FTC Warns of Bogus Snake Oil Cancer Cures

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has charged 5 companies with making false and misleading claims about their products ability to cure cancers. They have also reached settlements with 6 additional companies. The FTC has been working in concert with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Canadian authorities to raise public awareness about the bogus cancer cures. hallu forte korektor

Snake Oil Crackdowns was a recent feature on Dr. Val and The Voice of Reason on Revolution Health. Urostream also weighed in with an editorial on the risks of alternative cancer treatments and it envoked a lot of excellent comments on the subject. Hallu Forte

Regarding the FTC crackdown, Lydia Parnes, Director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection stated, hallu forte correcteur

“There is no credible scientific evidence that any of the products marketed by these companies can prevent, cure, or treat cancer of any kind” hallu forte correcteur

As a pharmacist I may be a little more bias of conventional verses alternative treatments. However, alternative treatments are a resonable option if: korektor halluforte

  • They do not cause harm to the patient
  • They make the patient feel better
  • They are used in conjunction with conventional therapy

Having faith in alternative treatments alone is a dangerous venture. Sure, there may be a report of someone’s cancer suddently diappearing because they  ate the bark off of the tree in their yard but it is more of a miracle than a reliable cure. Likewise, you never hear the reports of how many others have died by simply relying on the alternative treatments. Just keep a sense of reality, if the claims sound too good, then it is probably not worth relying on them and risking your health.

Keep an eye out as the 5 unsettled cases are with: Omega Supply, San Diego, Calif.; Native Essence Herb Company, El Prado, N.M.; Daniel Chapter One, Portsmouth, R.I.; Gemtronics, Inc., Franklin, N.C., and Herbs for Cancer, Surprise, Ariz.

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National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, September 2008

Per resolutions of the U.S. Senate and President Bush, September is designated as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. This is the time of year for men to discuss with their physicians the need for prostate cancer screenings, which include a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test and a digital rectal exam (DRE). Women can also take part by encouraging the men in their lives to discuss the need prostate cancer screenings with their physicians.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men. In 2008 a man will get diagnosed with prostate cancer approximately every 3 minutes or 186,320 men per year and 28,660 will die of the disease.

ZERO The Project to End Prostate Cancer has ZERO tolerance for prostate cancer and their goal is to have ZERO prostate cancer deaths. ZERO is marking the month long event by rolling out two new programs: Dash for Dad and Bet Against Prostate Cancer.

You can heck out the Zero website for more information or to find a doctor or cancer center.

In his proclamation President George Bush stated,

“During National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, we remember those who lost the battle against prostate cancer, and we pray for their families and friends. We also remember those living with prostate cancer, celebrate the lives of survivors, and thank all the medical professionals who aid in these victories. By continuing our fight against this disease, we will make our Nation a healthier and more hopeful place.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 2008 as National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. I call upon government officials, businesses, communities, health care professionals, educators, and the people of the United States to reaffirm our Nation’s strong and ongoing commitment to the fight against prostate cancer.”

Join ZERO and help put an end to Prostate Cancer

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Is Home HIV Testing The Answer

Collecting a blood sample at home to be sent to the laboratory for HIV testing may seem a little unusual. However, it could be one solution to help diagnose the 250,000 American’s that are HIV positive but are not aware that they are infected.

Recent data released from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that only 40.4% of U.S. adults aged 18-64 years reported being tested for HIV infection at least one time. The data was analyzed from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) which was conducted during 2006. In September 2006 the CDC recommended that HIV testing be a part of regular medical care for all individuals aged 13-64 years.

“In agreement with the CDC more organizations are recommending routine HIV testing but in reality the numbers of people being tested are not increasing,” said Michael Craycraft R.Ph., President of Home Health Screening, “One factor may be the increasing numbers of uninsured and under-insured individuals. These individuals just are not seeing the health care professionals so that they can be tested. However, more likely is the unfortunate stigma that still surrounds HIV. People are just not willing to go get tested and many health care professionals are not bringing the issue up during visits. The main reasons we started featuring the Home Access Express HIV-1 Test System is so that no matter how often someone sees their health care professional or how hesitant they are to get tested they can order a kit to test for HIV at anytime in the privacy of their own home.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved the home HIV testing kit in 1996. However, according to the NHIS data of those that reported they were tested for HIV in the last 12 months only 4.6% used the home HIV test. In January 2008, the CDC release a consumer update on HIV Home Test Kits. The report reiterates that only one product has been approved for home testing and that it is marketed as either the “Home Access Express HIV-1 Test System” or “Home Access HIV-1 Test System.” These systems require users to collect a few drops of blood, and then mail it to a laboratory for certified laboratory testing.

