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Measure your Vitamin D levels

New 2011 edition
Read foreword by Paula Radcliffe | Download chapter 9 free

This page is updated regularly with news from around the world reporting lifestyle and environmental research which could affect the development or the progression of cancer, how lifestyle could effect treatment, the decisions for treatment, the success and the tolerability. More information on cancer and lifestyle can be found on this website or our book Lifestyle after cancer - the facts.  

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DIETARY ISSUES

The worlds first broad spectrum antioxidant nutritional supplement completed. Following evidence from cohort and prospective studies of the benefits of broccoli, green tea, turmeric and pomegranate,  a leading UK oncologists has designed a major new dietary supplement. The benefits of dietary antioxidants are linked to an improvement in general health, vision, brain function, heart disease as well as cancer. Unlike other food supplements, antioxidants are not damage din the process of tablet formation so is a convenient way to boost the daily intake. Pomi-T is being evaluated in a randomised placebo controlled trial starting in The Primrose Lifestyle Research Unit involving men with prostate cancer. In the mean time it is available online from July 2011.

 

Curcumin taken with Docetaxel chemotherapy may improve response rate.

It is often quoted that taking herbs and spices with chemotherapy would interfere with their effect via an anti-oxidant mechanism. Despite this theoretic interaction, there is little evidence for this and a small study published at ASCO 2013  showed that taking curcumin at the same time as docetaxel improved the response rate.  Curcumin was well tolerate but, although interesting, it must be noted that this was only a phase II non randomized trial so the results need confirmation in Phase IV trial - more about the benefits of curcumin

A healthy diet after colon cancer improves survival.

It had long been known that junk food increases the risk of cancer but a study published in the Journal of the NCI, suggests that a person's diet can also impact their chances of surviving colon cancer. The researchers found that people treated for Stage 3 disease had greatly increased chances of dying of it or experiencing a recurrence if their diets were heavy in carbohydrate-rich foods. The article described that the patients who consumed the most carbohydrates and foods with high glycemic loads had an 80% percent greater chance of dying or having a recurrence during the roughly seven-year study period than those who had the lowest levels.- tips for a health anti-cancer diet

Further risks of Calcium and Vitamin D supplements 

A study published in the BMJ, last year, report on the risks of long term calcium and vitamin D supplements and heart disease. Now a new study  published in The Oncologist, has found they may actually increase patients' odds for aggressive prostate cancer. We now have a difficult dilemma because on the other hand they do help protect protect the bones from osteoporosis and we know, from the results of our nutritional profile  that most people in the UK are vitamin D deficient  - tips to increase Vitamin D levels naturally. 

Omega-3s and  Cancer.

It is clear that populations with higher dietary intake of fish oils including omega 3 have a lower cancer incidence.  In the news this month, however, was the finding from a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, that men with the highest levels of omega 3 in their blood stream had a higher risk of prostate cancer. Obviously more research needed to be performed to find out the truth especially as we know, from  the results of the cancer risk nutritional profile study published in the NCRI conference last year that most people in the UK are omega 3 deficient so it is rare to have high levels. It is likely therefore that most of these men took omega 3 supplements as well as other vitamin and mineral supplements which we now know can also increase the risk - Our tip is continue oily fish consumption, cut back on the omega 3 supplements unless you have measured your essential fatty acids and are correcting a known deficiency - how to measure your fatty acids

 

More benefits for Pomi-T discovered

A further analysis of the double blind RCT Pomi-T study presented at ASCO this year has shown that men on the polyphenol rich whole food supplement trial were 30% more likely to stay on Active surveillance or Watchful Watching compared to placebo. - read more about the Pomi-T study.

 

Coffee Consumption Linked To Lower Risk Of Prostate Cancer Recurrence.

HealthDay (8/27, Mundell, 2K) reports that research published in Cancer Causes & Control found that individuals “with a history of prostate cancer who” consumed at least four cups of coffee per day “had a 59 percent lower risk of seeing their cancer worsen or return.” The study included approximately “1,000 prostate cancer survivors who ranged in age from 35 to 74 when they were first diagnosed between 2002 and 2005.” Participants provided information on dietary habits “two years prior to their diagnosis.”

 

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids selectively inhibit growth in neoplastic oral keratinocytes by differentially activating ERK1/2

Carcinogenesis

About Half Of US Adults Live With Chronic Illnesses.

USA Today (4/11, Painter, 1.71M) reports chronic illnesses, which includes "everything from heart disease, cancer and arthritis to rarer conditions," affects about half of the adult population, according to the CDC. As a result, more people find themselves living in either the "kingdom of the well" or the "kingdom of the sick." The article notes more "people with chronic illnesses are doing more to help themselves. As part of the larger patients' rights movement, they are demanding more collaborative relationships with their doctors," according to Laurie Edwards, an author who also suffers from a rare lung condition.

Moderate Drinking Has Little Effect On Breast Cancer Survival.

The New York Times (4/11, Bakalar, 1.68M) "Well" blog reports that research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology "suggests that moderate drinking has little effect on survival after" a breast cancer "diagnosis, and may reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease." Investigators "studied 22,890 women with breast cancer, recording information on alcohol intake before diagnosis and, for a subset of 4,881 of them, after diagnosis as well."

        CBS News (4/12) reports on its website, "There was no link between the amount and type of alcohol a woman said she drank before she was diagnosed and the likelihood she would die from breast cancer." Meanwhile, "some drinking was tied to health benefits." The researchers found that "women who drank in moderation - meaning three to six drinks per week - before their cancer diagnosis were 15 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than non-drinkers."

        The Minneapolis Star Tribune (4/12, Stoxen, 335K) reports that study author Polly Newcomb said, "Our findings should be reassuring to women who have breast cancer because their past experience consuming alcohol will not impact their survival after diagnosis." Reuters (4/12, Pittman) also covers the story.

Some Medicines May Interact Adversely With Grapefruit.

In print and in its "Well" blog, the New York Times (12/18, D6, Rabin) reports that "Dr. David Bailey, a Canadian researcher," who, 20 years ago, described a life-threatening interaction that occurred after a patient taking "verapamil" consumed too much grapefruit juice, has released an "updated list [pdf]" of 85 medications "affected by grapefruit." They include standard "cholesterol-lowering drugs, new anticancer agents, and some synthetic opiates and psychiatric" medicines, as well as some "immunosuppressant medications," certain "AIDS medications, and some birth control pills and estrogen treatments." Notably, for "43 of the 85 drugs" on the updated list, Dr. Bailey says "consumption with grapefruit can be life-threatening," because it induces torsade de pointes. This can "occur even without underlying heart disease and has been seen in patients taking certain anticancer agents, erythromycin and other anti-infective drugs, some cardiovascular drugs like quinidine, the antipsychotics lurasidone and ziprasidone, gastrointestinal agents cisapride and domperidone, and solifenacin, used to treat overactive bladders, " he added.

Chewing Gum After Colon Cancer Surgery May Not Benefit Bowels.

Reuters (3/28, Pittman) reports that, according to research published online in the Annals of Surgery, chewing gum after colon cancer surgery may not help bowels regain function more quickly. Investigators followed more than 150 patients who underwent colon cancer surgery, half of whom were assigned to chew gum four times daily following the surgery, and half of whom were asked not to chew gum. While the group who chewed gum did regain bowel function faster, the researchers said that the difference may have been due to chance.

 

Overweight Linked To Lower Five-Year Endometrial Cancer Survival Rates.

HealthDay (1/9, Preidt) reports, "Endometrial cancer patients are much more likely to die if they're overweight and physically inactive," according to a study published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Investigators looked at data on 1,400 patients with endometrial cancer. The researchers found that "patients with a BMI of between 25 to 29.9 (considered overweight) were 74 percent more likely to die within five years of diagnosis than patients with a healthy BMI of between 18.5 to 24.9." The investigators reported that the "risk of death was 84 percent higher for women with a BMI of 30 to 34.9 and 135 percent for those with a BMI of 35 or higher."

Animal Study: Abdominal Fat Linked To Colon Cancer.

The Huffington Post (3/12) reports that according to a new study, which is published in the March issue of the journal Cancer Prevention Research, "abdominal fat packed deep between the organs is directly linked to colon cancer." In a statement, researcher Derek M. Huffman, PhD, said, "There has been some skepticism as to whether obesity per se is a bona fide cancer risk factor, rather than the habits that fuel it, including a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle...Although those other lifestyle choices play a role, this study unequivocally demonstrates that visceral adiposity is causally linked to intestinal cancer." The Post also cites other studies that show the negative impact of abdominal fat, such as decreased bone strength in men, and a higher risk of Type II diabetes.

 

Meta-Analysis: Folic Acid Supplementation Has No Impact On Cancer Risk.

Medscape (1/25, Barber) reports, "Folic acid supplementation does not appear to increase or decrease the risk for site-specific or overall cancer in the first 5 years of treatment, according to the findings of a meta-analysis" published online in the Lancet. Investigators looked at data from 13 studies. The researchers found that "the lack of an effect of folic acid supplementation on cancer incidence persisted for either less than 3 years (RR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.96 - 1.14) or 3 years or more (RR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.96 - 1.17) of treatment." Meanwhile, "in multiple comparison analysis, no significant difference was observed in the incidence of any type of cancer for less than 3 years or 3 years or more of treatment."

 

Junk Food May Boost Already High Risk Of Colon Cancer In Lynch Syndrome Patients.

Reuters (12/18, Grens) reports that, according to a study published online in Cancer, individuals with Lynch syndrome who consume high amounts of junk food may have an even higher risk of developing colon cancer.

HealthDay (12/18) reports, "The study included 486 people with Lynch syndrome" who "provided information about their eating habits and were followed for an average of 20 months." Over that period, "colorectal polyps (precancerous growths) were detected in 58 of the patients."

MedPage Today (12/18, Walsh) reports that "those whose diets featured a major snack component - chips, fast food, and sweets - had an increased risk of developing colorectal adenomas (adjusted hazard ratio 2.16, 95% CI 1.03 to 4.49)." Meanwhile, "those whose diet was considered "prudent," featuring a high percentage of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and fish, tended to have modest, though nonsignificant, decrease in risk (aHR 0.73, 95% CI 0.32 to 1.66), the researchers reported."

Factors That Help Reduce Heart Disease Also Protect Against Cancer.

HealthDay (3/19, Reinberg) reports, "Seven healthy lifestyle tips recommended by heart experts reduce not only the risk of heart disease but also cancer, a new study finds." Researchers found that "adopting all seven of the factors from the American Heart Association can reduce the risk of developing cancer by more than 50 percent." Further, "the benefits are cumulative, with cancer risk declining with each additional recommendation followed." Lead researcher Laura Rasmussen-Torvik, an assistant professor in the department of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said, "These findings aren't surprising, given that many elements, like having a healthy diet, exercising and not smoking, are known to reduce the risk of cancer."

NCCN Issues Cancer Survivorship Guidelines.

Medscape (3/19, Nelson) reports, "For the first time, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has issued practice guidelines for survivorship." They "focus on the post-treatment period." According to Medscape, "The NCCN Guidelines for Survivorship cover eight distinct areas: anxiety and depression, cognitive function, exercise, fatigue, immunizations and infections, pain, sexual function, and sleep disorders." Some of the "highlights" of the guidelines were presented at the NCCN 18th Annual Conference.

 

Study Finds Link Between Diet, Colon Cancer Survival.

In its "Well" blog, the New York Times (11/9, O'Connor) reported that a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, suggests that a person's diet can impact his or her chances of surviving colon cancer. The article noted that "the research is among the first to look at the impact that specific nutrients have on the likelihood of disease recurrence in people with colon cancer, one of the leading causes of cancer death in" the US. According to the blog, the study "found that people treated for Stage 3 disease...had greatly increased chances of dying of it or experiencing a recurrence if their diets were heavy in carbohydrate-rich foods." The article described that "the patients who consumed the most carbohydrates and foods with high glycemic loads...had an 80 percent greater chance of dying or having a recurrence during the roughly seven-year study period than those who had the lowest levels."

Grape Seed Extract May Kill Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cells In Head And Neck.

The Tampa (FL) Tribune (2/2, Ljungberg) reports that in research recently "published...in the journal Carcinogenesis," investigators "reported that grape extract killed head and neck squamous cell cancer cells, both in cell cultures and in laboratory mice" and did not harm "healthy cells" in the process. The study "was supported by grants from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the National Cancer Institute."

Researchers Offer New Clues On Green Tea's Impact On Prostate Cancer.

WebMD (10/19, Doheny) reports that "researchers have new clues about how" green tea "may work to help prevent or slow the growth of prostate" cancer. Astudy presented at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting on cancer prevention found that "men with prostate cancer who drank green tea had less prostate tissue inflammation, linked to cancer growth, and other changes than those who didn't drink it."

HealthDay (10/19, Mozes) reports, "The notion that the polyphenol compounds found in green tea might have a protective effect against prostate cancer has yet to be confirmed outside a laboratory setting. However, this latest report builds on previous Italian research that suggested that consuming green tea extract may help lower the risk that a precancerous condition will develop into full-blown prostate cancer."

 

 

Glycemic Load, High BMI Raise Colon Cancer Recurrence Risk.

Medwire (11/9, Oswald) reports that "increased glycemic loads and high carbohydrate consumption may increase the risk for colon cancer recurrence" and "the impact of these dietary factors on survival primarily affected overweight and obese patients." The study "found that patients in the lowest quintile for dietary glycemic load had a 79% increased chance of disease-free survival compared with those in the highest quintile (48 vs 36%)" and "patients in the highest quintile of carbohydrate consumption had an 80% increased risk for cancer recurrence or death from any cause compared with patients in the lowest quintile (49 vs 34%)." However, while those with a BMI of 25 kg/m2 or more had a 2.3-fold increase in risk if they were in the highest quintile for glycemic load, there was no statistical relationship between glycemic index for patients with a lower BMI. The study appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

 

Report: Weight Control, Exercise Could Prevent 60 Percent Of Endometrial Cancer Cases In US.

On its website, CBS News (9/12, Castillo, 5.42M) reports that approximately 60 percent of cases of endometrial cancer in the US could be prevented, according to a report from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund International. Investigators “who looked at global studies on diet, activity and weight as they pertained to the cancer of the uterus’ lining, discovered that three out of every five cases of endometrial cancer in the US...could have been prevented if affected women had maintained a normal weight and sufficient physical activity levels.”

        On its website, NBC News (9/12, Fox, 6.68M) reports that “also found some surprising findings – the degree to which coffee can protect against the cancer, and the rates at which sugary, starchy foods increase it.” Altogether, eight studies indicated that “coffee lowers the risk...says” one of the researchers, Dr. Elisa Bandera. Meanwhile, “at least six studies” showed that “glycemic load affects the risk.”

        BBC News (9/10, 1.46M) reports, however, that “experts say there is not yet enough evidence to recommend drinking coffee to protect against the disease.”

        HealthDay (9/12, Thomspson, 5.95M) reports that this new report “is part of an ongoing WCRF/AICR project, in which the two groups are” attempting to “update their recommendations for cancer prevention based on the most up-to-date scientific evidence.”

Older Colon Cancer Patients Prescribed Daily Aspirin May Live Longer.

Reuters (12/8, Hobson) reported that, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, older colon cancer patients prescribed a daily aspirin may live longer. Investigators looked at data on more than 500 patients with colon cancer who were aged at least 70 years. About one-fifth of these patients were prescribed low-dose aspirin for its heart benefits following their cancer diagnosis. The researchers found that, over a period of about ten years, the death rate for patients who had been prescribed aspirin was approximately half that of the other patients

 

Multivitamin Use May Be Linked To Reduced Cancer Risk.

Research linking multivitamin use to reduced cancer risks received extensive coverage, particularly online. The news was also featured on two of last night's national news broadcasts. The CBS Evening News (10/17, story 7, 0:15, Pelley) reported that "a large study of multivitamins found that they may slightly lower a healthy man's risk of developing cancer."

On NBC Nightly News (10/17, story 5, 1:50, Williams), NBC's Chief Science Correspondent Robert Bazell said that for the study, "researchers gave almost 15,000 male physicians 50 years or over either a multivitamin or a placebo."

The New York Times (10/18, A23, Rabin, Subscription Publication) reports that after following the participants "for more than a decade," the researchers "found that those taking a daily multivitamin experienced 8 percent fewer cancers than the subjects taking dummy pills." The investigators reported that "multivitamin use had no effect on the incidence of prostate cancer, which was the most common cancer diagnosed in the study participants." When the investigators "looked at the effect of vitamin use on all other cancers, they found a 12 percent reduction in occurrence."

The Washington Post (10/18, Huget) "The Checkup" blog reports, "The study didn't detect reductions in risk for any single form of cancer, just the total risk of a cancer diagnosis overall."

The Los Angeles Times (10/18, Bardin) "Booster Shots" blog reports that "the researchers...pointed out that prostate cancer is often benign - and that the results suggest that multivitamins may prevent more serious types of cancer better than the study's overall 8% mark."

Bloomberg News (10/18, Flinn) reports, "The study's authors couldn't pinpoint any single reason for the reduction in cancer among those who took the supplements, though they speculated it may be due to the combination of several low-dose vitamins and minerals, where previous studies looked at the effect of high levels of individual nutrients."

The CNN (10/18) "The Chart" blog reports that the researchers "are also not sure that the results will be seen in other groups of people such as women or smokers. The men in this study were generally healthy physicians, not overweight or obese and most were non-smokers."

NBC News (10/18, Aleccia) reports, "The new study suggests that boosting nutrition, even with the modest nudge of a daily vitamin, could have far-reaching health benefits, said Dr. Demetrius Albanes, a senior investigator and expert in nutritional epidemiology with the National Cancer Institute." According to Albanes, "It's exciting. It's encouraging."

The Boston Globe (10/18, Kotz) "Daily Dose" blog reports, however, that according Dr. Albanes, "These are very encouraging results, but women weren't included in this study, nor were younger men, nor those from a range of ethnicities." Dr. Albanes added, "It's one trial, and we've seen many cases where one trial doesn't always give the final answer."

CQ (10/18, McGlade, Subscription Publication) reports, "A number of studies in the past have come up with negligible evidence that multivitamins could prevent chronic illness, leading an NIH-sponsored conference to conclude that it could not recommend for or against the use of multivitamins to prevent such illness." Although "Albanes said he didn't think the NIH would automatically reverse its position...he said the National Cancer Institute is looking closely at the trial and might do future clinical trials to include a more diverse population sample."

The Wall Street Journal (10/18, Winslow, Subscription Publication) reports that the study received funding from the National Institutes of Health. The research was published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association and presented at an American Association for Cancer Research meeting.

Forbes (10/18, Herper) quotes George Sledge, a past-president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, as saying, "This is a case of a statistically significant but not particularly impactful result." Sledge adds, "The reduction in cancer incidence is small but real, but at the end of the day no one lived any longer."

The AP (10/18, Marchione, Writer) reports that Dr. Ernest Hawk, formerly of the National Cancer Institute, said that "it's a very mild effect and personally I'm not sure it's significant enough to recommend to anyone," but "at least this doesn't suggest a harm."

HealthDay (10/18, Gardner) reports, "The authors also collected information on multivitamin use and heart disease, eye disease and cognitive function, which will be presented at later dates." Also covering the story are The Boston Herald (10/18, Mcconville), the Huffington Post (10/18), ABC News (10/18), MedPage Today (10/18, Bankhead), BBC News (10/18), Reuters (10/18, Beasley), Medscape (10/18, Subscription Publication), and WebMD (10/18, Doheny).

 

Vitamin D Levels May Significantly Drop In Winter For Women With Certain Conditions.

HealthDay (11/2, Preidt) reports, "Vitamin D levels are known to decrease during the winter months, but for women with certain health problems, the drop may be even more significant," according to a study that was scheduled to be presented at the American Society for Clinical Pathology meeting. Investigators "assessed the winter and summer vitamin D levels of nearly 250 women with health conditions including osteoporosis, high blood pressure, arthritis, cancer and hypothyroidism." The researchers found that "28 percent of the women had deficient levels of vitamin D in the winter and 33 percent had insufficient levels, compared with 5 percent and 38 percent, respectively, during the summer."

 

Alcohol consumption suppresses mammary tumor metastasis in a syngeneic tumor transplantation model

Beth A. Vorderstrasse, Tao Wang, , Volume 136, Issue 3, pp 729-737

Epidemiological studies indicate a positive correlation between alcohol consumption and the risk of developing breast cancer. However, little is known about whether alcohol consumption affects breast cancer metastasis. Considering that the primary cause of death in breast cancer patients is due to metastasis, further insight into whether alcohol consumption influences disease progression and survival is needed. We tested the effect of alcohol consumption on breast cancer metastasis using the 4T1.2 syngeneic mammary tumor model in Balb/c mice. The treatment groups included a High-consuming group (18 % w/v alcohol in drinking water), a Moderate-consuming group (5 % w/v), a Low-consuming group (1 % w/v), and a Water-drinking control group. 4T1.2 mammary tumor cells were injected orthotopically into the mammary fat pad. Metastases were enumerated in lungs and in distant mammary glands 4 weeks after injection. Consumption of High alcohol protected against metastasis, as High-consuming mice typically had 65–75 % fewer metastases compared to Water-drinking controls. A suggestive reduction in tumor spread was observed in the Moderate-drinking group, although the effects did not reach statistical significance. Consumption of the Low alcohol dose did not affect metastasis. CXCR4 expression in the primary tumors was significantly reduced by High alcohol consumption; however, expression of this chemokine receptor in the primary tumor did not correlate with metastatic potential. Additional studies were conducted to test for possible direct effects of 0.3 % w/v ethanol on tumor cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and colony formation of 4T1.2 cells in vitro. Our results indicate that, for this murine model, alcohol consumption does not exacerbate tumor metastasis, and that High alcohol consumption reduces tumor spread.

Statin Use May Be Linked To Slower Growth Of Inflammatory Breast Cancer.

MedPage Today (12/11, Bankhead) reports, "Inflammatory breast cancer grew significantly more slowly in women who had a history of treatment with statin drugs, findings from a large retrospective review showed." Researchers found that, "overall, statin use was associated with significant improvement in progression-free survival (PFS)." The investigators reported that "analysis by type of statin showed that outcomes with hydrophilic agents drove the results." The findings were presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium

 

Statin Use May Help Reduce Liver Cancer Risk In Hepatitis C Patients.

Reuters (3/22, Pittman) reports that, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, individuals with hepatitis C may face a lower risk of liver cancer if they are using statins. Investigators looked at data on approximately 261,000 individuals with hepatitis C. The researchers found that patients who were taking statins were roughly half as likely as those not taking the medications to develop cancer.

 

Pomegranate juice and specific components inhibit cell and molecular processes critical for metastasis of breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death and morbidity among women in the western world. Pomegranate juice (PJ) and three of its specific components have been shown to inhibit processes involved in prostate cancer metastasis. If this also proves to be true for breast cancer, these natural treatments will be promising agents against breast cancer that can serve as potentially effective and nontoxic alternatives or adjuncts to the use of conventional selective estrogen receptor modulators for breast cancer prevention and treatment. To test this possibility, we have used two breast cancer cell lines, MDA-MB-231 cells (ER) and MCF7 (ER+), and the non-neoplastic cell line MCF10A. We show that, in addition to inhibiting growth of the breast cancer cells, PJ or a combination of its components luteolin (L) + ellagic acid (E) + punicic acid (P) increase cancer cell adhesion and decrease cancer cell migration but do not affect normal cells. These treatments also inhibit chemotaxis of the cancer cells to SDF1α, a chemokine that attracts breast cancer cells to the bone. We hypothesized that PJ and L + E + P stimulate expression of genes that increase adhesion and inhibit genes that stimulate cell migration and inhibit chemotaxis to SDF1α. Using qPCR, we confirmed these proposed effects on gene expression and in addition we found that a gene important in epithelial-to-meshenchymal transitions is decreased. We also found that pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines are significantly reduced by these treatments, thereby having the potential to decrease inflammation and its impact on cancer progression. Discovery that PJ and L + E + P are inhibitory of metastatic processes in breast cancer cells in addition to prostate cancer cells indicate that they are potentially a very effective treatment to prevent cancer progression in general. 

, Volume 136, Issue 3, pp 647-658 Ana Rocha, Lei Wang, Manuel Penichet, Manuela Martins-Green 10.1007/s10549-012-2264-5

 

World Cancer Research Fund: Reducing Salt Intake May Lower Stomach Cancer Risk.

BBC News (7/23) reports, "Cutting back on salty foods such as bacon, bread and breakfast cereals may reduce people's risk of developing stomach cancer, according to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF)." The group contends that "in the UK...one in seven stomach cancers would be prevented if people kept to daily guidelines." BBC News adds, "Cancer Research UK said this figure could be even higher."

Study: BMI, BP Do Not Increase Prostate Cancer Risk.

MedPage Today ( 10/22, Bankhead) reports, "Metabolic factors did not increase the risk of prostate cancer but modestly raised the risk of prostate cancer mortality," according to a study published online in Cancer. Researchers "analyzed data from the ongoing Metabolic Syndrome and Cancer Project (Me-Can), which has a database comprising 289,866 men" and found that "blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), and cholesterol level had no association with prostate cancer, nor did the composite z-score for combined metabolic risk factors." However, the study team noted that "high blood pressure, BMI, and composite metabolic score did predict the risk of dying of prostate cancer, raising the odds by 13% to 62%."

 

NIH Study: Antioxidants May Help Kill Cancer Cells Resistant To Treatment.

Bloomberg News (3/20, Ostrow) reports, "Antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables and red wine killed cancer cells, including those that are resistant to treatment," according to a study published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. NIH "researchers...identified 22 antioxidants that eradicated dividing cells, including two types that showed promise against drug-resistant cancer cells." However, according to study author Kyungjae Myung, a senior investigator in the Genetics and Molecular Biology Branch of the National Human Genome Research Institute, "The dose that we used for this treatment in a laboratory setting was way higher than you can get from wine or all those antioxidant tablets or you can consume by eating."

Overweight, Obese Breast Cancer Patients May Face Increased Risk For Recurrence.

HealthDay (3/24, Preidt) reports, "Overweight and obese breast cancer patients are at increased risk for recurrence of the disease," according to a study presented at the European Breast Cancer Conference. Investigators "analyzed data collected from 1,909 breast cancer patients." One of the researchers said, "We found that BMI was related to both relapse-free survival and overall survival; for example, the 10-year relapse-free survival of a patient who was overweight was 70 percent; compared with 65 percent for one who was obese."

 

Obesity at diagnosis is associated with inferior outcomes in hormone receptor-positive operable breast cancer

Joseph A. Sparano, Molin Wang, Fengmin Zhao, Vered Stearns, Silvana Martino, Jennifer A. Ligibel, Edith A. Perez, Tom Saphner, Antonio C. Wolff, George W. Sledge Jr, William C. Wood, John Fetting and Nancy E. Davidson

Article first published online: CANCER 27 AUG 2012 | DOI: 10.1002/cncr.27527

Obesity is associated with inferior outcomes in patients with operable breast cancer receiving anthracycline-taxane–containing chemotherapy, but only in hormone receptor-positive, human epidermal growth receptor 2-negative disease.

B-Vitamin May Not Reduce Incidence Of Colon Cancer.

Reuters (10/13, Pittman) reports on a study by Dr. Yiqing Song from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston finding that use of B-vitamin supplements including folic acid may not reduce the occurrence of colon polyps. The randomized study of 1,470 women assigned different groups a daily B-vitamin supplement of 2.5 mg dose of folic acid, 50 mg of vitamin B6, and 1 mg of vitamin B12 and placebo. The study found that while 24.3 percent of those taking vitamins had polyps, 24 percent of those on placebo did.

HealthDay (10/13, Reinberg) reports, "Research concerning B vitamins' possible effect on colon cancer has been mixed, but a new study concludes that a B-vitamin combination supplement - including folic acid (B9), B6 and B12 - neither raises nor reduces the risk of colon cancer." The study was based on "data from the Women's Antioxidant and Folic Acid Cardiovascular Study." It "was published in the Oct. 12 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute."

MedPage Today (10/13, Neale) reports, "There were no subgroups in which supplementation was associated with benefit or harm, the researchers reported online," writing, "Our findings do not support recommending B-vitamin supplementation for the prevention of colorectal adenomas."

Breast-Feeding May Reduce Risk Of ER/PR- Breast Cancer.

HealthDay (10/19) reports, "Breast-feeding may reduce a woman's risk for a form of breast cancer that's particularly difficult to treat," according to a study that was scheduled to be presented at an American Association for Cancer Research meeting. Investigators "found that breast-feeding lowered the odds for estrogen receptor-negative and progesterone receptor-negative (ER/PR-) breast cancer."

Hay Fever And Asthma Together May Reduce Risk Of Death From Colon Cancer.

HealthDay (10/19, Mann) reports that "people who suffer from both hay fever and asthma may be less likely to die from colon cancer," according to a study that was scheduled to be presented at an American Association for Cancer Research meeting. Investigators "found that people with both hay fever and asthma were 17 percent less likely to die from colon cancer compared with people who have neither condition." However, "individuals with hay fever or asthma had little reduction in their risk of fatal colon cancer, according to the report."

 

Low LDL Cholesterol Levels May Predate Cancer Cases.

HeartWire (3/26, O'Riordan) reports, "New data from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) offspring cohort help shed light on the question" of whether low LDL cholesterol levels are caused by cancer or whether low LDL cholesterol is "a precursor to the development of cancer." According to the lead investigator, "Based on these data, it would suggest that lower cholesterol predated the development of cancer by quite a long time," but "that doesn't necessarily speak to [low cholesterol] causing the cancer." The research was presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting.

 

Study Finds Common Prostate Cancer Supplements May Increase Risk For Patients.

HealthDay (8/10) reports on a new study, published in the July issue of The Oncologist, which found that vitamin D and calcium supplements as "standard treatment" for men who undergo hormone-depletion therapy for prostate cancer, "may actually boost patients' odds for heart disease and aggressive prostate cancer." Explained lead author Gary Schartz, "It wouldn't be so bad if there simply was no obvious benefit. The problem is that there is evidence that calcium supplements increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and aggressive prostate cancer, the very disease that we are trying to treat."

 

Researchers: Statins Do Not Confer Increased Risk Of Cancer, Cognitive Decline.

MedPage Today (8/17, Kaiser) reports, "Statins do not confer an increased risk of cancer or cognitive decline, but a small risk for diabetes should be considered when prescribing the drugs to patients with a low cardiovascular risk, according to a review" published online in Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The investigators found, "in the review...that case reports for cognitive decline cannot be objectively relied upon, primarily because of missing data and the already inherent risk for memory loss for the patient population that takes statins for secondary prevention." The researchers also "found no formal case reports linking statins with the risk of incident cancer or diabetes."

Study: Caloric Restriction May Not Be Linked To Increased Lifespan.

A study exploring the relationship between calorie-restricted diets and lifespan received a significant amount of coverage, both in print and online, but was not mentioned on any of last night's national news broadcasts. Many of the articles point out that this study's findings differ from those of a similar study published just a few years ago.

USA Today (8/30) reports, "Caloric restriction doesn't stave off aging, at least in one two-decade study of our monkey cousins" published in Nature. While "'caloric restriction' diets averaging around one-third less than normal have been shown to extend lifetimes in critters ranging from earthworms to mice," they don't "seem to work in rhesus macaques, suggests a 23-year study of caloric restriction led by Julie Mattison of the National Institute on Aging reported in the journal Nature."

In a front-page story, the New York Times (8/30, A1, Kolata, Subscription Publication) reports, "Lab test results showed lower levels of cholesterol and blood sugar in the male monkeys that started eating 30 percent fewer calories in old age, but not in the females." The researchers also found that "monkeys put on the diet when they were young or middle-aged did not get the same benefits, though they had less cancer." However, "the bottom line was that the monkeys that ate less did not live any longer than those that ate normally."

The Wall Street Journal (8/30, A3, Naik, Subscription Publication) reports that according to Rafael de Cabo, an experimental gerontologist at the US. National Institute on Aging, and an author of the study, "One thing that's becoming clear is that calorie restriction is not a Holy Grail for extending the life span of everything that walks on earth."

The Los Angeles Times (8/30, Mestel) reports, "The results are quite different from a 2009 study of monkeys in a colony in Wisconsin that found a clear survival edge from age-related diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease in calorie-restricted animals. That study also saw a trend toward longer life for monkeys on the diet when all causes of death were considered." Determining "whether differences in diet, the animals' genetic makeup or something else caused the results to diverge could offer important clues to the ways in which calorie restriction - and aging - work, De Cabo said."

Bloomberg News (8/30, Lopatto) reports, "The conflicting results" could "be due to differences in the studies' control monkey diets, said...Mattison" during a "telephone interview."

The Boston Globe (8/30) "Daily Dose" blog reports that in a statement, National Institute on Aging Director Dr. Richard J. Hodes said, "These results suggest the complexity of how calorie restriction may work in the body." Hodes added, "Calorie restriction's effects likely depend on a variety of factors, including environment, nutritional components and genetics."

According to the CNN (8/30, Wilson) "The Chart" blog, Mattison said, "The effects of (calorie restriction) are multi-faceted in a longer-lived subject such as a monkey and it is necessary to dissect the interplay of number of calories and source of calories." She added that "unless we understand which pathways are being affected by this metabolic stress, we can't control the many other variables that might contribute to the effect."

Meanwhile, the Time (8/30, Szalavitz) "Healthland" blog reports that "de Cabo...notes that the effects of caloric restriction on the immune system may not be all good: some studies show slower wound healing and increased risk for infectious disease. In young animals, restricting calories also reduces fertility."

On its website, ABC News (8/30, Neporent) reports that according to Mattison, "It is likely that calorie restriction alters cellular pathways that contribute to cancer differently than it does those pathways leading to metabolic dysfunction." She added, "Given the experimental design, it is possible that pathways leading to cancer are impacted earlier or to a greater extent than others." Also covering the story are HealthDay (8/30, Storrs), AFP (8/30), Slate Magazine (8/30), and Reuters (8/30, Begley).

Fish Consumption Associated With Lower Risk For Colon Polyps.

Reuters (2/1, Grens) reports that according to a study published online Jan. 25 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adult females who consume three servings of fish on a weekly basis appear to have a 33% decreased chance of adenomas being found during a colonoscopy. The study authors theorize that omega-3 fatty acids in fish may act as anti-inflammatories, preventing the formation of colon polyps. Women who consumed more fish appeared to have decreased levels of prostaglandin E2, a hormone which in higher levels has been associated with an increased risk for colon cancer.

 

Diabetes and Obesity

HealthDay (12/7, Doheny) reports, "A woman's risk of developing breast cancer appears to rise if she has diabetes or is obese after age 60," according to a study to be presented at the 2011 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

        MedPage Today (12/7, Fiore) reports that researchers found, "in a large epidemiological study," that "women who'd been given a diagnosis of diabetes in the last four years had a 37% higher risk of developing breast cancer than those without the blood glucose disorder." The investigators found that patients "who were older than 60 and obese had a 55% greater risk of breast cancer, although it was of borderline significance."

 

According to a  large epidemiological study presented at the 2011 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium researchers found, that women who'd been given a diagnosis of diabetes in the last four years had a 37% higher risk of developing breast cancer than those without the blood glucose disorder. The investigators found that patients who were older than 60 and obese had an even greater risk (55%) of breast cancer.

Carbohydrate-Rich Foods May Be Linked To Increased Breast Cancer Recurrence Risk.

The Los Angeles Times (12/9, Brown) "Booster Shots" blog reports that "increased carbohydrate intake was associated with a higher rate of breast cancer recurrence in survivors of the disease," according to a study scheduled to be presented at the 2011 San Antonio Breast Cancer Conference.

        HealthDay (12/9, Doheny) reports that a researcher "looked at changes in the amount of carbohydrates, particularly starchy foods such as potatoes, that breast cancer survivors ate over a one-year period." She said, "Women who increased their carbohydrates and particularly their starch intake had a greater risk of recurrence than the women who decreased [it]."

 

CDC Data Indicate HPV Causes 18,000 Cancers In Women, 8,000 In Men Annually.

WebMD (4/20, DeNoon) reports that while "HPV causes 18,000 cancers in women each year, it also causes 8,000 cancers in men," according to CDC data. In order to "get the figures, CDC researchers analyzed data collected from 2004 to 2008 in two large cancer registries." The data are published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Prolonged Formula Feeding May Be Linked To Increased Risk Of ALL.

HealthDay (10/18) reports, "When the introduction to solid foods is delayed and babies are fed formula for a prolonged period of time, it may place them at increased risk for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)," according to a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research meeting.

MedPage Today (10/18, Bankhead) reports, "Each additional month of formula feeding was associated with a 16% increase in the relative risk of ALL compared with a control group." Meanwhile, "every additional month of delay in the start of solid foods increased the odds by 14%."

 

  • Note that this study was published as an abstract and presented at a conference. These data and conclusions should be considered to be preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Increasing calcium intake may lower the risk of colorectal adenomas in people who are at increased risk of the precancerous lesions due to variations in two genes, KCNJ and SLC12A1.
  • Note that high calcium intake was not associated with a reduced risk of colorectal adenoma among those with no variants in the two genes, both of which are essential to calcium reabsorption in the kidney.

 

WASHINGTON -- Increasing calcium intake may lower the risk of colorectal adenomas in people who are at increased risk of the precancerous lesions due to variations in two genes, researchers reported here.

In a two-phase, case-control study of nearly 6,000 subjects, high calcium intake was associated with a significantly reduced risk of adenoma among those who carried variants in the KCNJ and SLC12A1 genes.

High calcium intake was not associated with a reduced risk of colorectal adenoma among those with no variants in KCNJ and SLC12A1, both of which are essential to calcium reabsorption in the kidney, reported Xiangzhu Zhu, MD, of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting here.

The two-phase study was undertaken to explore whether 14 genes involved in calcium homeostasis are associated with the risk for colorectal adenoma. The researchers also wanted to determine whether intake of calcium and magnesium modified any such risks.

To do so, they utilized data from 1,818 cases and 3,992 controls enrolled in the Tennessee Colorectal Polyp Study. Of the 14 genes, KCNJ and SLC12A1 were found to modify the risk between calcium intake and adenomas.

Among the findings:

If confirmed, the findings suggest that patients who carry one or both variants should increase their calcium intake to at least 1,300 mg per day, either through diet or supplementation, Zhu said.

The findings may also "provide one possible explanation for the inconsistency in previous studies on calcium intake and colorectal abnormalities," she said.

Further study will be needed to confirm the findings, commented Susan T. Mayne, PhD, of Yale University School of Public Health.

Mayne said the study emphasizes that "one size does not always fit all" when it comes to optimal nutrient intakes.

James R. Marshall, PhD, senior vice president of cancer prevention and population sciences at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., agreed, pointing out that studies like this are needed to find biomarkers that can pinpoint those patients most likely to benefit from prevention strategies.

"Case-control studies raise possibilities that help to define which patients to include in future trials," Marshall said.

Heavy Milk Consumption By Teens May Be Linked To Prostate Cancer.

Reuters (12/30, Joelving) reports that older Icelandic men who drank lots of milk during their teenage years were three times as likely to have an advanced prostate cancer diagnosis compared to their moderate milk consumers, according to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The study examined data on some 2,200 men born between 1907 and 1937, who reported diet information during the early and mid-life years as part of a different study. Of 1,800 men, 3% of those who drank milk daily during adolescence were associated with an increased risk of advanced prostate cancer. However, Dr. Matthew Cooperberg, a urologist at the University of California, San Francisco told Reuters Health that it's premature to say that milk consumption causes prostate cancer.

