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World's Latest Cancer Research & News
Researchers pinpoint tumor-related protein, slow progression of cancers
Published: April 17, 2019
Locking a biochemical gate that admits fuel into immune-suppressing cells could slow tumor progression and assist the treatment of multiple cancers, says new research from the Wistar Institute, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and others.
Published April 17 in the journal Nature, the study found elevated levels of fatty acid transporter protein 2, or FATP2, in a type of cell known to muffle immune responses and impede cancer therapies. After isolating tumorous cells from humans and mice, the researchers also discovered substantially higher numbers of an energy-granting lipid that FATP2 helps produce and traffic into cells.
Collectively, the study's findings implicate FATP2 in maliciously rewiring the body's most common white blood cells, which otherwise act as first responders in fighting infections.
When the researchers knocked out a gene linked to FATP2, they found that the tumors of several cancers -- lymphoma, lung carcinoma, colon carcinoma and pancreatic cancer -- grew markedly slower in mice. Administering the FATP2-inhibiting compound Lipofermata -- identified by Nebraska's Concetta DiRusso in the mid-2000s -- likewise helped slow and even reject tumors when paired with a drug that disrupts cellular replication.
The study suggests that targeting FATP2 in the immune-suppressing cells could block the resulting buildup of lipids and mitigate tumor progression without significant side effects, the team said.
"I think the unique thing, and why this will cause some excitement, is that this is not specific to one cancer," said DiRusso, a study co-author and George Holmes University Professor of biochemistry. "Being able to target some of the cells that are common to different cancers is something that's highly desired.
"It doesn't wipe (tumors) out totally, but it's a piece of the picture. We're now more interested in combination therapy. It's not one target but (instead) targeting in multiple ways, because cancer is smart. Cancer finds a way around our best drugs, which is why these combinations of drugs are so powerful and, we expect, more effective."
The Wistar Institute's Dmitry Gabrilovich and colleagues first noticed an uptick of FATP2 in solid tumors several years ago. Their observation prompted Gabrilovich to contact Nebraska biochemist Paul Black, who has studied the fundamentals of how fat molecules cross cellular membranes.
The Black Lab's early research in yeast identified a gene segment and associated protein that activate and carry fatty acids into cells, where they get metabolized for energy or embedded into membranes. That protein? FATP2.
"If you've got a gate sitting on the membrane that controls the amount of fat that gets in, and then you start screwing around with that gate, it's going to impact things downstream," said Black, Charles Bessey Professor and chair of biochemistry. "And if a cancer cell needs to be fed lipid so it can undergo metastasis and really become a nasty disease, it has to up-regulate that protein. So this gate is playing a very pivotal role in all of these metabolic systems."
Black's prior research also helped determine that there were two genetic variants of FATP2: one to prime fatty acids for metabolism, another to actually transport them across cellular membranes. That important distinction informed the efforts of DiRusso's lab, which screened more than 100,000 anti-FATP2 compound candidates to suss out which might help combat obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
The blue-ribbon candidate, Lipofermata, essentially eliminates fat accumulation in tissue cultures and reduces the absorption of lipids in mice by more than 60 percent -- leading DiRusso to patent the drug's use in treating metabolic diseases. So when Black was contacted by Gabrilovich, he quickly touched base with DiRusso. The duo ultimately supplied Gabrilovich with the biochemical insights, samples and Lipofermata needed to carry out his team's experiments.
"Whether it be cancer biology or diabetes or whatever you're going after in this biomedical world, you can't do it by yourself anymore," Black said. "Long gone are the days where we can just sit up and be a little silo somewhere, just doing our own things. Some of our early mechanistic work was done that way, but the work (now) is far too complicated. It's just a ton of information.
"We don't know the full story yet, but the data that's coming out is going to really drive this stuff forward very, very quickly."
The Wistar Institute and Nebraska researchers authored the Nature study with colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh, Duke University School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Helen F. Graham Cancer Center and Moscow State Medical University.
How inflammation causes gastric cancer
Published: April 16, 2019
In 1982, researchers reported a link between chronic gastritis and stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori, triggering a flurry of research into this newly-identified pathogen. These studies made it clear that in addition to its involvement in gastritis, H. pylori was a significant factor in the development of both peptic ulcers and gastric cancer. But while the link between the bacterium and disease was clear-cut, exactly how H. pylori caused gastric tumors remained the subject of much debate.
Now, almost four decades later, researchers from Kanazawa University and the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development have finally shown how inflammation caused by H. pylori infection causes the proliferation of gastric epithelial stem cells, leading to gastric tumors.
In a report published recently in cancer genetics journal Oncogene, the researchers describe how they built on previous findings to solve the mystery.
"We previously showed that tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), a cytokine that causes inflammation, promotes gastric tumor formation by activating a protein called NOXO1," says lead author of the study Dr Kanae Echizen. "What we didn't know was exactly how NOXO1 induces tumor formation in the stomach."
NOXO1 is a component of the NOX1 complex, which produces tissue-damaging molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS, or more accurately, the oxidative stress caused by these molecules, can result in mutations in the DNA of stomach cells, leading to tumor formation. Inflammation caused by H. pylori infection also produces ROS, increasing oxidative stress in the stomach.
In the newly-published study, the research team showed that inflammation caused excess production of NOX1-complex proteins in response to signals from NF-κB, a regulatory protein that turns on genes to combat stress or bacterial infection, and which is a major player in the inflammatory response. However, most importantly, they found that NOX1/ROS signaling caused gastric epithelial stem cells to multiply uncontrollably, resulting in tumor formation.
Knowing this, the researchers used a drug to suppress the activity of the NOX1 complex, which immediately halted the growth of gastric cancer cells. Even more excitingly, disruption of Noxo1 in a mouse gastritis model stopped the proliferation of epithelial stem cells.
"We have finally been able to show that inflammation enhances the expression of NOXO1, which induces the proliferation of gastric epithelial stem cells, leading to gastric tumors," explains Dr Masanobu Oshima, senior author of the study. "Gastric cancer is the fourth most common cancer worldwide and has the second highest mortality rate. If we can disrupt the NOX1/ROS signaling pathway in situ, we may be able to prevent the development of this aggressive disease."
Scanning for cancer treatment
Published: April 15, 2019
11,000 people are predicted to die from acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in 2019, according to the American Cancer Society. The cancer starts in the bone marrow. There, mutated genes fail to prevent blood cells from replicating again and again and again, growing tumors.
A quick and easy guide to understanding antioxidants – and why you benefit from them
Published: April 12, 2019
(Natural News) Antioxidants protect cells and tissues from the harmful effects of toxic molecules called free radicals. In doing so, they help prevent the appearance of serious diseases that are connected to oxidation.
Free radicals are oxygen molecules that have been broken down into individual atoms with unpaired electrons. The lack of electrons causes them to freely move around the body, harming cells and DNA.
Many bodily processes produce free radicals as waste products. They are also produced by external factors such as a bad diet, exposure to air pollution and toxic chemicals, and unhealthy practices.
Normally, the body mitigates the effect of free radicals by repairing the damage they cause. However, excessive amounts can prove to be too much for the natural repair processes to handle.
Heavy concentrations of free radicals lead to oxidative stress. This eventually leads to diseases such as several types of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by providing them with electrons. Their levels must be constantly replenished in order to maintain good health. While the body naturally produces some antioxidants, the majority comes from food.
The different kinds of antioxidants and their benefits
There are hundreds of known antioxidants. They range from familiar vitamins to less-known flavonoids and polyphenols. They also operate in different ways and parts of the body, as well as targeting certain free radicals.
Vitamin E dissolves in fat, while Vitamin C can be dissolved by water. Selenium is a mineral absorbed by growing plants from the ground. Beta-carotene, lycopene, and polyphenols are pigments that give plants their bright color. Omega-3 fatty acids like ALA, DHA, and EPA are good fatty acids that come from oily sources – fish oil for DHA and EPA, and certain plant oils for ALA.
There are numerous studies that tackle the health benefits of antioxidants. One of the latest research was conducted by the IMDEA Food Institute of Madrid, Spain in 2016.
The Spanish researchers found that consuming large amounts of fruits and vegetables can lower the chances of various diseases and health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and cognitive problems. The plant-based chemicals in these foods are cited for demonstrating their antioxidant properties that help prevent diseases.
These foods will provide all the antioxidants needed for good health
Clove is considered to be the best source of natural antioxidants. Purple cabbage, on the other hand, is the most affordable option.
Kale is bursting with beta-carotene, vitamin C, and similar antioxidants. It also has large amounts of other vitamins and minerals.
If artichoke is on the menu due to its antioxidant content, eat the whole vegetable. The leaves are even healthier than the heart.
Oregano also offers anti-cancer benefits and can be easily grown in a small garden. Other antioxidant-rich spices include allspice, cilantro, and cinnamon.
Peppermint can be turned into a herbal tea. The resulting hot drink is both refreshing and will replenish antioxidant levels.
Among the various berries, blueberries boast the greatest amount of antioxidants. Goji berries give it a run for its money, but the exotic berries also cost way more.
Dehydrated apples, apricots, and plums have more antioxidants than their fresh equivalents. Pick unsweetened ones as the fruits are quite sugary already.
Cacao contains a lot of natural antioxidants. Since dark chocolate contains the most cacao and the least sugar, it is the healthiest choice.
A handful of pecans makes for a healthy and filling afternoon snack. Eating this tree nut also helps prevent heart disease.
Finally, most Americans get the majority of their antioxidants from coffee. Green tea and black tea are alternative sources of both antioxidants and caffeine.
Remedy for painful jaw disease
Published: April 11, 2019
USC researchers and collaborators report a breakthrough to prevent damage to the jaw, a side effect suffered by some people undergoing treatment for cancer or osteoporosis.
The newly published research is an important step toward a cure for osteonecrosis of the jaw, which is a rare side effect caused by drugs commonly used to combat bone loss. It causes severe and persistent inflammation leading to loss of bone from the jaw and has no effective prevention or cure. The risk, though small, deters people from taking drugs needed to fight bone cancer or prevent fractures due to loss of bone density.
USC scientist Charles McKenna said the successful animal experiment, conducted by researchers at USC and UCLA, raises hope that physicians could adapt the new method to treat the condition in people.
"This is a condition that has been excruciatingly painful and difficult to treat for more than a decade," said McKenna, a professor of chemistry in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and adjunct professor of pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences in the USC School of Pharmacy. "We think our new approach may provide hope for the future," he said.
The new published findings appear in Bone. The authors are affiliated with the USC Center for Drug Discovery and Development at the Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience, the UCLA School of Dentistry and a Pasadena-based startup biotech company, BioVinc LLC.
For years, physicians have prescribed a class of drugs called bisphosphonates (BPs) for metastatic bone cancer patients and to maintain bone density in osteoporosis patients. BPs include a range of compounds that share a remarkable ability to stick to bone like Velcro.
But when used in high doses in the cancer clinic, BP drugs sometimes have a terrible side effect causing necrosis in the jaw. The problem often occurs after a tooth is removed, the gap doesn't heal and the jaw begins to deteriorate.
Although the condition is very rare at the lower BP doses used to combat osteoporosis, many patients are avoiding the drugs altogether for fear of the side effects. The risk is low as the National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates incidence of osteonecrosis of the jaw due to BP used to treat osteoporosis to be between 1 in 10,000 and 1 in 100,000 people annually. Risk has been estimated to be much higher, about 3 percent of patients, at the BP dose used to treat cancer, McKennna said.
Nonetheless, more and more osteoporosis patients are willing to take their chances with the disease rather than risk the side effects. Surveys have shown the recent trend in reduced hip fractures among post-menopausal women may be reversing due to BP drug aversion.
"The fear factor of this condition has led to severe underuse of bisphosphonates for osteoporosis so much so that we're seeing a rise in hip fractures in elderly people, aversion to bisphosphonates in oncology clinics and liability concerns in the dental office," McKenna said.
To solve the problem, McKennna devised an elegant solution. The research team used a different BP compound, an inactive compound that could be used locally in the mouth to push the BP drug from the jawbone while leaving undisturbed the useful drug in the rest of the skeleton.
Said McKenna: "Think of it as a way to fight fire with fire."
The scientists involved in the study used mice to test different BPs attached to fluorescent dyes. One color label coded the BP zoledronate, which is administered systemically to treat osteoporosis and cancer, while a different color labeled "rescue BP" coded a BP compound with similar bone affinity, but no biological activity. The researchers discovered that rescue BP injected into the jaw removed most of the BP drug causing the jaw bone tissue damage, clearing the way for the animal's natural healing process to repair the extraction site.
The new technique isn't ready for clinical use in humans yet. McKenna said BioVinc, which provided funding for the study via a National Institutes of Health small business research grant, will be responsible for advancing the treatment to commercial clinical use. Several of the authors of the study disclose a financial interest in BioVinc, a company specializing in "bone targeted therapeutics and diagnostics." McKenna is the company's academic founder.
Prevent cancer with chlorogenic acid-rich foods and supplements
Published: April 10, 2019
(Natural News) Coffee is one of the most commonly consumed drinks in the world, and it has been shown to have health benefits. Researchers from India evaluated the anticancer properties of chlorogenic acid complex, which is an active compound in green coffee beans. Their findings appeared in the Food Science and Human Wellnessjournal.
The findings indicated that CGA7 in green coffee beans is a potent anticancer compound that could be a safe bioactive ingredient for the prevention of cancer.
Yet ANOTHER reason to eat organic food: It reduces your risk of getting cancer
Published: April 09, 2019
(Natural News) French researchers can give you a scientifically backed reason for why you should switch to an organic diet. In an epidemiological study, they found that participants who ate plenty of organic foods are less likely to develop certain types of cancers, especially when compared to those who eat little or no organic foods.
More Evidence HPV Vaccine Cuts Cervical Cancer Rate
Published: April 08, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- Scotland is already seeing a payoff for vaccinating adolescent girls for human papillomavirus (HPV).
Since the vaccine became routine about a decade ago, cervical cancer cases in young Scottish women have plummeted, a new study reports.
HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. Vaccination protects against HPV types 16 and 18, which cause 70% of cervical cancer cases worldwide.
In 2008, Scotland began a national HPV immunization program. The vaccine, which protects against HPV 16 and 18, has become routine for girls aged 12 and 13, and a catch-up program is offered up to age 18.
The impact of routine vaccination on a large population had been unclear, according to Tim Palmer of the University of Edinburgh and his colleagues. Palmer is Scottish clinical lead for cervical screening.
So, the researchers looked at vaccination and screening records for nearly 139,000 women born between 1988 and 1996 who had a cervical screening test result recorded at age 20.
Specifically, the investigators looked at levels of abnormal cells and cervical lesions, known as cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). CIN is divided into grades: CIN1, 2 or 3. The higher the number, the greater the risk of invasive cervical cancer.
The findings were published April 3 in the BMJ.
Compared with unvaccinated women born in 1988, vaccinated women born in 1995 and 1996 had an 89% reduction in CIN grade 3 or worse; an 88% reduction in CIN grade 2 or worse; and a 79% reduction in CIN grade 1, the researchers reported in a journal news release.
The younger the age at vaccination, the more effective the vaccine, the findings showed. There was an 86% reduction in CIN grade 3 for women vaccinated at age 12 or 13, compared with 51% for those vaccinated at age 17.
Unvaccinated women also showed a reduction, possibly due to what is known as "herd protection," the study authors said. In herd protection, vaccines provide some protection for those who don't receive a shot, because fewer germs are being transmitted from person to person.
The findings show that routine immunization with the bivalent HPV vaccine is highly effective against high-grade cervical disease, Palmer's team said.
"The findings emphasize the credibility of using high-risk HPV infection as an early marker of the effectiveness and success of the vaccine and underpin the recent call for global action on cervical cancer from the World Health Organization," the authors concluded.
In an accompanying journal editorial, Julia Brotherton called the study results "dramatic." She's medical director at VCS Foundation in Australia.
"We must work towards a world in which all girls and their families are offered, and the majority accept, HPV vaccination, wherever they live," Brotherton wrote. "We must also actively develop, resource, and scale-up more effective, feasible and culturally acceptable strategies for cervical screening, such as self-collection of specimens, if we are ever to effectively reduce the global burden of cervical cancer."
Magnetic nanoparticles can 'burn' cancer cell
Published: April 04, 2019
Unfortunately, cancer isn't simply a single disease, and some types, like pancreas, brain or liver tumours, are still difficult to treat with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery, leading to low survival rates for patients. Thankfully, new therapies are emerging, like therapeutic hyperthermia, which heats tumours by firing nanoparticles into tumour cells. In a new study published in EPJ B, Angl Apostolova from the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy in Sofia, Bulgaria and colleagues show that tumour cells' specific absorption rate of destructive heat depends on the diameter of the nanoparticles and the composition of the magnetic material used to deliver the heat to the tumour.
Magnetic nanoparticles delivered close to the tumour cells are activated using alternating magnetic fields. Hyperthermia therapy is effective if the nanoparticles are absorbed well by the tumour cells but not by cells in healthy tissue. Therefore, its effectiveness depends on the specific absorption rate. Bulgarian scientists have studied several nanoparticles made of an iron oxide material called ferrite, to which are added small quantities of copper, nickel, manganese or cobalt atoms -- a method called dopping.
The researchers investigated magnetic hyperthermia based on these particles, both in mice and in cell cultures, for two distinct heating methods. The methods differ in terms of how the heat is generated in the particles: via direct or indirect coupling between the magnetic field and the magnetic moment of the particles.
The authors show that the tumour absorption rate greatly depends on the diameter of the nanoparticles. Surprisingly, the absorption rate increases as particle diameter increases, as long as the level of doping of the material is sufficiently high and the diameter doesn't exceed a set maximum value (max. 14 nanometres for cobalt doping, 16 nm for copper).
Older women have the highest risk of dying from cervical cancer
Published: April 03, 2019
Denmark has one of highest incidence of cervical cancer in the Western world. But once a person has turned 65, they are no longer automatically screened -- even though older women are in fact those who have the highest mortality. This is shown by new research from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital.
"Cervical cancer has become known as 'a young women's disease'. But it's a myth that it only affects young people. In fact, the mortality rate among women above the age of 65 is 25-30 per cent higher than previously thought," says medical doctor and postdoc Anne Hammer from the Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital.
She is behind the new study which has just been published in the scientific journal Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavia. The researchers looked at cervical cancer mortality rates in Denmark between 2002-2015 and found that the over 65s stood out here. For example, the mortality rate was five times higher among woman aged 75-79 compared to those aged 40-45.
The research results support a study from November 2018 in which Anne Hammer and her research colleagues found that older women were very often diagnosed so late that the cancer was already too big to be surgically removed. In such cases patients are instead treated with radiotherapy and chemotherapy -- a treatment that is associated with side effects such as pain and urination and defecation discomfort.
More than half of the older women with cervical cancer who had followed the screening programme on a regular basis until it expired are diagnosed with cancer that is so advanced that surgery is no longer possible.
"When people are screened, the cancer can be discovered in its initial stages or at such an early stage that surgical treatment is still possible. This significantly reduces the risk of dying," says Anne Hammer.
Older women should also be screened
With the current rules, the screening programme stops if a person is tested negative between the ages of 60-64. According to Anne Hammer, there are plenty of grounds -- especially with the new studies -- to introduce initiatives to reduce the incidences and mortality from cervical cancer. This could for example be done by extending the screening programme.
"The negative test does not guarantee that someone won't get the disease after the screening ends, because the HPV virus which is the cause of the cancer can lie dormant in the body," says Anne Hammer. She also points out that there will very likely be fewer young women with cervical cancer in 5-10 years' time due to the HPV vaccine.
"But it will take many years before we see an effect among older women. When the society you live in has such a high incidence of advanced cervical cancer among older women with such a high mortality rate, then it is important to explore which interventions should be initiated to reverse this trend," says Anne Hammer, before adding that as long as the screening programme is not extended, the only thing to do is to keep a close eye on symptoms such as bleeding and altered discharge.
Treatment Advances Making Pancreatic Cancer a Less Deadly Disease
Published: April 02, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- Advances in chemotherapy and cancer monitoring can dramatically extend the lives of almost one-third of pancreatic cancer patients with tumors previously considered inoperable, researchers report.
It's good news for patients with a particularly deadly form of cancer that's been highlighted by the recent diagnosis of "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
About 35% of pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed with tumors that have started to grow outside the pancreas and involve many critical blood vessels surrounding the organ, explained lead researcher Dr. Mark Truty. He is a cancer surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Those patients have historically been told that their cancer is inoperable, and that they have only another 12 to 18 months left to live, the researchers said.
But new chemotherapy regimens have given these patients a fighting chance when delivered appropriately in conjunction with radiation therapy and surgery, Truty and his colleagues found.
Patients who had three specific chemo-related factors in their favor tended to live much longer, the results showed.
"Historically, the average survival is typically less than two years. These patients' average survival was about five years," Truty said.
The three factors were:
The prognosis for pancreatic cancer tends to be dire because it spreads rapidly, most often to the liver, lungs or abdominal cavity, Truty explained. Only about 15% of patients are diagnosed with tumors that haven't spread beyond the pancreas.
However, there's another third of patients whose cancer has spread to blood vessels but no other major organs, and researchers suspected that improved combination chemotherapies could make a difference in their outcomes.
The new study followed 194 Mayo Clinic patients over seven years who received chemo followed by radiation and surgery. About half of those patients came to Truty after being told elsewhere their cancer was inoperable.
The research team found people were more likely to live longer if they received more cycles of chemotherapy, enough to successfully kill their tumors.
About 29% of patients had all three factors, and their average survival time has not yet been calculated because more than half are still alive, the study authors said.
Another 29% had two of the factors and their median survival was just under five years, the findings showed.
"The more of those factors you had, the better you did," Truty explained.
To tell whether the chemo was killing cancer cells, researchers turned to two tools -- the CA19-9 test and PET scans.
Doctors typically use CT scans to judge when to operate and remove a tumor, Truty said. If the tumor has shrunk to a particular size, it's time to remove it.
But in pancreatic cancer, "CT is not a very good imaging study to determine response," Truty said. "In this study, in only 28% of people did the tumor actually shrink to any particular benefit."
CT scans are advanced versions of traditional X-rays, but PET scans are different -- they track the movement of radioactive tracer materials in the body that are drawn to living cells.
"If the PET scan of the tumor turned cold following chemotherapy, even if the CT scan was the same, that highly predicted that when a pathologist looked at the tumor following surgery, that cancer would be completely or mostly dead," Truty said.
This strategy produced impressive results, said Dr. Igor Astsaturov, an associate professor at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.
Astsaturov said it was "remarkable" that 94% of the patients in the study had no living cancer cells in the tumors that were surgically removed.
However, this sort of treatment is not available at just any hospital, Astsaturov warned.
"This type of surgery requires virtuoso technical skills and a range of expert supportive service available in specialized academic and high-volume cancer centers," Astsaturov said.
Cancer doctors should consider using PET scans and the CA19-9 test to determine how well chemo has worked for a patient before proceeding to radiation therapy and surgery, Truty explained.
"Right now," he added, "no one uses PET scans in pancreas cancer surgery and insurance providers typically don't cover it, but we found it was the most predictive" of patient survival.
Pancreatic Cancer Survival Odds Linked to Weight Before Age 50
Published: March 31, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- Need another reason to stay slim? People who are overweight have a greater risk of dying from pancreatic cancer, especially those who are carrying extra pounds before age 50, a new study suggests.
"No matter what the age, there was some increase in pancreatic cancer deaths associated with excess weight. But the association was stronger for excess weight measured in people's 30s and 40s," said the study's lead author, Eric Jacobs, senior scientific director of epidemiology research at the American Cancer Society (ACS).
"We're not completely sure why this is. Weight gain later in life may simply have less time to cause cancer," he said.
Between 2000 and 2015, the rate of pancreatic cancer rose about 15 percent, he said. It's now the third-leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
One reason pancreatic cancer is so deadly is that it often isn't discovered until it has reached an advanced stage. The disease rarely causes noticeable symptoms, and there are no effective screening tests, according to the cancer society.
But a few risk factors for pancreatic cancer can be changed. Smoking, weight and exposure to workplace chemicals are the three known risk factors that can be modified.
In the new study, researchers looked at data for almost 1 million U.S. adults with no history of cancer. The participants were enrolled in a nationwide study that began in 1982, and were followed through 2014.
The study participants reported their weight and height once -- at the start of the study. This information was used to calculate each person's body mass index (BMI), an estimate of body fat based on height and weight. A BMI from 18.5 to 24.9 is normal, while 25 to 29.9 is overweight. Over 30 is considered obese.
When BMI rose by five units -- equivalent to about 32 pounds for someone who is 5 feet 7 inches tall -- the risk of dying from pancreatic cancer rose:
As newer generations who are heavier than past generations reach older ages, Jacobs said he expected pancreatic cancer deaths to rise.
About 28 percent of that risk for people born between 1970 and 1974 comes from BMIs in excess of 25. That's about double the risk people born in the 1930s face, the investigators found.
Dr. Matthew Weiss, deputy physician-in-chief of surgical oncology at Northwell Health Cancer Institute in Lake Success, N.Y., reviewed the findings.
He said, "This study shows a clear association between obesity in patients under 50 years old and an increased risk of dying from pancreatic cancer. Interestingly, this phenomenon does not seem as impactful at older ages."
Weiss pointed out that the study doesn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship. It only shows an association.
"It may be that some of the factors that are important in the development of obesity also increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, which is a highly lethal disease," Weiss said.
It's also possible that both conditions are on the rise, but for different reasons, he said. However, Weiss added, obesity has been linked to other cancers as well.
Dr. Rishi Jain is an assistant professor of hematology/oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. He urged people who are overweight to do something about it, to reduce their cancer risk.
"When lifestyle modification -- such as diet and physical activity -- are insufficient in promoting weight loss, patients may seek additional support from a weight management program, which may incorporate other interventions including weight-loss medications or bariatric [weight-loss] surgery procedures," Jain suggested.
Jacobs is scheduled to present the findings Sunday at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting, in Atlanta.
FDA Says Breast Density Must Be Reported to Women During Mammograms
Published: March 27, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- Women with dense breasts who get mammograms must be told of their higher risk for breast cancer under new rules proposed Wednesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA would also tighten its regulation of mammogram facilities, giving the agency the power to notify patients if problems are found at a center so that repeat mammograms can be done at another certified center.
"The steps we are announcing today are intended to modernize breast cancer screening and help empower patients with more information when they are considering important decisions regarding their breast health care," FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said during a Wednesday morning media briefing.
Not only is dense breast tissue a risk factor for breast cancer, but mammograms can be difficult to interpret because dense tissue can obscure signs of breast cancer, Dr. Amy Abernethy, principal deputy commissioner at the FDA, explained during the briefing.
"For women with dense breasts, they should talk with their health care provider about their high breast density and how it relates to breast cancer risk and their individual situation," Abernethy said. "Given that more than half of women over the age of 40 in the United States have dense breasts, helping to ensure patient access to information about the impact that breast density and other factors can have on the risk for developing breast cancer is an important part of a comprehensive breast health strategy."
However, one breast cancer expert noted that many women are already being informed about their breast density.
"The FDA's proposed amendment is in keeping with the 37 states and District of Columbia, which currently require that patients be informed about breast density," said Dr. Laurie Margolies, section chief of breast imaging at Mount Sinai Health System, in New York City.
"Mammography has been proven to save lives," Margolies added. "Supplemental screening finds additional cancers in women with negative mammograms. Hopefully, the FDA regulations will mandate [insurance company] payment for supplemental screening so those women who want the extra screening can avail themselves of it."
Another breast cancer expert welcomed the proposed rules.
"Mammography is regulated by the federal government as it should be, and the fact that new guidelines and standards are being asked for is a very good thing in my opinion. It is probably overdue," said Dr. Alice Police, Westchester regional director of breast surgery at Northwell Health Cancer Institute, in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.
"Improvements in technology have made mammography better, and no patient should be stuck with inferior equipment or techniques," Police said.
The new rules mark the first time in more than 20 years that the FDA has proposed changes to key regulations for mammography facilities.
Another proposed rule meant to provide more information to health care providers would add three additional categories for the assessments of mammograms, including one called "known biopsy proven malignancy," which would alert health care providers about cases where cancer being evaluated by mammogram for treatment is already known and identified.
Under the proposed changes, patients and health care providers would also be given more detailed information about the mammography facility they use, the FDA said.
Proposed changes meant to update mammography quality standards and better enable the FDA to enforce regulations and take action against violators include giving the agency the power to "directly notify patients and their health care professionals, should facilities be unwilling or unable to do so, that mammography at a facility did not meet quality standards and that reevaluation or repeat of the mammogram at another certified facility may be needed."
The proposed changes are available online at www.regulations.gov for public comment for 90 days after publication.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in American women and the second leading cause of death. About 12.4 percent of women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute. It said that in 2018, more than 260,000 women in the U.S. were diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,920 women died of the disease.
Move More, Live Longer
Published: March 26, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- If you're a couch potato, get moving. Your life could depend on it.
Researchers say replacing 30 minutes a day of sitting with physical activity could cut your risk of premature death by nearly half.
They examined 14 years of data on inactivity and activity with more than 92,500 people in an American Cancer Society study.
Among those participants who were least active (less than 17 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity), replacing 30 minutes of sitting with light activity was associated with a 14 percent reduced risk of premature death.
And the least active people who replaced their sitting with a half-hour a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity had a 45 percent reduced risk of early death, the study found.
There were similar, but smaller benefits, among participants who were already moderately active.
Those more active people who replaced 30 minutes of sitting with light physical activity had a 6 percent reduced risk of premature death, while those who logged a half-hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity lowered their risk by 17 percent.
For those considered the most active -- people who already get in more than 38 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous activity -- sitting less and moving more were not associated with a reduced risk of early death.
"These findings suggest that the replacement of modest amounts of sitting time with even light physical activity may have the potential to reduce the risk of premature death among less active adults," study author Erika Rees-Punia and colleagues said in an American Cancer Society news release. Rees-Punia is a postdoctoral fellow at the organization.
The study noted that regular moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and certain cancers. And more amounts of sedentary time is associated with a higher risk of disease and death.
Participants with high amounts of moderate/vigorous physical activity were leaner, more educated and less likely to be smokers. For all participants, sitting time largely included watching TV (39 percent) and reading (20 percent).
The study has several limitations, researchers noted. It relied on self-reported physical activity and sitting time, and it lacked information about activities of daily living such as cleaning, self-care and cooking that are common among older adults. In addition, participants were predominately white and educated, and may not represent the general U.S. population.
More Reasons to Follow the Mediterranean Diet
Published: March 25, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- More and more research supports the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, the way of eating followed by people who live in countries around the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece and Italy.
Various studies have indicated that it may help ward off Alzheimer's disease and other changes related to thinking and memory. It may also reduce your odds of getting type 2 diabetes. And eating this way when you're younger can increase your chances of living past 70 without a chronic illness.
While some studies have cast doubt on its seemingly infinite health benefits, more definitive evidence of its value was announced in December 2018 in a study done at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Researchers found that among women who most closely followed the diet, heart disease was cut by more than 25 percent.
It's also important not to lose sight of the big picture: Because it's a diet that relies on fresh food rather than packaged or processed choices, it can be a healthful way for everyone to follow general nutrition guidelines for wellness.
One aspect that people like about the Mediterranean diet is its flexibility -- it's more of a style of eating than a strict regimen. That means that, within the parameters of what's acceptable, you have many choices and can build your own daily menus.
Spice beats chemo: Study reveals turmeric is more effective at killing cancer cells than chemo or radiation
Published: March 22, 2019
(Natural News) The mere mention of cancer strikes fear in the hearts of many people, and rightfully so. Having certain types of cancer often means you’ll be facing years of brutal treatments – if you’re lucky enough to live that long. Although it’s hard to imagine the disease could one day be considered non-threatening the way that many of the illnesses that used to kill people hundreds of years ago are viewed now, scientific breakthroughs like a recent study exploring turmeric’s effects on cancer cells are starting to give patients some hope.
This ancient Indian spice has been the subject of many studies in recent years as it continues to demonstrate its strength when it comes to fighting and preventing a host of diseases. Its inflammation-fighting properties are already well documented, and now a study published in Anticancer Research provides a comprehensive view of how the primary polyphenol in turmeric extract can selectivity kill cancer stem cells safely in ways that put radiation and chemotherapy to shame.
Many natural cures are valued for their simplicity, but turmeric is surprisingly complex in the way it fights cancer. It uses multiple molecular mechanisms to attack cancer stem cells, which are responsible for producing the cells in tumors. These stem cells resist chemotherapy and radiation, and surgery can sometimes even cause them to spread, which is why they’re often behind conventional treatment failures and tumor recurrence.
One aspect of curcumin’s intelligent approach is its ability to downregulate interleukin-6. The over-expression of this cytokine has been linked to inflammation progressing to cancer, and curcumin stops it from being released and stimulating cancer stem cells. It also directly and indirectly downregulates interleukin-1, which plays a vital role in the growth of cancer cells, and interleukin-8, which stimulates the regrowth of tumor-forming cancer stem cells.
Another way curcumin can fight cancer is by decreasing the binding of CXCR1 and CXCR2 and modulating pathways like the Wnt Signaling Pathway, the Notch Pathway, the FAK/AKT/FOXo3A Pathway, and the Hedgehog Pathways. If those terms are unfamiliar to you, you’re not alone – cancer is a complicated disease, but the bottom line is that curcumin targets deadly cancer stem cells in eight different and very powerful ways.
Curcumin leaves healthy cells alone
Curcumin is a very efficient cancer fighter, targeting the most dangerous cells of all, cancer stem cells, without touching normal cells. Contrast this with chemotherapy, which damages the DNA of quickly-replicating cells while they’re vulnerable during the mitosis stage of cell division. It does this without determining if the cells are cancerous or completely healthy.
This is essential because normal stem cells are needed to maintain good health. They differentiate into the cells needed to replace those cells that become damaged or sick, and killing them is one of the biggest problems of chemotherapy and radiation.
Scientists aren’t exactly sure why curcumin doesn’t have these negative effects on normal stem cells. One possible explanation is that malignant cells simply take in more curcumin than normal cells do. It’s also possible that curcumin encourages cancer stem cells to differentiate into more benign cells. Others theorize that it changes cells’ microenvironments in ways that benefit normal stem cells and harm cancer stem cells.
We might not yet know precisely how it works its magic, we do know that it can be very effective. Perhaps even more importantly, it’s very safe compared to the currently available cancer treatments. Curcumin has been safely used as a cooking spice in many cultures for hundreds of years, and it causes very few, if any, side effects in trials.
Scientists are still trying to determine the best ways to harness curcumin’s healing power as a cancer therapy and the amounts needed to safely make a difference, but in the meantime, you can enjoy some of the benefits on a smaller scale by adding this bright yellow spice to your cooking. Remember to use a bit of black pepper as well to boost its bioavailability, and stay on top of the latest curcumin research. It’s possible that cancer will eventually become a far less frightening prospect as researchers develop curcumin-based treatments for the disease.
Lifestyle interventions dramatically increase survival rates in cancer survivors
Published: March 20, 2019
(Natural News) Good news for breast cancer survivors: Lifestyle intervention can improve your life. A study presented at the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium revealed that participating in a lifestyle intervention program helps survivors of early-stage breast cancer to lose weight and experience higher rates of disease-free survival.
“Many breast cancer survivors would like to contribute actively to improving their prognosis, and guiding them on lifestyle factors that can help them control weight is one possible way to positively impact patient outcomes,” said Dr. Wolfgang Janni, the study’s lead author of the study and chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Ulm in Germany.
For the study, Janni and his team examined 2,292 women enrolled in the German SUCCESS C study. All participants had a body mass index (BMI) of 24 or higher. While a BMI of 24 is still considered within a healthy weight range, going any higher is already considered overweight. Earlier studies have reported that obesity and not having enough exercise are linked to higher risks of developing breast cancer and a greater risk of recurrence and reduced survival.
The participants either received telephone-based, personalized guidance focused on helping them attain moderate weight loss for two years or general recommendations for a healthy lifestyle. Those who received the telephone calls received advice on how to improve their diets, reduce their fat consumption, get more exercise, and other tips that were adjusted to their particular needs.
After two years of follow-up, those who received personalized lifestyle intervention tips lost an average of 2.2 pounds, while those in the control group gained about 2.1 pounds, on average. Only 1,477 participants completed the lifestyle intervention, and these participants experienced a 35 percent higher rate of disease-free survival compared to those who started the program but did not complete it. Moreover, those who received the telephone calls had a 50 percent higher chance of surviving disease-free compared to the control group. The results were similar even after the researchers compared other factors that could influence the outcomes.
From these findings, it can be concluded that lifestyle interventions might be effective in improving breast cancer prognosis if adherence is high.
Living well after cancer
Cancer survivors often have the fear of recurrence, which may also lead to stress, depression and anxiety, and loneliness. Here are some tips on how to live well after surviving cancer:
Hormonal Therapy for Prostate Cancer Might Raise Depression Risk
Published: March 19, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- Hormonal treatment can help control prostate cancer but may increase a man's risk of depression, a new study by Danish researchers suggests.
Male hormones, such as testosterone, are known to fuel the growth of prostate tumors. So doctors use drugs to reduce hormone production. But that can bring on tough side effects, such as incontinence or impotence.
The new study found that men on hormone-reducing therapy after having their prostate removed were 80 percent more likely to develop depression than other prostate cancer patients.
"Continuous awareness about signs of depression in prostate cancer patients, even many years after diagnosis -- and in particular, in case of treatment with androgen-deprivation therapy -- is warranted," said lead researcher Dr. Anne Sofie Friberg, of Copenhagen University Hospital.
Many men with cancer become depressed, but it's especially true for those with prostate cancer because treatment often affects their sexual functioning.
This study can't prove that hormonal treatment alone is a cause of depression, but it likely plays a part, Friberg said.
"Our results indicate that prostate cancer patients are vulnerable to depression," she said. "The association depends on many factors, and our results imply that treatment for recurrence contributes substantially to the risk."
For the study, Friberg's team collected data on nearly 5,600 men listed in the Danish Prostate Cancer Registry.
Just over 770 of them were treated for depression. The study found that men who were treated with hormone-reducing medicines had nearly twice the risk of depression, compared with other patients. The increased risk remained for all 18 years of follow-up, Friberg said.
The findings were strongest for men whose prostate was surgically removed. The results were inconclusive for men who had radiation therapy, the researchers said.
Men who have their prostate removed often suffer side effects such as erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence that increase their likelihood for depression. As many as one-quarter of these surgical patients will see their cancer return and may then undergo hormone-reducing treatment.
The treatment blocks testosterone, can alter libido, cause hot flashes and affect mood, all of which add to depression risk, the study authors said.
The study findings were presented Monday at a meeting of the European Association of Urology, in Barcelona, Spain. Research presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Dr. Anthony D'Amico, a professor of radiation oncology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, called the study conclusions into question. He noted that many men on hormone-reducing therapy are prescribed the antidepressant Effexor (venlafaxine) to control resulting hot flashes.
"This study is not definitive, because the number one treatment for hot flashes is antidepressant medication," D'Amico said.
The prostate patients most likely to develop depression are those with a history of depression, he added.
Although the study may overstate the effect of hormone-reducing treatment on depression, D'Amico said doctors should be aware that their patients are at risk and may need treatment for it.
Women, are you getting enough dietary fiber? Diets rich in vegetables and legumes decrease your risk of ovarian cancer
Published: March 18, 2019
(Natural News) The food you eat can either keep you healthy or make you sick. Some can cause cancer, such as processed and junk foods, while others help prevent it. In a recent literature review, it was found that eating foods rich in fiber may help ward off ovarian cancer.
Existing evidence on the link between dietary fiber consumption and risk of ovarian canceris inconsistent. So, researchers from Qingdao University in China carried out a meta-analysis on the available scientific literature on the link between dietary fiber intake and ovarian cancer risk. They hypothesized that adding foods rich in fiber to the diet might be linked to a reduced risk of ovarian cancer. To test this hypothesis, they collected 19 existing studies that explore the association. The studies included 567, 742 participants.
Based on the data that were gathered, researchers found that there was an association between dietary fiber consumption and risk of ovarian cancer. In addition, they discovered that for every 5-gram (g) increase in dietary fiber intake each day, the risk of ovarian cancer was reduced by three percent. These results, which were published in the journal Nutrition Research, indicate that consumption of fiber-rich foods is associated with a lower risk of ovarian cancer.
From these findings, the researchers suggest women to eat more foods rich in fiber to help cut their risk of ovarian cancer.
Dietary fiber intake also cuts the risk of breast cancer
Eating fiber-rich foods can also help protect against breast cancer. A systematic review published in the journal Oncotarget suggests that consuming foods rich in fiber is significantly associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal women.
A different team of Chinese researchers conducted a systematic review to assess the effectiveness of dietary fiber intake in reducing the risk of breast cancer because existing evidence from randomized controlled trials on this association is inconsistent. To conduct the review, they obtained a total of 24 studies on dietary fiber intake and breast cancer risk.
Researchers found that there was a 12 percent decline in breast cancer risk with dietary fiber consumption. In addition, they found that for every 10-g per day increase in dietary fiber consumption, the risk of breast cancer was slashed by four percent. From these findings, the researchers conclude that eating foods rich in fiber may play a role in the prevention of breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal women.
Tips on how to get more fiber in your diet
You can incorporate fiber in your diet by following these tips:
Genomics Could Improve Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer
Published: March 14, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- It's one of the toughest cancers to beat. But new research suggests that identifying the genetics of pancreatic cancer in individual patients could boost survival for some.
The five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer patients is less than 9 percent. One reason this cancer is so deadly is that many patients are diagnosed at a late stage and often with inoperable tumors.
In some cases, existing chemotherapy drugs might be able to shrink pancreatic tumors if the disease is diagnosed early enough.
In this study, University of Pittsburgh researchers analyzed the genomes of nearly 3,600 pancreatic tumor samples from around the world. In 17 percent, genetics suggested the tumor would respond to existing chemotherapy drugs.
The team also found evidence of hereditary genes -- including some in the BRCA family associated with breast cancer -- that can increase an entire family's risk of pancreatic cancer.
"People have been looking for such markers for a long time, and our study shows that it's possible to break pancreatic cancer patients into different treatment buckets," senior author Dr. Nathan Bahary, an associate professor of medicine, said in a university news release.
Lead author Dr. Aatur Singhi, an assistant professor of pathology, noted that every pancreatic cancer is different. Developing a molecular profile of each patient's tumor could help determine the best treatments, he said.
"Rather than blindly giving patients the same chemotherapy, we want to tailor a patient's chemo to their tumor type. A one-size-fits-all approach isn't going to work. Therefore, we would like to make molecular profiling standard of care for patients with pancreatic cancer," Singhi said in the news release.
The study was recently published online in the journal Gastroenterology.
Singhi and colleagues previously developed a test to evaluate common pancreatic cysts and identify which might progress to cancer. These newly discovered biomarkers can be added to the test, which is already in use at several institutions.
Scientists Spot Clues to Predicting Breast Cancer's Return
Published: March 13, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- Figuring out which breast cancer patients will live disease-free after treatment is a bit of a guessing game. But new research indicates breast cancer cells hold molecular clues that may allow doctors to predict who is at high risk of having a recurrence up to 20 years later.
It has long been known that women who are successfully treated for breast cancer can still face a substantial risk of a recurrence years later. But there's no way to zero in on which women are at high risk, and which are unlikely to see the cancer come back.
Right now, doctors can look at certain factors to get a handle on a woman's recurrence risk, said Christina Curtis, one of the senior researchers on the new study.
Women with breast cancer that is ER-positive, for example, have higher odds of a recurrence years after being treated. (That means the cancer's growth is fueled by estrogen.) The same is true of cancer that has spread to multiple lymph nodes by the time it's diagnosed.
But those details don't tell the whole story, said Curtis, an assistant professor of medicine and genetics at Stanford University.
"Unfortunately, [current methods] are not as precise as we'd like them to be," she said. "There's a huge unmet need."
So for their study, Curtis and her colleagues looked to the medical histories of more than 3,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer as far back as 1977. For almost 2,000 of those patients, the researchers were able to dig into the molecular details of their cancer -- including the level of activity in certain cancer-linked genes, and the presence of particular genetic mutations.
When the investigators pulled that information together, they saw that certain subgroups of women faced a high risk of recurrence over the long term.
That included one-quarter of women whose original cancer was ER-positive but negative for the protein HER2 -- a common scenario in breast cancer.
For that one-quarter, the odds of a recurrence over the next 20 years ranged between 42 percent and 55 percent, the findings showed.
Similarly, a portion of women with "triple-negative" breast cancer remained at high risk of recurrence over 20 years. Triple-negative cancer has no receptors for estrogen, HER2 or the hormone progesterone -- and most recurrences happen within the first five years.
Dr. Harold Burstein is a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. He said the new findings could "open a door" toward better-tailoring patients' treatment.
"This study points the way toward understanding, with far more detail, what patients can expect as far as their risk of recurrence," said Burstein, who was not involved in the study.
He cautioned, however, that this is not something patients can ask their doctors about tomorrow. More research is needed before the findings can be translated into a test for use in everyday practice, Burstein said.
The hope, Curtis said, is that when patients are diagnosed with breast cancer, doctors will be able to analyze their tumor for molecular red flags -- and then "stratify them upfront."
If a woman has a cancer that's likely to come back down the road, that might change her treatment.
Burstein pointed to an example: Hormone therapy, with drugs that block estrogen's effects, is a standard treatment for ER-positive cancer. But, he said, there's "controversy" over how long that treatment should last.
If doctors could better predict which patients had a high recurrence risk, those women might want to continue hormone therapy past the standard five years.
At this point, though, it's not known whether such a treatment tactic would change the long-term outlook for those patients, said Dr. George Plitas, a breast cancer surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
"How would this be incorporated into clinical practice? It's unclear right now," Plitas said.
That said, he pointed to another contribution of the new findings. They give insight into the biology that helps determine whether a woman will have a recurrence years later. And that could help researchers develop new treatment approaches for those patients.
"This identifies potential molecular pathways for intervention," said Plitas, who played no role in the research.
"I tell my patients that we live in amazing times," he noted. "And this study highlights the fact that [treatment] is going to keep getting better."
Cancer patients found to benefit from cannabis; scientific study analyzed outcomes of 2,970 cancer patients to confirm results
Published: March 10, 2019
(Natural News) There are now at least 34 countries, and the same number of states in the U.S., where the use of cannabis or cannabis-derived products is approved for treating symptoms of various diseases. Europe leads the way with 28 countries. The U.S.A., on the other hand, has yet to approve it at the federal level. It may have no other choice but to approve it if more and more studies come out that show cannabis benefiting patients suffering from various diseases.
Cancer is a leading cause of death in Israel. Thus, it is considered as a major health problem in that country. In treating cancer, palliative care plays an important part of the treatment regimen. It focuses on alleviating pain, nausea, insomnia and anxiety experienced by patients in the advanced stages of this disease. Since 2007, the Israeli Ministry of Health has approved the use of medical cannabis for the palliative treatment of cancer symptoms.
Israeli scientists published a study in 2018 where they analyzed the data routinely collected as part of the treatment program of 2970 cancer patients treated with medical cannabis between 2015 and 2017. They sorted out which types of cancer the patients had, what main symptoms that required therapy were and how severe the pain was for the patients. Then they evaluated the safety and efficacy of this therapy.
Majority of the patients were aged between 43.2 and 75.8 years old, with the average being 59.5 years old. Slightly half (54.6 percent) of them were women, and 26.7 percent of all the patients reported previous experience with cannabis.
A significant majority (51.2 percent) of the patients were already at stage-4 cancer based on the TNM staging system used to describe how much cancer has progressed in a patient’s body.
The most frequent type of cancer the researchers encountered in the study was breast cancer, which was reported in 20.7 percent of the patients. It was followed by lung cancer at 13.6 percent, pancreatic cancer at 8.1 percent and colorectal cancer at 7.9 percent. Diverse types of cancer were reported for the rest.
Next, the researchers looked at the main symptoms of cancer for which medical cannabis was prescribed. Patients complained most of having sleep problems (78.4 percent). It was followed closely by pain (77.7 percent), then by weakness (72.7 percent). Nausea was experienced by 64.6 percent of the patients, while 48.9 percent of them complained of a lack of appetite. Those who complained of pain were already suffering terribly since the median for this cohort was already 8/10 on the pain scale. This means that the patients were experiencing from severe to the worst pain possible.
Nine hundred and two patients (24.9 percent) died and 682 (18.8 percent) stopped the cannabis treatment after six months of follow-up. Out of the 1,386 patients remaining, 1,211 responded to the study.
Almost 96 percent of the participants reported an improvement in their condition; 45 patients (3.7 percent) reported no change and four patients (0.3 percent) reported deterioration in their medical condition.
The scientists concluded that cannabis seems to be an effective, safe and well-tolerated option in the palliative care of cancer patients suffering from the symptoms, especially pain, brought about by the disease.
The highly positive effects of medical cannabis on cancer symptoms are encouraging other scientists to use it directly on cancer cells. A recent study suggests that purified extracts from whole-plant marijuana can slow the growth of cancer cells from one of the most serious types of brain tumors.
More studies like these open the door to the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of the symptoms of other diseases, like inflammation and seizures, as well as other diseases, such as addiction to prescription opioids. Hopefully, these studies also open the minds of people in government to the beneficial use of cannabis.
4 in 10 cancer cases can be prevented with these lifestyle changes
Published: March 07, 2019
(Natural News) A study conducted by scientists from Cancer Research U.K. (CRUK) showed that positive lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or maintaining a healthy weight, can significantly lower your cancer risk. The study findings were published in the British Journal of Cancer.
Make healthier choices to lower your cancer risk
In the landmark study by CRUK, researchers analyzed factors in peoples’ lives that cause cancer. They then calculated how many cases in the U.K. were associated with each of these risk factors.
For this study, researchers used all the latest available data and evidence to provide more accurate estimates and update current data.
The results of the study showed that over 135,000 cases of cancer (or four in 10 cases) could be prevented in the U.K. annually by making lifestyle changes. These cancer risk factors have already been confirmed, but the study results highlight the importance of how your daily habits can add up and affect your well-being.
Dr. Katrina Brown, who led the analysis at CRUK, explained that the research team collated data from national surveys that showed how common each risk factor is in the population. The researchers also used data from the U.K. cancer registries showing how many cases of each cancer type there are. They then searched published research for data on how much each risk factor increases cancer risk using only “gold standard epidemiology research.”
Smoking- and obesity-related cancer cases
To illustrate, these studies compared the number of cancers in individuals who smoke to the number of cancers in non-smokers to get a relative risk of cancer in smokers. Using this information, together with data on how common smoking is in the U.K. and how many cases of smoking-related cancer types exist, the CRUK researchers estimated how many of those cancer cases were due to smoking.
The researchers did this for all the modifiable risk factors. The results showed that in total, over 135,000 cases of cancer could be prevented through lifestyle changes like:
The study findings confirmed that smoking is the biggest cause of cancer. Based on the new calculations, it’s responsible for a whopping 54,300 cases of cancer every year in the U.K.
The new data likewise revealed that being overweight or obese increases the risk of about 13 different types of cancer. The findings suggest that obesity causes at least 22,800 cases of cancer in the U.K. annually, making it the second biggest cause of cancer in the U.K. after smoking. Unfortunately, only 15 percent of individuals are aware of the link between obesity and cancer. National campaigns can help educate the public about this dangerous link.
What can American readers learn from this U.K.-based study? Your main takeaways should be: While prevention doesn’t guarantee that you will never develop cancer, making positive lifestyle changes can still significantly lower cancer risk.
Researchers: Hair dyes have a direct connection to breast cancer
Published: March 06, 2019
(Natural News) Though dying their locks might seem like an absolute necessity for many women as they get older and the gray starts setting in, new research from Finland should give women everywhere pause, as it indicates that this apparently harmless beauty ritual could be linked to an elevated risk of breast cancer.
For her doctoral dissertation, researcher Sanna Heikkinen of the University of Helsinkiand the Finnish Cancer Registry, examined self-reported information from 8,000 Finnish women with breast cancer and a further 20,000 controls. Heikkinen observed a 23 percent increase in breast cancer risk for those who dyed their hair on a regular basis.
