ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
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.
Diagnosing Night Sweats - Article
ABSTRACT: Night sweats are a common outpatient complaint, yet literature on the subject is scarce. Tuberculosis and lymphoma are diseases in which night sweats are a dominant symptom, but these are infrequently found to be the cause of night sweats in modern practice. While these diseases remain important diagnostic considerations in patients with night sweats, other diagnoses to consider include human immunodeficiency virus, gastroesophageal reflux disease, obstructive sleep apnea, hyperthyroidism, hypoglycemia, and several less common diseases. Antihypertensives, antipyretics, other medications, and drugs of abuse such as alcohol and heroin may cause night sweats. Serious causes of night sweats can be excluded with a thorough history, physical examination, and directed laboratory and radiographic studies. If a history and physical do not reveal a possible diagnosis, physicians should consider a purified protein derivative, complete blood count, human immunodeficiency virus test, thyroid-stimulating hormone test, erythrocyte sedimentation rate evaluation, chest radiograph, and possibly chest and abdominal computed tomographic scans and bone marrow biopsy.
A Practical Approach to Hypercalcemia - Article
ABSTRACT: Hypercalcemia is a disorder commonly encountered by primary care physicians. The diagnosis often is made incidentally in asymptomatic patients. Clinical manifestations affect the neuromuscular, gastrointestinal, renal, skeletal, and cardiovascular systems. The most common causes of hypercalcemia are primary hyperparathyroidism and malignancy. Some other important causes of hypercalcemia are medications and familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia. An initial diagnostic work-up should include measurement of intact parathyroid hormone, and any medications that are likely to be causative should be discontinued. Parathyroid hormone is suppressed in malignancy-associated hypercalcemia and elevated in primary hyperparathyroidism. It is essential to exclude other causes before considering parathyroid surgery, and patients should be referred for parathyroidectomy only if they meet certain criteria. Many patients with primary hyperparathyroidism have a benign course and do not need surgery. Hypercalcemic crisis is a life-threatening emergency. Aggressive intravenous rehydration is the mainstay of management in severe hypercalcemia, and antiresorptive agents, such as calcitonin and bisphosphonates, frequently can alleviate the clinical manifestations of hypercalcemic disorders.
Serum Tumor Markers - Article
ABSTRACT: Monoclonal antibodies are used to detect serum antigens associated with specific malignancies. These tumor markers are most useful for monitoring response to therapy and detecting early relapse. With the exception of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), tumor markers do not have sufficient sensitivity or specificity for use in screening. Cancer antigen (CA) 27.29 most frequently is used to follow response to therapy in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Carcinoembryonic antigen is used to detect relapse of colorectal cancer, and CA 19-9 may be helpful in establishing the nature of pancreatic masses. CA 125 is useful for evaluating pelvic masses in postmenopausal women, monitoring response to therapy in women with ovarian cancer, and detecting recurrence of this malignancy. Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), a marker for hepatocellular carcinoma, sometimes is used to screen highly selected populations and to assess hepatic masses in patients at particular risk for developing hepatic malignancy. Testing for the beta subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin (beta-hCG) is an integral part of the diagnosis and management of gestational trophoblastic disease. Combined AFP and beta-hCG testing is an essential adjunct in the evaluation and treatment of nonseminomatous germ cell tumors, and in monitoring the response to therapy. AFP and beta-hCG also may be useful in evaluating potential origins of poorly differentiated metastatic cancer. PSA is used to screen for prostate cancer, detect recurrence of the malignancy, and evaluate specific syndromes of adenocarcinoma of unknown primary.
Care of Cancer Survivors - Article
ABSTRACT: Cancer survivors are at increased risk for recurrence of their original malignancy; development of second primary malignancies; and medical, developmental, and psychologic problems resulting from cancer therapy, genetic predisposition to cancer, and other risk factors. Surveillance following curative cancer treatment generally includes interval history and physical examinations every six months for five years. Thereafter, histories and examinations are recommended annually for breast cancer; every three months for two years, then every six months for three to five years for colorectal cancer; and every six months for five years, then annually for prostate cancer. Recommended laboratory tests and ancillary procedures include annual mammography of preserved breast tissue in breast cancer survivors, carcinoembryonic antigen level monitoring in conjunction with annual colonoscopy in colorectal cancer patients, and prostate-specific antigen measurements every six months for five years and then annually in prostate cancer survivors. In addition, family physicians should be attentive to concerns about altered body image or sexuality issues following curative surgical procedures. Continued emphasis on preventive health practices is encouraged. Physicians should remain alert to nonspecific symptoms or physical findings (e.g., mass, adenopathy) that can indicate cancer recurrence. In childhood cancer survivors, periodic evaluation that includes a plan for surveillance and prevention, incorporating risks based on previous cancer, therapy, genetic predispositions, personal behaviors, and comorbid health conditions, is recommended.
