Cancer News Digest, October 2023

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CFC #11967

Info You Can Use

What does heartburn medication have to do with cancer? $425 million gives a hint!

In October 2023 AstraZeneca agreed to pay $425 million to settle about 11,000 lawsuits in the U.S. that claimed their heartburn medications, Nexium and Prilosec, caused chronic kidney disease. AstraZeneca did not admit wrongdoing under the settlement, which is part of broader litigation against makers of these types of heartburn medications. The lawsuits also involve several other major pharmaceutical companies that make Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI) medications for heartburn, including Prevacid and Zantac. Research has shown that kidney disease can increase your risk of kidney cancer and make chemotherapy trickier. Read about the latest research here.

 Get the facts during Breast Cancer Awareness month

Wearing a pink ribbon doesn’t always mean someone knows the facts, so please be sure to read our article on the sometimes confusing advice about whether you need annual mammograms. And, if you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS), read our free booklet that explains whether DCIS needs to be treated as aggressively as breast cancer.

We're In The News

Consumer and public health groups support FDA proposal to ensure accuracy of Lab-Developed Medical Tests

For years, lab-developed diagnostic tests (LDTs), including many tests for cancer, have not had to prove that they are accurate before they can be sold in the U.S. As a result, some of these tests are dangerously inaccurate. Whether erroneously telling someone with a disease that they don’t have it, or telling someone who doesn’t have a disease that they do have it or are likely to develop it, patients are being seriously harmed. We are actively supporting a new rule proposed by the FDA that will require better evidence to make sure that these tests from Quest Labs or medical centers are as accurate as diagnostic tests made by companies. Read more here.

Who decides who receives experimental medical treatments?

The accelerated approval process allows the FDA to approve certain medical treatments based on preliminary evidence that doesn’t actually prove the product is safe and effective. Accelerated approval is typically reserved for drugs that are intended to treat advanced cancer or other serious diseases that lack good treatments. Unfortunately, many patients believe the hype instead of understanding the questionable evidence, since they want to hope that a treatment can delay or cure their disease. Even if approved, many of these drugs are still experimental, because they are not proven to work. So, why should patients have to pay for them? Shouldn’t patients get them for free in clinical trials or under FDA’s Expanded Access program instead? Read how we and other experts are debating the pros and cons of accelerated approval here.

Are PIP rubber playgrounds safe for your community?

CPTF president Diana Zuckerman’s commentary in the Kingston (NY) Wire explains the risks to children of lead and carcinogenic chemicals in PIP rubber playground surfaces and artificial turf. Are they also in your community? Should you worry about your children? Read more here.

We're Speaking Out For You

Our comments on FDA’s requirements for tobacco product manufacturing practices

Tobacco products and e-cigarettes are inherently risky, but in an effort to help lower that risk, FDA proposed a guidance for manufacturers to improve safety. Evidence shows that consumers are currently exposed to unnecessary risks, and regulating the manufacturing process can reduce these hazards. The FDA guidance would urge (but not require) companies to control and accurately label nicotine levels, particularly for e-cigarettes, which can range from 35% less or 52% more nicotine than what is stated on their labels. Read more here.

Our comments on the FDA Draft guidance for industry concerning dietary guidance statements in food labeling

We urged the FDA to improve the agency’s draft guidance about food labeling. We pointed out that the guidance is not explicit enough, especially about fruit juice, whole grains, and alcohol. These are foods and beverages that can increase or decrease you chances of developing certain types of cancer, and we offered suggestions on how they can improve these guidelines to make labels more useful for the general public. Read more here.

News You Can Use

Adults in Red states are dying earlier than in nearby Blue states.

A report found that adults in states governed by Republicans (“Red” states) are dying earlier on average than adults in “Blue” states governed by Democrats. The report points out that many of these deaths are affected by local and state laws such as higher or lower taxes on cigarettes, seatbelt requirements, and health policies that are effective in reducing cancer, obesity, and other chronic illnesses. Research shows that the policy differences surrounding COVID-19 have made this gap even wider than before. Read more here.

NY Law bans PFAS in clothing and carpeting, including artificial turf

For years, we have explained that artificial turf contains carcinogens and toxic chemicals that harm the environment and the people using it. Increased awareness of the risks of PFAS has resulted in a victory in this fight when the governor of New York signed a bill that bans PFAS in apparel and carpeting, including artificial turf! We hope that soon other states, and the entire nation, will follow in their footsteps and help to reduce the risk that comes with these dangerous "forever" chemicals. Read more here and be sure to follow our Instagram for the latest news about artificial turf

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