Statins May Be Linked To Reduced Risk Of Dying From Prostate Cancer.

Reuters (12/30, Pittman) reports that, according to a study published online in the journal Cancer, use of statins may be linked to a lower risk of death from prostate cancer. Investigators looked at data on 380 individuals who had died from prostate cancer and data on 380 men who did not have prostate cancer or who had cancer that was not lethal. The investigators found that those who had died from prostate cancer were about 50% as likely to have used a statin compared to the other men.

Soy May Not Be Linked To Reduced Risk Of Stomach Cancer.

Reuters (1/4, Seaman) reports that, according to a study published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a diet rich in soy may not be linked to a reduced risk of stomach cancer. Investigators looked at data on approximately 85,000 individuals participating in a separate study. The investigators found no difference in stomach cancer risk between participants who consumed the highest amounts of isoflavones, which are found in soy, versus participants who consumed the least.

A meta-analysis evaluated the  dose–response relationship between carotenoids and breast cancer. 

33 studies met the inclusion criteria. When data from cohort studies were pooled a significant dose–response relationships were observed in both the higher intake of dietary and total β-carotene with reduced breast cancer risk when data from cohort studies (P trend < 0.01, P trend = 0.03) and case–control studies (P trend < 0.01, P trend < 0.01) were pooled, respectively. Dietary α-carotene intake could reduce the breast cancer risk. The relationships between dietary and total β-carotene intake and breast cancer need to be confirmed. No significant association between dietary intake of β-cryptoxanthin, lutein/+zeaxanthin, and lycopene and breast cancer was observed. Hu et al 2012 Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, Volume 131, Number 1, 239-253, DOI: 10.1007/s10549-011-1723-8

 

Large Quantities Of Selenium Supplements May Raise Risk For Type 2 Diabetes.

Bloomberg News (2/29, Kitamura) reports, "Supplements of selenium, a trace mineral that may help prevent some cancers, might increase the risk of type 2 diabetes if taken in large quantities, according to a review of existing studies" published online Feb. 29 in The Lancet. After examining "studies published between January 1990 and February 2011," Professor Margaret Rayman, of the UK's University of Surrey, said that "to help prevent raising the chance of developing diabetes, people with selenium levels of 122 micrograms per liter or higher in their blood shouldn't take selenium supplements."

        In addition, "higher-than-normal levels of selenium may contribute to the development of...hair loss and certain cancers," HealthDay (2/29, Gordon) reports. "The average daily intake recommendations for selenium are 60 micrograms per day for men and 53 micrograms per day for women, according to the research." The study found, however, that "daily intake of selenium varied from as little as 7 micrograms per day to as much as 4,990 micrograms per day. In Europe, the average intake was 40 micrograms per day, and in the United States, the average daily intake was 93 micrograms for women and 134 micrograms for men. Selenium supplements are likely part of this intake," investigators reported.

        WebMD (2/29, Goodman) points out, "The US Institute of Medicine has set a tolerable upper limit for selenium at 400 micrograms a day. Too much selenium can cause a condition called selenosis, which includes symptoms, such as gastrointestinal upset...white blotchy nails, garlic breath odor, fatigue, irritability, and mild nerve damage." Also covering the story is the ABC News (2/29, Moisse) "Medical Unit" blog.

Low Levels Of Vitamin D May Be Linked To Higher Bladder Cancer Risk.

The Los Angeles Times (11/1, Maugh) "Science Now" blog reports, "Low levels of vitamin D in the blood double the risk of developing bladder cancer, Spanish researchers reported" in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Investigators measured blood levels of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D3 in more than 1,000 patients with bladder cancer and more than 1,000 patients who did not have signs of the disease. The researchers "found that those with the lowest levels of the vitamin were 1.83 times as likely to have bladder cancer as those with the highest levels." After "the team separated out patients with the most aggressive form of invasive bladder cancer, they found that those with the lowest vitamin levels were 5.94 times as likely to develop the disease."

 

Low Vitamin D May Not Increase Mortality Risk For Women.

MedPage Today (11/2, Gever) reports, "Increased risks for all-cause mortality and death from cancer and cardiovascular disease associated with low vitamin D levels registered only as weak, non-significant trends in a large prospective study," according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. "The analysis did reveal one near-significant association, however: Women with normal waist circumference, defined as 35 inches or less, and low [25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH-D)] levels were at nearly double the risk for all-cause mortality (HR 1.85, 95% CI 1.00 to 3.44), whereas those with larger waist measurements were not," leading researchers to suggest that "body fat distribution may play an important role in the modulation of the effect of low vitamin D concentrations." However, researchers also emphasized that "the recent Institute of Medicine report that said studies purporting to identify benefits of vitamin D beyond bone health 'could not be considered reliable.'"

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked To Multiple Conditions.

USA Today (11/9, Marcus) reports, "It may seem as though vitamin D is everywhere these days. ... Vitamin D helps control calcium and phosphorus levels in the body, and it plays a role in cell growth, immunity and reducing inflammation." Research connects vitamin D deficiency to "rickets, a bone-thinning condition that can cause deformities" in children, and "osteomalacia -- muscle and bone weakness" in adults. In addition, vitamin D deficiency may be "linked to cancer, autoimmune problems and heart disease."

 

Preliminary Study Suggests Pomegranate Extract May Slow Prostate Cancer Progression.

WebMD (2/17, Laino) reported,  Michael Carducci from Johns Hopkins performed a study in men and showed that "Taking a pomegranate pill a day may help slow the progression of prostate cancer," according to preliminary research presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Genitourinary Cancer Symposium Meeting. The study involved 92 men with cancer that had "not spread beyond the prostate" and rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. At baseline, the men's PSA levels were "doubling every 12 months." The researchers found that for the men in the group taking pomegranate capsules for at least six months, it "took 19 months for their PSA levels to double." However, men who took three of the one-gram pomegranate extract capsules daily "were more likely to suffer mild to moderate diarrhea" compared to those who only took one pill, "14% vs. 2%," respectively. The researchers attributed the anticancer effect to antioxidants in pomegranates.

 

Commentary: Consumers Need More Information On Supplements' Impact On Cancer.

MedPage Today (4/27, Bankhead) reports, "Consumers need more information and guidance about the potential risks, as well as the benefits, of using dietary supplements for cancer prevention, authors of a review concluded." New "evidence has shown that high doses of certain supplements can actually increase the risk of cancer, Maria Elena Martinez, PhD, of the University of California San Diego, and co-authors wrote in a commentary published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute." The authors wrote, "Both the scientific community and government regulators need to provide clear guidance to the public about the use of dietary supplements to lower cancer risk."

Study Finds Link Between Soy Consumption, Survival In Women With Lung Cancer.

In continuing coverage, Reuters (3/27, Seaman) reports on a new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, which found a link between soy consumption and living longer after diagnosis in women. Dr. Gong Yang, the study's lead author from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, said, "To our knowledge this is the first study to suggest this association. Although this finding is promising, it would be premature to make any recommendation based on the findings of a single study."

        HealthDay (3/27, Marcus) adds that "eating soy products in small amounts in the years preceding a lung cancer diagnosis didn't seem to pose a benefit, though."

 

Studies Fail To Find Health Benefits Of Multivitamins.

The Wall Street Journal (10/25, Wang, Subscription Publication) reports that a number of recent studies have suggested that certain multivitamins and dietary supplements may in fact be harmful to health, or at least offer no real health benefits. The Journal points out that researchers found that vitamins B-6 and B-12, both hyped as offering heart benefits, do not really reduce one's likelihood of developing heart disease, according the NIH's Office of Dietary Supplements. Josephine Briggs, head of the NIH's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, said, "We have an enormous body of data telling us that plant-rich diets are very healthy," but "as soon as we take these various antioxidants [and other nutrients] out and put them in a pill, we're not consistently getting a benefit." The Journal also points out that research on participants in the NIH's Women's Health Initiative found no evidence that multivitamins help to prevent breast, lung or colorectal cancer, or heart disease.

 

Vitamin E - a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showing that taking vitamin E may raise the risk of prostate cancer.

        ABC World News (10/11, story 10, 0:15, Sawyer) reported that the study showed "vitamin E significantly raises the risk of prostate cancer in healthy men by 17%."

        CBS Evening News (1011, story 7, 2:25, Pelley) reported that the trial, which involved over 35,000 men, "began a decade ago to see if vitamin E and the mineral selenium could prevent prostate cancer." In 2008, it was found that neither vitamin E nor selenium "prevented cancer and everyone was told to stop taking the vitamins." Then it was found that "men who took vitamin E alone were at a 17% increased risk of developing prostate cancer."

        NBC Nightly News (10/11, story 8, 2:35, Williams) reported that "The final verdict on selenium is not in yet."

        On its front page, the Washington Post (10/12, A1, Stein) reports, "'Just because it's 'only a vitamin' or 'it's natural,' we assume it must be safe. But over and over again, we see that's not necessarily the case,' said Howard Parnes of the National Cancer Institute. ... 'Not only isn't it the fountain of youth that some people said, it can be harmful.'" However, other "scientists and the dietary supplement industry" criticize this study "for trying to evaluate individual vitamins alone, noting the combination of vitamin E and selenium" did not increase risk. They said that "vitamins work synergistically and...drug-like trials of nutrients, when used in isolation from other nutrients, may not be the most appropriate way to study them."

        USA Today (10/12, Rubin) reports, "The authors say they don't have an explanation for their findings." Some, including "urologist Neil Fleshner of Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto," believe "the increased risk in the study was 'just a statistical thing.'"

        The Wall Street Journal (10/12, A9, Hobson, Subscription Publication) reports that National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Prevention's acting director and study co-author Lori Minasian noted that this study used the alpha-tocopherol form of vitamin E, which others suggest is less beneficial than the gamma-tocopherol form. She also said that more research needs to be done on how vitamin E might affect oncogenesis.

        The AP (10/12) reports, "Vitamin E supplements have long been promoted for disease prevention, but scientific research has disproven many claims and suggested they might increase risks for some conditions, including heart failure." The American Cancer Society's Dr. Otis Brawley "noted that the study echoes previous thinking on beta-carotene, which once was thought to protect against cancer, but more recently has been linked with increased risks for lung cancer, especially in smokers. 'There should be a global warning that...excessive use of vitamins has not been proven to be beneficial and may be the opposite,' Brawley said."

        Bloomberg News (10/12, Flinn) reports, "The study 'is the largest, the most definitive, and the first one to show that there could potentially be harm,' from regular use of vitamin E, said Leslie Ford, associate director for clinical research at the National Cancer Institute's cancer prevention division, in an interview."

        The New York Times (10/12, Parker-Pope) "Well" blog notes that while vitamins are indeed essential, "in the past few years, several high-quality studies have failed to show that high doses of vitamins, at least in pill form, help prevent chronic disease or prolong life. A January 2009 editorial in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute noted that most studies of vitamins had shown no cancer benefits, but some had shown unexpected harms." For example, a "study suggested a higher risk of precancerous polyps among users of folic acid compared with those in a placebo group."

        USA Today (10/12, Hellmich) "Your Life" blog asked "two top national nutrition experts to weigh in on whether or not consumers should take a multivitamin or other supplements." Jeffrey Blumberg of Tufts University said that he recommends multivitamins, but Marion Nestle of New York University said she only recommends "supplements to people with diagnosed nutrient deficiencies" and prefers that people eat a nutritious, balanced diet.

        ABC News (10/12, Gann) points out on its website, "Two previous studies looked at a large number of men taking the supplement and each reached different conclusions on how vitamin E affects prostate cancer. In 2003, data from the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention) trial showed that smokers taking 50 mg of vitamin E each day had a 35 percent reduction in prostate cancer. In the Physicians Health Study II, participants took the same amount of vitamin E as the men in the Select trial -- 400 IU, but it had no effect on their risk of prostate cancer."

        HealthDay (10/12, Reinberg) reports, "Because more than 50 percent of men 60 and older take supplements containing vitamin E and 23 percent take as much as 400 international units (IU) a day despite the recommended daily dietary allowance of only 22.4 IU, the implications of this finding are 'substantial,' the study authors said."

 

Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk.

Reuters (9/2) reports a study in Journal of Clinical Oncology that used 18 studies of over 10,000 people to show that people with the highest vitamin D blood levels had up to 33% lower risk of colon cancer, compared to those with the lowest. Researchers noted that vitamin D deficiency is a problem in industrialized nations, and as many as 58% of adults or adolescents in the US could be deficient in vitamin D.

 

Broccoli, Other Cruciferous Vegetables May Block Genes Associated With Cancer Growth.

WebMD (3/11, Warne) reported, "Broccoli may help fight cancer by blocking a defective gene associated with tumor growth," according to new research in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. Studies have shown that "compounds in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables called isothiocyanates (ITCs) appear to target and block mutant p53 genes associated with cancer growth." When researchers "analyzed the effects of ITCs on gene p53 in a variety of human cancer cells, including lung, breast, and colon cancer, in the lab," they found that ITCs were "capable of removing the defective p53 gene while leaving healthy versions of the gene alone." The study authors noted that further studies to confirm these findings could potentially lead to new cancer therapies.

Folate Intake May Reduce Risk Of Colorectal Cancer.

Reuters (9/3, Pittman) reported that according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people with the highest daily folate intake had a 30% less risk of colorectal cancer than those with lower intakes. Todd Gibson of the National Cancer Institute, however, was quoted as saying that folate's effect is "definitely still an open question." Reuters noted the study does not show any harm in taking more folate than the daily recommended amount, which had been a previous concern.

 

Researcher Seeking To Combine Anti-Cancer Foods.

NBC Nightly News (8/22, story 9, 2:20, Williams) reported, "Because what you eat really can affect your long-term health, researchers are trying to harness the power of what some are calling super-foods to go even further than they already do in everyday use." Dr. Steve Clinton, of Ohio State University, was shown saying, "We like to take certain foods that are known to have anti-cancer properties and combine them in way to create foods that will target very specific cancers." NBC (Snyderman) added, "Dr. Clinton's lab makes these lollipops loaded with chemicals from black raspberries that could be used by smokers to help prevent oral cancer and this soy almond bread that can help fight prostate cancer." Snyderman continued, "Dr. Clinton and his team are work hard on the next generation of food, hoping cleaning your plate will one day also mean preventing disease."

 

New Data Reiterate Association Between Processed Meat Intake, Higher Colorectal Cancer Risk.

The Washington Post (5/23, Huget) "The Checkup" blog reports that, according to a study released today, "there's convincing evidence that eating too much red meat and processed meat raises colorectal cancer risk and that consuming plenty of fiber in the form of plant-based foods reduces that risk." The Continuous Update Project (CUP), produced by the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer, gathers research about "various forms of cancer, updating its database every few years." For this report, scientists "conducted a review of published studies and ended up adding 263 new papers about colorectal cancer to the 749 that had been analyzed for the last report, issued in 2007." The report notes that "red meat, processed meat, excess body fat, and fat carried around the waist increase risk of colorectal cancer."

 

Meta-Analysis Finds No Evidence Linking Selenium With Cancer Prevention.

Reuters (5/11, Pittman) reported that some nutritional supplement companies market the mineral selenium as a cancer preventive, and there have been some observational studies suggesting high selenium intake could reduce cancer risk slightly. However, an analysis of 55 studies found no evidence to supported selenium's link with different cancer types. Meanwhile, Reuters quoted study author Dr. Marco Vinceti, of Italy's University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, as saying, "We still do not have an exact picture of what selenium is doing to human health." BBC News (5/11, Roberts) also covered the study, which is published in the Cochrane Library.

 

Strawberries May Inhibit Pre-Cancerous Esophageal Lesion Growth, Study Suggests.

The Wall Street Journal (4/6, Dooren, Subscription Publication) reported that eating strawberries may halt the growth of precancerous lesions in the esophagus, according to findings presented Wednesday at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting in Florida.

        According to the Los Angeles Times (4/7, Cevallos) "Booster Shots" blog, noting that strawberries have "shown promise for inhibiting throat-tumor growth" in rats, researchers from Ohio State University asked "36 people at high risk for esophageal cancer to eat 60 grams (2 ounces) of freeze-dried strawberries every day for six months." They compared tissue samples from the esophagus "before and after" the six months, and found that in "29 people, precancerous lesions...were downgraded on a cancer scale."

        The Time (4/6, Park) "Healthland" blog noted that in esophageal cancer cases, about 50% of those with "moderate pre-cancerous" lesions and "25% of those with mild" lesions go on to develop malignant tumors, so "finding ways to halt their march can have a major impact on the incidence of the disease," lead researcher Tong Chen emphasized. She pointed out, however, that "gulping down pints of strawberries isn't the answer to fighting cancer. A larger, more rigorous trial that includes both people at risk of esophageal cancer and healthy, low-risk controls....needs to be conducted." The study was also covered by WebMD (4/6, Doheny) and the UK's Press Association (4/6

 

Some Cancer Patients May Have Low Vitamin D.

WebMD (10/5, Laino) reports that according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, "more than three-fourths of people with a variety of cancers have low levels of vitamin D, and the lowest levels are associated with more advanced cancers. ... High-dose supplements increased vitamin D levels to normal in most patients studied, but it is too soon to know if supplementation improved their outlook." In addition, "there was no association between low vitamin D levels and even more advanced, stage IV cancers that have spread throughout the body." Researchers emphasized that this study only shows correlation, not causation, and "do not recommend vitamin D supplementation for cancer patients at this point."

 

Consuming soy may reduce breast cancer risk: Reuters; HealthDay News
These articles report on an NCI study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention suggesting that women who consumed soy once a week or more during childhood have a 60 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer, compared with women who consumed less.  Regular soy consumption in adulthood is associated with a 25 percent lower breast cancer risk. Researchers note that this is the first study evaluating the effect soy has on breast cancer risk and that more research is needed.
Representative Article: Reuters

Veggies, Fruits May Differentially Decrease Colon Cancer Risk.

The Boston Globe (9/27, Blake) "Nutrition and You!" blog reports that "a poor diet, specifically one that is skimpy on fruits and vegetables, may also play a role" in colon cancer, according to a study published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Researchers found that "cruciferous vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli were associated with a reduced incidence of proximal and distal cancers. A diet abundant in both fruits and veggies, especially apples and dark yellow vegetables, such as carrots and pumpkin, appeared to decrease the risk of distal cancer."

        HealthDay (9/27, Preidt) reports that to reach these conclusions, "researchers examined the diets of 918 colorectal cancer patients and 1,021 people with no history of the disease." WebMD (9/27, Rubin) and the Toronto Sun /QMI Agency (9/27) also report this study.

 

Fruits, vegetable lower breast cancer recurrence risk: Reuters
This article reports on a JCO study finding that breast cancer survivors who eat diets high in fruits and vegetables (exceeding current U.S. dietary guidelines) and low in fat can reduce their recurrence risk by nearly one-third.  The study notes, however, that this approach is only effective in women who do not experience hot flashes following breast cancer therapy. 
Article: Reuters; Abstract: JCO

Vitamin C and E pills do not prevent cancer: 
These articles report on research finding that vitamin C and E supplements, taken together or separately, do not affect cancer risk in men, compared to a placebo.  The article notes previous studies suggesting that diets rich in vitamins may provide health benefits, but researchers caution that vitamins' effectiveness may vary based on the form of administration.  Associated Press 

Red meat consumption associated with increased mortality risk: A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine finding that people with diets high in red meat have an increased risk of premature death from a range of diseases, including cancer. Researchers examined more than 500,000 middle-aged and elderly Americans and found that those who consumed more than four ounces of red meat per day were 30 percent more likely to die during the 10 years they were followed in the study.  Men who had the highest red meat intake had a 22 percent increased risk of dying from cancer, compared to those who consumed the least amount of red meat. Similarly, women who reported the highest amount of red meat consumption had a 20 percent increased risk of dying from cancer, compared to those with the lowest red meat intake. The Washington Post

 

Study: Halving Meat Consumption Would Cut Heart Disease, Cancer Rates.

The Daily Telegraph (UK) (9/11, Adams, Correspondent) reports, "Almost halving our consumption of red and processed meat would lead to thousands fewer cases of heart disease, diabetes and cancer in Britain every year, claim Cambridge University researchers" in a study, published in the journal BMJ Open. The researchers "calculated that if men cut their daily intake from an average of 91g to 53g - the equivalent of a large burger to a small one - that would result in a 12 per cent drop in bowel cancer cases. It would also result in 12 per cent fewer Type 2 diabetes cases in men, and a 10 per cent drop in coronary heart disease."

 

Herbal Remedy Component Associated With Cancer, Kidney Failure.

HealthDay (4/13, Preidt) reports that aristolochic acid, a component of herbal remedies containing Aristolochia, may "cause kidney failure and upper urinary tract cancer," according to a study published online April 9 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. After studying 151 Taiwanese patients with cancer of the upper urinary tract, "researchers found that 83 percent of the patients had evidence in their kidneys of DNA changes that are related to the plant toxin and associated with the development of cancer." A previous study "linked the ingestion of Aristolochia clematitis (commonly known as birthwort) to widespread kidney disease in the Balkans."

 

Reducing Red Meat Consumption May Lower Risk For Bowel, Other Cancers.

The AP (2/25) reported, "Bringing home the bacon might not be such a great idea, according to stricter new dietary advice from the British government issued Friday. In the first new guidelines since 1998," Britain advised that cutting down on red meat consumption could help people prevent cancer. UK government experts say people should eat no more than "one pound of red meat a week, or 2.5 ounces every day, significantly less than it previously recommended." In contrast, UK government officials in 1998 said people could "safely eat as much as 3 ounces a day and that only people who consumed more than 5 ounces should worry."

        According to Bloomberg News (2/25, Penny), the UK government said people who consume more than about 90 grams (3.2 ounces) a day are "at greater risk of getting bowel cancer, which kills 16,500 people in Britain every year." UK Department of Health data indicate that presently, 42% of men and 12% of women "eat more than 90 grams" of red meat daily. The UK's Press Association (2/25) and BBC News (2/25, Hughes) also report the new UK guidelines.

        Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times (2/26, Khan) "Booster Shots" blog pointed out that the US Department of Agriculture "says Americans are eating a record amount of meat: 195 pounds a year, 57 pounds more than what we ate in the 1950s." Notably, a 2009 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that "men and women who ate the most meat were, respectively, 31% and 36% more likely to die over a 10-period than those who didn't eat much meat at all."

 

 

Carotenoid supplements associated with increased lung cancer risk: Reuters This article reports on an American Journal of Epidemiology study finding that long-term use of high-dose beta-carotene, lutein and retinol supplements increase the risk of developing non-small-cell lung cancer, particularly among smokers and former smokers.  The article notes that when taken for 4 years or more, high doses of beta-carotene increased the risk for non-small-cell lung cancer by more than 3-fold, lutein increased the risk by 2.5-fold and retinol increased the risk by 80 percent.  High-dose supplements of retinol and lutein were also linked to a modest increase in risk for lung cancer overall.

High-dose vitamin E supplements offer little health benefit; The New York Times This article discusses recent research on vitamin E supplements, reporting that taking high doses of vitamin E daily does not protect against heart disease and stroke, nor does it have any effect on the risk of developing or dying from breast, lung, prostate or colon cancer. The article also references a 2007 NCI study finding that smokers who took vitamin E supplements had a slightly higher risk of developing lung cancer.
Article: The New York Times

Low Vitamin D Levels May Be Associated With More Aggressive Breast Cancers.

HealthDay (4/29, Preidt) reported that breast cancer patients with "low levels of vitamin D have more aggressive tumors and poorer outcomes," according to findings presented at the American Society of Breast Surgeons meeting. Researchers tracked "155 women who had surgery for breast cancer between January 2009 and September 2010." They found an association between "low vitamin D levels (less than 32 milligrams per milliliter of blood) and poor scores on every major biological marker used to predict a breast cancer patient's outcome." WebMD (4/29, Boyles) also covered the findings.

 

Heavy Coffee Drinkers May Have Reduced Risk For Developing Prostate Cancer, Study Suggests.

ABC World News (5/17, story 6, 2:10, Sawyer) reported, "Fifty-eight percent of Americans drink coffee every day. But there is word tonight that even as little as one cup of coffee, even decaf coffee, could have powerful health benefits." NBC Nightly News (5/17, story 5, 2:15, Williams) noted, "It comes from the Harvard School of Public Health; and it seems to hold strong evidence that coffee can help prevent prostate cancer." The CBS Evening News (5/17, story 6, 1:05, Couric) reported, "The study involved 47,000 men and it found those who drank a lot of coffee, six or more cups a day, reduced their risk of lethal prostate cancer. Researchers analyzed data from 47,911 US men who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study." As part of the "large, ongoing" examination of men's health issues, participants reported their "coffee consumption every four years between 1986 and 2008." Interestingly, the men who "consumed the most coffee, which was defined as six or more cups every day, were nearly 20 percent less likely to develop any form of prostate cancer," the researchers reported in the May 17 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The study team found that men who consumed "six or more" cups of regular or decaffeinated coffee also had a "60 percent lower risk of developing deadly metastatic prostate cancer," and one to three cups "cut the risk of lethal prostate cancer by 30 percent." The findings suggest "non-caffeine elements in coffee" may provide the benefit. Coffee contains "compounds that can reduce inflammation and regulate insulin"; and previous research linked it to a lower risk of "Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes, liver cancer, cirrhosis and gallstone disease," the study authors noted. The study was funded in part by the "National Institutes of Health and the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Coffee is a "major source of antioxidants that might have anti-cancer effects," and it may impact sex-hormone levels as well. Notably, even after accounting for "lifestyle factors, such as age, smoking, obesity and exercise, the decline in the odds for prostate cancer remained."

        

Researchers say carrots may contain more potent anti-cancer properties if not cut before cooking.
BBC News (6/16) reported, "The anti-cancer properties of carrots are more potent if the vegetable is not cut up before cooking," according to research conducted by investigators at Newcastle University. The study, expected to "be presented at NutrEvent, a conference on nutrition and health," showed that "when carrots are heated, the heat kills the cells, so they lose the ability to hold on to the water inside them, increasing the concentration of falcarinol as the carrots lose water." But, "the heat also softens the cell walls, allowing water-soluble compounds such as sugar and vitamin C to be lost via the surface of the tissue." The investigators discovered that "if the carrot is cut before being boiled, the surface area becomes much greater -- and so the loss of nutrients is increased."

 

Fish Oil May Help Prevent Weight, Muscle Loss During Chemotherapy For NSCLC.

MedPage Today (2/28, Phend) reports that "fish oil supplements may help prevent weight and muscle loss during chemotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to results from a small open-label study" published online in the journal Cancer. This "study, conducted among 40 patients, found that those who started taking fish oil when they began 10 weeks of chemotherapy actually gained 0.5 kg (1.1 lbs) whereas those receiving only the standard of care lost 2.3 kg (5.1 lbs) by time their chemotherapy had ended (P<0.05)."

 

Omega-3 fatty acids associated with decreased risk of developing advanced prostate cancer: HealthDay News
This article reports on a Clinical Cancer Research study finding that men who consume the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids have a 63 percent lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer, compared with men who consume the lowest amount of omega-3 fatty acids.  The article notes that prostate cancer risk was also reduced in men with a genetic predisposition for the disease. Researchers explain, however, that these findings contradict previous data and that more research on the role of omega-3 fatty acids in prostate cancer prevention is necessary.
Article: HealthDay News

Piperine plus curcumin may help halt growth of stem cells leading to breast cancer.

WebMD (12/15, Stacy) reported that, according to research conducted at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, "compounds found in black pepper and curry powder help halt the growth of stem cells that give rise to breast cancer." Limiting "the number of stem cells...can limit the number of cells with the potential to form tumors," the investigators noted. After applying "piperine, found in black pepper, and curcumin, the main ingredient in the curry spice turmeric, to breast cancer cells in a laboratory dish," researchers found that the combination "reduced the number of stem cells, but did not harm normal breast cells." Researchers noted, however, that "because piperine and turmeric have not been tested in patients at risk for breast cancer," supplement use is not encouraged "at this time."

Curcurmin helps kill cancer cells

BBC News (10/28) reports, "An extract found in the bright yellow curry spice turmeric can kill off cancer cells," according to research published in the British Journal of Cancer. Researchers at the Cork Cancer Research Centre found that the chemical curcumin "started to kill cancer cells within 24 hours." The study showed that the cells "began to digest themselves, after the curcumin triggered lethal cell death signals." The researchers noted that their finding "opens up the possibility that natural chemicals found in turmeric could be developed into new treatments for oesophageal cancer."

 

Multivitamins May Not Improve Colon Cancer Survival.

Reuters (9/10, Peeples) reports that colon cancer may not be helped by multivitamin use, according to a study published in the Journal of Oncology. Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute did not find that multivitamin use prolonged life or decreased time to recurrence. More than 1,000 subjects participated in this study and the findings are consistent with other studies that did not find benefit from multivitamins in colon cancer treatment and survival.

 

Nutritional Supplements May Not Prevent Prostate Cancer.

Reuters (5/4, Grens) reported that daily intake of nutritional supplements, such as vitamin E, selenium, and soy, do not lower men's risk of prostate cancer, according to a study published online May 2 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study included 303 men who were randomly assigned to a combination of the supplements or a placebo daily for three years. Notably, the findings confirm a larger, similar study published in 2008.

 

Scientists discovering how sugar "feeds" tumors.

HealthDay (8/20, Preidt) reported, "New information about how sugar 'feeds' tumors has been uncovered by" University of Utah scientists, "who said the finding may also have implications for other diseases, such as diabetes." Since 1923, the scientific community has understood that "tumor cells use a lot more glucose than normal cells." Yet, according to the paper appearing online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, investigators have now discovered "that restricting an amino acid called glutamine halts a cell's ability to utilize glucose," which effectively "halts the growth of the tumor cell."

 

High levels of vitamin D linked to reduced colorectal cancer risk.

HealthDay (1/21, Dotinga) reported, "High levels of vitamin D in the blood appear to be linked to lower risks of colorectal cancer," researchers found after evaluating some "520,000 people from 10 countries in Western Europe." In fact, "those with the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood had as much as a 40 percent lower risk for developing colorectal cancer than those with the lowest levels." Still, "it's not clear if higher intake of the vitamin actually prevents the disease." The UK's Telegraph (1/22) also covers the study.

 

Curcurmin helps kill cancer cells

BBC News (10/28) reports, "An extract found in the bright yellow curry spice turmeric can kill off cancer cells," according to research published in the British Journal of Cancer. Researchers at the Cork Cancer Research Centre found that the chemical curcumin "started to kill cancer cells within 24 hours." The study showed that the cells "began to digest themselves, after the curcumin triggered lethal cell death signals." The researchers noted that their finding "opens up the possibility that natural chemicals found in turmeric could be developed into new treatments for oesophageal cancer."

 

Soy Foods May Prevent Breast Cancer Recurrence, Lessen Mortality Risk.

HealthDay (4/5, Doheny) reported, "Some breast cancer survivors fear that eating foods containing soy will increase the risk of a cancer recurrence," but findings presented at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting suggest those may be "unfounded." The researchers evaluated data on "9,515 women who had participated" in one of three breast cancer and health studies. At the seven-year follow-up, there were "1,348 breast cancer recurrences and 1,171 deaths from breast cancer and other causes." Questionnaires on the women's soy food intake revealed that "compared to the women who ate the least soy, women in the upper 10th percentile group for soy food intake had a 35 percent reduced risk of recurrence." Notably, those who "ate the most soy also had a 17-percent reduced risk of death from all causes" during the follow-up.

 

Extreme Weight Gain May Increase Survivors' Risk For Breast Cancer Recurrence, Death.

The Los Angeles Times (4/5, Stein) "Booster Shots" blog reported that survivors of breast cancer "who gain a large amount of weight may be at greater risk of cancer recurrence and death," according to findings presented at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting. The researchers found that breast-cancer survivors who gained "10% or more than their pre-diagnosis weight were 14% more likely to have the disease return compared with women whose weight stayed fairly steady, within 5% of their pre-diagnosis weight." Notably, the risk increased for women who "were thinner at diagnosis, with a body-mass index of below 25. If they gained 10% or more of their pre-diagnosis body weight, they were at 25% higher risk of death and had a greater danger of cancer recurrence."

        According to HealthDay (4/5, Preidt), the researchers analyzed data from "18,336 breast cancer survivors in the US and China, ages 20 to 83, whose weight was assessed 18 to 48 months after diagnosis and compared with their pre-diagnosis weight." Extreme weight gain "(10% or greater than pre-diagnosis weight) occurred in 16 percent" of the women. Among the women with extreme weight gain, "19.4 percent had a body mass index (BMI) lower than 25, which is considered normal weight," before their breast cancer diagnosis.

 

Broccoli, Other Cruciferous Vegetables May Block Genes Associated With Cancer Growth.

WebMD (3/11, Warne) reported, "Broccoli may help fight cancer by blocking a defective gene associated with tumor growth," according to new research in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. Studies have shown that "compounds in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables called isothiocyanates (ITCs) appear to target and block mutant p53 genes associated with cancer growth." When researchers "analyzed the effects of ITCs on gene p53 in a variety of human cancer cells, including lung, breast, and colon cancer, in the lab," they found that ITCs were "capable of removing the defective p53 gene while leaving healthy versions of the gene alone." The study authors noted that further studies to confirm these findings could potentially lead to new cancer therapies.

 

Multivitamins Not Protective Against Dying From Heart Disease Or Cancer.

Reuters (3/24, Boerner) reports that taking multivitamins appears not to be protective against dying from either heart disease or cancer, according to a study recently published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology. After examining data on some 180,000 people followed for about 11 years, researchers found similar numbers of deaths from heart disease and cancer among those taking multivitamins and those who did not. Reuters also quotes the National Institutes of Health's website, which advises that physicians should write prescriptions for multivitamins just "for patients who need extra vitamins, who cannot eat enough food to obtain the required vitamins, or who cannot receive the full benefit of the vitamins contained in the food they eat."

Three Clinical Trials Find Vitamin D Makes No Difference In Terms Of Cancer Risk. The Boston Globe (3/23, Kotz) "Daily Dose" blog reported that a commentary published online March 23 in the New England Journal of Medicine "deals only with the use of vitamin D to prevent cancer, but it could have questioned any of the myriad of health claims made about the nutrient that still lack clinical evidence." Notably, "three clinical trials using doses that ranged from 400 IU to 1,100 IU per day all found that D didn't make a difference in terms of cancer risk." In fact, "most of the evidence for cancer prevention lies in observational studies that simply compare vitamin D levels with the incidence of cancer in a study population." In other words, it is difficult to ascertain if people with high levels of vitamin D received some protection from it or if some other factor, such as their genetic inheritance or lifestyle factor, was at play.

 

Soy Foods May Prevent Breast Cancer Recurrence, Lessen Mortality Risk.

HealthDay (4/5, Doheny) reported, "Some breast cancer survivors fear that eating foods containing soy will increase the risk of a cancer recurrence," but findings presented at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting suggest those may be "unfounded." The researchers evaluated data on "9,515 women who had participated" in one of three breast cancer and health studies. At the seven-year follow-up, there were "1,348 breast cancer recurrences and 1,171 deaths from breast cancer and other causes." Questionnaires on the women's soy food intake revealed that "compared to the women who ate the least soy, women in the upper 10th percentile group for soy food intake had a 35 percent reduced risk of recurrence." Notably, those who "ate the most soy also had a 17-percent reduced risk of death from all causes" during the follow-up.

 

Removing Abdominal Fat May Prevent Skin Cancer In Mice.

MedPage Today (5/22, Gever) reports, "Surgical removal of abdominal fat pads in mice prevented them from developing ultraviolet radiation-induced skin cancers," according to a study published May 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In "mice fed a high-fat diet, found that abdominal lipectomy reduced tumor numbers and volume by some 75% when the animals were exposed twice a week to high-energy ultraviolet light for 33 weeks," whereas "no effect on skin cancer rates was seen in mice fed a low-fat diet and subjected to lipectomy."

Aspirin May Reduce Risk For Malignant Melanoma.

MedPage Today (5/15, Bankhead) reports, "The risk of malignant melanoma declined by more than 20% in women who reported using aspirin," according to research presented at the Society for Investigative Dermatology meeting. After analyzing data from the Women's Health Initiative, researchers also found that "in addition to the overall benefit, increasing duration of aspirin use was associated with even larger risk reductions, such that women who reported using aspirin for five years or more had a 30% lower risk of melanoma compared with nonusers." However, "use of non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) did not significantly influence the risk of melanoma," the study authors reported.

Green Tea Consumption May Be Linked To Reduced Risk Of Certain Cancers.

Reuters (10/24) reports that, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, regular green tea consumption may be linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers in older women. Investigators who looked at data on data on approximately 69,000 women found that the women who consumed more green tea had a lower risk of developing cancers of the colon, stomach, and throat.

 

Daily Aspirin May Reduce Risk Of Cancer.

The Time (8/10, Sifferlin) "Healthland" blog reported that a new study published online August 10 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and conducted by "researchers from the Epidemiology Research Program at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta" based on "data on 100,139 predominantly white men and women over age 60 with no history of cancer, who participated in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort" found "fresh evidence that popping a daily aspirin is associated with a lower risk of dying from cancer." The data included surveys of the participants regarding aspirin use in 1992-93, 1997, "and every two years thereafter until 2003." The data showed that "those taking a daily dose of aspirin for at least five years had a 16% lower risk of cancer death than" non-takers with "overall reduction in risk...driven by a 40% lower mortality risk from gastrointestinal tract cancers."

Reuters (8/10, Joelving) reported that the result was less pronounced than in a study published earlier this year finding a 37 percent drop overall in cancer risk after 5 years of daily aspirin use.

MedPage Today (8/10, Walsh) reported the study found that "individuals who were current daily users for 5 years or more at baseline had an 8% decrease in cancer mortality compared with non-users," while "the association was stronger, with a 16% decrease for those with daily use for 5 years or more, when the analysis included data collected periodically during 2 decades of follow-up." In the study, "baseline aspirin users tended to be more educated, former smokers, and obese, as well as to have a history of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Male users also were more likely to have a history of prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing, and women users were more likely to have a history of mammography."

HealthDay (8/10, Reinberg) reported, "Aspirin's possible side effects -- notably the higher risk of bleeding episodes -- need to be taken into account when considering its use."

Medscape (8/10, Lowry) added, "In an accompanying editorial, John A. Baron, MD, from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, writes that 'overall, the well-conducted ACS study is an echo of other data on aspirin and cancer mortality, not a resounding confirmation.'" He also "urges caution with regard to the widespread recommendation to use aspirin to prevent cancer."

The Daily Telegraph (UK) (8/10, Collins) reported, "A study of more than 100,000 healthy people found that those who took a dose of aspirin every day were two fifths less likely to develop and die from stomach, oesophageal or colorectal cancer in the following decade. They also had a 12 per cent lower risk of dying from other cancers."

NBC News (8/10) reported in its "Vitals" blog, "The yearly rate of death from cancer among men who did not take aspirin was 596 deaths per 100,000 people. The rate was 493 deaths per 100,000 people among men who took daily aspirin. For women, the yearly rates of death were 337 deaths per 100,000 among those who did not take aspirin, and 295 deaths per 100,000 among those who took daily aspirin."

 

Some Medicines May Interact Adversely With Grapefruit.

