HEALTH IN BRIEF: Emory Eastside offering free ColoCare kits

Emory Eastside offering free ColoCare kits

SNELLVILLE — Death rates from colon cancer have been in slow decline over the past decade, but doctors warn that early detection through screening is a vital part of the process.

"Colon cancer is one of only a few cancers that can be prevented through screening," said Dr. Russell H. Kramer of Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates. "Precancerous polyps, from which colon cancers often develop, can be identified and removed before they become cancerous."

Death rates from colon cancer dropped 4.9 percent per year in men and 4.5 percent per year in women between 2002 and 2004, and incident rates have been declining as well.

Screening efforts, one of the reasons for these declines, for colorectal cancer have increased in recent years, and to try and continue that trend, Emory Eastside Medical Center is offering free ColoCare kits all month. The kits help detect hidden blood in stools, which can be the first symptom of gastrointestinal disorders like colon cancer. Kits can be obtained by calling MedLine at 770-972-7570.

FDA warns about rotavirus vaccine

WASHINGTON — U.S. health officials urged pediatricians Monday to temporarily stop using one of two vaccines against a leading cause of diarrhea in babies, after discovering that doses of GlaxoSmithKline's Rotarix were contaminated with bits of an apparently benign pig virus.

Glaxo's vaccine has been used in millions of children with no signs of safety problems, said Dr. Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.