“In the past the FDA had issued warnings about unapproved home HIV tests that were being sold in the United States and this may have caused consumers to question their value,” said Mr. Craycraft, “However, the FDA cracked down on these distributors and reassured the public of the safety and accuracy of the one FDA-approved home HIV testing system. The public needs to start relying on these tests to protect their health. Plus, the tests are completely anonymous to help those that may still have a stigma about being tested at their doctors office or in a clinic”

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Psychological Health Screening

Have you ever wanted to see how your emotional well-being and current mood has been? The Psychology Resource Information System has recently added a online Brief Psychological Health Index self-assessment test. The test measures two positive mood and three negative mood indicators. The Brief Psychological Health Index is free and anonymous. While it is not designed to diagnose a specific mental illness it does serve as a tool to monitor one’s mood, similar to monitoring one’s blood pressure and it serves as a great educational resource.

The Psychological Resource Information System also has referenced articles about psychological issues and a directory of therapists.

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Your Personal Online Health Fair

With rising health care costs and the increasing numbers of uninsured and under-insured, many Americans are turning to health fairs for their preventive health care needs. However, if you don’t have the time to attend your local health fair then what options do you have? Home Health Screening, LLC has solved that problem by creating an online version of a health fair.

Home Health Screening’s website features FDA-approved home testing kits to screen for a variety of conditions including high cholesterol, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, thyroid conditions, HIV, hepatitis C and hemoglobin A1c for diabetic patients. The site also features a re-usable pad to aid women with their monthly self breast exams. The kits contain all of the supplies needed for the consumer to collect a small sample of blood from a finger-stick and then mail the sample into the laboratories for analysis.

Ideally patients would see their primary care physician for their preventive health care needs. However, a 2005 study, which looked at 2003 data, estimated that sixty-one million, or 35 percent of Americans were uninsured or under-insured. These same individuals were less likely to have access to the preventive care that can end up being a life saver. The online health fair allows those individuals to test themselves, for a variety of conditions, in the privacy of their own home. For others, the tests may be used as add-ons. Perhaps someone would like to test their cholesterol every 3 months instead of the yearly test they receive in the physician’s office. Most of the testing kits are also eligible for reimbursement under flexible health care spending accounts which helps add to their affordability.

The benefits of preventive screenings has been a topic of conversation for several decades. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has been publishing it’s Guide to Clinical Services since 1989 as a way to highlight their recommendations for preventive health care services. This month they updated their recommendations for cholesterol screenings. They now recommend that all men age 35 and older be screened for high cholesterol. In addition, men and women that are at high risk for coronary heart disease should begin cholesterol screenings at 20 years of age. These recommendations highlight the importance of early detection of potentially fatal diseases.

Our ability to treat diseases has greatly evolved. Take HIV for example, with the highly active anti-viral medications now available people are living a longtime with HIV as a chronic disease. Unfortunately, according to the CDC, around 25 percent of those infected aren’t aware that they have the disease and the disease is allowed to fester until symptoms finally present themselves. This same scenario occurs with other diseases such as high cholesterol and cancers. By doing preventive screenings we can catch early warning signs for potential problems down the road.


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A Healthy Gift for Father’s Day

Have you ever considered giving the man in your life a healthy gift for Father’s Day?

A letter recently appeared in the San Bernardino Sun, urging women to talk to the men in their life about getting a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. The test is a well know measure for prostate cancer, a cancer that will be diagnosed in more than 186,000 men in the U.S. in 2008 and a cancer that, if caught early, has an extremely high cure rate. The letter was submitted by an organization called Women Against Prostate Cancer. This grassroots organization consists of women that have been adversely affected by prostate cancer.

PSA Test as a Gift?

Did you know that there are FDA-approved tests that can be used at home for conducting a PSA test? Home PSA Tests come with everything that is needed to collect a small blood sample on a card and then mail the card to the laboratory. The laboratory will then send the results back to you and you can even make a copy to share with your physician. These test can also be purchased as a gift to the man in your life. When the test arrives in the mail you can be right there to be sure the man in your life takes receives PSA test.

What better way to celebrate Father’s Day than giving them a gift that could end up saving their life?

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Home Health Screening for Bladder Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society there will be 68,810 new cases of badder cancer diagnosed in the U.S. in 2008. Bladder cancer affects an average of 1 in 27 men and 1 in 85 women.

Hematuria

Hematuria, blood in the urine, is one of the main signs of bladder cancer. The blood can be detected during a routine urinalysis or via urine dipsticks. The routine screening for hematuria is not currently recommended unless you have risk factors for bladder cancer. However, the key for successful treatment of bladder cancer is early detection so can home screening for bladder cancer be beneficial?

