Today’s Headlines: The FDA Statement on Ovarian Cancer Tests and How Exercise Can Help Lower Both Your Risk of Death and Healthcare Bills

The FDA announced that the current ovarian cancer screening method is not always accurate. The test, called CA 125, which is most commonly used to diagnose women with ovarian cancer, may lead to many false diagnoses. “While certain cancers, including ovarian cancer, may raise the blood level of CA 125, the test is far from foolproof. Many noncancerous conditions may also raise the level of CA 125, causing healthy women to undergo needless follow-up. According to the American Cancer Society, no major medical or professional organization recommends the routine use of CA 125 blood tests to screen for ovarian cancer. Still, the test has been used extensively. Based on the FDA’s review of available clinical data from ovarian screening trials and recommendations from health care professional societies and the US Preventive Services Task Force, the agency said, ‘available data do[es] not demonstrate that currently available ovarian cancer screening tests are accurate and reliable in screening asymptomatic women for early ovarian cancer.’” The statement applied primarily to asymptomatic women who have a risk for ovarian cancer. (Fox)


Exercising after a night out drinking could decrease your risk of an early death. A recent study found that while drinking alcohol can decrease your lifespan overall, supplementing it with physical fitness could keep your risk in check. “Not surprisingly, they found that drinking itself is linked to higher rates of early death from any cause, as well as death from cancer. And the more alcohol is consumed, the higher the risk of early death. But when Stamatakis layered in the amount of exercise people reported, he found that only those who weren’t physically active—meaning they did not meet the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-to-intense exercise a week—showed similar patterns of higher mortality. Among those who reported getting the recommended amounts of activity, their death rates were slightly lower as long as they drank with recommended guidelines (one to two drinks per day). People who drank beyond these amounts, at levels considered dangerous for their health, showed higher rates of death from any cause or cancer regardless of how much they exercised.” But this finding does not mean you can drink as much as you want just because you exercise regularly. The lead researcher cautioned that drinking in excess leads to many other health problems that can increase your risk for death. (Time)


Working out could decrease your healthcare costs, especially if you have heart disease. Exercising for at least 150 minutes of a week was found to lower costs significantly. “Patients with heart disease who did moderate to vigorous physical activity for 30 minutes at least five times a week saved an average of more than $2,500 in annual healthcare costs, the study found…The research suggests that if just 20 percent of patients with cardiovascular disease who are not getting enough physical activity would meet exercise goals, it might save up to $6 billion a year in health care costs…” The study noted that even people without heart disease could reduce their bills by exercising because regular physical activity severely lowers the chance of illness and improves overall health. (Reuters)