In print and in its "Well" blog, the New York Times (12/18, D6, Rabin) reports that "Dr. David Bailey, a Canadian researcher," who, 20 years ago, described a life-threatening interaction that occurred after a patient taking "verapamil" consumed too much grapefruit juice, has released an "updated list [pdf]" of 85 medications "affected by grapefruit." They include standard "cholesterol-lowering drugs, new anticancer agents, and some synthetic opiates and psychiatric" medicines, as well as some "immunosuppressant medications," certain "AIDS medications, and some birth control pills and estrogen treatments." Notably, for "43 of the 85 drugs" on the updated list, Dr. Bailey says "consumption with grapefruit can be life-threatening," because it induces torsade de pointes. This can "occur even without underlying heart disease and has been seen in patients taking certain anticancer agents, erythromycin and other anti-infective drugs, some cardiovascular drugs like quinidine, the antipsychotics lurasidone and ziprasidone, gastrointestinal agents cisapride and domperidone, and solifenacin, used to treat overactive bladders, " he added.

Study: Bitter Compounds In Beer Could Be Used To Treat Diabetes, Cancers.

HealthDay (1/31, Preidt) reports a new study, published in the Jan. 28 issue of the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition, "suggests that the bitter compounds in beer might aid in the development of new drugs for diabetes, some types of cancer and other health problems." The study revealed "the precise configuration of humulones, substances derived from hops that give beer its unique flavor." Study lead author Werner Kaminsky, a University of Washington research associate professor of chemistry, said in a university news release, "Now that we have the right results, what happens to the bitter hops in the beer-brewing process makes a lot more sense."

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer (1/31, Ellison, 114K) adds that "because beer and its bittering acids - in moderation (the school emphasizes) - have beneficial effects on diabetes, some forms of cancer, inflammation and perhaps even weight loss, knowing exactly what they become in beer means they can be used to make new pharmaceuticals."

Researchers Look At How Aspirin May Protect Against Cancer.

HealthDay (6/21, Preidt) reports, that, according to research published online in PLoS Genetics, “aspirin and related drugs may fight cancer by lowering rates of DNA mutation.” Investigators “analyzed tissue samples from 13 patients with...Barrett’s esophagus.” The researchers found that “mutations in tissue samples collected while patients were on aspirin had accumulated an average of 10 times more slowly than in samples obtained when patients were not taking aspirin.”

 

Excessive Belly Fat Linked To Increased Risk Of Heart Disease, Cancer.

HealthDay (7/11) reports that, according to research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, individuals “with excessive belly fat have a greater risk of heart disease and cancer than those who have fat in other body areas.” Investigators “used CT scans to assess fat in the abdomen, around the heart tissue and around the aortic artery in more than 3,000 Americans, average age 50.” Participants “were then followed for up to seven years.” According to senior author Dr. Caroline Fox, a senior investigator at the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Laboratory for Metabolic and Population Health, “Contrary to previously published studies comparing BMI and waist circumference, the presence of abdominal fat improved the ability to predict for cardiovascular disease, supporting the hypothesis abdominal fat may partially underlie the association of body fat and heart disease and cancer.”

        MedPage Today (7/11, Neale) reports that the study indicated that “each standard deviation increase in visceral adipose tissue was associated with a 44% greater risk of cardiovascular disease and a 43% greater risk of cancer during a median follow-up of 5 years (HRs 1.44 and 1.43, respectively, P≤0.014 for both).” The Daily Mail (UK) (7/11) also covers the story.

Healthy Lifestyle May Protect Against Highly Aggressive Prostate Cancer.

Medscape (7/11, Brooks) reports, “Men may be able to lower their risk of being diagnosed with highly aggressive prostate cancer by sticking closely to diet and exercise recommendations,” according to research published in Nutrition and Cancer. Investigators looked at data on approximately 2,000 individuals who had been newly diagnosed with prostate cancer. The researchers “found ‘clear inverse associations’ between greater adherence to World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) recommendations on diet and physical activity and the risk for aggressive prostate cancer at diagnosis.” The investigators found, “in particular...that limiting consumption of red meat and avoiding an energy-rich diet were significantly protective against aggressive tumors.”

Kids Born Via Assisted Reproductive Technologies May Not Face Higher Cancer Risk.

MedPage Today (7/11, Fiore) reports that according to research presented at the European Society on Human Reproduction and Embryology meeting, “children born via assisted reproductive technologies weren’t at an increased risk of cancer compared with the general population, though they may be more vulnerable to certain types of rare cancers.” Investigators found, “in a study of more than 100,000 children born through assisted conception in England between 1992 and 2008,” that “there were 108 cancers found during follow-up compared with an expected 109.7, suggesting no increased risk of cancer.” However, “there was a significantly increased risk of hepatoblastoma and rhabdomyosarcoma, although these were based on small numbers and the absolute excess risks were small, the researchers reported.”

 

Study: Women With BRCA1, BRCA2 Mutations Had Fewer Contralateral Breast Cancers While On Tamoxifen.

MedPage Today (8/6) reports on a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, which found that “women with BRCA1 or 2 mutations had fewer contralateral breast cancers while on tamoxifen for secondary prevention.” Harold J. Burstein, MD, PhD, a breast oncologist at Brigham And Women’s Hospital and Harvard, said that “the results might be valuable for women who want to preserve their breasts.”

Diabetes Drug May Reduce Risk Of Prostate Cancer Death.

HealthDay (8/6, Doheny) reports that according to new research published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, “Metformin, a widely used diabetes drug, may reduce the risk of dying from prostate cancer.” Dr. David Margel, a uro-oncologist at Rabin Medical Center in Israel, who conducted the research while at the University of Toronto, said, “We demonstrated that metformin is associated with improved survival among diabetic patients with prostate cancer. It’s associated in a dose-response manner. The longer you were on metformin, the less likely you were to die of prostate cancer and of all causes.”

        MedPage Today (8/6, Bankhead) reports that “the findings add to a growing volume of evidence that metformin has anticancer properties that span a wide range of cancer types.”

 

 

 

CARCINOGENS AND INCREASED CANCER RISK

 

Close Family Members Of Children With Cancer May Face Higher Cancer Risk.

HealthDay (8/10, Preidt) reports that research published online in the International Journal of Cancer suggests that “close family members of children with cancer” may face a higher risk of developing cancer. Investigators looked at data on about 4,500 kids who had been diagnosed with cancer. The data indicated that “the parents, siblings and children of patients who were diagnosed with any kind of cancer up to age 18 had twice the risk of developing cancer compared to those in families” that did not have any children diagnosed with cancer.

The more alcohol young women drink before motherhood, the greater their risk of future breast cancer, according to new research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Previous studies have looked at breast cancer risk and alcohol consumption later in life or at the effect of adolescent drinking on noncancerous breast disease, but these new findings link increased breast cancer risk to drinking between early adolescence and first full-term pregnancy. The study was published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

“More and more heavy drinking is occurring on college campuses and during adolescence, and not enough people are considering future risk. But, according to our research, the lesson is clear: If a female averages a drink per day between her first period and her first full-term pregnancy, she increases her risk of breast cancer by 11%,” said coauthor Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH, Associate Director for Cancer Prevention and Control at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.

Dr. Colditz worked on the study with lead author Ying Liu, MD, PhD, a School of Medicine Instructor in the Division of Public Health Sciences, and colleagues from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Harvard School of Public Health.

Increase in Benign Breast Disease

The researchers also found that for every bottle of beer, glass of wine, or shot of liquor consumed daily, a young woman increases her risk of proliferative benign breast disease by 15%. Although such lesions are noncancerous, their presence increases breast cancer risk by as much as 500%, said Dr. Liu.

“Parents should educate their daughters about the link between drinking and risk of breast cancer and breast disease,” she said. “That’s very important because this time period is very critical.”

 

Frequent Heartburn May Increase Throat Cancer Risk.

The New York Times (5/24, 1.68M) “Well” blog reports, “Frequent heartburn increases the risk for throat cancer,” research published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention “has found, and over-the-counter antacids may provide protection.”

        On its website, CBS News (5/24, Jaslow) reports that researchers looked at more than 460 patients with throat cancer and more than 160 patients with vocal cord cancer. These patients were matched with more than 1,200 patients who had never had cancer. The researchers found that patients “with frequent heartburn were found to have a 78 percent increased risk for developing cancers of the throat and vocal cord if they were not heavy drinkers or smokers.”

 

Blood pressure pill linked to increased breast cancer risk

The population-based study in the three-county Seattle–Puget Sound metropolitan area included women aged 55 to 74 years; 880 of the women had invasive ductal breast cancer, 1,027 had invasive lobular breast cancer, and 856 had no cancer and served as the control group. Researchers measured the risk of breast cancer and examined the recency and duration of use of antihypertensive medicationsaccording to a report published by JAMA Internal Medicine. According to the results, current use of calcium-channel blockers for 10 or more years was associated with higher risks of ductal breast cancer (odds ratio [OR] = 2.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.2–4.9; P = .04 for trend) and lobular breast cancer (OR = 2.6, 95% CI = 1.3–5.3; P = .01 for trend). The relationship did not vary much based on the type of calcium-channel blockers used (short-acting vs long-acting or dihydropyridines vs nondihydropyridines). Other antihypertensive medications—diuretics, beta-blockers, and angiotensin II antagonists—were not associated with increased breast cancer risk, the results indicated.

Omega-3s May Be Linked To Higher Risk Of Prostate Cancer.

The Seattle Times (7/11, Zhang, 236K) reports that, according to research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, “taking fish-oil supplements or even eating too much fatty fish may be linked to an increased risk for prostate cancer.”

        ABC News (7/10) “Medical Unit” blog reports that investigators looked at “data from a past study that examined the blood concentrations of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in 834 men with prostate cancer and 1,393 men without prostate cancer.”

        On its website, NBC News (7/11, Fox,) reports that the researchers found that “men with the very highest levels had a 71 percent higher risk of high-grade prostate cancer – the kind most likely to spread and kill.”

        AFP (7/11, Kerry Sheridan (afp)) reports, “Scientists are still puzzled as to why omega-3s appear linked to a greater risk of prostate cancer, but they said the findings suggest they are somehow involved in the formation of tumors.”

        Also covering the story are HealthDay (7/11, Reinberg) and the Daily Telegraph (UK) (7/11, Collins, 871K).

Risk Of Secondary Primary Cancer May Be Linked To Site Of First Colorectal Cancer.

MedPage Today (7/15, Petrochko) reports that according to research published online in Cancer, colorectal cancer may boost “the risk of a secondary primary cancer as much as sevenfold, depending on the site of the original tumor.” Investigators found that, “compared with the general population, previous colorectal cancer was significantly associated with a 15% increased risk of secondary cancer incidence (95% CI 1.13-1.16).” The researchers found that, “regardless of tumor site, risk of small intestine secondary cancer was elevated in patients with colorectal cancer, but was increased seven-fold in those whose initial tumor was located in the ascending colon.”

 

Men Who Cannot Produce Sperm May Face An Increased Risk Of Cancer.

On its website, NBC News (6/21, Fox) reports that, according to research published in Fertility and Sterility, “men who fail to produce sperm have a much higher risk of cancer than other men the same age – even other infertile men.” Investigators looked at data on more than 2,200 infertile men. During a follow-up of approximately six years, the researchers found that “the infertile men a 1.7 higher risk of cancer than the population as a whole.” The investigators also found that men who cannot produce sperm “had nearly triple the risk of cancer compared to the general population.”

 

UK Study: Breast Cancer Risk Increasing For British South Asian Women.

BBC News (6/13) reported on a study from University of Sheffield researchers, which found that the breast cancer risk for British women with a South Asian background is increasing. “The researchers, who are presenting their work to the National Cancer Intelligence Network Conference in Brighton on Friday, looked at census and cancer data for 135,000 women from different ethnic backgrounds from 2000-2009.” They concluded that between 2005-2009, the “rates of breast cancer among South Asian women had increased significantly and had risen to be 8% higher than white women, whose rates had not changed significantly.” Dr Matthew Day, the leader of the study, said the causes behind the change are unclear, as they “could relate to increases in screening uptake among these groups of women, which have in the past been shown to be lower than in other groups,” or changes in other lifestyle factors

 

Sugar makes cancers grow 

Transformed Drosophila Cells Evade Diet-Mediated Insulin Resistance through Wingless Signaling

Cell, Volume 154, Issue 3, 664-675, 1 August 2013
Copyright 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
10.1016/j.cell.2013.06.030
The risk of specific cancers increases in patients with metabolic dysfunction, including obesity and diabetes. Here, we use Drosophila as a model to explore the effects of diet on tumor progression. Feeding Drosophila a diet high in carbohydrates was previously demonstrated to direct metabolic dysfunction, including hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin resistance. We demonstrate that high dietary sugar also converts Ras/Src-transformed tissue from localized growths to aggressive tumors with emergent metastases. Whereas most tissues displayed insulin resistance, Ras/Src tumors retained insulin pathway sensitivity, increased the ability to import glucose, and resisted apoptosis. High dietary sugar increased canonical Wingless/Wnt pathway activity, which upregulated insulin receptor gene expression to promote insulin sensitivity. The result is a feed-forward circuit that amplified diet-mediated malignant phenotypes within Ras/Src-transformed tumors. By targeting multiple steps in this circuit with rationally applied drug combinations, we demonstrate the potential of combinatorial drug intervention to treat diet-enhanced malignant tumors.

 

Authors

Susumu Hirabayashi, Thomas J. Baranski, Ross L. Cagan

 

Air Pollution Exposure During Pregnancy May Be Linked To Rare Pediatric Cancers.

Bloomberg News (4/10, Ostrow) reports, "Children whose mothers have an increased exposure to air pollution from motor vehicles while pregnant may have a higher chance of developing certain cancers," according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

        The Los Angeles Times (4/10, Kaplan, 692K) "Booster Shots" blog reports, "Researchers used the California Department of Transportation's computer model of traffic-related air pollution to estimate pollution exposure in communities across the state." The investigators "also used the California Cancer Registry to identify 3,590 children born between 1998 and 2007 who were diagnosed with some type of cancer." The researchers "then...compared the two to look for links between traffic and cancer incidence."

        The Huffington Post (4/10) reports, "They found that the more the traffic pollution exposure increased, the higher the child's risk was of having acute lymphoblastic leukemia, retinoblastoma (with more cases affecting both eyes instead of just one), and germ cell tumors." Being that "the cancers in the study are rare, the researchers said more work is needed to confirm the findings."

        The Time (4/10, Sifferlin, 3.38M) "Healthland" blog reports, "The researchers were not able to determine when during development exposure to pollution generated the most harm, but they did find that pollution was 'highly correlated' with increased cancer risk across each trimester and during a child's first year of life."

        MedPage Today (4/10, Struck) reports that "Earlier studies offered mixed findings," researcher Julia Heck, PhD, "said, and were limited by small sample sizes and imprecise comparisons between points in childhood and levels of exposure." However, "this study was limited by the inability to determine the most important periods of exposure during pregnancy, Heck said." Additionally, "the study used birth certificate addresses and did not account for mothers relocating." HealthDay (4/10, Reinberg) also covers the story.

 

Kids Who Undergo CT Scans May Face Higher Cancer Risk Later In Life.

Research on the potential health risks of CT scans in children received moderate coverage in print and online, and on one of last night’s national news broadcasts. Although many sources portrayed the findings as alarming, they also pointed out that there has been a push in recent years to reduce unnecessary imaging. Meanwhile, several outlets mentioned the American College of Radiology’s reaction to the study.

        NBC Nightly News (6/10, story 6, 2:50, Holt, 7.86M) reported on a study suggesting that children who undergo CT scans may face a higher risk of cancer later in life.

        The Wall Street Journal (6/11, Wang, Subscription Publication, 2.29M) reports that researchers looked at data from seven HMOs on children who underwent CT scans.

        Bloomberg News (6/11, Ostrow) reports, “The researchers estimated that 4,870 future cancers may occur each year in the future from the 4 million annual pediatric CT scans of the head, abdomen/pelvis, chest or spine.” The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, also suggested that “reducing the highest doses of radiation from CT scans to the middle dose may prevent 43 percent of these cancers.” Bloomberg News points out that approximately “7 million CT tests are performed in children each year in the U.S. and the number is rising about 10 percent annually, according to the Image Gently Campaign and the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging, which is funded by the Society for Pediatric Radiology, the American College of Radiology and other organizations to push for lower radiation doses in children.”

        On its website, NBC News (6/11, Carroll) reports, “Between 1996 and 2006 CT scans in children under age 5 nearly doubled, while they almost tripled in kids aged 5 to 14 years.” Although “the number of scans in children has declined since 2006, it’s still much higher than in 1996.”

        The Los Angeles Times (6/11, Kaplan, 692K) “Science Now” blog reports, “The American College of Radiology, which represents doctors who read CT scans (along with X-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs and other medical imaging studies), urged parents to discuss the pros and cons of CTs with their children’s doctors. CTs ‘must be used judiciously, when indicated, and when the needed information cannot be obtained in other ways, in order to minimize radiation exposure to all Americans – particularly children,’ the ACR said in a statement.” However, “they also emphasized that most CTs are done on children involved in accidents or who have other life-threatening conditions that need to be evaluated right away.” Still “overall, ‘medical imaging exams are directly linked to greater life expectancy, declines in mortality rates, and are generally safer and less expensive than the invasive procedures that they replace,’ the ACR’s statement said.”

        On its website, CBS News (6/11) reports that “the American College of Radiology, which was not involved in the research, said in an emailed statement to CBSNews.com that parents shouldn’t delay or skip a needed medical imaging test based solely on this study.” In the statement, Dr. Marta Hernanz-Schulman, chair of the American College of Radiology Pediatric Imaging Commission, said, “Parents should certainly discuss such potential risk with their physician, but this appropriate concern should not translate into refusal of necessary and potentially life-saving care.”

        Modern Healthcare (6/11, Lee, Subscription Publication, 71K) points out that “Image Gently, a campaign launched in 2008 by the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging, has sought to encourage dose reduction among healthcare providers.” Meanwhile, “the American Academy of Pediatrics recently said in its Choosing Wisely campaign contribution that CT scans are not necessary when immediately evaluating minor head injuries in children.”

        Also covering the story are The Oregonian (6/11, Budnick, 237K), HealthDay (6/11), MedPage Today (6/11, Neale), and Medscape (6/11, Lewis).

UK Study Finds No Link Between Nuclear Plants And Childhood Leukemia.

Reuters (9/13, Kelland) reports on a new large British study which found no link between childhood leukemia and proximity to nuclear power plants. The study was conducted by John Bithell of the Childhood Cancer Research Group, who noted suggested that the findings should reassure the public. Bithell said, “Our case-control study has considered the birth records for nearly every case of childhood leukaemia born in Britain and, reassuringly, has found no such correlation with proximity to nuclear power plants.”

 

Position In Car Linked To Melanoma Sex Differences.

The Wall Street Journal (5/14, Lukits, Subscription Publication, 2.29M) reports that, according to research published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, the areas of the head and neck that more often feature aggressive melanomas may differ in men and women based on the fact that men are more likely to be the drivers of cars, while women are more likely to be passengers. The study found that for men, 57% of melanomas were found in the peripheral region of the head and neck, while just 21% of melanomas in women were found there. Men were more likely to have peripheral cancers on the left side, while women were more likely to have them on the right side.

 

Testicular Cancer Rates Continue To Climb.

MedPage Today (5/8, Bankhead) reports that, according to research presented at the American Urological Association meeting, testicular cancer rates continue to climb. Investigators found that "Caucasian men continued to lead the rise with an incidence of 8.6 cases per 100,000 in 2009." Although "Hispanic males had the biggest increase, from 4.9/100,000 in 2003 to 6.3/100,000 by the end of the decade." Meanwhile, although "rates among black men and Asian/Pacific Islanders also increased," they "remained substantially lower compared with men in the other two racial/ethnic groups."

 

Factors Other Than Sun Exposure May Increase Skin Cancer Risk.

HealthDay (6/22, Gordon) reported that while sun exposure is the main risk factor for skin cancer, there are several other risk factors. For instance, “tattoos, certain chemicals, other diseases and possibly even those better-for-the-environment light bulbs all have been linked to skin cancer.” Additionally, “getting a manicure can expose you to ultraviolet light.” HealthDay pointed out that “the American Academy of Dermatology still recommends putting sunscreen on your hands before you get a manicure.”

 

Consumption Of Fried Foods Linked To Increased Prostate Cancer Risk.

HealthDay (1/29) reports, "Eating deep-fried foods, such as French fries and fried chicken, on a regular basis may be tied to an increased risk of prostate cancer," according to a study published online in The Prostate. Investigators "examined data from about 1,500 men diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 1,500 men who did not have the disease." The researchers found that "men who said they ate French fries, fried chicken, fried fish and/or doughnuts at least once a week were 30 percent to 37 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer than those who ate such foods less than once a month." The study received support from the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

 

Working Night Shifts May Be Linked To Increased Risk Of Ovarian Cancer.

BBC News (3/15) reports that, according to a study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, working night shifts may be linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. The "study of more than 3,000 women suggested that working overnight increased the risk of early-stage cancer by 49% compared with doing normal office hours." However, "the results were only significant for women over the age of 50." Additionally, "the risk did not seem to increase for those who had worked night shifts for the longest."

 

High-Fat Dairy Products Linked To Lower Survival After Breast Cancer.

The San Francisco Chronicle (3/15, Colliver, 220K) reports, "People who are diagnosed with breast cancer and then go on to consume a steady diet of high-fat dairy foods increase their chances of dying years earlier than those who consumed low- to non-fat milk products, according to a new study" published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Investigators "looked at the dietary habits of nearly 1,900 women, mostly Northern California Kaiser [Permanente] patients, who were diagnosed with relatively early-stage, invasive breast cancer between 1997 and 2000." The researchers found that "those who consumed one or more servings per day of high-fat dairy products - such as whole milk and cream, condensed or evaporated milk, ice cream and custards - had a 49 percent increased risk of dying from breast cancer during the 12-year follow-up than those patients who limited their amount of high-fat products, the study found."

Reuters (3/15, Begley) reports that the patients who consumed one or more high-fat dairy servings per day also had a 64 percent higher risk of death from all causes during the follow-up period.

HealthDay (3/15, Doheny) reports that the research was "supported by the U.S. National Cancer Institute."

 

IVF May Not Be Linked To Higher Risk Of Breast, Endometrial Cancer.

Reuters (2/16, Stokes) reports that, according to research published online in Fertility and Sterility, in vitro fertilization (IVF) may not be linked to an increased risk of certain cancers. Investigators looked at data on more than 67,600 women who had undergone IVF, as well as nearly 20,000 women who had not. The researchers found no IVF was not linked to a higher risk of breast cancer or endometrial cancer.

, Volume 138, Issue 1, pp 261-271

Higher Bone mineral density and associated with higher risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women

 

HPV Replaces Tobacco As Top Cause Of Oral Cancers.

The Springfield (IL) State Journal Register (1/6, Olsen) reported that "HPV - the source of almost all cervical cancers in women - has replaced tobacco as the No. 1 cause of cancers of the mouth, base of the tongue, tonsils and upper throat, according to the California-based Oral Cancer Foundation." The article added that "lack of awareness of HPV and its risks is hindering efforts to cut into those numbers, according to Brian Hill, an HPV-related oral cancer survivor and the foundation's founder." According to the Journal Register, "the foundation is promoting the use of HPV vaccines in young adults and children - both boys and girls - to prevent persistent infections and resulting oral cancer for both genders and cervical cancer in women."

Study: Sunbeds More Dangerous Than Spending Time In Midday Sun.

The Daily Telegraph (UK) (1/17, Smith) reports, "Experts have found that the risk of skin cancer from sunbeds is more than double that of spending the same length of time in the Mediterranean midday summer sun and most exceed safety standards." Investigators "tested levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from 400 sunbeds in England and found that nine in ten of the sunbeds tested emitted UV radiation at levels above British and EU standards." The researchers found that "the average strength of radiation was approaching twice the recommended limit."

 

, Volume 138, Issue 1, pp 235-239

Cadmium exposure and the risk of breast cancer in Japanese women

Non-occupational exposure to cadmium has been suspected to be a risk factor for breast cancer. The present study examined the association between urinary cadmium level and the risk of breast cancer in a case–control study among Japanese women. Cases were 153 women newly diagnosed and histologically confirmed with breast cancer at a general hospital in Gifu, Japan. A total of 431 controls individually matched to cases by age, menopausal status, and the period of urine sampling were selected from those who attended a breast cancer mass screening at this hospital. Urinary cadmium levels were measured using spot urine samples. Spot urine samples were collected from cases after surgery but before any cancer therapy.

Serving Hot Food On Melamine Dishware May Raise Exposure To Chemical.

In its "Booster Shots" blog, the Los Angeles Times (1/22, Serna) reports on a study published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, which found that "serving hot food on melamine tableware could increase your exposure to melamine." Researchers from Kaohsiung Medical University and Kaohsiung Municipal Hsiao-Kang Hospital in Taiwan said that "it was unclear if the amount of melamine measured during the study was significant...but they cautioned that long-term exposure to the chemical could pose health risks." Notably, "the FDA considers the amount of melamine the public is typically exposed to from tableware is safe. Still, the agency cautions consumers not to heat food or drinks in melamine-based dinnerware in a microwave."

Bloomberg News (1/22) reports that the researchers showed that melamine "is released from melamine-containing tableware when exposed to boiling-hot substances." The study "detected traces of melamine in urine following consumption of noodle soup consumed from non-breakable melamine bowls."

HealthDay (1/22, Preidt) reports that an expert not connected to the study, Dr. Kenneth Spaeth, director of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Center at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, NY, "there is little human health data to adequately characterize the risk such exposure poses," but he added that "studies of melamine toxicity in animals indicate that ingestion can cause kidney stones, kidney damage and may induce cancer."

, Volume 139, Issue 1, pp 217-226

The effect of atmospheric particulate matter on survival of breast cancer among US females

, Volume 139, Issue 1, pp 245-253

Alcohol intake over the life course and breast cancer survival in Western New York exposures and breast cancer (WEB) study: quantity and intensity of intake

, Volume 139, Issue 1, pp 277-285

Radial scars and subsequent breast cancer risk: results from the Nurses’ Health Studies

 

Study Finds Some Patients Still Smoke After Cancer-Related Surgery.

The Sarasota (FL) Herald Tribune (1/22, Koehn, 63K) reports on a study published in the December issue of the journal Cancer, which found that "those who stop smoking right away, before undergoing cancer-related surgery, are much more likely to keep it up afterward." Additionally, the study found that those who smoke prior to surgery are more likely to relapse afterward. Study co-author Thomas Brandon, director of the Tobacco Research Intervention Program at Moffitt, stated, "Cancer patients are highly motivated to quit, so receiving a cancer diagnosis can be viewed as a 'teachable moment' for delivering smoking cessation and relapse prevention interventions."

 

Association between 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration and breast cancer risk in an Australian population: an observational case–control study

Breast Cancer Research and Treatmen K. Bilinski

, Volume 137, Issue 2 

The objective of this study is to examine the association between vitamin D status and risk of breast cancer in an Australian population of women. The study design is observational case–control study, performed at Westmead Breast Cancer Institute, Westmead Hospital, Sydney, Australia. 214 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer were matched to 852 controls, and their blood samples were tested at the same laboratory between August 2008 and July 2010. Circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration, was defined as sufficient (≥75 nmol/L), insufficient (50–74 nmol/L), deficient (25–49 nmol/L) or severely deficient (<25 nmol/L). The difference in median 25(OH)D concentration between cases and controls was reported, and the Mann–Whitney U test was used to determine the significance of the difference. Odds ratios and 95 % confidence intervals for the risk of breast cancer were estimated by Cox regression. Median plasma 25(OH)D was significantly lower in cases versus controls overall (53.0 vs 62.0 nmol/L, P < 0.001) and during summer (53.0 vs 68.0 nmol/L, P < 0.001) and winter (54.5 vs 63.0 nmol/L, P < 0.001). Median 25(OH)D was also lower in cases when stratified by BMI (<30, ≥30) and age group (<50, ≥50 years) compared to matched controls, although the difference failed to reach statistical significance. In a Cox regression model, plasma 25(OH)D was inversely associated with the odds ratio of breast cancer. Compared to subjects with sufficient 25(OH)D concentration, the odds ratios of breast cancer were 2.3 (95 % CI 1.3–4.3), 2.5 (95 % CI 1.6–3.9) and 2.5 (95 % CI 1.6–3.8) for subjects categorised as severely deficient, deficient or insufficient vitamin D status, respectively. The results of this observational case–control study indicate that a 25(OH)D concentration below 75 nmol/L at diagnosis was associated with a significantly higher risk of breast cancer. These results support previous research which has shown that lower 25(OH)D concentrations are associated with increased risk of breast cancer.

Women Exposed To Certain Chemicals At Work May Face Higher Breast Cancer Risk.

BBC News (11/20) reports, "Women working in jobs where they are exposed to certain chemicals may have a greater risk of developing breast cancer, a study suggests." Investigators who "studied more than 2,000 women" found that those "who worked for 10 years in jobs classified as 'highly exposed' increased their risk by 42%."

FOX News (11/19), citing the BBC News article, reports, "The jobs that were associated with the greatest breast cancer risk included plastic manufacturing for the auto industry, farming and metal working."

Junk Food May Boost Already High Risk Of Colon Cancer In Lynch Syndrome Patients.

Reuters (12/18, Grens) reports that, according to a study published online in Cancer, individuals with Lynch syndrome who consume high amounts of junk food may have an even higher risk of developing colon cancer.

HealthDay (12/18) reports, "The study included 486 people with Lynch syndrome" who "provided information about their eating habits and were followed for an average of 20 months." Over that period, "colorectal polyps (precancerous growths) were detected in 58 of the patients."

MedPage Today (12/18, Walsh) reports that "those whose diets featured a major snack component - chips, fast food, and sweets - had an increased risk of developing colorectal adenomas (adjusted hazard ratio 2.16, 95% CI 1.03 to 4.49)." Meanwhile, "those whose diet was considered "prudent," featuring a high percentage of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and fish, tended to have modest, though nonsignificant, decrease in risk (aHR 0.73, 95% CI 0.32 to 1.66), the researchers reported."

 

Men Working Night Shifts May Have Higher Risk For Certain Cancers.

Medscape (11/1, Chustecka, Subscription Publication) reports, "Men working at night had approximately double the risk of those who did not work the night shift for many different cancers, according to a Canadian case–control study published in November 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology." Investigators "compared 3137 men with cancer and 512 matched control subjects who completed a detailed questionnaire about occupational work and lifestyle from 1979 to 1985." The researchers found that, "compared with men who never worked at night, men who worked night shifts had an increased risk for prostate cancer (odds ratio [OR], 2.77), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (OR, 2.31), pancreatic cancer (OR, 2.27), rectal cancer (OR, 2.09), colon cancer (OR, 2.03), bladder cancer (OR, 1.74), and lung cancer (OR, 1.76)."

Study Shows Racial Difference In Breast Cancer Risk From Eating Red Meat.

HealthDay (11/5, Dotinga) reports on a study presented at the American Institute for Cancer Research meeting finding that "eating red meat and poultry seems to boost the risk of breast cancer in white women - but not black women." The study was based on data from "questionnaires that were answered by 976 black women and 873 white women with breast cancer, and 1,165 black women and 865 white women without cancer." It found that "among white women, those who ate the most unprocessed red meat and poultry seemed to have a higher breast cancer risk than those who ate the least," while "no association was found among black women other than a suggestion that red meat consumption might reduce the risk of one kind of tumor."

Glycemic Load, High BMI Raise Colon Cancer Recurrence Risk.

Medwire (11/9, Oswald) reports that "increased glycemic loads and high carbohydrate consumption may increase the risk for colon cancer recurrence" and "the impact of these dietary factors on survival primarily affected overweight and obese patients." The study "found that patients in the lowest quintile for dietary glycemic load had a 79% increased chance of disease-free survival compared with those in the highest quintile (48 vs 36%)" and "patients in the highest quintile of carbohydrate consumption had an 80% increased risk for cancer recurrence or death from any cause compared with patients in the lowest quintile (49 vs 34%)." However, while those with a BMI of 25 kg/m2 or more had a 2.3-fold increase in risk if they were in the highest quintile for glycemic load, there was no statistical relationship between glycemic index for patients with a lower BMI. The study appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

 

High-Carb / Sugar Diet Linked To Increased ER-Negative Breast Cancer Risk In Older Women.

Reuters (7/27) reports that, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, postmenopausal women who consume a diet high in carbohydrates may face an increased risk of ER-negative breast cancers. The study involved approximately 335,000 European women

 

 

Study Links Night Shift To Men's Risk For Developing Cancer.

The Daily Telegraph (UK) (10/23, Smith) reports, "Men who work nights are almost three times as likely to develop prostate cancer as those who do day shifts," according to research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology." Investigators "found night shifts almost trebled the risk of prostate cancer and doubled a man's chances of bowel cancer. Night workers were also 76 per cent more likely to suffer lung cancer and 70 per cent more at risk of a tumor in the bladder."

 

Endometrial Cancer Diagnosis Increases Risk Of Colon Cancer.

MedPage Today (10/25, Bankhead) reports that "a history of endometrial cancer at a younger age quadrupled the likelihood of a subsequent diagnosis of colorectal cancer, a retrospective analysis of administrative data showed." MedPage quotes researcher Harminder Singh, MD, as telling an American College of Gastroenterology meeting, "Colorectal cancer screening with colonoscopy should be considered soon after diagnosis of endometrial cancer for all women." MedPage notes that diagnosis of endometrial cancer "at age 50 or younger was associated with a hazard ratio of 4.41 for colorectal cancer (95% CI 1.47 to 13.26); diagnosis of endometrial cancer after 50 did not affect the hazard for colorectal cancer."

 

Smoky Coal Associated with Increased Risk of Lung Cancer in Rural China

Results from a large retrospective cohort study conducted in China suggest that use of smoky (bituminous) coal substantially increases the lifetime risk of developing lung cancer. The findings appeared August 29 in the British Medical Journal.

Researchers compared deaths from lung cancer between lifelong users of smoky coal and of smokeless (anthracitic) coal for cooking and heating in Xuanwei County, Yunnan Province. More than 37,000 people were followed from 1976 to 1996, and more than 2,000 deaths from lung cancer were recorded during that time.

After accounting for other risk factors, including tobacco use, users of smoky coal had a 30-fold greater risk of developing lung cancer than users of smokeless coal. The absolute risk of lung cancer death before age 70 among smoky coal users was 18 percent for men and 20 percent for women, with most of these deaths in nonsmokers. By contrast, the risk was less than 0.5 percent among users of smokeless coal.

“The risks from smoky coal are almost as high as those reported for heavy smoking in Western countries and likely represent one of the strongest effects of environmental pollution reported for cancer risk,” said co-author Dr. Qing Lan of NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics

 

Associations of type 2 diabetes and diabetes treatment with breast cancer risk and mortality: a population-based cohort study among British women; Redaniel MT, Jeffreys M, May MT, Ben-Shlomo Y, Martin RM; Cancer Causes and Control (Sep 2012)

 There is great interest in whether type 2 diabetes and its treatments alter breast cancer risk and prognosis, but previous studies are inconclusive. We conducted a cohort study within the UK General Practice Research Database to investigate associations of type 2 diabetes and patterns of diabetes treatment with breast cancer risk and all-cause mortality. METHODS: We identified 52,657 women with type 2 diabetes, diagnosed between 1987 and 2007, and 30,210 randomly selected women without diabetes. We performed a time-dependent analysis using Cox proportional hazards models. RESULTS: Diabetes was associated with a 29 % increased overall breast cancer risk (95 % CI: 1.16-1.44), but the association markedly attenuated when adjusted for age, period of cohort entry, region, and body mass index (BMI) (HR: 1.12; 95 % CI: 0.98-1.29). Women with breast cancer and pre-existing diabetes had a 49 % (95 % CI: 1.17-1.88) increased all-cause mortality risk compared with women with breast cancer but without diabetes, after controlling for age, period, region, BMI, smoking, alcohol, and deprivation. Compared with sulfonylurea, we found weak evidence that metformin monotherapy (HR: 1.04; 95 % CI: 0.79-1.37) and insulin (HR: 1.33; 95 % CI: 0.63-2.83) modified breast cancer risk among women with diabetes. CONCLUSIONS: We found weak evidence that diabetes is associated with a small increased risk of breast cancer. Among treated women, there is no evidence that anti-diabetes treatments modify the risk of developing breast cancer, with wide confidence intervals indicating imprecise effect estimates. Women with breast cancer and diabetes, however, had an increased all-cause mortality risk highlighting the potential importance of maintaining adequate glycemic control alongside anti-cancer treatments and subsequent follow-up.

Obesity May Promote Growth Of Existing Tumors Regardless Of Diet.

HealthDay (10/16) reports, "Being obese promotes the growth of existing tumors regardless of diet, according to a new animal study that may shed light on why obese cancer patients often have worse outcomes than lean patients." Researchers "found that tumors grew much faster in obese mice than in lean mice that ate the same diet." The investigators "also found that obese mice had far more white adipose tissue cells (adipose stromal cells) than lean mice, which led them to focus on these cells." The findings were published in Cancer Research

 

Collaborative modeling of the impact of obesity on race-specific breast cancer incidence and mortality
Yaojen Chang, Clyde B. Schechter, Nicolien T. van Ravesteyn, Aimee M. Near, Eveline A. M. Heijnsdijk, Lucile Adams-Campbell, David Levy, Harry J. de Koning & Jeanne S. Mandelblatt , Volume 136, Issue 3, pp 823-835,

 

Radiation from conventional x-rays, mammograms, and other diagnostic tests before age 30 may increase the risk of breast cancer in women who carry BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations. In a large, retrospective cohort study, this increased risk was seen at radiation doses considerably lower than those associated with increased risk of breast cancer in other cohorts exposed to radiation.

The findings, from an analysis of women in France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom who participated in the GENE-RAD-RISK study, were reported September 6 in the British Medical Journal.

Exposure to ionizing radiation is an established risk factor for breast cancer, particularly when the exposure occurs at an early age. Because the BRCA1 and BRCA2 proteins are important in repairing DNA damage, including damage caused by radiation, researchers have hypothesized that carriers of a mutation in one of these genes might be more sensitive than the general population to ionizing radiation. But previous studies designed to answer this question have yielded inconsistent results.

The new study, led by Dr. Flora van Leeuwen of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, focused on 1,122 women aged 18 or older who were known to carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. The women reported their histories of all diagnostic procedures involving radiation to the chest or shoulders. Researchers used this information to estimate the cumulative dose of radiation to the breast for each woman. They then used national registries

 

Chemicals In Consumer Products Said To Pose Health Threat.

ABC World News (4/30, story 6, 2:00, Sawyer) reported in its "Consumer Watchdog" feature, "120 chemicals in care products, cream, shampoos, used every day by women, most of them untested and a lot by men as well." ABC (Avila) added, "This average woman applies twelve beauty products to her body every day, 120 chemicals. For men, it's six cosmetics and 80 chemicals, and few...think much about what's in them." Avila lists and describes some of the chemicals: "formaldehyde, a known carcinogen; dioxin in some shampoo; lead on your lips; parabens, possibly linked to cancer, in deodorant; even mercury, in skin-lightening creams; toluene, known to cause headaches in nail polish; and diethyl phthalate, linked to allergies, hormone disruption and dermatitis in perfume." Because "Europe has banned 1,200 such chemicals, and the United States, only ten...critics say cosmetic makers mix a riskier brew of the same product for domestic use." Avila concludes, "If you cannot pronounce it, best not to use it."

 

Smoking, Drinking May Be Linked To Earlier Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis.