ABSTRACT: Musculoskeletal pain can be difficult for children to characterize. Primary care physicians must determine whether the pain may be caused by a systemic disease. Change in activity, constitutional symptoms such as fevers and fatigue, or abnormal examination findings without obvious etiology should raise suspicion for rheumatic disease. A complete physical examination should be performed to look for extra-articular signs of rheumatic disease, focusing on but not limited to the affected areas. A logical and consistent approach to diagnosis is recommended, with judicious use of laboratory and radiologic testing. Complete blood count and erythrocyte sedimentation rate measurement are useful if rheumatic disease is suspected. Other rheumatologic tests (e.g., antinuclear antibody) have a low pretest probability in the primary care setting and must be interpreted cautiously. Plain radiography can exclude fractures or malignancy; computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging are more sensitive in detecting joint inflammation. Family physicians should refer children to a subspecialist when the diagnosis is in question or subspecialty treatment is required. Part II of this series discusses rheumatic diseases that present primarily with musculoskeletal pain in children, including juvenile arthritis, the spondyloarthropathies, acute rheumatic fever, Henoch-SchÃ¶nlein purpura, and systemic lupus erythematosus.
Treatment of Oncologic Emergencies - Article
ABSTRACT: Most oncologic emergencies can be classified as metabolic, hematologic, structural, or side effects from chemotherapy agents. Tumor lysis syndrome is a metabolic emergency that presents as severe electrolyte abnormalities. The condition is treated with allopurinol or urate oxidase to lower uric acid levels. Hypercalcemia of malignancy is treated with aggressive rehydration, furosemide, and intravenous bisphosphonates. Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone should be suspected if a patient with cancer presents with normovolemic hyponatremia. This metabolic condition usually is treated with fluid restriction and furosemide. Febrile neutropenia is a hematologic emergency that usually requires inpatient therapy with broad-spectrum antibiotics, although outpatient therapy may be appropriate for low-risk patients. Hyperviscosity syndrome usually is associated with WaldenstrÃ¶m's macroglobulinemia, which is treated with plasmapheresis and chemotherapy. Structural oncologic emergencies are caused by direct compression of nontumor structures or by metastatic disease. Superior vena cava syndrome presents as neck or facial swelling and development of collateral venous circulation. Treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation, and intravenous stenting. Epidural spinal cord compression can be treated with dexamethasone, radiation, or surgery. Malignant pericardial effusion, which often is undiagnosed in cancer patients, can be treated with pericardiocentesis or a pericardial window procedure.
ABSTRACT: Erythema nodosum, a painful disorder of the subcutaneous fat, is the most common type of panniculitis. Generally, it is idiopathic, although the most common identifiable cause is streptococcal pharyngitis. Erythema nodosum may be the first sign of a systemic disease such as tuberculosis, bacterial or deep fungal infection, sarcoidosis, inflammatory bowel disease, or cancer. Certain drugs, including oral contraceptives and some antibiotics, also may be etiologic. The hallmark of erythema nodosum is tender, erythematous, subcutaneous nodules that typically are located symmetrically on the anterior surface of the lower extremities. Erythema nodosum does not ulcerate and usually resolves without atrophy or scarring. Most direct and indirect evidence supports the involvement of a type IV delayed hypersensitivity response to numerous antigens. A deep incisional or excisional biopsy specimen should be obtained for adequate visualization. Erythema nodosum represents an inflammatory process involving the septa between subcutaneous fat lobules, with an absence of vasculitis and the presence of radial granulomas. Diagnostic evaluation after comprehensive history and physical examination includes complete blood count with differential; erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein level, or both; testing for streptococcal infection (i.e., throat culture, rapid antigen test, antistreptoly-sin-O titer, and polymerase chain reaction assay); and biopsy. Patients should be stratified by risk for tuberculosis. Further evaluation (e.g., purified protein derivative test, chest radiography, stool cultures) varies based on the individual. Erythema nodosum tends to be self-limited. Any underlying disorders should be treated and supportive care provided. Pain can be managed with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Primary Care of the Patient with Cancer - Article
ABSTRACT: Care of patients with cancer can be enhanced by continued involvement of the primary care physician. The physician's role may include informing the patient of the diagnosis, helping with decisions about treatment, providing psychological support, treating intercurrent disease, continuing patient-appropriate preventive care, and recognizing and managing or comanaging complications of cancer and cancer therapies. Adverse effects of therapy and cancer-related symptoms include nausea, febrile neutropenia, pain, fatigue, depression, and emotional distress. 5-Hydroxytryptamine antagonists are effective in controlling acute nausea associated with chemotherapy. Febrile neutropenia requires systematic evaluation and early empiric antibiotics while awaiting culture results. Cancer-related pain, depression, and fatigue often are underdiagnosed and undertreated. Use of brief screening tools for assessing fatigue and emotional distress can improve management of these symptoms. Exercise prescription, activity management, and psychosocial interventions are useful in treating cancer-related fatigue. The physician must be alert for signs and symptoms of cancer-related emergencies like spinal cord compression, hypercalcemia, tumor lysis syndrome, pericardial tamponade, and superior vena cava syndrome.