Earlier research similarly found that women who regularly dye their hair are at increased risk of other cancers, including brain cancer, bladder cancer and leukemia. British scientists have also issued warnings in the past about the dangers of both home hair dye kits and professional dyes applied at hair salons.
One possible explanation for the elevated risk is that certain chemicals in the hair dye react with other pollutants in the air to form tumors when used on a continuous basis.
A landmark study back in 2000, by researchers from the University of Southern California, and published in the International Journal of Cancer, found that women who dye their hair on a monthly basis double their risk of getting bladder cancer. They also found that the risk continues to increase with prolonged use, and that hairdressers who work with hair dyes professionally face an even higher risk.
These shock findings prompted an immediate review by The European Commission, the body responsible for drafting legislation for the European Union. The results of that review led to the Commission withdrawing support for hair coloring products in Europe. The Commission stated at the time that there was insufficient evidence proving the safety of hair dyes. While recognizing that a robust study confirming their safety would take years, they felt it was imperative to protect consumers in the interim by advising against the use of these products. They particularly expressed concern about the long-term effects of a chemical called para-Phenylenediamine, or PPD, which is commonly used in hair dyes.
The CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) warns of the dangers of para-Phenylenediamine and notes, “Repeated or prolonged contact may cause skin sensitization. Repeated or prolonged inhalation exposure may cause asthma. The substance may have effects on the kidneys , [sic] resulting in kidney impairment.”
The European Commission’s recommendations raised concerns for many women at the time. As many as one-third of women in the United States routinely color their hair.
Several other health concerns are also linked to the use of hair dyes, including asthma and severe allergic reactions.
DIY hair dyes
Nonetheless, the reality is that very few of us have the courage to face getting older without helping nature along a little by covering the gray in our hair. Fortunately, there are several natural dyes available on the market, or if you want to be absolutely safe and create your own hair color at home, here are a few suggestions:
If your naturally blonde hair needs a color boost, try making a chamomile tea infusion as follows: Place eight chamomile teabags in a pot of water that has just been boiled, but has been removed from the heat. Allow the tea to steep for 30 minutes, then add a cup of yogurt and a few drops of lavender oil to the brew. Massage the mixture onto clean hair, leave it in for 30 minutes, then gently wash it out and allow your hair to dry naturally.
To restore the color to darker tresses, brew a pot of clean, organic coffee, using a dark, unflavored roast. Once the coffee has cooled, poured it into a basin, and working over the sink, work the mixture through all your hair. Leave it in your hair for 15 minutes, then rinse it off in the shower. You should be aware that some lighter hair may turn reddish rather than dark brown.
For those looking to restore their natural red, look no further than red hibiscus tea. Steep five of these tea bags in boiled water for 30 minutes. When the tea is cool enough, saturate all your hair with it. Leave it on for about an hour, then rinse and wash as normal.
Exercise Might Slow Colon Cancer's Advance
Published: March 05, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- Exercise has countless benefits, even in small doses. And new research suggests the payoffs might extend to colon cancer patients.
Short sessions of intense exercise may slow the growth of colon cancer, Australian researchers report.
"We have shown that exercise may play a role in inhibiting the growth of colon cancer cells," said lead author James Devin, from the University of Queensland.
The report was published Feb. 27 in the Journal of Physiology.
"After an acute bout of high intensity exercise, there were specific increases in inflammation immediately after exercise, which are hypothesized to be involved in reducing the number of cancer cells," Devin said in a journal news release.
Devin and his colleagues at the University of Queensland worked with researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.
The team took blood samples from 10 colon cancer survivors who had one session of intense exercise, and 10 survivors who had 12 exercise sessions over four weeks.
Analyzing the samples for the growth of cancer cells, the researchers found that even one session of high intensity exercise appeared to reduce the growth of colon cancer cells. These short exercise bouts are as important as longer regular exercise, they said.
The findings also suggest that continued exercise may aid in the "fight against cancer." Moreover, they highlight the importance of regular exercise and leading a physically active life, Devin and his team added.
However, the study can't prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Also, the researchers noted that their method of studying cancer cell growth in the laboratory may not apply to tumors growing in the human body. They said further research is needed.
Homes are laden with chemicals that are increasing your risk of CANCER
Published: March 03, 2019
(Natural News) Despite assurances of safety from both industry leaders and government entities, a staggering number of products contain hazardous chemicals that are toxic to humans. Whether it’s BPA-ridden canned goods, toxic personal care products, or harmful cleaning chemicals, there is no shortage of toxins in the average home.
And worst of all, most of these toxins go unnoticed; we casually invite these hazards into our homes, never taking notice of the harm they cause. Toxins can even be hiding in your furniture, children’s toys and the pans you cook your food with. Whether in the form of building materials or consumer products, we are basically surrounded.
Fortunately, you can still take steps to eliminate the presence of toxins in your home and reduce exposure.
Toxins hiding in the home
Children’s environmental health expert Dr. Leonardo Trasande, also a professor at NYU, tells Business Insider that there are a few types of chemicals commonly found in homes to be concerned about.
“There is increasing and accelerating evidence that synthetic chemicals commonly found in the home contribute to disease and disability,” Trasande says. Children are the most susceptible; in addition to the fact that they are still developing, children weigh less — which can make exposure to even small amounts more significant.
According to Trasande, there are four classes of chemicals to be mindful of.
Topping the list, of course, is pesticides. These can be found in an array of fruits, veggies and even grains. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) famously found traces of glyphosate — the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup — in a host of breakfast cereals and other goods. Glyphosate is the most commonly used pesticide in the U.S.
A number of pesticides have been linked to health issues. Glyphosate itself has been labeled a “probable carcinogen” by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. Atrazine, the second-most common pesticide, has been linked to birth defects and other adverse health effects.
Atrazine contaminates drinking water for an estimated 30 million Americans.
Recent research has also linked the entire class of organophosphate pesticides to IQ deficits in children.
Trasande recommends that parents avoid using pesticides in their yards, and suggests going organic when possible.
BPA is a toxic chemical used in plastics. It is found in water bottles, food packaging and containers, and is even found in the plastics used to line canned goods. BPA is an endocrine disruptor that’s associated with a bevy of health issues. Scientists have linked BPA to obesity, coronary artery disease, and reproductive problems.
The safety of BPA is widely contested by the scientific community, but BPA-free plastics may not be much better. Better options include glass, ceramic, stainless steel and other natural materials. Scaling back on canned food consumption, and avoiding microwaving plastic are other tips.
Pthalates are a type of plasticizer that are associated with a number of reproductive health issues, including infertility in men and endometriosis in women. The chemicals have also been linked to obesity, diabetes, ADHD and cancer. As EWG notes, pthalates are known endocrine disruptors.
Though pthalates were banned from use in children’s toys by Congress in 2008, they remain a commonly used chemical and continue to pollute the environment and our bodies. Because of how prevalent they are, pthalates are hard to avoid. Looking for “pthalate-free” products is a good start. Products packed in “recycling-code-3” plastic or ingredient lists that contain the word “fragrance” can be indicators that pthalates are present, also.
Flame retardants are added to a variety of products to make them less flammable; furniture, electronics, building materials and even carpets can be laced with these toxins. Flame retardants can linger in soil, air, and water — and are also found in household dust. These chemicals have been linked to cancer, IQ deficits and a number of other adverse effects.
Trasande suggests that parents look out for children’s toys and mattresses that contain polyurethane foam. Regular dusting and mopping can help reduce exposure to flame retardants in dust, also.
Lifestyle Changes Can Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk
Published: March 01, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- While genetics, such as carrying BRCA gene mutations, play a role in who is more likely to get breast cancer, everyday lifestyle factors are involved, too.
Research published in JAMA Oncology used data from thousands of women to identify which lifestyle factors in particular could affect a woman's risk for breast cancer.
The study found that three specific steps could potentially prevent up to 29 percent of all breast cancers: Avoid alcohol and, after menopause, avoid both obesity and estrogen-progestin replacement hormone therapy.
The researchers noted that these recommendations could be most helpful for women at a high risk of breast cancer because of factors they can't change, like genetics and their age at menstruation and menopause. In fact, for them, having a low body mass index, not drinking alcohol, not smoking and not taking hormone therapy could lower breast cancer risk to that of the average woman.
The research has some limitations, however. For instance, the study only looked at data from white women in the United States, not other ethnic groups. But these are lifestyle changes that can boost overall health for all women.
For more global advice, the American Institute for Cancer Research states that excess body fat is one of the strongest factors linked to a greater risk of breast cancer after menopause. So is abdominal fat, regardless of your body mass index (a measure of body fat based on height and weight).
The organization also warns that drinking alcohol can increase breast cancer risk before menopause and touts the positive effects of daily exercise and, for new moms, of breastfeeding.
Fiber doesn’t just do wonders for your gut: It also can also keep breast cancer at bay
Published: February 28, 2019
(Natural News) Fiber is an important part of a person’s diet. It is known for its beneficial effects on the gut, heart, and metabolism. However, few people know that this nutrient also helps prevent breast cancer.
There two kinds of fiber in food, soluble and insoluble. The former is commonly found in vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, lentils, and peas. It easily dissolves in the presence of water and once in the gut, soluble fiber slows down digestion. Meanwhile, insoluble fiber, also known as roughage, is found in whole grains, wheat bran, parsnips, and spinach. This gut is unable to digest this kind of fiber so it just passes through the digestive system. On its way out, insoluble fiber brushes the insides of the colon. This helps eliminate harmful substances so that they don’t accumulate in the body.
The protective effects of fiber against breast cancer
There is a growing body of evidence regarding fiber’s role in the prevention of breast cancer. Some studies attribute this effect to the ability of insoluble fibers to regulate glucose metabolism and insulin levels. Experts claim that insulin resistance and high blood pressure increase the risk of breast cancer by up to 300 percent. This means that by eating adequate amounts of fiber, you can significantly reduce this risk.
Both insoluble and soluble fiber also have the ability to regulate hormones. This is especially beneficial against estrogen-positive breast cancer since women with this health problem can have estrogen levels that are up to one million times higher than normal.
When estrogen is broken down, the excess is sent to the colon so that it can be flushed out of the body. However, inadequate levels of insoluble fiber inhibit the large intestine from moving things along. So, instead of leaving the body, estrogen is recirculated. This can cause an estrogen overload. If a person has enough insoluble fiber in their body, this problem will not occur and estrogen can be eliminated properly.
Soluble fiber is also beneficial for the prevention of estrogen-positive breast cancer. This is because of its part in hormonal distribution as well as its interactions with the immune system. The gut, which contains 80 percent of the immune system, ferments soluble fiber from different plant-based foods. This process produces byproducts that nourish immune cells, effectively reducing inflammation that contributes to the growth of cancer cells.
Overall, scientific evidence suggest that fiber prevents breast cancer by boosting the immune system, regulating hormones, and keeping the gut healthy.
Dietary tips for preventing cancer
Diet is a major factor in the prevention of all kinds of cancer. Here are some other things that you should keep in mind when building your cancer-prevention diet.
Almost Half of Global Cases of Childhood Cancer Go Undiagnosed
Published: February 26, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- The actual number of childhood cancer cases worldwide is nearly double the recorded number, a chilling new study finds.
"Our model suggests that nearly one in two children with cancer are never diagnosed and may die untreated," said study author Zachary Ward. He is a researcher at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
The study, published Feb. 26 in The Lancet Oncology, found records of 224,000 childhood cancer diagnoses worldwide in 2015. Researchers estimated the actual number at 397,000.
Previous estimates have been based on data from cancer registries, but 60 percent of countries have no registry and those that do may cover only a small percentage of the population, the researchers explained.
The new study makes predictions for childhood cancers in 200 countries. It estimates that undiagnosed cases could represent more than half the total in Africa, South Central Asia and the Pacific Islands.
In North America and Europe, only 3 percent of childhood cancer cases are undiagnosed, the study authors said.
If no improvements are made, about 2.9 million of 6.7 million new childhood cancer cases worldwide will go undiagnosed between 2015 and 2030, according to the report.
Accurate estimates are essential for setting health care priorities, and planning for effective diagnosis and treatment of all kids with cancer, Ward said in a journal news release.
"While underdiagnosis has been acknowledged as a problem, this model provides specific estimates that have been lacking," he added.
In most regions, the number of new childhood cancer cases is declining or stable. But 92 percent of all new cases occur in low- and middle-income countries, more than previously thought, the researchers said.
According to study senior author Rifat Atun, "Health systems in low-income and middle-income countries are clearly failing to meet the needs of children with cancer." Atun is a professor of global health systems at Harvard.
"Universal health coverage, a target of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, must include cancer in children as a priority to prevent needless deaths," he added in the news release.
Don't Be Fooled: Thermography No Substitute for Mammograms, FDA Says
Published: February 25, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- Women should not be misled into thinking that thermography is an effective alternative to mammography for breast cancer screening, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned.
Despite claims to the contrary, thermography should not be used in place of mammography for breast cancer screening, detection or diagnosis, the agency said Monday.
"There is no valid scientific data to demonstrate that thermography devices, when used on their own or with another diagnostic test, are an effective screening tool for any medical condition including the early detection of breast cancer or other diseases and health conditions," according to an FDA news release.
Thermography is a noninvasive test in which an infrared camera produces images that show patterns of heat and blood flow on or near the surface of the body. Thermography devices -- also called digital infrared imaging devices -- are approved by the FDA only for use with another screening or diagnostic test like mammography, not as a stand-alone diagnostic tool.
"Mammography [taking X-ray pictures of the breasts] is the most effective breast cancer screening method and the only method proven to increase the chance of survival through earlier detection," the FDA said.
But the agency said that health spas, homeopathic clinics, mobile health units and other health care facilities are using thermography on its own for breast cancer screening or diagnosis.
The FDA said it has "received reports that these types of facilities provide false information that can mislead patients into believing that thermography is an alternative or better option than mammography."
These inaccurate claims include statements that thermography can find breast cancer years before it would be detected through other methods, or that thermography improves detection of cancer in dense breasts, the agency noted.
Such claims are false or have no scientific evidence to support them, the FDA stressed.
If women fall for these falsehoods, the regulators fear they might not get mammograms to screen for breast cancer.
"People who choose thermography instead of mammograms may miss the chance to detect cancer at its earliest and most treatable stages," according to the report.
The agency said it's taking action to stop false advertising about thermography. Last week, it issued a warning letter to one company, Total Thermal Imaging, Inc., in La Mesa, Calif., for marketing and promoting thermography devices for uses that have not received marketing clearance or approval.
The FDA has also told five other facilities to stop making inappropriate claims about thermography devices.
High-Fat Diets Do No Favors for Your Gut Bacteria
Published: February 20, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- Has a high-fat meal ever left you feeling bloated and sluggish? It turns out that a heavier fat diet may keep the many bacteria that live in your digestive system from doing their best, too.
New research found that when people boosted their fat intake to 40 percent of their daily diet for six months, the number of "good" gut bacteria decreased while "unhelpful" bacteria amounts increased.
"The [study] result showed that a high-fat diet is linked to unfavorable changes in the type and numbers of gut bacteria -- collectively known as the microbiome," said the study's senior author, Duo Li. He is chief professor of nutrition at the Institute of Nutrition and Health at Qingdao University in Qingdao, China.
In addition to changing the make-up of the microbiome, the study authors also noted an increase in inflammatory triggers in the body. These changes may contribute to the development of metabolic disorders, such as diabetes and heart disease, the researchers noted.
Nutritionist Samantha Heller, from NYU Langone Health in New York City, said bacteria living in the digestive system appear to have broad-ranging impacts on human health, and that they "eat what we eat."
"Research suggests that they thrive on plant fibers -- such as those found in fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains -- and that the typical Western diet, which is rich in fat, red and processed meats, cheese, sweets, refined grains and fast-fried junk foods, in a sense, poisons them," she explained.
In China, where the study was done, a traditional diet has been low in fat and high in carbohydrates. That, however, has been shifting to a diet higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates. At the same time, the rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes have also been rising, the study authors said.
To see if changes occur in the gut microbiome when people transition from a low-fat diet to a higher-fat diet, the researchers recruited about 200 young people, who weren't obese, for the study. Their average age was about 23 years old.
Li said their average fat intake before the start of the study was about 31 percent.
The study volunteers were randomly placed into one of three groups for six months. One group ate a diet comprised of 20 percent fat, another ate 30 percent of their daily calories from fat, while the third had a 40 percent fat diet.
The researchers altered carbohydrate intake -- things like rice and wheat flour -- to make up for the changes in fat intake. The amount of fiber and protein in the diets stayed essentially the same.
All three groups had weight loss, but the lowest-fat group lost the most weight and had the greatest reductions in waist circumference, total cholesterol and bad cholesterol. The low-fat diet group also had an increase in gut bacteria that have been linked to lower cholesterol levels.
Those on the higher-fat fare had an increase in a different type of gut bug -- one that's been linked to higher cholesterol levels. Their diet was also associated with "significant" changes in long chain fatty acid metabolism, producing higher levels of chemicals that are thought to trigger inflammation.
Li said the findings may be relevant in developed countries where fat intake is high, but that further research needs to be done to see if similar changes occur in different populations.
"We suggest that fat intake for a general healthy population should not be more than 30 percent of total energy -- at least in Asian populations," Li said, and added that most fat should come from healthy fats, such as soybean, peanut or olive oil.
Nutritionist Heller said it's important not to "interpret the findings of this study to suggest that dietary fat is unhealthy. We need to eat fats to be healthy, unsaturated fats in particular."
But, she added, you can have too much of a good thing. "Fad diets rich in animal fats -- such as 'Keto' or 'Paleo' -- over time, are likely to be deleterious to the gut microbiome and subsequently increase the risk of inflammation and chronic diseases," Heller said.
To keep your microbiome happy and healthy, Heller recommended eating more vegetables, legumes, fruits, grains and nuts, while avoiding processed meats, limiting red meat and cheese, and balancing your intake of fats, carbohydrates and protein.
Should You Get Tested for the 'Breast Cancer Genes'?
Published: February 19, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- Women who have specific mutations in genes known as BRCA are at increased risk for breast and ovarian cancers. Now, an influential expert panel reaffirms that certain women should be screened for the genes.
The draft recommendation comes from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, whose advisories often guide physician practice and insurance coverage. The guidelines -- which restate a 2013 advisory -- encourage genetic testing only for women with either a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, or an ethnicity or ancestry associated with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.
Women who fall into these categories should receive genetic counseling to help them understand their risk and, if indicated, get genetic testing for BRCA, the recommendation says.
Women without a family history or ethnicity associated with these mutations should not be screened, counseled or tested, the task force says.
The BRCA genes first gained media attention when actor and director Angelina Jolie announced in 2013 that she had undergone a preventive double mastectomy after discovering that she carried one of the BRCA mutations. She later had her ovaries removed, as well. Jolie's mother died from ovarian cancer.
However, the USPSTF panel stressed that the gene tests are not advised for most women.
"BRCA testing is beneficial for the small number of women in the United States who are at increased risk for BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations," said task force member Dr. Carol Mangione. She is chief of general internal medicine at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine.
"The test results are complex and testing comes with some harms, so we recommend women who get tested meet with a licensed genetic counselor who can guide them through the process," Mangione said in a task force news release.
Only a few women have a personal or family history, ethnicity or ancestry associated with a risk for a BRCA mutation, according to the task force.
Current test results also do not definitively tell if a woman has harmful mutations that will lead to cancer. But for some women, testing and counseling will be a guide to their potential risk.
"Women should talk with their primary care clinician if they have questions about their risk for BRCA mutations," said Dr. Douglas Owens, vice chair of the task force, and a professor of medicine at Stanford University.
"This discussion can be part of a routine office visit and is the first step in determining if counseling and testing are needed," he said.
Scientists confirm link between eating organic food and a reduced cancer risk
Published: February 17, 2019
(Natural News) Organic foods have become increasingly popular over the last few years. However, there are still some people who aren’t convinced that they should shell out a few extra bucks on organic foods. If you’re one of those people, you might start rethinking your decisions now. A recent study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that people who eat more organic food have a lower cancer risk.
The researchers arrived at this finding by analyzing self-reported data from 68,946 adults in France. Participants accomplished questionnaires where they were asked to rate their frequency of eating commonly labeled organic foods from never, occasionally, to most of the time. Their food intake from 16 different categories was determined in the study. These included fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat and fish, eggs, grains, flour, and bread.
All of the participants were cancer-free at the beginning of the study, which was in 2009. However, by the follow-up, 1,340 of them had developed the disease. The most prevalent types were breast cancer (459), prostate cancer (180) skin cancer (135), colorectal cancer (99), and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (47). Upon analyzing their data, the researchers found that people who ate the most organic food experienced a 25 percent decrease in their overall cancer risk compared to people who ate the least. This was true even after they considered other factors that could affect cancer risk, including smoking, exercise, and socioeconomic status.
Cancer risk reduction was especially high for lymphoma, which was lower by 76 percent overall and 86 percent for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Postmenopausal breast cancer risk also had a significant reduction of 34 percent.
Pesticide exposure and cancer risk
The primary difference between conventional and organic foods is that the latter are less likely to have pesticide residues. This is because organic farmers have to adhere to a strict set of standards for their produce to be certified as organic.
There is a growing body of evidence that pesticides pose many health risks. These include causing developmental problems in children and neurological diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Additionally, there have been legal cases against pesticide manufacturers claiming that their products caused cancer. By eating organic foods, you can reduce your exposure to these carcinogens.
Overall, the results of this study suggest that switching to organic foods can help reduce cancer risk.
More reasons to buy organic foods
If you’re still not convinced that you should make the switch, here are more reasons for you to start buying organic food.
Turmeric shows promise as a natural treatment for cancer
Published: February 15, 2019
(Natural News) A study by researchers from Guangdong Medical University and the University of Macau in China showed that turmeric has potent anticancer properties. This finding, which was published in the journal Chinese Medicine, was based on in vitro tests involving essential oil and the compound called furanodiene from turmeric.
From these results, the researchers concluded that turmeric has potential use as a natural remedy against cancer. This is because of its potent anticancer effects on the doxorubicin-resistant breast cancer cells.
New therapy for aggressive blood cancer discovered
Published: February 13, 2019
Researchers at the Vetmeduni Vienna and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research have identified a new therapeutic strategy for Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), the most common form of acute leukemia. They found that the activity of the mutated oncogenic protein C/EBPα is dependent on a functional epigenetic helper, the MLL1 histone methyltransferase complex. Laboratory tests clearly showed that functional perturbation of the MLL1 complex led to death of AML cells with C/EBPα mutations. Inhibitor treatment released the differentiation block of cancer cells and restored normal maturation of blood cells.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common form of acute leukemia. It is characterized by an increase of malignant myeloid progenitor cells at the expense of mature blood cells. Only twenty-five percent of all AML patients survive five years beyond the initial diagnosis. Therefore there is an urgent need to deepen the knowledge about this form of blood cancer and to develop new therapeutic approaches.
A study carried out by researchers at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research, the Vetmeduni Vienna and the Medical University Vienna has now identified a possible approach for the treatment of AML patients, which carry a mutated, oncogenic isoform of the protein C/EBPα. According to the results published in Leukemia, the interaction of the mutated protein with an epigenetic regulator, the so-called MLL1 complex, represents a specific vulnerability of AML cells with CEBPA mutations. If the MLL1 complex was functionally inhibited, AML cells underwent cell death. Via targeted inhibition of MLL1, the cancer-associated block in normal blood cell maturation could potentially be released in affected AML patients.
Focusing on the malignant isoform of an important factor in blood development
The transcription factor CCAAT/enhancer binding protein alpha C/EBPα, is an important regulator of blood development, as it controls critical steps in the maturation of blood cells. However, in ten to fifteen percent of all AML patients, the CEBPA gene harbors mutations that prevent the formation of the correct protein isoform.
"In AML patients, most mutations occur in the N-terminal part of the CEBPA gene. This leads to the production of a shortened C/EBPα protein, the isoform p30, which is responsible for keeping cells in an immature state and can thus trigger leukemia," explains Luisa Schmidt, the first author of the study, whose work was funded by a fellowship from the Austrian Academy of Sciences (DOC).
The oncogenic protein variant C/EBPα p30, which is over-produced as a result of the mutation, makes use of epigenetic mechanisms to control gene expression in leukemia cells.
Oncogenic protein variant requires functional epigenetic regulator complex
It is known that epigenetic processes can control the expression of genes. It has also been shown that the C/EBPα p30 isoform uses these processes to regulate gene expression patterns of leukemia cells. This oncogenic variant binds to the promoters of certain genes and recruits chromatin-modifying complexes, including histone methyltransferases. One of these interaction partners is the MLL1 complex, which is required for transcriptional activation and has been shown to be critical for the maintenance of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells.
"Using a combination of biochemical, genetic and pharmacological approaches, we have now been able to show that the MLL1 histone methyltransferase complex is a critical vulnerability in AML with CEBPA mutations," says Schmidt. Global studies of protein-DNA interactions showed that the binding pattern of the C/EBPα p30 isoform strongly overlap with that of MLL1. This suggests an interaction and cooperation of these two factors, which was confirmed by additional biochemical experiments.
Targeting of the MLL1 complex function by CRISPR/Cas9-mediated mutagenesis of the MLL1 protein further demonstrated that the growth of AML cells with CEBPA mutations depends on the correct assembly and chromatin anchoring of the MLL1 complex. In accordance with these results, AML cells with CEBPA mutations were highly sensitive to pharmacological inhibition of the MLL1 complex by specific small-molecule inhibitors. MLL1 complex inhibition impaired proliferation and caused death of AML cells with CEBPA mutations. Further, treatment of CEBPA-mutated AML cells with MLL1 complex inhibitors reversed the differentiation block of cancer cells and restored normal maturation of blood cells.
Florian Grebien, head of the study at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research and at Vetmeduni Vienna, is optimistic, "The result that C/EBPα p30 requires a functional MLL1 complex to control oncogenic gene expression programs reveals a high sensitivity of CEBPA- mutated AML to the inhibition of the MLL1 complex function. These results broaden our understanding of CEBPA-mutated AML and identify the MLL1 complex as a potential therapeutic target for this disease."
PET imaging agent may allow early measurement of efficacy of breast cancer therapy
Published: February 11, 2019
Physicians may soon have a new way to measure the efficacy or failure of hormone therapy for breast cancer patients, according to new research published in the February issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. Researchers report that positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with 18F-fluorofuranylnorprogesterone (18F-FFNP) has been found to successfully measure changes in progesterone receptor (PR) levels resulting from a short-course estrogen treatment, also known as an estradiol challenge.
Estrogen-receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer is the most common class of breast cancer, affecting nearly 70 percent of patients. By participating in an estradiol challenge, physicians can determine the likelihood of potential benefit of hormonal therapies targeting ER for individual patients. Many hormone therapies interfere with the ability of estrogen to regulate the expression of PR protein, which is more pronounced in the presence of estrogen. As such, several PET tracers have been developed to monitor and analyze changes in the PR level during therapy. "Typically, anatomic size and proliferation biomarkers are analyzed to determine endocrine sensitivity," said Amy M. Fowler, MD, PhD, assistant professor, Section of Breast Imaging, Department of Radiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. "However, non-invasive detection of changes in PR expression with 18F-FFNP during an estradiol challenge may be an earlier indicator of the effectiveness of a specific hormone therapy."
In this study, T47D human breast cancer cells (cells with estrogen and progesterone receptors, but without human epidermal growth factor receptor-2) and mice bearing T47D tumor xenografts were treated with estrogen to increase PR expression. The cells and mice were imaged with 18F-FFNP, and assays were conducted for cell uptake and tissue biodistribution. To investigate the separate role of PR-A and PR-B isoforms on overall 18F-FFNP binding, triple-negative MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells were engineered to express either PR-A or PR-B. In vitro 18F-FFNP binding was measured by saturation and competitive binding assays, while in vivo uptake was measured with PET imaging.
In T47D cells treated with estrogen, an increase in 18F-FFNP uptake was measured at 48 hours after treatment; in mice with T47D tumor xenografts, increased uptake was seen at 48 and 72 hours after treatment. This increase in 18F-FFNP uptake also correlated with an increase in PR protein expression and proliferation. Results showed that there was no significant preferential 18F-FFNP binding or uptake by PR-A versus PR-B in PR isoform cell lines or tumor xenografts. "This is an important finding given the variability of PR isoform expression observed in breast cancer patients," stated Fowler.
She continued, "Validation of PR imaging as a biomarker of endocrine sensitivity in patients before and after estradiol challenge could provide new opportunities in the field of molecular imaging and nuclear medicine for breast cancer imaging. Improved methods for testing endocrine sensitivity in patients could better inform decisions for optimal individualized ER-positive breast cancer therapy, potentially reducing morbidity and mortality."
One Key Step Can Help Cancer Patients Quit Smoking
Published: February 08, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- Cancer patients are already fighting a tough battle, so quitting smoking while doing so is a real challenge.
Now, research from Northwestern University in Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania shows that a combo of counseling and extended use of an anti-smoking medication can boost their odds for success.
One lung cancer patient understands how tough quitting smoking can be.
"When someone tells you that you have cancer, you get scared," said Chicago resident Billie Green, 70, a smoker for 50 years. She said the stress of her diagnosis made the prospect of quitting even tougher.
"Smoking used to be my best friend when I was upset, after I ate," she explained in a Northwestern news release.
"But I knew it didn't make any sense to keep smoking if I'm going in for treatment all the time," Green said.
But as the research team related, even though quitting smoking can boost the effectiveness of cancer treatment, nearly half of cancer patients keep smoking after their diagnosis.
Quitting smoking is possible, however, and medications like varenicline (Chantix) can help. But in their new study of 207 cancer patients, the researchers found that people were more likely to stop smoking and less likely to resume only if they had counseling and also took the anti-smoking medication varenicline for 24 weeks. It's usually prescribed for 12 weeks.
The higher success of quitting was true only for the 43 percent of patients who took varenicline as directed for the full 24 weeks, the investigators said. The 57 percent who didn't adhere to that schedule showed no better success than if they hadn't taken the medication at all.
Forty percent of the study participants had current cancer; the rest had had cancer in the past five years. The types of cancer included breast, skin and lung cancer.
"With the stress cancer patients are under, they tend to be at higher risk of relapsing for a longer period of time. So we thought providing treatment for longer would be more effective," said study senior author Brian Hitsman. He's an associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago.
All of the study participants had concurrent behavioral therapy. Though this therapy wasn't a focus of the research, Hitsman said that it needs to be studied more closely because it can be a powerful tool to help cancer patients quit smoking.
"You can imagine how someone going through a severe or significant disease and treatment process could benefit from the support we provided in this study," he said in a university news release.
For her part, Green said her daughter told her of Northwestern's quit-smoking study and asked her to enroll. Although Green hasn't quit smoking altogether, she now smokes just one cigarette every two days, versus the pack-a-day habit she had before.
According to Green, the effort to quit and the education she received in the study helped her better understand how smoking was harming her.
The study, published recently in the journal Psycho-Oncology, is only the second to examine the use of varenicline in cancer patients, and the first to examine its safety when used for 24 weeks alongside counseling.
Study first author Robert Schnoll added, "We hear from cancer patients and oncologists that varenicline may cause serious side effects or that managing the stress of the disease makes addressing tobacco use among patients inappropriate."
But this study shows that varenicline is effective for cancer patients, doesn't increase their risk, and benefits those who take it as prescribed, he said in the news release. Schnoll is associate director for population science at the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia.
"We need now to focus on how we can get more patients who smoke to use the medication and use it sufficiently if we are to see broader population-level gains," he added.
Benign Ovarian Cysts Should Be Left in Place, Study Suggests
Published: February 06, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- It's a common gynecological finding: A growth on an ovary, which turns out to be a benign cyst. Is surgical removal necessary?
Not always, according to data from a new study of more than 1,900 such cases in which outcomes were tracked for two years post-diagnosis.
The team behind the research now believes that most women with non-cancerous ovarian cysts can simply be monitored over time, instead of having invasive surgery to remove the growths.
"Our results may lead to a paradigm shift, resulting in less surgery for non-cancerous ovarian cysts -- on condition that trained ultrasound examiners reliably exclude cancer," said co-lead researcher Tom Bourne. He's a professor at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom.
As described by the researchers, ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop on ovaries and are identified through ultrasound scans. They're common and usually don't cause any symptoms, but in some cases do result in pelvic pain and bloating.
Cysts can be non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous, and should always be removed if suspected to be cancerous. However, even when a cyst is benign, doctors often recommend removal due to concerns about serious complications, such as the cyst bursting or causing the ovaries to twist. There's also the possibility that a benign cyst might turn cancerous, or that it was initially misidentified as benign.
But surgery comes with risks and complications of its own. And so with benign cysts, doctors sometimes instead turn to "watchful waiting" -- conducting scheduled ultrasound scans to monitor cyst size and appearance. Many ovarian cysts will go away over time or do not change.
However, watchful waiting is controversial and some physicians believe benign cysts should always be removed.
In an attempt to decide the issue, Bourne and his colleagues tracked two-year outcomes for 1,919 women, average age 48, in 10 countries. All of the women underwent monitoring scans for two years after being diagnosed with benign cysts. The average cyst size was 4 centimeters (1.6 inches).
In one in five cases, the cysts simply disappeared on their own, according to the report published Feb. 5 in The Lancet Oncology. In another 16 percent of cases, women eventually went on to have cyst-removing surgery.
But, overall, in 80 percent of the cases, either the cyst disappeared or did not require surgery, the investigators found.
Only a very small number -- 12 women, or just 0.4 percent -- were later diagnosed with ovarian cancer. These cases may have been due to the cysts being misdiagnosed as benign on the initial ultrasound scan, rather than a benign cyst turning cancerous, the researchers said.
The rate of ovarian twisting or cyst rupture was also very small -- 0.4 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.
Based on these findings, the risks of watchful waiting have to be balanced against the risks of surgical complications, the study authors concluded. The risk of surgical complications -- such as bowel perforation -- among women aged 50 to 74 is between 3 percent and 15 percent, they noted.
Study co-lead author Dirk Timmerman said, "Despite these surgical risks being small, if the women in this age group underwent surgery in our study, then we could speculate that 29 to 123 of them could have suffered severe surgical complications." Timmerman is a professor at KU Leuven in the Netherlands.
"Instead, only 96 of them underwent surgery, which means severe complications may have been avoided in between 29 to 123 women," he explained in an Imperial College London news release.
One U.S. expert agreed that the issue of how to deal with benign cysts has been a difficult one, with most doctors erring on the side of caution.
"Though opinion is divided, the majority of surgeons around the world believe benign ovarian cysts should be surgically removed," said Dr. Mitchell Kramer. He directs obstetrics and gynecology at Northwell Health's Huntington Hospital in Huntington, N.Y.
However, the new data "suggest the benefit of watchful waiting without surgery," Kramer added. "Certainly, further study is advisable and each case should be managed individually. However, there is evidence to support this alternative management in the appropriate patient and setting."
Exercise Your Right to Fight Disease
Published: February 03, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- Research consistently tells you just how important exercise is for health. It can help head off heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many types of cancer, including breast and colon cancers.
A report published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that another important prevention factor for an even wider group of cancers is having a body mass index (BMI) below 25. BMI is a measure of body fat that takes into account a person's height and weight. A low BMI means you have less fat on your body.
The report also showed that health risks can be up to 50 percent higher if you're overweight (with a BMI between 25 and 29.9) -- and up to 80 percent higher if you're obese (with a BMI of 30 and over).
Indeed, a high BMI may be to blame for nearly 4 percent of all cancer cases, according to another study, published in The Lancet Oncology.
There's no doubt that diet and exercise work together to lower BMI. Besides cutting calories, to lose weight you need at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week, and 60 to 90 minutes a day to maintain a loss.
But don't stop there. Other research has found that the more exercise you do, the more you can reduce your risk for many diseases. Indeed, people whose physical activity levels were several times higher than the recommended minimum had the greatest reductions in risk.
Of course, it's hard for everyday Americans to spend hours a day working out unless you have a treadmill workstation on the job, for instance. But try to take a few three- to five-minute exercise breaks throughout the day, and look for opportunities for more activity on the weekends, from family hikes to ski and camping trips.
Health Screenings Every Woman Needs
Published: February 03, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- Mammogram? Check. Pap test? Check. Blood pressure? Check. Hearing and vision? Check.
Screenings are an important part of maintaining women's health. They can detect disease when it's most treatable and prevent serious problems, according to Dr. Lili Lustig. She is a family medicine specialist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in Ohio.
To get the right screenings, talk to your doctor, who will take into consideration your age, overall health, family history and current health concerns.
"Each test has its own time and place," Lustig said in a medical center news release. "Generally, the sooner your doctor can identify and treat a medical condition, the better the outcome."
In their 20s, women should have Pap and HPV screenings to check for pre- or early cervical cancer and the human papillomavirus, which can cause cervical cancer. (The American Cancer Society recommends women get a Pap test every three years starting at age 21.)
"Women ages 30 to 65 who have a normal Pap test and a negative HPV only need to be re-screened every five years," Lustig added.
It's also important to get screened for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). They may not cause symptoms, meaning you can pass them to your partner or, if pregnant, to an unborn child.
"All women who are sexually active from age 13 to 65 should be regularly screened for STDs," Lustig said. "This is especially important for women under age 25, and for other women who have had new or multiple sex partners."
If you suspect you might be pregnant, getting tested early sets you up for good prenatal care, including eating well and avoiding drugs and alcohol.
When it comes to mammograms, the current recommendation is to get your first at age 40, and follow-ups annually after that.
At age 18, start checking your skin monthly for suspicious moles or color changes, especially if you're fair-skinned or have high levels of sun exposure. Full body yearly skin exams with your dermatologist should begin at age 40.
A colonoscopy can detect and remove symptomless polyps that can develop into colon cancer. You should have your first one between ages 45 to 50. The results will determine when you should have your next one.
The general guideline for bone density tests is to start by age 65. But if you have a thin build or other risk factors, start at age 50, Lustig said.
Have a hearing test every 10 years until age 50, then annually after age 60. Have a baseline eye exam at age 18, then every two years until age 60, unless you have a health problem such as diabetes. Beginning at age 61, get your eyes checked every year.
Regular blood pressure screening is another important health check. As for cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends a baseline test at age 10, then testing every four to six years for people at average risk of high cholesterol.
Organic strawberries found to stop the growth of cancer cells
Published: February 01, 2019
(Natural News) Berries have been widely studied for their potential health benefits, particularly their anti-cancer properties. Various studies have provided evidence that among berries, strawberries, organic ones, in particular, can fight against cancer.
In a study conducted by researchers from Sweden, it was revealed that extract from organic strawberries are especially effective at inhibiting cancer cell growth as they contained more antioxidants and a higher ratio of ascorbate compared to dehydroascorbate, its oxidized form. Extracts from organic strawberries were also more significantly effective in stopping cancer cell proliferation compared to extracts from conventionally-grown ones.
Berries are good dietary sources of vitamin C and fiber, and evidence shows that these two are the primary cancer-fighting components of berries. A report published in the American Institute for Cancer Research revealed that foods rich in vitamin C are likely to protect against esophageal cancer. On the other hand, foods rich in fiber have long been known to fight against colorectal cancer.
Strawberries are also particularly loaded with ellagic acid, a natural phenol antioxidant. Laboratory studies have shown that ellagic acid can help lower the risk of cancers of the bladder, breast, esophagus, lung, and skin.
Quercetin is another cancer-fighting component of strawberries. Research published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry identified the means by which fruit extracts or their components work against human liver cancer cells. Out of all the compounds examined, quercetin was revealed to be the most active polyphenol, significantly decreasing cancer cell viability by up to 80 percent after only 18 hours of treatment. Additionally, effective cell death from strawberry extract was found to be dose- and time-dependent.
Quercetin is also a flavonoid that has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-cancer properties. Earlier research has associated this flavonoid to the prevention or slowing down of other forms of cancer, such as cancers of the ovaries, breast, colon, leukemia, and lung.
Moreover, strawberries and quercetin can decelerate the normal cell cycle before cell death, which suggests that these protective actions may take place together with the different phases of cancer cell development.
Why choose organic ones?
As you may have noticed, this article emphasized “organic” strawberries and not the conventionally-grown ones. Strawberries are naturally delicious and packed with antioxidants. However, if they are conventionally-grown, they may be actually harmful.
Strawberries may ward off cancer, but can be the cause of cancer if they are grown conventionally. This is because conventionally-grown strawberries are loaded with pesticides, which cancel out all the benefits you can get from eating strawberries. Furthermore, these pesticides are known carcinogens, or cancer-causing substances. A study published in the journal JAMA Network has also found a potentially harmful link between eating fruits and vegetables high in pesticides and having fertility problems.
In 2018, strawberries topped the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residues for the third consecutive year. In the study, the EWG, a non-profit research group, reported that nearly a third of all strawberry samples had at least 10 pesticides. One sample even had 22 pesticide residues.
The study based its findings on almost 39,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture tests of 47 fruits and vegetables and found almost 70 percent of conventionally grown produce has pesticides and 98 percent of strawberries, peaches, nectarines, cherries, and apples have at least one pesticide.
Spinach ranked second on the list, followed by nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, and sweet bell peppers.
Anti-inflammatory foods that prevent breast cancer
Published: January 31, 2019
(Natural News) Experts suggest that the most effective way to lower cancer risk is by making healthy lifestyle changes. To boost your overall well-being, maintain a healthy weight and eat anti-inflammatory foods that can also help lower your risk of developing breast cancer.
According to Alexandra Rothwell, a registered dietitian and a specialist in oncology nutrition, being overweight is one of the main risk factors for breast cancer. Since inflammation is also associated with both breast cancer and being overweight, eating anti-inflammatory foods can help you maintain your blood sugar levels and minimize inflammation.
The foods included in the list below aren’t just nutritious. They can also help reduce inflammation and prevent breast cancer.
Add fish like herring, mackerel, salmon, and sardines to your diet because they are full of omega-3 fatty acids. Rothwell explained that omega-3s can help reduce inflammation in the body. Alternatively, you can also eat seeds and walnuts if you prefer a non-animal source of these fatty acids.
A 2014 study, which was published in Cancer Causes & Control, suggests that consuming more omega-3s is also connected to a reduction in breast density.
Fruits and vegetables
Various studies have determined that eating a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables regularly can help lower your risk of developing breast cancer. Experts posit that there are several reasons why a plant-based diet is good for you.
A 2015 study revealed that fruits and vegetables are rich antioxidants, and the more antioxidants in a diet, “the lower the breast cancer risk may be.”
A separate 2011 study, which was published in the European Journal of Nutrition, showed that the fiber found in fruits and vegetables can help fuel their ability to lower cancer risk.
Rothwell recommends eating the following vegetables if you want to naturally lower your risk of developing breast cancer:
Allin vegetables – Sources include garlic, leeks, and onions.
Asian mushrooms – Sources include Chinese black, oyster, and Shiitake mushroom.
Cruciferous vegetables – Sources include broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower.
However, Rothwell suggests that you should try to stick to low-sugar fruit varieties, such as berries. She added that you need to limit high-sugar fruit, like bananas, mangoes, and pineapples, to keep your blood sugar levels normal.
Considered a healthy fat, olive oil offers many benefits. It can also help reduce breast cancer risk.
Data from a 2015 study revealed that adding four tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables can help lower breast cancer risk by a whopping 68 percent.
Additionally, olive oil “may come with an additional benefit relating to breast density,” another confirmed risk factor for breast cancer. According to a 2014 study, which involved more than 3,500 female participants, adding an extra 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil to your daily diet is linked to lower breast density.
Turmeric, a spice commonly used in Indian cuisine, contains curcumin. This substance has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that curcumin can help reduce the toxic effects of certain breast cancer cell and that it can potentially prevent the growth of cancer cells.
While there isn’t a scientific consensus on recommended daily dosage, common dosages in studies that offer health benefits range from 200 to 500 milligrams (mg) of curcumin daily.
Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy weight and add more anti-inflammatory foods to your diet to lower your risk of developing breast cancer.
Vaping Beats Nicotine Patch, Gum in Helping Smokers Quit
Published: January 30, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- For those who want to kick their smoking habit, switching to electronic cigarettes may offer better odds of success than nicotine patches, lozenges or gum, new research suggests.
The finding follows a small year-long study that tracked about 120 British smokers enrolled in a National Health Service smoking cessation program.
"E-cigarettes provide nicotine, which is important when someone is trying to quit smoking," said study author Dunja Przulj. "Going 'cold turkey' with no nicotine can make it difficult to deal with nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Having some kind of nicotine replacement improves your chances of quitting," she explained.
"In our study, smokers used e-cigarettes much like other nicotine replacement treatments. They were asked to set a 'quit day,' and advised to use their e-cigarette regularly throughout the day, and whenever they felt they needed it," Przulj added. "Everyone was encouraged to try and avoid smoking any normal cigarettes."
In the end, study results suggested that "e-cigarettes would almost double your chances of quitting at one year compared to nicotine replacement [products]," she reported.
Przulj is a research health psychologist with the Health and Lifestyles Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London.
For the roughly 15 percent of Americans who smoke, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved e-cigs as a means for quitting.
But as a practical matter, the investigators noted that more American smokers chose e-cigs as a cessation tool than FDA-approved treatments.
In the British study group, a total of 79 smokers were enrolled in an "e-cig group" and given a refillable e-cigarette to use. The remaining 44 smokers were given a three-month supply of any approved nicotine replacement product they wanted.
In the end, the investigators found that while nearly 10 percent of the nicotine replacement group were not smoking traditional cigarettes a year later, that figure nearly doubled, to 18 percent, among those using e-cigs to quit.
The study team acknowledged, however, that prior research has demonstrated that when nicotine replacement products are paired with prescription medications -- such as the nicotine receptor blocker Chantix (varenicline) and/or bupropion -- one year abstinence rates are the same or higher as the e-cig results.
What's more, 80 percent of those in the study's e-cig group were still using e-cigs at the one-year mark. This compared with just 9 percent of those in the nicotine replacement products group by that point.
So, might encouraging smokers to rely on e-cigarettes to help kick their habit raise the risk that quitters just end up swapping out one form of nicotine addiction for another? Przulj thinks that's a risk definitely worth taking.
"E-cigarettes are at least 95 percent less risky than cigarettes," she said, "and so even if someone is still using an e-cigarette, the benefits outweigh any cons."
In fact, "doctors should encourage any smokers to try e-cigarettes," Przulj suggested, "especially if they have tried other methods before and these have not been helpful."
The report was published online Jan. 30 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Belinda Borrelli is co-author of an accompanying editorial and director of the Center for Behavioral Science Research at Boston University. She interpreted the results more cautiously.
Borrelli noted, for example, that whether the findings might apply to all smokers is limited by the fact that all the participants were British and all were smokers trying to quit. She further stressed that very few studies have actually explored the pros and cons of using e-cigs to assist with quitting.
"It is a step in the right direction, but it is only one study," said Borelli.
"We do not have the evidence to say that e-cigarettes meet the standards for evidenced-based practice recommendations," she continued. "There is substantial evidence that they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but that doesn't mean they are not harmful."
For now, Borelli added, "the best way to quit smoking right now is to use FDA-approved evidence-based treatment as a first-line choice. And then if that fails, consider short-term use of e-cigs to quit smoking."
New target for gastric cancer therapies
Published: January 29, 2019
Cardiff University researchers have uncovered new information about the underlying mechanisms for gastric cancer, providing hope of potential new therapies in the future.
The team, at the University's European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, found they could stop gastric cells dividing and growing by deleting a particular cell-surface receptor implicated in the function of stem cells.
Dr Toby Phesse, Cardiff University, said: "The prognosis of gastric cancer is very poor, with very few treatment options available to patients, and thus we desperately need new clinical treatments for this disease.
"Some patients with gastric cancer have mutations in genes that are involved in the regulation of Wnt -- a cell signalling pathway involved in cell division. It drives the development of cancer and the spread of cancers throughout the body.
"We also see an increase in some of the Fzd receptors, which transmit Wnt signalling, and this is linked to poor prognosis in gastric cancer.
"Despite this evidence, there is limited research investigating the potential of targeting Wnt receptors as a treatment for gastric cancers. We aimed to understand the implications of inhibiting Wnt by targeting Fzd receptors and whether this could be used as an effective treatment."
The scientists targeted a specific Fzd receptor called Fzd7, as this was identified the predominant Wnt receptor responsible for the function of stem cells in the stomach and intestine. They found that deletion of Fzd7 in gastric cells made these cells unable to respond to Wnt signals and they failed to divide and grow.
Dr Phesse added: "This information gives us a potential new therapeutic route for gastric cancers, as we could target Fzd7 and consequently inhibit Wnt signalling and tumour growth. In fact, Vantictumab is a drug known to inhibit several Fzd receptors, including Fzd7, and is currently in clinical trials for the treatment of other cancers -- like pancreatic, lung and breast.
"We have now shown in this work that Vantictumab has potent anti-tumour effects in gastric tumours with and without mutations to the Wnt pathway.
"This research extends the scope of patients that may benefit from this therapy, to now include gastric cancer patients, and future work will establish if we can proceed with clinical trials targeting Wnt receptors for this devastating disease."
This research, in collaboration with the University of Melbourne, University Medical Center Utrecht, the Institute of Medical Biology Singapore, and Oncomed Pharmaceuticals, is published online in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Study confirms that healthy diet and regular exercise are the BEST ways to prevent prostate cancer
Published: January 28, 2019
(Natural News) Are you worried about prostate cancer? Not only is it easy to detect, but it can also be prevented through simple means that don’t involve expensive drugs or painful treatments. An article in Natural Health 365 asserted that eating the right foods and working out on a regular basis are more than enough to beat the second deadliest cancer that threatens American men.
Every year sees more than 180,000 new cases of prostate cancer and 26,000 deaths related to it. It is considered to be one of the deadliest cancers in the U.S.
However, it is also very easy to detect any signs of the disease. Prostate cancer is closely linked to prostate-specific antigen (PSA), an important enzyme produced by the prostate gland.
Normally, PSA is present in small amounts. Higher levels are considered a warning that the prostate gland is having problems – such as the impending onset of prostate cancer.
A simple blood test can determine the PSA levels of a man. This PSA blood test has been a staple when it comes to detecting the early stages of prostate cancer so that potential patients can take the right measures to prevent it.
While there are conventional treatments for prostate cancer, they are expensive and not guaranteed to work. So the best way to deal with the disease is to avoid it in the first place. And to do this, you have to change your lifestyle.
Eating the right foods and working out will help inhibit prostate cancer growth
The University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) studied the effects of healthy lifestyle choices on prostate cancer markers in men in 2005. They found that the participants who adopted healthier lifestyles were able to reduce their PSA levels.
These men chose to exchange their usual fatty food intake for more servings of fruits and vegetables. They also started working out on a regular basis.
UCSF researcher and study author Dean Ornish noted that increasing the amount of healthy food and exercise resulted in a commensurate improvement of prostate cancer markers. He also detailed how his team took blood serum samples from the participants and added them to cultured prostate cancer cells.
In Ornish’s paper, he detailed how the blood serum of healthy individuals slowed the growth of prostate cancer tumors by 70 percent. Meanwhile, the serum from participants with less healthy lifestyles achieved only a nine percent inhibition rate.
The study concluded that a combination of nutritious food and moderate levels of exercise is not just able to help prevent the onset of prostate cancer. It can also slow down the spread of the disease in a man who has been diagnosed with cancer by making his blood much less livable for tumors.
Your diet can make or break your resistance to prostate cancer
Other research papers corroborated the findings of the UCSF study. For example, a 2014 study by Iran’s National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute reported that there was a connection between a participant’s intake of fruits and vegetables and his resistance to prostate cancer.
The Iranian study identified apples, cabbage, pomegranates, and tomatoes as the foods consumed by its participants. They decreased the risk of cancer by 67 percent.
Another study – this one performed by Italy’s IRCCS-Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche “Mario Negri” – warned against eating animal products and starchy foods. These unhealthy foods were considered to increase the chance of cancer by a large margin. Instead, it recommended foods that contained plenty of fiber and vitamins.
The everyday food choices you make play a huge role in cancer development — more so than you think
Published: January 24, 2019
(Natural News) One of the scariest aspects of cancer is that it can strike anyone. Most of us know at least one person who is quite healthy and fit yet received a devastating cancer diagnosis, and it can make you feel like you have no control over the situation. While it’s true that there isn’t anything you can do to bring your risk down to zero, the food choices that you make every day can have a surprisingly big impact on your chances of developing cancer.