Reuters (9/19, Norton) reports that, according to a study published online in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, individuals who smoke or consume large amounts of alcohol may develop pancreatic cancer at a younger age than individuals who are nonsmokers and nondrinkers. Investigators looked at data on more than 800 individuals treated for pancreatic cancer. The researchers found that smokers were diagnosed at around age 62, while non-smokers were generally diagnosed at age 70. The investigators reported that heavy drinkers were on average diagnosed at age 61, while non-drinkers were diagnosed nearly one decade later.

Oral Health May Be Linked To Pancreatic Cancer Risk.

Huffington Post (9/19) reports, "The health of your mouth could potentially be linked with your cancer risk, a new study in the journal Gut suggests." Investigators "found that high antibody levels against strains of the oral bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis are linked with a doubled risk of pancreatic cancer."

 

Company To Remove Potential Carcinogens From Product Ingredients.

ABC World News (8/15, story 9, 0:25,, Sawyer) reported, "There is a big announcement tonight from Johnson & Johnson. The company says it will change the ingredients in all its cosmetics, creams and baby items to guarantee they no longer contain even trace amounts of chemicals that could be linked to cancer. The company's been under pressure to make its products safer."

According to the AP (8/16, Johnson), J&J released a statement saying it is planning to "remove potentially cancer-causing and other dangerous chemicals from nearly all its adult toiletries and cosmetic products worldwide." Late last year, the company "pledged to remove 'chemicals of concern' from its baby products around the world after being pressed to do so for more than three years by a large coalition of health and environmental groups." And on Tuesday, J&J reiterated that vow, saying it "remains on track to have baby products...reformulated with safer ingredients by the end of 2013"; and it expects to have its adult products "reformulated by the end of 2015." Additionally, J&J on Wednesday, "launched a website, safetyandcarecommitment.com" to keep consumers informed on "what it does to ensure its ingredients are safe and of high quality."

On the front page of its Business Day section, the New York Times (8/16, B1, Thomas, Subscription Publication) reports that among the ingredients J&J plans to remove is formaldehyde, which "last year was identified by government scientists as a carcinogen," and is released by common preservatives such as "quaternium-15 and DMDM hydantoin," and "1,4 dioxane," which is "created during a process commonly used to make other ingredients gentler on the skin." The company also plans to get rid of "phthalates, which have a variety of uses, like lessening the stiffening effects of hair spray; several fragrance ingredients"; triclosan, an antibacterial; and parabens, a preservative.

Pan-Frying Meat May Increase Prostate Cancer Risk.

HealthDay (9/10, Dallas) reports, "Pan-frying red meat may increase men's risk for prostate cancer by up to 40 percent," according to a study that "appeared recently online" in the journal Carcinogenesis. Researchers "examined data on nearly 2,000 men involved" in a prostate cancer study in which "more than half of the men were diagnosed with advanced forms" of the disease. "We found that men who ate more than 1.5 servings of pan-fried red meat per week increased their risk of advanced prostate cancer by 30 percent," said study leader Mariana Stern of the Keck School of Medicine at USC. In addition, she said men who "ate more than 2.5 servings of red meat cooked at high temperatures were 40 percent more likely to have advanced prostate cancer." the study found that hamburgers were especially "linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer" and the risk was "greatest among Hispanic men."

Marijuana Use May Be Linked To Increased Risk Of Testicular Cancer.

The Washington Post (9/10, Huget) "Checkup" blog reports, "Men who have smoked marijuana are twice as likely to be diagnosed with testicular cancer than men who have never done so," according to a study published in Cancer. Investigators "compared 163 men who had been diagnosed with testicular cancer to 292 men (of similar ages and race/ethnicity) who had not." Participants "were asked about their health history, education and use of recreational drugs such as marijuana and cocaine, among other things."

MedPage Today (9/10, Smith) reports that the researchers found that participants "who reported ever using marijuana had nearly twice the risk of testicular germ cell tumors as those who had never used the drug." The investigators also reported that "ever using cocaine was associated with a 46% reduction in the risk of the disease."

California Watch (9/10, Rust) reports that the study's lead author, Victoria Cortessis, said, "We do not know what marijuana triggers in the testes that may lead to carcinogenesis, although we speculate that it may be acting through...the cellular network that responds to the active ingredient in marijuana, since this system has been shown to be important in the formation of sperm."

 

Higher BMI Associated With More Advanced Thyroid Cancer At Time Of Diagnosis.

HealthDay (5/22, Preidt) reports, "Obese patients are more likely than other patients to have advanced, aggressive forms of papillary thyroid cancer when they're diagnosed with the disease," according to a study published online May 21 in the Archives of Surgery. "For the study, the researchers reviewed the medical records of nearly 450 patients with an average age of 48 who had surgery to remove most or all of the thyroid gland as an initial treatment for papillary thyroid cancer or its variations." Investigators found that "higher body-mass index (BMI) was associated with more advanced cancer at the time of diagnosis," with "obese and morbidly obese patients...more likely to have stage 3 or stage 4 cancer" and a much higher likelihood of aggressive disease.

GAO Recommends Reassessing Cellphone Exposure Limits.

The Washington Post (8/8, Tsukayama) "Post Tech" blog reports, "Mobile phone exposure limits and testing requirements should be reassessed, according to a Government Accountability Office study released Tuesday. ... Its findings may prompt the Federal Communications Commission to update its standards to more accurately reflect how people use their cellphones."

Bloomberg News (8/8, Shields) reports, "Limits set in 1996" by the FFC "may not reflect recent research on radio-frequency energy from phones, and testing requirements may not identify maximum exposure in all usage conditions, the agency said in a July 24 study released today." According to the GAO, the FCC "doesn't test for devices carried against the body."

The Hill (8/8, Trujillo) "Hillicon Valley" blog adds that while "other international organizations and countries have updated their standards," the FCC has not.

Reuters (8/8, Melvin) reports that the FCC must now vote whether to revisit cell phone emission standards, and then enter a period of public comment. CQ (8/8, Brandeisky, Subscription Publication) also reports on the story.

Small Study: Variant Of Vitamin D Receptor May Be Linked To Breast Cancer Risk.

The San Francisco Chronicle (8/8, Colliver) reports, "New research may start to shed light on why Marin County [California] has one of the highest rates of breast cancer in the world, and the answer may be related to vitamin D." According to the Chronicle, "a small pilot study of Marin County women determined through testing to be at high risk for breast cancer found them to be almost twice as likely to have a variant of a vitamin D receptor as the overall population of 338 in the study." This marks "the first time a study has linked this vitamin D receptor -- a protein molecule that signals the cell to activate vitamin D -- with higher risk for breast cancer in Marin County women, the authors said."

 

Ingredient In Weight-Loss Supplement May Increase Risk Of Urothelial Cancer.

The Los Angeles Times (4/10, Kaplan) "Booster Shots" blog reports, "A study published online Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that people who thought they were taking a harmless weight-loss supplement wound up with a type of bladder cancer as a result." Investigators "compared 151 patients with the urothelial cancers to a 'control' group of 25 patients with a type of kidney cancer called renal cell carcinoma." The researchers "found that aristolochic acid prompted a specific type of mutation on a tumor suppressor gene known as TP53 – a mutation that leads to urothelial cancer."

Alcohol Consumption Linked To Higher Risk Of Benign Breast Disease In Teens.

MedPage Today (4/10, Phend) reports, "Drinking alcohol was associated with an increased risk of benign breast disease in adolescent women that may not be alleviated with increased folate intake," according to a study published in Pediatrics. Investigators found that "proliferative benign breast disease was 15% more likely with each roughly one drink more per day women averaged from age 18 to 22 (95% CI, 1.03 to 1.28)." A "greater intake of folate in the teen years -- a nutrient key in DNA repair but thought to be impaired in metabolism by alcohol -- didn't appear to help mitigate the risk in the observational cohort studied." HealthDay (4/10, Doheny) also covers the story.

 

Omega-3s May Increase Risk For Developing Prostate Cancer.

HealthDay (4/25, Preidt) reported that high levels of "heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids in the blood may be associated with an increased risk for developing aggressive prostate cancer, while elevated levels of unhealthy trans-fatty acids may lower the risk," according to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Researchers examined data from a "US-wide study of more than 3,400 men, and found that those with the highest blood percentages of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) were two-and-a-half times more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer than those with the lowest DHA levels." The study also found that the risk of aggresive prostate cancer was "50-percent lower in men with the highest blood levels of trans-fatty acids."

Red, Grilled, Barbequed Meat May Be Linked To Kidney Cancer.

Reuters (12/29, Pittman) reports a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggesting that people who eat high amounts of red, grilled, or barbequed meat may be at higher risk of kidney cancer. In a study of 500,000 US adults, it was found that eating the most red meat was linked with papillary cancers, but not clear-cell kidney cancers. Participants who ate high amounts of well-done grilled and barbecued meat likewise had an increased risk of kidney cancer. Researchers said the reason for the association is unclear and emphasized that the data do not prove causation.

 

Alcohol May Increase Breast Cancer Risk In Teens With Family History Of Disease.

The Los Angeles Times (11/15, Roan) "Booster Shots" blog reports, "Teenage girls who drink alcohol and have a family history of breast cancer are increasing their own risk of the disease," according to a study published online in the journal Cancer.

        Medscape (11/15, Franklin) reports that investigators "studied data from 9037 girls from all 50 states." Participants "completed annual questionnaires from 1996 to 2001, and then again in 2003, 2005, and 2007."

        HealthDay (11/15, Dotinga) reports that the researchers "focused on 67 participants who were later diagnosed between the ages of 18 and 27 with benign breast disease, a large class of conditions that can cause breast lumps or pain and can be a risk factor for breast cancer." The investigators "found that women who have a family history of breast cancer or breast disease were about twice as likely to develop both benign breast disease and breast cancer than women with no family history of the disease." The "risk of benign breast disease rose along with how much alcohol the young women consumed, according to the study."

 

Trace Elements Associated With Exocrine Pancreatic Cancer.

MedPage Today (12/20, Pal) reports, "Higher levels of cadmium, arsenic, and lead in the body appear to be associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer," according to a study published in the journal Gut. After analyzing "toenail clippings obtained from 118 EPC case patients during the PANKRAS 2 Study, conducted in 1992-1995," researchers observed "significantly increased risks of exocrine pancreatic cancer (EPC)...among subjects whose concentrations of cadmium (OR 3.58, 95% CI 1.86 to 6.88, P=5X10-6), arsenic (OR 2.02, 95% CI 1.08 to 3.78, P=0.009), and lead (OR 6.26, 95% CI 2.71 to 14.47; P=3X10-5) were in the highest quartile."

Shingles May Not Be Linked To Higher Cancer Risk Later In Life.

Reuters (9/18, Norton) reports that, according to a study published online Sept. 17 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, individuals who develop shingles may not face a higher risk of developing cancer later in life.

Medscape (9/18, Lewis) reports that investigators "conducted a retrospective cohort study, using de-identified data from a national health registry, on 35,871 patients 20 years or older (range, 20 - 101 years; median age, 52 years) diagnosed with herpes zoster from 2000 to 2008."

HealthDay (9/18, Dallas) reports that "after taking their other illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease, into account," the researchers saw "no increased risk of cancer...in these patients."

Chronic Drinkers Who Stop Imbibing May Cut Esophageal Cancer Risk.

HealthDay (9/18, Dallas) reports, "Chronic drinkers who stop consuming alcohol can cut their risk for esophageal cancer in half within four to five years, according to a new evidence review" published in the journal Addiction. Investigators who analyzed data from "nine studies...found drinkers' risk of this type of cancer is reversible if they stop drinking, but it takes them up to 16 years to return to the risk level of people who don't drink."

 

Report Addresses Environmental Impact On Breast Cancer Risk.

According to NBC Nightly News (12/7, story 7, 2:30, Williams), "a new report" has "set out to address fears...that things in the environment, things people use every day could cause breast cancer," and the "conclusions won't sit well with some women who are certain there is a link."

        The Los Angeles Times (12/8, Healy, Times) reports, "The report, 20 months in the making, acknowledges there are many unknowns. It calls on the Food and Drug Administration to require better proof from drug makers, before and after market approval, that their products do not increase women's risk of breast cancer."

        USA Today (12/8, Szabo) reports, "Researchers studying the environmental causes of breast cancer need to look at a whole lifetime of toxic exposures - even in the womb - that may predispose a woman to develop cancer decades later, says" the "report released Wednesday by" the Institute of Medicine. The new "report also points out how little chemical testing is going on. For example, the Food and Drug Administration lacks the power to test cosmetics and dietary supplements for safety, the report says."

        The AP (12/8) reports, "By environment they mean everything not governed by genes - what's in the air and water but also diets, vitamin use and even things like working night shifts."

        Bloomberg News (12/8, Cortez) reports, "The lack of clear ties between chemicals and other possibly toxic substances and breast cancer doesn't mean they are safe, said Irva Hertz-Picciotto, chair of the IOM committee and chief of environmental and occupational health at the University of California, Davis' School of Medicine." Although "chemicals including those in gas fumes and car exhaust such as benzene may trigger tumors, others including BPA and pesticides have less evidence implicating them...said" David Hunter, a professor of cancer prevention at Harvard School of Public Health, and a study author. It is difficult "to get conclusive results because chemicals are so prevalent, and may be most harmful earlier in life, he said."

        The National Journal (12/8, Sanger-Katz, Subscription Publication) reports that "the expert panel said that laboratory research suggested" the BPA could be linked to breast cancer risk "because it can resemble the hormone estrogen." Irva Herz-Picciotta, the chairwoman of the panel, said, "BPA is one of those compounds that, in fact, does have estrogenic activity."

        The New York Times (12/8, Grady, Subscription Publication) reports, however, that the "exhaustive" report "finds evidence strong enough to make only a few firm recommendations, most already well known and none with a large proven benefit." According to the Times, "The most consistent data suggest that women can reduce their risk by avoiding unnecessary medical radiation, forgoing hormone treatments for menopause that combine estrogen and progestin, limiting alcohol intake and minimizing weight gain, the report found." The "overuse of CT scans, which deliver a relatively high dose of radiation, was a particular concern, but the report stated that women should not be deterred from having routine mammograms, which use a much smaller dose."

        On its website, ABC News (12/8) reports, "The researchers also found that hair dyes and ionizing radiation from cell phones and other devices did not impact a woman's risk for breast cancer." The findings were presented "at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium."

        According to CQ (12/8, Reichard, Subscription Publication), the report "calls for new ways of studying the issue, such as 'full life stage' testing of possible carcinogens," as "an exposure to a substance that at one stage of life that might lead to the development of breast cancer wouldn't necessarily have that effect if it occurs at another stage of life, the study's authors noted." Also covering the story are Medscape (12/8, Zimmerman, Subscription Publication), MedPage Today (12/8, Fiore), and HealthDay (12/8, Salamon).

 

 

Vitamin D deficiency linked to higher risk of Colorectal Cancer: 

A Systematic Review of Prospective Studies  published in the JCO (Ma et al 2011 29:3775-3782 ) evaluated nine studies which analysed Vitamin D intake and serum blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] which covered 1,000,000 participants from several countries. The pooled RRs of colorectal cancer for the highest versus lowest categories of vitamin D intake and blood 25(OH)D levels were 0.88 (95% CI, 0.80 to 0.96) and 0.67 (95% CI, 0.54 to 0.80), respectively. There was no heterogeneity among studies of vitamin D intake (P = .19) or among studies of blood 25(OH)D levels (P = .96). A 10 ng/mL increment in blood 25(OH)D level conferred an RR of 0.74 (95% CI, 0.63 to 0.89). They concluded that Vitamin D intake and blood 25(OH)D levels were inversely associated with the risk of colorectal cancer in this meta-analysis

Women With Diabetes May Have Higher Risk Of Breast Cancer.

Reuters (10/21, Pittman) reports a paper in Diabetes Care suggesting that women with a recent diabetes diagnosis might be at elevated risk of breast cancer, compared to women without diabetes. This could be due to insulin and blood sugar changes that are favorable to tumor growth. On the other hand, researchers say that this may simply be because a diabetes diagnosis leads to a large number of tests and exams, which raises the chance of a cancer being found. It has previously been shown that diabetes increases the risk of colon, liver, pancreatic, and breast cancer. Researchers concluded that women with diabetes should be screened regularly for cancers, and to change behaviors, such as smoking, that lead to high cancer risk

Diabetes Drugs May Be Linked To Increased Pancreatic Cancer Risk.

Reuters (2/1, Pittman) reports that, according to research published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, most diabetes drugs may be linked to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

        Medscape (2/1, Franklin, Subscription Publication) reports, "Drawing on data from the United Kingdom–based General Practice Research Database, the investigators identified a cohort of 2763 patients (1276 men and 1487 women) who had a first-time diagnosis of pancreatic cancer between 1995 and 2009, along with 16,578 matched control patients. Of those, 307 (11.1%) of the patients in the case group had diabetes, as did 1347 (8.1%) in the matched control patients." In order "to assess the effect of antidiabetic drugs on pancreatic cancer risk, the investigators stratified patients according to the duration of use (short-, medium-, or long-term), based on the number of prescriptions filled for metformin, sulfonylureas, and/or insulin during the study period."

        HealthDay (2/1, Mozes) reports, "Short-term use of metformin or sulfonylureas and/or insulin had no appreciable impact on pancreatic cancer risk." But, the researchers found that "long-term use of each of these medications did appear to have a sizeable impact on pancreatic cancer risk among diabetics." Although "female patients saw their risk go down with metformin treatment and up with sulfonylureas, male patients saw their risk go up with insulin."

 

Alcoholics May Have Higher Death Rates From Certain Cancers.

HealthDay (11/16, Preidt) reports, "Alcoholics have a higher rate of death from cancer and other causes than other people," according to a study published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Investigators looked at data on approximately 2,300 individuals who received treatment at an alcohol center. The researchers "found a higher rate of death among alcoholics than among the general population for multiple types of cancers, particularly cancers of the pharynx, oral cavity, liver and larynx." The "risk of death from cancer of the esophagus, rectum, pancreas and breast was also heightened among alcoholics."

 

Study Suggests Diabetes Tied To Precancerous Colon Growths.

WebMD (11/7, Laino) reports on study findings presented at a meeting dedicated to gastroenterology, which found that "people with diabetes may be at increased risk for precancerous colon growths called adenomas." Colonoscopy results were compared "from 278 people with diabetes with those from 278 people without the disorder. Nearly all were male, and the average age was around 65." Twenty nine percent with diabetes had "at least one adenoma, compared with 21% of those without diabetes." March Seabrook, MD said if these results are validated "and diabetes does turn out to cause precancerous colon growths or colon cancer," diabetes may have to be screened "at a younger age, and at shorter intervals."

UV Lamps Used To Dry Gel Manicures May Raise Skin Cancer Risk.

The Washington Post (2/28, Saslow) reviews the safety of ultraviolet lamps in gel manicures, citing a 2009 Archives of Dermatology article about two women who developed non-melanoma skin cancer on their hands after such exposure to UV lamps. Gel manicures require a client to put hands under UV lamps for up to 10 minutes. In the Post, Johns Hopkins University dermatologist Anna M. Bender says, "Artificial UV light does elevate your risk for developing skin cancer" and suggests the use of sunscreen.

Sleep Medications May Be Linked To Increased Death Risk.

ABC World News (2/27, story 8, 2:10, Sawyer) reported that a new study found "a link between sleeping" aids "and an increased risk of death." ABC's Dr. Richard Besser said, "Over two years, people who took sleeping" aids "were at least three and a half times more likely to die of all causes than those who didn't take these" tablets. He added, "Short term is fine. If you're having long term insomnia, it's like a mystery you have to solve."

        On its website, ABC News (2/27, Salahi) reported that "adults who take" sleep medications "in even small numbers over their lifetimes may be nearly four times more likely to die earlier compared to those who are not prescribed" sleep medications, according to a study published Monday in the British Medical Journal. "And those prescribed sleeping" aids "may also be more likely to be diagnosed with cancer, the study found." The investigators "looked at electronic medical records of nearly 35,000 patients, fewer than half of whom took such FDA-approved sleep medications as Ambien [zolpidem], Restoril [temazepam], Lunesta [eszopiclone], and Sonata [zaleplon]" and "found that even those who look fewer than 18 sleeping" medications "a year were at greater risk of death, compared to those who were not prescribed sleeping aids."

        MedPage Today (2/27, Bankhead) reported, "A prescription for 0.4 to 18 doses per year was associated with a mortality hazard ratio of 3.60 compared with patients who had no prescriptions for hypnotics" and "the hazard jumped to 5.32 for patients prescribed more than 132 doses a year," the researchers reported. "The authors acknowledged limitations to this research, most notably that residual confounding could not be fully excluded 'due to possible biases affecting which patients were prescribed hypnotics and due to possible imbalances in surveillance.'" The investigators "also pointed out that cohort studies may demonstrate an association but do not necessarily imply causality."

        The study "tracked more than 10,500 people averaging 54 years of age" who "had a range of underlying health conditions and were prescribed sleeping" aids "for an average of about 2.5 years between 2002 and 2007," HealthDay (2/27, Mann) explained. "The researchers compared these patients' risks for death and cancer against those of people who did not take sleeping" aids. "Specifically, there were 265 deaths among 4,336 people taking Ambien, compared with 295 deaths among the 23,671 people who had not taken sedatives or sleeping" aids.

        BBC News (2/28, Roberts) reports, "This increased risk was irrespective of other underlying health conditions, such as heart and lung diseases, and other factors like smoking and alcohol use, which the researchers say they did their best to rule out." The authors "say it is not yet clear why people taking sleeping tablets may be at greater risk" but "the drugs are sedating and this may make users more prone to falls and other accidents." Sleeping aids "can also alter a person's breathing pattern as they sleep and they have been linked to increased suicide risk."

 

Study Suggests Obesity May Increase Risk Of Colon Cancer.

Reuters (11/4, Norton) reports on study results published online Oct. 7 in the American Journal of Epidemiology, which found that heavier older adults may have a greater risk of developing colon cancer. The study examined 120,000 Dutch adults between the ages of 55-69 for a 16 year time period. Men who were significantly overweight had a 25% higher risk. Additionally, waist size played a significant role in cancer risk as those with the largest bellies had a 63% higher risk. Women with a large waistline had a higher risk of cancer if they exercised less than 30 minutes a day. But women with a size 44 pant size who did little exercise had an 83% greater chance of developing cancer when compared to women with smaller waistlines who exercised for more than 90 minutes a day.

 

 

"The results are in from the biggest study of its kind in history, by the American Medical Association. 100,000 women followed over 28 years, and the conclusion? Less than a drink a day even a glass of wine with dinner, could change the risk of breast cancer." ABC World News (11/1, story 2, 1:25, Sawyer) aired a second segment on the topic, with ABC's Dr. Richard Besser commenting on the study.

        NBC Nightly News (11/1, story 7, 2:00, Williams) reported, "This link isn't new material, but until now, research has focused on higher levels of drinking than that."

        CBS Evening News (11/1, story 6, 2:20, Pelley) quoted study author Dr. Wendy Chen as saying, "What was new about our study is that we had enough statistical power to look at the effect of lower levels of alcohol consumption in breast cancer risk."

        The Washington Post (11/2, Stein) reports that investigators "analyzed data collected from 105,986 women ages 30 to 55 who participated in the Nurses' Health Study, an ongoing project scrutinizing a host of women's health issues, between 1980 and 2008." Altogether, "7,690 of the women were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer." Women "who consumed a low level of alcohol - between about 5 and 10 grams a day, which works out to about three to six glasses of wine a week - were 15 percent more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer."

        Bloomberg News (11/2, Ostrow) reports that "two drinks a day increased the risk to 51 percent, according to" the study. The investigators also reported that "no increase in breast cancer risk was seen in the group who drank less than three glasses of wine a week compared with those who didn't drink." The research "was funded by the National Institutes of Health."

        The New York Times (11/2, O'Connor) "Well" blog reports, "The type of alcohol the women drank did not alter the risk: Red wine raised it just as much as beer." The investigators "also asked the nurses about drinking patterns early in adulthood and found strong associations with increased risk regardless of age."

        The AP (11/2, Tanner) reports, "Given research suggesting that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol including red wine may protect against heart disease, deciding whether to avoid alcohol is a personal choice that should be based on a woman's other risks for breast cancer and heart disease, the researchers said."

        WebMD (11/2, Boyles) reports that "frequency of drinking -- how often women drank during the week and when -- did not appear to influence risk. The key component was how much you consistently drank over time."

        HealthDay (11/2, Goodwin) reports, "One reason for the connection may be that alcohol raises levels of circulating estrogen, and high levels of estrogen are linked to breast cancer, Chen said." Also covering the story were Reuters (11/2, Joelving), BBC News (11/2), Medscape (11/2, Mulcahy), and MedPage Today (11/2, Bankhead).

 

Researchers Probe Whether HCAs Raise Cancer Risk From Barbecued Meat.

The Chicago Tribune (7/3, Conis) reported on research on whether chemical compounds known as heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, found in barbecued meat increase cancer risks. In the 1970s, Japanese scientists discovered that the compounds could damage cellular and bacterial DNA in test tube experiments. Later studies found that HCAs caused tumors in lab animals. Within the past decade, "a handful of studies in human populations began to suggest that HCAs might be behind the observed association between meat consumption and cancers of the pancreas, prostate and colon." But epidemiologists note that the HCA theory "is just one of several that could explain the association between meat consumption and elevated cancer risk" -- others include nitrites, free iron or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. HCA levels can also be reduced by lowering cooking time and temperatures, or by marinating or microwaving meat for a few minutes before grilling it.

 

Research Increasingly Suggesting Alcohol Increases Risk Of Certain Cancers.

The Wall Street Journal (11/1, Beck, Subscription Publication) reports that research is increasingly suggesting that regular alcohol consumption may be linked to an increased risk of certain cancers. Even small amounts may increase the likelihood of developing some cancers, including esophageal cancer. As little as three alcoholic drinks per week may increase one's breast cancer risk, according to one study. According to Samir Zakhari, director of the division of metabolism and health effects at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, "Cancer doesn't happen overnight." Instead, Zakhari says, "It's the repeated exposure to alcohol over a long period of time that will cause damage and it has a cumulative effect."

 

Consuming Eggs May Be Linked To Prostate Cancer Lethality.

The UK's Daily Mail (9/30) reports a study claiming that "men who consumed 2.5 eggs or more a week had an 81 per cent increased risk of lethal prostate cancer compared to men who consumed less than half an egg a week." Harvard University School of Public Health researchers "suggested the damage may be done by the large amounts of cholesterol or choline – a nutrient that help cells to function properly – that are found in eggs."

 

Low-Sugar Fluids May Be Linked To Reduced Bladder Cancer Risk In Men.

HealthDay (10/26, Dallas) reports, "Men who drink plenty of low-sugar fluids may reduce their risk for bladder cancer," according to a study presented at the AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research. Investigators "evaluated the fluid intake of nearly 48,000 men who were part of a long-term study" and "found that the men with a high daily fluid intake, or those who drank more than 10 cups (2,531 milliliters) per day, had a 24 percent reduced risk for bladder cancer."

 

West Virginia Senate Passes Teen Indoor Tanning Ban.

The AP (2/22) reports, "A measure that would prohibit West Virginia children from using indoor tanning beds in an effort to combat skin cancer rates among young adults easily passed the Senate Tuesday and was sent to the House of Delegates." In a 30-4 vote, the Senate passed a bill that "would require tanning salons to register with their local health departments. Patrons would be required to present proof of their age before they could tan. People younger than 18 would be prohibited." The legislation is supported by the American Cancer Society, "because teens and young adults are at a 75 percent higher risk of developing melanoma...from just one indoor tanning session a month than teens who don't use tanning beds."

 

Modern Shift Patterns May Not Carry Same Cancer Risks.

HealthDay (9/30, Dallas) reports that according to a study published online Sept. 27 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, "modern shift patterns may not carry the same risks for cancer as older, more extreme shift schedules." In a study of 123 hospital "shift workers who wore light-intensity meters to determine their peak melatonin levels and the overall change in melatonin levels during winter day and night shifts, as well as summer day and night shifts," researchers found that "the now common rotating shift pattern of day-day-night-night may not disrupt circadian rhythm or melatonin production significantly."

 

 

Weight Gain After Menopause May Increase Risk For Endometrial Cancer.

HealthDay (10/24, Dallas) reports a study to be presented "at the AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research in Boston" showing that after menopause, "women who gained 61 pounds or more were two times more likely to develop endometrial cancer than women with stable weight." Researchers attribute this to the fact that "fat tissue is the major source of circulating estrogen in postmenopausal women, and estrogen promotes the development of endometrial cancer." They also "noted that more research is needed to determine if the timing of weight gain and 'yo-yo' dieting...during adulthood play a role in women's risk for endometrial cancer and whether or not weight loss reduces this risk."

 

Diabetes May Increase Risk Of Colon Cancer.

Reuters (9/29, Norton) reports findings published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology in which researchers analyzed 14 international studies and found that people with diabetes have a 38% higher risk of being diagnosed with colon cancer than people who do not, and males with diabetes have a 20% higher risk of rectal cancer. However, it is unclear what contributes to this increased risk. One theory is that higher levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factors in people with diabetes may stimulate cell growth.

 

Stressed Women May Show Higher Risk Of Aggressive Breast Tumors.

The Los Angeles Times (9/20, Kaplan) "Booster Shots" blog reports that according to a study presented Sept. 19 at the American Association for Cancer Researcher's conference, University of Illinois-Chicago researchers surveyed 989 women with a recent breast cancer diagnosis and "found that stressed women were 38% more likely to have cancers that were estrogen receptor-negative." The study authors acknowledged that it is unclear whether "the women with more aggressive cancers were already more stressed out before they were told they had breast cancer" or were stressed during the interview because they had more aggressive tumors

 

Vitamin D Associated With Increased Risk Of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers.

Bloomberg News (8/16, Ostrow) reports, "Vitamin D, which some studies have found may protect against diabetes, heart disease and cancer, appears to raise the risk of non-melanoma malignancies," according to a study published online Aug. 15 in the Archives of Dermatology. "An analysis of data on 3,223 patients found those with the highest amounts of vitamin D from sun exposure had a 60 percent greater risk of developing the most common form of skin cancer than those with lowest levels."

        HealthDay (8/16, Gardner) reports that the study "stops short of saying that high vitamin D levels might actually cause these types of cancer." And, "because ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure is necessary for vitamin D production in the body, it might simply mean that people with more sun exposure tend to develop more non-melanoma skin cancers." However, "it's unclear whether it's the damage from UV rays that accounts for the risk, or rising vitamin D levels that accompany exposure to the rays." MedPage Today (8/16, Smith) also covers the story.

 

Cancer Researchers Say No Amount Of Alcohol Consumption Is Safe.

The Los Angeles Times (7/11, Brown) "Booster Shots" blog reported that "in a piece published Monday, Paule Latino-Martel, a cancer researcher at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, and co-authors argued that many countries' alcohol consumption guidelines...fail to take into account long-term risks associated with drinking," including an increased risk for "mouth, throat, breast, colorectal and possibly liver cancers." The authors stated that "there is no level of alcohol consumption for which the cancer risk is null," and also noted that the WHO has recently concluded that alcohol consumption does not prevent heart disease.

 

Wearing Flip-Flops, Baseball Caps May Increase Risk Of Skin Cancer.

HealthDay (7/13, Preidt) reported, "Wearing flip-flops and baseball caps can increase your risk of skin cancer," warned Rebecca Tung, MD, director of the dermatology division at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, IL. Dr. Tung explained, "The problem with flip-flops and baseball caps is that they leave the tips of the ears and the tops of the feet dangerously exposed to sun damage. The potential for skin cancers in those areas are real, especially on the tips of the ears." This is because those areas of the body, which have little protection against the sun's rays, are frequently overlooked when people apply sunscreen.

Four In 10 People In UK Will Develop Cancer At Some Point.

BBC News (7/14, Brimelow) reports, "Rising cancer rates mean four in 10 people in the UK get the disease at some point in their lives," Macmillan Cancer Support, "a health charity, says." The projections "are drawn from projections published two years ago in the British Journal of Cancer, which concluded that at the end of 2008 there were two million cancer survivors in the UK and that the figure was rising every year." The charity "also looked at recent cancer incidence and mortality statistics for the UK, indicating that 310,000 people were diagnosed with cancer in 2008."

 

Metabolic Syndrome May Raise Liver Cancer Risk.

MedPage Today (7/27, Bankhead) reported "data from the National Cancer Institute" published in Hepatology indicated that "patients with metabolic syndrome had as much as a twofold increased risk of liver cancer as compared with people who did not have the syndrome." Specifically, "metabolic syndrome was associated with a significantly increased risk of both hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC)," with a higher HCC risk. Researchers hypothesize that metabolic syndrome underlies unexplained HCC and ICC cases in the US, and propose that "approaches to control the recent worldwide epidemic of metabolic syndrome could contribute to a reduction in the liver cancer burden." The study authors cautioned that they may have underestimated or missed the prevalence of smoking, overweight, obesity, and central adiposity.

Farm Workers May Have Elevated Risks For Blood Cancers.

The UK's Telegraph (7/28, Beckford) reports that, according to a study published in journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers in New Zealand found that people who worked on farms, especially poultry and beef cattle, had elevated risks of dying of "blood cancers such as leukaemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma." The study authors suggested that this may be due to early childhood exposure to certain viruses.

Certain Pesticides Linked To Prostate Cancer Prevalence.

The Los Angeles Times (8/31, Hennessy-Fiske) reports that according to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, in "173 white and Latino seniors in Tulare, Fresno and Kern counties who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer" and 162 control subjects, men "who lived within 500 meters of places where methyl bromide, captan and eight other organochlorine pesticides had been applied" were more likely to have prostate cancer. The Times noted that researchers chose "prostate cancer in part because...the risk factors are relatively few." However, critics point out that "attempts to reconstruct exposure in retrospect are extremely uncertain," and that living near an area doesn't guarantee exposure. The research was funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

 

 

High vitamin D levels may reduce mortality among colorectal cancer patients: Reuters (July 11, 2008)
This article describes a JCO study indicating that patients with colorectal cancer with higher plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D) levels prior to diagnosis have a significant reduction in overall mortality.  Researchers report that further research on vitamin D levels in colorectal cancer patients must be performed before further recommendations can be made. 
Article: Reuters; Abstract: JCO  

Colon Cancer Incidence Increasing.

The UK's Telegraph (7/27, Adams) reports that male lifetime risk of colon cancer has increased from one in 29 to one in 15 since 1975, and women's chances have gone from one in 29 to one in 19. According to the Telegraph, weight gain, more drinking, less exercise, and the fact that people live longer are all contributing to the increased risk. However, the chance of survival has also increased since 1975. The Telegraph notes, "The chance of surviving for 10 years after diagnosis is now close to 90 per cent for those identified early, while overall about half do." The statistics were published in the British Journal of Cancer. The UK's Independent (7/27, Laurance) also covers the story.

 

Smokeless tobacco increases risk of oral cancer: Reuters
This article discusses a study published in the journal Lancet Oncology showing that the use of chewing tobacco and snuff increases the risk of oral cancer by 80 percent and esophageal and pancreatic cancer by 60 percent.  The article notes that the use of smokeless tobacco products varies widely depending on sex, age, ethnic origin and economic background, and is highest in the United States, Sweden and India. 
Article: Reuters

 

Researchers say tanning beds may cause cancer.

The CBS Evening News (7/28, story 8, 2:15, Couric) reported that, according to a paper published online July 29 in The Lancet Oncology, tanning beds may "pose as big a risk as tobacco and asbestos." Medical correspondent Jon LaPook, MD, explained that the "international panel of cancer experts upgraded the warning on tanning beds from probably to definitely able to cause cancer."

        The AP (7/29, Cheng) points out that "a new analysis of about 20 studies concludes the risk of skin cancer jumps by 75 percent when people start using tanning beds before age 30." In addition, researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the "cancer arm" of the World Health Organization, "found that all types of ultraviolet radiation caused worrying mutations in mice, proof the radiation is carcinogenic. Previously, only one type of ultraviolet radiation was thought to be lethal." Now, "the new classification means tanning beds and other sources of ultraviolet radiation are definite causes of cancer, alongside tobacco, the hepatitis B virus, and chimney sweeping, among others."

        Canada's CBC News (7/29) explains that "until now, only UVB radiation from solar rays was known to cause a genetic mutation," but the IARC team "found the same mutation in the skin of mice treated with UVA." Therefore, "the agency decided to reclassify all types of ultraviolet radiation -- UVA, UVB, and UVC -- as carcinogenic to humans, or Group 1 carcinogens. Previously, the three UV types were grouped as probable carcinogens." CBC points out that the "WHO has warned people younger than 18 to avoid tanning beds."

        According to HealthDay (7/28, Reinberg), the Food and Drug Administration "is considering strengthening its warnings about the risk of skin cancer and eye damage" related to tanning bed use, the agency said. New York's Newsday (7/29, Altherr), BBC News (7/29), and the Minneapolis Star Tribune (7/29), as well as the UK's Sun (7/29), Press Association (7/29), and Daily Telegraph (7/29) also covered the story.

 

Long-Term Sedentary Jobs Linked To Cancer, Heart Disease Risk.

The Wall Street Journal (6/21, Lukits, Subscription Publication) reports that, according to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, sedentary behaviors, particularly those that require minimal energy expenditure, may increase the risk of developing chronic diseases including colon cancer and heart disease. Researchers collected data from 2005 to 2007 on 918 colon-cancer patients and 1,021 controls and found that those who spent 10 or more years in sedentary jobs had a twofold risk of colon cancer and a 44% increased risk of rectal cancer, compared with those whose occupations were never sedentary. Notably, those with jobs requiring heavy physical activity had a 44% decreased risk of colon cancer.

 

Chemical used in making rubber linked to increased cancer risk
This article reports that workers exposed to 2-mercaptobenzothiazole (MBT), a chemical used in the manufacturing process of rubber, are twice as likely to develop colon cancer and four times as likely to develop bone marrow cancer, compared to the general population. The article notes that researchers believe the increased risk of cancer may be associated with length of exposure to MBT, though further confirmatory research is being conducted.
Article: Reuters

 

Granite used in kitchen countertops may emit cancer-causing gas: The New York Times
This article discusses that some granite kitchen countertops may emit dangerous levels of radon, a radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer.  The article notes that marble industry officials claim that the amount of radioactive materials found in granite countertops is not enough to pose a health risk, though researchers are conducting studies of granite widely used in kitchen counters.  Article: The New York Times

 

Estrogen-like compounds in skin moisturizers may increase breast cancer risk: Reuters
This article reports on research from the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium finding that six widely available moisturizers contain estriol or estrone, two estrogen-like compounds that could increase breast cancer risk if absorbed through the skin.  One researcher urged women with breast cancer to forgo using these topical moisturizers, as they may interfere with their treatment. Article: Reuters

Researchers See No Increased Cancer Risk Among Statin Users.

HealthDay (7/18, Mann) reported that "a large, new study" published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology "appears to quell concerns that taking statins might raise the risk of cancer." For roughly "91,000 adults whose full medical records were available via an electronic database, researchers report there was no significant difference in cancer risk among those who took statins and those who didn't." The investigators found that, "after an average of five years of follow-up among nearly 46,000 pairs of people who either used the cholesterol-lowering drugs or did not use them, 11.37 percent of participants taking a statin developed cancer, compared to 11.11 percent of those individuals not taking a statin."

 

Heavy Drinking Only Increases Risk For Some Esophageal Cancers.

