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Commentary: A threat to men’s lives

For men over the age of 50, prostate cancer is a real danger.


Dr. Vahan Kassabian

Yet it doesn’t receive the attention it deserves, according to a new GHN Commentary.

Atlanta physicians Vahan Kassabian, Bradley Carthon  and Peter Rossi write that “except for skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most prevalent malignancy among men.”

They give guidance on what men should know about the disease – the risk factors and early detection.

Here’s a link to their Commentary.

Georgia Health News welcomes Commentary submissions. If you would like to propose a Commentary piece for Georgia Health News, please email Andy Miller, editor of GHN, at

State: Can’t confirm cancer cluster in Waycross area

State public health officials said Monday that based on their initial analysis, unusual childhood cancer cases in the Waycross area do not constitute a cancer cluster.

Ware County

Ware County

Relatives and community members in the southeast corner of Georgia have reported three childhood sarcoma cases in Ware County and one in a neighboring county that were diagnosed within two months of one another this summer.

The cancers revived fears in the community that there is a connection to where they live, and raised fears of a link to industrial contamination in the Waycross area.  (Here’s a link to a recent GHN story on the cancers.)

Cherie Drenzek, the state epidemiologist, said in a conference call with community members Monday that the four cases were confirmed as cancers, but that because they were in different counties, they were not geographically clustered together.

“None of the four cancers have known environmental causes,’’ Drenzek said, adding that not all four were the same type of cancer. One of them, Drenzek added, was diagnosed a year ago. full story

Georgia obesity rate little changed, but still high

Three in 10 Georgia adults are obese, a rate that ranks the state 19th in the nation, a new report has found.

Tape Measure 2

Georgia’s 30.5 percent obesity rate in 2014 means the state has not seen much change in this category over the past couple of years, said the report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, released this week.

Most of Georgia’s Southern counterparts had higher adult obesity rates. Four of the top five states are in the South: Arkansas (with the highest rate in the U.S., at 35.9 percent), Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.

Georgia’s adult obesity rate has risen from 20.6 percent in 2000 and from 10.1 percent in 1990, mirroring a national trend, said the report. The state’s rate in 2013 was 30.3 percent.  full story

Football star thrilled as his own heroes arrive

Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry, a Georgia native, had an emotional day Thursday.

Part of that came from some unexpected visitors who arrived prior to the Chiefs’ game against the Denver Broncos.

Berry was surprised at the Chiefs’ hotel by oncology nurse Stephanie Jones and other staff members of the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University in Atlanta.

Eric Berry with (from left) Winship nurse practitioner Andrea Penn, Winship nurse Stephanie Jones, and Winship pharmacist, Yemag Limay.

From left, Winship nurse practitioner Andrea Penn, Winship nurse Stephanie Jones, Eric Berry, and Winship pharmacist Yemag Limay.

Jones was the main nurse who took care of Berry when he received treatment at Winship for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Berry, an All-Pro player, was diagnosed last year and underwent chemotherapy in Atlanta. He was declared cancer-free this summer and was cleared for practice.  full story

Letter to the editor: For more transplants, we need more kidneys

Georgia Health News recently reported on the wide variation in dialysis facility-level referrals for kidney transplantation, an issue of high concern among providers who care for patients with kidney disease. (Here’s a link to that article.)

Dr. Allen Nissenson

Dr. Allen Nissenson

Patients with end-stage renal disease need dialysis or a kidney transplant to live. Your report notes that the Southeast has the lowest kidney transplant rate in the country. It is important to understand what’s contributing to not only the low transplant rate but also the variation in dialysis facility-level referrals.

Rachel Patzer’s study sheds some important light on the issue, noting what contributes to variation in timely referral rates . . . and what does not.

As to be expected, socioeconomic status factors were noted as barriers to referral. There are real issues and barriers to obtaining a transplant, particularly in minority populations, and efforts should be intensified to educate these patients to help them navigate the transplant evaluation process. full story

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