ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
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: 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.
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: 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: 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.
ABSTRACT: Depression is a common psychiatric disorder in children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly. Primary care physicians, not mental health professionals, treat the majority of patients with symptoms of depression. Persons who are depressed have feelings of sadness, loneliness, irritability, worthlessness, hopelessness, agitation, and guilt that may be accompanied by an array of physical symptoms. A diagnosis of major depression requires that symptoms be present for two weeks or longer. Identifying patients with depression can be difficult in busy primary care settings where time is limited, but certain depression screening measures may help physicians diagnose the disorder. Patients who score above the predetermined cut-off levels on the screening measures should be interviewed more specifically for a diagnosis of a depressive disorder and treated within the primary care physician's scope of practice or referred to a mental health subspecialist as clinically indicated. Targeted screening in high-risk patients such as those with chronic diseases, pain, unexplained symptoms, stressful home environments, or social isolation, and those who are postnatal or elderly may provide an alternative approach to identifying patients with depression.
ABSTRACT: The prevalence of nutritional iron deficiency anemia in infants and toddlers has declined dramatically since 1960. However, satisfaction with this achievement must be tempered because iron deficiency anemia in infants and toddlers is associated with long-lasting diminished mental, motor, and behavioral functioning. Additionally, the prevalence of iron deficiency anemia in one- to three-year-old children seems to be increasing. The exact relationship between iron deficiency anemia and the developmental effects is not well understood, but these effects do not occur until iron deficiency becomes severe and chronic enough to produce anemia. At that point, treatment with iron can reverse the anemia and restore iron sufficiency, yet the poorer developmental functioning appears to persist. Therefore, intervention should focus on the primary prevention of iron deficiency. In the first year of life, measures to prevent iron deficiency include completely avoiding cow's milk, starting iron supplementation at four to six months of age in breastfed infants, and using iron-fortified formula when not breastfeeding. Low-iron formula should not be used. In the second year of life, iron deficiency can be prevented by use of a diversified diet that is rich in sources of iron and vitamin C, limiting cow's milk consumption to less than 24 oz per day, and providing a daily iron-fortified vitamin. All infants and toddlers who did not receive primary prevention should be screened for iron deficiency. Screening is performed at nine to 12 months, six months later, and at 24 months of age. The hemoglobin/hematocrit level alone detects only patients with enough iron deficiency to be anemic. Screening by erythrocyte protoporphyrin or red-cell distribution width identifies earlier stages of iron deficiency. A positive screening test is an indication for a therapeutic trial of iron, which remains the definitive method of establishing a diagnosis of iron deficiency.
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.
Vulvar Cancer - Article
ABSTRACT: Vulvar cancer was reported in 3,200 women in 1998, resulting in 800 deaths. Recent evidence suggests that vulvar cancer comprises two separate diseases. The first type may develop from vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia caused by human papillomavirus infection and is increasing in prevalence among young women. The second type, which more often afflicts older women, may develop from vulvar non-neoplastic epithelial disorders as a result of chronic inflammation (the itch-scratch-lichen sclerosus hypothesis). Although vulvar cancer is relatively uncommon, early detection remains crucial given its significant impact on sexuality. Diagnosis is based on histology; therefore, any suspicious lesions of the vulva must be biopsied. Excisional or punch biopsy can be performed in the physician's office. Clinicians must closely monitor suspicious lesions because delayed biopsy and diagnosis are common. Once diagnosed, vulvar cancer is staged using the TNM classification system. Treatment is surgical resection, with the goal being complete removal of the tumor. There has been a recent trend toward more conservative surgery to decrease psychosexual complications.
Open-Angle Glaucoma - Article
ABSTRACT: Glaucoma is the second most common cause of legal blindness in the United States. Open-angle glaucoma is an asymptomatic, progressive optic neuropathy characterized by enlarging optic disc cupping and visual field loss. Patients at increased risk for open-angle glaucoma include blacks older than 40 years, whites older than 65 years, and persons with a family history of glaucoma or a personal history of diabetes or severe myopia. Elevated intraocular pressure is a strong, modifiable risk factor for open-angle glaucoma, but it is not diagnostic. Some patients with glaucoma have normal intraocular pressure (i.e., normal-pressure glaucoma), and many patients with elevated intraocular pressure do not have glaucoma (i.e., glaucoma suspects). Routine measurement of intraocular pressure by primary care physicians to screen patients for glaucoma is not recommended. Open-angle glaucoma usually is discovered during an adult eye evaluation performed for other indications. Final diagnosis and treatment occur in collaboration with ophthalmologists and optometrists. Formal visual field testing (perimetry) is a mainstay of glaucoma diagnosis and management. Eye drops, commonly nonspecific beta-blocker or prostaglandin analog drops, generally are the first-line treatment to reduce intraocular pressure. Laser treatment and surgery usually are reserved for patients in whom medical treatment has failed. Without treatment, open-angle glaucoma can end in irreversible vision loss.