Home Screening for Bladder Cancer?

A study published, in 2006, in the journal Cancer, took a look at that exact issue. The investigators enrolled 1575 men at least 50 years of age or older. At the beginning of the study these men used urine dipsticks to screen their urine at home for blood. They would check their urine for 14 consecutive days and then repeat the process 9 months later. If a single screening tested positive for blood then the men received standard assessment for hematuria by the physicians. Of the men screened, 16.4% had urine test positive for blood and 8.1% were diagnosed with bladder cancer.

Bladder Cancer and Survival

These men diagnosed with bladder cancer were followed for 14 years to take a look at their outcomes. Interestingly, after 14 years, none of the men diagnosed with bladder cancer via the home screenings had died. However, this is in contrast to the death rate of 20.4% for men diagnosed with bladder cancer that did not undergo the screenings. The results of this study indicate that home screening for bladder cancer may be useful in preventing bladder cancer deaths. This may be even more evident in patients at high risk for bladder cancer.

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Baseball and Prostate Cancer Screenings.

What does baseball have to do with prostate cancer?

Having a prostate cancer screening at a baseball venue may seem a little weird. However, recently 500 men lined up at the Milwaukee Brewer’s Miller Park for a prostate cancer screening. A mobile screening RV was set up by the National Prostate Cancer Coalition to provide the screenings. Each participant received a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test and a digital rectal exam (DRE). After the free screening each participant then received two free tickets to an upcoming Brewer’s game.

Disparities in Men’s use of preventive health

We have previously mentioned about disparities in men’s use of colorectal cancer screenings. In fact, compared to women men are less likely to undergo preventive health screenings in general. This kind of free screening, plus the incentive of baseball tickets may just have given some of the men more of a push to go. While the PSA Test is available for use in the privacy of your home there is no way to get the also recommended DRE without going to a doctor or attending one of these valuable events.

One in six men will develop prostate cancer and 1 in 35 men will died from the disease. Fortunately, with the recommended screenings and early detection less and less men will have to die from the most common type of cancer in men.

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Screening Men for Colorectal Cancer

Men are men no matter where you are in the world. The Australian Institute of Health just released their first report on their National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

This program sent out 450,000 feccal occult blood tests (FOBT) to Australians between the ages of 55 and 65. The FOBT, tests for hidden blood in the stool. Since cancerous and pre-cancerous polyps can bleed the tests are used to detect early warning signs of colorectal cancer.

Only 40% of the kits were used in the individuals homes and returned via mail to the laboratory. Nearly 7% of those returned were positive for blood and men were 40% more likely to have positive results than women. This is just in line with men having a higher risk for colorectal cancer than women.

However, 20% more women returned the kits than men. It’s a shame that no matter where you are in the world men seem to be less likely to undergo preventive health screenings than women.

A physician from the University of Toronto added some humor in discussing the recent colorectal cancer screening program in Canada, ColonCancerCheck. Urging to get your butt to the doctor for screening, he highlighted the challenges of chasing your stool around the toilet with a stick to get a sample for the FOBT.

However, some FOBT are a little easier. The EZ Detect Colon Disease Test, simply involves dropping a special tissue in the toilet after 3 consecutive bowel movements and noting any color change to the tissue. A color change indicates the presence of hidden blood. These results can then be shared with you physician. Now, how can we get men to get on board and do something that simple? Well, that’s beyond the scope of this post. But there are simple and cheap options out there to help in your preventive health needs.

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Available Home HIV Tests

The Boston Globe recently published the article, “The go-to person on HIV.” They interviewed Dr. Rochelle Walensky, one of the nation’s top thought-leaders on HIV testing. She pointed out that HIV/AIDS is no longer the death sentence that it was nearly two decades ago and that rather it is, “a chronic, manageable disease.”

The disease is not so manageable in other nations where access to highly-active antiretrovial drugs is limited. Here in the U.S. we are lucky. In a 2006 study, using mathematical models, she estimated that more than 3 millions years of life have been saved in the U.S. due to the availability of the needed drugs.

Unfortunately, in the U.S. the lack of testing is the biggest obstacle. However, why is the testing such an obstacle? Sure in some social-economical classes the cost of testing may present an obstacle. However, for the masses the testing is not only affordable but readily available.

There is one FDA-approved manufacturer of home HIV testing kits. Made by Home Access, these kits are available at local pharmacies and may be purchased anonymously on-line via merchants such as Home Health Screening, LLC at www.homehealthscreening.com. While the FDA has warned of the use of unapproved kits, the kits by Home Access are approved and provided for rapidly returned results via enclosed Federal Express shipping.

The biggest burden may be more due to consumer education and willingness for testing as the tests themselves are readily available.

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