Consider the example of colorectal cancer, a type of cancer that was expected to cause around 50,000 deaths in the U.S. alone in 2018. Although there is a genetic component to the disease, this common cancer is actually one of the most preventable varieties if you make the right food choices.
If you eat the proper foods, you will turn your body into an environment where cancer is unable to survive. Your body will have the capability of identifying cancer cells so it can destroy them before they cause damage.
In the case of colorectal cancer, it’s particularly important to eat well. After all, everything you eat passes through your large intestine. This means that food that contains toxins and carcinogens will directly damage your large intestine’s cells, raising your risk of colorectal cancer.
Therefore, you need to avoid foods that contain preservatives. Processed meats should be the first thing you eliminate from your diet if you haven’t done so already – including foods like hot dogs, beef jerky, and sausages – but packaged food in general should be avoided as well. You should also stop eating foods that are high in sugar and refined carbohydrates.
Eat the right foods to prevent cancer
What you do eat can be just as important as what you don’t eat. Certain foods can help you to avoid developing colorectal cancer, and chief among them are cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. If dramatically increasing your intake isn’t feasible, you could try cruciferous vegetable extract.
Another food you should eat more of is garlic. Diets high in garlic have been linked to a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer; eating it raw or chopping it and leaving it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking is ideal. CBC News reports that eating garlic just two times per week can reduce your chances of getting lung cancer by nearly half; it is even effective on smokers.
Fish oil, meanwhile, is a great way to prevent cancer in general thanks to its ability to reduce your body’s overall inflammation. Studies have shown that those who live in countries where the diet generally involves consuming greater amounts of omega-3 fatty acids via fish have a lower prevalence of colon and prostate cancer than those in countries where omega-3 fatty acids aren’t consumed as frequently.
Omega-3 fatty acid consumption has been correlated to slower tumor growth. It is also believed to promote the death of cancer cells while reducing the enzymes these cells need to grow.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, blueberries are among the best foods you can eat to fight cancer thanks to their anthocyanin content. Research has shown that these antioxidants can reduce the free radical damage that leads to cancer, and they can cause breast, colon, prostate and mouth cancer cells to self-destruct.
Avoiding carcinogenic foods and increasing your intake of foods known to help prevent cancer is an easy way to take some control over your health and stack the odds in your favor.
Diet or Exercise -- or Both?
Published: January 21, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- There's no doubt that an unhealthy diet and couch potato lifestyle put your health at risk, but when considering improvements, should you change one at a time or both at once?
Northwestern University researchers found that it's not only doable, but also more effective, to change unhealthy behaviors simultaneously. Different groups of study participants were given a pair of changes to make. One involved diet -- either lowering saturated fat or increasing fruit and vegetables. The other involved activity -- either increasing exercise or reducing screen time.
All participants received remote coaching to help them with motivation, but those assigned to eat more produce and spend less time with their gadgets were most successful at making healthy changes stick.
The researchers followed up with another study that looked at making all the changes simultaneously -- increasing produce while reducing saturated fat, and exercising more while decreasing screen time. They added a smartphone component along with the coaching and found that participants who stuck with the program were able to reach all goals over the nine-month study.
A separate study at Stanford University found that participants who boosted exercise and diet together improved in both areas. They also reached the goals of completing 150 minutes a week of physical activity, getting the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables each day, and limiting saturated fat to 10 percent of daily calories.
Those who first focused on improving diet only had a harder time establishing a consistent routine and meeting fitness goals when they did start working out. Those who started with exercise and changed their diet later ultimately met key goals, but weren't as successful as people who did both from the beginning.
The bottom line? As you streamline calories, be sure to put exercise on the menu as well.
Breast cancer risk skyrockets when you gain weight
Published: January 17, 2019
(Natural News) Losing weight doesn’t just make you look and feel good. It can significantly improve your overall health, and according to a study, it might even lower the cancer risk of postmenopausal women.
The study was published in CANCER, the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) peer-reviewed journal.
The link between postmenopausal weight loss and breast cancer risk
Based on the study findings, which are related to the World Health Initiative Observational Study, women who manage their body weight have lower risk of getting breast cancer compared to those who don’t.
For the study, researchers from the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California, examined 61,335 postmenopausal women who took part in the World Health Initiative Observational Study. The female volunteers had no prior history of breast cancer and showed normal mammogram results.
The researchers also measured the women’s body height, weight, and BMI (body mass index) at the beginning of the study and years after it concluded.
The study monitored the postmenopausal women for an average of 11.4 years. Some of the women developed breast cancer, but the findings suggest that the participants who lost five percent of their body weight reduced their risk for aggressive breast cancer by at least 12 percent.
Meanwhile, the volunteers who gained at least five percent of their weight had an alarming 54 percent higher risk of very aggressive forms of breast cancer, such as triple negative breast cancer.
If you are diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), this means that the three most common types of receptors that fuel the majority of breast cancer growth – estrogen, progesterone, and the HER-2/neu gene – are absent from the cancer tumor. TNBC cells have tested negative for hormone epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2), estrogen receptors (ER), and progesterone receptors (PR).
When the tumor cells lack the necessary receptors, common treatments (e.g., drugs and hormone therapy) that target estrogen, progesterone, and HER-2 are can’t treat TNBC. This type of breast cancer can be more aggressive, making it harder to treat. TNBC may also spread and recur.
The researchers posited that making an effort to lose weight postmenopause can offer various health benefits, and even losing just five percent of your body weight can help reduce breast cancer risk.
The team of scientists acknowledged that while the results were observational, data randomized clinical trials conducted by the Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification support the findings. This randomized clinical trial determined that a low-fat dietary pattern with a similar amount of weight loss was linked to improved breast cancer survival rates.
Tips to lose weight postmenopause
To lose weight postmenopause, start making lifestyle changes such as:
Follow these tips to stay healthier and lower breast cancer risk.
Vaccine, Screening Can Prevent Cervical Cancer Deaths
Published: January 15, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- About 4,000 women in the United States die from cervical cancer each year -- even though there's a preventive vaccine and screening to catch the disease early.
"When cervical cancer is found early, it is highly treatable," said Dr. Sarah Ramirez, a family medicine physician with Penn State Health. "So it's important to make sure you are being screened for this disease."
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says all women aged 21 to 65 should have cervical cancer screening with cytology (Pap smear) every three years. Women between 30 and 65 may opt instead to lengthen the interval between screening with a combination of Pap smear and HPV testing every five years.
HPV (human papillomavirus) is the main cause of cervical cancer, but there is a vaccine to protect against HPV. Other risk factors for cervical cancer include smoking, autoimmune diseases, using birth control pills for five or more years, giving birth to three or more children and having several sexual partners.
Although screening and vaccination have helped reduce cervical cancer cases, many American women remain at risk, Ramirez noted.
"While we have made significant strides to decrease mortality from cervical cancer, we continue to see … minority females most commonly stricken with the disease," Ramirez said in a Penn State news release.
"As the U.S. population becomes increasingly diverse, it behooves us to examine why there is a disparity in cervical cancer health with our vulnerable populations and why they're not getting screened regularly," she added.
Hispanic women get fewer Pap tests than white and black women, even though Hispanics have the highest incidence of cervical cancer, according to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
Also, black women have the highest rate of cervical cancer death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Make Cancer Prevention a Priority in 2019
Published: January 11, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- If one of your resolutions for 2019 is to improve your health, reducing your risk of cancer should be part of that goal, a cancer expert says.
While cancer risk factors such as family history and aging can't be controlled, lifestyle changes such as eating right, staying active and not smoking can lower your risk, said Dr. Elias Obeid. He is director of breast, ovarian and prostate cancer risk assessment at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.
Cancer screening is also important because it can detect the disease at an early and more treatable stage.
"Getting regular recommended cancer screenings is just as important as modifying your lifestyle to reduce your risk," Obeid said in a Fox Chase news release. "Regular screenings can greatly increase your chances of detecting cancers early, when they're most likely to be curable and before you begin having symptoms."
Screening tests are available for breast, colon, prostate, cervical, lung and many other types of cancers. "Individuals should talk with their doctor about their specific risk factors as well as when to start and how often to receive cancer screenings," Obeid advised.
In terms of lifestyle, the World Cancer Research Fund estimated that about 20 percent of all cancers in the United States are related to excess body fat, physical inactivity, too much alcohol and poor nutrition.
"Watching how much you eat can help control your weight and keep your body mass index (BMI) at healthy levels," Obeid said. "If you're overweight, losing even a small amount of weight has benefits and serves as an excellent starting point."
Regular exercise also reduces the risk of cancer, and the American Cancer Society says adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week.
Smoking is a major cause of cancer, but "no matter how long you have smoked and no matter what your age, quitting can reduce your risk for cancer and other chronic diseases," Obeid said. "The best advice I can give is to quit, and if you've never smoked, don't start."
It's also important to protect yourself from the sun's ultraviolet rays, and never use tanning beds or sun lamps.
Even a Little Exercise May Help Cancer Patients Live Longer
Published: January 10, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- Regular exercise before and after a cancer diagnosis significantly improves odds of survival, a new study finds.
Among more than 5,800 U.S. patients with a range of early- to late-stage cancers, those who exercised three or four times a week before and after their diagnosis had a 40 percent lower risk of death than inactive patients, researchers reported.
But survival gains were strong even for patients who began exercising only after their cancer diagnosis.
"Patients who reported never doing any type of exercise until they were faced with a cancer diagnosis cut their risk of death by 25 percent to 28 percent compared to those who remained inactive," said first author Rikki Cannioto. She's an assistant professor of oncology at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, N.Y.
Patients who exercised once or twice a week also had a much lower risk of death than inactive patients, suggesting that any amount of regular, weekly activity is better than no activity, according to the researchers.
Study participants had blood or head and neck cancers, as well as breast, prostate, lung, colon, kidney, esophageal, bladder, ovarian, endometrial, pancreatic, liver or stomach cancers. Others had sarcoma or cervical, thyroid, testicular, brain or skin cancers.
The strongest link between exercise and reduced risk of death was seen with eight types: breast, colon, prostate, ovarian, bladder, endometrial, esophageal and skin cancer, the research team said.
The results "solidify the importance of the message that when it comes to exercise, some weekly activity is better than inactivity," Cannioto said in a Roswell news release.
The finding that low-to-moderate weekly exercise is associated with improved survival is particularly encouraging, Cannioto said, given that cancer patients and survivors can be overwhelmed by the current recommendations of at least 30 minutes of daily moderate-to-intense physical activity.
Cancer Patients May Face Greater Risk of Shingles
Published: January 09, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- Newly diagnosed cancer patients may be at increased risk for the painful skin condition shingles, a new study finds.
Experts say development of new vaccines might help prevent shingles in cancer patients.
The study, of about 240,000 cancer patients in Australia from 2006 to 2015, found that any type of cancer was associated with a 40 percent increased risk of developing shingles, compared with not having cancer.
Patients with a blood-related cancer had the greatest shingles risk -- more than three times that of people without cancer, according to the recent study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
And those with a solid tumor -- such as cancer in the lung, breast, prostate or other organ -- had a 30 percent higher risk of shingles than people without cancer, study first author Jiahui Qian and colleagues said in a journal news release.
Qian is with the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
The higher shingles risk among blood cancer patients was present in the two years before their cancer diagnosis.
But among patients with solid tumors, the greater risk was largely associated with receiving chemotherapy treatment, rather than with the cancer itself, the researchers said.
Shingles (herpes zoster), marked by painful rashes and skin blisters, is caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. The virus remains dormant in the body, but causes shingles if it reactivates later in life.
"These findings have important implications in view of recent advances in development of zoster vaccines," wrote Kosuke Kawai, of Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Barbara Yawn, of the University of Minnesota, in a commentary accompanying the study.
A shingles vaccine approved for U.S. use in 2017 does not use a live form of the virus and may be safe for people with weakened immune systems, including those receiving chemotherapy, the commentary authors said.
However, due to a lack of data, this vaccine is not yet recommended for use in that group of patients.
Also in development is a shingles vaccine that uses an inactivated form of the virus.
These advances suggest that vaccines show promise as a way to prevent shingles and its complications in cancer patients, according to the researchers and commentary authors.
Nearly one-third of Americans people in the United States will develop shingles, and about 1 million cases occur in the country each year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
Eating a lot of processed meat can increase your risk of cancer
Published: January 08, 2019
(Natural News) Bacon is a greasy guilty pleasure for most people. However, according to a study, it could also increase your risk of developing breast cancer. The results of a 2018 meta-analysis have revealed that bacon and other types of meat are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
Data from the meta-analysis was published in September 2018 in the International Journal of Cancer Research.
For the meta-analysis, researchers examined 15 previous studies, which involved a total of over 1.2 million women, to determine a connection between breast cancer and processed meat.
Data from the study revealed that people who ate the most processed meat, or at least 0.9 ounces to one ounce (25 to 30 grams) daily, had about a nine percent higher risk of breast cancer unlike those who ate the least processed meat (about 0 to 0.07 ounces or 0.17 ounces (two to five grams) a day.
Processed meats and cancer risk
Take note that not all studies regarding processed meats and cancer have arrived at the same conclusion. For example, a 2015 World Health Organization-affiliated study showed that while processed meats aren’t linked to breast cancer, the results implied that these kinds of food may increase colorectal cancer risk.
Dr. Marji McCullough, a senior scientific director of epidemiology research at the American Cancer Society, warned that breast cancer is a common disease among women. She added that processed meats such as hot dogs are popular food choices and that together, these factors highlight the importance of considering processed meats as a potential cancer risk. In fact, an earlier meta-analysis on the topic also reached similar conclusions.
Other processed meats that may increase your cancer risk include:
There are limitations, however. Research that points to a link between specific kinds of foods and the risk of certain health conditions have been inconclusive. For links between cancer and processed meats, current data suggests that the researchers could only assess the impact of high- and low-processed meat consumption since there was insufficient information about the risks of consuming 0.35 ounces to 0.5 ounces (10 or 15 grams) of meat products.
According to Andrew Milkowski, a meat science researcher and an adjunct professor of animal sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who wasn’t involved with the new meta-analysis, some of the studies involved in the analysis had participants recall “what their diet had been like at certain points in the past.” Milkowski, who worked for Oscar Mayer before joining the University of Wisconsin back in 2006, advised that this research technique heavily relies on memories with a lot of room for under- and overestimation.
To address this concern, Maryam Farvid, the lead author on the latest project, and the research team only reviewed studies that surveyed women before they received any diagnosis. Farvid, who is also a researcher at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, explained that the method she and her team used ensures that the women were less likely to confuse their pre- and post-cancer diets.
Milkowski posited that to gather accurate data, researchers needed to administer controlled diets to participants before they were diagnosed with anything. Researchers must then monitor the participants closely to identify any changes in their health. However, he admitted that these conditions are “extremely difficult to pull off.”
Milkowski added that the nine percent increase in risk noted in the report may be due to a statistical error and that it is not enough to be a cause for concern. Others pointed out the same thing when the results of the 2015 WHO-associated report were released since it stated that processed meats are “likely carcinogens” and that these types of food increased colon cancer risk by 18 percent.
Meanwhile, Farvid said that other dietary factors are also linked to breast cancer risk, like the amount of fiber or fruits and vegetables in an individual’s diet. She said that while these factors can also decrease or increase the risk of the disease by similar margins, not much is heard about these findings.
Avoidable cancer risk factors
Farvid advised that while study findings on the matter sometimes contradict each other, the fact that eating less processed meat can lower cancer risk is still significant, especially since other factors like genetics are unchangeable. It can be hard to change your dietary habits, but it doesn’t mean that doing so is impossible.
Both Farvid and McCullough warn that people should start paying attention to their consumption of processed meat. McCullough added that it is also part of the American Cancer Society’s current dietary recommendations for minimizing cancer risk.
Essential amino acid in humans, methionine, controls cell growth
Published: January 04, 2019
A recent study from the Laxman lab elucidates how a small metabolite and amino acid, methionine, acts as a growth signal for cells, by setting into motion a metabolic program for cell proliferation.
For cells to grow and then divide, they must be in an anabolic state, where there is sufficient production of all necessary building blocks. It was earlier thought that as long as enough nutrients are present, cells would continue to grow under the control of different internal signalling programs. However, recent studies show that many small intermediates and products of biological metabolism commonly termed as metabolites can themselves act as signalling molecules and control cell growth programs.
Several studies, particularly from cancer researchers, have hinted that methionine might be a signalling metabolite. Many cancers appear to be dependent on methionine for growth. However, how methionine controls growth is still a mystery. We used a very simple model system (budding yeast cells), to address how methionine might regulate growth. To understand the logic of such a growth program, we analysed gene expression profiles as well as measured the new synthesis of necessary building blocks. By piecing together this network, we constructed the organization of a core anabolic program triggered by methionine. This anabolic program relies on a few specific nodes in metabolism and is sufficient to orchestrate an entire cascade of transcriptional and metabolic events that can sustain growth.
Our findings on how cells perceive methionine as a growth cue are illustrated in the simple cartoon (see banner image). When methionine is limited, cells do not grow (the unhappy cell without a bud, on the left). On the other hand, when methionine is abundant, it acts as a growth signal and triggers a cascade of biochemical events, ultimately leading to cell growth (the happy yeast with a bud, on the right). Analogous to the butterfly effect, methionine leads to a series of larger metabolic events, controlling an entire cellular program. Methionine activates three key nodes in metabolism: the pentose phosphate pathway, the production of glutamine, and the formation of pyridoxal phosphate (the PPP-GDH-PLP node). These nodes produce a set of critical substrates and co-factors that fuel the production of all other amino acids, as well as make nucleotides, which are critical for growth. In the cartoon, the dominoes of increasing size show this chain of events and capture how methionine eventually has a significant impact on cell growth.
This is a fundamental study, which advances our understanding of how some metabolites can act as signalling molecules and play a critical role in controlling cell growth. This study provides a much-awaited explanation on the role of methionine in sustaining cell growth, and it might clarify why cancer cells are addicted to methionine for their growth. However, a long-term methionine study could provide strategies to control the growth of many types of cancer.
Testicular Cancer a Bigger Threat to Young Men
Published: January 02, 2019
(HealthDay News) -- Testicular cancer occurs most often in young men, and they need to know the signs of the disease, a urologist says.
Testicular cancer is relatively rare -- about 9,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year in the United States -- but it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in males aged 15 to 40.
It's a highly treatable disease, especially when diagnosed early, according to testicular cancer specialist Dr. Aditya Bagrodia, an assistant professor of urology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
"Embarrassment about symptoms and even confusion with sexually transmitted diseases can prevent some young men from seeking medical help when the disease is at its earliest, most curable stage," Bagrodia said in a medical center news release.
Signs of testicular cancer include: painless swelling or a mass about the size of a pea or marble in a testicle; a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum; a dull ache in the groin or scrotum; and breast tenderness or growth.
Only about 10 percent of patients have pain in the testicles.
If the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, patients may develop back pain, swelling in lymph nodes in the neck, difficulty breathing, chest pain or cough.
Men who are at high risk for testicular cancer should do a monthly self-exam. Risk factors include: family history of testicular cancer; personal history of testicular cancer; undescended testicle at birth, and infertility, Bagrodia explained.
"Diagnosis at an early stage can mean the difference between a straightforward surgical cure and having to potentially undergo chemotherapy, radiation and multiple surgeries," he added.
Emerging research shows that a natural citrus fruit extract can prevent cancer growth
Published: December 29, 2018
(Natural News) Citrus fruits contain numerous natural compounds that can help prevent or treat many diseases. A natural extract made from these fruits can reportedly stop a protein called galectin-3 from triggering cancer, heart disease, and kidney diseases, an article in Natural Health 365 stated.
There are no pharmaceutical drugs that can affect galectin-3. So it is very welcome to hear that modified citrus pectin could possibly halt its activity and repair the damage caused by the protein.
Galectin-3 is naturally produced by the body. In normal amounts, it encourages the growth and repair of healthy tissues. It also promotes inflammation and immune response against pathogens. However, high levels of this protein are also a known warning sign of a degenerative disease. Excess amounts are also linked with cancer, heart failure, and kidney problems.
Galectin-3 helps cancer cells cling to the walls of blood vessels. It protects the tumor cells from undergoing self-destruction. It spurs the creation of fibroblasts that scar the muscles of the heart, as well as type 1 collagen that causes dysfunction in those muscles.
If there is too much galectin-3, it induces excessive amounts of inflammation that disrupt the normal functions of tissue and organs. Older people are especially vulnerable to this, since galectin-3 levels increase with age.
Modified citrus pectin can protect against galectin-3-induced heart and kidney disease
Fortunately, the ill effects of galectin-3 can be halted by modified citrus pectin (MCP). Derived from the natural pectin found in citrus fruits, MCP contains special sugar molecules called galactosides.
MCP uses galactosides to bind with the galectin-3 protein. Once bound, it will shut down the protein, thereby preventing the latter from activating its harmful effects.
An animal model demonstrated that the effects of MCP was not limited to stopping galectin-3. It also managed inflammatory reactions, reversed fibrosis, and helped blood vessel walls get thinner again. In effect, the carbohydrate successfully reversed the damage that would have caused heart failure.
It performed these health benefits for the kidneys as well. It reduced the tissue swelling attributed to kidney disease, helped decrease fibrosis, and lowered the number of inflammatory cells. Last but not least, MCP neutralized the galectin-3 in those organs, preventing further damage.
MCP rallies natural anti-cancer defenses of the body
The immune system employs specialized cancer-fighting units called natural killer cells. It sends out these cells to find, identify, and kill cancers as the latter begin to emerge in the body.
It turned out that modified citrus pectin was capable of activating these anti-cancer cells. In an experiment conducted by Dharma Biomedical LLC (Dharma Biomedical) researchers, the complex carbohydrate spurred the natural killer cells to target leukemic cancer cells and cause apoptosis.
The cancer-fighting property of MCP was corroborated by other studies. One animal study proved that the carbohydrate can stop skin cancer cells from adhering to healthy tissue and blood vessels.
This blocking action prevented the skin cancer from migrating to the lungs, which would have caused further complications. MCP accomplished this same effect for colon cancer, which it stopped from infecting the liver.
Even more research – such as a 2005 study by the Harvard Medical School – have found that MCP itself can induce the apoptotic self-destruct factor in cancer cells. It can also make the cells more vulnerable to other anti-cancer treatments.
Modified citrus pectin can be extracted from the peel and pulp of citrus fruit. What was once considered a waste product could provide a natural anti-cancer remedy at a cheap price.
Vitamin D deficiency directly linked to your risk for cancer
Published: December 26, 2018
(Natural News) What are you doing to lower your risk of cancer? Perhaps you’re going out of your way to get organic food to avoid the cancer risks associated with pesticides, or maybe you’re using natural cleaning products around your house. You might be making a conscious effort to consume more superfoods and get more exercise, but are you keeping tabs on your vitamin D levels? This often-overlooked factor is linked to your cancer risk in a surprisingly strong way.
In a study that was published in PLOS ONE, researchers showed that optimal vitamin D levels reduce a person’s risk of invasive cancers. The team, which was led by researchers from UC San Diego, looked at data pertaining to thousands of participants. They discovered that vitamin D levels of 48 ng/mL or higher were linked to a 67 percent reduction in cancer risk when compared to those whose levels were 20 ng/mL or less.
This is pretty concerning when you consider the fact that the Institute of Medicine has been recommending a level of 20 ng/mL as “ideal” for many years. It may be a reasonable amount if bone health is your only concern, but if you want to prevent cancer, you’ll need at least twice that amount.
In fact, studies have shown that higher sun exposure throughout your lifetime is linked to a 70 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer. Those who live in southern latitudes with relatively high sunlight exposure have lower incidence and death rates when it comes to certain types of cancer.
Meanwhile, a study published this spring by The BMJ revealed that high vitamin D levels were associated with a reduction in cancer risk of 20 percent, particularly when it came to liver cancer. The study was huge, involving nearly 34,000 Japanese adults over the course of 16 years.
Cancer cell studies have shown that vitamin D can slow or prevent cancer development in multiple ways, including slowing the growth of cancer cells, spurring cancer cell death, reducing the formation of the blood vessels that tumors need to thrive, and promoting cellular differentiation.
The sun is not the enemy
One reason that so many people struggle to get enough vitamin D – and perhaps a big reason there’s so much cancer these days – is the way that sun exposure has been demonized in recent years. After all, sun exposure is the best way to trigger your body’s vitamin D production. It may be true that excessive sun exposure can be problematic in terms of skin cancer, but avoiding it at all costs – or worse, slathering chemical-laden sunscreen over every inch of your body every time you leave the house – can be far worse when it comes to your chances of getting cancer overall.
Thankfully, just a small amount of sun exposure is typically enough to get the job done. For many people, spending a few minutes outdoors each day with their skin exposed is all it takes for your body to create the ideal levels of vitamin D. It’s the UVB rays found in direct sunlight that you’re after, so if you live in a part of the world that is further from the equator, this may be more difficult for you.
In that case, you may need to rely on supplements. Although you can find vitamin D in foods like yogurt, eggs, mushrooms, and oily fish, it’s difficult to get enough of this nutrient through diet alone. If you do choose supplements, keep in mind that the amount you need is going to depend a lot on your body’s chemistry, skin tone, and your current levels, which is why a blood test can provide useful guidance. Generally, however, average-sized adults can typically get the ideal amount of 40 ng/mL by taking vitamin D supplements of 5000 to 10,000 IU per day.
If you’re not already doing everything you can to ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D, this is a simple change that could end up having a dramatic impact on your cancer risk.
Consuming highly processed foods linked to a higher likelihood of cancer
Published: December 19, 2018
(Natural News) Research provides another reason why you should avoid processed foods: You are putting yourself at risk of cancer. A study published in the British Medical Journal has found a link between eating highly processed or “ultra-processed” foods and a higher risk of cancer.
In the study, the researchers assessed the link between highly processed food intake and risk of cancer. To do this, they looked at 104,980 participants at least 18 years old with an average age of 42.8 years old enrolled at the French NutriNet-Santé cohort. The study’s participants recorded their food consumption from a selection of more than 3,000 items for two days. The researchers observed the participants for an average of five years.
The researchers categorized the foods according to their degree of processing by the NOVA classification, which is a food classification system that looks at the extent and purpose of food processing over nutrients to determine a food’s healthfulness.
Packed bread and snacks, sodas and sweetened beverages, chocolates and candies, instant noodles and soups, frozen meals, and foods containing high amounts of sugar, oil, and fat were considered “ultra-processed” foods. These foods are loaded with chemicals and additives that are detrimental to health. An average of 18 percent of the participants’ diet was ultra-processed.
The results revealed that a 10 percent increase in the proportion of highly processed foods in the diet was linked to an 11 percent increase in the risk of breast cancer. It was also linked to a 12 percent increase in the risk of overall cancer. This means that the more processed food you eat, the higher your risk of cancer is.
With these findings, it may be concluded that rapidly increasing consumption of highly processed foods may contribute to the increasing prevalence of cancer and cancer death.
Eating processed foods can do more harm to your health other than increasing your cancer risk. Here are more reasons to convince you to quit eating these foods:
Eat these naturally pink anti-breast cancer foods
Published: December 16, 2018
(Natural News) Pink has become a symbol of strength and hope for many breast cancer patients, which is why many companies take advantage of this color during breast cancer awareness month. However, many food products wrapped up in pretty pink packaging are bad for the people they’re supposed to be advocating for. To avoid being fooled by these health scams, go for naturally-occurring organic pink foods.
Colorful fruits and vegetables are great additions to a person’s diet because of the many nutrients that they contain. Each of their own nutritional profiles cater to specific purposes such as cancer prevention. To make it easier to remember which foods are great against breast cancer, here are some fruits and vegetables that are naturally found in different shades of pink.
Obesity to Blame for Almost 1 in 25 Cancers Worldwide
Published: December 12, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Overweight and obesity accounted for nearly 4 percent of all cancers globally in 2012, and that rate is likely to rise in coming decades, a new study suggests.
Rates of excess body weight have been increasing worldwide since the 1970s. By 2016, about 40 percent of adults (2 billion) and 18 percent of children aged 5 to 19 (340 million) had excess body weight, the researchers said.
Some of the largest increases in overweight and obesity have been in low- and middle-income countries. That's likely due to the spread of a "Western" lifestyle that includes fatty, sugary foods and lower levels of physical activity, the study authors noted.
One U.S. obesity expert wasn't surprised by the new numbers.
Someday, "obesity is going to surpass cigarette smoking as the leading cause of cancer deaths," said Dr. Mitchell Roslin, chief of obesity surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "The links between obesity and cancer are becoming clearer."
The new report was drafted in part by scientists at the American Cancer Society (ACS), and published online Dec. 12 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
The study found that in 2015, about 4 million deaths were attributable to excess body weight.
According to lead researcher Hyuna Sung and colleagues at the ACS, the spread of Western lifestyles has led to a "rapid increase in both the prevalence of excess body weight and the associated cancer burden."
Looking at global data for 2012, excess body weight accounted for nearly 4 percent (544,300) of cancers worldwide, with rates ranging from less than 1 percent in poor nations to 8 percent in some wealthy Western countries and in Middle Eastern and northern African countries, the findings showed.
Overweight and obesity has been linked to an increased risk of a number of cancers: breast, colon, esophagus, gallbladder, kidney, liver, ovary, pancreas, stomach, thyroid, meningioma and multiple myeloma, according to the study.
Piling on too many pounds has also been linked to advanced prostate cancer and cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx, the researchers said in a journal news release.
Roslin agreed that obesity exerts hormonal effects that can, in turn, encourage cancer.
"Obesity changes fat-soluble hormone levels, explaining the link to postmenopausal breast cancers," he said. "Additionally, obesity increases insulin, glucose and insulin growth factors," which can also heighten cancer risk.
"This creates a perfect environment for cancer cells to grow. So in addition to an increased prevalence of certain cancers, obesity makes cancers grow faster and be less treatable," Roslin explained.
Sung's team believes the report calls for a "rejuvenated focus" on steps that could help curb the spread of obesity, such as banning trans fats, taxing sugary beverages, limiting average portion sizes, and making communities more walkable and bicycle-friendly, so people move more.
Healthy Lifestyle Lowers Odds of Breast Cancer's Return
Published: December 07, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- There's more evidence that when a survivor of early stage breast cancer takes up healthy eating and regular exercise, the odds of the disease returning go down.
The key is sticking with such programs, said study lead author Dr. Wolfgang Janni.
Healthier lifestyles "might improve the prognosis of breast cancer patients if adherence is high," said Janni, who directs obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Ulm in Germany. His team developed and implemented a new program to help keep those lifestyle changes on track.
The findings were scheduled for presentation on Thursday at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
In the study, Janni's team tracked outcomes for nearly 2,300 early stage breast cancer patients who'd been treated with chemotherapy. Half of these cancer survivors were randomly assigned to two years of ongoing telephone-based, personalized healthy living advice. The other half (the "control" group) received standard, general advice on a healthy lifestyle.
Those in the personalized lifestyle intervention group were coached in areas such as improving their diet, reducing fat intake, and increasing physical activity.
After two years, people in the intervention group saw an average weight loss of 2.2 pounds, while those in the control group experienced an average weight gain of 2.1 pounds, the findings showed.
But the real difference was in cancer outcomes, Janni's team said. The rate of disease-free survival among the nearly 1,500 patients who completed the lifestyle intervention was 35 percent higher than that of those who didn't complete the program. And it was 50 percent higher than women who didn't get the intervention at all.
The findings shouldn't come as a big surprise, Janni said.
Prior research "has shown that obesity and low physical activity are associated with higher risks of developing breast cancer, as well as an increased risk of recurrence and reduced survival," he noted in a meeting news release.
One U.S. expert agreed.
Many women who've survived breast cancer may feel helpless, but "it is great to be able to tell patients that, yes, there is something they can do to help prevent a recurrence," said Dr. Alice Police. She is regional director of breast surgery at the Northwell Health Cancer Institute, in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.
She said sometimes women need a little nudge, though, to stay healthy.
"This is a very specific and focused look at the issues and includes information on exactly how a program of diet and lifestyle changes should look and function," Police said, "and that makes it very important."
Dr. Lauren Cassell is chief of breast surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Looking over the new study, she agreed that the new program appears to have merit.
"By providing the patient with a systematic telephone lifestyle intervention program -- which was not difficult to develop and implement -- they were able to increase patient compliance and as a result improve outcomes," Cassell said.
"I believe patients want to help themselves," Cassell said. "Sometimes they just need a little extra support."
Because the findings were presented at a medical meeting, they should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
AHA: How to Stop Smoking … for Good
Published: December 05, 2018
(American Heart Association) -- Nobody knows who first said, "To succeed, you first have to fail." But it's a phrase many smokers likely relate to.
About half of all smokers try to quit each year, according to federal data. But only about 7 percent are successful.
"We've heard about people who say, 'That's it!' and they stop for good. But that's pretty rare," said tobacco researcher John Dani. "The average person makes multiple attempts before they quit."
It is the nicotine in cigarettes that keeps people physically addicted. But there are multiple social and psychological factors that also play a role in determining why some smokers who decide to quit are successful while others aren't.
For women, weight gain is a common reason for relapse, said Dani, chair of the department of neuroscience at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
He advises women and men to substitute exercise for food when battling the cravings and nervous energy that often accompany nicotine withdrawal.
"Healthy habits like running or walking or doing yoga are great alternatives," Dani said. "I know people who started walking the steps of their building at work instead of walking out to the parking lot to smoke a cigarette."
Thomas Payne, director of ACT Center for Tobacco Treatment, Education and Research at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, said moments of extreme tension and strain often play a powerful role in why people return to smoking.
"Stress undermines our coping efforts and is often associated with more intense cravings," he said.
Getting enough sleep each night is essential in reducing stress and increasing a person's chance of quitting for good, he said. Trying to reduce stress with a glass of wine or beer, on the other hand, could make the problem worse.
"Even small amounts of alcohol are associated with an increased risk of relapsing because it causes our inhibitions to drop off a little bit," said Payne, who's also an investigator with the American Heart Association Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center.
Studies show smokers have somewhat higher quitting success rates if they use interventions such as counseling; quit lines; nicotine replacement products such as gum, patches and lozenges; and prescription medications.
"Professional help can make all the difference in the world, and many insurance plans cover all or most of the costs involved," Payne said.
The key, he said, is for people to keep using these programs and products even after they've stopped using tobacco.
"Think of it like antibiotics: You need to keep taking it even if you feel great," Payne said. "A minimum of three months of usage is really what we're shooting for, and for many people, as long as six months may be the sweet spot."
People who want to stay quit also shouldn't fall prey to the "one won't hurt" myth, Dani said.
"Just one often turns into one every couple of weeks, and then once a week, and pretty soon, they're smokers again," he said. "It's similar to how people start smoking in the first place."
Those who want to quit should also realize that setbacks are manageable.
"People can recover from a slip if they have a good mindset about it," Payne said. "The important thing is not to beat yourself up about it. Think about it as a learning opportunity. Recognize what happened that made you want a cigarette so badly and plan for how you'll react in similar situations down the road."
Every day, week and month a person goes without smoking, the better their chances of kicking nicotine addiction forever, experts say.
"There is never no risk of relapsing," Payne said. "But the greatest risk period is the first two weeks after quitting. And once a person gets past the first three months or so, relapse risk drops considerably."
High doses of vitamin C can reduce inflammation in cancer patients
Published: November 28, 2018
(Natural News) Vitamin C is so much more than just a potent immune booster to help ward off wintertime colds and flus. It is also one of the best weapons we have against disease-causing inflammation. Infection, autoimmune issues and the effects of the chemical environment we live in can all result in chronic inflammation. When long-term inflammation sets in, permanent tissue damage can occur, creating harmful immune responses and resulting in many serious illnesses, including cancer.
Researchers have long understood that vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which fights off the free radical damage that can interfere with immune function and lead to inflammation. They have also understood that cancer patients generally exhibit high levels of inflammation and that this inflammation can affect their prognosis and recovery as well as lowering the efficacy of conventional cancer treatments – which let’s face it, aren’t that effective to start with.
Now, a study conducted by researchers from the Riordan clinic, and published in the Journal of Translation Medicine, has joined the dots between high doses of vitamin C, a reduction in inflammation and better long-term outcomes for cancer patients.
Vitamin C has “preventative and therapeutic value”
As reported by Natural Health 365, inflammation levels in the body have a direct bearing on the risk of developing cancer as well as the chances of recovery and survival. Studies have found that patients with the lowest inflammation levels are more likely to survive at least two years after a cancer diagnosis. The Riordan research team therefore set out to determine if using high-dose intravenous vitamin C (IVC) treatments could lower inflammation and improve recovery outcomes for these patients.
For their study, the research team retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients who had received IVC treatments and analyzed their plasma ascorbate concentration levels before and after treatment. C-reactive protein levels – which rise when inflammation is present in the body – were also measured.
The study abstract conclusion notes:
Evidence suggests that IVC may be able to modulate inflammation, which in turn might improve outcomes for cancer patients. IVC may serve as a safe, adjunctive therapy in clinical cancer care.
Vitamin C is cancer’s worst enemy
This was not the first study to show the amazing effects of vitamin C in the treatment of cancer.
A study by researchers from the University of Salford in the U.K., published in the journal Oncotarget, found that vitamin C inhibits the growth of cancer cells in the laboratory, demonstrating a 10 times higher potency than the experimental drug 2-DG in the process.
Natural News previously reported:
[V]itamin C starves cancer stem cells by blocking a process called glycolysis. The process is responsible for glucose metabolism, and inhibiting it prevents the mitochondria from gaining essential energy for survival. Using vitamin C as an add-on treatment to chemotherapy may show potential in stemming tumor recurrence and further progression of cancer.
“We have been looking at how to target cancer stem cells with a range of natural substances including silibinin (milk thistle) and CAPE, a honey-bee derivative, but by far the most exciting are the results with vitamin C,” noted study author Dr. Michael Lisanti. “Vitamin C is cheap, natural, nontoxic and readily available so to have it as a potential weapon in the fight against cancer would be a significant step.”
Serious cancer protection requires high doses of vitamin C, however, with most studies finding that at least 5,000 mg must be taken each day to maximize its cancer-fighting potential.
Many Patients With Polyps Delay Follow-up Colonoscopy: Study
Published: November 26, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Many people found to have colon polyps (adenomas) that can lead to cancer don't have follow-up colonoscopies at recommended times, a new study finds.
Patients who have certain types of adenomas, or large or numerous ones, are at increased risk for colorectal cancer, the study authors reported in the Nov. 20 issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
"When a patient is found to have some of these higher-risk findings, guidelines recommend that they come back for another colonoscopy in three years. This is called surveillance colonoscopy, and it improves our chances of preventing colorectal cancer or detecting it at an early stage," study author Jessica Chubak said in a journal news release.
Chubak is a senior scientific investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute.
Her team analyzed data from more than 6,900 U.S. patients, aged 50 to 89, with high-risk adenomas. The patients had their initial colonoscopies done at one of three Kaiser Permanente systems, or at the Parkland Health & Hospital System, which treats patients regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.
Between 47 percent and 59.5 percent of the Kaiser Permanente patients had a follow-up colonoscopy within 3 1/2 years, compared with 18.3 percent of Parkland patients.
The significantly lower rate at Parkland was most likely due to differences in patient populations and resources, according to Chubak.
The study found that patients with more adenomas or with higher-risk adenomas were more likely to get the follow-up colonoscopy at the recommended time.
Age was another factor. Patients between the ages of 60 and 74 were more likely than those between the ages of 50 and 54 to get timely colonoscopies, while those in their 80s were less likely to do so.
"We encourage patients and health care providers to talk about how and when to test for colorectal cancer, and we encourage health care systems to find ways to support patients and providers in following the guidelines," she said. "In the future, it will be important to understand what types of reminders work best for different patient populations and in different health care settings."
Study: Women who eat lots of fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of breast cancer
Published: November 24, 2018
(Natural News) Statistics indicate that breast cancer is the second most common cancer in American women. While death rates from this deadly disease have been steadily decreasing in most Western countries, a breast cancer diagnosis remains both terrifying and dangerous. Medical experts advise regular screening, lifestyle changes and a healthy diet as the best ways to reduce the risk of developing this form of cancer. And a recent study has confirmed just how important eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies is in preventing this disease.
The study, conducted by a research team from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and published in the International Journal of Cancer, found a “significant association” between increased consumption of fresh produce and a reduced risk of breast cancer, particularly the risk of developing aggressive tumors.
Study based on over 30 years of data
As reported by Integrative Practitioner, the research team based their metanalysis on dietary questionnaires submitted every four years by 88,310 women to the Nurses’ Health Study beginning in 1980, and a further 93,844 women who submitted questionnaires for the Nurses’ Health Study II, which commenced in 1991.
The study found that women who consumed more than 5.5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day benefited from an 11 percent reduction in breast cancer risk when compared to those who ate fewer than 2.5 servings daily. An adult sized portion of fresh produce is defined as 80 grams or 2.8 ounces, and generally amounts to a cup of raw leafy veg, or half a cup of other raw or cooked fruits and veggies.
Interestingly, when the researchers isolated the link between fresh produce consumption and specific types of breast cancers, they found that the higher consumption was specifically linked to a reduction in risk of developing the most aggressive forms of this cancer, specifically HER2-enriched, ER-negative and basal-like tumors.
In a previous study, the same research team identified a link between high fiber intake and breast cancer risk reduction, but in this study, they found that the benefits of higher fruit and veg consumption was unrelated to the amount of fiber consumed. This would indicate that other nutrients and antioxidants are likely responsible for the risk reduction.
“Although prior studies have suggested an association, they have been limited in power, particularly for specific fruits and vegetables and aggressive subtypes of breast cancer,” said Maryam Farvid, first author and a research scientist with the Department of Nutrition. “This research provides the most complete picture of the importance of consuming high amounts of fruit and vegetables for breast cancer prevention.”
Increase consumption of vegetables high in carotenoids to reduce breast cancer risk
While increasing overall consumption of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables would be advisable to reduce breast cancer risk, a previous study conducted by researchers from Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that vegetables high in carotenoids are especially beneficial in this regard.
Natural News reported:
The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of the data from 8 separate studies on a total of 7,000 women – consisting of 80 percent of all published data on the link between carotenoids and breast cancer. In addition, the researchers re-analyzed all the original blood samples in order to standardize measurements of carotenoid levels.
They found that women whose blood was in the top 20 percent in terms of carotenoid levels were 15 to 20 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than women whose blood was in the bottom 20 percent.
So, what are carotenoids and which vegetables contain the most? Carotenoids are a group of A vitamins that include lycopene, lutein and beta-carotene, and are potent free radical fighting antioxidants. The veggies that contain the most carotenoids are carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens and tomatoes.
Cancer link identified among people who work near chemical sanitizers, disinfectants, and sterilizers
Published: November 23, 2018
(Natural News) Exposure to chemical disinfectants and sanitizers on the job may increase the risk of developing thyroid cancer, a recent study found. Researchers examined 960 study participants and pooled data from their employment histories including job titles, responsibilities, and company name. The experts then calculated potential biocide and pesticide exposure in workers. Biocides used in the study included cleaning and health care products that were most commonly used in medical diagnosis and building maintenance. Pesticides included in the study were agricultural chemicals, herbicides, and rodenticides. These were commonly used in farming, landscaping and lawn services.
Data showed that workers exposed to various biocides — such as sanitizers, disinfectants, and deodorizers — had a 65 percent increased risk of thyroid cancer. Data also showed that women who were exposed to any form of biocides on the job had a 48 percent likelihood of developing thyroid cancer. Men who had occupational exposure to the chemicals were up to three times as likely to develop thyroid cancer, the researchers added.
“Limited studies have investigated occupational exposure to pesticides in relation to thyroid cancer and have reached inconsistent results. Our study did not support an association between occupational exposure to pesticides and risk of thyroid cancer, but suggested that occupational exposure to other biocides might be associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer,” said lead study author Dr. Yawei Zhang in an article in Reuters.
The researchers did not identify the mechanism behind the link between occupational biocide exposure and increased risk of thyroid cancer. However, they inferred that the chemicals may possibly alter thyroid hormones. Triclosan, for example, was shown to reduce the levels of two thyroid hormones crucial in metabolism and growth. The liver cancer-causing chemical is commonly found in cleaning products. The results recommend that workers “should take caution when they apply pesticides or other biocides in work place or at home by wearing protective clothes or mask and washing hands afterwards,” Dr. Zhang added.
The findings were published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Occupational chemical exposure raises thyroid cancer risk in studies
A 2014 meta-analysis found a suggestive correlation between chemical, radiation exposure in workers and increased thyroid cancer risk. Data also showed that cancer risk was observed in pesticide-exposed workers and agricultural occupations. However, researchers said the findings were suggestive, but inconsistent. The researchers also noted that more studies with larger numbers of cases were needed to support the findings. The results were published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Another study published in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health established a link between workplace chemicals and thyroid cancer. Researchers pooled data from Sweden’s National Cancer and Death Registries and found that women workers exposed to solvents — including shoe-cutters, lasters, and sewers — had an increased likelihood of developing thyroid cancer. The findings demonstrate that solvent exposure in the shoe and leather industries raise the odds of cancer in women workers, researchers said.
The fungicide penconazole, mostly used in grape cultivation, was also linked to higher thyroid cancer risk. Researchers said cultured human cell lines exposed to the endocrine-disrupting fungicide was shown to alter a gene expression that was associated with the onset of thyroid cancer. The findings were published in the journal Toxicology in Vitro.
Pesticide use was also tied to the onset of many other forms of cancer. A report by the Pesticide Action Network North America revealed that farmers and pesticide applicators were at an increased risk of prostate cancer, while women exposed to pesticides has higher odds of developing ovarian cancer.
Women benefit from mammography screening beyond age 75
Published: November 21, 2018
Women age 75 years and older should continue to get screening mammograms because of the comparatively high incidence of breast cancer found in this age group, according to a new study being presented next week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
Guidelines on what age to stop breast cancer screening have been a source of confusion in recent years. In 2009, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released controversial guidelines stating there was not enough evidence to assess benefits and harms of screening mammography in women age 75 and older. However, other professional groups advise that women may continue to undergo mammography screening as long as they are in good health.
"Ongoing debate exists regarding the age to cease screening mammography," said Stamatia V. Destounis, M.D., radiologist at Elizabeth Wende Breast Care, LLC, in Rochester, N.Y. "Our findings provide important data demonstrating that there is value in screening women over 75 because there is a considerable incidence of breast cancer."
For the study, Dr. Destounis and colleagues analyzed data from 763,256 screening mammography exams at Elizabeth Wende Breast Care between 2007 and 2017. Screening-detected cancer was diagnosed in 3,944 patients. Further analysis was performed to identify the number and type of cancers diagnosed among women 75 years of age and older.
There were 76,885 patients (10 percent) age 75 and older included in the study. The average age of the patients was 80.4. A total of 645 malignancies were diagnosed in 616 patients, for a cancer rate of 8.4 detections per 1,000 exams in this age group.
"For the relatively small percentage of our screening population that was composed of women 75 and older, the patients diagnosed in this population made up 16 percent of all patients diagnosed with screening-detected cancers," Dr. Destounis said.
Researchers also found that 82 percent of the malignancies diagnosed were invasive cancers, of which 63 percent were grade 2 or 3, which grow and spread more quickly. Ninety-eight percent of the cancers found were able to be treated surgically. Positive lymph nodes were reported at surgical excision in 7 percent of the patients. Seventeen cancers were not surgically treated due to advanced patient age or overall degraded patient health.
"Most of the tumors found in this age group were invasive, and almost all of these patients -- 98 percent -- underwent surgery," Dr. Destounis said.
Mammography plays a critical role in the early detection of breast cancer, because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before a woman or her physician can feel them, and early detection leads to better treatment options and improved survival.
Dr. Destounis advises women over 75 who are in relatively good health to continue routine screenings.
"The benefits of screening yearly after age 75 continue to outweigh any minimal risk of additional diagnostic testing," she said.
The power of herbal medicine for treating liver cancer
Published: November 21, 2018
(Natural News) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 33,000 Americans develop liver cancer every year and from these, approximately 26,000 people die from the disease. One of the main reasons for the high mortality rates of liver cancer is the limited treatments available for the disease, which include chemotherapy and surgical removal of affected areas. Moreover, these treatments also cause various complications and side effects that are potentially fatal. Recently, more and more studies are looking at the potential use of natural products for cancer therapeutics. A study conducted by researchers from the United Arab Emirates University and the University of Sharjah showed that the herbs fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), senna (Cassia acutifolia), and Rhazya stricta, which is locally known as harmal, have anticancer properties.
The liver is a very important organ. It is responsible for many metabolic processes, including breaking down substances, extracting energy, and removing toxins in the bloodstream. Its involvement in these functions causes the liver to become vulnerable to damage inflicted by harmful substances like free radicals that could lead to cancer. Antioxidants have been associated with anticancer properties since they neutralize reactive molecules to prevent DNA damage, abnormal cell division, and mutagenesis.
Although there are synthetic antioxidants, these have negative effects on a person’s health so natural sources are still preferred because of their safety. Potential sources of antioxidants include fenugreek, senna, and harmal, which are commonly used as traditional medicines in the United Arab Emirates. Locals used fenugreek and senna to remedy flatulence and constipation, respectively. Meanwhile, they used harmal to treat diabetes, sore throat, and inflammatory conditions.
In this study, which was published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the researchers looked at the antioxidant and anticancer activities of extracts from these three plants to determine if they have potential use in liver cancer treatment. They evaluated these properties through in vitro experiments. The authors of the study observed potent antioxidant and anticancer activity, which they observed to be dependent on the former. From the three plants, harmal proved to be the most promising since it was able to reduce free radicals and kill cancer cells to a greater degree.
Overall, these results show that fenugreek, senna, and especially harmal have potent antioxidant and anticancer activities. These prove that natural products have great potential as alternatives to harmful conventional treatments.
Common liver diseases
Pre-existing liver problems can increase the risk of liver cancer. Some of the most common liver diseases include the following:
Health Tip: Managing Hair Loss From Chemotherapy
Published: November 19, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Chemotherapy may damage the cells that make hair and cause it to fall out, the National Cancer Institute says.
Hair loss may begin two weeks to three weeks after starting chemotherapy, the agency says. Before hair begins to fall out, consider shaving your head, getting a wig or wearing a hat or scarf, the institute advises.
After hair loss begins, the agency suggests:
Natural chemicals produced by vegetables like kale and broccoli help maintain a healthy gut and prevent colon cancer
Published: November 18, 2018
(Natural News) Cases of colon cancer are on the rise, which is bad news considering it’s the second leading cause of cancer death in adults in the U.S. How can you avoid being one of the 97,220 new cases of colon cancer expected this year?
While there is a genetic component to colon cancer that you can’t really get around, there is still plenty within your control. Regular screening remains crucial to catch cancer that has already developed, but when it comes to keeping it from occurring in the first place, diet can have a big impact.
You might have heard that consuming fiber is important, but now there’s something else you can add to that list: vegetables from the Brassica genus like kale, cabbage and broccoli. According to a new study carried out by researchers from the Francis Crick Institute, a compound our body produces upon digesting such vegetables can protect not only from gut inflammation but also colon cancer.
The compound, known as indole-3-carbinol, or I3C, works by activating a protein known as the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). AhR passes signals to the immune and epithelial cells that line the gut to protect it from inflammatory reactions to gut bacteria.
The researchers found that when mice ate a diet that was enriched with I3C, they didn’t develop cancer or even inflammation; when those who were already developing colon cancer were switched to I3C-rich diets, they ultimately developed significantly fewer tumors, and those that did develop were also more benign.
They said that in the absence of AhR, intestinal stem cells don’t differentiate into the specialized epithelial cells responsible for creating protective mucus and absorbing nutrients. Instead, they start dividing uncontrollably, which can cause colon cancer.
The researchers said they were surprised to see how profoundly diet could impact gut inflammation and colon cancer. Thankfully, adding such foods to your diet can restore epithelial cell differentiation, boosting intestinal infection resistance and stopping colon cancer from forming.