Medscape (3/18, Barclay, subscription required) reported that higher alcohol consumption is "associated with an increased risk" for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), but not with esophageal adenocarcinoma (OA) or adjacent tumors at the esophagogastric junction (OGJA), according to an analysis in the journal Gut. Researchers extracted data from seven studies comprised of 10,854 controls, 1,821 OA patients, 1,837 OGJA patients, and 1,016 OSCC patients. For increasing levels of "any of the alcohol intake measures evaluated, there was no apparent increase in the risk" for OA or OGJA. For the "highest-frequency category (defined as ≥ 7 drinks per day), the OR" was 0.97 for OA and 0.77 for OGJA. In contrast, however, alcohol intake was "strongly associated with an increased risk for OSCC, with an OR of 9.62 for seven or more drinks per day."

 

Study Suggests Taller Woman May Have Higher Risk For Developing Common Cancers.

The Wall Street Journal (7/21, Stovall, Subscription Publication) reports, reports that for every four inches above five feet a woman is, she has a 16% increase risk of developing cancer, according to a study in The Lancet Oncology

        Bloomberg News (7/21, Mead) reports that the researchers "studied more than 1 million women in the UK who reported an average height of 161 centimeters to the state-run National Health Service between 1996 and 2001." They found more than "97,000 incidents of cancer by June 2008"; and every "10 centimeters of height translated to an 17-percent increase for incidents of breast cancer, which comprised more than a third of all the observed malignancies."

        The BBC News (7/21, Gallagher) reports that the researchers found that the tallest women in the group, those "over 5ft 9in, were 37% more likely to have developed a tumour than those in the shortest group, under 5ft." They study authors linked 10 cancers to height: "colon, rectal, malignant melanoma, breast, endometrial (uterus), ovarian, kidney, lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukaemia." Although the study looked "only at women, the researchers said the height link was also present in men."

        The UK's Telegraph (7/21), MedPage Today (7/20, Walsh), WebMD (7/20, Mann), and HealthDay (7/20, Mozes) also covered the study.

 

Talc-Based Powder Use May Increase Ovarian Cancer Risk By 30%.

MedPage Today (4/7, Bankhead) reported that the "use of talc-based powder significantly increases the risk of invasive ovarian," according to findings presented at the American Association for Cancer Research. The researchers analyzed data from a "case-control study involving more than 2,000 women with ovarian cancer and a similar number of women without the cancer." Talc applications were estimated from "patient-reported frequency and duration of use." After adjusting for "age, parity, oral contraceptive use, tubal ligation," BMI, smoking or alcohol use, and ethnic/racial or familial breast or ovarian cancer history, the study team performed analyses for cases of nonmuscinous-invasive, nonserous-invasive, and serous-invasive cancer. They found that for all analyses, talc use was associated with "an increased prevalence of ovarian cancer; the magnitude of the difference between users and nonusers ranged between 20% and 40%, most often about 30%.

Exposure To Bright Light During Sleep May Increase Breast Cancer Risk. Today (1/9, Phend) reported, "Sleeping with the lights on could increase the risk of breast cancer, results from a large 10-year observational study suggest." After looking at "more than 1,670 Israeli women," investigators "found that those routinely exposed to higher intensity light in their sleeping environment had 22% higher odds of developing breast cancer than women who slept in full darkness," according to the paper in Chronobiology International. "It may be that leaving the lights on while sleeping interferes with melatonin production, which, in turn, modulates endogenous estrogen levels," and "several studies have also associated the circadian rhythm-regulating hormone with a protective effect against breast cancer."

 

Having a desk job may be linked to higher prostate cancer risk.

The UK's Daily Mail (10/29, Macrae) reports that an "analysis of 45,000 men aged 45 to 79" appearing in the British Journal of Cancer found that "those who had highly physical jobs were 28 percent less likely to develop the disease than those who spent most of their working lives sitting." The study further found that "men who walked or cycled for more than an hour a day having a 14 percent lower risk than those who walked or cycled for 40 minutes or less a day." The researchers, from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, concluded, "Findings from this study show that not sitting for most of the time during work or occupational activity and longer daily durations of the main component of active living (walking or cycling) may be associated with reduced prostate cancer incidence."

Penile Foreskin May Be Repository For HPV.

HealthDay (5/17, Salamon) reported that penile foreskin can "harbor the human papillomavirus (HPV)," which is responsible for genital warts and 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. According to findings presented at the American Urological Association meeting, about 30 percent of the 40 foreskin tissue samples examined contained HPV strains. The samples were from males "between seven months and 82 years old who had undergone circumcision to treat phimosis." Although none of the patients had "clinical symptoms of disease," the study team found "low-risk HPV genotypes in 18.8 percent" of the foreskin tissue samples and "high-risk HPV in 9.77 percent."

 

Loss of spouse may increase cancer risk, research suggests.

Following an article in Bloomberg News, CBS News (7/28) reported on its website that "divorce and widowhood have a lingering, detrimental impact on health -- even after remarriage," according to a study expected to appear in the August issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

        Linda Waite, PhD, a sociologist at the University of Chicago, and Mary Elizabeth Hughes, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University, "examined the marital history and health indicators for 8,652 middle-aged people in research funded by the National Institute on Aging," according to CNN (7/28, Park). They found "that divorced or widowed people have 20 percent more chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or cancer than married people," and they "also have 23 percent more mobility limitations, such as trouble climbing stairs or walking a block." WebMD (7/28, Boyles) and the New York Daily News (7/28, Chernikoff) also cover the story.

 

People In US More Likely To Develop Skin Cancer On Left Side Of Body.

USA Today (6/15, Shorman) reports that, according to a study published online in April by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, "people in the USA are more likely to develop skin cancer, such as melanoma and merkel cell carcinoma, on the left side of their bodies." Investigators theorize that "driving may be to blame, because the left arm receives more UV." After analyzing data from a government database, researchers "found that when skin cancer occurred on one side of the body, 52% of melanoma cases and 53% of merkel cell carcinomas were on the left side. On the upper arms, 55% of merkel cell cases developed on the left side." In Australia, where people drive on the right side of the road, researchers noted a similar pattern of precancerous skin growths on the right side.

 

Men With Lean Physiques At Age 18 May Have Lower Chance Of Dying From Cancer Later In Life.

Bloomberg News (6/16, Ostrow) reports, "Men with lean physiques at age 18 have a lower chance of dying from cancer later in life than those who are obese at that age," according to a study published in the Annals of Oncology. Investigators found that "men with the lowest body mass index at age 18 were 35 percent less likely to die from cancer than those with the highest BMIs." The researchers also found that "smoking and physical activity as a young adult didn't affect results." The UK's Telegraph (6/16, Beckford) also covered the story.

Inactivity May Pose Greater Cancer Risk Than Cellphones, Coffee.

The AP (6/16, Marchione) reports that despite all the "recent news about possible cancer risks from cellphones, coffee, styrene, and formaldehyde in building materials," health experts say that most people "probably face little if any danger from these things with ordinary use." Linda Birnbaum from the National Toxicology Program at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences concurs. The government agency "just declared styrene, an ingredient in fiberglass boats and Styrofoam, a likely cancer risk. ... Levels of styrene that leach from food containers 'are hundreds if not thousands of times lower than have occurred in the occupational setting,' where the chemical in vapor form poses a possible risk to workers," she said. Experts emphasize, however, that "inactivity and obesity may pose a greater cancer risk than chemicals for some people."

 

Specialists See Studies Linking Cell Phones To Health Risks As Inconclusive.

Medscape (6/21, Gandey) reported that the issue of cell phones as a potential health risk resurfaced recently: A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that using a cell phone "for as little as 50 minutes at a time appears to affect brain glucose metabolism," and a World Health Organization panel announced (pdf) that cell phone use "should be considered 'possibly carcinogenic.'" The 2B classification "is very weak, and I think people are now focusing too much on the possibly carcinogenic part," said neuro-oncologist Lynne Taylor, MD, from Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. This is "neither new research nor at odds with previous findings," noted a National Cancer Institute statement. Meanwhile, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is currently conducting a large, laboratory study on "cell phone radiofrequency exposures and potential health hazards."

 

FDA Issues New Guidelines For Sunscreen Labeling.

The Food and Drug Administration's long-awaited announcement yesterday of significant changes to sunscreen labeling was widely reported both by television and print media. The changes will empower consumers to make better decisions in choosing a product to prevent sun damage as well as reduce overall confusion about sunscreens.

        The CBS Evening News (6/14, story 9, 0:30, Pelley) reported, "The government put out new rules today for sunscreens. From now on, the gold standard will be broad-spectrum protection. Manufacturers may put that on the label only if the sunscreen protects [against] ultraviolet B which causes burning and ultraviolet A which causes wrinkling." Both forms of UV rays "cause skin cancer, and only sunscreens with an SPF 15 or higher may claim to lower the risk of cancer."

        On NBC Nightly News (6/14, lead story, 2:50, Williams), chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman, MD, explained, "One of the biggest changes is this, a drug facts label showing ingredients and differentiating between products that protect against cancer from those that only prevent sunburn."

        On ABC World News (6/14, lead story, 3:20, Sawyer), correspondent Lisa Stark pointed out why the change is so important. "Despite the explosion of sales of sunscreens, there's also been an explosion of skin cancer," as evidenced by the fact that "cases of the most deadly kind of skin cancer, melanoma, increased 45% between 1992 and 2004," particularly in young people.

        In a follow-on analysis piece on ABC World News (6/14, story 2, 1:15, Sawyer), chief health and medical editor Richard Besser, MD, explained that the action taken by the FDA on sunscreen labeling was "done five years ago" by European regulators. Besser suggested that consumers looking for sunscreen should examine "the UVB number. I recommend 30, at least. That will protect you against that. But for UVA, you need to go to" a list put together by Consumer Reports specifically for products "tested for UVA. By next year you'll be able to trust the labels for everything."

        The AP (6/15, Perrone) reports that beginning next summer, if sunscreens do not protect against both UVA and UVB rays, "or the sun protection factor is below 15," then sunscreens must "carry a warning: 'This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.'"

        Bloomberg News (6/15, Larkin) reports, "Lawmakers have urged the FDA for more than a decade to revise sunscreen labels to address cancer-causing UVA rays that penetrate deeper into skin cells and aren't blocked by window glass." Unfortunately, "'twenty percent of Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime,' said" Moy at yesterday's press conference at FDA's headquarters. "Ultraviolet exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer."

        The Los Angeles Times (6/15, Maugh) reports that the FDA "has been considering such regulations since 1978 and released some proposed rules in 2007, but subsequently concluded that the labeling system under consideration would be too confusing for consumers."

        The Washington Post (6/15, Stein) reports that "the agency is barring the use of the term 'sunblock' as well as claims that sunscreens are 'waterproof' or 'sweatproof,' saying those terms are inaccurate." Under the new guidelines, "sunscreen makers will only be allowed to claim that products are 'water-resistant' and will have to specify whether they work for 40 or 80 minutes." Sunscreens "that do not must carry warnings advising people to use a water-resistant product if they are going to be exposed to water or sweat."

        On its front page, the New York Times (6/15, A1, Harris, Subscription Publication) reports that FDA "regulators said they had yet to decide whether to end an SPF arms race in which manufacturers are introducing sunscreens with SPF numbers of 70, 80 and 100, even though such lotions offer little more protection than those with an SPF of 50." In fact, the FDA "had proposed allowing manufacturers to use SPF numbers no higher than 50, but that remains only a proposal (pdf) for which the agency will seek further comment."

        USA Today (6/15, Szabo) reports that currently, "the American Academy of Dermatology recommends both adults and children use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30."

        Also covering the story are the UK's Financial Times (6/15, Rappeport, Subscription Publication), the Wall Street Journal (615, D1, Dooren, Subscription Publication), the Wall Street Journal (6/15, Hobson, Subscription Publication) "Health Blog," the Star-Ledger (6/15, Todd), the CNN (6/14, Willingham) "The Chart" blog, the Columbus Dispatch (6/15, Jacobson), the NPR (6/14, Thrasybule) "Shots" blog, WebMD (6/14, DeNoon), HealthDay (6/14, Reinberg), MedPage Today (6/14, Walker), and Reuters (6/14). An FDA webcast of the press conference announcing the rule is available for viewing here.

 

 

Updated Government Carcinogens Report Links Two Common Chemicals With Cancer Risk.

On its website, ABC News (6/10, Murray) reported that HHS added "eight more substances to its 'known human carcinogen' or 'reasonably anticipated to be carcinogen' lists today, one week after a World Health Organization study concluded that cell phones may cause cancer."

        The Los Angeles Times (6/10, Dennis) "Booster Shots" blog reported that formaldehyde "now officially falls into the 'known to be a human carcinogen' category," and styrene can now "officially be described as 'reasonably anticipated' to be cancer-causing," according to the Department of Health and Human Services' updated " Report on Carcinogens."

        In a front-page story, the New York Times (6/13, A1, Harris, Subscription Publication) reports that the federal government on Friday issued warnings about the "two materials used daily by millions of Americans." The report by NIH's National Toxicology Program found evidence that styrene, which is used in "boats, bathtubs, and in disposable foam plastic cups and plates," may increase the risks of "cancer of the pancreas and esophagus," the report found. Consumers can be exposed to styrene from the "fumes of building materials, photocopiers and tobacco smoke." According to the AP (6/11), NIH says the greatest exposure to styrene is "through cigarette smoking."

        The Time (6/10, Walsh) "Healthland" explained that the report found that "concerning amounts of formaldehyde could be encountered in plywood and particle boards, as well as in hair salons and in mortuaries," and the exposure is "most intense" among workers in "some manufacturing plants." With formaldehyde and styrene, the government also added captafol, cobalt-tungsten carbide, "certain inhalable glass wool fibers, o-nitrotoluene," and riddelliine to its twelfth report, bringing the total to 240 carcinogens. Notably, studies of mortuary workers "exposed to high levels of formaldehyde have shown increased incidences of certain kinds of rare nasal cancers."

        The New York Daily News (6/10) noted that the report also linked formaldehyde to leukemia. The American Cancer Society "said consumers should not worry about cups or food containers, but should shelve personal products with formaldehyde."

        The Washington Post (6/11, Stein) noted that most of the cancer risk evidence "came from people exposed to relatively high levels in industrial settings. 'A listing...does not by itself mean that a substance will cause cancer,'" said Dr. John Bucher, associate director of the National Toxicology Program. Moreover, Dr. Bucher said the updated listings "do not trigger any immediate new restrictions on the substances, but other government agencies may use the information in the future as part of their regulatory decisions." He said individuals can use the list to "make personal choices," noting that most people's "routine exposure to the newly listed substances was probably low."

        Bloomberg News (6/10, Young) pointed out that aristolochic acids, which are "found in herbal products used to treat arthritis and gout," were also listed as carcinogens, because they "can cause bladder or urinary-tract cancer in people with kidney disease." Meanwhile, American Chemistry Council CEO Cal Dooley released a statement saying the report "makes 'unfounded classifications' about formaldehyde and styrene that will scare consumers," and the American Composite Manufacturers Association disputed the styrene and cancer link with a statement saying, "styrene-based composite material system has been used safely for over 60 years."

        Also covering the updated carcinogens report were Reuters (6/11, Simao), CNN (6/11), the Washington Post (6/12, Stein) "The Checkup" blog, HealthDay (6/10, Goodwin), and WebMD (6/10, DeNoon).

 

 

Study Illustrates Association Between Cancer Diagnosis, Bankruptcy.

The Wall Street Journal (6/8, Feintzeig, Subscription Publication) "Bankruptcy Beat" blog suggests that those consider restructuring could learn something from research presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. In the study, which is also published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers analyzed National Cancer Institute data and bankruptcy-court records from Washington state. They found that out of 231,799 patients with cancer, 4,805 (2.1%) sought personal bankruptcy protection within one to five years following diagnosis. Those most likely to file for bankruptcy were individuals diagnosed with lung, thyroid, and leukemia and lymphoma cancers. The study team noted that surgery and chemotherapy increased the likelihood that patients would seek bankruptcy protection.

        Cancer Patients Struggling As Out-Of-Pocket Healthcare, Drug Expenses Continue To Escalate. In continuing coverage, HealthDay (6/7, Preidt) reported that increasing "out-of-pocket expenses" are forcing many cancer patients in the US to "forgo drugs and doctor appointments and to cut back on food and other necessities," according to findings presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. Researchers reviewed data on "216 cancer patients" contacted the HealthWell Foundation, which "helps underinsured patients afford expensive medications." Of the all but one patient who had health insurance, 66 percent were "covered by Medicare and 83 percent had prescription drug coverage." The patients' out-of-pocket costs "averaged $712 a month for things such as prescription drugs, doctor visit copays, lost wages and travel to medical appointments. These expenses were a significant problem for 30 percent of the patients and a catastrophic problem for 11 percent," according to the study authors.

 

Metformin diabetes and breast cancer. Breast cancer and associated diabetes mellitus have gained raising interest as an elevated risk of breast cancer prognosis resulting in increased mortality in diabetic patients. In this context, the long-acting insulin analog glargine and other antidiabetics have been discussed to promote tumorigenesis. In contrast, the biguanide class oral antidiabetic metformin has been shown capable of enhancing cell cycle arrest and inducing apoptosis as well as reducing growth factor signaling. Consequently, several studies are underway to evaluate a possible role of metformin in breast cancer treatment. Although mechanisms involved are not definitely clear yet, here, we discuss metformin's anticancer effects including the potential impact of the immune system

The ABC News (6/3, Yarber) "Medical Unit" blog reports that "a new study by the National Cancer Institute of 1,900 post-menopausal women found that consuming seven to 14 alcoholic drinks per week...carries a 30 percent to 60 percent increase in breast cancer risk." Additionally, "it was found that these women developed the most common type of breast cancer called 'estrogen and progesterone hormone receptor positive' cancer."

 

Pioglitazone May Be Linked To Increased Risk Of Bladder Cancer.

Reuters (6/1) reports that, according to a study published online in BMJ, the diabetes medication Actos (pioglitazone) may be linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer.

HealthDay (6/1, Reinberg) reports that investigators "collected data on nearly 116,000 people treated for diabetes from 1988 to 2009 and listed in the General Practice Research Database, which contains records from more than 600 medical offices in the United Kingdom."

MedPage Today (6/1, Walsh) reports that "patients with type 2 diabetes who were ever treated with pioglitazone had an 83% higher risk for bladder cancer (adjusted rate ratio 1.83, 95% CI 1.10 to 3.05) than those who had never used the thiazolidinedione." The investigators reported that "this was a drug-specific effect, because patients taking rosiglitazone (Avandia) did not have an elevated risk (RR 1.14, 95% CI 0.78 to 1.68)." The findings from "this analysis differed from those of a study being presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, which suggested that the bladder cancer risk was a class effect for glitazones." Also covering the story is the UK's Telegraph (6/1, Adams).

 

Allergies May Be Associated With Increased Risk Of Blood Cancers.

The ABC News (6/3, Martin) "Medical Unit" blog reports that allergies may be associated with an increased risk of blood cancers, according to a study. "The study included more than 64,000 patients who were asked about allergy and asthma symptoms." All participants were "evaluated seven years later." The researchers found that participants "who had allergies - specifically allergies to plants, grass, and trees - had a slightly increased incidence of blood cancers," but those who had "asthma did not have an increased risk of blood cancer."

Patients Who Started IVF At Younger Age May Face Higher Breast Cancer Risk.

WebMD (6/2, Rubin) reported, "Taking all age groups into account, in vitro fertilization treatment is not linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, according to a large new study" published online in the journal Fertility and Sterility. But, "the researchers found that in vitro fertilization, or IVF, patients who first started infertility treatment at age 24 were about 1 1/2 times more likely to eventually develop breast cancer than women who'd received other infertility treatments at the same age." While "the study results should be 'reassuring' to women who begin IVF treatment in their 30s and 40s, 'women should be aware that delivering their first child late in reproductive life, whether assisted by IVF or not, is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer,' the researchers write."

 

Burning paraffin-wax candles without proper ventilation could raise lung cancer risk, scientists say.

According to the Wellness blog, hosted by Time (8/19, Blue), "burning everyday paraffin-wax candles can emit a storm of toxic chemicals, including toluene and benzene." While "it's nowhere near as harmful to light an occasional candle as it would be, say, to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day," researchers at South Carolina State University "say that frequent candle burning in tight, unventilated areas has been implicated in lung cancer, asthma, and skin rash."

        Speaking before a chemical society meeting, the researchers explained that the "candles, which are made from petroleum, are a source of known human carcinogens and indoor pollution," HealthDay (8/19, Thompson) reported. So, "lighting many paraffin candles every day for years or lighting them frequently in an unventilated bathroom around a tub, for example, may cause problems." However, "candles made from beeswax or soy, although more expensive, apparently are safer, because they do not release potentially harmful pollutants." The UK's Daily Mail (8/20, Macrae) and the Telegraph (8/20, Alleyne) also cover the study.

 

Experts urge caution on high consumption of yerba mate tea: 
This article discusses research suggesting that lifelong drinkers of yerba mate tea - a tea native to South America that is gaining popularity for its high caffeine and antioxidant content - are at increased risk of developing some cancers.  The article notes two studies finding that regular consumption of yerba mate increased risk of lung, respiratory or digestive cancers by as much as 60 percent.  The article notes, however, that cancer and epidemiology experts disagree somewhat on the association between yerba mate consumption and cancer risk. Los Angeles Times

Folic acid supplements associated with increased prostate cancer risk: These articles report on a JNCI study finding that men who took folic acid supplements were more than twice as likely to develop prostate cancer, compared with men who took a placebo. Researchers note that the estimated prostate cancer risk was 9.7 percent for participants in the folic acid group and 3.3 percent for the placebo group . They also found, however, that prostate cancer incidence was slightly lower in men who had adequate amounts of folate in their diet. HealthDay News

Report: Exposure To Oxybenzone Through Normal Sunscreen Use Is Safe.

The New York Times (6/14, D5, O'Connor, Subscription Publication) "Really?" column takes on the claim that oxybenzone, "a chemical in sunscreen, absorbed through the skin, may be even more hazardous than the sun's rays." A study in rats concluded that animals consuming large doses of the substance developed side effects, such as abnormal growth of the uterus. However, "in March, researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York published an independent report examining all the evidence on the subject and concluded that the alarming findings from early animal studies relied on unrealistic dosages" that human beings would never encounter while using sunscreen. The column concludes, "Exposure to oxybenzone, through normal sunscreen use, is safe, studies find."

 

Expert Says "Dubious" Research Links Sunscreen Compounds, Skin Cancer.

HealthDay (7/26, Gardner) reported that last spring, the "Environmental Working Group...called on the US Food and Drug Administration to finish a review of data on the safety of retinyl palmitate, a derivative of vitamin A added to many sunscreens" that the group believes "elevates the risk of skin cancer." The "EWG also objected to oxybenzone (benzophenone-3), another ingredient of many sunscreens, which it says is a hormone disruptor." But, the "research behind these allegations...has mostly been in lab animals and is dubious at best, said Dr. Jeffrey Dover, president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery." Nevertheless, "Shelly L. Burgess, FDA spokeswoman, on Friday said the FDA is awaiting a final review of data on retinyl palmitate by the National Toxicology Program of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences."

 

Individuals Living Near Vatican Radio Antennas May Face Increased Cancer Risk.

BBC News (7/14, Willey) reported, "Some 60 huge steel aerials were erected on farmland owned by the Vatican during the last century" to "transmit Vatican Radio programs around the world on medium and short wave." For the last 10 years, "Italian courts have been investigating" whether the "abnormally high number of deaths from cancer among families living near the aerials just north of the Italian capital can be attributed to electromagnetic radiation." Now, a "300-page report, ordered by the courts and carried out by Italy's most prestigious cancer research hospital...concludes that there is a connection between radiation and the cancer incidents."

        The "claims of Professor Andrea Micheli, from Milan's National Tumor Institute, focus on 19 child deaths from leukemia or lymphoma between 1980 and 2003 in the Cesano area," the UK's Independent (7/15, Day) reports. Micheli "said the raised cancer risk occurred in children under 14 who lived less than 7.5 miles from the masts," and he also "found evidence of a link between the radiation and adult cancers -- but only among those who lived much closer to the antennae." Consequently, "six officials of Vatican Radio have been placed under investigation for manslaughter." AFP (7/14) also covered the story

Higher Risk Of Breast Cancer Following Radiotherapy May Last At Least 40 Years.

Reuters (7/2) reports that new study suggests that women who receive above-the-diaphragm radiotherapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma may have an increased risk of breast cancer that lasts for at least 40 years. Writing in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the investigators concluded that such women must be monitored for at least 40 years, perhaps using more intense viewing screens.

 

Researchers Find No Link Between Cell Phone Towers And Children's Cancer Risk.

The AP (6/23, Cheng) reports that "children whose mothers lived close to a mobile phone tower while pregnant did not appear to be at any higher risk of cancer than children whose mothers lived farther away," according to a study published in the British Medical Journal. Investigators "analyzed 1,397 cancer cases in children up to age four from 1999 to 2001 in the United Kingdom. Using a national birth registry, they identified 5,588 similar children without cancer."

        The Los Angeles Times (6/22, Kaplan) "Booster Shots" blog reported that "the team also gathered detailed data about all 81,781 cellphone towers that were operational in the country during that time, including each tower's location, height, output power, and how many antennas it had." The researchers found that, "in virtually every permutation of their calculations, there was no correlation between the cellphone towers and the cancer cases."

        Bloomberg News (6/23, Hallam) reports that "the study is the largest of its kind, and the findings should put any reports of cancer clusters around mobile-phone towers into context, the researchers wrote."

        The Washington Post (6/22, Stein) "The Checkup" blog reported that, "in an editorial accompanying the study, John Bithell of the University of Oxford said that while the study had some shortcoming, the findings should be reassuring to people living near cell phone towers."

        According to the UK's Independent (6/23, Laurance), "reports of clusters of cancer cases among families living close to the masts led to demands that the masts be moved." However, "the numbers involved have been too small, and the risks of a biased selection of cases too high, to draw firm conclusions."

        AFP (6/22) reported that "the authors cautioned that they were unable to get information about individual exposure among mothers-to-be to a mobile phone handset. Electromagnetic radiation from a handset during conversation is many times higher than that from a phone mast." The UK's Press Association (6/22), HealthDay (6/22, Reinberg), and Reuters (6/23, Kelland) also covered the story.

International Panel Of Experts Categorizes Cell Phones As "Possibly Carcinogenic."

ABC World News (5/31, lead story, 3:10, Sawyer) reported, "An important new alert about the safety of cell phones and the possible risk of cancer, brain cancer in particular...comes from the World Health Organization." NBC Nightly News (5/31, lead story, 3:10, Williams) reported, the WHO "statement labeling cell phones as a possible carcinogenic hazard comes from a panel of 31 scientists."

        According to the AP (6/1, Cheng), the statement was "issued in Lyon, France, on Tuesday by the International Agency for Research on Cancer" (IARC) after a "weeklong meeting" during which experts reviewed "possible links between cancer and the type of electromagnetic radiation found in cellphones, microwaves and radar." The IARC classified cellphones in "category 2B, meaning they are possibly carcinogenic" to humans. The assessment now "goes to WHO and national health agencies for possible guidance on cellphone use."

        The Wall Street Journal (6/1, Martin, Hobson, Subscription Publication) reports that the IARC working group did not conduct new research. Instead, the panel reviewed existing literature that focused on the health effects of radio frequency magnetic fields. Its findings are slated to be published July 1 in Lancet Oncology.

        The New York Times (5/31, Parker-Pope, Barringer, Subscription Publication) "Well" blog noted that the panel's decision to "classify cellphones as 'possibly carcinogenic' was based largely on epidemiological data showing an increased risk among heavy cellphone users of a rare type of brain tumor called a glioma." Most "major medical groups," including the National Cancer Institute, have "said the existing data on cellphones and health has been reassuring." Earlier this year, the Journal of the American Medical Association "reported on research from the National Institutes of Health, which found that less than an hour of cellphone use can speed up brain activity in the area closest to the phone antenna."

        The Los Angeles Times (6/1, Roan, Gabler) reports that a 2010 study (pdf) published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found a "40% increase risk of gliomas for people who used a cellphone an average of 30 minutes a day over a 10-year period." The Orange County (CA) Register (5/31, Brennan) reported that the literature review also indicated "long-term or heavier use" of cell phones may increase risk for a "cancer type called acoustic neuroma."

        Bloomberg News (5/31, Kresge) reported that the most recent research "considered dated to 2004, and exposure levels from handsets have dropped over time," said IARC Working Group Chair Dr. Jonathan Samet from the University of Southern California. The age of the studies also means the participants "had used their phones for no more than 10 to 15 years, leaving open the question of the effect of longer-term exposure," he noted.

 

Preliminary Study Suggests Antihistamines May Increase Risk Of Tumor Development.

The CNN (2/7, Landau) "The Chart" blog reports, "More than dozen small studies have suggested that people with allergies are less likely to develop gliomas." However, in an analysis in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, when researchers looked at information from 419 patients who had glioma and 612 who did not, they found that antihistamine use "actually increased a person's chance of developing a glioma." Co-author Dr. Bridget McCarthy of the University of Illinois, theorizes that certain medications may take "away the protective value of the allergic reaction against cancer." To further explore these ideas, Dr. Bondy and colleagues are "recruiting 6,000 cases and 6,000 controls for a large-scale epidemiological study on protective factors in glioma."

Study Finds Agent Orange Exposure Increases Prostate Cancer Risk By 49%.

Medscape (2/24, Fox) reported, "Vietnam veterans who were exposed to the defoliate Agent Orange are 49% more likely than nonexposed veterans to be diagnosed with prostate cancer," according to a study presented at the Genitourinary Cancers Symposium. The researchers reviewed clinical data from 2,270 veterans, of whom 869 had prostate cancer. After adjusting for "all significant confounders," they concluded that "veterans with prostate cancer were 49% more likely to have been exposed to Agent Orange than men who didn't have cancer." Exposure to Agent Orange was also associated with "younger age at diagnosis. Men found to have prostate cancer were roughly five years younger at diagnosis than men without exposure."

People Who Use Tanning Beds More Likely To Develop Melanoma.

The Chicago Sun-Times (5/31, Szabo) reported that "since 1992, rates of melanoma -- once considered an old person's disease -- have risen three percent a year in white women 15 to 39, the American Cancer Society says." Unfortunately, "people who have used tanning beds are 74 percent more likely than others to develop melanoma, a 2010 study shows." For that reason, among others, "the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Dermatology and World Health Organization all have called on states to ban children under 18 from tanning salons."

Chemicals in breast milk may be linked to testicular cancer.

The UK's Press Association (9/25) reports that, according to a study published online Sept. 24 in the International Journal of Andrology, "pollutant chemicals in mothers' breast milk have been linked to an increased rate of testicular cancer." Researchers found that "Danish men are up to four times more likely to have testicular cancer as men in neighboring Finland." The populace "also suffers high rates of other male reproductive disorders, including poor semen quality and genital abnormalities." There has been speculation that "man-made pollutants that alter the effect of hormones" are to blame.

        For the study, investigators "measured levels of 121 chemicals in 68 samples of breast milk from women in Denmark and Finland," the UK's Telegraph (9/25) reported. "They found a dramatic difference between the two countries," as "Danish breast milk had significantly higher levels of some chemicals, including dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and pesticides, than Finnish breast milk." Still, "why women in Denmark should have more of the chemicals in their breast milk than their Finnish neighbors remains unclear." The work "reinforces," however, "the view that environmental exposure to EDCs may explain some of the temporal and between-country differences in incidence of male reproductive disorders." HealthDay (9/24, Preidt) also covered the story.

 

Heavy drinking may be linked to increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer, research suggests.Heavy drinking, especially when it's beer, increases the risk for highly aggressive prostate cancer," according to a University of California-San Francisco study published online in Cancer. The team "did not set out to determine the effect of alcohol consumption on prostate cancer risk, but rather to test the effectiveness of finasteride (Proscar, Propecia), a drug prescribed to prevent prostate cancer." While they discovered "that heavy drinking reduces the cancer-preventing effect of finasteride," investigators also developed a better understanding about the "relationship between alcohol consumption and prostate cancer risk."

        Apparently, "men who consumed at least 50 grams of alcohol (at least four drinks) daily doubled their risk of high-grade prostate cancer," a finding that held true in both the "placebo and finasteride arms of the trial," according to MedPage Today (7/13, Bankhead). "Heavy drinking did not influence the risk of low-grade cancer in the placebo arm, but significantly increased the risk in men taking finasteride." The "overall risk increase in the finasteride group came about from a significant risk reduction in men who drank less than 50 grams of alcohol, combined with finasteride's lack of effect among heavier drinkers." Reuters (7/14) also covers the trial.

 

Soft drink consumption may be linked to pancreatic cancer risk.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune (2/8, Hanson) reports that "a University of Minnesota study suggests that drinking two or more soft drinks a week nearly doubles the risk of developing pancreatic cancer." Investigators "studied the dietary habits of more than 60,000 adults in Singapore for 14 years." The researchers "found that those who drank high amounts of sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages were 87 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than those who did not."

        The Washington Post (2/8, Huget) "The Checkup" blog reported that "the study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, notes that lifestyles in Singapore have much in common with those in the US and that the findings should apply to Caucasians as well as to the Asians who were tracked."

        The UK's Daily Mail (2/8, Derbyshire) reports that "the findings are published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention." Reuters (2/8), the UK's Press Association (2/8), and the UK's Telegraph (2/8, Alleyne) also cover the story.

 

Tanning Increases Teens' Risk Of Getting Melanoma, Dermatologic Surgeon Explains.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (3/28) reported, "Tanning, whether outdoors in the sun or indoors, increases a teen's risk of getting melanoma, a potentially deadly skin cancer," according to Robin Gehris, MD, chief of pediatric dermatologic surgery at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. "Her advice to teens is to avoid indoor tanning," which "can lead to burning, which is riskier for cancer on a teen than on an adult." In any case, tanning, whether outside on the beach or indoors in a tanning bed, causes skin to wrinkle and age prematurely, Dr. Gehris explained.

 

Evidence Linking ELF-MFs To Brain Tumors Considered Insubstantial.

Reuters (9/10, Harding) reports that since 1979, scientists have been trying to discern whether improperly laid power lines or kitchen appliances exacerbated children's cancer risk. Prior studies have established a flimsy association between extremely low-frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MFs) and leukemia. Now, a review of 10 studies, which is detailed by University of California-Los Angeles researchers in the American Journal of Epidemiology, indicates that the link between ELF-MF and brain tumors is even weaker.

Time spent watching television may be linked to increased risk of cancer death.

The Wall Street Journal (1/12, Winslow, subscription required) reports that there may be a link between the time an individual spends watching television and his or her risk of death, according to a study published in the journal Circulation.

        Bloomberg News (1/12, Matsuyama, Saminather) reports that investigators "tracked the TV-viewing habits of 8,800 adults and followed them for six years."

        The study findings indicated that "every hour of daily TV watching increased the risk of dying from any cause by 11 percent," HealthDay (1/11, Reinberg) reported. The researchers found that "for cardiovascular diseases the increased risk was 18 percent, and for cancer it was nine percent."

 

Exposure To Chlordecone May Be Associated With Greater Risk Of Prostate Cancer.

MedPage Today (6/21, Neale) reported that "exposure to the long-banned organochloride insecticide chlordecone may be associated with a greater chance of developing prostate cancer," according to a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Investigators found that, "among residents of Guadeloupe, those who had the highest plasma levels of the chemical had 1.77-fold (95% CI 1.21 to 2.58) higher odds of being diagnosed with prostate cancer." These "findings...were similar when past exposure to chlordecone was assessed using a combination of years of residence in the French West Indies and plasma concentration of the insecticide, which was used in that country for over 30 years."

 

Study Suggests Chronic Acetaminophen Use May Increase Risk For Developing Blood Cancers.

Reuters (5/9, Joelving) reported that chronic users of painkillers containing acetaminophen may be at slightly higher risk for developing blood cancers, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The researchers followed approximately 65,000 older men and women who had used acetaminophen-containing painkillers over the past 10 years and did not have cancer. Over an average of six years, however, 577 participants (slightly less than 1%) developed a blood cancer, such as lymphoma or myelodysplastic syndrome. When the study team looked at the acetaminophen use, they found that over 9% of those who developed the blood cancers had used high amounts of the OTC painkiller chronically.

 

Coffee May Reduce Risk Of Oral Cavity, Pharynx Cancers.

The Salt Lake Tribune (6/23) reports that "coffee may protect drinkers from cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx," according to a study published online by the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

        The CNN (6/22, Henry) "Paging Dr. Gupta" blog reported that investigators "looked at nine existing studies and analyzed how much coffee was consumed by more than 5,000 cancer patients and about 9,000 healthy people." The investigators "found that regular coffee drinkers -- those who drank more than four cups of coffee a day -- had a 39 percent decreased risk of two types of head and neck cancer: oral cavity and pharynx cancers." However, "coffee did not decrease the risk of a third type of oral cancer -- laryngeal cancer."

        The UK's Press Association (6/23) reports that, according to lead researcher Dr Mia Hashibe, "Since coffee is so widely used and there is a relatively high incidence and low survival rate of these forms of cancers, our results have important public health implications that need to be further addressed."

        The UK's Guardian (6/23, Jha) reports that the research "adds to the growing body of evidence on the benefits of caffeinated drinks." Researchers "at Imperial College London also found that people who drank more than five cups of coffee or tea a day had a decreased risk of a type of brain tumour called a glioma. And, last year, Harvard University researchers showed that men who drank coffee had a 60% reduced risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer, compared with men who drank no coffee." Reuters (6/23) also covers the story.

 


Study Finds No Association Between Living Near Nuclear Plants, Childhood Leukemia Risk.

Reuters (5/6, Kelland) reported that 35-year study has found no evidence to link living near nuclear power plants with an increased risk for developing childhood leukemia. Scientists on the Committee of the Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) said that within 3.1 miles of nuclear power stations from 1969 to 2004, they found only 20 cases of childhood leukemia. And, when they expanded the nuclear power plant radius out to 15.5 miles, they found only 430 cases of childhood leukemia during the same 35 years.

Survey Indicates Young Women, Teens Continue To Tan Regardless Of Health Risks.

MedPage Today (5/2, Fiore) reports, "Despite warnings about melanoma risk, young women and teens still prefer to tan," according to a survey from the American Academy of Dermatology. The survey found that, "among almost 4,000 girls ages 14 to 22, the vast majority (81%) said they sunbathe outdoors either frequently or occasionally." In a statement, Ronald Moy, MD, FAAD, AAD president, said, "Exposure to UV radiation is the leading risk factor for skin cancer, yet -- despite this knowledge -- droves of teens and young women are flocking to tanning bed facilities and beaches or pools to tan every year."

 

Analysis Suggests SSRIs May Increase risk For Breast, Ovarian Cancers.

Bloomberg News (4/7, Lawrence) reports, "Antidepressants may be linked to a risk of breast and ovarian cancer." According to a study in the journal PLoS ONE, the "risk of cancer increased 11 percent on average for patients taking antidepressants." The researchers analyzed "61 studies and found 20 that identified a link. The connection was stronger" in cases of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Of 16 studies that looked at SSRIs, "15 detected a higher chance of cancer. ... 'The findings point to a need for more research on SSRI use in women and the link to cancer,'" said lead study author Lisa Cosgrove, a "research lab fellow at Harvard's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics in Cambridge."

