ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
ABSTRACT: Appropriate management of pregnant patients who have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease can have a major impact on maternal and infant health. The goals of therapy are to properly manage the pregnancy, treat the maternal HIV infection and minimize the risk of vertical transmission of HIV. Early detection of HIV through aggressive screening programs is necessary to initiate timely therapy. Zidovudine therapy given antepartum and intrapartum to the mother and after birth to the newborn has been shown to decrease the risk of vertical transmission. Evidence suggests that more aggressive antiretroviral therapy for the mother, which allows suppression of viral loads to undetectable levels, may be safe and may provide significant additional benefits. However, treatment needs to be individualized, weighing the possible teratogenic risks against the benefits of decreased transmission. Multiple prospective cohort studies support elective cesarean section as an additional means to decrease vertical transmission, but its role in relation to other therapies has not been determined. As in nonpregnant patients infected with HIV, prevention of opportunistic infections and adequate psychosocial support are essential.
ABSTRACT: Many patients expect to undergo screening tests for cancer. In evaluating screening procedures, physicians must take into account the known effects of lead time, length and screening biases, all of which can result in an overestimation of the benefits of screening. The gold standard by which a screening test is evaluated remains the prospective, randomized controlled trial, demonstrating reduced morbidity and mortality. The magnitude of benefit from screening is best expressed in terms of the number of patients needed to screen. This value ranges from approximately 500 to 1,100 for proven screening interventions. These concepts are illustrated by controversies in current screening recommendations for cancers of the cervix, lung, colon, breast and prostate, which together account for more than 50 percent of cancer deaths in the United States.
Cancer Screening Guidelines - Article
ABSTRACT: Numerous medical organizations have developed cancer screening guidelines. Faced with the broad, and sometimes conflicting, range of recommendations for cancer screening, family physicians must determine the most reasonable and up-to-date method of screening. Major medical organizations have generally achieved consensus on screening guidelines for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer. For breast cancer screening in women ages 50 to 70, clinical breast examination and mammography are generally recommended every one or two years, depending on the medical organization. For cervical cancer screening, most organizations recommend a Papanicolaou test and pelvic examination at least every three years in patients between 20 and 65 years of age. Annual fecal occult blood testing along with flexible sigmoidoscopy at five-year to 10-year intervals is the standard recommendation for colorectal cancer screening in patients older than 50 years. Screening for prostate cancer remains a matter of debate. Some organizations recommend digital rectal examination and a serum prostate-specific antigen test for men older than 50 years, while others do not. In the absence of compelling evidence to indicate a high risk of endometrial cancer, lung cancer, oral cancer and ovarian cancer, almost no medical organizations have developed cancer screening guidelines for these types of cancer.
ABSTRACT: Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is present in 2 to 4 percent of children between 10 and 16 years of age. It is defined as a lateral curvature of the spine greater than 10 degrees accompanied by vertebral rotation. It is thought to be a multigene dominant condition with variable phenotypic expression. Scoliosis can be identified by the Adam's forward bend test during physical examination. Severe pain, a left thoracic curve or an abnormal neurologic examination are red flags that point to a secondary cause for spinal deformity. Specialty consultation and magnetic resonance imaging are needed if red flags are present. Of adolescents diagnosed with scoliosis, only 10 percent have curves that progress and require medical intervention. The main risk factors for curve progression are a large curve magnitude, skeletal immaturity and female gender. The likelihood of curve progression can be estimated by measuring the curve magnitude using the Cobb method on radiographs and by assessing skeletal growth potential using Tanner staging and Risser grading.
New Tests for Cervical Cancer Screening - Article
ABSTRACT: The Papanicolaou (Pap) smear has been used to screen women for cervical cancer since 1940. Recently, a number of new technologies have been developed to improve the detection of cervical cancer and its precursors. However, there is substantial controversy about whether the new tests offer meaningful advantages over the conventional Pap smear. Ideally, these new tests will increase the early detection of meaningful Pap smear abnormalities, reduce the number of unsatisfactory smears and provide fewer ambiguous results. It is also hoped that these new screening methods will not increase the number of false-positive results, but will improve the productivity of cytology laboratories without substantially increasing costs. The new tests include liquid-based/thin-layer preparations to improve the quality and adequacy of the Pap smear; computer-assisted screening methods to improve Pap smear interpretation; and new-generation human papillomavirus testing methods that may be useful in triaging patients with atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance or low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions. Evidence on these new tests is reviewed and the advantages and disadvantages of their use are discussed.
