Roundup: Location of Colon Cancer Tumors Linked to Survival Rates; Some Sunscreens Don't Provide Stated SPF Protection

A new study of patients with advanced colon cancer has found that those with tumors on the right side survived an average of 19 months, compared to 33 months for those with tumors on the left side.

The research helps shed light on a question many oncologists continue to ask: Why do some patients with advanced colon cancer survive longer than others?

Experts says this newly found link between the location of the colon cancer and a patient’s chances for survival will probably result in changes on how doctors provide treatment, depending on which side the colon cancer originated.

The new study involved more than 1,000 individuals whose colon cancer had spread. Colon cancer that starts on the right side appears to be different from colon cancer initiated on the left side, said Alan Venook, a study researcher from the University of California, San Francisco.

“It is very clear that the biology of the colon on the right side is different from the biology on the left side,” Venook said. “Previous research suggested that tumor location could affect clinical outcomes, but the effects we observed in this trial appeared to be far greater than we expected. This could potentially change the way that colon cancer is treated.”

The findings from the large, federally funded clinical trial were released ahead of the 2016 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in June.

“This is the largest study to date of tumor location in colorectal cancer, and it strongly suggests that this unexpected factor could answer some long-standing questions about why certain patients do better than others,” said ASCO President Julie M. Vose, M.D.

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Many Sunscreens Fail Their SPF Claims, Study Finds

Some sunscreen products may not deliver the “sun protection factor” — SPF — promised on the label, according to a study by Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports tested and rated more than 60 lotions, sprays and sticks with SPF claims of 30 or higher — 30 being the minimum level recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology.

But 28 of the sunscreens — or about 43 percent — failed to meet their SPF claim as stated on the product’s label, Consumer Reports said.

Three of the products fell so short of their stated SPF —  less than 15 in protection — that the product could leave users vulnerable to sunburn and possible long-term skin damage, such as wrinkles or skin cancer, Consumer Reports said.

“Those results aren’t a fluke; we’ve observed this pattern in our testing over the past four years,” Consumer Reports stated.  “Of all the sunscreens we’ve tested over that stretch of time, fully half came in below the SPF number printed on the label, and a third registered below an SPF 30.”

Over the past four years,  the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has updated requirements for how sunscreen manufacturers label and test their products.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using an amount of sunscreen that is about the equivalent to the size of the palm of your hand and applying it all over your body. It also advises people to wear protective clothing and stay in the shade to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

The Consumer Reports study recommended several sunscreen products that met the stated SPF claims and offered excellent or very good UVA protection.

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