 

Cured meats associated with increased risk for childhood acute leukemia
This article reports on a BMC Cancer study finding that Taiwanese children and teenagers who ate cured meats and fish more than once a week had a 74 percent higher risk of developing acute leukemia than children and teens who rarely ate those foods and consumed more vegetable and soy products. The article notes that cured meats contain nitrites, precursors to nitrosamines, which can trigger tumor growth , while vegetables and soy contain antioxidants that neutralize these compounds.  The article also notes that further research is needed to confirm the preliminary findings.Article: Reuters

Exposure to nighttime artificial light may increase prostate cancer risk: The Washington Post (February 17)
This article reports on a Chronobiology International study suggesting that exposure to artificial light at night may increase a man's prostate cancer risk.  The article notes that the study analyzed satellite measurements of nighttime light emissions and cancer rates in 164 countries, finding that nations that emit the most light at night are more likely to have the highest prostate cancer rates.  The article explains that the Unites States, which has among the highest nighttime light emissions, has a prostate cancer rate of about 125 cases per 100,000, compared with about 67 per 100,000 among countries with the lowest nighttime light emissions. Article: The Washington Post

 

Preliminary Findings Suggest Daily Consumption Of More Than One Alcohol Drink Raises Cancer Risk.

BBC News (4/7) reported that "one-in-10 of all cancers in men and one-in-33 of all cancers in women are caused by past or current alcohol intake," according to a study in the British Medical Journal. The researchers found that individuals who drank "more than two standard drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women were particularly at risk of alcohol-related cancers." Essentially, alcohol-related cancers which were "one-in-three in men and one-in-20 in women are caused by any excessive drinking." The study authors calculated that in 2008, "current and past drinking habits were responsible for about 13,000 cases of alcohol-related cancer in the UK, out of a total of 304,000 cancer cases." The results were gathered as part of a large study following "363,988 men and women in eight European countries."

        According to Reuters (4/8, Kelland), the study authors defined a standard drink as one containing approximately 12 grams of alcohol. This equates to a 125-ml glass of wine or about half of a pint of beer.

Heavy Beer Drinkers With ADH1 Gene Variant May Have Increased Risk Of Gastric Cancer.

Medscape (4/15, Nelson, Subscription Publication) reported that a "genetic variant might predispose heavy beer drinkers to a higher risk for gastric cancer," according to findings presented at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting. The researchers found that drinking "30 g of pure ethanol/alcohol or more a day derived from beer was associated with a 75% increased risk for gastric cancer." Notably, when they looked at interactions between the alcohol dehydrogenase gene cluster (ADH1) "locus SNPs and baseline alcohol consumption, the authors noted a statistically significant interaction between rs1230025 and beer consumption." The presence of "SNP rs230025 was associated with a 30% increased risk for gastric cancer."

 

Daily Alcohol Drinking May Increase Risk For Certain Cancers.

The Los Angeles Times (4/11, Cevallos) "Booster Shots" blog reports that cancer risk "increases with every extra daily drink," according to a study in the British Medical Journal. The analysis of "364,000 people in eight countries," found that "44% of cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract" in men and 25% in women "might be linked to alcohol"; liver cancer "(33% in men, 18% in women)"; colorectal cancer "(17% in men, 4% in women)"; and about 5% of "breast cancers in women." The American Cancer Society agrees that alcohol "raises the risk of cancer in the mouth, throat, voice box and esophagus." Alcohol may act as a "solvent," to tissue lining, "allowing harmful chemicals through (especially tobacco from smoking)," ACS explained. Alcohol may also raise drinkers' cirrhosis risk by "further damaging liver cells"; and it may "change estrogen levels," increasing breast cancer risk.

US, Canadian Officials To Analyze Herbicide's Potential Link To Infertility, Cancer.

Reuters (4/8, Gillam) reported that Although for over 30 years, glyphosate -- an essential ingredient in Roundup herbicide -- has been promoted a safe element in global food production, critics say it could cause infertility or cancer. Now, amid increased pressure from environmentalists, consumer groups and scientists, the Environmental Protection Agency is conducted an examination and has set a 2015 deadline for determining if glyphosate should continue to be sold as is, limited, or banned. The EPA is working with Canadian regulators to assess the herbicide's safety, Meanwhile, there are several pending lawsuits about the product's health effects.

 

Research Links Night Shift To More Than 500 Annual Breast Cancer Deaths In UK.

The UK's Telegraph (6/20, Adams) reports, "More than 500 women die every year in Britain of breast cancer brought on by working nights, according to a study" published in the British Journal of Cancer. Researchers "estimated that around 1,960 breast cancer cases -- or roughly one in 20 -- can be attributed to night shift work every year." Approximately "550 deaths a year from the disease can be attributed to shift work, they found."

 

Link between cell-phone use, cancer.

NBC Nightly News (9/14, story 6, 2:30, Williams) reported that people often "worry about whether or not" cell phones are "safe. It was a concern that led to some sharp questioning on Capitol Hill in Washington" on Monday. NBC's Bazell added, "Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA), who has survived two bouts of lymphoma, requested the hearing, asking whether cell phones might cause cancer." One scientist at the hearing, "from the cell phone industry...said huge numbers of studies found no link between cell phone use and cancer." However, "an Israeli physician, Dr. Siegal Sadetzki, said one study showed preliminary evidence there might be some risk after ten years of use."

        The panel told the Senate appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services that "more research is needed to determine whether cell phone radiation is harmful to humans, especially children," USA Today (9/15, Cauley) reports. "One thing most panelists agreed on: Children, because of their thinner skulls, are far more susceptible to radiation than adults."

        Still, the FDA, on its website, says, "The weight of scientific evidence has not linked cell phones with any health problems," ABC News (9/15, De Nies) points out. Likewise, ABC senior health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser said, "The best science doesn't show a link between cell phone use and cancer of any kind. No link whatsoever."

        The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (9/14) explained that the hearing Monday "was held to examine whether to provide additional funding to the National Institutes of Health to study cell phone use as it relates to cancer." Currently, NIH "is conducting a $24 million study in which mice are exposed to cell-phone radiation over a period of several years. Results are not due until 2014, according to testimony from John R. Bucher, associate director of the national toxicology program for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, which is part of NIH."

        Dr. Bucher said, "Children have a configuration of their skull that does allow penetration of cell-phone radiation," CNN (9/15) reports, but notes, "Bucher stopped short of declaring a causal link between cell-phone use and human cancer."

        Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) -- the new chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and chairman of the Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education -- vowed to continue investigating a possible link in the HELP committee and with the NIH, according to Reuters (9/15, Fox). CBS News /CNET (9/15, Reardon), and the Dow Jones Newswire (9/15, Johnson) also cover the story.

 

Data Increasingly Confirm Link Between Environmental Exposure, Cancer.

The Forbes (3/10, Tobias) "Green Conversations" blog notes that a "2009 report by the President's Cancer Panel warns of growing evidence linking environmental exposures to cancer, recognizing that these risks may be prevented." Notably, there are "more than 100,000 chemicals in commercial use," including pesticides; and more data are "emerging pointing to exposures in humans at younger ages than previously thought." Such chemicals may even be in the "foods we consume," a point highlighted in a study by the Department of Health and Human Services, which "cites two 'linked' reasons why people may get cancer: 'an increasingly toxic landscape in which we live, both indoors and outdoors, contaminated by potentially carcinogenic or endocrine-disrupting chemicals and the food we choose to eat.'" Conversely, according to an "important publication from the NIH," in the US, "only 41% (of the human population) ever get cancer."

 

Experts Contemplate Cancer Risk From Airport Scans.

MedPage Today (3/19, Fiore) reported that although "individual cancer risk from airport x-ray machines is probably small, the large number of Americans passing through these backscatter x-ray devices every year could result in a slightly increased population risk." And that could "raise concerns 'about the long-term consequences of an extremely large number of people all being exposed to a small radiation-induced cancer risk,'" especially considering that there will be about one billion "passenger scans in the US alone this year," wrote David Brenner, PhD, DSc, of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. Dr. Brenner and National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements Director David Schauer, ScD, CHP, offered their views on airport scans in this month's issue of the journal Radiology.

 

Cancer Risk From Airport Scanners Very Low, Study Finds.

Bloomberg News (3/29, Ostrow) reports, "Airport body scanners pose little radiation risk to travelers, emitting less than 1 percent of the dose a person would get from cosmic rays while flying at high altitudes," according to an online-first study in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The American College of Radiology's Safety Committee Chair Dr. Richard Morin "said radiation isn't well understood. 'The levels we're talking about are lower than actual background radiation,'" said Morin, who wasn't involved in the study.

        According to the Boston Globe (3/28, Kotz) "Daily Dose" blog, the study "equated the small dose of radiation delivered by the scanner with other radiation doses from medical devices and our environment." For example, "every time you fly, you get some extra radiation due to your closer proximity to the sun. 'The backscatter X-ray scans deliver radiation equivalent to around 1 to 3 minutes of flight time,'" wrote the study authors from the University of California. Their research revealed that "50 airport scans equals the amount from a single dental X-ray, 1000 scans is equivalent to a chest X-ray, 4000 scans equals a mammogram, and 200,000 scans equals the amount in a single abdominal computed tomography scan."

 

Metabolic Syndrome May Be Risk Factor For Developing Liver Cancer.

Medscape (4/5, Nelson, Subscription Publication) reported that metabolic syndrome is a "known risk factor for diabetes and heart disease," but according to data presented at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting, "it might also place individuals at higher risk for the development of liver cancer." The researchers used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER) Medicare-linked database to identify "3,649 hepatocellular carcinoma cases and 743 intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma cases" and 195,953 individuals "without cancer." They found that "37.1% of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma and 29.7% with intrahepatic carcinoma had preexisting metabolic syndrome." In contrast, only "17.1% of individuals without cancer had metabolic syndrome."

 

Centre for Public interest Urges Ban On Caramel Coloring In Soft Drinks Due To Alleged Cancer Risk.

 "In a letter to the US Food and Drug Administration, the consumer watchdog group Center for Science in the Public Interest [CSPI] called on officials to ban the use of caramel coloring in popular soft drinks, citing a possible cancer risk." CSPI "first petitioned the FDA on the matter in 2011, noting that 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, which form when sugar is mixed with ammonia and sulfites to create caramel coloring, had been shown to cause lung, liver and thyroid cancer in mice and rats." The group's executive director Michael F. Jacobson, "in a letter written Monday to FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg...described recent lab analyses that showed 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MI, levels in 12-ounce servings of soda that exceeded the 29 microgram limit recommended by the state of California by nearly five times."

        Bloomberg News (3/6, Armour) reports, however, that an individual "would have to drink more than a thousand cans of soda in a day to match the doses administered in studies that showed links to cancer in rodents, Douglas Karas, a US Food and Drug Administration spokesman, said in a statement." The agency "has no reason to believe consumers are in danger, the FDA's Karas wrote in an e-mail. The agency is reviewing the group's petition, he said." Also covering the story are Reuters (3/6, Yukhananov) and WebMD (3/6, DeNoon).

 

Just One Alcoholic Drink Daily May Increase Breast Cancer By About 5 Percent.

HealthDay (3/29, Doheny) reports, "Just one alcoholic drink a day can boost a woman's risk of breast cancer by about 5 percent, according to a new review" published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism. The researchers found that "heavier drinking -- three or more drinks a day -- can increase risk up to 50 percent."

The UK's Telegraph (3/29, Smith) reports, "Lead author Prof Helmut Seitz wrote: 'Since there is no threshold level of ethanol for breast cancer risk, the breast is one of the most sensitive organs for the carcinogenic action of alcohol. Healthy women should not exceed one drink a day (equivalent to 10–12g of ethanol).'"


Tanning Bed Use May Be Associated With Skin Cancer.

Reuters (3/8, Norton) reports that women who frequent tanning parlors may be more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, and, in particular, basal cell carcinoma, according to a study published online Feb. 27 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study of some 730,000 nurses tracked for two decades found that those who used sunbeds four times a year or more in late adolescence through age 35 had a 15% increased likelihood of getting basal cell carcinoma. The association was greater for women who used tanning beds more often at younger ages. For example, sunbed use more than seven times yearly starting during high school or university was associated with a 73% increased likelihood of developing basal cell carcinoma.

Coke, Pepsi Change Their Practices In Response to California Law.

The AP (3/9) reports that "Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. are changing the way they make the caramel coloring used in their sodas as a result of a California law that mandates drinks containing a certain level of carcinogens come with a cancer warning label." The AP mentions that "the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group, in February filed a petition with the Food and Drug Administration to ban the use of ammonia-sulfite caramel coloring." The San Francisco Chronicle (3/9, Shellnutt) also covers this story in its "Hot Topics" blog.

 

IVF At A Younger Age May Be Linked To Increased Breast Cancer Risk.

Reuters (6/23, Seaman) reported that, according to a study published online in Fertility and Sterility, undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) at a younger age may be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, compared to individuals who never undergo IVF. The researchers arrived at this conclusion after analyzing data on more than 21,000 women.

 

Microbe Fusobacterium Nucleatum May Be Implicated In Colon Cancer.

Medscape (6/22, Cassels) reports, "Using cutting-edge metagenomics techniques to explore the pathogens present in colorectal cancer, two research teams working independently have uncovered a totally unexpected suspect." The researchers found that "the microbe Fusobacterium nucleatum, which is associated with inflammatory and infectious diseases, including periodontal disease, appendicitis, pericarditis, and brain abscesses, might be implicated in colon cancer." Both "studies were published in Genome Research." The studies are available here and here.

 

FDA Declares End Of BPA In Baby Bottles, Children's Drinking Cups.

Coverage of the Food and Drug Administration's action confirming that manufacturers no longer use BPA in baby bottles or children's drinking cups was widespread and focused on the FDA action, though sources also noted that the action was taken in response to a request from the American Chemistry Council. Most sources also explained that the FDA continues to support the safety of using BPA in food containers. Many cited studies indicating possible dangers from BPA and the requests for a complete ban on its use in food containers by the National Resources Defense Council and a few Members of Congress.

The New York Times (7/18, A15, Tavernise, Subscription Publication) reports, "The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that baby bottles and children's drinking cups could no longer contain bisphenol A, or BPA." It notes that "manufacturers have already stopped using the chemical in baby bottles and sippy cups, and the F.D.A. said that its decision was a response to a request by the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry's main trade association, that rules allowing BPA in those products be phased out, in part to boost consumer confidence." FDA spokesman Steven Immergut said that "the decision did not amount to a reversal of the agency's position on the chemical," which it declared "safe in 2008, but began expressing concerns about possible health risks in 2010."

The Wall Street Journal (7/18, Tomson, Subscription Publication) reports that the American Chemistry Council explained that it had requested the statement in order to eliminate "confusion about whether baby bottles and sippy cups sold in the United States contain BPA." The story notes that the FDA had rejected an effort by the National Resources Defense Council to end BPA's use in food containers, and that the American Medical Association has labeled BPA an "endocrine-disrupting agent" and called for labeling "BPA-containing products with the potential for human exposure."

The Washington Post (7/18, Elboghdady) reports that the American Chemistry Council "said consumer preferences had long ago forced manufacturers to abandon BPA's use in baby bottles and sippy cups in the United States." The request was based "solely on a provision that allows anyone to petition for changes to food additive rules if they can demonstrate that a particular use of the additive has been abandoned."

The Boston Globe (7/18, Calvan) reports, "Some consumer health groups chastised the FDA for moving slowly on the ban."

USA Today (7/18, Koch) reports, "About a dozen US states, including California, have banned BPA from children's products. So, too, have Canada, the European Union and China." FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess said, "We continue to support the safety of BPA for use in products that hold food." The story says that BPA "has been linked in studies to cancer, birth defects and reproductive problems."

The AP (7/18) reports that "the American Chemistry Council, had asked the Food and Drug Administration to phase out rules allowing BPA in those products in October, after determining that all manufacturers of bottles and sippy cups had already abandoned the chemical due to safety concerns." FDA spokesman Allen Curtis said, "Consumers can be confident that these products do not contain BPA."

The New York Daily News (7/18, Boyle) reports, "Studies found contact with the chemical led to impaired reproductive and nervous systems in rodents, and the Food and Drug Administration is currently spending $30 million to determine its effect on humans."

Bloomberg News (7/18, Flinn) reports, "BPA has been linked to male infertility, diabetes and cancer. A study in October said exposure in the womb may cause behavior and emotional problems in young girls."

 

Older Women With Diabetes May Have Higher Risk Of Breast Cancer.

BBC News (9/14) reports, "Post-menopausal women who have Type 2 diabetes appear to have a" higher "risk of developing breast cancer," according to research published in the British Journal of Cancer. Investigators looked at data from 40 studies. The researchers found that "post-menopausal women with Type 2 diabetes had a 27% increased risk of breast cancer." However, "there was no link for pre-menopausal women or those with Type 1 diabetes."

 

Higher Fruit, Vegetable Consumption Linked To Lower Risk For Estrogen Receptor-Negative Breast Cancer.

HealthDay (1/26) reports, "Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables may lower women's risk for a tough-to-treat form of breast cancer, but it does not reduce their odds of getting breast cancer overall," according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Investigators "analyzed data from 20 prior studies of women who were followed for a maximum of 11 to 20 years." The researchers "found a statistically significant link between higher fruit and vegetable consumption and a lower risk for estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer, but not with a lower risk of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers (those that do respond to estrogen) or for breast cancer overall."

 

 

PREVENTATIVE INTERVENTIONS

 

Metformin Use Reduces All-Cause and Prostate Cancer-Specific Mortality in Men With Diabetes
In a study reported in Journal of Clinical Oncology, David Margel, MD, PhD, of University of Toronto and colleagues examined the effect of duration of antidiabetic medication exposure after prostate cancer diagnosis on all-cause and prostate cancer-specific mortality in men with diabetes. They found that increased duration of metformin use was associated with significantly reduced risk of prostate cancer-specific and all-cause mortality.

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids selectively inhibit growth in neoplastic oral keratinocytes by differentially activating ERK1/2

Carcinogenesis doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgt257

Abstract

The long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and its metabolite docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), inhibit cancer formation in vivo but their mechanism of action is unclear. ERK1/2 activation and inhibition have both been associated with the induction of tumor cell apoptosis by n-3 PUFAs. We show here that low doses of EPA, in particular, inhibited the growth of pre-malignant and malignant keratinocytes more than their normal counterparts by a combination of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. The growth inhibition of the oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) lines but not normal keratinocytes, by both n-3 PUFAs was associated with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) autophosphorylation, a sustained phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and its downstream target p90RSK but not with phosphorylation of the PI3 kinase target Akt. Inhibition of EGFR with either the EGFR kinase inhibitor AG1478, or an EGFR blocking antibody, inhibited ERK1/2 phosphorylation and the blocking antibody partially antagonized growth inhibition by EPA, but not by DHA. DHA generated more reactive oxygen species and activated more JNK than EPA, potentially explaining its increased toxicity to normal keratinocytes. Our results show that, in part, EPA specifically inhibits SCC growth and development by creating a sustained signaling imbalance to amplify the EGFR/ERK/p90RSK pathway in neoplastic keratinocytes to a supra-optimal level, supporting the chemopreventative potential of EPA, whose toxicity to normal cells might be reduced further by blocking its metabolism to DHA. Furthermore, ERK1/2 phosphorylation may have potential as a biomarker of n-3 PUFA function in vivo.

 

Drinking Coffee May Significantly Reduce Risk Of Dying From Mouth Cancer.

HealthDay (12/12, Dallas) reports that a new study from the American Cancer Society found that "people who drink more than four cups of caffeinated coffee daily could significantly reduce their risk of death from certain forms of cancer." According to the article, the researchers wrote in the study, which was published online Dec. 9 in the American Journal of Epidemiology, that "habitual coffee drinkers had about half the risk of dying from cancers of the mouth and pharynx (part of the throat) than others who never drank coffee or only had it occasionally." HealthDay details that "in conducting the study, the researchers analyzed data on almost a million people from an American Cancer Society study on cancer prevention that began in 1982."

The Daily Mail (UK) (12/12, Hagan) reports that "the latest findings, by a team of researchers from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, Georgia, suggest it may not be caffeine that protects against the formation of malignant growths in and around the mouth." The article adds, "instead, they said, it's likely to be due to some of the hundreds of other naturally-occurring antioxidant chemicals found in coffee." The researchers wrote, "coffee contains multiple biologically active compounds that may help to lower the risk of developing and dying from cancer."

 

High Consumption Of Vegetable Fats May Lower Risk Of Prostate Cancer Spread.

Reuters (6/11, Pittman) reports that, according to research published online in JAMA Internal Medicine, men with prostate cancer who consume diets with high amount of vegetable fats may have a lower risk of their disease spreading.

        The NPR (6/11, Aubrey) “The Salt” blog reports that investigators “studied the fat intake of more than 4,500 men who had been diagnosed with non-metastatic prostate cancer.”

        Bloomberg News (6/11, Cortez) reports that the researchers found that men who consumed “an additional serving of oil-based dressing each day were 29 percent less likely to die from prostate cancer, with a 13 percent lower risk of dying from any causes.” Meanwhile, the researchers found that “a daily serving of nuts cut prostate cancer death by 18 percent and death from any cause by 11 percent.”

        Also covering the story are MedPage Today (6/11, Bankhead), HealthDay (6/11, Mann), and Medscape (6/11, Mulcahy).

 

Moderate Drinking Before Breast Cancer Diagnosis May Be Linked To Better Survival.

MedPage Today (4/13, Petrochko) reported, "Women who were moderate drinkers before being diagnosed with breast cancer appear to have a slight survival edge," according to a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Investigators found that, "compared with nondrinking controls, women who consumed three to six drinks weekly had a significant protective effect on breast cancer survival (HR 0.85, 95% CI 0.75 to 0.95)." The researchers also found that "post-diagnosis drinking did not affect disease-related survival, though modest alcohol consumption both before and after diagnosis was associated with improved cardiovascular and overall survival outcomes."

Three Studies Suggest Statins May Play Role In Cancer Treatment.

MedPage Today (4/13, Smith) reported that "three studies presented...this week at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research suggest – at a casual glance – that" statins may be able to "play a role in cancer treatment." In one of the studies, "investigators led by Katherine McGlynn, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., used data from a large health maintenance organization to compare 75 liver cancer patients with 373 matched controls. In a univariate analysis, statin use was associated with a statistically significant 40% reduction in the risk of liver cancer." The two other studies involved patients with breast cancer and ovarian cancer, respectively.

 

 

Aspirin Use May Reduce Melanoma Risk.

CNN (3/11, Landau) in its "The Chart" blog reports that in a study of "nearly 60,000 women," ages 50 to 79, Stanford University researchers found that on average, individuals who took aspirin frequently had a "21% lower risk of melanoma" than did their peers who did not take aspirin at all . Although this correlation "is not proof" that aspirin "is directly responsible for lowering the risk," the study authors "believe inflammation plays a big role in cancer development, and aspirin is an anti-inflammatory drug." Moreover, there are previous studies that also "support the idea that in certain kinds of cancers, aspirin may be preventative." The blog did not indicate which medical journal published the study.

 

Fish Oil Supplements May Help Prevent Skin Cancer.

The Daily Telegraph (UK) (2/26, Adams, 871K) reports, "Regularly taking fish oil supplements could help protect against skin cancer, according to a study that suggests omega-3 fats help boost the immune system." Investigators "found that volunteers given omega-3 supplements were better able to ward off the potential harmful effects of sunshine, than those given a dummy pill." The researchers "emphasised their study was by no means conclusive proof of a protective effect, but said it 'adds to the evidence that omega-3 is a potential nutrient to protect against skin cancer.'" The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

 

 

Oral Bisphosphonates May Be Linked To Reduced Colorectal Cancer Risk.

MedPage Today (1/25, Bankhead) reported that "postmenopausal women taking oral bisphosphonates for osteoporosis had almost a 50% reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer, according to data from a large cohort study" presented at the Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium. Investigators reported that "the case-control study, conducted among over 1,800 Israeli women, found that the magnitude of the risk reduction increased with length of time women were on antiresorptive therapy - topping out at almost 80% with more than three years of bisphosphonate use." These "findings add to the growing evidence of a chemopreventive potential for bisphosphonates. The same group previously reported a reduction in the risk of breast cancer among women taking the bone-friendly drugs."

 

Prospective cohort study of tea consumption and risk of digestive system cancers: results from the Shanghai Women's Health Study1,2,3

 Author Affiliations

  1. 1From the Division of Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN (SN, X-OS, GY, HC, and WZ); the Department of Epidemiology, Shanghai Cancer Institute, Shanghai, China (H-LL, Y-BX, and Y-TG); and the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD (B-TJ and W-HC).

+ Author Notes

  • 2 Supported by the National Cancer Institute (grant number R37 CA70867).

  • 3 Address correspondence to W Zheng, Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Eighth Floor, Suite 800, 2525 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203-1738. E-mail: wei.zheng@vanderbilt.edu.

AbstractAm J Clin Nutrvol. 96 no. 5 1056-1063

Background: Data from in vitro and animal studies support a protective role for tea in the etiology of digestive system cancers; however, results from prospective cohort studies have been inconsistent. In addition, to our knowledge, no study has investigated the association of tea consumption with the incidence of all digestive system cancers in Chinese women.

Objective: We investigated the association of regular tea intake (≥3 times/wk for >6 mo) with risk of digestive system cancers.

Design: We used the Shanghai Women's Health Study, a population-based prospective cohort study of middle-aged and older Chinese women who were recruited in 1996–2000. Adjusted HRs and associated 95% CIs were derived from Cox regression models.

Results: After a mean follow-up of 11 y, 1255 digestive system cancers occurred (stomach, esophagus, colorectal, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder/bile duct cancers) in 69,310 nonsmoking and non–alcohol-drinking women. In comparison with women who never drank tea, regular tea intake (mostly green tea) was associated with reduced risk of all digestive system cancers combined (HR: 0.86; 95% CI: 0.74, 0.98), and the reduction in risk increased as the amount and years of tea consumption increased (P-trend = 0.01 and P-trend < 0.01, respectively). For example, women who consumed ≥150 g tea/mo (∼2–3 cups/d) had a 21% reduced risk of digestive system cancers combined (HR: 0.79; 95% CI: 0.63, 0.99). The inverse association was found primarily for colorectal and stomach/esophageal cancers.

Conclusion: In this large prospective cohort study, tea consumption was associated with reduced risk of colorectal and stomach/esophageal cancers in Chinese women

 

Higher Levels Of Carotenoids May Be Linked To Lower Breast Cancer Risk.

WebMD (12/4, Boyles) reports, "A new study suggests that women with higher levels of carotenoids (nutrients found in fruits and vegetables) have a lower risk of breast cancer - especially cancers that are harder to treat and have a poorer prognosis."

HealthDay (12/7, Preidt) reports that investigators "analyzed data from thousands of women who took part in eight previous studies on carotenoid levels and breast cancer." The researchers "found a statistically significant association between higher levels of carotenoids and reduced breast cancer risk, especially so-called ER-negative breast cancers - tumors that aren't reliant on estrogen to fuel their growth." These "findings highlight carotenoid levels as one of the first modifiable risk factors to be identified for ER-negative breast cancers, the team said." The research was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

 

Critical role for reactive oxygen species in apoptosis induction and cell migration inhibition by diallyl trisulfide, a cancer chemopreventive component of garlic breast Cancer research and Treatments 2013 vol 138 issue 1 pp 69-79

Diallyl trisulfide (DATS) is a structurally simple but biologically active constituent of processed garlic with in vivo activity against chemically induced as well as oncogene-driven cancer in experimental rodents. This study offers novel insights into the mechanisms underlying anticancer effects of DATS using human breast cancer cells as a model. Exposure of human breast cancer cells (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231) and a cell line derived from spontaneously developing mammary tumor of a transgenic mouse (BRI-JM04) to DATS resulted in a dose-dependent inhibition of cell viability that was accompanied by apoptosis induction. A non-tumorigenic normal human mammary cell line (MCF-10A) was resistant to growth inhibition and apoptosis induction by DATS. The DATS-induced apoptosis in MDA-MB-231, MCF-7, and BRI-JM04 cells was associated with reactive oxygen species (ROS) production as evidenced by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry using a chemical probe (MitoSOX Red). Overexpression of Cu,Zn-superoxide dismutase (Cu,Zn-SOD) as well as Mn-SOD conferred significant protection against DATS-induced ROS production and apoptotic cell death in MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells. Activation of Bak, but not Bax, resulting from DATS treatment was markedly suppressed by overexpression of Mn-SOD. The DATS treatment caused ROS generation, but not activation of Bax or Bak, in MCF-10A cells. Furthermore, the DATS-mediated inhibition of cell migration was partially but significantly attenuated by Cu,Zn-SOD and Mn-SOD overexpression in association with changes in levels of proteins involved in epithelial–mesenchymal transition. The DATS-mediated induction of heme oxygenase-1 was partially attenuated by overexpression of Mn-SOD. These results provide novel mechanistic insights indicating a critical role for ROS in anticancer effects of DATS.

Long-Term Use Of Low-Dose Aspirin Linked To Lower Colon Cancer Risk In Women.

Reuters (7/16, Seaman) reports that, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, long-term use of low-dose aspirin may be linked to a lower risk of colon cancer in women.

        NBC News (7/16, Carroll) reports on its website, “The new report, based on data from the Women’s Health Study, followed more than 30,000 women, half of whom were randomized to take aspirin every other day, while the other half received placebo treatments.”

        On its website, CBS News (7/16, Castillo) reports that “after the study, researchers followed 33,682 participants through March 2012.” The investigators found that, “after 18 years, women in the aspirin group had a 20 percent lower colon cancer rate than those who were taking the placebo.” Participants “who continued to take aspirin on their own after the end of the trial had the lowest risk for colon cancer.”

        The CNN (7/16) “The Chart” blog reports, however, that “women taking aspirin were more likely to develop gastrointestinal bleeding and peptic ulcers.” Meanwhile, the data did not indicate that there were “any cardiovascular benefit to taking aspirin every other day, contrary to the preventative properties of aspirin against heart attack and stroke that have been found in many other studies.” Also covering the story are HealthDay (7/16, Doheny) and MedPage Today (7/16, Smith).

 

Wine May Help Breast Cancer Patients Boost Their Chances Of Survival.

The Daily Telegraph (UK) (11/7, Adams) reports that "those who drink a medium-sized (175ml) glass a day cut their chance of dying within a decade of [a breast cancer] diagnosis by a fifth - from 20 to 16 per cent, say Cambridge University doctors." Furthermore, the researchers found that drinking even half of that amount reduced the chance to 18%. The article adds, "Dr Paul Pharoah, from the university's department of public health and primary care, told The Times that their findings suggested women should not deny themselves the odd drink." Pharoah remarked, "What our study says is that it is reasonable, if you are diagnosed with breast cancer, to enjoy the occasional drink of alcohol."

Dr Pharoah was speaking at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Liverpool, where he was presenting results from a study conducted with the South Egypt Cancer Institute.

They looked at 13,525 women who had been diagnosed and treated for breast cancer, who they followed for up to 15 years.

Those who drank seven units a week cut the chance of dying from breast cancer in a decade from 20 to 18 per cent, and those who drank 14 units weekly reduced the chance to 16 per cent.

The study did not look at how drinking more than 14 units a week might affect a women’s chances of survival.

The study found there was a “slightly stronger” benefit for those women with oestrogen-receptor negative breast cancers. These tend to be more aggressive but only affect a minority of patients.

The benefit was a little weaker among women with oestrogen-receptor positive breast cancers, which account for about three-quarters of cases.

Researchers also looked at the link between weight - or more precisely body mass index (BMI) - and survival.

They found fatter women had slightly poorer survival rates than those who were thinner.

They warned that women who did opt to drink a little to combat their cancer should watch their weight as well

 

High Flavonoid Consumption May Benefit Patients Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer.

HealthDay (10/18, Mozes) reports, "Prostate cancer patients who, before their diagnosis, routinely consumed hefty helpings of the flavonoid compounds found in plant-based foods and drinks may be at lower risk for the most aggressive form of the disease," according to a study that was scheduled to be presented at the annual cancer prevention meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. The research, "involving about 1,900 patients newly diagnosed with prostate cancer, found that those whose diets included the highest amount of flavonoids were 25 percent less likely to have been diagnosed with the fastest-moving and harshest form of the disease compared to those who had been taking in the fewest flavonoids."

 

 

Metformin and reduced risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in diabetic patients: a meta-analysis; Zhang H, Gao C, Fang L, Zhao HC, Yao SK; Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology (Nov 2012): Scand J Gastroenterol

Abstract Objectives. Recent epidemiological studies suggest that metformin treatment may reduce the risks of cancer and overall cancer mortality among patients with diabetes mellitus (DM). However, data on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are very limited and inconsistent. This meta-analysis was designed to pool data currently available to determine the association between metformin use and HCC among diabetic patients. Methods. The Medline and Embase databases were searched to identify the relevant studies between January 1966 and December 2011. The overall analysis was derived using a random-effects meta-analysis model (DerSimonian and Laird method). Subgroup analysis was performed to explore the source of heterogeneity and validate the results from overall analysis. The Newcastle-Ottawa Quality assessment scales were adopted for quality assessment; Begg's funnel plot and Egger's regression asymmetry test were used to detect the publication bias. Results. A total of seven studies were identified, including three cohort studies and four case-control studies. Based on the available data, the overall prevalence of HCC was 3.40% (562/16,549) in DM patients. The overall analysis showed a significantly reduced risk of HCC in metformin users versus nonusers in diabetic patients (relative risk (RR) 0.24, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.13-0.46, p<0.001). Fifteen subgroup analyses were performed, and most of them (12/15 = 80%) provided supporting evidence for the results of overall analysis. Begg's (Z = -0.15, p = 0.8819) and Egger's test (t = -0.79, p = 0.468) showed no significant risk of having a publication bias. Conclusion. Metformin treatment was associated with reduced risk of HCC in diabetic patients. To clarify this relationship, more high-quality studies are required.

Aspirin’s Ability To Prevent Colon Cancer May Be Driven By Gene Mutation.

Bloomberg News (6/26, Ostrow) reports that research (6/26, 250K) published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that aspirin’s ability to prevent “colon cancer is driven by a gene mutation that makes tumor cells less sensitive to the drug’s effects.” Investigators found that “developing colon cancer with a mutation of the gene BRAF was similar for both regular aspirin users and non-users.” The study indicated that “regular aspirin users had a 27 percent reduced risk of developing cancer without the mutation compared with those who didn’t regularly” use the medication.

        HealthDay (6/26, Preidt) reports that “regular aspirin use after a diagnosis...of colorectal cancer did not improve patients’ survival.”

        Medscape (6/26, Lowry) reports, “In an accompanying editorial (6/26, 250K), Boris Pasche, MD, PhD, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a JAMA contributing editor, writes that the results of this study ‘are likely to help tailor the use of aspirin in the prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer,’” but “he points out that the population in this study is predominantly white and includes a large number of health professionals.” MedPage Today (6/26, Gever) also covers the story.

 

Study: Multivitamins May Lower Cancer Risk, Do Not Reduce Heart Disease In Men.

The AP (11/6, Marchione) reports on a study presented at the American Heart Association meeting and published online by the Journal of the American Medical Association finding that "multivitamins might help lower the risk for cancer in healthy older men but do not affect their chances of developing heart disease." Dr. Howard Sesso of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, who led the study, commented, "They're no substitute for a heart-healthy diet, exercising, not smoking, keeping your weight down." The study was based on data over 11 years from "nearly 15,000 healthy male doctors given monthly packets of Centrum Silver or fake multivitamins." The study found "no differences between the groups in heart attacks, strokes, chest pain, heart failure or heart-related deaths." It was funded by the National Institutes of Health

 

Genes Determine Aspirin's Effect On Colon Cancer.

HealthDay (10/25, Reinberg) reports that "for patients suffering from advanced colorectal cancer, aspirin may prolong their lives if their tumor has a certain gene mutation." HealthDay quotes lead researcher Dr. Shuji Ogino as saying, "Aspirin appears to work to increase survival of colorectal cancer patients if the tumor has PIK3CA mutation but does not work if the tumor does not have PIK3CA mutation." HealthDay notes, "About 20 percent of colorectal cancers have PIK3CA mutations," according the study, which "found that 97 percent of the patients with the mutation who were taking aspirin were alive five years after being diagnosed, compared with 74 percent of similar patients who weren't taking aspirin." However, aspirin "had no effect on prolonging life among patients who didn't have the PIK3CA gene mutation." The study was published in the Oct. 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

MedPage Today (10/25, Walsh) reports that "the investigators also conducted a number of exploratory analyses and found that aspirin use prior to the diagnosis of colorectal cancer had no influence on survival. They suggested that the lack of effect for aspirin pre-diagnosis may be explained by 'tumor evolution,' with 'interplay among inflammation, aspirin, and tumor molecular features' contributing to outcome." Researchers also "determined that aspirin's survival benefit was strongest among patients who had the PIK3CA mutation and were also PTGS2-positive." And although the numbers were small in that subanalysis and the results should be interpreted cautiously, "experimental evidence supports cross-talk between the PI3K and PTGS2 pathways,"

WebMD (10/25, Boyles) reports that in a commentary published with the study, Boris Pasche, MD, PhD, says "Even though aspirin was not found to improve survival in patients in the study without the specific tumor mutation,...it is too soon to say that aspirin therapy does not benefit these patients. More research is needed to figure this out. But we can hypothesize that patients with this mutation are more likely to benefit from aspirin therapy than those who don't have it."

 

High Vitamin E Intake May Protect Against Liver Cancer.

MedPage Today (7/18, Fiore) reports, "High vitamin E intake seemed to have a protective effect against liver cancer," according to a study published online July 17 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. In the 132,837-patient study, "among people ages 40-70, higher dietary intakes of the vitamin were associated with a significantly lower cancer risk (P=0.01 for trend), and taking vitamin E supplements almost cut the risk in half (HR 0.52, 95% CI 0.30 to 0.90)," researchers reported. MedPage Today adds, "The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Key State Project Specialized for Infectious Diseases of China."

Higher Antioxidant Intake May Be Linked To Reduced Pancreatic Cancer Risk.

Medscape (7/24, Hand) reports, "Higher intakes of the antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium could possibly cut the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 67%, according to a study published online [July 23] in Gut."

HealthDay (7/24) reports that investigators "tracked the long-term health of more than 23,500 people, aged 40 to 74, who entered the study between 1993 and 1997." The investigators "found that people with the highest dietary intake of selenium were half as likely to develop pancreatic cancer as those with the lowest intake." Participants "who consumed the highest dietary intake of three antioxidants -- selenium and vitamins C and E -- were 67 percent less likely to develop pancreatic cancer compared to those with the lowest intake."

The UK's Telegraph (7/24) reports, "If further studies prove that the antioxidants were causing the added protection, the finding could prevent one in 12 cases of pancreatic cancer, the researchers suggested." The UK's Press Association (7/24) also covers the story.

 

 

Statin use is associated with a reduction in the incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma: a case control study; Beales IL, Vardi I, Dearman L, Broughton T; Diseases of the Esophagus (Sep 2012)The incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) is increasing significantly throughout the developed world. As yet, there are no proven chemopreventive strategies. In laboratory studies, aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and statins have promising chemopreventive actions. Several observational studies support a protective effect of aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but there are only limited clinical data exploring the potential protective effect of statins. We conducted a case-control study examining aspirin and statin use in patients with EAC. Cancer cases were compared against age-sex-matched controls attending for diagnostic upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Risk factor and drug exposure were established using standardized interviews. Logistic regression was used to compare statin exposure and correct for confounding factors. A total of 112 cases and 448 controls were enrolled. Statin use was associated with a significantly lower incidence of EAC (odds ratio 0.52, 95% confidence interval 0.27-0.92). Aspirin use was also associated with apparent protection against EAC (odds ratio 0.68, 95% confidence interval 0.28-0.92), and a significantly greater effect was seen with the combination of statin plus aspirin (odds ratio 0.27, 95% confidence interval 0.05-0.67). There was a significant trend for greater risk reduction with longer duration and higher doses of statin use. Simvastatin comprised the majority of statin use, but similar effects were seen with simvastatin and non-simvastatin agents. In this observational study, patients regularly using statins or aspirin had a lower incidence of EAC. Statins may have clinically useful effects in preventing the development of EAC.

Caffeine Consumption Associated With Lower Risk For Basal Cell Carcinoma.

ABC World News (7/2, story 8, 0:25, Muir) reported that the "more coffee you drink, the less likely you are to get the most common type of skin cancer -- basal cell carcinoma."

For the study, published July 1 in the journal Cancer Research, "researchers analyzed data from the famous Nurses' Health Study on more than 112,000 people," the CNN (7/3, Wadas-Willingham) "Eatocracy" blog reports. "Investigators found the more someone drank caffeinated coffee, (more than two cups a day) the lower their risk of developing this form of cancer."

A MyHealthNewsDaily piece posted to the MSNBC (7/3, Azvolinsky) "Vitals" blog pointed out, "Women who drank more than three cups of coffee daily were 21 percent less likely to develop basal cell carcinoma, compared with women who drank less than one cup of caffeinated coffee per month, the study showed. For men, this risk reduction was 10 percent."

"The study also found that caffeinated tea, cola and chocolate also appears to reduce risk," HealthDay (7/3, Gray) reports. In other words, according to the study's lead author, "it's the caffeine that's most likely responsible for the beneficial effect."

WebMD (7/3, Rubin) points out that the investigators "did not find an association between caffeine intake and risk of squamous cell skin cancer, although animal studies have suggested such a link." However, "only 1,953 squamous cell cancers were diagnosed -- compared to 22,786 basal cell cancers -- so there might not have been enough cases to show a relationship to caffeine intake," the study's lead author explained. "With another 10 years of follow-up, though, he and his colleagues might observe a difference in squamous cell cancer risk between the highest and lowest levels of caffeine consumption," he said.

According to MedPage Today (7/3, Bankhead), "Laboratory studies have consistently shown that oral and topical caffeine prevents" squamous cell carcinoma "in mice exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light, the authors wrote in their introduction. Other preclinical studies have suggested a potential mechanistic explanation, as topical caffeine has been shown to induce apoptosis in UV-damaged keratinocytes in mice." Also covering the story is the CNN (7/3, Wadas-Willingham) "The Chart" blog in an entry identical to that of its "Eatocracy" blog.

Greater Coffee Consumption Associated With Lower Colon Cancer Risk.

A "Really?" feature posted to the New York Times (7/3, O'Connor) "Well" blog reports that recently, investigators "at the National Cancer Institute followed half a million Americans over 15 years. The researchers looked in detail at their diets, habits and health, and found that people who drank four or more cups of coffee a day -- regular or decaf -- had a 15 percent lower risk of colon cancer compared with coffee abstainers." While the study authors "could not prove cause and effect, they did find that the link was dose-responsive: Greater coffee consumption was correlated with a lower colon cancer risk." The study appeared June 13 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

 

Aspirin May Be Linked To Reduced Risk Of Prostate Cancer Mortality.

The New York Times (8/28, D5, Rabin, Subscription Publication) reports, "Men treated for prostate cancer who took aspirin regularly for other medical conditions were less likely to die of their cancer than patients who weren't taking aspirin, according to a new study published on Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology." Investigators "used the national database of a project known as CaPSURE, for Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor, to look at nearly 6,000 men who had localized prostate cancer and were treated with surgery or radiotherapy." The researchers found that "those taking aspirin were less than half as likely as those who were not to die of prostate cancer over a 10-year period, researchers calculated; the prostate cancer death rate for those taking aspirin was 3 percent, the researchers found, compared with 8 percent for those who did not."

NSAIDs May Not Be Linked To Breast Cancer Risk. Reuters (8/28, Pittman) reports that, according to a study published online Aug. 27 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may not be linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer.

HealthDay (8/28, Mozes) reports, "Between 1980 and 2008," researchers "tracked nearly 85,000 postmenopausal women, all of whom were working as registered nurses when the study first launched." During "the course of three decades, more than 4,700 of the women developed some form of invasive breast cancer." The investigators "found that neither regular aspirin nor other NSAIDs had any significant impact on overall breast cancer risk, regardless of how much they were used."

 

Loosing weight reduces bst cancer risk

The Los Angeles Times (5/22, Healy) "Booster Shots" blog reports that "losing as little as 5% of one's body weight -- 10 pounds for a 200-pound woman -- drives down levels of estrogen and other hormones that raise breast cancer risk," according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Researchers found that "the more weight a woman lost, the greater the reduction in hormones linked to breast cancer risk." Although "many studies have linked obesity to breast cancer, this is the first to show that losing weight will drive down that risk."

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer (5/22, Dawson) reports, "The women with the best outcome ate more fruits, vegetables and fiber, reduced fat intake and added regular exercise into their lives. After losing the weight, the women's estrogen levels were up to 25 percent lower and testosterone levels were 15.6 percent lower."

On its website, ABC News (5/22) reports, "Dr. Anne McTiernan, director of the Prevention Center at Fred Hutchinson in Seattle, Wash., and author of the study, said that postmenopausal women who reduce their weight moderately through diet and exercise can lower the amount of these hormones circulating through their bodies, which can in turn decrease their risk of developing breast cancer."

HealthDay (5/22, Dotinga) reports that, according to Dr. McTiernan, "Weight loss represents an additional option for long-term breast cancer risk reduction without significant or bothersome side effects."

 

Exposure To Ultraviolet Radiation May Lower Pancreatic Cancer Risk.

MSNBC /MyHealthNewsDaily (6/20, Rowan) reports, "Exposure to ultraviolet radiation may lower the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, according to a new study from Australia." Investigators "interviewed 704 people with pancreatic cancer and 713 people without the disease." The "researchers...found that those born in areas with the highest levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation were 24 percent less likely to have pancreatic cancer, compared with those born in areas with the lowest UV levels."

MedPage Today (6/20, Bankhead) reports that the researchers also found that "the risk of pancreatic cancer spanned the spectrum of skin types. However, participants with the most sun-sensitive skin had almost a 50% lower risk of pancreatic cancer than those with the least sun sensitivity (OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.36 to 0.73)." Additionally, the investigators reported that "a history of skin cancer conferred a 40% lower risk of pancreatic cancer, as compared with individuals who had no history of treated skin lesions (OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.48 to 0.75)."

HealthDay (6/20, Salamon) reports, however, that "US cancer experts cautioned against making any lifestyle changes -- including tanning or altering vitamin D intake -- in response to the study, which is preliminary and does not prove these factors can prevent pancreatic cancer." The study was "scheduled to be presented Tuesday at an American Association for Cancer Research conference."

 

Coffee Consumption May Be Linked To Reduced Mortality Risk.

NBC Nightly News (5/16, story 11, 0:20, Williams) reported that a new study suggests that "coffee drinkers are slightly more likely to live longer than non-coffee" drinkers.

The Los Angeles Times (5/17) reports that for the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, "the National Cancer Institute researchers turned to data on 402,260 adults who were between the ages of 50 and 71 when they joined the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study in 1995 and 1996. The volunteers were followed through December 2008 or until they died -- whichever came first." The researchers found that, "compared with men who didn't drink any coffee at all, those who drank just one cup per day had a 6% lower risk of death during the course of the study; those who drank two to three cups per day had a 10% lower risk, and those who had four to five cups had a 12% lower risk."

The Wall Street Journal (5/17, Mathews) "Health Blog" reports that Neal D. Freedman, a National Cancer Institute researcher and the study's lead author, said, "It offers some reassurance for coffee drinkers," but "we shouldn't say coffee is a fountain of youth or anything like that."

The New York Times (5/17, Parker-Pope) "Well" blog reports that according to Freedman, "the biggest concern for a long time has been that drinking coffee is a risky thing to do. Our results, and some of those of more recent studies, provide reassurance for coffee drinkers that this isn't the case." Individuals "who are regularly drinking coffee have a similar risk of death as nondrinkers, and there might be a modest benefit."

USA Today (5/17, Szabo) reports, "Coffee drinkers also were a little less likely to die from specific causes: heart disease, respiratory problems, strokes, injuries and accidents, diabetes and infections."

The AP (5/17) reports, "About two-thirds of study participants drank regular coffee, and the rest, decaf. The type of coffee made no difference in the results."

Bloomberg News (5/17, Ostrow) reports that "coffee wasn't associated with a lower risk of dying from cancer in women. In men who drank the most coffee, there was a slightly higher chance of dying from cancer, the research reported."

 

 

Coffee drinkers better mortality

Association of coffee drinking with total and cause-specific mortality. Freedman ND, Park Y, Abnet CC, Hollenbeck AR, Sinha RN Engl J Med. 2012 May 17;366(20):1891-904.

During 5,148,760 person-years of follow-up between 1995 and 2008, a total of 33,731 men and 18,784 women died. In age-adjusted models, the risk of death was increased among coffee drinkers. However, coffee drinkers were also more likely to smoke, and, after adjustment for tobacco-smoking status and other potential confounders, there was a significant inverse association between coffee consumption and mortality. Adjusted hazard ratios for death among men who drank coffee as compared with those who did not were as follows: 0.99 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.95 to 1.04) for drinking less than 1 cup per day, 0.94 (95% CI, 0.90 to 0.99) for 1 cup, 0.90 (95% CI, 0.86 to 0.93) for 2 or 3 cups, 0.88 (95% CI, 0.84 to 0.93) for 4 or 5 cups, and 0.90 (95% CI, 0.85 to 0.96) for 6 or more cups of coffee per day (P<0.001 for trend); the respective hazard ratios among women were 1.01 (95% CI, 0.96 to 1.07), 0.95 (95% CI, 0.90 to 1.01), 0.87 (95% CI, 0.83 to 0.92), 0.84 (95% CI, 0.79 to 0.90), and 0.85 (95% CI, 0.78 to 0.93) (P<0.001 for trend). Inverse associations were observed for deaths due to heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections, but not for deaths due to cancer. Results were similar in subgroups, including persons who had never smoked and persons who reported very good to excellent health at baseline.In this large prospective study, coffee consumption was inversely associated with total and cause-specific mortality. Whether this was a causal or associational finding cannot be determined from our data. (Funded by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.).

 

Study: NSAIDs May Reduce Risk For Certain Skin Cancers.

In continuing coverage, ABC World News (5/29, story 3, 1:40, Sawyer) reported, "A big new study out today says common pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen can cut the risk of skin cancer, including melanoma."

On NBC Nightly News (5/29, story 8, 0:45, Williams), chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman, MD, explained, "In a Danish study published" online May 29 "in 'Cancer,' over 18,000 people who took these drugs for several years had decreased cancer rates of malignant melanoma."

Investigators found that people taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) "were less likely to develop skin cancer -- including squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma -- especially when they took the drugs for at least seven years or used them at least twice a week," the Time (5/30, Park) "Healthland" blog reports.

HealthDay (5/30, Mozes) points out, however, that "the same dynamic was generally not seen with regards to basal cell carcinoma." However, "taking NSAIDs for long periods of time, and at relatively high doses, was associated with a reduced risk (between 15 and 21 percent), specifically for basal cell cases that manifested in skin regions that typically experience relatively little sun exposure (areas other than the neck or head)."

Acetaminophen Use Also Linked To Reduction In Certain Skin Cancers. Focusing not just on NSAIDs, the Los Angeles Times (5/30, Mestel) "Booster Shots" blog explains that "acetaminophen use was also linked" by the study "to a reduction in basal cell carcinomas and malignant melanoma use. If the cancer-protection effect is not (or not only) caused by inhibiting Cox-1 and Cox-2, that would" fit with the theory that "cancer reduction could be linked to...suppression of Cox-enzyme activity."

 

Regular Fish Consumption May Be Linked To Reduced Risk Of Colon, Rectal Cancer.

Reuters (5/11, Narayanan) reports that, according to a study published online April 18 in the American Journal of Medicine, regular fish consumption may be linked to a reduced risk of colon and rectal cancer. Investigators came to this conclusion after looking at data from 41 different studies.

 

 

Substances In Red Wine May Act As Aromatase Inhibitors.

The Los Angeles Times (1/7, Healy) "Booster Shots" blog reported, "In a study suggesting that red wine might be the next big thing in breast cancer prevention, a study has found that women who drank just under two servings of red wine daily experienced hormonal changes that mimic the effects of a drug used to prevent malignant breast tumors from coming back." The research, "published Friday in the Journal of Women's Health, found that consuming the same amount of white wine did not have the same effect in premenopausal women participating in the study."

        MedPage Today (1/7, Smith) reported that the "study...suggests that substances in red wine act as aromatase inhibitors, compounds that are used to treat breast cancer in post-menopausal women, according to" the researchers

 

Whole Grain Consumption May Be Linked To Reduced Colorectal Cancer Risk.

MedPage Today (11/11, Gever) reports, "Individuals eating three daily servings of whole grains had a significantly, though modestly, lower risk of colorectal cancer, according to pooled data from nearly 800,000 individuals -- perhaps the largest and strongest analysis ever conducted." Researchers found that "a 90-gram per day increase in dietary fiber from whole grains -- the amount a person would consume from three servings -- was associated with a risk reduction of 17% (95% CI 11% to 22%) for colorectal cancer." The study, published online in BMJ, "also found that 'high' versus 'low' intake of total dietary fiber was associated with a significant reduction in risk (12%, 95% CI 6% to 18%)."

        The UK's Telegraph (11/11, Adams) points out that "bowel cancer kills about 16,000 people in Britain a year, more than breast or prostate cancer."

Aspirin May Potentially Help Prevent Cervical Cancer In Women With HIV.

The New York Times (2/21, D6, McNeil, Subscription Publication) reports, "Aspirin should be evaluated for its potential to prevent cervical cancer in women infected with H.I.V., say scientists who recently reported a connection between the virus and inflammation of cervical tissue." The research, "published last month in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, found that the virus that causes AIDS also drives up production of a prostaglandin called PGE2 in cervical tissue." The researchers "suggested that a large study be carried out to see if low-dose aspirin could prevent cervical cancer in women at high risk of getting it."


Two Forms Of Vitamin E May Have Cancer-Fighting Properties.

The Huffington Post (4/29) reported that "a new study in the journal Cancer Prevention Research shows that two forms of vitamin E -- found in corn, soybean and canola oils -- may have cancer-fighting properties." Researchers "fed animals the vitamin E form that is found in the vegetable oils, and found that the gamma and delta-tocopherol forms of vitamin E worked to stop cancer from developing and growing."

 

Fair-Skinned People May Require Vitamin D Supplements.

BBC News (10/4, Roberts) reports, "Fair-skinned people who are prone to sunburn may need to take supplements to ensure they get enough vitamin D," according to research (pdf) published in Cancer Causes and Control. The study of 1,200 people revealed that "those with pale skin, while not deficient, may still be lacking in the essential vitamin that the body makes from sunlight," and that "even with a lot of sun exposure, those with fair skin may not be able to make enough vitamin D."

        The study "suggests the optimal amount of vitamin D required by the body is at least 60nmol/L," the UK's Telegraph (10/4) reports. "In the new study, people with fair skin did not, on average, reach 60nmol/L unless they were taking supplements." In addition, the investigators "found that patients with melanoma skin cancer may need vitamin D supplements."

 

Research Suggests Statins May One Day Be Used To Fight Breast Cancer.

HealthDay (1/20, Mann) reports, "Amid hints that statins...might also play a role in preventing or treating certain types of cancer, new research" published in the journal Cell "sheds some light on how these drugs may help stop breast cancer in its tracks among certain women." According to HealthDay, "the p53 tumor suppressor gene stops the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells, but some women with breast cancer have mutant forms of this gene." Researchers "in the new study" found that "when the mutant p53 cells were treated in the laboratory with statins, the cells stopped their erratic growth, and even died in some cases."

        According to the UK's Press Association (1/20), "Study leader Dr Carol Prives, from Columbia University in New York, said: 'The data raises the possibility that we might identify subsets of patients whose tumours may respond to statins.'"

        The UK's Telegraph (1/20, Adams) points out that "Seperate studies have indicated statins could help fight cancer." For instance, research "published in the journal Cancer" in 2011 "indicated that men taking them might be 30 per cent less likely to see prostate cancer return after surgery."

 

Coffee Consumption May Be Linked To Reduced Risk Of Endometrial Cancer.

The Los Angeles Times (11/23, Stein) "Booster Shots" blog reports that research published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention suggests that "drinking four or more cups of caffeinated coffee may protect against endometrial cancer."

        Reuters (11/23) reports that for the study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, investigators analyzed data on approximately 67,000 women.

        Time (11/23, Park) reports in "Healthland" that the researchers found "that women who drank four or more cups of coffee a day over 26 years had a 25% lower risk of endometrial cancer, compared with those consuming less than a cup a day." Meanwhile, "women who drank two or three cups a day had a 7% lower risk."

        CNN /Health.com (11/23, Gardner) reports, "Although the study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, doesn't prove that drinking coffee was directly responsible for reducing cancer risk, the researchers say a cause-and-effect relationship is plausible."

        WebMD (11/23, Doheny) reports that the study also found that "the link between four or more cups of coffee and reduced risk of endometrial cancer was...stronger" among "past or current smokers."

        HealthDay (11/23, Mozes) reports, "Drinking fewer than four cups a day did not appear to offer any preventative benefit, however. Nor did drinking tea." Also covering the story are the UK's Press Association (11/23) and Medscape (11/23, Hitt, Subscription Publication).

 

Long-Term NSAID Use May Reduce Colorectal-Cancer-Specific Mortality.

Medscape (10/28, Nelson) reports, "Randomized trials have shown that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce precancerous polyps, but a new study suggests that long-term use can reduce colorectal-cancer-specific mortality." Investigators found that "postmenopausal women who participated in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) and who used NSAIDs for an extended period of time had a lower risk for death from colorectal cancer than those who did not use NSAIDs at enrollment." The findings "of this analysis were presented during a poster session...at the Tenth Annual American Association for Cancer Research International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research."

Slow Walking May Relate To Risk For Post-Surgery Complications, Disability.

HealthDay (10/28, Dallas) reports, "Older people who walk more slowly than their peers may be at greater risk for complications and disability following surgery, according to a new study" presented at the 2011 Annual Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons. The study included nearly 200 older patients who were having either cardiac or colorectal surgery. All participants took a brief walking test that was timed. Among those undergoing heart surgery, just "13 percent of" those classified as "fast walkers had more than one complication following surgery, compared with 37 percent of the slow group." The researchers also found that "nearly 60 percent of slow walkers who had a colorectal operation needed institutional care after surgery, compared with 5 percent of the fast group."

 

Aspirin May Reduce Colon Cancer Risk In Patients With Lynch Syndrome.

NBC Nightly News (10/27, lead story, 2:40, Williams) reported that research suggest that aspirin may help reduce the risk for colon cancer in individuals with a specific genetic mutation.

        USA Today (10/28, Hellmich) reports, "Observational studies have shown that aspirin lowers the risk of developing colorectal cancer, but this is the first randomized controlled trial to find the effect." Investigators "from the Universities of Newcastle and Leeds in England followed almost 1,000 patients from 43 medical centers in 16 countries." Participants "all had Lynch syndrome, a genetic condition that predisposes people to develop colorectal cancer and other types of cancer."

        The Los Angeles Times (10/28, Brown) "Booster Shots" blog reports, "Some of the patients took two 600 mg aspirins every day, others took a placebo."

        Bloomberg News (10/28, Kitamura) reports, "People who took" aspirin "for at least two years had a 63 percent lower rate of colorectal cancer than those who took a placebo."

        The AP (10/28) points out that "rates of side effects like bleeding and ulcers in the stomach were similar in both groups." The research is published in the Lancet.

        MedPage Today (10/28, Gever) reports, "For participants who took aspirin for less than two years there was no apparent benefit (HR 1.07, 95% CI 0.47 to 2.41) relative to placebo." HealthDay (10/28, Gardner) also covers the story.

 

Aspirin and breast cancer
Animal and in vitro studies suggest that the use of aspirin may be associated with reduced risk for breast cancer, but results from these studies of the association have been inconsistent. The objective of this meta-analysis was to quantitatively summarize the current evidence for such a relationship. We searched MEDLINE for studies of aspirin use and breast cancer risk that were published in any language, from January 1, 1966, to July 1, 2011. A total of 33 studies (19 cohort studies, 13 case–control studies, and 1 randomized controlled trial [RCT]) that included 1,916,448 subjects were identified. We pooled the relative risks from individual studies using a random-effects model, heterogeneity, and publication bias analyses. In a pooled analysis of all studies, aspirin use was associated with reduced risk for breast cancer (odds ratio [OR] = 0.86, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.81, 0.92). In the subgroup analysis by study design, results were similar except for RCT (OR = 0.98, 95% CI = 0.87, 1.09). In conclusion, this meta-analysis indicated that regular use of aspirin may be associated with reduced risk of breast cancer. More RCT were needed to confirm this association in the future.
Lou et al 2012Breast Cancer Research and Treatment Volume 131, Number 2, 581-587, DOI: 10.1007/s10549-011-1747-0

 

Drinking Coffee Associated With Decreased BCC Risk.

The Los Angeles Times (10/25, Brown) reports that according to research presented yesterday at the American Association for Cancer Research International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, "drinking coffee was associated with decreased risk of a common and slow-growing form of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma (BCC)." After "examining data from the Nurses' Health Study, which followed 72,921 people between 1984 and 2008, and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which followed 39,976 people between 1986 and 2008," researchers found that "women who drank more than three cups of coffee had a 20% reduction in risk for basal cell carcinoma."

        "Men who drank more than three cups of coffee benefited from a 9% reduction in risk of this type of skin cancer," WebMD (10/25, Warner) reports. However, "drinking decaffeinated coffee did not have any effect on skin cancer risk, which leads researchers to suspect caffeine is the key ingredient." Researchers are now "also looking into whether caffeine should be added to sunscreen to increase its effectiveness against skin cancer."

        HealthDay (10/25, Reinberg) noted, "The amount of caffeine consumption was inversely associated with risk," the study's lead author pointed out, "meaning the more coffee consumed, the lower the risk of skin cancer." Still, "the study could not prove cause-and-effect...and at this point the finding remains an association only."

 

Exercise May Reduce Cancer Risk Through Influencing Hormones, Inflammation.

In continuing coverage, ABC World News (10/3, story 6, 1:50, Sawyer) reports, "Physical activity has previously been linked with a lower risk of breast and colon cancer, but now scientists are beginning to understand why. For starters, the more fat cells you have in your body, the more insulin and estrogen which can both help cancer cells grow." In addition, exercise may "reduce stress and inflammation, both of which can help cancer cells grow. A study of 4,000 women found those with the highest level of physical activity had half the risk of dying compared to those without exercise."

 

Celecoxib May Curb Colon Cancer, But Increase Risk Of Heart Problems.

Reuters (5/12, McCook) reports that, according to a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, patients taking the pain medication Celebrex (celecoxib) over a three-year period were less likely to develop polyps that could lead to colorectal cancer, but at the expense of a higher risk of cardiovascular problems. For the study, 1,561 patients with diagnosed colorectal adenomas removed within three months of the study's initiation were assessed after three years on the drug followed by two years off the treatment. New polyps were found in 58 percent of the patients on placebo, compared to 51 percent on celecoxib. However, celecoxib users were more likely to develop heart problems, including a 66-percent greater risk of serious cardiac disorders.

 

Daily NSAID Use May Lower Colon, Rectal Cancer Risk.

Reuters (4/8, Grens) reported that people who use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) painkillers regularly, may have a 50% reduced risk of developing colon or rectal cancer, according to a study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. The researchers reviewed survey data from 300,000 adults, who indicated how often they took any of 19 NSAIDs. They found that daily NSAID use was associated with a 28% decreased risk of colon cancer risk, while monthly NSAID use was linked to a 14% reduced risk. Among people with immediate family members diagnosed with colon cancer, daily NSAID users had a 28% reduced risk of colon or rectal cancer, and there was an 11% risk among weekly NSAID users.

 

Aspirin reduces the risk of developing precancerous colorectal polyps: The Washington Post
Additional coverage of a JNCI study finding that prolonged use of low-dose aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduces the risk of precancerous colorectal polyps in people at high risk for the disease.  The article notes that study participants who took aspirin more than four days a week were 17 percent less likely to develop colorectal polyps than people who took aspirin less than two days a week, and were 28 percent less likely to develop polyps compared with those who did not take aspirin.
Article: The Washington Post

 

Marriage May Be Linked To Increased Survival Among Colon Cancer Patients.

HealthDay (6/23, Preidt) reported that "being married improves the likelihood of survival for colon cancer patients," according to a study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology. Investigators "analyzed 127,753 patient records." They found that "married men and women with colon cancer were 14 percent less likely to die than other colon cancer patients."

Long-Term Use Of Daily Aspirin May Prevent Melanoma.

An aspirin a day may keep melanoma at bay," according to a new study. "After scrutinizing the medical records of 1,000 people, an international team of researchers have determined that the risk of melanoma was cut by almost half when people took a daily dose of aspirin for at least five years." Interestingly, "there was also a hint that other NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (marketed as Advil and Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve), might reduce melanoma risk if taken regularly over a long period of time."

Research Suggests Folate May Lower Colorectal Cancer Risk.

In "The Checkup" blog, the Washington Post (7/7, Huget) reported new research published in the July issue of Gastroenterology "suggests that consuming folate in any form may reduce risk of colorectal cancer." The same "research also finds that folic acid - the man-made form of this vitamin that's used to fortify foods and in dietary supplements - does not, as had been worried, increase risk of developing that cancer." The Post added that the study "analyzed data for 99,523 participants in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort," 1,023 of which "were diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 1999 and 2007."

 

Certain Allergies May Reduce Risk Of Skin, Breast Cancers.

Bloomberg News (7/11, Mead) reports that a study in BMJ Open suggests that "people with adverse reactions to common metals and chemicals were less likely to get skin and breast cancers," a result that "backs up a theory known as immunosurveillance hypothesis, which says people with allergies have immune systems that are more vigilant at patrolling the body and eliminating transformed cells, reducing the risk of cancer." However, "the scientists also observed a higher incidence of bladder cancer in those with allergies, possibly because more chemical remains accumulated in their blood."

 

Study Links Low Daily Dose Of Aspirin To Reduced Bowel Cancer.

Bloomberg News (9/16, von Schaper) reports that a study in the medical journal Gut found that "people who take even a very low dose of aspirin every day for five years can cut the risk of developing colon cancer by almost a third." According to researchers, "as little as 75 milligrams of aspirin a day...lowered the risk of colon cancer by 22 percent after just a year." While it was already know that aspirin can protect the colon, the "study showed for the first time that a low dose of aspirin is sufficient to ward off cancer, and that the drug needs to be taken for at least five years to get the full benefit."

        According to MedPage Today (9/15, Walsh), "Aspirin has not as yet been recommended for primary chemoprevention of colorectal cancer...because of unanswered questions on dose, duration, and effects on survival." WebMD (9/15, Hendrick), the UK's Press Association (9/15) also covered this study.

 

History of migraine may be linked to reduced risk of breast cancer, study suggests.

Medscape (7/30, Gandey) reported that, according to a study published in the July issue of Cancer Epidemiology: Biomarkers & Prevention, "Women with a history of migraine had a 26 percent reduced risk for breast cancer." For the study, researchers examined "more than 4,500 cases and another 4,500 controls" from the Women's Contraceptive and Reproductive Experiences Study, which included women aged 35 to 64 who "had been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer." Their analysis revealed that the reduced risk for breast cancer "did not differ by menopausal status, age at migraine diagnosis, or use of prescription medications." In fact, "the risk was the same even when researchers restricted the analysis to women who avoided various migraine triggers, such as alcohol, exogenous hormones, and smoking." The researchers noted, however, that "it is also possible that medications used to treat or prevent migraine, rather than the occurrence of migraines, may be responsible for the reductions in risk."

 

Statins May Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk.

Reuters (6/1, Pittman) reported that taking cholesterol-lowering statins are less likely to develop prostate cancer than many not on the medication, according to a study in the Journal of Urology. Researchers reviewed medical data on more than 4,000 men who had a biopsy to test for prostate cancer between 2000 and 2007. About 1,000 of the men were taking statins, and after their biopsies, 55 percent of them were diagnosed with prostate cancer compared to 58 percent of the 3,000 who were not taking statins.

 

Vegetables may alter cancer genes: Reuters
This article reports on research published in the journal PLoS One finding that men with pre-cancerous prostate lesions who eat extra servings of broccoli each week for a year have hundreds of positive genetic changes, including alterations that activate genes known to fight cancer and switch off genes known to contribute to tumors.  The article notes that researchers did not track men long enough to see who developed cancer, but that men with a gene called GSTM1 had the most genetic changes.  Article: Reuters

 

Experts Provide Caveat To Sunscreen-Melanoma Study Findings.

Medscape (5/4, Mulcahy, Subscription Publication) reported, "In the past year, sunscreen was shown -- for the first time -- to prevent melanoma in one of the only randomized controlled trials ever conducted on this subject." However, "there is a caveat about the results that has important public health implications and was not highlighted in the original study, according to a letter published online April 4 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology." People who participated in the trial were middle-aged Australians whose sun exposure occurred during the course of their daily activities. In other words, their sun exposure was incidental, not intentional, as would be the sun exposure of dedicated beachgoers. Therefore, the authors of the letter say that "white people in other parts of the world should not interpret the study results as a 'green light' to tan on the beach."

 

Consumer Group Says Chemical Dyes Used For Food Coloring Should Be Banned.

WebMD (6/29, DeNoon) reported that "chemical dyes used for food coloring carry serious health risks and should be banned, says a new report from a consumer group," the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). CSPI "notes that none of the nine artificial food dyes approved for US use have been proven safe." CSPI also "points to animal studies suggesting that the dyes -- and other chemicals bound to them -- can cause cancer."

 

Drinking wine with lower alcohol content may reduce the risk of some cancers.

BBC News (1/18) reported that drinking "wine with an alcohol content of 10 percent rather than 14 percent might" lower the risk of some cancers, according to research conducted by the World Cancer Research Fund. An analysis of "figures in a 2007 report which looked at the evidence for a link between alcohol consumption and cancer" revealed "the likely extra risk posed by each extra 10 grams of alcohol...regularly consumed."

        The UK's Telegraph (1/18, Smith) reported that people who switch "from a 14 percent wine to a 10 percent wine" could "reduce their risk of developing bowel cancer or breast cancer by seven percent." In fact, researchers found that "for every 100 people who switched, five would develop bowel cancer at some point in their lives, instead of six."

        The UK's Daily Mail (1/18, Hope) reported, "As well as cutting" the number of bowel cancer diagnoses, "switching to a lower-alcohol wine would reduce breast cancer, liver cancer, oesophageal cancer, and cancers of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx." The study showed that "the reduction in risk for each type of these cancers is similar to that for bowel cancer."

        The UK's Press Association (1/18) reported that Dr. Rachel Thompson, science program manager at the charity, said, "If you drink quite a lot at the moment, the best advice is to reduce the number of drinks you have." The World Cancer Research Fund recommends that men "should limit consumption to two drinks a day...and one for a woman," the UK's Independent (1/18, Laurance) reported.

 

More Vitamin D Intake May Be Needed To Cut Cancer Risk.

HealthDay (2/27, Dotinga) reported that it "takes far more vitamin D than initially thought to dramatically cut the risk of several major diseases, including breast cancer," according to a study in the in the journal Anticancer Research. The study was based on a survey of "several thousand people who took supplements ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 IU per day. ... 'We found that daily intakes of vitamin D by adults in the range of 4,000-8,000 IU are needed to maintain blood levels of vitamin D metabolites in the range needed to reduce by about half the risk of several diseases -- breast cancer, colon cancer, multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes,'" said study co-author Dr. Cedric Garland from the University of California in a news release. The Institute of Medicine's recommended daily level is only "600 IU."

 

 

Cost-Effectiveness of Aspirin, Celecoxib, and Calcium Chemoprevention for Colorectal Cancer

Studies have indicated that aspirin chemoprevention may be effective in preventing colorectal cancer within the general population, and aspirin, celecoxib, and calcium may be effective in preventing adenomas within those people who have previously undergone polypectomy.  Celecoxib chemoprevention is unlikely to be considered to be cost-effective. Calcium chemoprevention is likely to be a cost-effective option for individuals who have undergone polypectomy. Further research is required to assess the long-term benefits and harms of calcium compared with aspirin chemoprevention. Chemoprevention appears less economically attractive within the general population.

 

Antioxidants in wine may help ward off radiation-linked skin toxicity in breast cancer patients, research suggests.

HealthDay (8/14, Mundell) reported that, according to a study published in the August issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics, "a glass of wine a day" may "cut the risk of treatment-linked skin toxicity by two-thirds in women undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer." To see "if the natural antioxidants found in wine might work to ward off radiation-linked damage," researchers from Catholic University and the National Research Council in Italy divided "348 women with breast cancer...into three groups, depending on the dose of radiation received." The team found that "patients who drank wine on the days they had their treatment had lower rates of Grade 2, or higher acute toxicity, than those who did not. In fact, women who drank one glass of wine a day had a 13.6 percent rate of skin toxicity compared to a 38.4 percent incidence among patients who did not consume wine," the authors said

 

Green tea may help reduce levels of some compounds associated with prostate cancer progression, investigators say.

Following a BBC News story, Shari Roan pointed out in the Los Angeles Times (6/22) Booster Shots blog that "men with prostate cancer might want to include green tea with their meals," because Louisiana State University researchers have found that it may actually "reduce the levels of some compounds linked to prostate cancer progression." Through their study of 26 prostate patients, who were given "a concentrated extract of tea polyphenols for an average of 34 days," the team was able to see "a significant reduction in the levels of several growth factors that promote cancer as well as reductions in prostate specific antigen." In fact, "some men had reductions in growth factors of up to 30 percent." But, according to the paper detailed Cancer Prevention Research, "the response varied among the men for reasons that researchers don't yet understand."

New study to test effect vitamin D, fish oil may have on cancer, heart disease, stroke.

The AP (6/23, Marchione) reports that in a "$20 million study" that "will be sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and other federal agencies," both vitamin D and fish oil "will be tested...to see whether either nutrient can lower a healthy person's risk of getting cancer, heart disease, or having a stroke." The study will also "be one of the first big nutrition studies ever to target a specific racial group -- blacks, who will comprise one quarter of the participants." The study, which starts "later this year, will enroll 20,000 people with no history of heart attacks, stroke or a major cancer -- women 65 or older and men 60 or older," who "will be randomly assigned to take vitamin D, fish oil, both nutrients, or dummy pills for five years." Participants will receive a "daily dose of vitamin D" that "will be about 2,000 international units of D-3," and a "daily dose" of approximately one gram of fish oil, an amount "five to 10 times what the average American gets."

        According to the Boston Globe (6/23, Cooney), "The researchers believe higher rates of cancer, heart disease, and stroke among blacks, compared with whites, might be related to dark skin's lower ability to make vitamin D from absorbing sunlight, and they want to establish whether taking vitamin D supplements could reduce or eliminate these disparities." In addition, the researchers hope to establish the safety and efficacy of taking large doses of fish oil. In the past, "vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene, folic acid, selenium, and other supplements have looked promising for disease prevention, but their benefits have not been borne out in large trials, and some risk has been found with high levels." The new study will start recruiting participants in January. More details can be found on the study's website.

 

Coffee May Prevent Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer.

AFP (8/16, Sheridan) reports that according to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, "moderate caffeine drinking, or perhaps even applying coffee to the skin, could be useful in warding off non-melanoma cancer." Researchers found that mice with suppressed levels of ATR enzyme were able to ward off UV-induced skin cancer longer than normal mice, and also showed that "caffeine -- when consumed or applied to the skin -- works by inhibiting ATR." Researchers called for the study to be extended to humans.

        The UK's Daily Mail (8/16) reports, "Despite their results, the researchers say that people shouldn't start consuming vast amounts of tea or coffee just so that they can lie out in the sun. But they say their finding could be used to create a caffeine-based sun cream. As an added bonus, caffeine absorbs UV light -- stopping it from damaging and wrinkling the skin." The Voice of America (8/16) also covers the story.

 

The health impact of coffee: The New York Times   
This article
discusses  myths and scientific research on the health impact of coffee consumption.  The article cites multiple studies suggesting that coffee consumption does not increase the risk of developing cancer and that coffee drinkers may actually have a 50 percent decreased risk of developing liver cancer. Article: The New York Times 

 

GENERAL LIFESTYLE ISSUES

Nearly Half Of Breast Cancer Cases Could Be Prevented By Healthy Lifestyles.

The UK's Telegraph (5/6, Beckford) reported that as "many as 20,000 British women could avoid developing" breast cancer "each year, if they took more exercise, drank less and ate better." Latest figures "suggest that 47,600 women developed breast cancer in 2008," and the World Cancer Research Fund estimates that estimates that "42 per cent of these cases...would be preventable if women developed healthier lifestyles." The WCRF's "10 Recommendations for Cancer Prevention include being 'as lean as possible without becoming underweight'; keeping fit; limiting consumption of fatty, salty and sugary food and drink; eating fruit, vegetables and pulses; eating less red meat and processed meat; drinking less and choosing a balanced diet rather than vitamin supplements.

 

Study Suggests Spirituality May Boost Ovarian Cancer Outcomes.

MedPage Today (3/11, Petrochko) reports, "Ovarian cancer patients who reported high levels of spirituality presurgery had better outcomes for stress and depression [P<0.001], as well as factors known to regulate tumor angiogenesis and inflammation," according to data presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology in Los Angeles. "These same patients also had significantly lower levels of IL-6, both in peripheral blood (P=0.001) and in ascites (P=0.013) after adjusting for stress and depression," Premal Thaker, MD, of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, reported at the meeting

 

Breastfeeding May Lower Receptor-Negative Breast Cancer Risk.

The Los Angeles Times (8/17, Healy) "Booster Shots" blog reports a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention showing "that African American women who had given birth to more children were more likely to develop estrogen or progesterone-negative" breast "cancer than their peers who had not given birth or who had given birth to only one child," but breastfeeding lowered that risk. The study authors hypothesized that "given the prevalence of infectious diseases in Africa, women of African origins may respond to pregnancy with a particularly strong immune response, which in turn can allow cancers to gain a foothold," but lactation lowers the effect. They also noted that receptor-negative breast cancers are more aggressive. The researchers suggested that efforts to promote breastfeeding, which is less common in African American than white women, should include the information that breastfeeding may lower their risk of this cancer.

        The CNN (8/17, Curley) "Chart" blog reports, "Women who gave birth to two or more children had a 50% associated increase in aggressive ER-/PR- cancer, but the association was not found when the women had breastfed. ... The results were 'strikingly different' when researchers compared the number of births and breastfeeding among women with hormone receptor positive cancers. Women who had two or more children had lower associations of ER+/PR+ cancers, and breastfeeding didn't change that association." Researchers said that African American women tend to have more children than white women, and lower breastfeeding rates, which given the data may explain why they are at higher risk for developing receptor negative cancer.

