A drug that's been used for years to fight breast cancer has been approved to fight prostate cancer as well. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, on Wednesday, approved the drug Taxotere combined with a steroid for patients with advanced prostate cancer. In a study presented to the FDA, the combination extended the lives of men with the advanced disease by an average of two and a half months. Taxotere is the first approved drug proven to extend life. The most common side effects include nausea, hair loss and bone marrow suppression. About 230,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year. The American Cancer Society estimates nearly 30,000 men will die of the disease this year. The drug is distributed by Aventis Pharmaceuticals.
New research is shedding light on how weight affects the risk of breast cancer. In a study of nearly 2,000 women, researchers found a woman's overall weight has a greater impact on her cancer risk than her level of abdominal fat. Women with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 had a 31% greater risk of breast cancer compared with women with a BMI lower than 25, according to the study. The report in the International Journal of Cancer adds that shape played a role in this too. Large hips put both pre and postmenopausal women at greater risk of the disease, but the good news is women can lower their risk factor of developing breast cancer by losing weight if they are obese.
Drinking coffee may help reduce the risk of liver disease in some people. A new study of nearly 6,000 people found that drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages lowers the risk of liver disease in those who are high risk for liver problems. The protective effect seemed to increase as the amount of caffeine consumed went up, researchers say. Excessive alcohol consumption, hepatitis, iron overload and obesity are all conditions that can lead to liver disease.