Items in AFP with MESH term: Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
ABSTRACT: Although only 32,000 new cases of adenocarcinoma of the pancreas occur in the United States each year, it is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in this country. The overall five-year survival rate is 4 percent, and localized, resectable disease has only a 17 percent survival rate. Risk factors include smoking, certain familial cancer syndromes, and familial chronic pancreatitis. The link between risk of pancreatic cancer and other factors (e.g., diabetes, obesity) is less clear. Most patients present with obstructive jaundice caused by compression of the bile duct in the head of the pancreas. Epigastric or back pain, vague abdominal symptoms, and weight loss also are characteristic of pancreatic cancer. More than one half of cases have distant metastasis at diagnosis. Computed tomography is the most useful diagnostic and staging tool. Ultrasonography, magnetic resonance imaging, and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography may provide additional information. The majority of tumors are not surgically resectable because of metastasis and invasion of the major vessels posterior to the pancreas. Resectable tumors are treated with the Whipple procedure or the pylorus-preserving Whipple procedure. Adjuvant fluorouracil-based chemotherapy may prolong survival. For nonresectable tumors, chemotherapy with gemcitabine prolongs survival. Other agents are being studied. Radiation combined with chemotherapy has slowed progression in locally advanced cancers. Throughout the illness and during end-of-life care, patients need comprehensive symptom control.
Primary Brain Tumors in Adults - Article
ABSTRACT: Primary malignant brain tumors account for 2 percent of all cancers in U.S. adults. The most common malignant brain tumor is glioblastoma multiforme, and patients with this type of tumor have a poor prognosis. Previous exposure to high-dose ionizing radiation is the only proven environmental risk factor for a brain tumor. Primary brain tumors are classified based on their cellular origin and histologic appearance. Typical symptoms include persistent headache, seizures, nausea, vomiting, neurocognitive symptoms, and personality changes. A tumor can be identified using brain imaging, and the diagnosis is confirmed with histopathology. Any patient with chronic, persistent headache in association with protracted nausea, vomiting, seizures, change in headache pattern, neurologic symptoms, or positional worsening should be evaluated for a brain tumor. Magnetic resonance imaging is the preferred initial imaging study. A comprehensive neurosurgical evaluation is necessary to obtain tissue for diagnosis and for possible resection of the tumor. Primary brain tumors rarely metastasize outside the central nervous system, and there is no standard staging method. Surgical resection of the tumor is the mainstay of therapy. Postoperative radiation and chemotherapy have improved survival in patients with high-grade brain tumors. Recent developments in targeted chemotherapy provide novel treatment options for patients with tumor recurrence. Primary care physicians play an important role in the perioperative and supportive treatment of patients with primary brain tumors, including palliative care and symptom control.
Breast Cancer in Older Women - Article
ABSTRACT: The American Geriatric Society currently recommends screening mammography for women up to 85 years of age whose life expectancy is three years or longer. The value of clinical breast examinations in older women needs further study. Total mastectomy and partial mastectomy with postoperative radiation therapy yield similar results in localized breast cancer. Postoperative irradiation may be avoided in women with small tumors (2.5 cm or less in diameter) who have undergone quadrantectomy. Lymph node dissection is important for tumor staging but significantly increases the risks and morbidity of surgery. Lymph node mapping may obviate the need for lymphadenectomy in many older women. Adjuvant hormonal therapy for at least two years appears to be beneficial in all women with hormone-receptor-rich tumors. Adjuvant chemotherapy is indicated in women with lymph node involvement or high-risk tumors with no lymph node involvement. Unless life-threatening metastases are present, hormonal therapy is the first approach to metastatic cancer. Chemotherapy is indicated if endocrine therapy is unsuccessful or life-threatening metastases are present. Most chemotherapy regimens appear to be well tolerated, even by women over 70 years of age. Special treatment should be employed for metastases to tumor sanctuaries (i.e., brain, eyes), the long bones, the spine and the chest wall.
ABSTRACT: Radiation therapy can be an effective treatment modality for both malignant and benign disease. While radiation can be given as primary treatment, it may also be used pre- or postoperatively, with or without other forms of therapy. Radiation therapy is often curative but is sometimes palliative. There are many methods of delivering radiation effectively. Often, patients tolerate irradiation well without significant complications, and organ function is preserved. To ensure that all patients with cancer have the opportunity to consider all treatment options, family physicians should be aware of the usefulness of radiation therapy.
NIH Statement on Adjuvant Therapy for Breast Cancer - Practice Guidelines