Jessica Jaganathan (email@example.com) reporting from Singapore, Better way to treat rare brain ailment.
December 31, 2009.
Local team recommends chemotherapy for those with brain inflammation linked to ovarian cancer
SINGAPORE : Doctors here have come up with a treatment approach for a rare condition associated with tumours in the ovary, and have recommended it as the way to go in a scientific journal.
The condition, known as paraneoplastic encephalitis , is an acute inflammation of the brain which sets in when an ovarian cancer triggers the patient's overactive immune system to attack the brain.
The patient may then suffer from fits, confusion or have memory problems. Left untreated , permanent and severe brain damage or death can result.
Doctors here recommend that chemotherapy be considered as one of the main treatments for ovarian cancer in patients showing symptoms of paraneoplastic encephalitis.
From treating five such cases here (Singapore), they have found that chemotherapy seems to prevent the immune system from attacking the brain.
This is a departure from the traditional practice of removing ovarian tumours through surgery only, preferred because chemotherapy given to a woman of reproductive age can cause infertility.
Until now, the chemotherapy route of pumping toxic drugs into the body to kill the ovarian cancer cells is taken only when surgery does not work, since it produces severe side effects.
But now there is an argument for it.
It is not known how common paraneoplastic encephalitis is because international figures are unavailable. But based on estimates, under 1 percent of patients with cancer develop the condition.
This form of encephalitis came to light in 2007, when 12 American cancer patients came down with it.
Since then, about five patients here(Singapore) have been diagnosed with it.
Those at risk are typically women between the ages of 16 and 35 and those with breast, lung, or ovarian cancers, but no other medical history.
The treatment method has been shown to work with breast or lung cancers, and is thus being recommended ONLY for those with ovarian tumours.
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Ho, ho, ho --- give it a good clap. I love my doctors. They say I can eat anything I like. My cancer couldn't care less what I eat.
Good news to the patients but bad news to their families because soon these people may end up all dead!
According to the latest research done by Jeffrey Meyerhardt, M.D., MPH.(of Dana-Faber Cancer Institute - a principal teaching affiilate of the Harvard Medical School), as reported in Journal of the American Medical Association, 15 August 2007; patients with the highest intake of a Western-pattern diet, characterized by high intakes of red meat, sugar desserts, high fat and refined grains have a 3-fold increase in recurrence and mortality. The research was carried out with 1009 patients who had stage III colon cancer treated with surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy.