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Recent Newspaper & Online Columns by Kate Scannell MD

CT scans: Radiating hope and concern about cancer

By Kate Scannell, Syndicated columnist, Bay Area News Group
First Published in Print: 11/14/2010

LAST WEEK'S news radiated hope that smokers' lung cancer mortality rates might be decreased through serial CT scanning -- as it also radiated concerns about the safety of CT scanning in general.

Last week, researchers from the National Cancer Institute proclaimed that the lung cancer death rate for smokers could be lowered by 20 percent if smokers underwent regular CT screening to detect early evidence of cancer.  Read More 

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot -- Book Review

Crown Publishers, New York, NY, 2010, 369 pages, $26.00.
Pre-Print copy for the Journal of Legal Medicine
Reviewed by Kate Scannell, M.D., F.A.C.P.*
ENCOUNTERING HENRIETTA LACKS
Journalist Rebecca Skloot’s new book is a gripping read that embodies all abstractions about research ethics in a compelling tale about Henrietta Lacks – a woman whose microscopic cancerous cells shook the world’s medical establishment in 1951. Read More 

A Halloween tale: More chilling news about hormone replacement therapy

By Kate Scannell, MD, Contributing columnist Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED IN PRINT 10/31/2010

THE ONGOING saga about hormone replacement therapy is as scary and unsettling a Halloween tale as they come. A sobering new study published Oct. 20 in the Journal of the American Medical Association should end that tale -- though on a chilling note.

The new study comes from researchers with the Women's Health Initiative (WHI). It adds to our trove of disturbing data about the potential hazards of combination hormone replacement therapy -- or "HRT" -- for postmenopausal women. It shows for the first time that, compared to postmenopausal women given placebos, women receiving combined estrogen plus progestin not only experienced a greater incidence of breast cancer, they were also more likely to die from their cancer.

The finding is noteworthy because it sufficiently dispels the prevailing myth that breast cancers occurring in women on HRT are relatively benign and easier to treat.  Read More