ABSTRACT: The family physician's holistic approach to patients forms the basis of good health care for adults with Down syndrome. Patients with Down syndrome are likely to have a variety of illnesses, including thyroid disease, diabetes, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, hearing loss, atlantoaxial subluxation and Alzheimer's disease. In addition to routine health screening, patients with Down syndrome should be screened for sleep apnea, hypothyroidism, signs and symptoms of spinal cord compression and dementia. Patients with Down syndrome may have an unusual presentation of an ordinary illness or condition, and behavior changes or a loss of function may be the only indication of medical illnesses. Plans for long-term living arrangements, estate planning and custody arrangements should be discussed with the parents or guardians. Because of improvements in health care and better education, and because more people with this condition are being raised at home, most adults with Down syndrome can expect to function well enough to live in a group home and hold a meaningful job.
ABSTRACT: Alcoholism is one of the most common psychiatric disorders with a prevalence of 8 to 14 percent. This heritable disease is frequently accompanied by other substance abuse disorders (particularly nicotine), anxiety and mood disorders, and antisocial personality disorder. Although associated with considerable morbidity and mortality, alcoholism often goes unrecognized in a clinical or primary health care setting. Several brief screening instruments are available to quickly identify problem drinking, often a pre-alcoholism condition. Problem drinking can be successfully treated with brief intervention by primary care physicians. Alcohol addiction is a lifelong disease with a relapsing, remitting course. Because of the potentially serious implications of the diagnosis, assessment for alcoholism should be detailed. Alcoholism is treated by a variety of psychosocial methods with or without newly developed pharmacotherapies that improve relapse rates. Screening for problem drinking and alcoholism needs to become an integral part of the routine health screening questionnaire for adolescents and all adults, particularly women of child-bearing age, because of the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome.
Assessing Oral Malignancies - Article
ABSTRACT: Oral cancers account for approximately 3 percent of all cases of cancer in the United States. An estimated 30,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, and about one half of them will eventually die of the disease. The most common type of oral cancer is squamous cell carcinoma. Sixty percent of oral cancers are well advanced by the time they are detected, even though physicians and dentists frequently examine the oral cavity. The two most important risk factors for oral cancer are tobacco use and heavy alcohol consumption. The keys to reducing mortality are prevention and control. The earlier any intraoral or extraoral abnormalities or lesions are detected and biopsied, the more lives can be saved. Controversy exists whether screening programs effectively reduce the mortality rate. Specific step-by-step guidelines should be followed to perform an adequate examination of the head and neck.
ABSTRACT: Adolescent onset of severe idiopathic scoliosis has traditionally been evaluated using standing posteroanterior radiographs of the full spine to assess lateral curvature with the Cobb method. The most tilted vertebral bodies above and below the apex of the spinal curve are used to create intersecting lines that give the curve degree. This definition is controversial, and patients do not exhibit clinically significant respiratory symptoms with idiopathic scoliosis until their curves are 60 to 100 degrees. There is no difference in the prevalence of back pain or mortality between patients with untreated adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and the general population. Therefore, many patients referred to physicians for evaluation of scoliosis do not need radiographic evaluation, back examinations, or treatment. Consensus recommendations for population screening, evaluation, and treatment of this disorder by medical organizations vary widely. Recent studies cast doubt on the clinical value of school-based screening programs.
ABSTRACT: Colorectal cancer is a significant contributor to morbidity and mortality in the United States. Studies published in the early 1990s, showing that screening for colorectal cancer can reduce colorectal cancer-related mortality, led many organizations to recommend screening in asymptomatic, average-risk adults older than 50 years. Since then, however, national screening rates remain low. Several important studies published over the past four years have refined our understanding of existing screening tools and explored novel means of screening and prevention. The most important new developments, which are reviewed in this article, include the following: Additional trial results support the effectiveness of fecal occult blood testing in reducing the incidence of, and mortality from, colorectal cancer. New studies document the sensitivity of fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, and double-contrast barium enema compared with colonoscopy. Cost-effectiveness models show that screening by any of several methods is cost-effective compared to no screening. Randomized trials show that calcium is effective but fiber is not effective in preventing reoccurrence of adenomatous polyps. Preliminary data suggest that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may prevent adenomatous polyps and that DNA stool tests and virtual colonoscopy may show promise as screening tools. This new information provides further support for efforts to increase the use of colorectal cancer screening and prevention services in adults older than 50 years.