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CHECKUP CERVICAL MISDIAGNOSES LINKED TO TISSUE CHANGE.

Byline: - Mariko Thompson

CHANGES IN CERVICAL tissue could be responsible for false negative results on routine Pap tests, a USC study has found.

American doctors perform 55 million Pap tests each year looking for cervical cells that are becoming abnormal, a precursor to cancer. As many as four in 10 test results come back negative, even when a biopsy shows abnormal lesions.

Researchers point to aberrant tissue changes that cause abnormal cells to tightly adhere to the cervix. A substance called E-cadherin, which helps cells in cervical tissue stick together, may lie at the heart of the problem, said Dr. Juan Felix, the study's lead author.

E-cadherin typically is not on the cervix surface, which allows older cells to detach and slough away. However, when E-cadherin is abnormally present in cells on the cervix surface, it keeps the abnormal cells anchored. Researchers theorize that this bond keeps the aberrant cells from being collected during Pap tests. The study was published in the June issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

MIND OVER CANCER: The first comprehensive study by UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center on quality-of-life issues faced by long-term lung cancer survivors found emotional factors played a greater role than physical challenges.

More than 50 percent of long-term survivors, defined as patients in remission for five or more years, said they have good quality of life despite decreased lung function caused by lung cancer surgery and a history of smoking. Among survivors who reported a poor quality of life, depression played a more significant role than other physical factors.

IMAGE BOOST: Patients undergoing surgery who went through guided imagery, a popular alternative therapy, reported reduced anxiety and less pain, according to a study by Blue Shield of California.

In Blue Shield's yearlong study of its Guided Imagery Program, 57 percent of patients who listened to relaxation tapes prior to surgery reported less pain than expected from their operations. The study also found the more frequently the patients listened to the tapes, the less anxiety they confessed.

The study reported a 4.5 percent decrease in the average total hospital bill and an 8.4 percent decrease in average hospital pharmacy charges for patients who used guided imagery. Eighty-five percent of study participants said they would recommend guided imagery to a friend facing surgery.

Blue Shield plans to expand guided imagery to patients in its asthma and cardiac disease management programs.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 1, 2002
Words:400
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