Next, the researchers would like to carry out tests on organoids derived from biopsies of the human gut, and if that’s successful, they’d like to eventually move on to human trials. They say there isn’t much information available on which vegetables work best in protecting against cancer, so they’d like to explore the connection further. Their findings were published in the journal Immunity.
While studies continue, the researchers emphasize that it’s never a bad idea to eat more vegetables. They also pointed out that even those who don’t have a genetic risk factor for colon cancer can develop the disease if their diet is lacking in vegetables.
What is the Brassica vegetable family?
The study focused on the Brassica family of vegetables, which are also known as cruciferous vegetables. They’ve gotten a lot of attention for the phytochemicals they contain, especially glucosinolates, which have been linked to a reduced risk of developing several types of cancer.
Some of the vegetables in this category include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, cauliflower, and turnips.
Consuming these vegetables raw is ideal, although it’s far more practical to eat raw mustard seeds mixed into salad or raw broccoli – perhaps dipped in hummus – than, say, raw Brussels sprouts. Experts warn that boiling these vegetables might reduce their health-boosting compounds, but stir-frying and steaming don’t appear to have this effect.
Brassica vegetables aren’t usually at the top of most people’s list of favorite vegetables when it comes to flavor, but their health benefits certainly make them a lot more palatable.
Pomegranates are some of the best foods you can eat to prevent cancer
Published: November 16, 2018
(Natural News) Why do you need to make pomegranates a part of your diet? Apart from being refreshingly delicious, pomegranates are packed with vital nutrients and offer many health benefits, among which is protection from cancer.
Fruits are an essential part of a healthy diet. A significant chunk of their nutritional profile is composed of antioxidants. These are compounds that fight free radicals, which are unstable molecules that tend to accumulate in your body because of factors like natural body processes, your diet, the presence of disease, and your environment.
High concentrations of free radicals in your body lead to oxidative stress, which damages your cells and tissues. The effects of oxidative stress can range from prematurely aging skin to serious diseases, including cardiovascular conditions, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer.
Antioxidants modify free radicals and turn them into harmless substances your body can either process or expel without incident. In this way, they are an essential part of a substantial protection against cancer.
Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants. One cup of its seeds gives you 30 percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamin C, known as one of the most powerful antioxidants in nature. Pomegranate peel and juice also have an abundance of punicalagins. These compounds have antioxidant properties that are three times more potent than those of either red wine or green tea, which by themselves are known for being antioxidant powerhouses.
But the cancer-fighting benefits of pomegranates do not stop with their antioxidant load. A review of the fruit’s value in cancer therapy, published in the journal Pharmacological Research, emphasized its anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, anti-angiogenic, anti-invasive, and anti-metastatic properties as great reasons it is so effective against cancer.
Inflammation is, under normal circumstances, actually a good thing. As part of your immune response, it tells you that your immune system is up and functional. It becomes problematic when it is prolonged and persistent, becoming a risk factor for cancer and a number of other diseases. The punicalagins and other antioxidant compounds found in pomegranate are linked to reductions in inflammatory activity in breast cancer and colon cancer cells.
Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, is a key factor in metastasis or the proliferation of cancer cells to other parts of the body. Once cancer has metastasized, it becomes a lot harder to treat, so preventing angiogenesis is an important step in disrupting the disease’s progression. The extracts of pomegranate peel have been confirmed, in a study published in the journal Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences, to have both antiangiogenesis and antiproliferative effects against melanoma.
Pomegranates can also induce apoptosis, or cellular death, according to research published in Growth Hormone & IGF Research. At the end of the day, cancer cells are simply mutated cells. Causing them to undergo the natural process of cellular death by administering substances with apoptotic effects is considered one of the safest ways to kill tumor cells and treat cancer. In the study, pomegranates were shown to cause the deathof prostate cancer cells.
Other health benefits of pomegranates
Here are yet more reasons to eat more pomegranates:
Teenage Obesity May Raise Pancreatic Cancer Risk Years Later
Published: November 14, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Obesity in the teen years may increase the risk of developing deadly pancreatic cancer in adulthood, researchers report.
The odds for this rare cancer can quadruple due to obesity, the Israeli research team found. Moreover, the risk rises as weight increases, even affecting men in the high normal weight range.
"It's been known for some time that obesity can increase an individual's risk of developing pancreatic cancer, and [this is] an important new finding suggesting that obesity and overweight in adolescence can also impact risk," said Allison Rosenzweig, a senior manager at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
But being overweight or obese doesn't doom you to getting the disease, said Rosenzweig, who had no role in the study.
"Because pancreatic cancer is a relatively rare disease, thought to impact around 55,000 Americans this year, even those at an increased risk have a low likelihood of developing the disease," she said.
Also, because this study looked at retrospective data, it can't prove that excess weight is a cause of pancreatic cancer, only that an association exists.
Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, with a five-year survival rate below 10 percent, according to the cancer network.
For the new study, researchers led by Dr. Zohar Levi, of Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva and Tel Aviv University, collected data on more than 1 million Jewish men and 700,000 Jewish women in Israel. Participants had physical examinations at ages 16 to 19 from 1967 to 2002.
Using the Israeli National Cancer Registry, the researchers identified cases of pancreatic cancer through 2012. Their follow-up revealed 551 new cases of pancreatic cancer.
Compared with normal weight, obesity was associated with a nearly four times higher risk for cancer among men. Among women, the risk was slightly more than four times higher, the researchers found.
Overall, the researchers attributed almost 11 percent of the pancreatic cases to teenage overweight and obesity.
The report was published online Nov. 12 in the journal Cancer.
Dr. Chanan Meydan, of the Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Israel, wrote an editorial accompanying the study. He said weight gain in adolescence may increase inflammation, which damages cells and might raise cancer risk.
"It would be interesting to find whether the inflammatory process in obesity has links to the inflammatory process in malignancy. Are they connected somehow?" said Meydan.
The mechanism behind inflammation is "for the most part, a delicately balanced phenomenon with grave consequences when it's out of balance," he said.
Learning more about how this "switchboard of control" works may help scientists better understand the association between obesity and cancer, Meydan added.
Acid reflux linked with an increased chance of deadly disease such as cancer
Published: November 11, 2018
(Natural News) People who over-eat should rein in their eating habits this new year, warns a study. Researchers from the Tulane University School of Medicine discovered that frequent heartburn in older adults increases the risk of throat, tonsil, and sinus cancer in older people. In the study, the existence of heartburn increased the likelihood of developing the diseases by at least three percent.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which causes heartburn or acid reflux, happens when stomach acids come up the esophagus. This is known to affect 10 to 30 percent of the population, particularly older people and those who are obese. Additionally, medication for acid reflux increases your risk even further, as studies have shown that regularly taking pills can “double your chances” of developing stomach tumors.
With the results, the research team suggests senior adults with the condition be checked for head and neck cancers. According to the authors, GERD is related to “development of malignancy” in the upper digestive tract. This opens up the possibility for early detection and intervention. To note, cancers found in the respiratory system and upper digestive tracts claim 360,000 lives per year.
While most people have experienced acid reflux at some point, it is classified as a mild form of GERD if it happens once every two weeks at least, or moderate to severe if it happens at least once a week.
The group studied data from 13,805 patients aged 66 or older with either cancer of the respiratory system or the upper digestive tract, and compared them to a control group of 13,805 patients without cancer. They discovered a link between GERD and cancer in the larynx (voice box).
“This intuitively makes sense owing to the proximity to the esophagus and the readily exposed mucosa that lines the larynx, resulting in reflux-related tissue injury, mucosal inflammation, and chronic laryngitis,” according to the team.
The findings pointed that GERD was related to the cancer of the throat, tonsils, and parts of the sinuses.
Fast facts on GERD
Most instances of GERD can be modified with changes in lifestyle. Still, be on the lookout for the usual symptoms of the condition:
Acid reflux can be awful if it happens at night, as additional signs include:
Immediately look for a health care provider if GERD is accompanied by severe chest pain, shortness of breath, and pain in the arm or jaw – as this may also be the signs of a heart attack. Additionally, seek medical care if you experience severe and frequent GERD symptoms.
The likelihood of developing GERD is increased for people who are obese or have medical conditions such as a hiatal hernia (swelling of the highest point of the stomach) and connective tissue disorder. GERD can also appear during pregnancy or when the stomach is delayed with emptying.
Factors such as smoking; eating large meals or eating late in the evening; consuming fatty and fried foods; and drinking certain medicine such as aspiring all increase the likelihood of aggravating GERD.
Mammograms Do Save Lives: Study
Published: November 09, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Women confused by the conflicting advice surrounding the benefits and timing of mammograms will be interested in a new study out of Sweden.
The research, involving more than 50,000 breast cancer patients, found that those who took part in a breast cancer screening program had a 60 percent lower risk of dying from the disease in the 10 years after diagnosis, and a 47 percent lower risk 20 years after diagnosis.
"This is really what we've been waiting for because there has been so much hoopla about mammography not reducing the death rate from breast cancer," said Dr. Lauren Cassell, chief of breast surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She was not involved with the study.
Many people have said it's better treatment, and not screening, that has improved survival, Cassell explained.
"But when you do pick up cancers earlier, patients do better," she said. "We've had a gut feeling that early detection makes a difference, and now we can prove it."
Study co-author Robert Smith, vice president for cancer screening at the American Cancer Society, said, "The advantage of screening is that it offers a woman, if she develops breast cancer, the opportunity to treat that cancer early when the treatment can be less aggressive and when she has more treatment choices."
Finding cancer in an early stage may also avoid aggressive treatments that can diminish quality of life, he added.
"Mammography today, in the setting of modern therapy, confers a substantial benefit to women who attend regular screening," Smith said. "The mortality reductions we observe are principally due to mammography detecting the most aggressive cancers early."
While the findings may seem obvious, the effect of mammograms on survival is something that's been debated in recent years.
The American Cancer Society recommends annual breast cancer screening for women aged 45 to 54, while the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends mammograms every other year for women aged 50 to 74.
The task force says the evidence for earlier screening isn't convincing, but women should make that decision on an individual basis.
Part of the discrepancy is caused by how the evidence is gathered, Smith explained.
Much of the data that has gone into making recommendations came from older studies that weren't able to clearly break out the benefit of early screening on survival, he said.
Early screening finds cancers that wouldn't show symptoms for years, Smith said. Also, survival from breast cancer can get confused with improvements in treatment, making it hard to tease out the benefit of screening, he added.
For the new study, researchers were able to take advantage of highly detailed Swedish data that spanned 52 years. This enabled the researchers to look at data from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, when widespread screening didn't exist, and 39 years later, when widespread screening was available.
What's more, the data for the new study were "individualized" -- so researchers could look at the outcome of every woman in the registry who had breast cancer and whether she was screened or not. This enabled Smith's team to pinpoint the effect of screening on survival.
The researchers also were able to quantify the benefit of screening by looking at deaths after diagnosis.
"The latest study adds to the large body of literature that demonstrates early detection of breast cancer through screening programs saves the most lives," said Dr. Nicole Saphier, director of breast imaging at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Monmouth Regional, in Middletown, N.J.
Breast cancers in women aged 40 to 49 tend to grow faster than breast cancers in older women, she said. "This means mammography and early detection are essential in these women, when the chances of survival are highest," she added.
For the study, Smith and his colleagues collected data on more than 52,400 women aged 40 to 69 in Dalarna, Sweden. All were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1977 and 2015. All the patients received the latest treatment for their stage of cancer, regardless of how it was found.
Dr. Jay Baker is president of the Society of Breast Imaging. In a society news release, he said that, "The conclusion of this study could not be more clear -- modern treatments are important but not solely sufficient. Women who get regular screening mammograms cut their risk of dying of breast cancer by about half."
The Indian gooseberry and chameleon plant contain compounds that kill cancer cells
Published: November 09, 2018
(Natural News) The cost of chemotherapy is often too hard to bear. Even disregarding the physical effects of the dangerous “treatment,” the financial strain alone could force cancer patients to flirt dangerously with despair, or worse, potentially fatal “quick cures.” Yet many people forget that the solution to their condition may be in natural medicine, particularly in certain ethnomedicines found in Asia.
Two such plants were recently validated in a clinical review published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Here, researchers found that the chameleon plant (Houttuynia cordata) and the Indian gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica) were able to successfully inhibit the growth of cancer cells. MTT assay and flow cytometric analysis of the ethanolic extracts of both plants revealed that compounds found in each induced apoptosis (cell death) and arrested the cell cycle of the cancer. These effects were noted to be dose-dependent.
The team likewise found that these plants displayed low toxicity to non-cancer cells. This means that while they are potent against cancer cells, they did not harm healthy ones.
It was hypothesized that these effects can be attributed to the presence of several phenolic acids, namely gallic, p-hydroxybenzoic, vanillic, syringic, p-coumaric, ferulic, and sinapinic acids.
The results of the study suggest the fermented broth of the chameleon plant or the fruit of the Indian gooseberry can be used as an alternative means to treat or prevent cancer.
Fighting the “Big C” using food
Overwhelming evidence links food to health. What you eat and how you do so directly influences how you feel, what you can do, and how vulnerable you are to disease.
Cancer is a scary medical issue to consider, but you can prevent it from happening to you by choosing to diligently follow healthy lifestyle habits. This includes skipping the burgers, chips, and cakes.
Dr. Colleen Doyle, the director of nutrition and physical activity for the American Cancer Society, notes that while “there’s no one food that will reduce your risk of this disease, it’s the synergy between many nutrients [emphasis added] – vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants – that’s likely to give you the most protection.”
Here are some foods that have incredible cancer-fighting properties.
Berries are excellent sources of polyphenols, antioxidants that reduce and repair damage to the cells. They also boost your immune system.
A study performed by a team from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California found that black raspberries and strawberries, in particular, were the most effective in inducing cell death in cancer lines linked to the colon, oral, and breast variety. This may have something to do with a unique phytochemical called ellagic acid found in these specific berries.
Grapes contain resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Studies have shown that deep purple and red grapes show the most potential in inhibiting tumor growth.
We recommend that you eat your resveratrol rather than drink it. Red wine does contain this compound, but the alcohol content found in the beverage may actually increase your risk of cancer.
The bright red color of this superfood is thanks to an antioxidant called lycopene. Data suggest that lycopene can protect cells from damage and kill off those that aren’t growing properly. They are especially useful in guarding against skin cancer as lycopene has been studied to negate the negative effects of UV light.
Cancers are vampires — so do yourself a nerdy favor and battle the disease with this yummy (though stinky) superfood. Garlic contains unique antioxidant phytochemicals that intervene in several steps of the cancer process.
To reap the full benefits of garlic, try eating them raw and as part of a homemade salad.
Blood cancers can be treated safely and naturally with cinnamon
Published: November 07, 2018
(Natural News) Cinnamon does more than add a pleasant and appetizing aroma to your favorite dishes – it can also help treat certain cancers. A study published in the Journal of Herbal Medicine found that cinnamon has the ability to modify the growth of and kill blood cancer cells.
Myeloma is a type of blood cancer. Another name for it is multiple myeloma. It’s not as rare as other types of cancer, accounting for only 2.1 percent of all cancer deaths in the U.S. in 2018. Myeloma, however, is a dangerous disease, leaving only 50.7 percent of patients alive five years after getting diagnosed with the disease.
The authors of the study looked at cinnamon as a possible natural alternative treatment for myeloma. Cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory properties are well-established – the researchers wanted to know if the spice had anti-proliferative and anti-angiogenic effectsas well.
They obtained human myeloma cell line RPMI 8226 and treated it with cinnamon bark powder extract. The authors noted that at a concentration of 72 micrograms per milliliter (mcg/mL), cinnamon caused a 50 percent inhibition of cell growth rate in the treated cancer cells compared to untreated controls.
The extract also prevented the formation of new blood vessels that may increase the tumor cells’ ability to spread or metastasize. It was further observed that the extract caused the fragmentation of cancer cell DNA, inducing apoptosis or cellular death.
Observations 24, 48, and 72 hours after treatment confirmed that the effects of cinnamon were time-dependent. DNA fragmentation was at its highest at the 72-hour mark compared to the 24- and 48-hour marks.
The researchers concluded that cinnamon may be an anti-cancer herbal medicine because of its ability to inhibit angiogenesis, prevent inflammation, and induce apoptosis in myeloma tumor cells.
The many health effects of cinnamon
Cinnamon has been used as a natural medicine about as long as it has been used as an aromatic spice. Here are some of the reasons it’s good for the body:
The Sooner You Quit Smoking, the Better
Published: November 06, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Despite the well-known dangers of smoking, the sizable benefits of quitting may be overlooked, a new study suggests.
"These findings underscore the benefits of quitting smoking within five years, which is a 38 percent lower risk of a heart attack, stroke or other forms of cardiovascular disease," said study author Meredith Duncan, from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
"The bottom line is if you smoke, now is a very good time to quit," Duncan said in an American Heart Association news release.
Her team also found that it takes more than 15 years from the time you quit until your cardiovascular disease risk returns to the level of those who never smoked -- so the sooner you quit, the better.
Cigarette smoking in America is declining and leaving a growing population of former smokers. Earlier studies have hinted that the risk for heart disease lessens within a few years after quitting, but these studies haven't looked closely at smoking history, including changes in smoking habits.
In this study, Duncan and her colleagues analyzed data on the lifetime smoking histories of nearly 8,700 people who took part in the Framingham Heart Study.
At the beginning of the study, none of the participants suffered from cardiovascular disease. Over 27 years, researchers compared the risk for heart disease among people who never smoked with those who quit.
They found that more than 70 percent of heart disease occurred in current or former smokers who smoked at least 20 pack-years -- smoking one pack a day for 20 years.
But smokers who quit within the last five years cut their risk for cardiovascular disease by 38 percent, compared with people who continued to smoke. Moreover, it took 16 years after quitting for the risk of cardiovascular disease to return to the level of never smokers, the researchers found.
The findings are to be presented Sunday at the American Heart Association's annual meeting, in Chicago. Such research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
How Necessary Is HPV Cervical Cancer Screening for Women After Age 55?
Published: November 02, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Testing for human papillomavirus (HPV) has become the standard of care in screening for cervical cancer. But now, Canadian researchers say it may become unnecessary in women aged 55 or older who have one negative result with the test.
The DNA-based HPV test is highly accurate in detecting 14 high-risk strains of the virus that causes the majority of cervical cancers.
In the new study, researchers first gathered data on more than 200,000 women living in British Columbia. They then created a mathematical model that estimated the lifetime risk of cervical cancer in older women, all of who had not been vaccinated against HPV.
The result: Just one negative HPV DNA test at the age of 55 suggested that a woman has a very low risk (less than 1 percent) of cervical cancer, and continued screening with this type of test would provide little benefit, according to the study.
However, the researchers said that regular screening with the traditional -- and cheaper -- Pap test up to age 75 may still prevent some cervical cancers. But even in that case, benefits would decline with age.
"Our results suggest that for countries that use HPV testing as part of their screening, it might be possible to stop screening earlier than we are currently doing, provided women have a negative HPV test," said study author Talia Malagon, of McGill University in Montreal.
But one obstetrician/gynecologist said it's too soon to make firm recommendations.
"I caution readers to use this data as a reason to stop performing cervical cancer screening after age 55," said Dr. Adi Davidov, who directs Ob/Gyn care at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City.
"Firstly, this study uses mathematical modeling, which may not be accurate," he said. "In addition, many patients are already skipping their annual gynecology visit because of newer recommendations of less frequent cervical cancer screening. If women stop seeing their gynecologist at age 55, I worry that other serious conditions will be left undiagnosed."
The new findings were published Nov. 1 in The Lancet Oncology journal.
Right now, most guidelines say cervical cancer screening -- done with either with the Pap test or HPV DNA test -- can be stopped after ages 65 to 69. However, there's been a lack of high-quality evidence to support this recommendation, the researchers said.
"Cervical cancers are caused by infections with oncogenic [cancer-causing] HPV types," Malagon explained in a journal news release. For decades, doctors have turned to the Pap test "to detect the precancerous lesions caused by HPV, which can then be treated before they ever progress to cervical cancer," she added.
The Pap test has saved thousands of lives, but "it is far from perfect because it does not always detect the precancerous lesions which develop into cancer," Malagon said.
"We have known for some time that directly screening instead for the HPV types that cause cervical cancer performs just as well, if not better, than [the Pap test] for screening in women below the age of 60," she said.
What hasn't been known is whether an older woman who tests negative on an HPV screen can safely stop screening, as happens for some older women whose Pap tests come back negative.
The new study might help clear up that question, Malagon said.
She cautioned that the study "does not necessarily suggest that all screening should stop at age 55, since the benefits of continued screening depend on the type of screening used. For countries that still use [Pap test] screening, screening at older ages should further reduce the risk of cervical cancer," she noted.
Furthermore, "our study did not include any cost-effectiveness analysis, which will be a useful next step to inform policy decisions before any change in guidance is considered," Malagon said.
Dr. Jill Rabin helps direct Women's Health Programs at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y. She called the findings "interesting," but offered several caveats.
She said factors that might cause "latent" HPV to go undetected -- things like stress or certain medical conditions -- might be in play for some older women, rendering continued HPV screening valuable.
Furthermore, one rare but potentially deadly form of cervical cancer, called adenocarcinoma of the cervix, does not rely on HPV and "most likely will go undetected until its later stages if a regular routine examination is not performed," Rabin noted.
She also agreed with David that cervical cancer screening has long been a "gateway" to better gynecologic care generally.
"My concern is if they stop coming for Pap tests, they will miss an examination which may help uncover other medical and gynecological issues, such as breast, uterine, ovarian and colon cancer," Rabin said.
Even low levels of heavy metals exposure can raise your risk of cancer and multiple organ damage
Published: October 31, 2018
(Natural News) Heavy metals are all around us. You might not see them, but they are widely distributed throughout the environment thanks to their many agricultural, technological, medical, and industrial applications. You might think that if you don’t come into direct contact with these metals, your risk must be minimal, but studies show that even low levels of exposure to heavy metals increase your risk of organ damage and cancer.
The toxicity of heavy metals depends on many factors. While the dose, chemical species and method of exposure all play a role on the heavy metal’s end, there is also an individual risk element depending on your genetics, age, gender and nutritional status. However, researchers have identified a few priority metals that are of concern to everyone on account of their high toxicity: lead, mercury, arsenic, chromium and cadmium.
Researchers from Jackson State University estimate that several million people around the world are subject to chronic arsenic exposure. In places like India, Mexico, and Taiwan, the groundwater is highly contaminated with arsenic, and it also exists in the air. Most people’s biggest source of exposure is diet. This is very concerning because arsenic has been linked in epidemiological studies to problems like vascular disease, neurological disorders, diabetes, and cancer. Exposure to this metal affects all the organs.
Cadmium occurs naturally in the Earth’s crust, but its use in industrial applications like batteries, alloys and pigments is very concerning. The most common methods of exposure to this metal are through ingesting food and inhaling air or cigarette smoke that contains it. Chronic exposure to low levels of the metal has been linked to osteoporosis and emphysema. It has long been linked to lung cancer as well as that of the stomach, prostate, liver and kidney.
Chromium exposure comes from its use in wood preservation, industrial welding, pigments, leather tanning and chrome plating. Although it’s an essential nutrient that helps with metabolism, exposure to higher amounts is very dangerous. For those who aren’t exposed to it at work or due to their proximity to manufacturing plants, ingestion of food and water containing it is the most common form of exposure. It usually targets the lungs, but it is also shown to cause multi-organ toxicity, asthma, and respiratory tract cancer; those who have greater contact with it are subject to even more serious conditions.
Most people are already familiar with how toxic lead can be thanks to public awareness campaigns and the reduction of the heavy metal to a large degree from many industrial uses. Nevertheless, a quarter of homes with more than one child younger than six in the U.S. still have significant amounts of lead in dust, paint, or soil. In fact, lead poisoning is still a common pediatric health problem. It is also found in many people’s drinking water thanks to decaying infrastructure and pipes.
Lead concentrations of just one part per billion can be problematic. Lead exposure has been linked to diminished intelligence, speech problems, attention disorders, social problems, and stunted growth in children, while adults may note spontaneous miscarriage or lower sperm count from low levels of exposure. At higher exposure levels, people might experience brain or kidney damage, blood problems, and gastrointestinal disease.
Mercury is so ubiquitous in our environment that it is impossible to avoid it entirely. However, one of the biggest sources of exposure to mercury in humans comes from dental amalgams, which is something that can be easily avoided. Consumption of mercury-contaminated fish is also a major source. Mercury is toxic to the nervous system, and it can also damage the digestive, nervous, respiratory and immune systems.
Many Mistakenly Believe Alternative Therapies Can Cure Cancer
Published: October 30, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Despite evidence to the contrary, four in 10 Americans believe alternative therapies can cure cancer, a new survey finds.
Research shows that cancer death rates are much higher among patients who use only alternative therapies than among those who receive standard cancer treatments, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
The group's second annual National Cancer Opinion Survey also found that many Americans oppose limiting cancer patients' access to opioid painkillers (such as OxyContin) and support the use of medical marijuana by cancer patients.
The high cost of cancer also emerged as a major concern among Americans.
"This survey serves as a barometer of the American people's views on important cancer-related issues," said ASCO President Dr. Monica Bertagnolli.
"It's revealed a number of critical areas we urgently need to address -- from correcting widespread misinformation about cancer treatments, to ensuring patients have access to the pain medication they need, to alleviating the financial distress both patients and their loved ones experience too frequently," Bertagnolli said in a society news release.
The online survey, conducted in July and August, included almost 4,900 U.S. adults aged 18 and older. About 1,000 have or have had cancer.
The survey found that 39 percent of respondents -- including a high number of cancer patients and family caregivers -- believe cancer can be cured using just alternative therapies, such as enzyme and oxygen therapy, diet, vitamins and minerals.
According to ASCO Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Schilsky, "There's no question that evidence-based cancer therapy is necessary to effectively treat the disease."
He added: "The vast majority of alternative therapies either haven't been rigorously studied or haven't been found to benefit patients. When patients are making critical decisions about which cancer treatments to undergo, it is always best to follow the evidence from well-designed research studies."
Younger people -- between 18 and 53 -- were more likely to put their faith in alternative therapies, the survey revealed.
A recent study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute underscored the danger of such thinking: The death rate from common cancers for people who receive only alternative medicine treatments is 2.5 times higher than for patients who receive standard treatments, such as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and hormone-based therapies.
Other findings from the ASCO survey:
"Patients are right to be concerned about the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis on their families. It's clear that high treatment costs are taking a serious toll not only on patients, but also on the people who care for them," Schilsky said.
"If a family member has been diagnosed with cancer, the sole focus should be helping them get well," Schilsky said. "Instead, Americans are worrying about affording treatment, and in many cases, they're making serious personal sacrifices to help pay for their loved ones' care."
Why nutrition-based therapy works better than chemotherapy for treating cancer
Published: October 29, 2018
(Natural News) Two thousand years ago, Hippocrates said that food should be the medicine. Recent developments mirror that ancient saying when it comes to cancer therapy. An Indian study indicated that nutritional therapy possessed certain advantages over chemotherapy as a means of treating the disease.
Cancer comes in many forms that attack various parts of the body. Whatever its appearance or location, it always involves the runaway growth of cells that invade and infect healthy cells.
Most cancers are treated using chemotherapy. Synthetic drugs are applied to the tumorous region to stop the growth of cancer cells or kill them outright.
These anti-cancer drugs are expensive and painful to apply. They also have serious side effects that often undermine the already fragile health of patients.
Researchers have sought out alternative means of treating the increasing number of cancer cases in the world. They set their sights on plants, which have provided both food and medicine since the dawn of time.
Plants have provided a number of natural compounds that show great promise for treating cancer. Three out of every five approved drugs comes from a plant or another natural source.
Fighting cancer with the right nutrition instead of toxic chemicals
Nutritional therapy is a promising means of treating all kinds of disease. It places emphasis on preventing the disease from ever taking root in the body by ensuring proper, balanced nutrition.
Studies have shown connections between the onset of cancer and the diet of patients. The low consumption of whole grains is considered to be a significant factor in the development of cancer.
The “green medicines” used by nutritional therapy are less likely to have adverse effects on the body due to their organic and natural origin. In comparison, chemotherapy drugsare synthetic chemicals that are not normally found in nature, so there is a much higher chance of them causing adverse effects or getting rejected by the body.
The nutrition-based approach to fighting cancer can, therefore, be described to be chemopreventive. It relies on natural compounds that can provide both chemo-preventive effects and the significant amounts of nutrition needed by cancer patients.
Instead of bypassing the immune system of the body to directly attack the disease, it strengthens and supports the immune system so that the body has a much better chance of avoiding illness or recovering from an ailment.
Research on these natural compounds takes more time and effort compared to those covering chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It is more difficult to identify the specific dietary ingredient that is responsible for preventing cancer from spreading or developing in the first place.
Consuming functional foods boosts the immune response against cancer
Nutritional therapy works by improving digestion and nutrient absorption. It uses functional foods that are packed with nutrients such as phytochemicals.
The bioactive compounds in functional food serve to stimulate the immune system. If the immune system is unbalanced, the natural substances guide it back to its normal state.
Many epidemiological studies have taken note of the reduced risk of contracting cancer for people who consumed large amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Such diets are also responsible for preventing heart disease.
The results of these and other studies have increased interest in nutritional therapy. Modern tools are being used to evaluate the therapeutic effects of functional foods used in diet-based treatments.
The review concluded that nutritional therapy could one day achieve viability as a treatment for lifestyle diseases, which include heart disease and obesity as well as cancer.
Study explains why tall individuals are more prone to cancer
Published: October 26, 2018
For most cancers, risk increases dramatically with age. But what about the effect of having more cells in the body? Might taller people be more prone to cancer because they have more cells?
Yes, according to Leonard Nunney, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Riverside, who examined data from four large-scale surveillance projects on 23 cancer categories. Each of these cancer studies established that tall individuals are at an increased risk of cancer, with overall risk increasing by about 10 percent per 10 centimeter (4 inch) increase in height.
Other researchers have proposed that that factors acting early in life -- nutrition, health, social conditions -- independently influence height and cancer risk. But Nunney, a professor of biology, challenges this hypothesis.
"I tested the alternative hypothesis that height increases cell number and that having more cells directly increases cancer risk," he said. "The data strongly supported this simple hypothesis. For most cancers, the size of the height effect is predictable from the height-related increase in cell number."
Study results appear in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
When Nunney performed a comparison of the observed effect of height on the risk of specific cancers for both women and men, he found that the effect of being tall on the risk of thyroid and skin cancer was high in women; for men, skin cancer stood out.
"Tall individuals are at increased risk of almost all cancers," he said. "But skin cancers -- such as melanoma -- show an unexpectedly strong relationship to height. This may be because the hormone IGF-1 is at higher levels in taller adults."
IGF-1 is a growth factor that is particularly important in early development, Nunney explained, but IGF-1 has also been linked to a higher rate of cell division in tall adults.
"If your cells divide more often, then that adds to your cancer risk," he said. "If skin cells are dividing more rapidly in tall people due to high levels of IGF-1, then this could account for the increased risk for melanoma."
Of the 18 cancers scored in both sexes, Nunney found only four showed no significant increase with height in either sex: pancreas, esophagus, stomach, and mouth.
"It is possible that these cancers are more strongly associated with environmental factors," he said. "It is possible, too, that in these tissues cell numbers do not scale with body size -- but this seems unlikely."
Nunney explained that two factors cause increased cancer risk: one is having more cells; the other is having more cell divisions.
"If you double the cells, you double the cancer risk," he said. "If you double the number of cell divisions, you more than double the cancer risk. Living a long time is the worst thing to do if you want to avoid cancer. But then what's the alternative?"
Men are taller than women on average, which may account for why men get more cancer than women.
"About a third of this effect can be accounted for by men having more cells," Nunney said. "But something else is going on to explain the rest."
Breeds of dogs also demonstrate cancer's link to height, he added.
"Smaller dogs get less cancer than bigger breeds of dogs."
Next, Nunney plans to explore how different cancers are being prevented in the body by looking at big long-lived animals.
"If all else is equal, large, long-lived animals should experience higher incidence of cancer than small, short-lived animals," he said. "After all, larger animals have more cells, more divisions, and more mutations. But they show no such tendency to be more cancer prone. This is called Peto's paradox, and I argue it can be resolved through adaptive evolution, namely, that species subject to selection for larger body size and greater longevity evolve additional layers of cancer suppression. I'm interested in exploring how as a species gets bigger and lives longer, it evolves additional barriers to cancer."
Three proteins may play key roles in female fertility and cancer biolog
Published: October 25, 2018
Three proteins regulate each other with surprising twists and turns in female mouse eggs, a finding that may play an important role in female fertility and cancer biology, according to Rutgers-led research.
The unexpected complexity in how these proteins regulate one another does not occur in any other healthy cell type, said study senior author Karen Schindler, an associate professor who specializes in infertility research in the Department of Genetics at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
The three proteins are Aurora kinase A (AURKA), AURKB and AURKC, and the research is published in the journal Current Biology.
"Our research could provide a way to diagnose and perhaps treat certain types of infertility that end in early miscarriage," said Schindler, who works in the School of Arts and Sciences. "This work also impacts cancer biology research because we suspect that the inter-protein regulation that occurs in eggs also occurs in certain types of aggressive cancers. Therefore, the findings could be useful in thinking about precision medicine treatments for cancer patients."
Schindler, an internationally recognized expert in female gamete (egg) biology, said she specializes in infertility research because she's fascinated by the surprisingly high frequency of infertility worldwide. One in six couples struggle to start a family in the U.S. alone, she noted.
The next steps for reproductive biology include studying the genomes of infertile patients to see if mutations in their genes represent a significant percentage of the patient population with poor outcomes in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic, Schindler said. The next steps for cancer biology include carefully evaluating cancers that have all three proteins and finding ways to harness their interactive regulation into a cancer therapeutic.
Scientists at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre contributed to the study.
New kind of compound shows early promise against prostate cancer
Published: October 23, 2018
A new type of molecule blocks the action of genes that drive the growth of therapy-resistant prostate cancer, a new study finds.
"Rather than continue making compounds that are just like older drugs, the focus of our work has been to rethink the definition of what a drug-like molecule can be," says corresponding author Susan K. Logan, PhD, associate professor in NYU Langone's Department of Urology.
A joint research team from NYU School of Medicine and New York University found that their "cyclic peptoids" reduced the growth of prostate cancer cells in cultures by 95 percent compared to untreated cells. The experimental drugs also blocked a key, related growth signal in live animal tests.
"We designed our peptoids specifically to hit targets that are currently 'undruggable,'" such as those causing treatment-resistant prostate cancer," adds co-senior author Kent Kirshenbaum, PhD, professor in NYU's Department of Chemistry.
According to the team's report, published online October 23 in Nature Communications, the study compounds blocked growth by interfering with the interaction between the protein beta-catenin and T-cell factor (TCF) transcription factors -- proteins that turn on genes that make cells multiply.
Although the genes are critical for early development of prostate tissue, this gene activity is normally dialed down in adulthood, unless changes re-activate it, which can lead to cancer.
Unlike many existing drugs, the new compounds do not target androgen hormonal signals known to encourage prostate cancer. Most patients treated with anti-androgen drugs see their cancer growth resume within months, so the field has sought additional therapeutic strategies. Many efforts have focused on abnormal Wnt protein signals that occur in 20 percent of the most treatment-resistant prostate tumors, but none have made it to the clinic.
Wnts can cause the buildup of the protein beta-catenin in cell nuclei, where it turns on genes. Leading up to the new study, the research team had spent years designing a new class of rugged, adjustable, protein-like compounds called peptoids that are just large enough to engage with the broad, flat surfaces used by beta-catenin to interact with TCFs.
Further, the researchers knew their compound must be engineered, not just to include the right chemical components, but also to fold into a desired three-dimensional form. The researchers "stapled" together the ends of a linear peptoid molecule to form a loop-like, or cyclic, structure. This form resembled the protein hairpins that TCFs depend on to interact with beta-catenin. The stapling stiffened the peptoid such that it could occupy and block the docking site that TCFs would otherwise use.
A new generation of computer simulation tools enabled the team to see early on how drug candidates might fit into their protein target. After this virtual testing, the team then synthesized the compounds for experiments in nutrient-filled, artificial environments called spheroids, where cancer cells grow in three dimensions. Spheroids are more lifelike than in two-dimensional petri dish cultures.
In these experiments, cyclic peptoids reduced treatment-resistant prostate cancer cell growth by roughly 95 percent when compared to untreated cancer cells over 22 days, which compared to just 40 percent growth reduction in cells treated with the unstapled version of the peptoid. The compounds also decreased androgen hormonal signaling, suggesting a dual anti-cancer effect, say the authors.
The researchers also wanted to show that their lead compound could block beta-catenin signals in a live animal. They chose zebrafish, in which rare genetic changes (mutations) that let beta-catenin build up are known to keep eyes from forming. In repeated experiments in fish with such mutations, the team found that that their looping peptoids -- by blocking overactive beta-catenin, a TCF interaction similar to those affecting human prostate cancer -- rescued eye development.
Furthermore, the treatment showed no toxicity in zebrafish at the rough equivalent of a dose that may work clinically in humans. Moving forward, the team will soon test their peptoids on human prostate cancer cells grown in mice. In addition, tests are planned to see if the compound can block the beta-catenin, a TCF interaction known to encourage growth in colon and breast cancers.
Envisioning the design of a new drug class required a multi-disciplinary effort. Logan is an expert in prostate cancer, and helped to choose beta-catenin as the cyclic peptoid target. Study author and androgen expert Michael J. Garabedian, PhD of NYU Langone's Department of Microbiology has long collaborated with the team of chemists at NYU, led by senior study author Kent Kirshenbaum, who designed the peptoids.
First author Jeffrey Schneider was the MD/PhD student in Dr. Logan's lab who did much of the experimental work on the project; and co-first author, Tim Craven of NYU's Department of Chemistry designed the active cyclic peptoid. Craven is a student in the lab of Richard A. Bonneau, PhD, at the NYU Center for Genomics and Systems Biology.
Holger Knaut, PhD, an assistant professor at Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine at NYU Langone, led the zebrafish work. Other study authors include Amanda Kasper, PhD, and Michael Haugbro of NYU's Department of Chemistry; Chi Y. Yun, of Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine; and Erica Briggs from NYU Langone's Department of Urology.
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grants CA112226, T32GM007308, 5T32CA009161, and NS069839, and by a National Science Foundation grant, CHE-1507964. Additional support came from NYU Department of Biology's Fleur Strand Fellowship and NYU Graduate School of Arts and Science-funded Horizon Fellowship in the Natural and Physical Sciences.
Love Organic Foods? Your Odds for Some Cancers May Fall
Published: October 22, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Paying extra for those pricey organic fruits and vegetables might pay off: New research suggests eating them might help you dodge a cancer diagnosis.
People who consumed the most organic foods had a 25 percent lower cancer risk compared with those who ate the least, the study found.
Specifically, eating more organically grown foods was linked to a 34 percent reduced risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, a 76 percent decreased risk for all lymphomas and an 86 percent reduced risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, said lead researcher Julia Baudry. She is a scientist with the Center for Research and Epidemiology and Statistics at the Sorbonne Paris Cite.
"If our findings are confirmed, organic food consumption may contribute to cancer prevention," Baudry said, though the study did not prove they directly caused cancer risk to drop.
And people shouldn't stop eating fruits and vegetables if they can't afford more expensive organically grown options.
Filling your diet with fruits and vegetables is known to reduce your risk of chronic disease and cancer, regardless of whether or not they're organic, Baudry and other experts said.
Mark Guinter, a postdoctoral fellow with the American Cancer Society, said, "More importantly than anything is making sure you consume your fruits and vegetables, avoid your red and processed meat, and eat whole grains. Those are established relationships with cancer, replicated in multiple populations."
Guinter added that "if people are interested in changing their diets or buying foods that are known to help prevent their cancer risk, those would certainly be avenues to take rather than simply buying organic."
For this study, Baudry and her colleagues analyzed data from nearly 69,000 people taking part in an ongoing French study of the associations between nutrition and health.
The participants all filled out questionnaires regarding their consumption of organic products. These included fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat and fish, eggs, breads and other foods.
They also filled out annual questionnaires regarding the status of their health, including instances of cancer, and were followed for 4.5 years on average.
The researchers found an association between eating organic foods and lower cancer risk, even after taking into account other risk factors for cancer.
"We did consider a variety of factors that may be involved in the relationship," Baudry said, "such as sociodemographic, socioeconomic and lifestyle factors, as well as family history of cancer, or healthier diet in terms of nutrients and food consumption. Controlling for these factors did not substantially modify the findings."
Organic foods are grown without pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals. Studies have shown that people who eat organic foods have lower levels of pesticide residue in their urine, she noted.
"Exposure to pesticide has been associated with higher cancer risk" in previous studies, Baudry said.
Specifically, Guinter said, this study supports results from a British study that also found an association between organic food consumption and lower risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
"Whenever you see a result that's replicated like that, you find it a little more believable. There's good biologic plausibility behind it," Guinter explained.
According to Dr. Frank Hu, chair of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, animal studies have shown that pesticides can increase DNA damage, which can increase risk of cancer. Chemicals also can disrupt the endocrine system.
But, Guinter and Hu said, there's not enough human evidence yet upon which to base any new dietary recommendations.
People should eat right and maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise to prevent cancer, Hu said. Cutting back on alcohol also will help.
"Basically, increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, whether conventional or organic, can improve overall diet quality and reduce your risk of chronic disease, including cancer," said Hu, senior author of an editorial accompanying the new study.
Why some cancers affect only young women
Published: October 19, 2018
Among several forms of pancreatic cancer, one of them affects specifically women, often young. How is this possible, even though the pancreas is an organ with little exposure to sex hormones? This pancreatic cancer, known as "mucinous cyst," has strange similarities with another mucinous cancer, affecting the ovaries. By conducting large-scale analyses of genomic data, researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and at the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG), Switzerland, in collaboration with colleagues from the United States have provided an answer: both tumours originate from embryonic germ cells. While still undifferentiated, these cells migrate to the reproductive organs. On their way, some can mistakenly stop in other organs, bringing a risk of tumour that may occur 30 years later. By allowing a better classification of these mucinous tumours, this study, to be read in the Journal of Pathology, paves the way for a more appropriate and personalized management aligned with the tumour's origin.
Mucinous tumours of the ovary and pancreas affect young women -- between 30 and 40 years of age. They take the form of a large cyst, a kind of ball filled with liquid. Rare -- they account for about 3% of ovarian and pancreatic cancers -- they are usually treated by surgery. Taken in time, the cancerous cyst is completely removed. However, in 15% of cases, the cyst breaks before surgery; the cancer cells spread into the peritoneum, giving rise to metastases that are highly resistant to chemotherapy. In such cases, the survival prognosis of patients does not exceed one year.
"Initially, this work was based on clinical observation," says study leader Dr. Intidhar Labidi-Galy, a researcher at the Translational Research Centre in Onco-haematology at the UNIGE Faculty of Medicine and a physician at the HUG. "As a specialist in ovarian cancer, I came across an article detailing the genetic profile of mucinous tumours of the pancreas. To my great surprise, they had the same genetic alterations as mucinous tumours of the ovary, although these two organs have no direct relationship with each other. Dr. Kevin Elias, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Brigham's and Women's Hospital, Boston, USA and first author of the paper, identifies the close links between the two tumours: "We found the same genetic mutations, the same types of victims -- young women, often smokers -- and, even more surprisingly, ovarian tissue in pancreatic cysts."
A common origin
Why is a non-gynaecological cancer almost exclusively female? What is the link between the ovary and the pancreas? "It is only during embryogenesis that these organs are really close. At the very beginning of pregnancy, the embryo possesses primordial germ cells -- in a way, precursors of gametes, oocytes or spermatozoa -- which, between 4 and 6 weeks of pregnancy, makes a long migration in the human body. They pass behind the future pancreas and arrive in the outline of the gonads, around the 7th week of pregnancy. Most likely, some of these germ cells stop on the way," says Dr. Labidi-Galy.
Using public databases, Kevin Elias and Petros Tsantoulis from UNIGE, together with Intidhar Labidi-Galy and co-leader Ronny Drapkin from University of Pennsylvania have developed a transcriptomic profile -- which identifies gene expression levels in a tissue -- of primordial germ cells at 6, 7, 11, 16 and 17 weeks of pregnancy, as well as of tumoral and healthy ovarian and pancreatic cells.
The researchers then compared these data, on one hand with the pancreas and on the other hand with the ovary, by studying for each of these two organs the profile of healthy tissues, mucinous tumours and other types of tumours. Their results are clear: in both cases, the transcriptomic profile of the mucinous tumour is far away from the supposed tissue of origin (ovary or pancreas), but very close to the primordial germ cells. This proves that these tumours are closer to the primordial germ cells than to the organ in which they developed.
Unexpected stops during migration
These results indicate that a stop in cell migration that occurred accidentally during the embryonic life of these women may, decades later, be expressed as cancer, depending on their other risk factors (e.g. smoking) and where in the body these primordial germ cells have settled. Indeed, while the scientists have examined the pancreas and ovary, similar cases have been reported everywhere on the migration line of germ cells, particularly in the liver or peritoneum.
"Our results will not change the surgical management of these patients, but may lead us to reflect on chemotherapy protocols. These rare tumours are a bit like the orphan diseases of cancers, for which there are no standard treatments. By linking them to other cancers, we hope to identify treatments that would be effective. For each mutation, what is the best treatment? We are here at the heart of personalized oncology: knowing your enemy in every detail makes it easier to fight him," concludes Dr. Labidi-Galy.
Increased mortality in children with inflammatory bowel disease
Published: October 18, 2018
Children who develop inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease) have an increased risk of death, both in childhood and later in life, a study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in the journal Gastroenterology reports. It is therefore important that patients who are diagnosed as children are carefully monitored, argue the researchers behind the study.
The researchers identified patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease between the years 1964 and 2014 via the Swedish patient register. Using these data, they compared mortality rates in about 9,400 children who developed IBD with those of other children.
Their results show that children who developed IBD before the age of 18 have a three to five-fold higher mortality rate than people without IBD, both during childhood and into adulthood. This translates to a 2.2-year reduction in life expectancy in individuals monitored up to the age of 65.
"It should be remembered that we're talking small differences in number of deaths," explains lead author Ola Olén, consultant and researcher at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Medicine in Solna. "Most young people with IBD do not die earlier than their peers, but a few individuals with a severe case of IBD and serious complications such as cancer greatly elevate the relative risk."
The most common cause of death was cancer, while fatalities due to IBD itself accounted for the largest relative increase in mortality.
"Individuals who are diagnosed in childhood need to be monitored carefully," says Dr Olén. "Those who might especially benefit from being closely monitored to avoid fatal intestinal cancer are children with ulcerative colitis, who also have the chronic liver disease primary sclerosing cholangitis."
IBD in adults has previously been linked to shortened life expectancy. IBD is often thought to have a more aggressive disease course in children than in adults and has been associated with several types of cancer. However, it has been unclear how life expectancy is affected by childhood-onset IBD and if the mortality rate has changed since the introduction of modern drugs.
"IBD therapy has improved greatly since the 1960s," says Dr Olén. "For one thing, we often now use new types of immunomodulating drugs. However, we couldn't see that mortality rates have gone down since their introduction."
Diets Rich in Fish Oil Could Slow the Spread and Growth of Breast Cancer Cells
Published: October 16, 2018
Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those typically contained in fish oil, may suppress the growth and spread of breast cancer cells in mice. This is according to a new study in the journal Clinical & Experimental Metastasis, which is published under the Springer imprint. According to lead author, Saraswoti Khadge of the University of Nebraska Medical Centre in the US, fatty acids stopped further delayed tumors from forming, and blocked the cancerous cells from spreading to other organs in mice. The researchers speculate that this might be because of the way in which omega-3 fatty acids support the body's immune and anti-inflammatory systems.
Two groups of adult female mice were fed a liquid diet for which the calorie count and percentage of fat that each contained were the same. The notable difference was that one diet contained plant oils rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, and the other diet contained fish oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The mice were then injected with 4T1 breast cancer cells that cause aggressive tumors to develop in the breast. These cells are known to spread spontaneously to other parts of the body, such as bones, the lungs and liver, but less frequently to the heart, kidneys and ovaries. The mice were autopsied and studied 35 days after the breast cancer cells were injected.
Khadge and her colleagues found the chance that the breast cancer cells would take hold in the breast glands of the adult female mice was significantly lower in those on the omega 3-diet. Tumors took significantly longer to start developing in these mice, and this had an influence on their size. After 35 days, the tumors detected in their breasts were 50 per cent smaller than those that developed in the omega 6-group. The likelihood of the cancerous cells growing and spreading to other organs in the omega-3 group was also lower and these mice survived longer than those on the omega-6 diet. Indeed some of the omega-3 fed mice appeared to never develop breast cancer.
More T-cells were found in the tissue of the mice in the omega-3 group than in the omega-6 group, and these correlated with dying tumor cells. This is important because T-cells are white blood cells that play a role in strengthening the immune system against tumors. The mice fed an omega-3 diet also had less inflammation. According to Khadge this could mean that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids helps to suppress the type of inflammation that can trigger the rapid development and spread of tumors as well as promote T-cell responses to tumors.
"Our study emphasizes the potential therapeutic role of dietary long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in the control of tumor growth and metastasis," explains Khadge, who emphasizes that this does not mean that an omega-3 diet could summarily prevent breast cancer tumors from forming altogether.
This study is based on dietary consumption during adult life. Its findings are in line with previous studies that showed how eating fish oil based diets during pregnancy and as a child markedly suppresses the development and spread of breast cancer.
Health Tip: Considering Genetic Testing For Cancer?
Published: October 13, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Of all cases of cancer, only 5 to 10 percent are thought to be strongly related to an inherited gene mutation, the American Cancer Society says.
While most people do not need to have predictive genetic testing, the society says testing is worth considering if you have:
A number of close relatives -- such as parents or siblings -- with cancer, especially with the same kind of cancer or stemming from the same genetic mutation.
A close family member with more than one type of cancer.
A family member who developed cancer at a younger-than-expected age.
A family member with a relatively rare cancer, such as breast cancer in a male.
If you and family members are of a certain ethnic background.
If you have a physical symptom of an inherited cancer, such as having colon polyps.
A compound found in many medicinal herbs shown to prevent cancer, blood vessel growth
Published: October 12, 2018
(Natural News) Angiogenesis, the process of forming new blood vessels, begins even before humans are born. Although important to sustaining life, angiogenesis also plays a significant role in the metastasis or proliferation of cancer cells. Because of this, stopping the process is vital to delaying the progression of cancer. As part of their quest for a safe and universally effective treatment for the disease, researchers seek natural substances that inhibit angiogenesis. Oridonin, a compound found in many medicinal herbs, is one such substance, says a study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
The anti-tumor activity of oridonin is well-established, but information regarding its antiangiogenic effects is scarce. The researchers wrote that previous experiments on the compound did indicate its ability to inhibit the growth of capillary networks in tumors.
To test for possible antiangiogenic properties, the researchers conducted an in vitro experiment involving human umbilical vascular endothelial cells (HUVECs) and an in vivo inquiry into the embryonic vasculogenesis and postnatal regeneration of zebrafish.
Endothelial cells make up the endothelium that lines blood vessels. The researchers found that when administered with oridonin, these cells ceased their proliferation, migration, invasion and tube formation. Furthermore, the compound induced apoptosis, the process of normal cellular death. In short, oridonin caused the HUVECs to die out.
In vivo, the administration of oridonin prevented angiogenesis during the embryonic development of zebrafish. Angiogenesis was also inhibited in tail regeneration tests. Analysis showed that the compound reduced the levels of vascular endothelial growth factors, the proteins that stimulate the development of new blood vessels. In contrast, oridonin increased the levels of the gene TP53, which is expressed in the body’s bid to suppress the growth of tumors.
The researchers confirmed the antiangiogenic capabilities of oridonin which give it its antitumor and antimetastatic activities.
Natural ways to suppress cancer
Cancer is not easy to treat, but consuming the right diet can help. Here are some of the best anti-cancer foods one needs to have:
Obesity Doubles Odds for Colon Cancer in Younger Women
Published: October 11, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- While rates of colon cancer have declined among people 50 and older, they're on the rise for younger Americans. Now, new research suggests widening waistlines may be one reason why.
