspective that all persons, especially women in their reproductive years, should be fully protected from tobacco smoke.
Spontaneous abortion; fertility; tobacco smoke pollution; second hand smoke; fecundity
Cancer patient communication is always embedded in a complex background of inter-related parts, i.e., a system. Cancer patients are specifically exposed to a healthcare system. Considering this context, this article summarizes the insight from a roundtable discussion involving behavioral medicine and oncology experts convened at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine as part of an annual pre-conference course entitled “Interpersonal Communication and Cancer Control: Emerging Themes”. In this paper we summarize the communication-relevant components of healthcare systems, focusing on the macro level. Next, we review existing theoretical frameworks for systems-based communication, the unique aspects of “systems thinking,” and the emerging systems tools that can be integrated in cancer communication. Finally, we propose a research agenda for successful system approaches for patient-centered cancer communication.