In the study, women aged 20 to 49 who were overweight or obese had up to twice the risk for colon cancer before age 50, compared with normal-weight women.
"Our findings really highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, beginning in early adulthood, for the prevention of early onset colorectal cancer," said study co-author Yin Cao. She's an assistant professor of surgery at Washington University in St. Louis.
Even though obesity has been floated as a possible reason for rising colon cancer rates among the young, "we were surprised by the strength of the link," Cao said in a university news release.
The study wasn't designed to prove cause and effect, only an association. But one colon cancer expert wasn't surprised by the finding.
Dr. Jeffrey Aronoff, a colorectal surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, noted that obesity has long been a risk factor for colon cancer in people over 50. "I do believe that a healthy lifestyle, which includes diet, exercise," may help curb even younger people's odds for the disease, he said.
In the new study, Cao and her colleagues collected data on more than 85,000 U.S. women ages 25 to 44 who took part in a large, ongoing study.
Women who were heavy as teens and gained weight in early adulthood had an increased risk of colon cancer before age 50, the researchers found.
In fact, they estimated that about 22 percent of early onset colon cancers could have been prevented if those who were diagnosed had maintained a healthy weight. Across the whole American population, that could represent thousands of cases of early onset colon cancer that might be prevented.
The risk of early onset colon cancer for overweight and obese women was the same regardless of whether or not the woman had a family history of the disease.
Cao and her team members cautioned that the study cannot prove that increased weight causes early onset colon cancer, only that the two are associated. It is possible that weight is just a marker for other risk factors, such as diabetes or metabolic issues like high blood pressure or higher cholesterol, which have also been on the rise.
And the researchers stress that despite the rise in colon cancer among people under 50, it remains relatively rare, at about 8 cases per 100,000 people. Still, because screening for colon cancer usually starts at 50, those who develop it younger are often diagnosed when the disease is in its late stages and more difficult to treat.
That's why the American Cancer Society recently lowered its recommended age at which most people should have a first screening colonoscopy. The new guidelines advise that screening begins at 45, not 50 as in the previous guidelines.
Colon cancer expert Dr. Sherif Andrawes directs endoscopy at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City. He said the study "is very important and confirms a recent observation among clinicians and experts in the field."
And Andrawes said there's another reason to urge Americans to get screened for colon cancer earlier.
"A bigger concern is those younger patients with cancer present symptomatic at diagnosis -- which may reflect aggressive disease and an advanced stage at onset of discovery, which leads to overall worse outcomes in a younger individual," he said.
And what about the risk for young obese men? According to Cao's team, one limitation of the study is that it included mostly white women, so more research is needed to see if these associations hold for men and other populations.
Being obese can cause breast cancer cells to become more aggressive
Published: October 10, 2018
(Natural News) Obesity has been linked to numerous health problems like cardiovascular diseases and cancer. A recent study observed that there is a link between obesity and metastasis.
Previous studies have shown that obese individuals are more at risk of cancer. Obesity is a condition where there is an accumulation of body fat and a person’s body weight exceeds the ideal weight by at least 20 percent. This causes an expansion of adipose tissue that leads to the release of adipocyte cytokines known as adipokines. These adipokines serve as signals that help the adipose tissue perform its role in regulating cell function, as well as the prevention and spread of disease. Some examples of adipokines are: leptin, TGF-beta, adiponectin, and tumor necrosis factor.
Two major causes of breast cancer deaths in women are tumor recurrence and metastasis, which occur even after the original tumor has been surgically removed. This is why removing the tumor does not necessarily cure cancer.
In this study, conducted by researchers from Helmholtz Zentrum München, Technische Universität München (TUM), and Heidelberg University Hospital, it was determined that the rate of metastasis is altered by a change in energy metabolism. This alteration is brought about by an increase in cytokine levels, specifically TGF-beta and leptin, brought about by obesity. As a result, the function of the lipogenic enzyme Acetyl-CoA-carboxylase 1 (ACC1) in fatty acid synthesis is impaired. When ACC1 is inhibited, the fatty acid precursor acetyl-CoA accumulates and turns on specific gene switches that activate gene programs involved in metastasis. In addition to this, the release of these adipokines has also been linked to chronic inflammation where tumor cell motility, invasion, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition is favored.
This study provides further insight into the link between obesity and metastasis. Now that the molecular mechanism behind has been determined, the next step is to find out therapeutic interventions for these mechanisms.
In one experimental model, the researchers used antibodies to block the leptin receptors involved in the pathway. This led to a reduced metastasis of breast cancer cells.
According to the researchers, “Blocking the signaling pathways and switching off the metastasis-related genes could be a therapeutic target.”
Overall, this study emphasizes what people have known for a long time: Obesity is dangerous to a person’s health.
How to naturally lose weight
In order to avoid the repercussions of obesity on cancer, it is best to maintain a healthy weight. Here are some suggestions on how to naturally lose weight:
Don't Overlook Heart Care After Cancer Diagnosis
Published: October 09, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Patients with the heart rhythm disorder atrial fibrillation are less likely to see a cardiologist or fill prescriptions for blood-thinning drugs if they've had cancer, a new study finds.
A-fib is an irregular, often rapid heart rate. Failure to take anti-clotting drugs can put these patients at increased risk of stroke, the researchers said.
"Overall, our data suggest that suboptimal [anti-clotting] care exists in A-fib patients who have a history of cancer," said study author Dr. Wesley O'Neal. He's a cardiology fellow at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.
The analysis of data from 380,000 A-fib patients found that 17 percent had a history of cancer.
During just over a year of follow-up, those with a history of cancer who did see a cardiologist were more likely to fill their prescriptions for blood thinners, had a reduced risk of stroke, and did not have an increased risk of bleeding.
They also were more likely to be hospitalized, which may be due to more aggressive treatments, according to the study.
The results were published Oct. 8 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
"The decision to initiate [anti-clotting] therapy or refer to a cardiology provider should be individualized to the patient, but our data suggest that cardiology providers positively influence outcomes among these patients," O'Neal said in a journal news release.
With cancer survivors in the United States expected to number more than 20 million by 2026, more attention must be paid to their long-term health needs, according to an accompanying journal editorial.
High doses of vitamin C aggressively kill cancer cells, research confirms
Published: October 07, 2018
(Natural News) If you’ve heard that high doses of vitamin C can kill cancer, there’s a good chance you’ve also heard some official-sounding organizations claiming that there is no science to back this up. However, new research shows that high doses of vitamin C can indeed fight cancer, underscoring the findings of countless other studies like it that are widely ignored by the medical industry.
Detractors choose to focus on those studies that showed it didn’t work, conveniently ignoring the fact that many of the studies that were inconclusive in this regard simply weren’t testing big enough doses to unlock its effectiveness.
Research carried out at the University of Iowa confirms that vitamin C does kill cancer cells selectively without damaging normal cells. One study showed that the vitamins can reduce mutations that cause cancer in mice, while another study showed it can kill as much as 50 percent of human lymphoma cells.
Another study, this one from the Perlmutter Cancer Center, found that injecting mice with high doses of vitamin C stopped leukemia cancer stem cells from humans from growing, probably by telling the faulty stem cells in bone marrow to die. A different study found that adding vitamin C via IV to typical chemotherapy drugs extended the average survival times of pancreatic cancer patients from 5.65 months to 12 months.
Then there’s the University of Kansas study that injected high doses of vitamin C into ovarian cells from humans. They found that the vitamin targeted the ovarian cancer cells without harming healthy cells, and they went on to repeat the study on mice and human subjects.
These findings wouldn’t be surprising to the researchers who worked on a review that was published in the Puerto Rico Health Sciences Journal in 2008. After looking at studies that used extremely higher amounts of vitamin C intravenously, they concluded that it can be effective against tumors, although they said that its efficacy could not be judged when it was administered orally.
Even though the authors called for further research into vitamin C’s cancer-fighting power, nothing was done about it at the time. After all, chemotherapy has been so profitable for the medical and pharmaceutical industries, and it would be hard to profit off of something as cheap, widely available, and unpatentable as vitamin C .
IV may not be the only way to deliver high doses of vitamin C
Some people have been getting these treatments on their own at alternative cancer clinics, but it’s not widely accepted. In addition, those who are wary of IVs find it extremely difficult to get the high blood concentration needed for this treatment to work its magic when they take it orally.
Now, however, there is a new form of vitamin C that could change everything. Liposomal vitamin C can create vitamin C levels in the blood that are 100 to 500 times greater than those normally achieved by oral ingestion, making it easier for people to fight cancer.
Liposomal vitamin C is encapsulated in lecithin, which shields it from digestive enzymes that would normally break it down. It makes its way through the digestive system with ease and is absorbed by the intestines before being transported into the liver, where it is released into the bloodstream.
This approach does away with the waste and gastric upset seen with conventional vitamin C tablets while maintaining high blood concentrations. Whether it will one day make its way into the mainstream and give riskier treatments like chemotherapy a run for their money remains to be seen, however.
Does Aspirin Help Prevent Liver Cancer?
Published: October 05, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Take two aspirins and reduce your risk of liver cancer? New research suggests this weekly routine might help.
The researchers found that taking two or more standard-dose (325 milligram) pills a week was associated with a 49 percent lower risk of liver cancer.
"Regular use of aspirin led to significantly lower risk of developing [liver cancer], compared to infrequent or no aspirin use. And we also found that the risk declined progressively with increasing aspirin dose and duration of use," said lead study author Dr. Tracey Simon. She's a research fellow in gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
It should be noted, however, that the study did not prove that aspirin reduced liver cause risk, just that there was an association.
For the study, researchers analyzed long-term data from more than 45,800 women and 87,500 men in the United States.
The investigators reported that aspirin's protective effect increased over time. Risk of liver cancer was 59 percent lower among those who took aspirin regularly for five years or more.
The risk reduction declined after people stopped taking aspirin, however. And it disappeared altogether eight years after aspirin was discontinued, the findings showed.
Regular use of acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) was not linked to reduced risk of liver cancer, according to the study. The results were published Oct. 4 in JAMA Oncology.
The findings support results from previous studies, the researchers said.
However, Simon said additional research is still needed. "Since regular aspirin use carries the risk of increased bleeding, the next step should be to study its impact in populations with established liver disease, since that group is already at risk for primary liver cancer," she said in a hospital news release.
Liver cancer is relatively rare, but it has increased in the United States over the past 40 years. Also, liver cancer death rates have risen faster than those of any other cancer, the researchers noted.
Senior study author Dr. Andrew Chan pointed out that "aspirin use is already recommended for prevention of heart disease and colorectal cancer in certain U.S. adults." Chan is the hospital's chief of clinical and translational epidemiology unit.
"These data also add to a growing list of cancers for which aspirin appears to have anti-cancer activity," he said in the news release.
This could be a rationale for more patients to discuss an aspirin regimen with their doctors, Chan said.
Could Diet Affect Breast Cancer Risk?
Published: October 03, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Like the human gut, the breast gland has a "microbiome" that's influenced by diet, new animal research suggests.
Although the findings are preliminary, scientists hope their work might someday improve the treatment and prevention of breast cancer.
"Being able to shift the breast microbiome through diet may offer a new approach to preventing breast cancer or at least reducing the risk," said the study's lead author, Katherine Cook. She's an assistant professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.
For the study, the researchers fed female monkeys a high-fat Western diet or a plant-based Mediterranean diet for 2.5 years. They noted this is the rough equivalent of eight human years.
The monkeys who were fed the Mediterranean diet ended up with a different mix of bacteria in their breast tissue from those fed the Western diet -- a roughly 10-fold increase in mammary gland lactobacillus, the researchers found.
There's some evidence that this type of bacteria may help inhibit breast cancer tumor growth, the study authors said. The monkeys on the Mediterranean diet also had more bile acid in the metabolites in their breast tissue, which could also reduce breast cancer risk, the researchers said.
A Mediterranean style of eating emphasizes lots of plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Its followers use herbs and spices instead of salt, and also limit red meat.
"We were surprised that diet directly influenced microbiome outside of the intestinal tract in sites such as the mammary gland," Cook said in a university news release. "However, we are just at the early stages of understanding how dietary effects on the microbiome might be used to protect women from breast cancer."
Much more research is needed, the researchers said. Also, it's possible that the results seen in lab studies on animals won't be replicated in humans.
Type 2 Diabetes Tied to Raised Risk of Tumors, Cancer Deaths
Published: October 02, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Type 2 diabetes is associated with an increased risk of developing cancer and dying from certain forms of the disease, a new study suggests.
However, the researchers noted, the absolute increased risk is low.
"Our findings do not suggest that everyone who has diabetes will go on to develop cancer in later life," said study leader Hulda Hrund Bjornsdottir, from the Swedish National Diabetes Register.
Her team analyzed data gathered between 1998 and 2014 from more than 450,000 people in Sweden with type 2 diabetes and more than 2 million people without diabetes who were followed for an average of seven years. The study focused on 12 types of cancer.
The study couldn't prove cause-and-effect. However, compared to those without type 2 diabetes, people with the blood sugar disease had a 231 percent higher risk of liver cancer, a 119 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer and a 78 percent higher risk of uterine cancer.
In addition, those with diabetes had an increased risk of penile cancer (56 percent higher), kidney cancer (45 percent higher), gallbladder and bile duct cancer (32 percent higher), and stomach cancer (21 percent higher). They also had a 20 percent higher risk of colorectal cancer and bladder cancer, and a 5 percent higher risk of breast cancer.
The research was to be presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, in Berlin.
The findings don't necessarily mean that diabetes somehow causes cancer, Bjornsdottir stressed. Instead, "diabetes and cancer share certain risk factors that might contribute to these associations, including obesity, smoking and diet," she explained in a meeting news release.
When the investigators looked at the results over a 10-year period, they found there was a 38 percent greater increase in new cases of pancreatic cancer and a 30 percent greater increase in lung cancer incidence among people with type 2 diabetes than among those without the blood sugar disease.
The researchers also found that among patients with type 2 diabetes, death rates were 29 percent higher for prostate cancer, 25 percent higher for breast cancer and 9 percent higher for colon cancer, when compared with people without diabetes.
"With the number of people with type 2 diabetes doubling over the past 30 years, our findings underscore the importance of improving diabetes care," Bjornsdottir said.
Now, with diabetes tied to cancer risk, "the importance of a healthy lifestyle is clearer than ever," she added.
More than 415 million people worldwide have diabetes -- about one in 11 adults -- and the number is expected to rise to 642 million by 2040, the study authors noted.
New cancer vaccine shows early promise for patients with HER2-positive cancers
Published: September 30, 2018
Treatment with a HER2-targeted therapeutic cancer vaccine provided clinical benefit to several patients with metastatic HER2-positive cancers who had not previously been treated with a HER2-targeted therapeutic, according to data from a phase I clinical trial presented at the Fourth CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference: Translating Science into Survival, held Sept. 30-Oct. 3.
Among 11 evaluable patients who had received more than the lowest dose of the vaccine, six (54 percent) had clinical benefit. One patient with ovarian cancer had a complete response that lasted 89 weeks, one patient with gastroesophageal cancer had a partial response that lasted 16 weeks, and four patients (two with colon cancer, one with prostate cancer, and one with ovarian cancer) had stable disease.
"Immunotherapy marshals the exquisite specificity of the immune system to destroy cancer, and some types may have potentially fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy," said Jay A. Berzofsky, MD, PhD, chief of the Vaccine Branch at the Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. "We are using a vaccine approach to generate an immune response to HER2, which is found at high levels on and drives the growth of several types of cancer, including breast, ovarian, lung, colorectal, and gastroesophageal cancers.
"Our results suggest that we have a very promising vaccine for HER2-overexpressing cancers," continued Berzofsky. "We hope that one day the vaccine will provide a new treatment option for patients with these cancers."
The patients' vaccines are individually customized by Berzofsky and colleagues using their own immune cells isolated from their blood. The blood-derived immune cells are modified in several ways in the laboratory. The final product, which is administered intradermally (between the layers of the skin), comprises patient-derived dendritic cells genetically modified with an adenovirus to produce parts of the HER2 protein.
Preclinical studies, which were previously published in the AACR journal Cancer Research, showed that this type of vaccine could eradicate large, established tumors as well as lung metastases in mice.
In the dose escalation portion of the phase I clinical trial, patients were injected with the vaccine on weeks 0, 4, 8, 16, and 24 after enrollment in the study. Among the six patients who received the lowest dose of the vaccine, 5 million dendritic cells per injection, no clinical benefit was seen. Among the 11 patients who received either 10 million or 20 million dendritic cells per injection, six had clinical benefit.
Adverse reactions were predominantly injection-site reactions that did not require treatment. No cardiotoxicity was seen.
"Based on the current safety and clinical benefit data, the dose of the vaccine was increased to 40 million dendritic cells per injection and the trial opened to patients who have previously been treated with a HER2-targeted therapeutic, including patients with breast cancer," said Berzofsky.
"Moving forward, we would like to investigate whether we can increase the proportion of people who benefit from treatment with the vaccine by combining it with checkpoint inhibitor therapy," he added.
According to Berzofsky, the main scientific limitation of the study is that it is a relatively small, phase I clinical trial with no placebo control. However, the approach is sufficiently promising to warrant additional trials.
What you eat can prevent, manage, or treat cancer and diabetes
Published: September 28, 2018
(Natural News) Researchers from Northwestern Polytechnical University in China and the University of Agriculture Faisalabad in Pakistan discovered that a diet’s composition affects the gut microbiota. In particular, certain diets can modulate it, which, in turn, can lead to either beneficial or adverse outcomes in a person’s health. The findings of the study, which was published in Food Science and Human Wellness, came from a comprehensive analysis of previous reports that have linked certain diets and gut microbiota.
Gut microbiota – those microorganisms that hang around a person’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract – is an indicator of how we interact with the world. In an article published in Biochemical Journal, it is described as “one of the largest interfaces between the host, environmental factors, and antigens in the human body” – and for good reason: On average, at least 60 metric tons of food pass by the GI tract in a person’s lifetime, which is composed of both harmful and beneficial microbes.
There are a lot of factors that affect the composition of gut microbiota, with most studies pointing out to diet as one of the leading factors. However, more recent studies have started to look at the correlation between food and gut microbiota as it affects the overall health of the host, and some findings report microbial communities to be vital in the development of a person.
“A disturbance in the interaction between nutrition, metabolism, and microbiome may constitute an important factor in the deregulation of normal host homeostasis,” the authors wrote. “Such disturbances in the structure and function of microbiota have been found to be related to the development of various diseases.”
For this study, they looked at how specific diets impact the gut microbiota. In essence, a basic human diet is composed of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, collectively called macronutrients. A certain diet, therefore, adjusts the ratio of these macronutrients in order to address a certain need. In particular, a diet that is high in protein produces amino acids, ammonia, and short fatty acids after proteolytic bacteria in the gut process it. However, high concentrations of ammonia are positively linked to the development of malignant growths.
The authors also looked at the impact of certain forms of fiber in the gut. Cellulose, for example, is not completely degraded in the GI tract; instead, it undergoes bacterial fermentation – along with other complex carbohydrates – which stimulates the growth of beneficial microbes such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.
The effects of certain dietary components were also noted in the study, particularly on how it influences the gut microbiota and the host’s overall health.
Modern Western diets, which have less fiber and vegetables, may have adverse effects on gut microbiota as some microbial species are lost. Conversely, those who have a high-fiber, low-fat diet adds more beneficial microbes to the gut and contains a smaller amount of pathogenic bacteria.
The Mediterranean diet, which contains fruits, grains, monounsaturated fat, vegetables, and polyunsaturated fats, has lower levels of Bacillaceae, Proteobacteria, and acute phase C-reactive proteins. Bacterial populations of Clostridium and Bacteroidetes, however, were higher. In addition, vegetarian diets showed increased levels of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Clostridium clostridioforme, and Bacteroides Prevotella, but Clostridium cluster XIVa species were lower.
In the study, the authors indicate that having a healthy gut microbiota is associated with the prevention of conditions like cancer, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and Parkinson’s disease.
The authors deduced a link between diet and gut microbiota, and how it can affect a person’s overall health; however, further research is still needed to understand its exact process.
“There is still a substantial gap in our understanding of how diet modulates the microbiota and how microbiota modulates the immunity of the host,” the researchers wrote in the study. “New tools and new approaches are needed for further investigations, as the modulation of the [gastrointestinal tract] microbiota represents a promising new method for the prevention, management, and treatment of various diseases.”
Scientists find that a popular Chinese herbal medicine is effective in eliminating colon cancer cells
Published: September 26, 2018
(Natural News) Coix lacryma-jobi var. ma-yuen (Rom.Caill.) Stapf, also known as adlay, adlay millet, or Job’s tears, has been identified by previous studies as having anti-proliferative effects on lymphoma, lung cancer, and colon cancer. A study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine investigated the anti-cancer effects of Coix lacryma-jobi var. ma-yuen Stapf sprout extracts (CLSE) on colorectal cancer cells.
The results convinced the researchers that CLSE may be used to treat patients with colon cancer because of its ability to suppress the cancer cells’ migration, invasion, and adhesion, as well as the growth of new blood vessels.
Protein produced in gut could stave off deadly bone marrow transplant complication
Published: September 24, 2018
Researchers at Mount Sinai have discovered that an antimicrobial protein found in the gut can stave off a common and highly lethal side effect of bone marrow transplants, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation in September.
The protein, regenerating islet-derived 3-alpha (REG3α), is made by cells in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. It plays a role in a complication of bone marrow transplants called graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD), in which the donated bone marrow's immune cells attack the patient's gastrointestinal tract.
This study shows that GVHD causes increased serum levels of REG3α throughout the body while, paradoxically, decreasing the production of the protein in the gastrointestinal tract as GVHD worsens.
The Mount Sinai researchers showed that mice that could not make the protein did not survive GVHD, but also found that adding REG3α to human gastrointestinal cell lines prolonged their survival, confirming its unexpected function. These findings demonstrated that REG3α, previously only considered a biomarker for GVHD, can have a role in saving patients from the disease.
While patients suffering from GVHD are normally given immune suppressants, this research suggested that enhancing the immune system with REG3α is a better strategy and may also be helpful for illnesses such as inflammatory bowel disease that also involve the immune system in the gastrointestinal tract.
"There is a way to treat immune disorders of the gastrointestinal tract by enhancing the immune system rather than suppressing it, as we do now," said lead researcher James Ferrara, MD, Ward-Coleman Chair of Cancer Medicine and Director of the Hematologic Malignancies Translational Research Center at The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Co-Director of the Mount Sinai Acute GVHD International Consortium (MAGIC). "These results show a new function for the lining of the gastrointestinal tract protecting itself, leading to a new class of drugs."
Alternative therapies for breast cancer
Published: September 22, 2018
(Natural News) When you think of breast cancer, surgery and chemotherapy probably come immediately to mind. Many patients often end up undergoing one or both of these treatments, and the prospect of going under the knife or being injected with chemicals can be scarier to some people than the diagnosis itself. However, some patients are finding success with other options that rarely get mentioned in medical appointments because they don’t make their doctors any money. Here are some alternatives that are worth exploring in addition to or instead of traditional treatment.
Vitamins and minerals can have an effect on the cancer in many cases. Some of the vitamins and minerals that alternative doctors say can make a difference include vitamin E, vitamin B complex, calcium, zinc, magnesium, essential fatty acids, and coenzyme Q10.
The vitamin that tends to get the most attention when it comes to cancer is vitamin C. Researchers have shown that high doses of vitamin C can kill cancer cells. However, it works best when it is administered intravenously, bypassing the usual gut metabolism to create blood levels that are as much as 500 times higher than those achieved by oral administration. This concentration is needed for the vitamin to attack cancer cells, studies show.
Don’t overlook the importance of diet
While not everyone will see success with IV vitamin C therapy or even be willing to try it in the first place, the fact remains that vitamins can make a big difference to your health and immunity, which is extremely important when you’re fighting cancer or trying to prevent it. That’s why a healthy diet rich in organic vegetables and fruit should be the first change that anyone makes upon being diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s also important to avoid foods that are high in sugar – or even cut it out entirely if possible.
Another alternative treatment for breast cancer that is gaining some traction is saffron. A recent review in the Journal of Nutrition and Intermediary Metabolism revealed that some of the compounds found in saffron have incredibly powerful anticancer effects, killing cancer cells without damaging normal ones. Like vitamin C, however, high doses are needed to gain the effects.
Other treatments worth considering
There are lots of other approaches that people are using to supplement or replace conventional breast cancer treatment. For example, shark cartilage therapy blocks the creation the new blood vessels, starving tumors. Metabolic therapy uses approaches like detoxification, colon cleansing, and an anti-cancer diet of enzymes, whole foods, and vitamins.
Another area that deserves serious consideration is mind-body therapy. The reason that treatments like chemotherapy and surgery often fail is because on their own, they completely ignore how the mind and the body work together to maintain optimum health. Relaxation techniques, meditation and yoga are all excellent ways to reduce the stress hormones in the body that can make cancer worse. Massage therapy can help increase the protective white blood cells in breast cancer patients while taking the edge off of pain and anxiety.
Some people find that approaches like art or music therapy are also useful for relieving the pain, anxiety and stress that accompany cancer. Patients can even take the mind-body notion one step further by turning to treatments like hypnosis and biofeedback. Acupuncture can also help relieve the symptoms not only of cancer itself but also the side effects of treatment. These treatments usually work best in conjunction with other treatments rather than on their own.
It’s important to research all your options when it comes to breast cancer treatment. Even if you ultimately decide that you feel better going the conventional route, there are lots of valid alternative treatments that could increase your chances of success and mitigate the side effects.
5 Facts Every Woman Should Know About Ovarian Cancer
Published: September 19, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- The early symptoms of ovarian cancer are often confused with less serious issues, making successful treatment less likely, a cancer expert warns.
Ovarian cancer is called a "silent killer." That's because many women are diagnosed too late, said Dr. David Fishman of NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Hospital in New York City.
"Ovarian cancer takes the lives of far too many women, because of misdiagnosis, and a lack of awareness that all women are at risk of developing ovarian cancer," said Fishman, director of gynecologic oncology at the hospital.
It's important for women to know their risk of developing this deadly disease, and to recognize its earliest warning signs, Fishman said.
More than 250,000 women around the world are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year, and 140,000 die from it, according to a hospital news release.
Fishman offered the following five facts about this type of cancer that every woman should know:
Obesity and vitamin D deficiency may indicate greater risk for breast cancer
Published: September 19, 2018
Vitamin D is already well known for its benefits in building healthy bones. A new study supports the idea that it also may reduce cancer risk as well as breast cancer mortality, especially in women with a lower body mass index. Study results are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).
Breast cancer remains the most common cancer in women worldwide and is the leading cause of death from cancer in women. Reproductive risk factors such as early onset of puberty, late menopause, later age at first pregnancy, never having been pregnant, obesity, and a family history have all been shown to be associated with breast cancer development. The role of vitamin D concentration in the development of breast cancer, however, continues to be debated.
This study involving more than 600 Brazilian women suggests that vitamin D may reduce cancer risk by inhibiting cell proliferation. Study results appear in the article "Low pretreatment serum concentration of vitamin D at breast cancer diagnosis in postmenopausal women."
Researchers involved in the study concluded that postmenopausal women had an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency at the time of their breast cancer diagnoses, associated with higher rates of obesity, than women of the same age group without cancer. Similar studies also have previously demonstrated a relationship between vitamin D and breast cancer mortality. Women in the highest quartile of vitamin D concentrations, in fact, had a 50% lower death rate from breast cancer than those in the lower quartile, suggesting that vitamin D levels should be restored to a normal range in all women with breast cancer.
"Although published literature is inconsistent about the benefits of vitamin D levels and breast cancer, this study and others suggest that higher levels of vitamin D in the body are associated with lowered breast cancer risk," says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of NAMS. "Vitamin D may play a role in controlling breast cancer cells or stopping them from growing. Vitamin D comes from direct sunlight exposure, vitamin D3 supplements, or foods rich in vitamin D."
New blood test detects early stage pancreatic cancer
Published: September 17, 2018
Pancreatic cancer is currently very difficult to detect while it is still resectable. A new blood test developed by researchers at Lund University in Sweden, Herlev Hospital, Knight Cancer Center and Immunovia AB, can detect pancreatic cancer in the very earliest stages of the disease. The results have been published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Due to diffuse symptoms, pancreatic cancer is usually diagnosed very late in the disease progression. Therefore, despite pancreatic cancer representing less than 3% of all cancer cases, more people currently die from it than breast cancer. By 2030, pancreatic cancer is expected to be the second deadliest type of cancer in the world.
"Our test can detect pancreatic cancer with 96% accuracy at stage I and II, while there is still the possibility of successful surgical intervention. There is currently no cure and few treatment options for advanced pancreatic cancer, which is the late stage when pancreatic cancer is usually diagnosed," explains Carl Borrebaeck, professor at the department of Immunotechnology at Lund University.
The study used samples from patients in both Denmark and the US, at different stages of the disease.
The blood test is developed on a so-called antibody microarray that consists of hundreds of recombinant antibody fragments. These antibody fragments are specific for a number of immune-regulatory proteins, cancer-associated antigens, and so on.
Since the immune system is the first to respond to threats like complex diseases, such as cancer, autoimmune diseases and infections, the microarray was designed to mirror this early response. This provides information about the development of tumours long before being visible on CT or detected by ctDNA. From those hundreds of markers, 29 markers were selected to detect pancreatic cancer with 96% accuracy at stage I and II.
In the future, the screening method could be used to screen people who are at a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer, such as those with a hereditary risk, newly onset diabetes patients and patients with chronic inflammation of the pancreas.
The next step has already been initiated, which is a large US prospective study for high risk individuals.
High-fat diet found to stimulate cell growth in the colon, increasing risk of colon cancer
Published: September 16, 2018
(Natural News) A high-fat diet can make the cells of your intestinal lining prone to cancer, according to a study published in Nature. These results bolster the long-standing claim stating that obesity and a high-fat, high-calorie diet are salient factors for many types of cancer.
The paper, titled “High-fat diet enhances stemness and tumorigenicity of intestinal progenitors”, illustrates how a high-fat diet affects the structure and function of the intestine in mammals. It specifically includes in the study intestinal stem cells and non-intestinal stem cells — focusing on the cells’ capacity to create and initiate tumors.
“The new study of mice suggests that a high-fat diet drives a population boom of intestinal stem cells and also generates a pool of other cells that behave like stem cells — that is, they can reproduce themselves indefinitely and differentiate into other cell types,” says co-lead author Semir Beyaz. The behavior exhibited by these cells, he says, is what brings about intestinal tumors.
To verify the correlation between stem cells and cancer linked to obesity, mice were fed with a diet consisting of 60 percent fat for a period of nine months to a year. In comparison, Americans usually consume anywhere between 20 to 40 percent of fat in their diet.
Researchers found that mice fed the high-fat diet packed 50 percent more body mass and developed more intestinal tumors compared to mice that were fed normally. The intestinal cells from the mice were then isolated and grown in a culture dish, in which researchers discovered that cells from mice under the high-fat diet brought about “mini-intestines” at a more rapid pace than the mice that were fed normally. Consequently, they also identified that mice under the high-fat diet produced progenitor cells, which are differentiated daughter of stem cells, that exhibit behavior similar to stem cells. Similarities include an extended lifespan as well as the ability to generate mini-intestines outside of its body.
Upon further study of the mice under the high-fat diet, researchers also established a presence of a hyperactivated nutrient-sensing pathway. The pathway known as the fatty acid sensor PPAR-delta functions by enabling a metabolic process to convert fat instead of carbohydrates and sugars to energy when exposed to a high-fat diet. PPAR-delta is also found to activate a gene set essential to stem cell identity. Future studies will target narrowing down possible cancer drugs that will address tumors stemming from obesity.
The study bolsters previous research which claims that obese people are more likely to have colorectal cancer, as well as those which have indicated that intestinal stem cells are the most likely to acquire mutations resulting to colon cancer. The stem cells, which last a lifetime, live in intestine linings known as the epithelium. The stem cells, in turn, create all of the different cell types that compose the epithelium.
“The epidemiological link between a high-fat diet and colorectal cancer has been reported for many years, but the underlying mechanisms were not known,” Beyaz says. “Our study for the first time showed the precise mechanisms of how a high-fat diet regulates intestinal stem cell function and how this regulation contributes to tumor formation.”
Aside from Yilmaz, an assistant professor of biology and member of Massachusetts Institute of Technology‘s (MIT) Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, the research was co-authored by David Sabatini, M.D., Ph.D. of the Whitehead Institute. In addition, MIT post-doctoral student Miyeko Mana and MIT visiting scientist Jatin Roper were lead authors.
Look for Early Signs of Thyroid Cancer, Experts Urge
Published: September 15, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Cases of thyroid cancer are on the rise in the United States, and experts want you to know how people at high risk for the disease can detect it early.
According to the American Cancer Society, 54,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the United States in 2018. And three out of four of these cases will be women. But anyone can get the disease. Symptoms can occur earlier in women, who are typically diagnosed in their 40s or 50s, while men commonly are diagnosed in their 60s or 70s.
"While the majority of thyroid cancers arise without a family history, if you have a family history of thyroid cancer, you should have any new lump or mass in your neck evaluated by your physician," said Dr. Brett Miles. He is co-chief of the division of head and neck oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
Also, people with a history of Hashimoto's thyroiditis, radiation exposure to the neck, or familial colon polyps are at increased risk, he added.
"A good rule of thumb is that swollen lymph nodes or lumps in your neck that do not go away after about three to four weeks should be evaluated," Miles said in a Mount Sinai news release.
Thyroid cancer facts:
Thyroid cancer is a tumor or growth in the thyroid gland in the front of the neck.
Several types of thyroid cancer exist. The most common is papillary carcinoma, which is curable, especially if caught early.
Important risk factors include: A family history of thyroid cancer; a history of radiation exposure to the head, neck or chest; or a diet low in iodine.
Regular follow-up care is an essential part of treatment.
Symptoms of thyroid cancer include:
A lump or enlarged lymph nodes in the neck.
Neck pain or tightness.
Hoarseness, persistent cough.
Difficulty swallowing or breathing.
A thyroid exam every three years if you are 20 to 39 years of age.
A thyroid exam every year if you are 40 or older.
Avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation.
Have checks often if you've been exposed to radiation of the head, neck or chest, and have a family history of thyroid cancer.
Do a thyroid neck self-exam, looking for asymmetries or protrusions below the Adam's apple.
Most thyroid cancer patients do not have any symptoms when they are diagnosed, said Dr. Raymond Chai, an assistant professor of otolaryngology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
"These cancers are often only identified during routine physical examination by a physician," Chai said. "It's important to note the vast majority of early stage thyroid cancers can be successfully treated, and that's why early detection is critical," he added.
Severe periodontitis associated with an increased risk of lung, colorectal, pancreatic cancers
Published: September 14, 2018
(Natural News) Having severe periodontal disease may increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer, according to a long-term study published in JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Medical professionals explained that the condition, more commonly known as advanced gum disease, is usually caused by bacterial infection that damages the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. Previous studies demonstrated a link between gum disease and cancer onset, but the mechanism behind the connection remained unclear.
A team of health experts led by epidemiologists at the Tufts University School of Medicineand the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health pooled data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study as part of the research. The cohort included up to 7,466 participants from various U.S. states — such as Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi and North Carolina — who were followed up from the late 1990s until 2012. The cohort was composed of Caucasian and African-American participants.
The research team measured the probing depth and gingival recession at six sites on all teeth to determine the severity of periodontal disease in patients. Likewise, the experts used two-sided statistical tests to determine the patients’ cancer risk. The participants’ smoking history was also taken into account, given its link to periodontal disease onset.
Severe periodontal disease elevates colorectal, lung cancer risk
The results showed that 1,648 patients developed cancer, while 547 died of the disease during a median follow-up of 14.7 years. Likewise, the study revealed that the overall cancer risk was 24 percent higher in patients with severe periodontal disease compared with those who had mild periodontal disease and otherwise healthy controls. The findings also showed that the risk rose to 28 percent in patients with no teeth. In addition, data from subgroup analysis found an 80 percent increased risk of colorectal cancer in patients who were edentulous at baseline.
Patients with severe periodontal disease were also twice as likely to develop lung cancer than those who had no/mild periodontitis. The research team added that the risk of lung cancer was more significant in patients who did not smoke. Moreover, the findings demonstrated that severe periodontal disease was associated with a slight increase in pancreatic cancer risk.
However, the scientists added that the overall risk of cancer was weaker or not apparent among black participants, except for lung and colorectal cancers. The research team also did not observe a correlation between severe periodontal disease and increased risk of breast, prostate or blood/lymphatic cancer. The scientists added that the findings highlight the importance of expanding dental insurance to more patients.
“When we looked at data for the people who had never smoked, we also found evidence that having severe periodontal disease was related to an increased risk of lung cancer and colorectal cancer. Knowing more about the risks that come about with periodontal disease might give more support to having dental insurance in the way that we should be offering health insurance to everyone,” researcher Elizabeth Platz told Science Daily online.
The researchers readily acknowledged the study’s limitations and noted that the findings might warrant further investigation.
“This is the largest study addressing the association of gum disease and cancer risk using dental examinations to measure gum disease prior to cancer diagnosis. Additional research is needed to evaluate if periodontal disease prevention and treatment could help alleviate the incidence of cancer and reduce the number of deaths due to certain types of cancer,” first author Dominique Michaud said.
Going Vegetarian to Cut Colon Cancer Risk
Published: September 11, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- There's no disputing the fact that regular colonoscopies, now suggested to start at age 45 for those with an average risk of colorectal cancer, can help prevent the disease by finding -- and removing -- precancerous growths.
And a study of 77,000 adults published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that you can also lower your risk of this cancer by making changes in your diet right now, whatever your age.
Doctors know that eating red and processed meats raises the risk of colorectal cancer, while eating fiber-rich foods lowers it. The JAMA findings got more specific about different types of diets.
On average, eating vegetarian may lower colon cancer risk by 19 percent and rectal cancer by 29 percent compared to non-vegetarians -- people who eat meat at least once a week. Besides eating less meat, the vegetarians in the study ate fewer sweets, snacks, refined grains and high-calorie beverages and more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts.
However, the protective effects vary with the type of vegetarian diet, the researchers said.
By the study's numbers:
Pesco-vegetarians: Eating fish and seafood, but avoiding other meats lowers colorectal cancer risk by 43 percent.
Lacto-ovo vegetarians: Avoiding meat, but eating eggs and/or dairy products lowers colorectal cancer risk by 18 percent.
Vegans: Avoiding all meat, eggs and dairy lowers colorectal cancer risk by 16 percent.
Semi-vegetarians: Eating meat less than once a week lowers colorectal cancer risk by 8 percent.
Research can't yet explain exactly how eating vegetarian helps. But one theory says it could be because vegetarians often follow other healthy behaviors, such as exercising and not smoking, which also reduce cancer risk.
Walking: Still the Starting Line for Fitness
Published: September 06, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Being physically active is one of the most important steps people of all ages can take to improve their health.
Yet despite everything we know about the benefits of exercise, only half of U.S. adults and only about a quarter of high school students get the amount recommended in national guidelines.
If you haven't gotten onboard with the program, it's easy to start -- and walking is a perfect path to fitness. That's because it doesn't require any special skills or expensive equipment -- just a good pair of shoes.
Walking not only gets you aerobically fit, it can help with problems such as insomnia, diabetes and even a depressed mood. Walking also has a lower risk of injury than high-impact activities like running. And you can walk year-round, indoors or out.
Start at your own speed and walk in short increments, say for five minutes three times a day. Then gradually increase both length and intensity over time as you develop stamina.
Depending on where you live, however, you may not be able to just walk out of your front door and go. More than 30 percent of people 16 or older live in neighborhoods without sidewalks. The U.S. Surgeon General has called on communities to make walking more accessible to residents. Until then, ironically, you may have to drive to take a walk at a park or on a school track, for instance.
Keep in mind that you can walk at your convenience if you have a home treadmill. These machines aren't just for running, plus they can also keep track of miles logged and calories burned, and many can be set to increase the difficulty of your workouts.
Over 1.4 Billion of World's Adults Face Disease Because of Inactivity, WHO Says
Published: September 05, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Couch potatoes, take note: Sedentary living has put more than one quarter of the world's adults at risk for serious disease, a new study says.
More than 1.4 billion adults face a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, dementia and certain types of cancer because they get too little physical activity, World Health Organization (WHO) researchers concluded.
The researchers analyzed findings from hundreds of surveys that included 1.9 million adults, 18 and older, in 168 countries.
In 2016, nearly one-third of women and one-quarter of men worldwide did not get the recommended levels of physical activity to stay healthy, the researchers found. Weekly guidelines call for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity.
The study was published Sept. 4 in The Lancet Global Health.
"Unlike other major global health risks, levels of insufficient physical activity are not falling worldwide, on average, and over a quarter of all adults are not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity for good health," lead author Regina Guthold said in a journal news release.
Women were less active than men in all regions of the world except in East and Southeast Asia.
Of particular concern were increases in already low levels of physical activity for men and women. Insufficient physical activity rose 5 percent in high-income countries, and increased just 0.2 percent in low-income countries.
The transition toward more sedentary occupations and motorized transportation in richer countries could help explain the higher levels of inactivity, researchers said.
It's important that governments provide infrastructure that promotes more walking and bicycling to work and active sports and recreation, they noted.
Eliminating inequalities in physical activity levels between men and women will be critical to achieving global activity targets, study co-author Fiona Bull said. And this will require efforts "to promote and improve women's access to opportunities that are safe, affordable and culturally acceptable," she noted.
Melody Ding, a researcher from the University of Sydney in Australia, authored an accompanying journal editorial. In it, she said in certain parts of the world women face more environmental, social and cultural barriers to participate in physical activity.
Those restrictions likely contribute to overall low activity levels. In restrictive Saudi Arabia and Iraq, for instance, more than half of all adults were insufficiently active, the study found.
Comparatively, around 40 percent of U.S. adults and 36 percent of British adults got too little activity.
Also, "although high-income countries have a higher prevalence of insufficient physical activity, it is important to note that low- and middle-income countries still bear the larger share of the global disease burden of physical inactivity," Ding wrote.
Working Workouts Into Your Life
Published: September 04, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Weekly fitness guidelines can seem like a laundry list of to-do's that you just can't get done -- 30 minutes of cardio at least five days, resistance training two or three days, and at least two flexibility sessions … each and every week.
Yet each type of exercise does the body good, so it's important to find ways to meet these goals.
First, recognize that an exercise program will mean changes to your daily routine, and you'll likely need to cut out other, less important activities. Aim for a gradual transition and look for non-essential pastimes to replace, like watching TV and web surfing.
Next, draw up a realistic schedule that works with your lifestyle and, for a better chance of sticking to it, write it down. Realize that, if you have a family that expects you home at 6 p.m. for dinner, hitting the gym after work won't work for you. Instead block out 30 minutes after the kids go to bed or get up 30 minutes early and get in a workout while the house is still quiet. And you might double up on workouts on those days you do get to the gym by taking both cardio and flexibility classes.
Make exercise convenient. Maybe the gym near your home makes more sense than the one near your office. If you spend a lot of time just hanging out when your kids are at soccer or lacrosse practice, look for a nearby nature trail or track and spend your waiting time moving instead.
If you'll be working out at home, create a designated exercise space and outfit it with essentials, like a mat, free weights and DVDs you can pop into a laptop.
And don't forget to plan weekend family outings that involve walking or other exercise -- no one said you can't have fun and togetherness while getting fit.
What Every Woman Needs to Know About Ovarian Cancer
Published: September 02, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Women need to know the symptoms of ovarian cancer and see a doctor if they have them, an ob-gyn expert says.
Ovarian cancer is the fifth-leading cause of death in American women, claiming more lives than any other cancer of the female reproductive system, according to the American Cancer Society.
About 22,240 women in the United States will be diagnosed with the disease in 2018, and over 14,000 will die from it, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
"Any woman who experiences unexplained bloating, an upset stomach, an urgency to urinate or abdominal pain for a few weeks, should go see a doctor, and if her doctor does not take these symptoms seriously, she should see another doctor," said Dr. Stephanie Blank. She is director of gynecologic oncology for the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City.
Other symptoms include pelvic pain, fatigue, unexplained weight change, and abnormal bleeding or any bleeding after menopause.
"Too often, women are sent to the wrong doctor, or [are] told they're just aging or gaining weight when experiencing these kinds of symptoms, and by then they have lost valuable time," Blank said in a Mount Sinai news release.
Women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer before it has spread have a five-year survival of 93 percent, researchers have found. But detection of ovarian cancer is difficult and often delayed.
Women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations are at increased risk for ovarian cancer, and the risk for all women increases with age. Half of all ovarian cancers are diagnosed in women who are 63 and older.
Long-term use of birth control pills reduces the risk of ovarian cancer by about 50 percent, according to the news release. Removing fallopian tubes and ovaries is the best means of ovarian cancer prevention, but is not appropriate for all women.
Common household products contain flame retardant chemicals that cause thyroid cancer
Published: August 26, 2018
(Natural News) If you value your thyroid gland, you should cut back on your use of all kinds of household products. An article in Natural Health 365 stated that these products contain flame retardant chemicals that can increase your risk of developing papillary thyroid cancer.
The thyroid gland handles the production of thyroid hormones that regulate the metabolism of the body. Like all parts of the body, its tissues can develop carcinoma when exposed to various toxic substances. Thyroid cancer, in particular, has the fastest rising rates among all types of cancer. The most common form of this disease is papillary thyroid cancer.
Experts theorize that environmental factors are partly responsible for the increasing frequency of thyroid cancers. Flame retardant chemicals are one of their primary suspects. Companies have been adding increasing amounts of these chemicals to the consumer products they manufacture. Their intended reason is to reduce the flammability of the items in question, which are often fire hazards. However, in their attempt to improve the safety of their household products, the companies inadvertently endangered the health of consumers by using chemicals that affect the thyroid.
Is there a connection between increasing thyroid cases and flame retardants?
Researchers from Duke University took samples of house dust from the homes of 140 participants. The latter were all required to have occupied their home for 11 years so that the researchers could study their long-term consequence in much better shape. The participants were also evenly split between thyroid cancer patients and healthy people.
The researchers evaluated the level of flame retardant in the house dust samples. Then they compared that with the rates of thyroid cancer at the time.
They also matched up the participants according to the latter’s age, body mass index, ethnicity, and sex. They also included education level, household income, and level of education.
In their paper, the Duke researchers discovered that the risk of papillary thyroid cancerincreased alongside the exposure level to flame retardants. The same held true regarding the severity of the disease.
Based on their findings, the research team believed there is a link between increasing levels of flame retardants and the recent rise in thyroid cancer incidences.
Earlier studies warned that certain flame retardants interfere with the endocrine system. The thyroid gland is part of this vital system.
The flame retardants are similar to thyroid hormones. When these endocrine disruptors are absorbed by accident, they affect the function and balance of the organ.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) comprise a class of such fire retardants that impair the endocrine system. Two, in particular, are very closely linked with thyroid cancer: tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP) is used in chairs, couches, nursing pillows, and strollers, while decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE209) is found in carpet backings, furniture cushions, mattresses, and upholstery textiles.
High levels of BDE-209 levels in household dust was linked with much higher chances of thyroid cancer.
The Duke researchers checked this connection by sampling blood from the participants and examining the sample for key biomarkers of PBDE and BDE209 flame retardants. They found that participants who lived in houses with high amounts of TCEP were more than 400 percent more likely to have thyroid cancer.
Meanwhile, participants with the highest concentration of BDE209 are 14 times more vulnerable to thyroid cancer. Even if they did not have the BRAF V600E gene mutation, they still experience a much higher chance of developing papillary thyroid cancer. Women are also much more prone to getting this kind of aggressive cancer.
Study Explores New Way to Stop Cancer's Spread
Published: August 22, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Scientists say they're researching a way to destroy cancer cells that travel to other parts of the body.
Many cancers become especially dangerous only when they spread (metastasize) from the initial location to other tissues such as the lungs, brain or bone, the University of Colorado Cancer Center researchers explained.
The investigators found that when a crucial part of cellular recycling is turned off in metastatic cancer cells, they can't survive the stresses of traveling through the body.
"Highly metastatic cells leave their happy home and have all these stresses on them. One way that the cell is able to deal with stresses is through disposing of cellular wastes or damaged cell components and recycling them," study co-author Michael Morgan said in a university news release.
"When we turn off the activity of cellular structures called lysosomes, which a cell uses to do this recycling, the metastatic cells become unable to survive these stresses," Morgan explained.
Morgan was an assistant research professor at CU Cancer Center during the study. He is now assistant professor of biology at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma.
HPV Test May Replace Pap for Some Women, New Guidelines Say
Published: August 21, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- The Pap smear has long been the gold standard for cervical cancer screening, but an expert panel now says the HPV (human papillomavirus) test is also an option for women over 30.
These women now have three choices under new recommendations issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF):
The task force also recommended a Pap test alone every three years for women between the ages of 21 and 29.
"It's very important for all women to get screened for cervical cancer. Screening can reduce deaths from cervical cancer," said Dr. Douglas Owens, vice chair of the USPSTF.
"There are three good options for screening for cervical cancer in women 30 to 65. Our recommendation is that women have a conversation with their clinician about which option is best for them," Owens added.
A Pap test looks for changes in cells from the cervix that indicate cancer or precancerous changes, according to the U.S. Office on Women's Health. The HPV test looks for evidence of the virus in cells, but not for cancerous changes, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by high-risk HPV infections, according to background information in the recommendations. Both tests use samples collected from a woman's cervix. A woman won't be able to tell a difference in the tests, the ACS said.
The task force didn't recommend HPV testing or co-testing for younger women.
Debbie Saslow, senior director of HPV-related and women's cancers for the ACS, explained why it's not a good idea to test for HPV in women under 30. "Almost everybody gets HPV, but more than 99 percent of the time, HPV goes away on its own. If you test for HPV in younger women [before the infection has a chance to clear on its own], it would be unnecessarily alarming," she said.
Dr. George Sawaya, author of an editorial accompanying the new recommendations, agreed.
"HPV testing sooner [than age 30] will lead to more 'false alarms,'" he said. "In other words, some women will have invasive diagnostic procedures and be found to have no cervical problem." Sawaya is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco.
The task force also made recommendations about who doesn't need cervical cancer screening. This included women under 21, women who've had a hysterectomy that included removal of the cervix, women aged 65 and older who have had adequate screening in the past and aren't at a high risk of HPV.
Saslow said the most important message women need to take away from the new recommendations is simple: get screened.
"Most cervical cancer is in women who don't ever get screened or who get screened rarely. Whatever test is available to you, get screened. If you have a choice, and you're over 30, ask for an HPV test," she suggested.
Sawaya concurred. "Regardless of the method used for screening, the most important thing for women is to have easy access to affordable screening," he said.
Saslow also pointed out that young people should be sure to get the HPV vaccine if they didn't get it in their pre-teen years. Men and women can get the HPV vaccine up until age 26, though younger is better, she added.
Insight into development of lung cancer
Published: August 18, 2018
Lung cancer is the leading cause of preventable cancer death. A disease of complex origin, lung cancer is usually considered to result from effects of smoking and from multiple genetic variants. One of these genetic components, a chromosome named 15q25.1, has been previously identified as a leading influencer of susceptibility to lung cancer, smoking behavior, and nicotine addiction. However, no previous study has investigated the mechanisms of this lead agent, or documented the susceptibility pathways that allow this chromosome to modify development of disease.
A research team led by Xuemie Ji, MD, PhD, Research Associate in Department of Biomedical Data Science at Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine, helped solve this central problem. The team identified two main pathways involving the mechanism by which the chromosome 15q25.1 locus influences lung cancer risk. The first pathway is an interaction pathway in the nervous system that is implicated in nicotine dependence. The other pathway can control key components in many biological processes, such as transport of nutrients and ions, and the human immune system.
The results have been newly published in Nature Communications. "Our findings in pathways uncover insights into the mechanism of lung cancer etiology and development, which will potentially shorten the interval between increasing biological knowledge and translation to patient care," says Ji. "Blocking genes downstream or in parallel pathways might provide a strategy to treat such cancer."
The study used two independent cohorts of 42,901 individuals with a genome-wide set of genetic variants, as well as an expression dataset with lung tissue from 409 lung cancer patients to validate findings. Two different methods were used to analyze data, and confirm that the findings are reliable and can be repeated with different methods. "To our knowledge, this is the first study to explore the pathogenic pathways related to the mechanisms of chromosome 15q25.1 and the first to use a novel analysis approach to analyze data and to validate the findings," says Ji. "The ability to block the damaging genetic variants downstream or in parallel pathways might improve lung cancer prognosis and survival, and therefore provide alternative strategies to treat such cancer."
The team is working to identify more mechanisms contributing to the increased risk of lung cancer. They aim to provide more explanation for the large unexplainable division of lung cancer occurrences.
Survive colon cancer by eating more Omega-3s, says new study
Published: August 17, 2018
(Natural News) An observational study has concluded that increasing your intake of omega-3s found in oily fish can reduce your risk of dying from colon cancer by 70 percent. These findings, published in the medical journal Gut, suggest that colon cancer and other related conditions can be managed with proper diet, among other things.
Dr. Jules Garbus, a colorectal surgeon at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. said in an article on Health.com, “We have long suspected the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. This study begins to show a correlation between ‘healthy living’ and reducing death from colorectal cancer.”
The study was led by Dr. Andrew Chan, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Dr. Chan and his team tracked data from 1,659 people diagnosed with colon cancer over a period of 10 years. The researchers found that out of 561 patients who died over the course of their study, 169 deaths were due to associated conditions caused by colon cancer, 153 deaths were from heart disease, and 113 deaths were from other types of cancer. The other cases were attributed to other factors. However, what was more noteworthy was the observation that patients who consumed at least 0.3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids from oily fish daily after their cancer diagnosis had a 41 percent reduction of dying from the disease, compared with those who consumed less than 0.1 gram per day. Dr. Chan found that the reduction of risk was associated with omega-3s coming from both food and fish oil supplements, although only a few of the patients they tracked used supplements.
Furthermore, the study noted that increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake by at least 0.15 grams a day after a colon cancer diagnosis reduced the risk of dying from the disease by 70 percent. A reduction of daily intake was also linked to a 10 percent higher risk of death from the disease. Those who increased their intake of omega-3s also had a 13 percent lowered risk of dying from other causes compared to a 21 percent increased risk who decreased their intake.
Despite these praise-worthy results, other cancer experts remain unconvinced. Dr. Arun Swaminath, who directs the inflammatory bowel disease program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City has cautioned that more research is necessary to validate these results. This study, he said, took data on intake of omega-3s from “food frequency questionnaires,” which “have significant weaknesses to the point that some have questioned whether they should be abandoned altogether.” Moreover, Dr. Swaminath recalled previous studies that claimed fish oil to be good for heart health until subsequent, more rigorous research “punctured the idea that fish oil was good medicine….it’s not clear if [Chan’s study] falls into the same trap as previous studies that found similar associations, but didn’t stand up to rigorous scrutiny.”
That being said, Dr. Swaminath added that should “this association… turn out to be true, then it will be great for patients, and I see little downside [other than out-of-pocket costs] to adopting this strategy.”
Omega-3 fatty acids provide many health benefits
Even excluding for caution and thinly-veiled disbelief, there are several benefits to increasing your intake of omega-3s. An article on AuthorityNutrition.com lists some health benefits to take note of:
The blues brothers no more — Omega-3s have been studied to alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Depressed patients who regularly consumed omega-3 supplements were found to be less depressed after a few weeks.
“Eye” can see you — Omega-3s have also been studied to improve eye health. Those who consumed ample amounts of omega-3s every day had a significantly reduced risk of macular degeneration, studies have concluded.
Baby, one more time — Researchers have noted that omega-3s are crucial to the brain and development of infants.
These are just a few benefits omega-3s have been proven to give. Whatever their relationship is with colon cancer, it wouldn’t hurt to add oily fish in your diet today.
Childhood exposure to secondhand smoke may increase risk of adult lung disease death
Published: August 16, 2018
A new study suggests that long-term exposure to secondhand smoke during childhood increases the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) death in adulthood. The study also suggests secondhand smoke exposure as an adult increases the risk of death not only from COPD but also several other conditions.
Secondhand smoke is known to have adverse effects on the lung and vascular systems in both children and adults. But it is unknown whether childhood exposure to secondhand smoke is associated with mortality in adulthood. To explore the issue, American Cancer Society epidemiologists led by W. Ryan Diver, MSPH, examined associations of childhood and adult secondhand smoke exposure with death from all causes, ischemic heart disease, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among 70,900 never-smoking men and women from the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort. Study participants, primarily ages 50 to 74 at the beginning of the study, answered questions about their secondhand smoke exposure during childhood and as adults and were followed for 22 years.
Those who reported having lived with a daily smoker throughout their childhood had 31% higher mortality from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease compared to those who did not live with a smoker. In a calculation done for this release, Diver says the increase in COPD mortality corresponds to about 7 additional deaths per year per 100,000 never-smoking study participants. Although the study counted only deaths, the increase in fatal COPD implies that living with a smoker during childhood could also increase risk of non-fatal COPD.
In addition, secondhand smoke exposure (10 or more hours/week) as an adult was associated with a 9% higher risk of all-cause mortality, a 27% higher risk of death from ischemic heart disease, a 23% higher risk of death from stroke, and a 42% higher risk of death from COPD.
"This is the first study to identify an association between childhood exposure to secondhand smoke and death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in middle age and beyond," said Diver. "The results also suggest that adult secondhand smoke exposure increases the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease death. Overall, our findings provide further evidence for reducing secondhand smoke exposure throughout life."
Rare cancer could be caught early using simple blood tests
Published: August 14, 2018
A pioneering study into myeloma, a rare cancer, could lead to GPs using simple blood tests to improve early diagnosis.
The study investigated the best combination of blood tests that could be used to diagnose myeloma in GP practices.
The research was a collaboration between the University of Oxford, the University of Exeter and Chiddenbrook Surgery, Crediton, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and is published in the British Journal of General Practice.
Researchers investigated how useful a number of different measures were for indicating the presence of the disease, and suggested what combinations of these tests were sufficient to rule out the disease, and to diagnose it, saving the patient from the worry of specialist referral.
Blood tests of 2703 cases taken up to five years prior to diagnosis were analysed and compared with those of 12,157 patients without the cancer, matching cases with control patients of similar age amongst other relevant parameters.
They demonstrated that a simple combination of two blood parameters could be enough to diagnose patients. Such blood tests are routinely conducted in GP surgeries.
Constantinos Koshiaris, lead author of the study, from Oxford University, said: "The combination of levels of haemoglobin, the oxygen carrier in the blood, and one of two inflammatory markers (erythrocyte sedimentation rate or plasma viscosity) are a sufficient test rule out myeloma. If abnormalities are detected in this test, it should lead to urgent urine protein tests which can help speed up diagnosis."
Each year approximately 5,700 people are diagnosed with myeloma in the UK alone. It can lead to symptoms such as bone pain, fatigue and kidney failure. It has the longest diagnosis process of all common cancers, and a large number of patients are diagnosed after emergency care, over a third of which having had at least three primary care consultations.
Professor Willie Hamilton, of the University of Exeter Medical School, is principal investigator on the study. He said "Ordinarily a GP will see a patient with myeloma every five years -- and early diagnosis matters. More timely treatment could significantly improve survival rates for this disease. We report a simple way a GP can check patients presenting symptoms such as back, rib and chest pain, or recurrent chest infections, and determine whether they have myeloma or not."
The authors also suggest the possibility of integrating a system in the electronic health record to alert clinicians to relevant symptoms or changes in blood parameters related to myeloma.
Obesity and breast cancer: Scientists explain how being overweight makes breast cancer cells more aggressive
Published: August 13, 2018
(Natural News) Researchers from Helmholtz Zentrum München, Technische Universität München (TUM), and Heidelberg University Hospital carried out a study on how extra weight makes breast cancer cells more aggressive. Using human tissue from breast cancer metastases, the researchers found that the enzyme known as ACC1 (acetyl-CoA-carboxylase 1) — a key component of fatty acid synthesis — is inhibited by high levels of cytokines. They found that obesity causes the release of cytokines into the bloodstream that affect the metabolism of breast cancer cells, which in turn make them more aggressive.
“ACC1 is a key component of fatty acid synthesis,” said Mauricio Berrel Diaz of Helmholtz Zentrum München and one of the leaders of the study. “However, its function is impaired by the cytokines leptin and TGF-?.”
Extremely overweight subjects have been found to have increased levels of cytokines in the blood. The researchers discovered that when ACC1 is inhibited, it results to the accumulation of the fatty acid precursor acetyl-CoA, which is passed on to particular gene “switches” that in turn stimulate the metastatic capacity of cancer cells through switching on a certain gene program.
In an experimental model, the researchers blocked the yet unknown signaling pathway with an antibody that is directed against the leptin receptor. This resulted to a significantly lowered metastatic spread of breast cancer cells.
The researchers aim to prove the data on the recently discovered mechanism in future studies. Moreover, they are taking into consideration the related intervention points that could potentially be used for treating breast cancer.
“Blocking the signaling pathways and switching off the metastasis-related genes could be a therapeutic target,” explained Stephan Herzig of TUM and co-leader of the study. “As part of the so-called neoadjuvant therapy, the risk of metastases or the recurrence of tumors could be reduced prior to the surgical removal of the tumor.”
The findings of the study was published in the journal Cell Metabolism.
How body weight influences the risk of breast cancer
Being overweight or obese can result to health consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third or 36.5 percent of adults in the U.S. are obese. This makes them more vulnerable to serious health conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer. Women who became overweight or obese after menopause are more prone to having breast cancer.
According to an article by the American Cancer Society, before menopause, the ovaries produce most of the estrogen in the body, while fat tissue only produces a small amount. But after menopause, the ovaries stop producing estrogen, so most of a woman’s estrogen comes from fat tissue. Therefore, having more fat tissue after menopause can increase estrogen levels and raise the risk of developing breast cancer. Furthermore, women who are overweight or obese are more likely to have higher blood sugar levels, which have been associated to some types of cancer such as breast cancer.
Although this link is complicated, studies indicate that the increased risk seems to be on women who gained weight during their adulthood and not on those who have been overweight since childhood. In addition, having excess fat around the waist may increase the risk more compared to having excess fat in the hips and thighs.
In another entry by the American Cancer Society, it was written that breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in American women, except for skin cancers. A woman in the U.S. have one out of eight chance of developing breast cancer sometime in her life. Moreover, around 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women and approximately 40,610 women will die from this cancer.
Do your moles put you at risk of melanoma? Find out through ABCDE
Published: August 12, 2018
(Natural News) Moles are a common sight on a person’s body. These dark-colored clusters of pigmented cells usually appear during childhood, but can fade or disappear with age. While most are harmless, some moles may become deadly over time. Moles can be a risk factor for melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Melanoma may sound scary but it’s actually one of the most treatable cancers and, if caught early, can be taken out in its entirety by simply removing the mole. Dermatologists have listed five warning signs to watch out for; so if you want to know if your mole is cancerous, just remember ABCDE:
Despite how easy it is to spot a cancerous mole, some people wouldn’t even bother. Dr. David Fischer, Director of the Melanoma Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, told the DailyMail.co.uk that these same people might even be too scared to check. “It’s one of those fear and denial-type things. People would rather not know than find out something scary or devastating,” Fisher said before adding: “But the thing is, six out of seven melanoma cases are cured just by catching it early and removing it. In other words, early detection could be life-saving. That statistic should help motivate people to be really proactive, to realize that there’s a benefit to this.”
Aside from moles, there are other factors that put you at risk of melanoma. If you’re predisposed to developing moles or birthmarks, have a family history of melanoma, frequently use tanning beds, or are under direct sunlight a lot, then you might just have a higher chance than most people.
Don’t fret, however. As was mentioned earlier, melanoma is treatable if the warning signs are spotted at an early stage. In the words of Fraser: “Not every cancer has that type of opportunity to catch it so early. This type of cancer does.”
Tomatoes are your best bet to prevent stomach cancer
Published: August 09, 2018
(Natural News) Eating tomatoes may not only be good for your skin, but it may also help you prevent stomach cancer. According to a study published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology, tomato extracts can inhibit the growth of stomach cancer cells, which may be potentially useful in supporting conventional treatments.
Stomach cancer is one of the most common types of cancer worldwide. It is more likely to occur in smokers, particularly men, and people over the age of 55. It also commonly affects people who are overweight or obese and those that have poor eating habits, such as consuming smoked and salted food, and a diet low in fiber.
The disease has also been linked to Helicobacter pylori infection, as well as genetic causes.
The researchers at the Sbarro Institute for Molecular Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia opined that the anti-tumor properties of tomatoes were not related to “specific components” such as lycopene, but that the tomatoes “should be considered in their entirety,” said Daniela Barone, a researcher at the Oncology Research Center of Mercogliano (CROM), and one of the study authors.
After analyzing whole tomato lipophilic extracts, the scientists found that two Southern Italy cultivars, San Marzano and Corbarino, were able to inhibit the development, growth, and proliferation of cancer cells. The tomato extracts also induced apoptosis or cell death in malignant cells.
The findings also showed that treatment with the whole tomato extracts affected key processes within the cells which hindered their migration ability. This prevented the cells from moving around and spreading throughout the body.
“Our results prompt further assessment of the potential use of specific nutrients not only in the cancer prevention setting but also as a supportive strategy along with conventional therapies,” said Professor Antonio Giordano, Director of the Sbarro Institute for Molecular Medicine, Temple University and Professor of Pathology and Oncology at the University of Siena in Italy.
The researchers believe that the study findings could give way to further research using different tomato varieties, analyzing them for different health benefits, and potentially applying the information in treatment and prevention methods for stomach cancer.
In the same vein, a study published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology revealed that regular consumption of tomatoes could reduce the development of skin cancer tumors.
Researchers found that mice that were fed a diet of tomato powder daily for 35 weeks had a 50 percent decrease in skin cancer tumors after exposure to UV (ultraviolet) light, compared to those which did not receive the tomato treatment.
Tomatoes are a staple in the Mediterranean diet
The future of stomach cancer treatments using tomatoes looks promising enough, but eating tomatoes, in general, promote better health and overall quality of life, thanks to their phytochemical content, which includes antioxidants, carotenoids, dietary fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. Tomatoes are also known to decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke.
Tomatoes have been used as an ingredient in numerous kinds of foods, including pasta dishes, ketchup, and pizzas.
One particular type of diet highlights tomatoes as one of its staple ingredients. The Mediterranean diet has become regarded as highly beneficial to overall health and weight management. It has also been associated with a reduced risk of cancer and many other chronic conditions.
New Treatment for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Approved
Published: August 08, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Poteligeo (mogamulizumab) injection has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat adults with two types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The drug was approved to treat relapsed or refractory mycosis fungoides (MF) and Sézary syndrome (SS) after the patient has had at least one prior therapy delivered through the bloodstream.
"Mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome are rare, hard-to-treat types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and this approval fills an unmet medical need for these patients," Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of the FDA's Oncology Center of Excellence, said in an agency news release.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that starts in immune-boosting white blood cells called lymphocytes. When these cells become cancerous, the skin develops itchy rashes and lesions that may spread beyond the original site.
Poteligeo's approval was based on clinical studies involving 372 people with relapsed MF or SS, who were given either Poteligeo or a chemotherapy drug called vorinostat. Progression-free survival averaged 7.6 months for those who took Poteligeo, versus 3.1 months among those who took vorinostat, the agency said Wednesday.
Poteligeo's most common side effects included rash, injection-site reactions, fatigue, diarrhea, bone/muscle pain and respiratory tract infections. More serious side effects could include toxic skin reactions, autoimmune reactions and infections, the FDA said.
The drug is produced by the Japanese drugmaker Kyowa Kirin Inc.
Heart Monitoring a Must for Breast Cancer Patients on Herceptin
Published: August 07, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- The widely used chemotherapy drug trastuzumab (Herceptin) can be life-saving for women with HER2-positive breast cancer, a particularly aggressive form of the disease.
But new research now adds to mounting evidence that the treatment can take a toll on the heart, increasing the risk for heart failure.
The complication is uncommon, and in many cases, the benefits of the chemotherapy still outweigh the risks. But the study authors stressed that regular heart monitoring of these high-risk patients, including younger women, should be a priority during treatment.
"This is an important finding, as to the best of our knowledge this is the first study to calculate the rates of cardiotoxicity in younger women using insurance claim data," said the study's lead author, Mariana Henry. She's a graduate student at the Yale School of Public Health.
The study used diagnoses and insurance billing codes for nearly 16,500 women with non-metastatic invasive breast cancer who were a median age of 56 years old, and were treated with chemotherapy within six months of diagnosis. Of these patients, 4,325 of the participants received Herceptin, or trastuzumab-based chemotherapy.
The researchers found that 4.2 percent of the study patients developed heart failure. But rates of the condition were higher among those treated with Herceptin: 8.3 percent of these patients developed heart failure compared with 2.7 percent of those who did not receive this type of chemotherapy.
And the risk of heart failure increased with age.
Taking other chemotherapy drugs, known as anthracyclines, could also increase the likelihood of heart problems, the investigators found.
"While we were unable to directly look at obesity, comorbidities such as diabetes, which tend to be associated with obesity, were associated with a higher risk of heart failure," Henry noted.
The researchers concluded that breast cancer patients treated with Herceptin require regular heart monitoring. Heart disease is the second leading cause of death among breast cancer survivors mainly due to the toxic effects of some cancer treatments, the study authors pointed out.
According to Dr. William Hundley, a cardiology professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, in Winston-Salem, N.C., "There is a surveillance program with echocardiograms during receipt of trastuzumab for this very purpose."
This usually involves undergoing an echocardiogram, a procedure that uses ultrasound waves to assess heart function, every three months during treatment, explained Hundley, who was not involved in the new study. He added that treatment discussions between breast cancer patients and their oncologist should cover both the risks and benefits of any appropriate therapies.
In their study, Henry and her colleagues also analyzed the rate of heart-monitoring adherence among the chemotherapy patients.
Only 46 percent of those treated with Herceptin or trastuzumab-based chemotherapy had their heart function assessed before starting chemotherapy and received the recommended heart monitoring during treatment, the findings showed.
It's unclear why rates of heart monitoring were low among these patients. The study authors suggested that some doctors may view it as unnecessary, particularly for younger women with fewer underlying health issues or other heart-related risks.
The researchers pointed out that younger women with long life expectancies may receive more aggressive treatment, which could increase their need for more careful heart monitoring.
If heart changes are detected, patients can talk to their doctor and make informed decisions about their treatment. In some cases, heart medications can help improve heart health during treatment, according to the American Heart Association.
Hundley added that scientists are also actively investigating if lifestyle adjustments -- such as diet and exercise -- could also help reduce the risk for heart problems among high-risk chemotherapy patients.
Chemotherapy found to stop new brain cells from growing, worsening depression in brain cancer patients
Published: August 06, 2018
(Natural News) Chemotherapy is depressing enough, but a drug used in the procedure may heighten it and make it worse, according to a study by researchers from King’s College London.
Depression is considered one of the least recognizable symptoms of cancer since the condition is commonly attributed to the shock of the patient upon hearing the news. The results of a new study, however, bring new light to the condition being an actual symptom of the disease rather than psychological distress stemming from receiving a cancer diagnosis.
Research has demonstrated that depression is prevalent in sufferers of brain cancer. According to studies, an estimated 30 percent of patients with brain cancer deal with it. However, this symptom is under-diagnosed; only less than 10 percent report experiencing symptoms of depression and 20 percent of patients are classified to have clinical depression.
Chemotherapy is a treatment that brings side effects of its own – most famous of which is hair loss.
Using data from animal studies, researchers were able to determine the chemotherapy may also affect neurogenesis or the growth of new brain cells. In this study, researchers questioned whether the effects of chemotherapy on neurogenesis significantly disrupted biological brain mechanism and if these changes increased a patient’s vulnerability to depression.
For this study, researchers gave healthy mice a chemotherapy drug known as temozolomide (TMZ), which is commonly used in treating brain cancer for humans. After the mice were administered with TMZ, researchers saw a decline in the production of new neurons in the hippocampus – the part of the brain that is related to emotion and memory. Results also indicated a direct link between neurogenesis and stress, with neurogenesis declining in direct response to the increased production of stress hormones.
This meant that people undergoing chemotherapy not only have lesser brain cells but have a greater level of stress when exposed to it.
Researchers also observed substantial changes in the behavior of mice who had undergone chemotherapy, most notable of which is the lack of pleasure seeking or behavioral despair. The changes mimic behavior observed in people who experience depression, such as a lack of motivation and resignation.
The results may be based on mice and may not accurately represent what is actually happening to patients who have depression, but researchers believe that these findings could help improve patient care.
“Our results suggest that chemotherapy may stunt the growth of new brain cells, which has biological and behavioral consequences that may leave people less able to cope with the stress of having cancer,” Martin Egeland, a co-author of the study, explained. “Understanding the specific effects of chemotherapy on mood could lead to improved treatments and increase the quality of life for those affected by cancer.”
While there is no way to test these findings in humans, further studies that would be undertaken for the study include the effect of intervention methods, such as cognitive training, for patients and how it can protect them from depression.
“We will have to determine when is the best time to intervene and how much time we have. Treating the cancer is the priority of course,” according to senior author Sandrine Thuret. “However, if we can improve the quality of life of the patient, it can also be a step forward and may reduce their vulnerability to mental health problems.”
The National Cancer Institute lists depression as a symptom of cancer. While there are many risk factors for developing depression, the agency notes that going to counseling programs can be a way to deal with depression. Developing relaxation skills and stress-reduction exercises are also other ways to combat it.
Fried foods, especially overcooked potatoes, dramatically increase cancer risk
Published: August 03, 2018
(Natural News) Fried potatoes and other foods cooked at high temperatures significantly increase cancer risk, according to research. Because of this, the Food Standards Agency (FSA), a government body in the U.K., issued a public warning over the risks of these foods.
When foods are cooked at high temperatures or over 120 degrees Celsius, a chemical compound called acrylamide forms. This chemical compound can trigger cancer cell growth. Fried foods, especially fried potatoes, contain the highest amounts of acrylamide.
Apparently, acrylamide can also be found in other foods, such as packed crackers, cookies, dry cereals, toasted nuts, peanut butter, canned black olives, prune juice, and roasted cocoa beans. The chemical compound is also found in bread crusts and many foods that are roasted, such as nuts.
Acrylamide arises in certain carbohydrates, proteins, and starchy foods that are exposed to high or prolonged heat during processing or cooking. it is formed when simple sugars, such as glucose, exposed to intense heat react with the amino acid asparagine.
In addition, studies in mice have revealed that exposure to high levels of acrylamide can lead to neurological damage.
Ways to reduce acrylamide consumption
In line with the FSA’s warning, the government body also suggested simple ways to reduce people’s consumption of acrylamide.
One of the ways to avoid acrylamide formation in foods is to aim for a golden yellow color or lighten when frying, roasting, baking, or toasting starchy foods. People should also follow the cooking instructions on packaging properly to ensure that foods are not cooked for too long or at extreme temperatures.
The FSA also advised that raw potatoes should not be kept in the fridge. Putting potatoes in the fridge can increase overall levels of acrylamide. Rather, raw potatoes should be stored in a dark, cool place with temperatures over 6C. In addition, potatoes should not be stored for a long period because more acrylamide can form.
Other ways to reduce acrylamide consumption include eating chunky chips on occasion instead of fries. Moreover, cutting potatoes into larger wedges decreases their surface area, thus reducing the level of acrylamide that can form. To reduce one’s overall risk of cancer, adhere to a varied, balanced diet.
Increased early death risk, another reason to ditch french fries
Cancer is not the only risk of eating fried potatoes. It can also increase the risk of early death. A study published in the journal American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who eat fried potatoes two or more times each week could increase their risk of premature death by two times.
Researchers in Italy analyzed the data of 4,440 adults who participated in the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) cohort study. The participants were between the ages of 45 and 79 at the beginning of the study, and they were followed up for an average of eight years. They were tasked to accomplish a food frequency questionnaire as part of the OAI study. Researchers of the current study used these data to measure the participants’ total weekly potato intake and weekly consumption of fried and unfried potatoes.
During the follow-up period, a total of 236 participants died. Although overall potato consumption did not affect their death risk, consumption of two to three portions of fried potatoes like french fries, potato chips, or hash browns every week doubled the risk of early death. Eating more than three portions further increased the risk. There was no link found between the consumption of unfried potatoes and early death risk.
Irrefutable evidence proves that honey and bee pollen improve menopausal symptoms in breast cancer patients
Published: August 02, 2018
(Natural News) As the most common cancer among women around the world, breast cancer is one of the biggest health issues of our time. It’s also quite controversial, as you might expect, from a problem that has the potential to generate so many profits. In addition to living with a constant worry of developing this potentially deadly disease, women have to deal with overdiagnosis, dishonest surgeons who prey on their fear, and questionable charities that don’t put their funds toward finding a cure as claimed. A diagnosis can be extremely traumatic as women face questions about their mortality, and for those who are undergoing treatment, there’s a whole slew of side effects that can make their make life pretty miserable.
Some breast cancer patients undergo chemical hormone suppression as part of their treatment. Drugs like Tamoxifen and Arimidex often add to the trauma of breast cancer by causing hair loss, libido crashes, hot flashes, and fatigue, to name just a few side effects. It gets so bad that some women quit their treatment, while others are given psychotropic drugs like Prozac or Lyrica that pile on even more side effects.
It might seem like it’s just an endless series of bad news when it comes to breast cancer, but a new study has found that there could be some help in the form of honey and bee pollen. Researchers set out to see if bee pollen could reduce menopause-like symptoms in those taking hormone-suppressive drugs for breast cancer. They got the idea after a trial showed that bee pollen extracts enhanced menopausal women’s quality of life and reduced their hot flashes.
Researchers surprised by honey finding
Not only did they find that the bee pollen was indeed effective, but they discovered something else completely unexpected at the same time. In the study, they used honey as the placebo, but to their surprise, they discovered that it was every bit as effective as the bee pollen when it came to reducing symptoms!
In the randomized crossover trial, the researchers assessed the menopausal complaints of 46 breast cancer patients who were receiving anti-hormonal treatment. An incredible 70.9 percent noted improvements when taking bee pollen, while an equally remarkable 68.3 percent noted improvements in her symptoms when taking honey. In fact, the difference between the two groups was so small that it was not considered significant, making them essentially equally good choices.
These results were confirmed in a follow-up. The researchers mention that honey actually raises estrogen levels, which goes against the idea behind suppressing hormones in the first place – even if it did lead to improvements in symptoms in the study. Nevertheless, they believe that women who are looking to discontinue treatment because they aren’t finding symptom relief from alternatives like acupuncture could be offered bee pollen. They also called for future tests to look into the use of honey and bee pollen in relieving menopausal symptoms in healthy women.
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that finding relief from the symptoms caused by hormone-suppressive drugs does not actually protect the body from their dangers. Sometimes a bad reaction is your body’s way of telling you that whatever you’re taking should be avoided. For example, extended tamoxifen use has been linked to endometrial and liver cancer.
Nevertheless, many women feel compelled to continue the treatment their doctors have prescribed, and anything that can make this a more pleasant experience naturally and without side effects is worth consideration.
For Women Worldwide, Lung Cancers Rise as Breast Cancers Decline
Published: August 01, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- As women around the world wage war against cancer, good news on the breast cancer front is tempered by predictions that lung cancer deaths could rise more than 40 percent.
Researchers in Spain reported that between 2015 and 2030, lung cancer deaths among women worldwide will likely increase 43 percent.
During that same period, however, breast cancer deaths are projected to fall 9 percent.
"While we have made great strides in reducing breast cancer mortality globally, lung cancer mortality rates among women are on the rise worldwide," said study author Jose Martinez-Sanchez. He's director of public health, epidemiology and biostatistics at the International University of Catalonia (UIC Barcelona).
For the study, researchers analyzed World Health Organization data gathered from 52 countries between 2008 and 2014. The study authors concluded that the worldwide lung cancer death rate among women will increase from just over 11 percent in 2015 to 16 percent in 2030.
The highest rates in 2030 are projected in Europe and Oceania, and the lowest rates in North America and Asia. Only Oceania is predicted to see a dip in the rate of women's lung cancer deaths -- and that's just from 17.8 percent in 2015 to 17.6 percent in 2030.
The study was published Aug. 1 in the journal Cancer Research.
"If we do not implement measures to reduce smoking behaviors in this population, lung cancer mortality will continue to increase throughout the world," Martinez-Sanchez warned in a journal news release.
Meanwhile, he said, "we are seeing an increase in breast cancer mortality in Asia because this culture is adapting a westernized lifestyle, which often leads to obesity and increased alcohol intake, both of which can lead to breast cancer."
Breast cancer is associated with many lifestyle factors, Martinez-Sanchez explained.
"On the other hand, we are witnessing a decrease in breast cancer mortality in Europe," he added. There may be greater awareness of breast cancer among Europeans, he suggested, leading to active participation in screening programs and treatment improvements.
Turning off protein could boost immunotherapy effectiveness on cancer tumors
Published: July 31, 2018
Researchers at the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center discovered inhibiting a previously known protein could reduce tumor burdens and enhance the effectiveness of immunotherapy treatments.
In order to investigate the role of the Yes-associated protein, or YAP, in T-cells in the cancer setting, scientists used mice genetically engineered to lack YAP in several T-cell populations, including regulatory T-cells, known as Tregs. This was the first time the relationship between YAP and Tregs has been explored.
The study was published in Cancer Discovery on June 15, 2018.
Tregs are important for health, because they prevent autoimmune diseases but can be a major obstacle in the mounting of immune responses to tumors and immunotherapy. YAP can be found in a subset of those regulatory T-cells.
Scientists tested the antitumor effects of YAP inhibitors alone and in combination with immunotherapies. Their encouraging results showed YAP plays a role in the suppression of antitumor immunity by Tregs and demonstrated by turning off YAP's abilities, tumor killing with less restrained immune cells is possible.
Fan Pan, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study and associate professor of cancer immunology, said blocking YAP or the signaling pathways under its control boosted the effects of both a tumor vaccine and a checkpoint inhibitor (anti-PD1 antibody) to produce even stronger antitumor activity. He said the approach of therapeutically targeting YAP was effective over a broad scope of cancer types in mice.
Since Tregs are notorious for dampening the effectiveness of tumor-directed immunity in cancer patients, this study's finding may pave the way for a new and promising strategy to unleash the patient immune response from the stifling grip of suppressor cell control.
While Pan and study authors are optimistic that further work could lead to effective YAP-targeting immunotherapies for cancer, they pointed out therapies aimed at enhancing YAP activity may have potential use for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.
Shield Yourself From the Summer Sun
Published: July 28, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- When you're out having fun in the sun this summer, remember to take steps to prevent sunburn.
Along with being painful, sunburns can cause lasting damage that can lead to a number of skin problems, including skin cancer, warned Dr. Suzanne Olbricht, chief of dermatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
"The sun's UV rays damage the DNA in the cells of your skin," she explained in a medical center news release. "These harmful DNA changes can be quite profound and you will sometimes see the damage in the form of peeling skin."
All skin types can burn, Olbricht added.
"The darker one's skin, the more melanin is present and therefore the greater the UV protection," she said. "But no matter the color, your skin can burn. Everyone should take precautions when heading out into the sun."
Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with a strong sun protection factor (SPF).
"SPF measures how well the sunscreen protects your skin compared to if you were not wearing it," Olbricht said. "For example, if it normally takes 20 minutes for your skin to turn red, a product with SPF 15 will typically prevent sunburn 15 times longer."
Use lots of sunscreen and reapply regularly. One ounce, or a shot glass full, of sunscreen will cover your entire body, including your face, ears and scalp.
"A rule of thumb for reapplying is every two hours," Olbricht said. "But if you're swimming or sweating a lot, you will want to reapply more often."
Try to stay out of the sun when its rays are strongest, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wear sunglasses with UV protection, a wide-brimmed hat, and clothing with UPF protection (ultraviolet protection factor).
"A lot of children's summer clothing and swim attire can be found with UPF 50+, which helps block 98 percent of UVA/UVB rays," Olbricht said.
3-Pronged Approach to Cancer Prevention
Published: July 26, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Need another reason to improve your diet and start exercising? Doing so could help ward off cancer, a new study finds.
"Keep in mind that every lifestyle factor counts and it is never too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle," said study co-author Bernard Srour, of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research.
Eating healthful foods, engaging in physical activity and avoiding alcohol is tied to lower overall cancer risk, as well as lower breast and prostate cancer risks, Srour's team found.
Researchers analyzed data from more than 41,000 adults in France, age 40 and older, who had never been diagnosed with cancer. Between May 2009 and January 2017, nearly 1,500 cases of cancer were diagnosed in the group.
But those who fared best cancer-wise adhered more closely to dietary guidelines developed by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), the researchers said.
A 1-point increase on the guidelines' score of healthy eating was associated with a 12 percent decrease in overall cancer risk, a 14 percent decrease in breast cancer risk, and a 12 percent decrease in prostate cancer risk.
The study was published July 26 in the journal Cancer Research.
The study authors concluded that the "synergistic contribution" of a healthy diet was more significant than any single dietary recommendation in reducing cancer risk.
For example, antioxidants from fruits and vegetables may counteract some of the cancer risks posed by red meat and processed meat. Similarly, by lowering blood pressure, exercise could partly offset the effects of high-salt foods.
"This emphasizes the role of an overall healthy lifestyle -- nutrition and physical activity and alcohol avoidance -- in cancer prevention," Srour said in a journal news release.
The researchers said the WCRF/AICR recommendation to avoid alcohol most likely contributed to that diet's role in reducing cancer risk.
"In its last report, the WCRF stated that there is now strong, convincing evidence that alcohol consumption increases the risks of oropharyngeal, esophagus, liver, colorectal and postmenopausal breast cancers," said study co-author Mathilde Touvier, also of the French Institute of Health and Medical Research and the University of Paris.
It appears alcohol is linked with stomach and premenopausal breast cancers as well, Touvier added.
One of the most powerful superfoods, honey protects you from cancer and keeps your immune system strong
Published: July 25, 2018
(Natural News) Honey has been used in medicine for well over 5,000 years. Now, researchers from United Arab Emirates University have found that honey from certain regions – particularly those that have arid climates – can be used to treat major chronic diseases, including cancer. The results of their study, published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, investigated the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of arid region honey and compared it with popular varieties from non-arid regions using in vitro testing.
“Most of the antioxidant benefits of honey are associated with the presence of polyphenols,” researchers noted in their study. “The content of these polyphenols is different depending on the source and floral origin of honey. The climate where honey is made also significantly influences the polyphenol content and profile.”
For this study, researchers compared six varieties of honey: Four of these were grown in the Middle East, which is known to have dry, desert-like conditions, and two were from non-arid regions like Germany and New Zealand. To note, the following varieties were selected.
All honey varieties underwent multiple tests in the study. In particular, researchers measured each variety’s ability to protect specific red blood cells, called erythrocytes, from destruction after being exposed to peroxide, as determined by MDA (malondialdehyde) levels after the test. Its immunomodulatory effect was also tested using a prostate cancer cell line, including PBMC (peripheral blood mononuclear cells). The team looked at IL-6 (interleukin 6) and NO (nitric oxide) levels in the cells after they had been incubated with honey overnight.
The results showed that honey grown in arid regions had protected the erythrocyte membrane after exposure to oxidation. “Arid region honey showed a greater antioxidant effect than non-arid honey as shown by the prevention of oxidative damages to erythrocytes,” the researchers wrote. This was confirmed by a reduced level of MDA in arid region honey samples.
In addition, the polyphenols found in arid region honey successfully lowered the expression of pro-inflammatory IL-6 markers in PBMC samples. This demonstrates the immunomodulatory effect of arid region honey in specific cancer cells.
“All of this is in favor of a promising use of arid region honey as a therapeutic product for major chronic diseases, especially cancer,” the team concluded. In particular, the group stressed that the erythrocyte membrane protective function of honey could significantly reduce inflammation, a significant risk factor for multiple chronic diseases.
The sweet benefits of honey
The benefits of honey don’t just stop with it being a potent antioxidant. Here are other benefits of adding honey to your diet.
Blood test can predict optimal treatment for advanced prostate cancer, study finds
Published: July 24, 2018
An international collaborative study between Lawson Health Research Institute, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Royal Marsden and Epic Sciences is one of the first to demonstrate that a blood test can predict how patients with advanced prostate cancer will respond to specific treatments, leading to improved survival.
The study used a liquid biopsy test developed by molecular diagnostics company Epic Sciences that examines circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in blood samples from patients with advanced prostate cancer who are deciding whether to switch from hormone-targeting therapy to chemotherapy. CTCs are cancer cells that leave a tumour, enter the blood stream and invade other parts of the body, causing the spread of cancer.
The test identifies whether or not a patient's CTCs contain a protein called AR-V7 in the cell's nucleus. The research team set out to determine whether the presence of this protein predicted which treatment would best prolong a patient's life. They found that patients who tested positive for the protein responded best to taxane-based chemotherapy while those who tested negative for the protein responded best to hormone-targeting therapy with drugs called androgen-receptor signaling (ARS) inhibitors. These are the two most widely used drug classes to treat advanced prostate cancer.
"The study focused on a critical decision point when patients and their oncologists are choosing what therapy to pursue next," says Dr. Alison Allan, a scientist at Lawson and Chair, Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology at Western University's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. "We are addressing a critical unmet need by validating that a blood test or liquid biopsy can be used to select a therapy most likely to extend a patient's life."
Research participants included 142 patients with advanced prostate cancer from the London Regional Cancer Program at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) in London, Ontario; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York; and the Royal Marsden in London, England. The patients had already undergone at least one round of hormone-targeting therapy without success and were working with their oncologist to decide whether to switch to a different hormone-targeting therapy or to chemotherapy as their next line of treatment.
Hormone-targeting therapies like ARS inhibitors work by slowing or stopping the growth of cancers that use hormones to grow. Prostate cancer growth relies on hormones called androgens, which include testosterone. Androgen deprivation therapy like ARS inhibitors blocks the production of male hormones to treat the recurrence or spread of prostate cancer.
"ARS inhibitors are the preferred first line of treatment because they target the hormones that provide the fuel for prostate cancer cells to grow," explains Dr. Allan. "However, at some point, cancer cells can figure out a way to survive without this fuel and become resistant to ARS inhibitors, in many cases through production of the AR-V7 protein. That's why chemotherapy is sometimes used a second line therapy."
While this study looked at predicting the best treatment for patients who had already undergone at least one round of hormone-targeting therapy, a future goal of the team is to assess the use of this test or similar CTC blood tests in determining optimal therapy at earlier decision points in advanced prostate cancer care. The team also plans to collaborate further with Epic Sciences to evaluate different versions of the CTC blood test for other types of cancer, such as lung cancer.
Through Epic Sciences' partnership with Genomic Health, the CTC blood test is now commercially available in the United States as the Oncotype DX AR-V7 Nucleus Detect.
The powerful antioxidant and anti-cancer effects of arid region honey
Published: July 22, 2018
(Natural News) The arid region honey can be used as a therapeutic product for chronic diseases, including cancer, according to researchers from United Arab Emirates University. The study, published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, compared varieties of honey from desert climates against those from non-arid regions to establish which variety contained more antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.
The findings suggest that arid region honey possesses potent antioxidant activity, as well as potential anti-inflammatory properties.
5 Good reasons to include more magnesium-rich foods in your diet
Published: July 21, 2018
(Natural News) You may not realize it, but magnesium is one of the nutrients your body needs the most. According to the Human Genome Project, there are 3,751 proteins with binding sites for this mineral, which only adds to why you need to eat food items that have an abundance of it.
Increasing your magnesium intake can provide you with a wide range of health benefits.
Lower your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease
Numerous studies have linked low magnesium levels in the body to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and dying from it. It was also found that increasing your magnesium intake can be therapeutic for conditions like hypertension, arrhythmia, atherosclerosis, and dysfunctional endothelium.
One such study, published in Atherosclerosis, found that low magnesium levels double your likelihood of dying from heart disease. You will also be seven times more likely to die from all causes.
Manage diabetes and its symptoms
Type 2 diabetics, particularly those suffering from neuropathy and coronary heart disease, usually lack magnesium. This is because having higher glucose levels in your blood also increases the amount of magnesium in your urine, meaning you lose more of the nutrient every time you pee compared to people without diabetes. A study from Harvard Universityfound that supplementing with 320 mg of magnesium for 16 weeks can improve both fasting blood sugar levels and good cholesterol (HDL).
Mitigate the risk of developing colon cancer
Several studies have found links between higher magnesium intake and a lower risk of developing colon cancer. A Chinese review revealed that the highest magnesium intake reduced colorectal cancer risk by 11 percent compared to the lowest intake. Another meta-analysis, this time from London, found that every time you increase your intake of magnesium by 100 mg, you decrease your colorectal cancer risk by 13 percent.
Make your bones stronger
Magnesium stimulates calcitonin, a hormone that helps draw calcium from the blood and soft tissues so it can be used in the bones instead. Aside from strengthening your bones, this also lowers your risk for conditions related to having too much calcium, such as heart attack, arthritis, kidney stones, and osteoporosis. Magnesium’s effects are such that even when you decrease your daily calcium intake from the 1,200 mg recommended by the U.S. government to just 500 mg, you will still be able to increase your bone density.
Reduce symptoms of metabolic syndrome
Metabolically obese, normal-weight (MONW) individuals have a normal body mass index (BMI) of 25, but suffer from insulin resistance and hypertension, increasing their risk for both diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A Mexican study found that supplementing with magnesium helped ease both systolic and diastolic pressure, as well as improve triglyceride and blood glucose levels.
Increase your magnesium intake with the right diet
Magnesium levels tend to go down with age, so it is essential that you supply your body with this nutrient through proper diet. Here are some healthy, magnesium-rich food items:
Study Confirms Added Cancer Risk for Diabetics, Especially Women
Published: July 20, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- The increased risk of cancer in people with diabetes is higher for women than men, a new study finds.
Previous research identified the link between diabetes and cancer risk, but this study looked at whether that risk differs between men and women.
The takeaway: Among people with diabetes, women have a 6 percent higher risk of cancer than men, the researchers said.
And based on the researchers' analysis of data from 47 studies, diabetics of both sexes are at greater risk of cancer than people without diabetes.
For women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the cancer risk is 27 percent higher compared to other women. And men with diabetes have a 19 percent higher cancer risk than men who don't have the blood sugar disease, the findings showed.
The researchers also examined specific types of cancer in people with diabetes and found that, compared to men, women have a 15 percent higher risk of leukemia, a 14 percent higher risk of stomach cancer, a 13 percent higher risk of oral cancer, and an 11 percent higher risk of kidney cancer.
But women have a 12 percent lower risk than men for liver cancer, according to the report.
"Further studies are needed to clarify the mechanisms underlying the sex differences in the diabetes-cancer association," the study authors concluded.
The report, from Toshiaki Ohkuma of the University of New South Wales in Australia and colleagues at the University of Oxford in England, was published July 19 in the journal Diabetologia.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 8.7 million deaths in 2015. About one in four women and one in three men will develop cancer during their lifetime, the study authors noted in a journal news release.
In addition, in 2015, there were 415 million adults worldwide with diabetes and 5 million diabetes-related deaths.
Could an Early Supper Lower Breast, Prostate Cancer Risk?
Published: July 18, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Having a late dinner and heading straight to bed may boost your risk of breast or prostate cancer, a new study suggests.
Spanish researchers analyzed data from 621 prostate cancer patients and 1,205 breast cancer patients, as well as 872 men and 1,321 women without these cancers.
People who ate their evening meal before 9 p.m. or waited at least two hours after supper before going to sleep had a 20 percent lower cancer risk than those who ate supper after 10 p.m. or those who ate and went to bed soon after, according to the study.
The research only found an association and does not prove late-night eating causes these cancers.
"Our study concludes that adherence to eating patterns [during the day] is associated with a lower risk of cancer," said lead author Manolis Kogevinas, a researcher at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal).
The findings "highlight the importance of assessing circadian rhythms in studies on diet and cancer," Kogevinas said in an institute news release.
If the findings are confirmed, "they will have implications for cancer prevention recommendations, which currently do not take meal timing into account," Kogevinas said.
He added that the impact could be especially important in places like southern Europe, where people have supper late.
More research is needed to understand the findings, but co-author Dora Romaguera said that "everything seems to indicate that the timing of sleep affects our capacity to metabolize food." Romaguera is a researcher at ISGlobal.
Though extensive research has probed links between types of food and cancer risk, little attention has been paid to how cancer risk might be affected by mealtimes and what people do before and after eating, the study authors said.
New target protein for colon cancer identified
Published: July 17, 2018
Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have identified a new potential target protein (c-Cbl) they believe can help further the understanding of colon cancer and ultimately survival of patients with the disease.
They found colon cancer patients with high levels of c-Cbl lived longer than those with low c-Cbl. Even though scientists have studied this protein in other cancers, it has not been explored in colon cancer until now.
The researchers examined the level of c-Cbl in tumors that were removed from people with colon cancer. Based on the level of this protein, c-Cbl, patients were split into two groups, high c-Cbl and low c-Cbl.
The researchers then wanted to find out what happens to cells when this protein was turned off. They did this by using two types of colon cancer cells split into three groups each. One group consisted of un-manipulated colon cancer cells, one group had increased expression of normal c-Cbl and the other group had increased expression of the "off" version of c-Cbl. This off version of c-Cbl lacked an essential function of c-Cbl called ubiquitin ligase activity. Cells that were given the "off" version of c-Cbl grew more tumors than those that were given the "on" version.
For tumors to grow and metastasize they need blood vessels. The next step was to look at how c-Cbl affected blood vessel growth by using three experimental models, (one group was normal, one group was given the c-Cbl protein and the third group was given the "off" version of the protein). The model that was given the "off" version of c-Cbl grew more blood vessels. "This helps us to understand the role of the ubiquitin ligase activity of c-Cbl in preventing tumors from growing and reducing tumor's ability to grow blood vessels," explained corresponding author Vipul Chitalia, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at BUSM.
According to the researchers, this study suggests that c-Cbl might improve the survival of patients with colon cancer. "This information will help cancer researchers understand colon cancer better and possibly design new treatments to better cure colon cancer and help patients live longer."
Health Tip: Take Care of Yourself During Radiation Therapy
Published: July 16, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Radiation therapy to help fight cancer may be physically and emotionally draining.
It's important to get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy and balanced diet and to stay as healthy as possible during your treatments.
The American Cancer Society recommends:
Natural solution for damage done by chemo: Omega 3s found to treat wounds from inflamed mucous membranes in cancer patients
Published: July 13, 2018
(Natural News) Omega-3 fatty acids can be used to treat and prevent oral mucositis in patients undergoing mucotoxic cancer chemotherapy. The double-blind, randomized study, published in the journal Wounds, detailed the effectiveness and route of administration of omega-3 fatty acids in patients receiving chemotherapy in Iranian hospitals.
Mucositis is characterized by soreness or swelling in the mouth which can result in painful ulcers in the area. The condition is a common side effect of chemotherapy drugs used in cancer treatment. In particular, mucositis is prevalent in patients undergoing high-dose chemotherapy, and 80 percent of individuals with head and neck cancers. Aside from the formation of ulcers, people with mucositis experience severe pain, an increased risk of local and systemic infections, dysfunction, and bleeding from the mouth, oral cavity and pharynx – all of which could affect a person’s quality of life. In some cases, the condition can lead to complications such as septicemia. It can also be an economic burden, as it prolongs hospital stays to heal and manage the pain and other conditions.
The main focus of traditional cancer treatment is to inhibit the condition, with little emphasis given to situations that come out of it. Mucositis, in particular, has no specific treatment; current practices aim to reduce infections until the area is healed.
Earlier studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can be used effectively in wound treatment. In particular, animal tests have indicated that omega-3 fatty acids improve the healing time for skin burn in both healthy and diabetic samples, and had a positive effect on oral wound recovery in rats. Moreover, clinical trials have revealed that omega-3 fatty acids can be used to aid the healing of stomach and duodenal ulcers in patients. Authors believe that this is because fatty acids increase the production of “pro-inflammatory cytokines” in the wounded area, allowing it to be used safely in wound healing.
The authors noted that there is no definitive examination of the effect of omega-3 fatty acids in mucositis; thus the need for the study. To evaluate their theory, they conducted a randomized trial using patients that had grade 1 oral mucositis. The group was divided into those that would receive the omega-3 fatty acid and those that would receive a placebo. At the time of the trials, the patients were under the initial chemotherapy stage and had not received any radiation therapy. Patients had been examined prior the trial, and they underwent follow-up examinations on a weekly basis.
Results indicated that patients who were given omega-3 fatty acids experienced less pain than those in the placebo group. In addition, people who were given omega-3 fatty acids had significantly lower severity of mucositis compared to those in the placebo group.
Those in the omega-3 group recovered quicker as well. On average, the mucositis lasted for 5.5 days in the omega-3 group, while the control group needed at most 16 days before they recovered from the condition. That meant that those in the omega-3 group were able to eat better than those in the placebo group. Irritation sores from mucositis were also noted to be significantly different in both groups as well.
The authors of the study concluded: “According to the findings in this study, omega-3 fatty acids in oral form have a significant effect on wound healing induced by oral mucositis.”
Immune-Based Therapy May Help When Melanoma Spreads to Brain
Published: July 12, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- A type of therapy that harnesses the immune system is giving new hope to people battling a once hopeless cancer -- melanoma that's spread to the brain.
New research involving more than 2,700 U.S. patients is confirming what specialists in the field have long known -- that "checkpoint blockade" treatment can beat back these devastating tumors.
"Physicians who treat patients with melanoma brain metastases have seen first-hand the dramatic improvements in survival that immunotherapy can achieve," said one such specialist, Dr. Jason Ellis.
"This study provides data to support our individual clinical observations," said Ellis, a neurosurgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He wasn't involved in the new study.
Checkpoint blockade agents are not chemotherapy -- instead of acting directly on tumor cells, they manipulate the patient's immune system so that it targets and destroys the melanoma cells.
This type of "immunotherapy" was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2011.
The new research was led by Dr. J. Bryan Iorgulescu, a postdoctoral fellow in pathology at Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston. His team explained that about one in every 54 Americans will develop a melanoma skin cancer in their lifetime.
Luckily, most cases are detected early and easily cured via surgery. But sometimes the tumor has had time to spread, even to the brain. In fact, advanced melanomas are now the third-leading cause of metastatic brain cancer, the research team noted.
In its analysis, Iorgulescu's group tracked outcomes from 2,753 patients with melanoma that had spread to the brain. The patients were treated at cancer centers nationwide between 2010 and 2015.
The study found that first-line treatment with checkpoint blockade immunotherapy was associated with a rise in median overall survival from 5.2 months to 12.4 months.
Treatment was also tied to an increase in the four-year overall survival rate: Just over 28 percent of patients who got the immunotherapy survived at least four years, compared to about 11 percent who didn't get the therapy, the findings showed.
The researchers noted that survival benefits were even greater for those patients whose melanoma had not already spread beyond the brain, to organs such as the liver or lungs.
"Our findings build on the revolutionary success of checkpoint blockade immunotherapy clinical trials for advanced melanoma, and demonstrate that their substantial survival benefits also extend to melanoma patients with brain metastases," Iorgulescu said in a Brigham and Women's news release.
Dr. Michael Schulder helps direct neurosurgery at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y. He wasn't involved in the new analysis, but agreed it confirms what many cancer specialists have long known, "namely, that the use of checkpoint inhibitors has revolutionized the treatment and outlook for patients with metastatic melanoma."
The Boston researchers did offer one caveat, however: Not every patient has equal access to this expensive treatment. Insurance status was a real barrier to immunotherapy for some patients with these advanced tumors, and uninsured patients were much less likely to get the treatment compared to people with private insurance or those on Medicare.
Top 10 ways to avoid ever getting cancer in the first place
Published: July 11, 2018
(Natural News) Millions of humans binge on junk food every meal and think doctors will be able to “fix” their health problems later with medicine and surgery. So what exactly is “junk food,” because most people think what they’re eating is not really “that bad.” Plus, most diets people choose are the ones that cater to their weaknesses, and that food regimen simply includes more junk science substitutes – replacing one chemical-laden food choice with another, and another, and another. It’s a costly cycle with the ultimate price being your life.
Cancer doesn’t show up over night, in fact, it’s a cumulative effect from overloading your body with toxins day after day, year after year. Consuming toxic foods daily and hoping cancer won’t eventually kick in is like walking on the edge of a cliff with a blindfold on… hoping everything will be just fine. It’s not that difficult to join the cancer prevention mission, and you don’t have to give up all the food you love, just take off the “blindfold” and stay on the safe paths, away from the cliff’s edge.
Cancer is not inherited and it’s not contagious, so get smart and prevent it
The type of cancer that 1 in 3 Americans get is not contagious and you’re not born with it. Still every medical doctor in America wants to talk about whether it “runs in the family” and wants to “find a cure” using chemical medicine, which will never happen. Ever try to put out a fire with gasoline and a blow dryer?
Cancer is caused by the consumption of chemicals, so NO chemical or combination of chemicals will ever be the solution. That’s why allopathic medicine is one of the worst ways to treat cancer, and also one of the main causes. Let’s take an inside look at what starts the “fire” and the fuel that spreads it.
Deny cancer its sources of fuel, and there won’t be a “forest fire” to try to put out later — avoid these top 10 cancer fuels
#1. Never eat sodium nitrates (processed meats)
#2. Avoid or filter tap water
#3. Stop eating GMOs
#4. Quit using artificial sweeteners
#5. Don’t buy or eat conventional meat (hormones, antibiotics, parasites, pathogens)
#6. End all processed (homogenized) dairy product consumption
#7. See if a naturopathic physician can get you off any and all chemical pharmaceuticals
#8. Never ever get another flu shot (as vaccines almost always contain cancer-causing ingredients such as stealth viruses like SV40)
#9. Eliminate all foods from your intake that are imported from China (they’re often loaded with heavy metal toxins)
#10. Always ignore the mass “mainstream” media because they lie about everything that’s good for you and they promote everything that’s bad for you
There are always healthy options to everything Big Food and Big Pharma have made toxic, you just have to know where to look
Sodium nitrates are used to kill wild boars. Little tablets are used as bait and because the pigs don’t sweat like humans, the toxins can’t escape. Imagine how toxic sodium nitrates and nitrites are too all animals, they just take longer to kill certain species. Avoid hot dogs, bacon, deli meats and sausage at all costs. Check out liquid aminos, organic tamari, and organic garlic for spicing up your meals.
Tap water contains a powerful and deadly insecticide called sodium fluoride. It also contains other people’s medications, heavy metal toxins, and chlorine. You can buy an inexpensive water filtration system for your home and save thousands of dollars in the long run – it’s called Big Berkey and it’s the best on the market for the money.
Consuming genetically modified organisms means you’re eating chemical forms of bug killer and weed killer. Are you a bug or a weed? There is no way to prevent cancer if you eat chemicals all day, every day.
Artificial sweeteners trick your body into ingesting them, thus altering your cells. Don’t mutate your cells on purpose, because they will fight you later. Knowledge is power so use it.
There is a monstrous difference between conventional meat and organic. Organic won’t contain hormones or antibiotics, and the animals will not have been fed GMO corn, soy and alfalfa. You are what you eat, so don’t eat cancer. Plus, CAFO meat is usually ridden with pathogens and parasites from the unkempt quarters where they suffer, including cows, chickens, turkeys and pigs.
Conventional dairy products come from CAFO cows also, and then they’re processed through pasteurization and homogenization in order to remove some of the toxins and most of the nutrition, while adding new toxins.
Prescription medications, taken “as directed,” have killed more Americans than every war in history put together. Many pharmaceutical meds are opiate-based now, meaning you’re taking a diluted form of heroin.
Vaccines contain neurotoxins that humans should never even touch or eat, much less inject into muscle tissue. Beware of mercury (loaded in flu shots), formaldehyde, and infected African Green monkey kidney cells. Read the vaccine insert before even considering “immunizations.”
Even certified organic foods that are imported from China are loaded with heavy metal toxins from massive industry pollution. The USDA does not regulate this atrocity.
Go to Food.news for real news on healthy food versus toxic food. Only YOU can prevent cancer “fires.”
Infertility, Not Fertility Drugs, Linked to Raised Risk of Ovarian Cancer
Published: July 06, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Fertility drugs do not increase a woman's risk of ovarian cancer, a new study suggests.
It did find that infertility itself is associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
The researchers examined data from more than 58,000 women in Denmark who had infertility treatments (ART, or assisted reproduction technology) between 1994 and 2015. The investigators then compared them with more than 549,000 women who did not undergo ART.
"We found that the higher risk of ovarian cancer among women having assisted reproduction treatment was only present among those with diagnosed female infertility," said study author Anja Pinborg. She is a professor in the fertility department at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, in Denmark.
"And in a general population we saw that ovarian stimulation does not seem to increase the risk of ovarian cancer," she added.
The findings were presented July 3 at a meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, in Barcelona. The study addresses long-held concerns that the fertility drugs could be a risk factor for ovarian cancer.
In a meeting news release, Pinborg said the results are "reassuring," and added that she "would advise infertile women contemplating ART treatment to go ahead. Ovarian stimulation itself is not introducing any excess risk of ovarian cancer."
Obesity affects prostate cancer test results
Published: July 05, 2018
University of Adelaide research shows that the results of the most widely used test for prostate cancer may be affected by obesity.
With increasing prevalence of obesity in high-income countries, this study published by the Society for Endocrinology, has important implications for detecting and monitoring the most common form of cancer in men.
Using data from 970 South Australian men from the Florey Adelaide Male Ageing Study, PhD student and medical oncologist Dr Adel Aref from the University's Adelaide Medical School and the Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men's Health, studied the effects of obesity on PSA levels detected in blood and the influence of the hormones, testosterone and estrogen.
Elevated levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in the blood can be an indicator of prostate cancer and lead to further diagnostic investigations," says Dr Aref.
PSA is increased by the male sex steroid hormone, testosterone. "We have shown for the first time that the concentration of PSA in the blood is lower in men with severe obesity (with a body mass index or BMI of 30 or higher) than in lean men, and that this can be attributed to lower concentrations of circulating testosterone."
"The results of this study have important implications for how we should interpret PSA levels in men who are obese," says project supervisor Professor Gary Wittert, Director of the Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men's Health and the Adelaide Medical School at the University of Adelaide and SAHMRI.
"Obesity is a major risk factor in the development of cancer, as well as other diseases. More than 65% of men in Australia are overweight or obese and this level is predicted to increase.
"Further studies are now required to investigate effective strategies for applying this knowledge in clinical practice" says Professor Wittert.
New tools used to identify childhood cancer genes
Published: July 03, 2018
Using a new computational strategy, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified 29 genetic changes that can contribute to rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive childhood cancer. The group used Bayesian analysis, a method for statistical inference, in conjunction with screening using CRISPR/Cas9, the much-heralded gene-editing tool, to confirm the statistical predictions.
Their work helps to explain "the engine" driving formation of rhabdomyosarcoma and suggests potential treatments. Furthermore, their research method can be used to identify genetic drivers of other cancers.
Nearly all genes occur in cells as pairs. This research focused on genes for which there was only one copy or for which there were three or more copies.
"We came up with the idea that the altered expression of key cancer genes may be driven by genomic copy-number amplifications or losses. We then developed a new computational algorithm called iExCN to predict cancer genes based on genomewide copy-number and gene expression data," said Dr. Stephen Skapek, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and with the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The work also used several new experimental tools, including CRISPR/Cas9 screening technology, to verify the function of these predicted cancer genes in rhabdomyosarcoma.
"The iExCN algorithm was developed based on Bayesian statistics, which is fundamentally different from commonly used statistics methodologies, and usually provides more accurate estimation of statistical associations, though it involves more complicated computation and longer processing time," said Dr. Lin Xu, Instructor in the Departments of Clinical Sciences and Pediatrics and with the Quantitative Biomedical Research Center.
Rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of developing skeletal muscle, is the most common soft tissue cancer in children. Using the algorithm to analyze genomic data from 290 rhabdomyosarcoma tumors, the researchers identified 29 associated genes, many of which had not previously been linked to rhabdomyosarcoma.
Dr. Yanbin Zheng, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, used customized CRISPR/Cas9-based screens to verify these statistically predicted genetic causes of rhabdomyosarcoma. "Among the validated rhabdomyosarcoma genes, EZH2, CDK6, and RIPK2 are particularly worthy of further investigation because there are already drugs that target these genes that are either FDA-approved or in clinical trials," Dr. Zheng said.
Dr. Skapek, who holds the Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Oncology Research, said the group need to further verify the cancer-causing role of the iExCN-identified genes, but that the research is exciting. "We are exploring new strategies for targeted therapies that zero in on these genes," he said. "More important, our study represents a general approach that can be applied to identify oncogenic drivers and tumor-suppressor genes in other cancer types for which we have previously failed to uncover targetable vulnerabilities."
Sitting Tied to Raised Risk of Death From 14 Diseases
Published: July 02, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Get up off of the couch: Sitting too much may kill you even if you exercise regularly.
If you sit for six hours a day or more, your risk of dying early jumps 19 percent, compared with people who sit fewer than three hours, an American Cancer Society study suggests.
And, the study authors added, sitting may kill you in 14 ways, including: cancer; heart disease; stroke; diabetes; kidney disease; suicide; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); lung disease; liver disease; peptic ulcer and other digestive disease; Parkinson's disease; Alzheimer's disease; nervous disorders; and musculoskeletal disorders.
"The simple message is that we should be moving more," said lead researcher Alpa Patel. She's strategic director of the cancer society's prevention study-3.
"The less sitting you do, the better it is for you," she said. "Breaking up an hour of sitting with 2 minutes of standing or light activity can improve cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure."
The study couldn't prove cause and effect, but it's clear that Americans are spending more time in their seats -- watching TV, working and playing on computers and smartphones. With age people sit more, and people with chronic disease spend even more sedentary time, the researchers noted.
An Australian study estimated that 90 percent of non-working time was sedentary, and that more than half of it was spent watching TV or sitting at computers.
It's not clear why prolonged sitting is unhealthy, Patel said. It's possible that people who spend a lot of time on the couch also have other unhealthy behaviors, such as excess snacking, she suggested.
In addition, prolonged sitting has been linked to higher levels of triglycerides, blood sugar, blood pressure and insulin. Sitting has also been tied to inflammation caused by obesity.
These consequences might explain why sitting was linked with death from heart, liver and kidney disease, as well as cancer, diabetes and COPD, Patel said.
It's less clear why death from suicide, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, as well as nervous and musculoskeletal disorders, seems associated with sitting. For these, she said, it's possible that the conditions themselves result in more sedentary time.
The increased mortality risk differed by disease, ranging from 10 percent for cancer to 60 percent for musculoskeletal disease, Patel said.
For the study, Patel's team collected data on nearly 128,000 men and women who were part of an American Cancer Society prevention study. At the start of the study, all were free of major chronic diseases. During 21 years of follow-up, nearly 49,000 people died.
Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in Derby, Conn., said, "We have known for some time now that sitting for extended periods daily is injurious to health."
He noted that this study links excessive sitting to an increased risk of dying early from an array of causes -- everything from heart disease to suicide.
"Does this mean that sitting excessively increases suicide risk? That seems implausible," Katz said. "Perhaps depressed people lack the motivation to get up and go out. But then again, we know that routine activity is important to mental health, so some contribution of sedentariness to the severity of depression is not out of the question."
Even though more study is needed to figure out why sitting appears to boost the risk of early death, what to do about it is no mystery, he said.
"The remedy is at hand -- stand up, stretch, walk around; repeat often," said Katz, who's also a past president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.
Up to half of childhood cancer survivors will develop hormone disorders
Published: June 29, 2018
The Endocrine Society today issued a Clinical Practice Guideline advising healthcare providers on how to diagnose and treat the endocrine disorders that affect a significant portion of childhood cancer survivors in the United States today.
The guideline, titled "Hypothalamic-Pituitary and Growth Disorders in Survivors of Childhood Cancer: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline," was published online and will appear in the July 2018 print issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), a publication of the Endocrine Society. Recent data shows that almost 50 percent of these survivors will develop an endocrine disorder over their lifetime. The guideline provides recommendations on how to diagnose and manage certain endocrine and growth disorders commonly found in childhood cancer survivors.
Childhood cancer is relatively rare, and due to improvements in treatment and patient care, the current five-year survival rates exceed 80 percent. It's estimated that by 2020, there will be half a million childhood cancer survivors in the United States. These survivors face a greater risk of developing serious medical complications, even decades after cancer treatment ends. Endocrine disorders are especially prevalent among this population, often as a result of their previous treatments, particularly exposure to radiation therapy.
"Childhood cancer survivors have a high risk of developing endocrine disorders," said Charles A. Sklar, M.D., of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, N.Y. Sklar chaired the writing committee that developed the guideline. "Our new guideline addresses the growing risk of endocrine disorders among childhood cancer survivors and suggests best practices for managing pituitary and growth disorders commonly found in this population. The guideline stresses the importance of life-long screening of these survivors for earlier detection and optimal patient care."
Recommendations from the guideline include long-term screening of childhood cancer survivors who underwent radiation therapy to the brain. This population should be screened for growth disorders, pituitary hormone deficiencies, and early puberty. If a condition is diagnosed, in most instances, clinicians should treat these survivors with the same approaches as other patients who develop endocrine conditions.
Other members of the Endocrine Society writing committee that developed this guideline include: Zoltan Antal of the New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, N.Y.; Wassim Chemaitilly of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.; Laurie E. Cohen of Boston Children's Hospital in Boston, Mass.; Cecilia Follin of Skane University Hospital in Lund, Sweden; Lillian R. Meacham of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta Ga.; and M. Hassad Murad of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
The Society established the Clinical Practice Guideline Program to provide endocrinologists and other clinicians with evidence-based recommendations in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of endocrine-related conditions. Each guideline is created by a writing committee of topic-related experts in the field. Writing committees rely on evidence-based reviews of the literature in the development of guideline recommendations. The Endocrine Society does not solicit or accept corporate support for its guidelines. All Clinical Practice Guidelines are supported entirely by Society funds.
The Clinical Practice Guideline was co-sponsored by the European Society of Endocrinology and the Pediatric Endocrine Society. The Pituitary Society endorsed the guideline.
Study Confirms Denser Breasts Are More Prone to Cancer
Published: June 26, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Using automated breast density measurements, Norwegian researchers were able to more precisely confirm that women with dense breasts have a higher risk of breast cancer.
The study included more than 100,000 women and more than 300,000 screening exams.
"We found that screening examinations of women having dense breasts showed higher rates of recall and biopsy, and higher odds of screen-detected and interval breast cancers than women with non-dense breasts," said the study's senior author, Solveig Hofvind. She is a researcher and head of BreastScreen Norway for the Cancer Registry of Norway.
Dense breasts pose a challenge when it comes to cancer screening, because dense tissue shows up white on a mammogram. That's also how breast tumors look on a mammogram. Dense breast tissue can actually hide or mask cancers, according to Hofvind.
The findings were published June 26 in Radiology.
Dr. Liane Philpotts wrote an accompanying editorial. She is chief of breast imaging at the Yale School of Medicine.
"Dense breasts are not something that a patient feels. You can only tell if someone has dense breast tissue on a mammogram," Philpotts said.
Radiologists identify breast density using a standardized scoring technique from the American College of Radiology (ACR). The scoring system runs from A to D. A woman with an A or B doesn't have dense breasts, but someone with a C or D does, she explained.
About half of American women who are screened for breast cancer have dense breast tissue. As women age, their breasts often become less dense, Philpotts said.
Instead of using the ACR technique, which relies on a radiologist's subjective judgment, the new study used automated software -- known as automated volumetric analysis -- to classify breast density.
The Norwegian women in the study were between 50 and 69 years old. The automated software found dense breasts in 28 percent of their screening tests.
The rates of cancer were 6.7 per 1,000 exams for women with dense breasts and 5.5 for women with non-dense breasts, according to the findings.
"This study really shows that women with dense breasts did have more cancers. It wasn't a huge amount. It was a small increase, but it was an increase," Philpotts said.
In addition, women with dense breasts had more interval cancers. These are cancers found between screenings -- for example, when a woman feels a lump in her breast.
The study found that women with dense breasts were called back for more testing due to suspicious findings and were more likely to have a biopsy to check tissue for cancer than women without dense breasts.
Women with dense breasts also tended to have larger tumors when cancer was detected -- average of 17 millimeters (mm) vs. 15 mm for women without dense breasts.
The study also confirmed that it's harder to accurately identify breast cancers in dense breast tissue. Cancers were accurately detected in women with dense breasts 71 percent of the time compared to 82 percent for women without dense breasts.
"Automated volumetric breast density measurements may be considered a future standard for breast cancer screening, ensuring an objective density classification," Hofvind said.
Philpotts pointed out that the findings don't necessarily translate to a U.S. population, because the women screened in the study were older, and they were screened every other year instead of annually.
She said more research is needed to gauge the risks and benefits of the automated software. Hofvind agreed.
Women with dense breasts generally don't need to be screened more often, according to Philpotts. But they will need some sort of supplemental imaging such as ultrasound or MRI that's better at seeing the difference between dense tissue and cancerous tissue.
You are NOT born to be fat: Correct eating habits, not genetics, dictate how much you weigh
Published: June 23, 2018
(Natural News) Obesity is a complex medical condition in which excess body fat has already accumulated and may cause adverse effects on one’s health. It is usually defined by the body mass index and evaluated in terms of fat distribution and total cardiovascular risk factors. According to data gathered from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, at least two in three adults were considered to be overweight or are suffering from obesity. Recently, between 2005 and 2014, there has been a significant increase in the prevalence of this condition among both men and women.
In the U.S. alone, 39.8 percent of their population is affected by obesity. It is estimated that the annual medical cost of a person who has obesity was $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.
Various risk factors come into play that directly lead to obesity – lifestyle and diet being the two most common. However, recent scientific studies have suggested that genetics may also play a significant role in determining why a person weigh so much.
It is known that genes can cause obesity in some disorders like Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome. However, the mechanism through which we understand the connection between genes and obesity has not been established clearly. While genes may cause obesity, there are still other environmental factors leading to this assumption.
Some of the main factors that need to be considered are eating habits, dietary consumption, and lifestyle. With this, a study was conducted and published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition wherein researchers explored whether eating behaviors can mediate or modify genetic susceptibility to obesity.
The study is designed to determine genetic risk factors by calculating the BMI of 3515 and 2145 adults in the FENLAND and EDEN population-based cohort studies. Meanwhile, a validated questionnaire was also given out to pinpoint the eating behavior of these adults. Eating behaviors were classified into different sectors – uncontrolled eating, emotional eating and cognitive restraint.
Cognitive restraint was defined as a conscious effort to limit and monitor one’s food intake to achieve their desired weight. With the use of Sobel test, researchers tested and assessed the mediating effect of each eating behavior associated with BMI-GRS and measured BMI. The researchers tried to determine whether eating behaviors lead to a significant increase or decrease of the respondent’s risk of genetic obesity.
The results of the study indicated that the association between BMI and BMI-GRS are intermediated by both uncontrolled eating and emotional eating behaviors of both sexes. Meanwhile, cognitive restraint is not associated with this mediator, except among EDEN women population.
This means that genetic susceptibility to obesity has a direct link in one’s eating behavior and habit. Reigning in on the top tier of risk factors are uncontrolled eating and emotional eating behavior.
This proves that even though a particular person is genetically designed to be obese, healthy eating habits still plays a major role in determining how much a person weighs. This rang true among EDEN women in this study who practices cognitive dietary restraint.
In achieving one’s desired weight and maintain be able to maintain good health, it is imperative to start with the basics of eating healthy. Daily exercise combined with proper diet can help combat obesity and other health conditions.
This study proved the assumption that people were not born to be fat and that with a little amount of hard work, genetics can no longer define a person – or weight, for that matter.
Novel therapy makes oxidative stress deadly to cancer
Published: June 21, 2018
Oxidative stress can help tumors thrive, but one way novel cancer treatments work is by pushing levels to the point where it instead helps them die, scientists report.
Adoptive T cell therapy appears to reprogram the metabolism of tumor cells, increasing their level of reactive oxygen species, or ROS, and their destruction, says Dr. Gang Zhou, immunologist at the Georgia Cancer Center and Department of Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.
Scientists treated mice that had large, localized colorectal tumors with adoptive T cell therapy after preconditioning them with a chemotherapy drug known to help with the expansion and persistence of these infused T cells. The T cells are a patient's own cells, but engineered to better fight cancer.
The therapy appeared to deliver a deadly double-whammy to the cancer cells, says Zhou, corresponding author of the study in the journal Cell Metabolism.
The scientists found the treatment interfered with production of glutathione, a natural antioxidant found in all cells, as it heightened production and accumulation of ROS inside tumor cells.
Results included increased production by T cells of proinflammatory cytokines -- including tumor necrosis factor alpha -- which regulate many functions cancer needs to control like cell proliferation, differentiation and death.
"We started by asking questions about how immunotherapy can change the metabolism of tumor cells. Our studies show tumor necrosis factor alpha can act directly on tumor cells and induce ROS inside them," Zhou says.
The bottom line of the metabolic changes include, for example, complete tumor regression in nearly all the tested mice.
The scientists found similar effects -- higher ROS levels correlated with high tumor cell death -- when the therapy was used in models of breast cancer and lymphoma.
Tumor necrosis factor alpha appears key to these desired results following adoptive T cell therapy, because when the scientists eliminated it from the equation, tumor cell death decreased dramatically.
Scavenging ROS had a similar effect. When they gave the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine -- a precursor to glutathione -- it also hampered the curative effect of adoptive T cell therapy, they report.
They also found that tumor necrosis factor alpha synergizes with chemotherapy to increase oxidative stress and cancer cell death. And, that giving pro-oxidants -- drugs known to raise ROS levels -- can somewhat replicate the tumor-killing benefit of adoptive T cell therapy. It's known that these drugs may increase oxidative stress in cancer cells and push them toward death, or apoptosis, Zhou says.
"Their baseline is already high and if you further disrupt their ability to deal with these free radicals, they will go toward apoptosis," Zhou says.
In fact, in an apparent failed attempt to fight off the higher ROS, the scientists found increased expression of several antioxidant genes in treated tumor cells.
The significant, cancer-lethal ROS increases they found were limited to the tumor cells, not other nearby cell types.
The scientists note that the direct killing of tumors by ROS they saw does not negate the possibility that tumor necrosis factor alpha also is working through its previously known method of killing off blood supplies to tumors.
Antioxidant therapy in patients with active cancer has drawn mixed results, but most studies indicate that it worsens cancer, particularly in smokers, according to the National Cancer Institute. Preclinical studies in mice indicate the therapy promotes tumor growth and metastasis. Studies exploring the benefit of antioxidant therapy in preventing cancer have largely shown no benefit or harm, the NCI says.
Tumors are known to impact T cells. In fact scientists have shown that the two can compete for nutrition and energy in the tumor microenvironment, remote sites tumors establish to successfully spread, the scientists write. It's T cells that usually get short shrift in the struggle.
Comparatively little focus has been on what T cells do to tumors, Zhou and his colleagues report. But better understanding of that impact should help improve immunotherapies, like adoptive T cell therapy, that seek to enable T cells to better target tumors.
Adoptive T cell therapy is still under development for treatment of colorectal cancer. This therapeutic approach was already known to essentially poke holes in cancer cells to kill them.
ROS are chemicals like peroxide and superoxide that are byproducts of necessary body functions like the use of oxygen and energy production by cell powerhouses called mitochondria. One reason cancer cells have naturally higher ROS levels is they have a high energy demand, Zhou says, constantly working to grow and spread.
Some level of ROS also benefits our healthy cells, including cell proliferation and differentiation. But, too much is also deadly to normal cells, even damaging to DNA.
The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and an American Cancer Society Research Scholar grant.
How pancreatic tumors lead to weight loss
Published: June 20, 2018
Patients with pancreatic cancer usually experience significant weight loss, which can begin very early in the disease. A new study from MIT and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute offers insight into how this happens, and suggests that the weight loss may not necessarily affect patients' survival.
In a study of mice, the researchers found that weight loss occurs due to a reduction in key pancreatic enzymes that normally help digest food. When the researchers treated these mice with replacement enzymes, they were surprised to find that while the mice did regain weight, they did not survive any longer than untreated mice.
Pancreatic cancer patients are sometimes given replacement enzymes to help them gain weight, but the new findings suggest that more study is needed to determine whether that actually benefits patients, says Matt Vander Heiden, an associate professor of biology at MIT and a member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.
"We have to be very careful not to draw medical advice from a mouse study and apply it to humans," Vander Heiden says. "The study does raise the question of whether enzyme replacement is good or bad for patients, which needs to be studied in a clinical trial."
Vander Heiden and Brian Wolpin, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, are the senior authors of the study, which appears in the June 20 issue of Nature. The paper's lead authors are Laura Danai, a former MIT postdoc, and Ana Babic, an instructor in medicine at Dana-Farber.
In a 2014 study, Vander Heiden and his colleagues found that muscle starts breaking down very early in pancreatic cancer patients, usually long before any other signs of the disease appear.
Still unknown was how this tissue wasting process occurs. One hypothesis was that pancreatic tumors overproduce some kind of signaling factor, such as a hormone, that circulates in the bloodstream and promotes breakdown of muscle and fat.
However, in their new study, the MIT and Dana-Farber researchers found that this was not the case. Instead, they discovered that even very tiny, early-stage pancreatic tumors can impair the production of key digestive enzymes. Mice with these early-stage tumors lost weight even though they ate the same amount of food as normal mice. These mice were unable to digest all of their food, so they went into a starvation mode where the body begins to break down other tissues, especially fat.
The researchers found that when they implanted pancreatic tumor cells elsewhere in the body, this weight loss did not occur. That suggests the tumor cells are not secreting a weight-loss factor that circulates in the bloodstream; instead, they only stimulate tissue wasting when they are in the pancreas.
The researchers then explored whether reversing this weight loss would improve survival. Treating the mice with pancreatic enzymes did reverse the weight loss. However, these mice actually survived for a shorter period of time than mice that had pancreatic tumors but did not receive the enzymes. That finding, while surprising, is consistent with studies in mice that have shown that calorie restriction can have a protective effect against cancer and other diseases.
"It turns out that this mechanism of tissue wasting is actually protective, at least for the mice, in the same way that limiting calories can be protective for mice," Vander Heiden says.
The intriguing findings from the mouse study prompted the research team to see if they could find any connection between weight loss and survival in human patients. In an analysis of medical records and blood samples from 782 patients, they found no link between degree of tissue wasting at the time of diagnosis and length of survival. That finding is important because it could reassure patients that weight loss does not necessarily mean that the patient will do worse, Vander Heiden says.
"Sometimes you can't do anything about this weight loss, and this finding may mean that just because the patient is eating less and is losing weight, that doesn't necessarily mean that they're shortening their life," he says.
The researchers say that more study is needed to determine if the same mechanism they discovered in mice is also occurring in human cancer patients. Because the mechanism they found is very specific to pancreatic tumors, it may differ from the underlying causes behind tissue wasting seen in other types of cancer and diseases such as HIV.
"From a mechanistic standpoint, this study reveals a very different way to think about what could be causing at least some weight loss in pancreatic cancer, suggesting that not all weight loss is the same across different cancers," Vander Heiden says. "And it raises questions that we really need to study more, because some mechanisms may be protective and some mechanisms may be bad for you."
Hypnosis may help reduce fear of cancer treatment in children
Published: June 19, 2018
Hypnosis could help to reduce the fear of medical procedures in children and young people with cancer.
New research led by the University of Exeter found promising evidence that hypnosis can reduce the fear and worry associated with injections and other needle procedures, such as extracting bone marrow.
Previous research has shown that these procedures often provoke more anxiety in children and young people than the cancer itself. Up to half of children with cancer experience clinically significant emotional distress. This can cause additional anguish for the child and for their families and have a long-lasting impact on mental health.
The Exeter team worked with Devon Integrated Children's Service to analyse all the available evidence on ways to reduce this anxiety without using drugs. The study is published in Psycho-Oncolgy and was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South West Peninsula (PenCLAHRC).
Tamsin Ford, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Exeter Medical School, said: "Getting a cancer diagnosis as a child is clearly extremely distressing for both the young person and their family. We must do all we can do to improve their mental health during this highly emotional time. Hypnosis is inexpensive to deliver, and our research found promise that it could help to reduce the fear and anxiety of multiple needle procedures. We now need high quality trials to demonstrate whether hypnosis should be adopted in clinics ."
The team also looked at evidence around listening to music, virtual reality and cognitive behavioural therapy, however the research was contradictory.
The paper, Effectiveness of non-pharmacological interventions to reduce procedural anxiety in children and adolescents undergoing treatment for cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis, is published in Psycho-Oncolgy. Authors were Michael Nunns, Dominic Mayhew, Tamsin Ford, Morwenna Rogers, Christine Curle, Stuart Logan, and Darren Moore.
Laser-sonic scanner aims to replace mammograms for finding breast cancer
Published: June 18, 2018
For women over 40, mammography is a necessary yet annoying procedure to endure every year or two. The technique, while valuable for reducing breast cancer deaths, is less than ideal because it exposes patients to X-ray radiation and requires their breasts to be painfully squished between plates. The plates flatten the breast so the X-rays can more easily pass through it and produce a clear image.
Early detection has been shown to increase breast cancer survival rates, but many women avoid having their mammograms taken as often as they should because of the discomfort involved. A 2013 study found that as many as half of women who were avoiding their mammograms cited pain as the reason why.
Mammography also has trouble with breasts, such as those in young women, that are "radiographically dense," or somewhat opaque to X-rays. And mammography tends to overdiagnose, causing around half of women to receive a false-positive diagnosis at some point in their lives.
Caltech researchers say they have developed something better: a laser-sonic scanner that can find tumors in as little as 15 seconds by shining pulses of light into the breast. The scanning system, known as photoacoustic computed tomography, or PACT, was developed in the lab of Lihong Wang, Caltech's Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering.
PACT works by shining a near-infrared laser pulse into the breast tissue. The laser light diffuses through the breast and is absorbed by oxygen-carrying hemoglobin molecules in the patient's red blood cells, causing the molecules to vibrate ultrasonically. Those vibrations travel through the tissue and are picked up by an array of 512 tiny ultrasonic sensors around the skin of the breast. The data from those sensors are used to assemble an image of the breast's internal structures in a process that is similar to ultrasound imaging, though much more precise. PACT can provide a clear view of structures as small as a quarter of a millimeter at a depth of 4 centimeters. Mammograms cannot provide soft-tissue contrast with the level of detail in PACT images, Wang says.
Because the laser light at the currently used wavelength is so strongly absorbed by hemoglobin, PACT can construct images that primarily show the blood vessels present in the tissue being scanned. That's useful for finding cancer because many tumors grow their own blood vessels, surrounding themselves with dense networks of vascular tissue. Those vessels provide the tumors with large amounts of blood and allow the tumors to grow quickly.
During a PACT scan, the patient lies face down on a table that has a recess containing ultrasonic sensors and the laser. One breast at a time is placed in the recess, and the laser shines into it from underneath. Since the scan is quick, taking only 15 seconds, the patient can easily hold their breath while being scanned, and a clearer image can be developed.
"This is the only single-breath-hold technology that gives us high-contrast, high-resolution, 3-D images of the entire breast," Wang says.
The speed with which a PACT scan can be performed gives it advantages over other imaging techniques. For example, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans can take 45 minutes. MRI scans are also expensive and sometimes requires contrast agents to be injected into the patient's blood.
"Gadolinium, for example, is a common contrast agent for MRI which is not totally innocuous," Wang says. "Gadolinium may cause nausea and vomiting, and can remain in the brain for years, with unknown long-term effects. In comparison, PACT is entirely safe; the blood serves as an intrinsic contrast agent, and the laser exposure is well within the safety limits."
In a recent pilot study, the researchers scanned the breasts of eight women using PACT, and correctly identified eight of the nine breast tumors that were present.
The PACT technology has already been licensed by a company, of which Wang is a founder and shareholder, that plans to commercialize it and conduct large-scale clinical studies, Wang says.
"Our goal is to build a dream machine for breast screening, diagnosis, monitoring, and prognosis without any harm to the patient," he says. "We want it to be fast, painless, safe, and inexpensive."
Wang says future research may focus on using PACT for imaging other parts of the body. It could give medical personnel the ability to assess the health of the vascular tissue in the extremities of a patient with diabetes, for example. Diabetes damages blood vessels and, if not properly diagnosed and treated, can cause tissue death, particularly in the feet. PACT is also able to differentiate between oxygenated and non-oxygenated blood; Wang says that could further improve the device's ability to find tumors, since cancer tissue, with its high oxygen demands, deoxygenates blood more rapidly than healthy tissue.
Vitamin D May Guard Against Colon Cancer
Published: June 15, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- The sun you get when you mow the lawn or run errands could protect you against colon cancer, new research shows.
How? Sunlight prompts the production of vitamin D, and people with sufficient levels of the vitamin had a 22 percent lower risk of colon cancer, said lead researcher Marjorie McCullough. She's senior scientific director of epidemiology research for the American Cancer Society.
That risk also appears to decrease further as vitamin D levels rise, though the study did not prove that sunlight causes colon cancer risk to drop.
The chances of developing colon cancer decline about 19 percent in women and 7 percent in men for every incremental increase in blood vitamin D levels, the researchers found.
"It appeared across most of the range we were looking at, the relationship was linear," McCullough said.
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women in the United States, with about 140,250 new cases and 50,630 deaths expected during 2018, the researchers said in background notes.
About 1 in every 24 women and 1 in every 22 men will develop colon cancer during their lifetime, they said.
"It has long been postulated that vitamin D deficiency can cause other problems besides osteoporosis and immune system dysfunction," said Dr. Len Horovitz, an internist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City who was not involved with the study.
"The suspicion that vitamin D deficiency might be responsible for the development of cancer is corroborated in this study, where vitamin D deficiency and colorectal cancer are linked," Horovitz said.
Don't start baking yourself to avoid colon cancer, however.
Only about 7 percent of the U.S. population have levels of vitamin D deficiency low enough to increase their risk of colon cancer, McCullough said.
"If you live in a sunny area year-round, or if you're living in an area where the spring and summer months are warmer, your levels will be higher just incidentally," McCullough said. "We do not recommend people seek sun exposure to raise their vitamin D levels, because UV radiation is a strong risk factor for skin cancer."
Vitamin D has long been associated with bone health, but the nutrient hasn't been recommended to protect against colon cancer or other health problems due to scant research, McCullough said.
When the U.S. National Academy of Medicine put out its vitamin D guidelines in 2011, it concluded that the medical evidence of vitamin D benefits for cancer were not sufficient enough to make a recommendation, she said.
To clear this up, McCullough and her colleagues combined data from 17 different studies involving 5,706 people with colon cancer and 7,107 healthy participants from the United States, Europe and Asia.
The researchers even reanalyzed blood samples from about a third of the participants, so they could perform a more direct apples-to-apples comparison across all of the 17 studies.
They concluded that vitamin D does indeed appear to provide protection against colon cancer, particularly for women.
Most people get enough vitamin D just by living their lives, McCullough said.
The sunlight you get from a casual walk down the street, running errands, and even walking from the car or train to your office building is sufficient to stimulate proper vitamin D production in your body, she said.
People also get vitamin D from fortified foods like milk, cereal and orange juice, and from fatty fish like salmon, tuna, trout and swordfish, McCullough said.
Because of this, people shouldn't rely on supplements to get their vitamin D, McCullough said. Heavy doses of vitamin D can be toxic.
"High-dose individual supplements are not recommended," she said.
It's not known exactly why vitamin D could protect against cancer, but researchers suspect the vitamin plays a role in controlling cell growth and promoting programmed cell death, McCullough said.
"Cancer occurs when there's uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells," she said. "Experimental studies have shown that vitamin D can help to limit proliferation of abnormal cells."
Tomato extracts KILL stomach cancer cells, new study shows
Published: June 13, 2018
(Natural News) When you think of cancer-fighting foods, what usually comes to mind? Perhaps you think of turmeric, ginger, or green tea, but what about tomatoes? You’re probably aware they’re good for you, but did you know they can actually reduce your risk of stomach cancer?
That was the finding of a study carried out by Temple University and the Mercogliano Oncology Research Center in Italy. The researchers analyzed the lipophilic extracts of whole tomatoes to determine their impact on the neoplastic features of cell lines in gastric cancer. They discovered that extracts taken from two tomato varieties in particular, San Marzano and Corbarino, could stop malignant stomach cancer cells from cloning and growing. The whole tomato extracts stopped the cells from migrating away from the primary tumor, causing them to die.
If you’re into cooking, you’re probably already familiar with San Marzano tomatoes, which are the preferred variety for pizza sauce. These plum tomatoes grow near Mount Vesuvius, where the rich volcanic soil gives them their distinctive sweet flesh and low acidity. Their meaty texture, thick skin, and relatively low amount of seeds combine to make them quite different from ordinary tomatoes. Corbarino tomatoes grow in the same area and boast similar characteristics.
The researchers say that the anti-tumor effects of these tomatoes do not come from specific components like lycopene alone; instead, their results indicate that the entire tomato needs to be consumed to reap the benefits. It’s a significant finding when you consider that stomach cancer is the world’s most common type of cancer. Their findings were published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology.
Tomatoes full of cancer-fighting lycopene
Despite being a staple in the Mediterranean diet, this is one of just a handful of studies to look at the effects of the entire tomato. However, different components of tomatoes have been studied extensively over the years for their cancer-fighting abilities. Lycopene, for example, has been explored in-depth for its ability to destroy free radicals. The antioxidant is what gives the tomatoes their red color. While small amounts can be found in watermelon, grapefruit, and guava, four-fifths of the lycopene in the average American’s diet comes from tomatoes and tomato products such as tomato juice, spaghetti sauce, and ketchup.
Studies have shown that lycopene can prevent cancers of the lung, prostate, stomach, colon, pancreas, esophagus, cervix, and breast. In addition, it can help reduce a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease thanks to its cholesterol and blood pressure lowering effects.
Further research is needed to explore whether other types of tomatoes could have a similar effect. It’s possible that some varieties have a greater effect than others, and it would be useful to find out which ones are the most powerful cancer fighters.
Start eating more organic tomatoes today
In the meantime, you can’t go wrong by incorporating more tomatoes into your diet. Choose organic varieties and try to buy local whenever possible. Cooking them increases the bioavailability of lycopene, as does consuming them with a fat like olive oil or cheese.
If you’re not a fan of cooked tomato dishes, experiment with different ways of consuming them raw – for example, sliced and drizzled with balsamic vinegar, chopped up in a green or pasta salad, or with other vegetables as part of a fresh homemade salsa. Don’t miss out on this powerful gift from nature!
Balanced Diet May Be Key to Cancer Survival
Published: June 12, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Eating a nutritionally balanced high-quality diet may lower a cancer patient's risk of dying by as much as 65 percent, new research suggests.
The finding that total diet, rather than specific nutritional components, can affect a cancer patient's prognosis "was particularly surprising to us," said the study's lead author, Ashish Deshmukh.
Total diet, he explained, was one that appeared to be "balanced" and "nutrient-rich" with a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, proteins and dairy.
Deshmukh is an assistant professor with the University of Florida's College of Public Health and Health Professions.
To explore the impact of nutrition on cancer, the researchers sifted through data collected between 1988 and 1994 by the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). Almost 34,000 people were included in the survey, which asked all participants to offer up a 24-hour diet diary.
The team then used the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) "Dietary Guidelines for Americans" as a yardstick for ranking the nutritional quality of the diets used by 1,200 people who had been diagnosed with cancer.
The USDA guidelines specify serving recommendations for fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, dairy, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.
In turn, all 1,200 patients were then tracked for an average of 17 years, with researchers verifying all subsequent deaths -- up to 2011 -- through the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics Linked Mortality Files.
By that point, half the cancer patients had died.
But the research team found that those who had consumed the most nutritious diets overall had a 65 percent lower risk for dying -- either from cancer or any other cause -- than those who had consumed the worse diets.
Deshmukh noted that the investigation did not assess the exact length of the survival benefit, nor did the researchers explore how exercise or other types of healthy behavior may impact cancer outcomes. Only an association was seen between diet and death risk, not a cause-and-effect link.
But the researchers noted that the overall strength of the protective benefit of eating well held up even after digging deeper to look at the specific risk of dying from certain types of cancer, including skin cancer and breast cancer.
"It is most critical that cancer survivors and their health care providers start talking about [a] balanced diet," said Deshmukh. "It is also crucial that cancer survivors work with their dietitians to identify a balanced diet regimen, and then follow that regimen.
"There are no harms [from] healthful eating," he added.
Marjorie Lynn McCullough is a senior scientific director of epidemiology research with the American Cancer Society. She noted that the "study had some limitations, such as not controlling for smoking, and evaluating older nutrition guidelines which have since been modified." She was not involved with the study.
But, she added, the findings are "generally consistent with growing evidence supporting recommendations to eat a healthy diet for cancer survivors."
Like the guidelines for cancer prevention, McCullough said, that means lowering the intake of sugar and empty calories by consuming "a mostly plant-based diet, including a variety of vegetables, whole fruits and whole grains, in addition to exercise and achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight.
"However, nutrition needs can vary during treatment, recovery and over the long term," she cautioned, "so cancer survivors should work with their health care practitioner to tailor advice on nutrition and physical activity to their situation."
Genetic markers for prostate cancer
Published: June 11, 2018
An international team of researchers including USC scientists has found scores of new genetic markers in DNA code that increase prostate cancer risk -- powerful knowledge likely to prove useful to detect and prevent the disease.
Focusing on DNA of more than 140,000 men worldwide, researchers were able to identify 63 new genetic markers associated with prostate cancer risk. That greatly increases the number of genetic risk regions, bringing the total to more than 170 and moving scientists closer to using genetic information for clinical treatment.
The results will help bridge the gap between cancer research diagnosis and treatment, equipping physicians with tools to screen at-risk patients. The study, based at USC with collaborators worldwide, including the London-based Institute of Cancer Research, was published today in Nature Genetics.
"This is not a cure, but the information can help to identify men at high risk of developing prostate cancer who may benefit from enhanced screening and future targeted prevention," said Christopher A. Haiman, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and a principal investigator for the project.
Prostate cancer is the second-most common cancer in American men, with one in nine men being diagnosed in their lifetime, and the third-leading cause of cancer death for men.
To identify genetic markers associated with prostate cancer risk, the researchers used "OncoArray," a new DNA analysis, to compare more than half a million single-letter changes in the DNA code of nearly 80,000 men with prostate cancer and more than 61,000 men without the disease. The researchers identified 63 new variants in DNA, which when inherited increased a man's risk of prostate cancer. Each individually had only a small effect on risk, but the combined effect of inheriting multiple variants could be dramatic.
The findings show that 1 percent of men at highest risk were 5.7 times more likely than the general population to develop prostate cancer -- an increase in absolute risk from about one in 11 to one in two. The researchers were able to identify that high-risk population because it inherited many of the harmful genetic variants.
And the top 10 percent in the population risk distribution were 2.7 times more likely to develop the disease than the general population -- corresponding to a risk of almost one in four.
With the addition of dozens more genetic markers to previously known markers, almost 30 percent of a man's inherited risk of prostate cancer has been accounted for -- which may now be enough to start using the information in practical testing strategies, according to the study.
"We now have the ability to identify men at greater risk of prostate cancer," Haiman said. "We now need to figure out how to use this genetic information to prevent the disease."
These genetic markers may also one day help guide treatment for prostate cancer. Many of the new genetic variants were found in the region of genes involved in communication among cells of the immune system and other cells in the body. This implies that genetic errors in immune pathways may be affecting prostate cancer risk, which could have important implications for potential future treatment of prostate cancer with immunotherapies.
The study comes with caveats. For example, it focuses on white males only. Haiman said parallel studies are underway to study other ethnic groups. For reasons unknown, African-American men face a 74 percent greater risk of prostate cancer than in non-Hispanic white men, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
The global scope of the project enabled researchers to collect massive amounts of DNA and compare genetic variants, which was key to achieving critical mass to make new discoveries. About 200 researchers worldwide participated, including experts from the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, Germany, China, Finland, Belgium, Spain, Poland, Malaysia and Croatia, among others.
Five scientists from the Keck School of Medicine participated in the study, including Haiman, Sue Ann Ingles, Mariana C. Stern, David V. Conti and the late Brian E. Henderson, who proposed the study more than three years ago. Henderson was a former dean of the Keck School, first director of the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute and director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer.
Aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States. It is also one of the leading causes of cancer death among men of all races. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates 172,258 men in the United States were diagnosed with prostate cancer and 28,343 men died from prostate cancer in 2014, the most recent year such data is available.
The study was supported by a National Institutes of Health grant (U19CA148537). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Not just for coffee: Cinnamon found to have potent anti-cancer effects in latest research
Published: June 10, 2018
(Natural News) A study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine has established that Cinnamomum cassia, or more commonly known as Chinese cinnamon, has been found to have anti-cancer effects.
The study was a collaborative effort from researchers at the National Institute of Forest Science, Andong National University, and Kyonggi University in South Korea. In particular, they took an extract from the twigs of the Chinese cinnamon, which they studied its ability to prevent cell growth and induce cell death (apoptosis) in human colorectal cancer cells. To understand the antiproliferative effect, that is, the ability to inhibit growth, of the extract – as well as the change of protein or mRNA levels – of the extract, researchers used an MTT assay to check cell activity, including a Western blot, and RT-RCR, respectively.
Based on the findings, researchers discovered that extracts derived from the twigs of the Chinese cinnamon were able to reduce the chances of human colorectal cancer cells to infiltrate other cells successfully. In particular, this was successful because the extract decreased cyclin D1 protein levels, which had a role in cell proliferation. They also found that the extract stimulated apoptosis by activating ROS-dependent NF-κB and ATF3.
The researchers then concluded that Chinese cinnamon could be used as an agent in treating colorectal cancer. “This study may support the anti-cancer property of TC-HW [C. cassia extracts] from and our data will provide the complementary and alternative use of TC-HW for cancer treatment,” they wrote.
Cinnamon and its other health benefits
In the U.S., the most common type of cinnamon sold is the cassia variety. On the other hand, Ceylon cinnamon (C. zeylanicum) is another variety of cinnamon that is more difficult to find, making it more expensive. Cinnamon is made by cutting the stems of the Cinnamomum tree, in which the inner bark is then extracted while the woody parts are removed. Upon drying, it forms strips that curl into rolls called cinnamon sticks, which can be grounded to form the cinnamon powder. The oily part of cinnamon gives its distinct smell and flavor. This part is also abundant in a compound called cinnamaldehyde. This compound is responsible for most of the beneficial effects of cinnamon. More than just a spice, cinnamon has been known for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. Listed below are some of the health benefits of cinnamon:
Breaking through a tumor's defenses
Published: June 7, 2018
In research published today, Babraham Institute researchers have shown that some tumours use not one but two levels of protection against the immune system. Knocking out one level boosted the protective effects of the second and vice versa. The research demonstrates that a two-pronged approach targeting both cell types simultaneously may offer a promising route for the development of new cancer immunotherapies.
The development and growth of a cancerous tumour often occurs despite a fully functioning immune system, capable of recognising and killing cancer cells. Tumours hijack certain cells in our immune system to create a growth-permissive environment and give protection from the anti-tumour elements. In particular, tumours recruit immune cell allies, cells called tumour-associated macrophages (TAMs) and regulatory T cells (Treg), to evade immune attack.
Specifically inhibiting the recruitment of TAMs by blocking the actions of a protein called colony-stimulating factor 1 (CSF1) reduces tumour growth in mouse models. Although clinical trials of inhibitors targeting TAMs are underway, results in patients haven't been as effective as hoped. A lack of understanding of how TAMs promote tumour progression potentially limits the therapeutic value of these inhibitors.
Likewise, inhibiting the action of Treg cells in mice by inactivating a key enzyme called PI3K delta gives protection against a range of tumours. A PI3K delta inhibitor is approved for treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), but the potential for PI3K delta inhibitors for the treatment of solid cancers in humans is yet to be demonstrated.
The research published today used a mouse model of colorectal cancer to explore the synergy between TAMs and Treg cells, showing that each cell type was able to compensate for the effects of the loss of the other to maintain the tumour's protection from the immune system. However, jointly inhibiting TAMs and Treg cells substantially inhibited tumour growth.
Dr David Gyori, first author on the paper, said: "Strikingly, preventing tumour immunosuppression by both TAMs and Treg cells caused almost complete tumour rejection by the immune system and half of the mice became completely tumour-free. Taken together, our findings provide a convincing rationale for assessing the clinical value of combinatorial therapies targeting the CSF1 receptor and PI3K delta."
Professor Klaus Okkenhaug, one of the authors on the study by Gyori et al. and a parallel study by Lim et al. said: "Harnessing the power of the immune system to kill cancer cells is becoming a successful therapeutic strategy. These studies demonstrate the importance of fully understanding the interplay between the many elements of the immune system to ensure that combinatorial therapies are both synergistic and effective."
Colonoscopies, Endoscopies Carry Greater Infection Risk Than Thought: Study
Published: June 6, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Getting a colonoscopy or an endoscopy may be riskier than you thought.
Researchers report that the rate of infections following these procedures at outpatient ambulatory surgery centers could be 100 times higher than previously believed, a new study finds.
Bacterial infections such as E. coli and Klebsiella can strike 1 in 1,000 patients after a screening colonoscopy, nearly 2 in 1,000 after a non-screening colonoscopy, and more than 3 in 1,000 after an endoscopy, the study authors said.
Previously, it had been believed that the rate of infection after endoscopy was 1 in 1 million, the researchers noted.
"Though patients are routinely told that common endoscopic procedures are safe, we found that post-endoscopic infections are more common than we thought, and that they vary widely from one … facility to another," said lead researcher Susan Hutfless, an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
More than 15 million colonoscopies and 7 million upper-GI endoscopies are performed with an endoscope each year in the United States. An endoscope is a reusable optical instrument that let's an endoscopist view a patient's gastrointestinal tract. The scopes can be used to check for diseases such as colon cancer, or to perform a number of procedures, such as polyp removal, without the need for invasive surgery, the study authors said.
Using an insurance claim database, Hutfless and her colleagues gathered data from six states -- California, Florida, Georgia, Nebraska, New York and Vermont. They tracked emergency room visits for infections and hospital admissions for seven and 30 days after a colonoscopy or endoscopy at an outpatient specialty center.
Hutfless' team also found that people who had been hospitalized before one of the procedures had even a greater risk of infection.
In fact, nearly 45 in 1,000 patients hospitalized within 30 days before a screening colonoscopy went to the hospital within a month suffering from an infection. For those hospitalized before an endoscopy, the rate of infections was more than 59 per 1,000.
Although outpatient centers that perform these procedures were established more than 40 years ago, they have gained popularity over the last 20 years because they are more convenient and less expensive than hospitals.
In 2017, according to the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association, 64 percent of these clinics were owned by doctors and 28 percent were affiliated with hospitals or health care systems. Because these centers often don't maintain electronic medical records, they are not likely to be aware that patients are being infected during their procedures.
"If they don't know their patients are developing these serious infections, they're not motivated to improve their infection control," Hutfless said in a Hopkins news release.
While the majority of these outpatient centers follow strict infection-control guidelines, the researchers found that rates of infections at some centers were more than 100 times higher than expected.
Endoscopy and colonoscopy have revolutionized treatment and prevention of gastric diseases, but patients should be aware of the risk of infection associated with these procedures, the researchers concluded.
Here’s why you should avoid a high-carb diet if you have cancer
Published: June 5, 2018
(Natural News) Most people think that having cancer is like winning a twisted lottery: Your chances of being selected are pretty slim, but once you are picked, your life changes forever. There’s just one problem – cancer isn’t something you get, it’s a disease primarily caused by unhealthy diets and poor lifestyle choices.
In particular, people who are yet to undergo cancer treatment still consume a diet full of carbohydrates and various forms of sugar increase their risk of cancer recurrence, and in severe cases, mortality, according to an article in the International Journal of Cancer. In the study, lead author Anna Arthur of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign added that conversely, eating fats and starchy foods in moderation could reduce these risks.
Researchers looked at what cancer patients were eating before and after their treatment and their corresponding health outcomes. The study, which ran for over two years, involved 400 patients from the University of Michigan Head and Neck Specialized Program of Research Excellence (Head and Neck SPORE) who were recently diagnosed and treated for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).
HNSCC is the collective term for cancers that develop from the squamous cells that line mucosal surfaces inside the head and neck. The usual areas where HNSCC develop include the oral cavity, throat, larynx (or voice box), the paranasal sinuses and sinus cavity, and the salivary glands.
Using the Harvard Food Frequency Questionnaire, the researchers were able to identify which food items, beverages, and supplements patients had taken a year before they were diagnosed with cancer. The team discovered that those who ate the most amounts of total carbohydrates and sugars – especially sucrose, fructose, lactose, and maltose – a year prior to their treatment were most likely to die from any cause during their follow-up period, according to Arthur. In the same vein, these people consumed, on average, at least 4.4 servings of simple carbohydrates, which included refined grains, desserts, and sugar-sweetened beverages – a far cry from the 1.3 servings of those who ate the lowest amounts. Also, the most commonly diagnosed HNSCC types include the tonsils and the base of the tongue including its surrounding tissues, with nearly 70 percent of diagnoses made at the later stages of the disease.
In the follow-up period, more than 17 percent of patients had a recurring case, with 42 patients dying from it. Researchers also noted that 70 participants died from other causes.
Of the results, Arthur explained that the cancer type and stage also played a role in concert with carbohydrate consumption. Those who consumed the highest amounts of carbohydrates and sugars had oral cavity cancer. Likewise, the two factors were also linked to an uptick in mortality risk in people with stages 1-3 cancer, but not stage 4.
“Although in this study we found that higher total carbohydrate and total sugar were associated with higher mortality in head and neck cancer patients, because of the study design we can’t say that there’s a definitive cause-effect relationship,” she added. “The next step would be to conduct a randomized clinical trial to test whether carbohydrate restriction has a protective effect on survival rates.”
There’s still a silver lining to this study: Eating a moderate amount of various forms of fat and starch after treatment may improve a patient’s survival rate and increase his chances of remission, researchers pointed out.
“Our results, along with the findings of other studies, suggest that diet composition can affect cancer outcomes,” co-author Amy Goss of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) explained. “We’d like to determine if this is true using a prospective, intervention study design and identify the underlying mechanisms. For example, how does cutting back on sugar and other dietary sources of glucose affect cancer growth?”
For patients with HNSCC, this is great news: Among all cancers, the five-year survival rates of patients with this type of cancer are low since these are detected in later stages.
“This observational study is noteworthy because it focuses on a serious cancer that is difficult to treat, and little is known about how nutrition can best help a patient battling it,” added Dr. Laura Rogers, a co-author of the study and a professor of nutrition sciences at UAB. “This study reiterates the importance of additional intervention studies that test optimal diet recommendations for cancer survivors.”
Many breast cancer patients can skip chemo, big study finds
Published: June 4, 2018
Most women with the most common form of early-stage breast cancer can safely skip chemotherapy without hurting their chances of beating the disease, doctors are reporting from a landmark study that used genetic testing to gauge each patient's risk.
The study is the largest ever done of breast cancer treatment, and the results are expected to spare up to 70,000 patients a year in the United States and many more elsewhere the ordeal and expense of these drugs.
"The impact is tremendous," said the study leader, Dr. Joseph Sparano of Montefiore Medical Center in New York. Most women in this situation don't need treatment beyond surgery and hormone therapy, he said.
The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute, some foundations and proceeds from the U.S. breast cancer postage stamp. Results were discussed Sunday at an American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago and published by the New England Journal of Medicine. Some study leaders consult for breast cancer drugmakers or for the company that makes the gene test.
MOVING AWAY FROM CHEMO
Cancer care has been evolving away from chemotherapy — older drugs with harsh side effects — in favor of gene-targeting therapies, hormone blockers and immune system treatments. When chemo is used now, it's sometimes for shorter periods or lower doses than it once was.
For example, another study at the conference found that Merck's immunotherapy drug Keytruda worked better than chemo as initial treatment for most people with the most common type of lung cancer, and with far fewer side effects.
The breast cancer study focused on cases where chemo's value increasingly is in doubt: women with early-stage disease that has not spread to lymph nodes, is hormone-positive (meaning its growth is fueled by estrogen or progesterone) and is not the type that the drug Herceptin targets.
The usual treatment is surgery followed by years of a hormone-blocking drug. But many women also are urged to have chemo to help kill any stray cancer cells. Doctors know that most don't need it, but evidence is thin on who can forgo it.
The study gave 10,273 patients a test called Oncotype DX, which uses a biopsy sample to measure the activity of genes involved in cell growth and response to hormone therapy, to estimate the risk that a cancer will recur.
WHAT THE STUDY FOUND
About 17 percent of women had high-risk scores and were advised to have chemo. The 16 percent with low-risk scores now know they can skip chemo, based on earlier results from this study.
The new results are on the 67 percent of women at intermediate risk. All had surgery and hormone therapy, and half also got chemo.
After nine years, 94 percent of both groups were still alive, and about 84 percent were alive without signs of cancer, so adding chemo made no difference.
Certain women 50 or younger did benefit from chemo; slightly fewer cases of cancer spreading far beyond the breast occurred among some of them given chemo, depending on their risk scores on the gene test.
WILL PEOPLE TRUST THE RESULTS?
All women like those in the study should get gene testing to guide their care, said Dr. Richard Schilsky, chief medical officer of the oncology society. Oncotype DX costs around $4,000, which Medicare and many insurers cover. Similar tests including one called MammaPrint also are widely used.
Testing solved a big problem of figuring out who needs chemo, said Dr. Harold Burstein of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Many women think "if I don't get chemotherapy I'm going to die, and if I get chemo I'm going to be cured," but the results show there's a sliding scale of benefit and sometimes none, he said.
Dr. Lisa Carey, a breast specialist at the University of North Carolina's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, said she would be very comfortable advising patients to skip chemo if they were like those in the study who did not benefit from it.
Dr. Jennifer Litton at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, agreed, but said: "Risk to one person is not the same thing as risk to another. There are some people who say, 'I don't care what you say, I'm never going to do chemo,'" and won't even have the gene test, she said. Others want chemo for even the smallest chance of benefit.
Adine Usher, 78, who lives in Hartsdale, New York, joined the study 10 years ago at Montefiore and was randomly assigned to the group given chemo.
"I was a little relieved. I sort of viewed chemo as extra insurance," she said. The treatments "weren't pleasant," she concedes. Her hair fell out, she developed an infection and was hospitalized for a low white blood count, "but it was over fairly quickly and I'm really glad I had it."
If doctors had recommended she skip chemo based on the gene test, "I would have accepted that," she said. "I'm a firm believer in medical research."
How might baking soda boost cancer therapy?
Published: June 1, 2018
A Ludwig Cancer Research study has uncovered an entirely novel mechanism by which cells enter a state of dormancy as tissues starved of oxygen become increasingly acidic. The study, led by Chi Van Dang, scientific director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, has potentially significant implications for cancer therapy: Large swaths of solid tumors are often deprived of oxygen, and cells in such patches are thought to be a major source of drug resistance and disease relapses.
Published today in the journal Cell, the study details how in response to acidity cells turn off a critical molecular switch known as mTORC1 that, in ordinary conditions, gauges the availability of nutrients before giving cells the green light to grow and divide. That event, Dang and his colleagues show, shuts down the cell's production of proteins, disrupting their metabolic activity and circadian clocks, and pushing them into a quiescent state. They also demonstrate that this acid-mediated effect might be relatively easy to reverse -- a finding that could help improve a variety of cancer therapies.
"In tumors grafted into mice, we see mTOR activity in spotty places where there's oxygen," says Dang who is also a professor in the Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis Program at The Wistar Institute. "But if you add baking soda to the drinking water given to those mice, the entire tumor lights up with mTOR activity. The prediction would be that by reawakening these cells, you could make the tumor far more sensitive to therapy."
Baking soda had previously been reported to enhance cancer immunotherapy by one of the co-authors of the new study, Robert Gillies of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, though the mechanism underlying the effect was unclear.
Dang's team, including co-corresponding author Zandra Walton, an MD-PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, discovered that mechanism through an intricate series of experiments done at the University of Pennsylvania and Dang's Ludwig lab at the Wistar Institute. It centers on the behavior of lysosomes -- a sack-like cellular organelle that digests proteins and that mTOR moves to when it is ready for action.
The researchers show that in acidic conditions protein motors propel lysosomes carrying mTOR away from the area around the nucleus, where they're ordinarily located. This separates mTOR from a protein required for its activation, RHEB, which continues to hang around at that location. Lacking one of its key activation signals, mTOR remains dormant, suspending the synthesis of proteins -- including the components of the cell's molecular clock -- along with most metabolic activity.
"Cells don't want to make proteins or other biomolecules when they're under stress," says Dang. "They want to slow things down and only awaken when things return to normal."
The researchers show that baking soda can reverse this effect. When given to mice in their drinking water, it surprisingly sufficed to neutralize the acidity of hypoxic patches in tumors. This sent lysosomes zipping back to the nuclear periphery in cells -- where RHEB was waiting -- and restored the activity of mTOR.
All this is relevant to cancer because researchers have long known that quiescent cells cannot typically be killed by chemotherapy. Notably, Dang and his team also found that T cell activation, which is essential to most immunotherapies, is similarly compromised under acidic conditions.
"We started out with a question about oxygen starvation and the circadian clock, and we ended up discovering a new mechanism by which acidic conditions in tissues shut off a lot of things -- including the cell's molecular clock," muses Dang.
The finding that something as simple as baking soda could possibly help reverse this effect and render quiescent cancer cells susceptible to cancer therapies excites Dang.
"The concept is so easy," he says. "It's not some $100,000 per year drug. It's literally just baking soda." Dang and his team are now looking into how acidity might affect immunotherapy and further exploring the acid-induced quiescence of cancer cells.
Many Breast Cancer Survivors Not Getting Needed Mammograms
Published: May 31, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- After surviving a diagnosis of breast cancer, women still need regular screening. But many of them, especially black women, aren't getting the mammograms they need, a new study finds.
It's essential to screen for a return of cancer so it can be treated before symptoms appear, the researchers explained.
"The use of regular mammograms to detect a return of breast cancer before any symptoms appear is associated with better overall survival," said lead researcher Dr. Kathryn Ruddy, director of cancer survivorship at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Rochester, Minn.
"Therefore, clinicians need to make sure that their patients are fully aware of the role these annual mammograms play in screening for new breast cancers as well as for local recurrences," she added. "Creating and implementing survivorship care plans with clear follow-up instructions may help ensure that more survivors adhere to recommended screening schedules."
For the study, Ruddy and her colleagues followed more than 27,000 women for several years after breast cancer surgery. Women who had both breasts removed were excluded, because mammograms are no longer needed for them.
Of the nearly 4,900 women remaining in the study after five years, the researchers tracked how well they kept up with their annual breast cancer screening.
One year after surgery, 13 percent of the women had not had a mammogram. Five years later, the number of women who hadn't had a mammogram in the past year rose to 19 percent, the researchers found.
Over five years, only 50 percent of the women had at least one mammogram each year, Ruddy's team found.
The researchers also found that black women were less likely than white women to get yearly mammograms. Lack of screening may contribute to higher death rates among black women, because recurrence of breast cancer is a major cause for poor outcomes in black women, the researchers said.
The findings were published May 24 in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
"This lack of imaging follow-up represents a missed opportunity for identifying recurrent or new breast cancers among a high-risk patient subgroup," said Dr. Benjamin Anderson in a journal news release. He is a professor of surgery and global health medicine at the University of Washington and vice chair of the network's Guidelines Panel for Breast Cancer.
"Of equal importance, this finding illustrates that our health care system can fail to track sizable groups of cancer patients after completion of treatment," Anderson said.
New Guidelines Lower Colon Cancer Screening Age to 45
Published: May 30, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Most people should now begin colorectal cancer screening at age 45, say new guidelines that were spurred by the rising rate of the disease among younger Americans.
For years, the American Cancer Society (ACS) and other medical groups have advised people at average risk of colon and rectal cancer to begin screening at age 50. Earlier screening has been reserved for people at increased risk.
But the ACS is now changing that advice -- a shift largely driven by the fact that colorectal cancers are increasingly being diagnosed in younger Americans.
Media personality Katie Couric, a longtime advocate in the fight against colon cancer, applauded the move.
"I have seen first-hand the dangers of early onset colon cancer. My late husband, Jay Monahan, was just 41 when he was diagnosed more than 20 years ago," she said in a statement.
"Doctors have noticed an alarming trend -- an increase in people like Jay, under age 50, being diagnosed with the disease," Couric added. "I'm thrilled that the American Cancer Society has responded and revised its guidelines, lowering the recommended age to start screening to 45."
Just last year, an ACS study found that since the mid-1990s, colon cancer rates among Americans aged 20 to 54 have been steadily inching up -- by between 0.5 percent and 2 percent each year. Rectal cancer has risen more rapidly, by 2 percent to 3 percent per year.
Someone born in 1990 now has twice the risk of colon cancer, and four times the risk of rectal cancer, as someone born in 1950, the new report noted.
"It's going up at a pretty alarming rate. And we don't know why," said Dr. Andrew Wolf, who led the ACS guidelines development group.
"Everyone wants to say that it's the obesity epidemic, poor diet and lack of exercise," Wolf said. "But those things do not fully explain the rise."
And, since most people do not start colorectal cancer screening until age 50, changes in screening rates would not account for the increase among younger Americans, he added.
However, it's not certain that screening at age 45 will save more lives, according to Wolf. Clinical trials are the "gold standard" for proving that -- and most trials of screening have not included people younger than 50.
But the ACS commissioned a "modeling" study in developing the new guidelines. It used existing data to estimate the effects of screening at age 45. The conclusion was that earlier screening had a better "benefit-risk ratio" than screening at age 50.
Americans aged 45 to 49 do have a lower rate of colorectal cancer than those aged 50 to 54 -- at about 31 cases per 100,000 people, versus 58 per 100,000.
But, the ACS said, the higher rate among people in their early 50s is partly because they have more early cancers detected through screening. So, the true risk of the disease among people in their late 40s may actually be similar.
The risks of screening, meanwhile, are low, Wolf said. Those hazards are mainly confined to colonoscopies -- which can, rarely, puncture the colon wall or cause significant bleeding.
But those low odds would be even lower in younger people, Wolf explained. Plus, he added, colonoscopy is only one of the options for screening. Others include a yearly stool test looking for hidden blood, or a DNA-based stool test done every three years.
The ACS is not recommending any particular approach.
"The choice should be based on what tests are available, and the patient's personal preferences," Wolf said. "People should be informed of all their choices."
Guidelines from other groups still recommend age 50 as the screening starting point for most people. They do, however, advise earlier screening for certain people at heightened risk -- such as those with a strong family history of the disease.
The American College of Gastroenterology already recommends that black people begin at age 45, due to their relatively higher risk.
The group is in the process of updating its screening guidelines, a spokesperson said.
Earlier this year, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in New York City, launched a program for colon cancer patients younger than 50. One goal is to research the reasons for the rising incidence, said Dr. Andrea Cercek, an oncologist at Sloan Kettering.
She said rates are not only increasing among people in their 40s, but also among those in their 20s and 30s (though the incidence at those ages remains low). So, screening at age 45 does not address the whole issue, Cercek noted.
To her, there is a key message for people of all ages: "If you do develop persistent gastrointestinal symptoms -- lasting longer than a few days -- don't dismiss them," Cercek said.
Some red flags include a persistent change in bowel habits; abdominal pain or cramping; stool that is dark or has visible blood; and unintended weight loss.
In a young person, Cercek noted, gastrointestinal symptoms likely stem from an infection or other non-cancerous condition.
"But the point is to have it checked out," she said.
If it is colorectal cancer, early detection makes a huge difference. "It's very curable when we catch it early," Cercek said.
How to Do a Self-Check for Skin Cancer
Published: May 26, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Learning how to do a skin self-exam could save your life.
"Skin cancer is one of the few cancers you can see with the naked eye," said Dr. Ali Hendi, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
"Yet sadly, many people don't know how to be their own hero when it comes to skin cancer, including what to look for on their skin or when to see a board-certified dermatologist," he added in an American Academy of Dermatology news release.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. One in five Americans develops skin cancer, and one person dies every hour from melanoma, the deadliest form of the disease.
To check your skin, use a full-length mirror to examine your entire body, front and back. Then, raise your arms and look at your right and left sides, Hendi said.
Bend your elbows and carefully check your forearms, underarms and palms. Look at the backs of your legs and feet, between your toes, and the soles of your feet. With nail polish removed, check your fingernails and toenails, as well.
Use a hand mirror to check the back of your neck and scalp, and part your hair for a closer look. Finally, check your back and buttocks with a hand mirror. Ask a partner to help check your back and other hard-to-see areas.
"While performing a skin self-exam, keep in mind that skin cancer can develop anywhere on the skin, not just in areas that are exposed to the sun," Hendi said.
"If you notice any new spots on your skin, scalp or nails, spots that look different from other spots on your body, or spots that are changing, itching or bleeding, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist," he advised.
Hendi also explained the ABCDEs of checking for melanoma.
A is for Asymmetry: One half of a spot is unlike the other half.
B is for Border: The spot has an irregular, scalloped or poorly defined edge.
C is for Color: Colors vary from one area of the spot to another, from shades of tan, brown or black, for instance, or areas of white, red or blue.
D is for Diameter: When diagnosed, melanomas are usually larger than 6 millimeters (about the size of a pencil eraser), but can be smaller.
E is for Evolving: The spot looks different or is changing in size, shape or color.
See a medical professional if you have any of these signs or notice an existing mole start to change in any way.
"When detected early, skin cancer, including melanoma, is highly treatable, making it imperative to check your skin regularly," Hendi said. "It only takes a few minutes to check your skin, and it could save your life."
Heavier Women May Face Higher Cancer Risks, Study Finds
Published: May 24, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Excessive weight gain is never a good idea for health. Now, new research supports the notion that putting on pounds raises cancer risks for middle-aged women.
The study, which tracked more than 137,000 Norwegian women for 18 years, found that the odds of developing certain cancers rose as waistlines expanded.
The take-home message: "maintaining stable weight in middle adulthood … as well as avoiding excess body weight are both of importance for prevention of several obesity-related cancers in women," the researchers said.
For the study, Marisa da Silva and colleagues at the Arctic University of Norway in Tromso collected data on women who took part in the Norwegian Women and Cancer study from 1991 to 2011.
The researchers looked specifically for the risk of obesity-related cancers, including certain myelomas and cancers of the breast, colon, endometrium (lining of the uterus), ovaries, pancreas, kidneys, gallbladder, stomach, liver, esophagus, brain and thyroid.
Over 18 years of follow-up, nearly 10,000 women developed obesity-related cancers, da Silva's team found.
Although the study couldn't prove cause and effect, obesity was tied to a rise in the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer by 20 percent and kidney cancer by 95 percent.
The largest increase was seen in endometrial cancer, with obese women more than twice as likely to develop it, compared with women of normal weight.
The researches also focused on 82,000 women whose weight changed over the follow-up period. More than 5,300 of these women developed obesity-related cancers over the study period.
Among women who gained 22 pounds or more, the risk for breast cancer rose 36 percent and 40 percent for endometrial cancer. But the largest risk was for pancreatic cancer, which saw a 91 percent increased risk for women who gained this level of weight in middle age.
Two U.S. obesity experts said they weren't surprised by the connections.
"It is widely known that obesity increases your risk of medical conditions such as hypertension, sleep apnea and diabetes," said Dr. Heather McMullen, who directs bariatric surgery at Northwell Health's Syosset Hospital in Syosset, N.Y.
"This article highlights that obesity, as well as significant weight gain in women, increases risk of certain cancers," she said.
The exact reasons for the link remain unclear, added Dr. Mitchell Roslin, chief of obesity surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
He noted that increases in an older woman's weight can trigger a rise in estrogen and other hormones that, in turn, have been linked to higher odds for endometrial and breast cancer. The elevated blood sugar levels that accompany obesity might also have ties to cancer risk, Roslin said.
Whatever the link, "we need to begin to understand that what we eat can be a powerful medicine or alternatively a promoter of disease," Roslin said. "While the impact of obesity on diabetes and heart disease gets attention, the impact of obesity on cancer is not discussed as frequently."
The results of the study were scheduled to be presented Wednesday at the European Congress on Obesity, in Vienna, Austria. Research presented at medical meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Lycopene, the pigment that gives tomatoes their color, is one of the most powerful anti-cancer agents yet discovered
Published: May 22, 2018
(Natural News) Whether or not tomatoes are your favorite part of a salad (or pizza), there are certainly good reasons to include as many of them in your diet as possible. One of the greatest reasons is the fact that the lycopene that gives tomatoes their beautiful color is one of the most potent anti-cancer agents yet discovered by scientists.
Though researchers have been aware of lycopene’s powerful anti-cancer capabilities for over 30 years, more recently, a significant amount of research has gone into unlocking just how this compound can best be used as part of the cancer fighting arsenal.
LifeExtension Magazine notes that cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, affecting over 21 million Americans at any given time. The fact that lycopene can effectively prevent and treat cancer is therefore vitally important.
What is lycopene and how does it work?
Lycopene is found not only in tomatoes, but also in pink grapefruit, papaya and watermelon. It is a carotenoid – a type of pigment that gives some red fruits their beautiful hue. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals in the body, preventing DNA damage and helping cells to function optimally. (
As reported by FitDay, in addition to its cancer fighting credentials, lycopene has also been proven to reduce heart disease risk by 50 percent, reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis (a build-up of plaque in the arteries), protect the skin from UV radiation damage caused by excessive sun exposure, and fight the signs of aging.
What the science says about lycopene and cancer
NaturalHealth365 recently reported on various studies confirming lycopene’s ability to fight prostate, ovarian and skin cancer:
A new review of studies published in Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents credits lycopene with interfering with the proliferation of cancer cells and slowing the progression of the disease. The team reported that lycopene also helps prevent malignant tumors from metastasizing, or spreading to other sites in the body.
Another study, published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology, found that tomato extracts interfere with the ability of cancer cells to clone themselves.
Extensive studies have also been undertaken to examine the potential of lycopene to fight ovarian cancer – considered to be the most lethal of all gynecological cancers.
A study published in the American Journal of Cancer Research found that when mice which had been implanted with human ovarian cancer cells were given lycopene, their tumors were dramatically reduced in number. In addition, when some of the mice were given conventional chemotherapy drugs like paclitaxel and carboplatin, the effects of the drugs were enhanced by the lycopene, meaning that fewer toxic drugs needed to be administered.
With regard to prostate cancer, way back in the mid-1980s, researchers at the prestigious Harvard University Medical School discovered that the lycopene in tomatoes can protect men from developing this fairly common cancer.
Skin cancer doesn’t stand a chance against lycopene, either. A recent study published in the Journal of Cellular Biology found that when skin cells were exposed to lycopene before being subjected to high levels of UV radiation, the likelihood of developing skin cancer was reduced and apoptosis – cancer cell “suicide” – was encouraged.
All things considered, there are many reasons to eat as many tomatoes as possible. And growing your own fresh, delicious varieties at home will be a rewarding experience in more ways than one.
Berries and Grapes May Keep You Breathin' Easy
Published: May 21, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Adding more grapes and berries to your diet is a tasty way to give your lung health a boost, new research suggests.
Folks who ate the most foods with a particular type of flavonoid, called anthocyanins, maintained the best lung function as they aged, researchers said. Anthocyanins are found in dark-pigmented fruits and vegetables such as red grapes, blueberries and purple potatoes.
"A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help protect the lungs against damage, preserving their functionality and reducing the risk of developing respiratory diseases later in life," said the study's lead author, Vanessa Garcia-Larsen.
She explained that by the time people are 30 years old, they've generally reached their peak lung capacity.
"After this time, lung function started to slowly decline for everyone. The speed of decline will vary from one person to another, depending on several factors, such as smoking, physical activity, exposure to certain pollutants and the presence of other medical conditions," Garcia-Larsen explained. She's an assistant professor of human nutrition at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.
Processed foods, such as cured meats, have been shown in previous studies to be linked with a steeper decline in lung function, according to Garcia-Larsen.
But the new study found that those who ate a large amount of dark-colored fruits and vegetables had a slower per year decline in lung function compared to those who ate fewer of these anthocyanin-filled foods.
"This slower decline was evident even after taking into account other important factors, such as smoking and age," she said.
However, the study was only designed to find an association; it cannot prove cause and effect.
Samantha Heller, a registered dietician at NYU Langone Health System in New York City, said the findings make sense.
"Anthocyanins have been shown to have really positive health effects. They're full of antioxidants, and if you eat a whole piece of fruit, you're getting a whole lot of other healthy compounds, too," she said.
"Plus, there's less room on the plate for the less healthy foods. And, it's not just one type of food that's key for good health," Heller noted. "Everything that's plant-based works together to help fight disease and protect against cell damage."
The study included 463 adults from Norway and England. Their average age was 44.
The participants all completed dietary questionnaires and a lung function test at the start of the study. Ten years later, their lung function was tested again.
The researchers saw a relationship between anthocyanin consumption and lung health -- the more people ate, the better their lung health.
According to Garcia-Larsen, "Foods rich in anthocyanin flavonoids might protect the lungs through their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which have been extensively demonstrated in experimental studies."
She added that a few hours after eating foods such as berries, there's evidence of the flavonoids in lung tissue. This "suggests that [anthocyanin-foods] might have a functional role protecting the lungs against the pollutants and other environmental insults," such as smoking, Garcia-Larsen noted.
These dark-pigmented fruits and vegetables seemed to be most helpful for people who never smoked and those who had quit smoking. Smokers should stop, Garcia-Larsen said, because it's the best thing they can do for their lungs.
The toxins in smoke may impair the ability of antioxidants or anti-inflammatory effects to counteract smoking damage. But when smokers quit, she said, they did get a benefit from anthocyanin in fruits and veggies.
Garcia-Larsen is scheduled to present the findings Monday at an American Thoracic Society meeting in San Diego. Findings presented at meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until they've been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Men May Gain More From Cancer Immunotherapy
Published: May 17, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Male cancer patients seem to fare significantly better following immunotherapy treatment than female patients, new research indicates.
"Both sex and gender can potentially affect the strength of the body's immune response," explained study author Dr. Fabio Conforti, from the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy.
For example, Conforti noted that women generally show stronger immune responses than men in reaction to medical treatment. That, he said, seems to explain why infections occur less frequently -- and are often less serious -- among women than men, and why women also typically respond better to vaccines than men.
"On the other hand, women account for roughly 80 percent of all patients with systemic autoimmune diseases worldwide," Conforti said. "Therefore, it's possible that differences in the immune system of women and men could be relevant to the natural course of chronic inflammatory conditions such as cancer, and potentially how they respond to drugs."
The new finding is based on a review of 20 studies that assessed survival rates among cancer patients. All were treated with immunotherapy drugs, a type of advanced cancer therapy developed over the last decade that has now become the standard treatment for several types of cancer, including melanoma and non-small-cell lung cancer.
Taken together, the studies had enrolled more than 11,000 patients. Researchers found that all the patients fared better on immunotherapy treatment than they would have on another treatment (or no treatment at all). But following treatment, male cancer patients saw their survival extended by twice as much as female patients.
Patients in the studies were struggling with advanced cancers, including melanoma, kidney cancer, urothelial cancer, head and neck cancer, and lung cancer.
The investigators noted an important caveat in their finding: In roughly half of the studies women only accounted for less than a third of participants, making it hard to conclusively identify gender differences in outcomes.
Conforti and his colleagues reported their findings in the May 17 issue of The Lancet Oncology.
In an accompanying editorial, Omar Abdel-Rahman, of Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt, and the University of Calgary in Canada, wrote that "caution needs to be exercised before jumping directly to radical conclusions and before changing the current standard of care."
He noted that the analysis includes a diverse group of solid tumors that might act differently in men and women.
"Moreover, there are also lifestyle or behavioral characteristics that differ between men and women that might also have confounding effects," Abdel-Rahman added.
Colon Polyp Type May Be Key to Cancer Risk
Published: May 15, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- The type of colon polyp that's spotted during a colonoscopy may help predict the likelihood of colon cancer, new research shows.
These polyps -- also called adenomas -- can be labeled advanced or non-advanced, explained researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Their study of almost 16,000 patients who underwent colonoscopy found that the long-term risk for colon cancer was 2.5 times greater for those with advanced polyps, compared to people without such growths.
On the other hand, non-advanced polyps did not increase the likelihood of developing the disease. These patients had the same risk as those who didn't have polyps, the investigators found.
"That's a provocative finding," said study lead researcher Dr. Robert Schoen. "It would suggest that if you have a polyp that is non-advanced, which is the case in about one-third of people undergoing screening, you don't need to come back as frequently for colonoscopy because your risk of cancer is the same as if you didn't have any polyps."
Schoen is a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the university. The study was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Colonoscopies can spot early cancers and in many cases can even prevent the disease as doctors remove potentially harmful polyps.
"One can actually prevent people from getting cancer, which is far better than just detecting it early," Schoen said. "But polyps are commonly found, and patients can find themselves returning for frequent follow-up colonoscopy procedures."
To find out if the type of colon polyp influences a patient's prognosis, Schoen's group tracked 15-year outcomes for 15,900 people who underwent a colonoscopy as part of a major U.S. cancer screening trial.
When the study began, colonoscopies revealed that 18 percent of patients had an advanced polyp, 32 percent had a non-advanced polyp, and 50 percent did not have any pre-cancerous polyps.
The study, published May 15 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that those with advanced polyps had a higher risk for colon cancer for the duration of the study.
"After an advanced polyp has been removed, the whole colon remains at risk for cancer, and periodic colonoscopy is needed," Schoen said.
But people with non-advanced polyps had the same long-term risk for cancer as those without polyps.
Schoen noted that, in the United States, people with one or two non-advanced polyps are typically advised to return for a repeat screening in five to 10 years.
The new study questions whether that might be necessary.
"Bringing everyone back at five years is incurring a lot of testing that may not be preventing much cancer because only a small fraction of polyps will ever turn into cancer," Schoen said. "Millions of people are receiving follow-up colonoscopy exams for non-advanced polyps. We need to find out what is necessary. Potentially, this is an area where we could reduce testing and costs."
Dr. David Weinberg is chair of the department of medicine at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Looking over the new findings, he stressed that most people will never develop advanced colon polyps.
Weinberg agreed that the new findings question the wisdom of routine 5-year follow-up colonoscopies for people with low-grade polyps versus advanced growths.
"Colonoscopy is a relatively finite resource, even in the United States," he said. "Given the higher risk over time in patients with advanced adenomatous polyps, particular efforts should be devoted to making sure that these patients are regularly followed to identify colon polyps and remove them."
What Causes Cancer? Misconceptions Abound.
Published: May 14, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Many people are clueless about what can actually cause cancer, a new study finds.
Not stress, microwave ovens or food additives, British experts say.
But a survey of more than 1,300 people in England found many folks believe otherwise.
"It's worrying to see so many people endorse risk factors for which there is no convincing evidence," said study author Samuel Smith, of the University of Leeds.
More than a third wrongly believed that electromagnetic frequencies and eating genetically modified food were cancer risk factors.
Others believed microwave ovens (19 percent) or drinking from plastic bottles (15 percent) caused cancer, despite a lack of scientific evidence.
The researchers also found that more than 4 out of 10 thought stress or food additives caused cancer.
When it came to known causes of cancer, 88 percent of respondents correctly said smoking, 80 percent cited secondhand smoke, and 60 percent said sunburn.
People who had mistaken beliefs about the causes of cancer were not more likely to have risky lifestyle habits. But those who knew more about proven causes of cancer were less likely to smoke, according to the study.
"Compared to past research it appears the number of people believing in unproven causes of cancer has increased since the start of the century," Smith said in a Cancer Research UK news release.
It could be related to changes "to how we access news and information through the internet and social media," he speculated.
"It's vital to improve public education about the causes of cancer if we want to help people make informed decisions about their lives and ensure they aren't worrying unnecessarily," Smith added.
Cancer Docs: We Need More Research on Medical Marijuana
Published: May 10, 2018
(HealthDay News) -- Most cancer doctors say they don't know enough about medical marijuana to provide an informed opinion to patients.
Nevertheless, many go ahead and give its use their blessing, a national survey reveals.
Seven out of 10 oncologists surveyed in the United States said they aren't informed enough about the risks and benefits of medical marijuana to recommend its use to patients, according to findings published May 10 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
But eight out of 10 cancer doctors said they've discussed medical marijuana with patients in the past year, and 46 percent have gone so far as to recommend its use in cancer treatment.
This is a "concerning discrepancy," said Dr. Ilana Braun, chief of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's division of adult psychosocial oncology, in Boston.
"We can think of few other instances in which physicians would offer clinical advice about a topic on which they do not feel knowledgeable," Braun said.
Currently, there are 30 states with medical marijuana laws on the books, and almost all name cancer as a qualifying condition for its use, Braun said.
However, pot remains an illegal substance under federal law, restricting research opportunities into its effectiveness as a medical treatment. "The scientific evidence base supporting use of medical marijuana in oncology remains thin," Braun said.
To assess how cancer doctors are grappling with this issue, Braun and her colleagues surveyed a nationally representative random sample of 400 oncologists.
The responses revealed that:
Only 30 percent of cancer doctors felt sufficiently informed to make recommendations regarding medical marijuana.
About 46 percent recommended its use, regardless.
Of those who recommended its use, 56 percent admitted that they did not consider themselves well-informed enough to have done so.
Braun said more research needs to be done regarding the medical effectiveness of marijuana, as well as potential harmful effects.
For example, patients with immune systems wrecked by chemotherapy could be at increased risk of a fungal infection from pot use, she noted.
The best review of medical marijuana's usefulness, released in 2017 by the National Academy of Sciences, found very mixed evidence when it comes to cancer treatment, Braun said.
The report found conclusive evidence that oral medications containing THC, the intoxicating chemical in pot, can reduce the impact of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
But the report found no evidence one way or the other regarding medical marijuana's ability to treat the lack of appetite and wasting caused by cancer.
There's substantial evidence that pot is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults, but it's not known if marijuana can help fight cancer pain in particular.
Braun's survey found that 67 percent of cancer doctors felt that medical pot could be a useful adjunct to standard pain management, and 65 percent said it could help patients with their lack of appetite.
Dr. Andrew Epstein, an oncologist with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, said doctors may not have a full grasp of the issue, but that should not necessarily cause great concern.
"If oncologists are recommending something which is blatantly unsafe, then that would be one thing. I think marijuana has a lack of evidence behind some things for benefit and may have some downsides, but I do not think marijuana, per se, is a highly risky therapy," Epstein said. "I am less concerned than the authors about this."
In fact, Epstein argues that the debilitating effects of cancer and cancer treatment -- pain, appetite loss, nausea, depression -- "are potentially more debilitating than any potential medication interactions this plant would have with cancer treatments."
Cancer doctors appropriately consider medical marijuana as an adjunct therapy to be used alongside other established treatments, Epstein said.
"Oncologists are welcoming something that might have benefit outweighing harm in their toolbox, along with all the other things they already have," he said.
At the same time, Epstein agrees with Braun that more research and better medical education is needed, so doctors can provide patients the most well-informed advice they can.
Better medical education surrounding marijuana "would help with the knowledge base of these things, so oncologists could become even more knowledgeable participants in helping guide patients and families," Epstein said.
A new connection between glucose and lipid regulation in cancer metabolism
Published: May 08, 2018
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine in China have identified an enzyme that helps cancer cells make the building materials they need to quickly proliferate. Inhibiting this enzyme could be a strategy to slow down cancer growth, leading to more effective treatments. The study was published in the April 27 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Whereas healthy human cells get most of the fatty acids and cholesterol they need to build their cell membranes from the bloodstream, cancer cells cannot wait for their building materials to be delivered by this route. Instead, cancer cells frequently ramp up the activity of the enzymes involved in synthesizing lipids right in the cell.
One of these families of enzymes is the sterol regulatory element binding proteins, or SREBPs. SREBPs travel into cell nuclei and turn on genes involved in lipid production, usually in response to specific signals. In some cancer cell lines, including certain liver, colon and breast cancers, a particular SREBP called SREBP1a is overactive.
Fajun Yang, an associate professor of developmental and molecular biology at Albert Einstein, studies exactly how cancer cells supply themselves with lipids. The newly published research on SREBP1a began when Xiaoping Zhao, the lead author on the new study, was a postdoctoral fellow in Yang's lab, and continued as a collaboration when Zhao started his own lab at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
In the new study, the team found that SREBP1a was able to be overactive in cancer cells thanks to another enzyme, pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2). PKM2 was coincidentally also known to be involved in supplying hungry cancer cells with surplus energy through a different mechanism: by chemically modifying a small molecule called pyruvate during glucose metabolism. In the new study, the researchers showed that PKM2 was also able to modify SREBP1a.
"Nobody had previously said that this guy, PKM2, regulates lipid metabolism," Yang said. "So actually we saw that this is a new connection between a glucose metabolism regulator and a lipid metabolism regulator. In cancer cells, both become abnormally activated."
When PKM2 and SREBP1a interact, the SREBP1a becomes more stable, the study showed. This allows SREBP1a to turn on genes involved in lipid synthesis. Using a small protein that could block the interaction, the authors were able to stop the excess lipid production and slow down cancer cell growth.
"The cancer cell kind of feels like, 'Oh, I'm fasting to death!'" Yang said. "The tumor cells become especially sensitive; even though they can suck up lots of glucose, they cannot make the building blocks of the cell membrane. If combined with another drug, then this is a potential therapeutic approach."
The approach is promising because it targets proteins that are not highly expressed in healthy cells. If cancer cell growth could be slowed down by blocking this pathway, patients might require lower doses of the toxic drugs that actually kill the cancer cells, and thus experience fewer side effects.
The study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the National Institutes of Health.
Study confirms curable state between single and widespread cancers
Published: May 07, 2018
In 1995, two University of Chicago-based cancer specialists suggested there was an intermediate state -- somewhere between curable localized cancers and lethal widespread disease -- for patients with metastatic cancer.
Those physicians, Samuel Hellman and Ralph Weichselbaum, both still at the University of Chicago, labeled that clinically significant intermediate state "oligometastasis," Greek for "a few that spread." They focused on tumors that had migrated from an initial cancer in the colon or rectum to one or a few distant sites.
They also made the controversial suggestion that many of these patients, depending on the extent of disease burden, could be cured with surgery or targeted radiation therapy.
Twenty-three years later, Weichselbaum, Hellman, the Pritzker Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus and former dean of the biological sciences at the University of Chicago, and colleagues, working with patients in treatment for colorectal cancer, have confirmed their oligometastasis hypothesis and for the first time have identified molecular patterns that can be used to predict which patients are most likely to benefit from surgery, leading to long-term survival.
"This is a paradigm shift in the treatment of metastatic disease," said Weichselbaum, MD, the Daniel K. Ludwig Distinguished Service Professor, chair of radiation and cellular oncology at UChicago and director of the Ludwig Center for Metastasis Research.
"Our results point to a molecular basis for oligometastasis that can pretty reliably predict clinical outcomes. In a series of colorectal cancer patients with limited spread of disease to the liver, we were often able to achieve prolonged survival. We think this approach could be applied to many types of cancer."
In the May 4, 2018, issue of the journal Nature Communications, the researchers describe results from 134 patients (median age 61) with cancer of the colon (72 percent) or rectum (28 percent) that had spread to the liver. These patients were treated with perioperative chemotherapy (5-flourouracil based) followed by surgical removal of all detectable signs of cancer that had spread to the liver.
"We performed DNA sequencing, RNA sequencing for gene expression, microRNAs and microsatellite instability for each patient," Weichselbaum said. The data sort patients into three distinct groups -- subtypes 1, 2 and 3 -- with about a third in each group. "This is a separation, primarily based on molecular analysis," Weichselbaum said.
Group 2 had the highest 10-year survival rates, followed by Group 1 and Group 3 with just 20 percent.
When the team took a closer look at the tumor microenvironment around cancers that had spread to the liver, however, they found that subtype-2 tumors seemed to trigger an immune response that helped rein in new tumor growth.
So they selected those subtype 2 tumors and reclassified them, based on their molecular determinants combined with clinical data.
This predicted a robust difference in survival for the low-risk group. They had a 94 percent chance of 10-year overall survival. In this revised classification system, Groups 1 and 3 had 10-year overall survivals of 45 percent and 19 percent, respectively.
Our results "open the door to look at broader sets of metastasis," Weichselbaum said. "Oligo is just a subset, a lower bound of metastasis. We want to know what happens when a patient has a little more than oligo. We arbitrarily started thinking of treating one to five metastases. Now we want to see if maybe, combined with other therapies, we could treat 10 or 20."
The findings provide a "framework for integrated classification and treatment of metastasis," the authors wrote. This study, the first to combine clinical and molecular data to treat limited metastatic disease, was able to amplify predicted differences. The results should improve treatment of patients with potentially curable colorectal liver metastases.
Debunking cancer myths: Few cancers come from an inherited gene, according to the scientists
Published: May 04, 2018
(Natural News) Is cancer genetic? While many people believe that cancer simply runs in their family, science tells us that very few cancers are actually caused by genes inherited from our parents. In fact, estimates suggest that only about 5-to-10 percent of all cancers stem from an inherited gene. Even the National Cancer Institute admits the fact that hereditary cancers are, in reality, quite rare.
In spite of this, many people wrongly believe that they are doomed to get cancer just because a family member had it. But as the American Cancer Society notes, cancers that appear to run in families are not inherently caused by faulty genes. Families often share similar lifestyle habits — whether it be in regards to diet, exercise, tobacco use or alcohol consumption, these are all things that can influence your cancer risk independent of your genetics. It’s well-established that kids often pick up on their parents’ habits.
By definition, cancer is a genetic disease — but not in the way we typically think of “genes.” This too can be confusing; we often think of genes as being what we inherit from our parents and pass down to our children. But your genes are so much more than that: They are the blueprint which lays the foundation for every cell in your body.
Cancer is caused by changes to genes which disrupt the way your cells function, particularly regarding cell growth and division. In this way, cancer is a “genetic” disease — if effects genes. But for the vast majority of cases, these are not cellular changes passed down through families. As the American Cancer Society explains, most cancers are caused by acquired mutations.
These kinds of mutations are changes that are acquired throughout the course of a lifetime — often thanks to exposure to carcinogenic substances. Whether it be the food you’re eating, the cigarettes you’re smoking or the pesticides you’re spraying on your lawn — these are the kinds of things that silently cause cancer over time.
Natural News has reported on cancer-causing foods and chemicals for years, and even the lowly cancer industry admits that these are things that cause cancer. Yet few people are truly aware of this fact, and many erroneously believe that if cancer runs in their family, they’re out of luck.
The truth is that nearly half of all cancers can be directly linked to lifestyle factors — with some research suggesting that figure is even higher. Some researchers believe that upwards of 90 percent of cancers are caused by some sort of controllable factor.
A recent study found that 24 lifestyle factors contributed to 41 percent of cancer cases. As the study authors noted:
“We estimated summary population attributable risk estimates for 24 risk factors (smoking [both passive and active], overweight and obesity, inadequate physical activity, diet [inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption, inadequate fiber intake, excess red and processed meat consumption, salt consumption, inadequate calcium and vitamin D intake], alcohol, hormones [oral contraceptives and hormone therapy], infections [Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis B and C viruses, human papillomavirus, Helicobacter pylori], air pollution, natural and artificial ultraviolet radiation, radon and water disinfection by-products) by combining population attributable risk estimates for each of the 24 factors that had been previously estimated.”
These are not genetic cancers — they are cancers caused by the litany of toxins we expose our bodies to, in one way or another, on a daily basis. Indeed, there is no shortage of cancer-causing chemicals in modern life; from added sugars and artificial dyes to pesticides and herbicides, these hazards are virtually everywhere. And to make matters worse, modern medicine often relies on more cancer-causing chemicals to treat disease.
More evidence emerges that cell phones trigger abnormal cell growth and cancer
Published: May 03, 2018
(Natural News) Cell phones have been classified as a possible carcinogen since 2011. Since then, numerous studies have confirmed that the electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation emitted by cell phones can indeed cause anomalous cell growth and cancer, according to a Waking Times article.
In March 2018, the Ramazzini Institutepublished the results of a long-term animal study where rats were exposed to the radio frequency (RF) radiation generated by cell phones throughout their lives. The Italian researchers reported that heavy exposure to cell phone radiation was linked with increased appearances of Schwann cell tumors in the brain and heart.
The Ramazzini researchers urged that cell phones should be re-classified as “probable” carcinogens instead of merely “possible” ones.
Their findings found support in a separate investigation of the increasing instances of a highly dangerous type of brain tumor in the U.K. The cases of glioblastoma multiforme more than doubled from 1995 to 2015.
The authors of the U.K. study believe that widespread environmental or lifestyle factors – such as the increasing use of cell phones – brought about this startling rise of brain tumors.
Cell phone EMF radiation causes DNA and cellular damage
Constant exposure to radiation is known to have serious effects on health. Since cell phones constantly talk to cell towers via microwave energy and we usually have them near us, we are almost always exposed to the microwave radiation they emit.
Animal experiments performed by the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research exposed the brains of animals to microwave radiation similar to the ones emitted by cell phones. The results showed that such radiation could break down cell membranes and the blood-brain barrier that keeps out toxins in the blood.
Given cell phones are usually held close to the head, it’s implied their radiation could drop the natural defenses of the brain, allowing toxins to contaminate brain cells.
A related study by Dr. Martin Pall showed that similar microwave radiation opens channels in the outer membrane of your cells. When opened, these voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) flood the cell with unneeded calcium ions.
The end result is the formation of oxidant stressors that are suspected to cause many chronic diseases. Peroxynitrite stressors, for example, are linked to atherosclerosis, amyothrophic lateral sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, myocardial ischemia, and septic lung disease. They could also damage DNA.
Finally, a McGill University professor reported that EMFs can affect the water that comprises 70 percent of the human body. He believes magnetic fields can disrupt the water channels used by enzymes to produce ATP for the body. This starves the body of much-needed energy, causing a cascade of problems such as higher chances of developing chronic disease.
American report downplays links between cell phone radiation and tumors
The results of the Ramazzini report was identical to the lifetime exposure study carried out by the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP). The American researchers found that exposing mice and rats to microwave radiation for nine hours a day caused various tumors to manifest in the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, and prostate.
In particular, the heart tumors of rats are similar to acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor that develops in the nerve connecting the ear and the brain of humans. Acoustic neuromashave been traced to heavy use of cell phones. EMF radiation also damages DNA.
However, the NTP researchers only considered the radiation to be a “weak” carcinogen. They also expressed insufficient confidence in the results of their own findings, especially since they believed that non-ionizing RF radiation should not be able to harm DNA.
Add 7 disability-free years to your life by simply practicing healthy lifestyle habits
Published: May 02, 2018
(Natural News) It looks like its time to get up from the couch, turn off the TV, and put on your running shoes.
Aside from making you fit and strong, a study has confirmed that living a healthy lifestyle can also help add seven disability-free years to your life.
The results of the research, which was published in Health Affairs, determined that several healthy lifestyle factors can boost your longevity by as much as seven years. Most of those years can even be spent free of any disability.
The study findings noted that to some extent, alcohol consumption, being obese/overweight, and quitting smoking are connected with more disability-free years of life. The researchers examined data gleaned from the Health and Retirement Study. The study the scientists referenced looked into the health outcomes of over 14,000 individuals aged 50 to 89 from 1998 to 2012.
Using the data, the researchers determined that individuals who lived healthy lifestyles were able to increase their longevity by at least seven years with a delay in disability onset of about six years.
Men who didn’t smoke, drank in moderation, and weren’t obese had an average life expectancy of 11 years, unlike people in the same age group who took part in high-risk behaviors. Meanwhile, the women lived 12 more healthy years compared to peers who drank heavily, were overweight, and smoked.
The researchers categorized disability as limitations in one of these five daily activities:
Dr. Mikko Myrskylä, co-author and executive director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, noted that one benefit of living more years disability-free is the need for fewer health care services. With a healthy, productive population, both individuals and communities can enjoy a greater quality of life.
Although the three risk factors were linked to early onset of disability, obesity had a greater link to it. The researchers did state that their study didn’t take genetic factors that could influence risk behaviors into account.
Dr. Myrskylä emphasized the need for a more effective policy that can minimize risky health behaviors, such as the promotion of the dangers of tobacco and encouraging moderate drinking, which were both public health successes. But obesity has proven to be more challenging since experts have yet to finalize the most effective way of addressing this risk factor.
Dr. Myrskylä shared that individuals older than 50 who drink excessively, are smokers, or are obese shouldn’t feel dismayed by these findings since it’s not too late to make lifestyle changes that can improve their health conditions.
He concluded, “For example, we observed that former smokers had almost as long healthy lifespan as never-smokers.” Individuals who take action right away and make healthier life choices can still enjoy “massive health gains.”
Tips to live a healthy lifestyle
Aside from drinking moderately, quitting smoking, and staying in shape, here are other tips to help you live a healthy lifestyle:
New insights into the origins of mutations in cancer
Published: May 01, 2018
Researchers at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), the University of Dundee and the Wellcome Sanger Institute have used human and worm data to explore the mutational causes of cancer. Their study, published today in Genome Research, also shows that results from controlled experiments on a model organism -- the nematode worm C. elegans -- are relevant to humans, helping researchers refine what they know about cancer.
Enigmatic DNA mutation and repair
Cancer is caused by DNA mutations which can be triggered by a range of factors, including UV radiation, certain chemicals and smoking, but also errors occurring naturally during cell division. A cell recognises most of these mutations and corrects them through multiple repair mechanisms. However, DNA repair is not perfect, so it can leave certain mutations unrepaired or repair them incorrectly leading to changes in DNA. Understanding the footprints of these mutational processes is an important first step in identifying the causes of cancer and potential avenues for new treatments.
"The DNA mutations we see in cancer cells were caused by a yin and yang of DNA damage and repair," explains Moritz Gerstung, Research Group Leader at EMBL-EBI. "When we study a patient's cancer genome, we're looking at the final outcome of multiple mutational processes that often go on for decades before the disease manifests itself. The reconstruction of these processes and their contributions to cancer development is a bit like the forensic analysis of a plane crash site, trying to piece together what's happened. Unfortunately, there's no black box to help us.
Controlled experiments in model organisms can be used to mimic some of the processes thought to operate on cancer genomes and to establish their exact origins."
What worms can tell us
Previous research has shown that one of the first DNA repair pathways associated with an increased risk of cancer is DNA mismatch repair (MMR). The current study uses C. elegans as a model system for studying MMR in more detail.
"Dr Bettina Meier in my team initiated this project by assessing the kinds of mutations that arise when C. elegans is defective for one specific DNA repair pathway," says Professor Anton Gartner, Principal Investigator in the Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression at Dundee. "As it only takes three days to propagate these worms from one generation to the next, the process of studying how DNA is passed on is greatly expedited. DNA mismatch repair is propagated for many generations and this allowed us to deduce a distinct mutational pattern. The big question was if the same type of mutagenesis also occurred in human cancer cells."
To address this question, EMBL-EBI PhD student Nadia Volkova compared the C. elegans results with genetic data from 500 human cancer genomes.
"We found a resemblance between the most common signature associated with mutations in MMR genes in humans and the patterns found in nematode worms," explains Volkova. "This suggests that the same mutational process operates in nematodes and humans. Our approach allows us to find the exact profile of MMR deficiency and to understand more about what happens when DNA repair goes wrong."
These findings could lead to a better understanding of the causes of cancer and potentially help to identify the most appropriate treatment.
Identifying the mechanism in obesity's link to colon cancer
Published: April 30, 2018
In a recent new finding, doctoral candidates Wiecang Wang and Jianan Zhang, with their advisor Guodong Zhang in the department of food science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, report that they have identified a new molecular mechanism to explain the link between obesity and increased risk of colon inflammation, which is a major risk factor in colorectal cancer.
The research team, which includes scientists at the University of California Davis, suggest for the first time that inhibiting an enzyme known as soluble epoxide hydrolase, sHE, may abolish this risk of obesity-induced colonic inflammation, say Zhang and colleagues. They note