        WebMD (8/17, Doheny) reports the researchers noted that "if a woman does not breastfeed, the breast goes through a process called involution...marked by increasing inflammation in the breast tissue. This inflammation may be associated with breast cancer." Breastfeeding is believed to reduce the inflammation in the tissue. HealthDay (8/17, Dallas) also covers this story.

 

Breast Cancer With Other Health Issues Associated With Worse Outcomes.

HealthDay (6/30, Dallas) reported, "Women diagnosed with breast cancer who also suffer from other health problems have higher death rates than women who just have breast cancer," according to a study published in the June 30 online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. To reach this conclusion, Jennifer Patnaik, of the University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, and colleagues, "identified more than 64,000 women aged 66 years and older with breast cancer. Forty-two percent had a history of one or more of the following 13 health conditions: stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney failure, congestive heart failure, dementia, diabetes, liver disease, heart attack, paralysis, peripheral vascular disease, previous cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcers." The researchers found "that each of these conditions was associated with increased risk of death from any cause, including cancer."

        The Huffington Post (6/30, Pearson) reported, "In an editorial accompanying the study, Dr. Worta McCaskill-Stevens and Dr. Jeff Abrams of the National Cancer Institute, said the study has significant implications for clinical care of breast cancer patients over the age of 65, who comprise of over half of the 200,000 some women diagnosed with breast cancer in the US each year." Drs. McCaskill-Stevens and Abrams "said that physicians may reduce treatment or diminish its intensity in patients with multiple conditions. They also pointed out that there could be a biological interplay between cancer and other diseases that impacts the efficacy of certain treatments."

 

Experts Attribute UK's High Breast Cancer Rates To Obesity, Excessive Alcohol Intake.

The UK's Press Association (1/24) reports that the UK ranks "11th out of 50 countries for rates of breast cancer." Overall, the UK ranked "22nd for cancers in both sexes while Denmark is the cancer capital of the world," according to the most recent estimates from the World Health Organisation, for 2008.

        According to the UK's Independent (1/24), the UK overall ranks "33rd for male cancers and 12th highest for female cancers." On breast cancer, more women "per 100,000 develop the disease in the UK (260.5) than in France (254.9), Italy (251.6), Germany (245.7), Sweden (241.2), Switzerland (236) or Spain (187)." The highest rates are in "Denmark (325.3), New Zealand (287.1) and Ireland (285.1)."

        The UK's Daily Telegraph (1/24, Beckford) adds that experts "said that many of the 46,000 breast cancer cases in the UK each year could be avoided if British women drank less, ate more healthily or took more exercise." Notably, more than 25 percent of "women who develop the disease in Britain die from it, as survival rates have remained low despite record investment in the NHS under Labour."

 

Study indicates obesity may increase risk of developing endometrial cancer.

HealthDay (6/22, Gordon) reported, "Obesity is already linked to heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure, but new research finds those extra pounds can also significantly increase a woman's risk of developing endometrial cancer," according to a study appearing in the July issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. For the study, investigators "reviewed data from the CDC's Cancer and Steroid Hormone Study," finding "421 women between the ages of 20 and 54 who had been diagnosed with endometrial cancer." Meanwhile, the control group consisted of "3,159 women" who were "randomly selected...from the same areas of the country." The study showed that "women who were younger than 45 when they had their last period and had a BMI above 35 had a 21.7 times greater risk of developing endometrial cancer than a woman of normal weight." The investigators also found, however, that "in women older than 45 at their last menstrual period, those with BMIs above 35 had 3.7 times greater odds of developing endometrial cancer than their normal-weight peers."

 

Three Lifestyle Changes May Significantly Reduce Cancer Rates.

reported that approximately "340,000 cancer cases" in the US could be prevented "each year if more Americans ate a healthy diet, got regular exercise and limited their alcohol intake," according to the World Cancer Research Fund. The WCRF said such lifestyle changes could lead to "significant reductions in particularly common cancers such as breast (38% fewer cases per year), stomach (47% fewer) and colon (45% fewer). ... 'Physical activity is recommended for people of all ages as a means to reduce risks for certain types of cancers and other non-communicable diseases,'" said Dr. Tim Armstrong of World Health Organization. The research "was released Feb. 3 to mark World Cancer Day."

        Reuters (2/4, Kelland) notes that the WCRF recommendations are supported by WHO's suggestions for the prevention cancer, which is a leading cause of death worldwide. WebMD (2/3, Hendrick) added that the World Cancer Declaration "outlines 11 targets it says could be achieved by 2020" to fight cancer. These goals include "significant drops in global tobacco use, obesity, and alcohol intake; universal vaccination programs for hepatitis B and human papilloma virus (HPV); universal availability of effective pain medication; and efforts to dispel misconceptions about cancer." The CNN (2/3, Bixler) "The Chart" blog also covered the WCRF recommendations

 

Overall Health May Impact Likelihood For Surviving Breast Cancer.

HealthDay (4/6, Preidt) reported, "Poor overall health seems to be associated with worse outcomes for breast cancer survivors," according to findings presented at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting. Researchers analyzed data from almost "9,400 early stage breast cancer survivors participating in the After Breast Cancer Pooling Project," and found that a health assessment survey "shortly after diagnosis" and a survey seven years after diagnosis showed that "about half the women were in poor physical health." Women with poor physical health scores had a "27-percent increased risk of experiencing either a recurrence of their breast cancer or a new breast cancer, and a 65-percent increased risk of death from any cause," the researchers said. They also found that breast cancer survivors with low health scores were "less physically active, more likely to have sleep problems, had 50-percent higher rates of high blood pressure and diabetes, and were twice as likely to have arthritis."

 

Study suggests vegetarians may be less likely than meat eaters to develop cancer.

BBC News (6/30) reported, "Vegetarians are generally less likely than meat eaters to develop cancer," according to a study appearing in the British Journal of Cancer. The study included "61,566 British men and women" who were "meat eaters, those who ate fish but not meat, and those who ate neither meat nor fish." Researchers found that "while in the general population about 33 people in 100 will develop cancer during their lifetime, for those who do not eat meat that risk is reduced to about 29 in 100." In particular, "they found marked differences between meat eaters and vegetarians in the propensity to cancers of the lymph and the blood, with vegetarians just over half as likely to develop these forms of the disease." Data indicated that "vegetarians were 75 percent less likely to develop" multiple myeloma "than meat eaters." But, the researchers said that "the reasons...were unclear," noting that "potential mechanisms could include viruses and mutation-causing compounds in meat -- or alternatively that vegetables confer special protection."

 

Dermatologists Recommend "Broad Spectrum" Sunscreens With SPF Of At Least 30.

In continuing coverage, the New York Times (6/21, D7, Brody, Subscription Publication) reported in "Personal Health" that "the Food and Drug Administration has finally issued new rules that should help reduce the confusion that currently prevails when consumers confront the aisle-long array of products in most pharmacies." Until the new rules take effect, "dermatologists suggest choosing only products that are labeled 'broad spectrum' and have an SPF rating of 30 to 50." Consumers need to remember to "apply the sunscreen just before exposure, and reapply it two hours later -- it loses effectiveness over time. And, even if the label claims the sunscreen is water resistant, be sure to reapply it after swimming or sweating heavily."

 

Statin Use May Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk.

The Orlando Sentinel (3/12, Shrieves) reported, "Men who take statins -- one type of cholesterol-lowering drugs -- may be 60 percent less likely to be diagnosed with high-grade prostate cancer, according to a" study of "patient files from the Veteran Affairs New England Healthcare System." Investigators identified 55,875 patients using either a statin or a blood pressure drug. Investigators found that "men taking statins were 30 percent less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than those on anti-hypertensive medication" and that "statin users also were 60 percent less likely to be diagnosed with high-grade prostate cancer."

 

Low-dose aspirin (100 mg) taken every other day may reduce a woman’s risk of developing colon cancer, according to an observational study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The findings are based on a large long-term study of 38,876 healthy women enrolled in the Women’s Health Study looking at the benefits and risks of taking aspirin and vitamin E for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Study Details

The women, aged 45 or older, were randomly assigned to take 100 mg of aspirin or a placebo every other day starting between 1993 and 1996 and were followed through 2004. The study participants completed regular questionnaires about their cancer status, how often they took medication, any negative effects, any additional aspirin use, and other risk factors.

After the initial study, researchers followed 33,682 participants through March 2012, although the women were not given additional aspirin or placebos during this time. The researchers found that after 18 years, women in the aspirin arm of the study had a 20% lower colon cancer rate than those taking the placebo. There were no differences between the aspirin group and the placebo group for other cancer types.

Taking the aspirin, however, resulted in some intestinal problems. Women who took aspirin were more likely to have gastrointestinal bleeding (8.3% vs 7.3%) and peptic ulcers (7.3% vs 6.2%).

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute and the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Cancer Institute.

 

"Chemo Brain" May Be Caused By More Than Chemotherapy.

The Huffington Post (4/13, Chan) reports, "There may be more than one factor responsible for 'chemo brain' -- the term used for memory and attention impairments often experienced after undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, according to a small new study" published in the Journal for Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings. Investigators "found that women who had breast cancer surgery but had not yet undergone chemotherapy also experienced similar memory problems." The researchers also found that "the women who were most likely to experience these problems were also the ones who were more stressed or didn't cope with their stress in a direct way."

 

SYMPTOMS AND SIDE EFFECTS

Prehabilitation Linked To Improves Outcomes In Cancer Patients.

Medscape (8/2, Lowry) reports that research published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation suggests that, “for patients newly diagnosed with cancer, getting in better physical and mental shape before starting treatment” may be linked to better outcomes and fewer complications. Investigators looked at data on studies involving prehabilitation in patients with cancer. Investigators found that prehabilitation may improve both physical and “psychologic outcomes.” Additionally, prehabilitation reduced “hospital readmissions and reduces cancer-related healthcare costs.”

Cancer Prehabilitation: An Opportunity to Decrease Treatment-Related Morbidity, Increase Cancer Treatment Options, and Improve Physical and Psychological Health Outcomes

Silver, Julie K. MD; Baima, Jennifer MD

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation:
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e31829b4afe

ABSTRACT: Cancer prehabilitation, a process on the continuum of care that occurs between the time of cancer diagnosis and the beginning of acute treatment, includes physical and psychological assessments that establish a baseline functional level, identifies impairments, and provides targeted interventions that improve a patient’s health to reduce the incidence and the severity of current and future impairments. There is a growing body of scientific evidence that supports preparing newly diagnosed cancer patients for and optimizing their health before starting acute treatments. This is the first review of cancer prehabilitation, and the purpose was to describe early studies in the noncancer population and then the historical focus in cancer patients on aerobic conditioning and building strength and stamina through an appropriate exercise regimen. More recent research shows that opportunities exist to use other unimodal or multimodal prehabilitation interventions to decrease morbidity, improve physical and psychological health outcomes, increase the number of potential treatment options, decrease hospital readmissions, and reduce both direct and indirect healthcare costs attributed to cancer. Future research may demonstrate increased compliance with acute cancer treatment protocols and, therefore, improved survival outcomes. New studies suggest that a multimodal approach that incorporates both physical and psychological prehabilitation interventions may be more effective than a unimodal approach that addresses just one or the other. In an impairment-driven cancer rehabilitation model, identifying current and anticipating future impairments are the critical first steps in improving healthcare outcomes and decreasing costs. More research is urgently needed to evaluate the most effective prehabilitation interventions, and combinations thereof, for survivors of all types of cancer.

 

 

ADT For Prostate Cancer Linked To Increased Risk Of Acute Kidney Injury.

The Los Angeles Times (7/17, Morin, 692K) reports that, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, current use of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer may be associated with “an increased risk of acute kidney injury.” Investigators “examined the medical records of more than 10,000 men with nonmetastatic prostate cancer and found that” the treatment “was associated with a 2.5 times greater risk of acute kidney injury.”

        Reuters (7/17, Pittman) reports, however, that past use of the treatment was not associated with an increased risk of kidney injury. Also covering the story are HealthDay (7/17, Thompson), Medscape (7/17, Mulcahy), and MedPage Today (7/17, Bankhead).

 

 

Pain in long-term breast cancer survivors: the role of body mass index, physical activity, and sedentary behavior

Although pain is common among post-treatment breast cancer survivors, studies that are longitudinal, identify a case definition of clinically meaningful pain, or examine factors contributing to pain in survivors are limited. This study describes longitudinal patterns of pain in long-term breast cancer survivors, evaluating associations of body mass index (BMI), physical activity, sedentary behavior with mean pain severity and above-average pain. Women newly diagnosed with stages 0–IIIA breast cancer (N = 1183) were assessed, on average, 6 months (demographic/clinical characteristics), 30 months (demographics), 40 months (demographics, pain), 5 years (BMI, physical activity, and sedentary behavior), and 10 years (demographics, pain, BMI, physical activity, and sedentary behavior) post-diagnosis. This analysis includes survivors who completed pain assessments 40 months post-diagnosis (N = 801), 10 years post-diagnosis (N = 563), or both (N = 522). Above-average pain was defined by SF-36 bodily pain scores ≥1/2 standard deviation worse than age-specific population norms. We used multiple regression models to test unique associations of BMI, physical activity, and sedentary behavior with pain adjusting for demographic and clinical factors. The proportion of survivors reporting above-average pain was higher at 10 years than at 40 months (32.3 vs. 27.8 %, p < 0.05). Approximately one-quarter of survivors reported improved pain, while 9.0 % maintained above-average pain and 33.1 % reported worsened pain. Cross-sectionally at 10 years, overweight and obese survivors reported higher pain than normal-weight survivors and women meeting physical activity guidelines were less likely to report above-average pain than survivors not meeting these guidelines (p < 0.05). Longitudinally, weight gain (>5 %) was positively associated, while meeting physical activity guidelines was inversely associated, with above-average pain (OR, 95 % CI = 1.76, 1.03–3.01 and 0.40, 0.20–0.84, respectively) (p < 0.05). Weight gain and lack of physical activity place breast cancer survivors at risk for pain long after treatment ends. Weight control and exercise interventions should be tested for effects on long-term pain in these women.

Anesthesia and analgesia A & Avol. 116 no. 2 482-490 Physical Exercise Induces Excess Hsp72 Expression and Delays the Development of Hyperalgesia and Allodynia in Painful Diabetic Neuropathy Rats

  1. Juei-Tang Cheng, PhD§║

+ Author Affiliations

  1. From the *Department of Physical Therapy, China Medical University, Taichung; Institute & Department of Physical Therapy, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan; Division of Physical Therapy, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Cheng Hsin General Hospital, Taipei; §Department of Medical Research, Chi-Mei Medical Center, Tainan; and Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.
  1. Address correspondence to Yu-Wen Chen, PhD, Department of Physical Therapy, China Medical University, No. 91 Hsueh-Shih Rd., Taichung 40402, Taiwan. Address e-mail to cywhwok@mail.cmu.edu.tw.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The underlying mechanism of exercise on the development of diabetes-associated neuropathic pain is not well understood. We investigated in rats whether exercise regulates the functional recovery and heat shock protein 72 (Hsp72), tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and interleukin (IL)-6 expression in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes.

METHODS: Male Wistar rats were divided into 4 groups: normal sedentary rats, normal rats with exercise, sedentary STZ-diabetic (SS) rats, and STZ-diabetic rats with exercise. Diabetes was induced with STZ (65 mg/kg IV). The trained rats ran daily on a treadmill 30 to 60 min/d with an intensity of 20 to 25 m/min. We monitored thermal withdrawal latency and mechanical withdrawal threshold as well as Hsp72, TNF-α, and IL-6 expression in the spinal cord and peripheral nerves.

RESULTS: Two weeks after STZ injection, sedentary rats exhibited a marked and sustained hypersensitivity to von Frey tactile and heat stimuli. In contrast, diabetic rats undergoing exercise demonstrated delayed progress of tactile and thermal hypersensitivity. Exercise significantly suppressed diabetes-induced blood glucose levels and body weight loss, although they were not restored to control levels. Compared with normal sedentary rats, SS rats displayed significantly higher TNF-α and IL-6 levels in the spinal cord and peripheral nerves. The STZ-diabetic rats with exercise group showed greater Hsp72 expression and similar TNF-α or IL-6 level compared with the SS group in the spinal cord and peripheral nerves on day 14 after STZ treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that progressive exercise training markedly decreases diabetes-associated neuropathic pain, including thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia. In rats, this protective effect is related to the increase of Hsp72, but not TNF-α and IL-6, expression in the spinal cord and peripheral nerves of STZ-induced diabetes.

Ginseng helps cancer related fatigue. 

In a double-blind multi-institution study conducted by the North Central Cancer Treatment Group and Mayo Clinic, 341 patients with cancer-related fatigue received 2,000 mg of Wisconsin ginseng twice a day for 8 weeks or an identical placebo.  By 4 weeks the primary endpoint fatigue, measured by a change from baseline in the general subscale of the Multidimensional Fatigue Symptom Inventory–Short Form (MFSI-SF) was significantly lower in the Ginseng group. The same effect was seen across all ages, sexes, race, menopausal status, cancer type and treatment type.  The benefit was maintained at 8 weeks and there were no significant side effects ( Journal of the National Cancer Institute by DL. Barton  Mayo Clinic,)

 

 

 

Prevalence of Excessive Tearing in Women With Early Breast Cancer Receiving Adjuvant Docetaxel-Based Chemotherapy

Abstract May 6, 2013, doi: 10.1200/JCO.2012.45.6574

Purpose To define the incidence and impact of tearing in patients receiving adjuvant docetaxel-based chemotherapy and assess for lacrimal duct obstruction (LDO) as a causative factor.

Patients and Methods Consecutive patients with early breast cancer recommended for docetaxel-based chemotherapy with no prior ocular symptoms were included. Before and after completion of chemotherapy, patients underwent lacrimal drainage evaluation by computed tomographic dacrocystography (CT-DCG) and ophthalmic assessment. Eye symptoms were assessed at baseline, during, and after completion of chemotherapy.

Results Over a 22-month period, 100 patients were recruited. Asymptomatic LDO was present at baseline in 17% and 18% of patients, as assessed by ophthalmic review and CT-DCG, respectively. Overall, 86% of patients developed tearing, with no significant difference between those who did and did not have LDO (94% v 84%; P = .45). Blepharitis occurred in 37% and minor corneal epitheliopathy in 22% of patients, with neither condition predicting for the development of tearing. Impairment of visual activities was greatest after cycle one (70% of patients) but had decreased to < 5% by 4 months after treatment.

Conclusion Tearing occurs in the majority of patients receiving adjuvant docetaxel-based chemotherapy regimens and occurred similarly in patients with and without LDO. There was poor concordance between CT-DCG and ophthalmic examination in the detection of LDO. Tearing and other eye symptoms impaired visual activities, but in nearly all patients, both symptoms and functional impairment were mild and had resolved by 4 months after chemotherapy. Our study demonstrates docetaxel-related tearing is not caused by LDO, and as such, evaluation or stenting of the duct is not considered necessary.

editaorial http://jco.ascopubs.org/cgi/doi/10.1200/JCO.2012.47.5897

 

Fatigue-Reduction Programs May Benefit Patients With Advanced Cancer.

Medscape (1/5, Mulcahy) reported, "Fatigue-busting programs work, even in patients with advanced cancer, according to a rare randomized controlled trial in this setting, which was published January 2nd in the Journal of Clinical Oncology." Investigators "assigned 152 fatigued cancer patients to either a special protocol of patient-tailored treatment (n = 76) or usual care (n = 76)." The researchers "found significant improvements during the study period with the patient-tailored treatment for the primary outcome of general fatigue ( P < .01)."

Creative Arts May Reduce Depression, Anxiety In Cancer Patients.

HealthDay (5/14, Doheny) reports, "Cancer patients who participate in the creative arts - such as music therapy, dance, art therapy and writing - may be helping to reduce the anxiety, depression and pain that can be associated with their diagnosis, according to" research published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The researchers came to this conclusion after looking at data from 27 studies which included approximately 1,500 participants. HealthDay adds, "Taking part in these creative arts 'is an opportunity for these patients to complement the healing process above and beyond the physical,' said Timothy Puetz, presidential management fellow at the U.S. National Institutes of Health's Office of the Director."

 

Aerobic Exercise Could Ease Cancer Fatigue.

The Huffington Post (11/25, Chan) reported, "Running, walking and bicycling could help people with cancer to beat a common side effect of both the disease and its treatment, according to a new review of studies." The review included "56 studies, half of which were included in a previous review published in the Cochrane Library, that analyzed the impacts different kinds of exercise had on cancer-related fatigue (half of the studies dealt specifically with breast cancer-related fatigue)." But exercise "isn't the only thing that could beat fatigue - research presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology showed that taking high doses of ginseng could help cancer patients be less fatigued over a two-month period, compared to taking a placebo."

Stress, Fatigue May Be Cause Of "Chemo Brain."

USA Today (12/8, Szabo) reported, "A small study presented" recently "at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium...suggests that chemo may not be to blame for" so-called "chemo brain."

The Time (12/8, Park) "Healthland" blog reported that instead, "stress and fatigue related to receiving a cancer diagnosis and anticipating chemotherapy may be responsible for triggering muddled thinking." Investigators "studied 28 women who received chemotherapy, 37 who received radiation, and 32 healthy controls without cancer." At the beginning "of the study, all the participants completed verbal working memory tasks while their brains were scanned using functional MRI." Participants then completed the same tasks a month after initiation of their treatment.

The Huffington Post (12/7) reported, "Researchers found that fatigue levels were higher and accuracy on the memory task was lower among the women who underwent chemotherapy - both before they started the chemotherapy and after - compared with the women who underwent radiotherapy and the healthy women."

Bloomberg News (12/7, Ostrow) reported that the study "was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health."

The Boston Globe (12/8, Kotz) "Daily Dose" blog quoted study leader Bernadine Cimprich as saying, "What we're suggesting is that we really need to be more aware that a woman facing breast cancer may have cognitive problems ahead of her treatment."

MedPage Today (12/9, Smith) reported that the research suggests "that 'chemo brain' is not the best way of thinking about what Cimprich called 'cancer-related cognitive dysfunction.'"

HealthDay (12/8, Gray) reported that "Cimprich said the research is encouraging because it suggests that early intervention may reduce or even prevent thought-process problems in women who will be getting chemotherapy."

 

Chemo For Breast Cancer May Confer Significant Risk Of Secondary Leukemia.

MedPage Today (12/8, Bankhead) reported, "Chemotherapy for breast cancer conferred a small but statistically significant risk of secondary leukemia, according to a study reported" at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Investigators found that, "ten years after treatment for breast cancer, about 0.5% of women had developed some form of leukemia." Additionally, "radiation therapy alone...appeared to increase the risk of secondary leukemia but not substantially beyond the risk associated with chemotherapy."

 

Statins May Be Linked To Reduced Cardiotoxicity In Breast Cancer Patients Receiving Chemo.

MedPage Today (11/10, Walsh) reported, "Women being treated for breast cancer with anthracycline chemotherapy experienced less cardiotoxicity if they also were receiving statins," according to a study published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Investigators found that "a significantly lower risk for new-onset heart failure was seen among women receiving a statin throughout their chemotherapy, with a hazard ratio of 0.3 (95% CI 0.1 to 0.9, P=0.03)."

 

Depressive Symptoms, Shortened Telomeres Linked To Higher Bladder Cancer Mortality.

HealthDay (10/19) reports, "People with significant symptoms of depression and shortened telomeres - pieces of DNA that protect the ends of chromosomes from deterioration - are at greater risk of death from bladder cancer," according to research scheduled to be presented at an American Association for Cancer Research meeting. Investigators found that "patients with depression symptoms and short telomeres had more than a three times higher risk for death and a much shorter period of disease-free survival."

 

Talk Therapy, Exercise May Benefit Women With Chemotherapy-Related Menopause.

Reuters (10/12, Pittman) reports that, according to research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, talk therapy and exercise may benefit women with chemotherapy-related menopause. In a study involving more than 420 women, researchers found that women assigned to exercise, talk therapy, or both reported that the symptoms related to their treatment had improved.

Exercise, Behavioral Therapy Reduce Menopausal Symptoms Caused by Breast Cancer Treatment

Women with breast cancer who were suffering from treatment-related menopausal symptoms experienced symptom relief with cognitive behavioral therapy, physical exercise, or both, according to a Dutch study. The findings were published October 8 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Dr. Neil K. Aaronson of the Netherlands Cancer Institute and his colleagues randomly assigned 422 patients to behavioral therapy, physical activity, an intervention combining the two, or a control group that received usual care. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effects of psychosocial interventions and exercise on menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats, as well as on sexual functioning, psychological well-being, and health-related quality of life. The patients reported their symptoms at the start of the study and 12 weeks and 6 months later.

Compared with the control group, women who received the interventions had statistically significantly lower levels of endocrine and urinary symptoms, and behavioral therapy and physical activity had a positive effect on physical functioning. The researchers noted, however, that physical activity “affects primarily the frequency with which endocrine symptoms are experienced, but not the frequency of hot flashes and night sweats specifically.” Cognitive behavioral therapy, in contrast, “seems to not only affect symptom frequency, but also the perceived burden of hot flashes and night sweats.”

In a related editorial, Mayo Clinic researchers Drs. Debra Barton and Charles Loprinzi commented that, despite its limitations, the study demonstrated that “it is not sufficient to consider only biomedical influences [on symptoms]. …For complete symptom resolution, it may be necessary to address both the physiological expression and psychosocial context of the symptom.”

 

Ginseng May Help Fight Cancer-Related Fatigue.

The ABC News (6/5, Gann) "Medical Unit" blog reports that research presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology suggests "that ginseng may be a tool for fighting cancer-related fatigue."

The Huffington Post (6/5) reports, "The study...included 340 people who were either currently undergoing cancer treatments, or who had just completed cancer treatments." Each day, participants were "given either a placebo pill or a pill that contained 2,000 milligrams of American ginseng root."

HealthDay (6/5, Dotinga) reports that participants "who took the ginseng capsules didn't report much improvement at four weeks, but at eight weeks they reported they felt less 'worn out,' 'fatigued,' 'sluggish' or 'tired,' compared to those who took the placebo, the investigators found."

 

Chewing Gum May Hasten Bowel Function Recovery After Liver Resection.

Medscape (6/8, Boughton) reports, "Results of a Korean study support the use of a relatively inexpensive intervention to hasten bowel function recovery after liver resection for hepatocellular cancer: gum chewing. In the study of 42 patients published online June 2 in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, patients who chewed gum three times per day showed faster recovery in postoperative bowel function than those in a control group." In addition, "those in the gum-chewing group...had a reduction in xerostomia grade."

 

Novel Procedure May Cure Lymphedema By Transplanting Healthy Nodes.

The New York Times (6/21, D5, Rabin, Subscription Publication) reports, "Top plastic surgeons from around the country met in Manhattan last month to observe an experimental surgery that may cure lymphedema, a serious complication of breast cancer treatment." As some surgeons "crowded into an operating room at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary and others watched a live video broadcast," Dr. Corinne Becker, who "pioneered the procedure, harvested lymph nodes from a patient's groin to transplant to her underarm, where nodes had been removed earlier during cancer treatment." This innovative procedure, called "an autologous vascularized lymph node transfer, is used to treat lymphedema." In the surgery, the missing lymph nodes are "replaced with a handful of healthy nodes transplanted from elsewhere" in the patient.

Omega-3 Fat Consumption May Reduce Fatigue In Breast Cancer Survivors.

Reuters (3/21, Norton) reports that, according to research published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, consumption of omega-3 fats may benefit breast cancer survivors. Researchers found that the omega-3 fats may reduce fatigue in these patients.

 

Feelings Of Loneliness May Impact A Person's Physical Health.

HealthDay (1/22) reports, "Being lonely does more than just make a person feel sad - loneliness can affect a person's physical health," according to a study that was scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Researchers found, "in a study of 200 breast cancer survivors, average age 51," that "compared to study participants with more social connections, people who said they felt lonely showed more inflammation in response to stress, and higher levels of reactivation of a latent herpes virus, which is a sign of poor immunity." The researchers "also noted that the reactivation of a latent herpes virus is known to be linked with stress, and said these findings suggest that loneliness acts as a chronic source of stress that triggers a poorly controlled immune response."

 

Chemotherapy May Have Long-Term Impact On Cognition.

The Los Angeles Times (2/28, Roan) "Booster Shots" blog reports, "Chemotherapy patients have long complained of the mental fog that tends to accompany treatment, but a new study" published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology "suggests that certain combinations of chemo drugs may have long-term effects on cognition."

        HealthDay (2/28, Mann) reports, "In the new study, 196 women with breast cancer who were treated with chemotherapy roughly 21 years earlier performed worse on tests of their memory, processing speed and other thinking...skills when compared to their counterparts who had never been diagnosed with cancer." The patients "had all been treated for breast cancer with a chemotherapy combination that included the drugs cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and 5-fluorouracil between 1976 and 1995." Study author Sanne Schagen, in an American Society of Clinical Oncology news release, said, "To our knowledge, this is the first study to suggest that subtle cognitive deficits may be among the long-term effects of chemotherapy, especially of the earlier regimens."

 

Music May Improve Cancer Patients' Quality Of Life.

MedPage Today (8/11, Walker) reports a study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews reviewing "30 trials with a total of 1,891 cancer patients who underwent music therapy interventions as part of their treatment." The study "found that both music interventions appeared to be more effective at reducing anxiety than no music or white noise or nature sounds delivered through headphones." One exception was that "patients didn't like listening to music via headphones during a procedure, because they couldn't hear what the doctor was saying, which causes anxiety and could actually increase the perception of pain."

        WebMD (8/11, Hendrick) reports, "Music also seemed to help with the mood and pain levels of patients, though not depression. And smaller beneficial effects were seen on heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure."

 

Insomnia, Fatigue May Afflict Cancer Patients.

Reuters (8/11, Pittman) reports on two papers published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology showing that persistent insomnia and fatigue can afflict cancer patients. In one of the studies, Julienne Bower of the University of California, Los Angeles, and co-authors, discovered that almost 66% of participants had problems with insomnia and fatigue. Bower noted that it is just recently that the medical community is becoming aware of such issues. Meanwhile, researchers are looking into cognitive behavior therapy and tai chi for insomnia, and yoga for fatigue

 

Plant may protect cancer patients' skin during radiation therapy: Research indicating that ointment containing Calendula plant extracts may reduce dermatitis in cancer patients who apply the ointment before radiation therapy.  Researchers found that 41 percent of patients using the ointment suffered moderate-to-severe dermatitis, compared with 63 percent of those using trolamine, a standard cream used in Europe to prevent dermatitis.

Researchers say chemotherapy may disrupt sleep-wake cycles in patients with breast cancer.

HealthDay (9/1, Dotinga) reported that "chemotherapy in breast cancer patients disrupts cycles of sleep and wakefulness, and continued treatment leads to worse and more lasting problems," according to findings appearing in the Sept. 1 issue of Sleep. Investigators examined "95 women with breast cancer who were scheduled to receive chemotherapy," finding that "during the first week of" treatment, they "took longer to get to high activity levels after waking." The women "also decreased their activity levels earlier at night," which "continued in the first week of the fourth cycle of chemotherapy." The researchers concluded that "during chemotherapy, our biological clock gets out of sync, especially after the first cycle of treatment. The clock seems to regulate itself after only one cycle, but with repeated administration of chemotherapy, it becomes more difficult for the biological clock to readjust."

 

Breast-Cancer Survival Fatigue May Be Linked To Autonomic Nervous System Alterations.

Medscape (5/16, Nelson, Subscription Publication) reported that fatigue is a "common problem in breast cancer survivors," and a study in Psychoneuroendocrinology suggests that it "might be the result of alterations in the autonomic nervous system." The researchers analyzed a cohort of "109 women who had completed treatment for stage 0 to IIIA breast cancer in the previous two years, and who were at least two months past surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy." They found that women who "reported higher levels of fatigue also had significantly higher norepinephrine levels and lower heart rate variability (HRV) before and after stress was induced than those who reported less fatigue."

Psychiatric Treatment, Psychosocial Support May Benefit Women With Cancer.

Medscape (5/27, Brauser, Subscription Publication) reported that, according to two studies presented recently at the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting, "psychiatric treatment and psychosocial support may make a significant difference to survival and quality of life in women with cancer." In the first study, which was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, "a secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 125 women with metastatic breast cancer, investigators found that the median survival time for those who had decreasing depression symptom scores during a one-year period was double that of those with increasing scores (53.6 vs. 25.1 months)." And, in a second study, which was also "published online March 2 in Psycho-Oncology, researchers found that women who receive a cancer diagnosis during pregnancy were at particular risk of experiencing high levels of distress."

 

Study: Flaxseed Does Not Help Reduce Hot Flashes.

In continuing coverage, MedPage Today (6/8, Phend) reported that flaxseed "will not ease hot flashes for women with menopausal symptoms or breast cancer survivors taking anti-estrogen drugs," according to findings presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. Researchers randomized "188 postmenopausal women" to eat a "fiber bar daily that contained either 410 mg of the active flaxseed lignans or 2 g protein as a placebo for six weeks." According to results, mean "vasomotor symptom scores dropped 33% with flaxseed-spiked fiber bars, but also fell 29% with placebo fiber bars without a significant difference between groups. ... The 'disappointing' randomized trial results showed why clinical trials are necessary, noted Mark G. Kris, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, who chaired" the ASCO Cancer Communications Committee

Experts Caution Cancer Patients' Skin Vulnerable To Sun Damage.

HealthDay (8/2, Dallas) reports that the skin of cancer patients who have received radiation therapy have increased risk for sun damage, so patients need to be careful about sun damage, according to researchers at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. The experts also said that children with cancer are at the greatest risk. HealthDay Added, "Skin cancer patients should pay particular attention to the areas of skin being treated, advised the American Society of Clinical Oncologists. Dark, tightly woven fabrics are best for guarding against sun exposure, the group noted."

Obesity May Contribute To Lymphedema In The Legs.

MedPage Today (5/31, Neale) reports that a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine observes that "obesity may contribute to the development of lymphedema." Dr. Arin Greene of Children's Hospital Boston and his colleagues authored the study, writing that "as the amount of adipose tissue increases in the lower extremity, lymphatic vessels may become dysfunctional (possibly because of compression or inflammation), thereby reducing proximal lymphatic flow."

HealthDay (5/31, Mann) notes that the researchers examined 15 obese individuals with pain and swelling in the legs, and they diagnosed five of these individuals with leg lymphedema, labeling obesity as a risk factor for lymphedema in the legs. The researchers have not yet investigated whether there is a link between obesity and lymphedema of the arms.

 

Mind and body

 

Anxiety, Depression May Persist Following Cancer Diagnosis.

MedPage Today (6/19, Wickline) reports that, according to research published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, “in the year following a cancer diagnosis, some patients showed lingering or late-onset anxiety and/or depression, although most appeared to cope relatively well.” Researchers found that “among 1,154 patients followed from initial cancer diagnosis,” approximately “20% met criteria for clinically relevant anxiety and roughly 10% were found to have depression 6 and 12 months later.” The investigators found that “significant predictors of development of late-onset or persistent mood disorders in the prospective study included high levels of such disorders 6 months after diagnosis, but also such factors as gender, type of cancer, and certain coping styles.”

 

Hormones cause chemo brain (Rugo H, et al "Prospective study of cognitive function in women with early-stage breast cancer: Predictors of cognitive decline" BSC 2013). The study population consisted of 69 patients: 33 in the chemotherapy-hormone therapy group, 22 in the hormone therapy-only group, and 14 in the chemotherapy-only group. Additionally, 12 age- and education-matched women not receiving chemotherapy or hormonal treatment served as a control group.

Patients completed a neuropsychological test battery comprising more than a dozen individual tests that assessed mood and fatigue, as well as cognitive function. The battery was administered at baseline and at follow-up visits at months 1, 9, and 18.

At the 1-month follow-up visit, about 25% of the patients had lower scores on the neuropsychological battery as compared with baseline. The proportion increased to about 35% at 9 months, and 30% of patients had scores indicative of cognitive decline at 18 months. Scores on tests of executive function and verbal memory were affected most often.

By univariate conditional logistic regression analysis, hormone therapy was the only independent predictor of cognitive decline at any point in time (OR 4.95, 95% CI 1.68-14.49, P=0.004). Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, fatigue, and depression did not contribute significantly to cognitive decline.

The longitudinal effect of hormone therapy on cognitive function was evaluated by multivariate conditional logistic regression analysis controlling for age, education, estimated baseline IQ, and average estradiol level. The analysis yielded an odds ratio of 7.69 (95% CI 2.20-27.03, P=0.002).

The study is notable for its objective evaluation of the relationship between hormonal therapy and cognitive function, which has been examined less extensively than has chemotherapy, said invited discussant Julia White, MD, of Ohio State University in Columbus.

"Cognitive changes associated with hormone therapy for breast cancer [have] proven to be somewhat complex," said White. "Chemotherapy is a confounding effect. Some reports have suggested the type of hormonal agent makes a difference -- selective estrogen receptor modulator versus aromatase inhibitor.

"Menopausal status, prior oophorectomy, and hormone replacement therapy all can impact cognitive changes in women."

The issues have been particularly difficult to sort out in postmenopausal breast cancer patients, she added. Cognitive function substudies of several large randomized clinical trials have yielded disparate results in terms of the severity, affected domains, and agents implicated in cognitive dysfunction

Positive Outlook On Life May Help People Live Longer.

The CBS Evening News (5/30, story 8, 2:50, Pelley) reported, "If you hope to live to be 100, a new study out today in the journal 'Aging' says a positive outlook on life will help." Dr. Jon LaPook explains that "Ashkenazi Jews, those who are from Eastern Europe...live unusually long, healthy lives. ... They caught the attention of researchers who dubbed them super-agers. Dr. Nir Barzilai of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine studies them." Dr. Nir Barzilai, Albert Einstein College of Medicine: "We were trying to find out what are those biological complements that make us age at different rates?" LaPook: "Barzilai and his team discovered people who live to be 100 are more than twice as likely to have a certain variant of a gene called CETP. It helps control cholesterol and protects against heart disease and dementia."

Feelings Of Loneliness May Impact A Person's Physical Health.

HealthDay (1/22) reports, "Being lonely does more than just make a person feel sad - loneliness can affect a person's physical health," according to a study that was scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Researchers found, "in a study of 200 breast cancer survivors, average age 51," that "compared to study participants with more social connections, people who said they felt lonely showed more inflammation in response to stress, and higher levels of reactivation of a latent herpes virus, which is a sign of poor immunity." The researchers "also noted that the reactivation of a latent herpes virus is known to be linked with stress, and said these findings suggest that loneliness acts as a chronic source of stress that triggers a poorly controlled immune response."

 

 

Adolescent Risk Of Self-Harm Greater If Parent Dies Of Cancer.

Reuters (12/5, Seaman) reports that according to a study published online Dec. 3 in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, one in five adolescents whose parent has died of cancer may self-harm either by burning or cutting themselves. In contrast, only one in 10 adolescents with both parents living will engage in such behavior.

MedPage Today (12/5, Bankhead) reports that the study "authors identified several factors that had statistically significant associations with self-injury in both groups: female sex -- OR 3.2; bullying before age 13 -- OR 2.8; physical/sexual abuse -- OR 6.5; low family cohesion -- OR 3.2; no one to share joys/sorrows -- OR 1.8; any childhood psychiatric morbidity -- OR 9.0; deliberately harming others during a menstrual period -- OR 2.9; attempted suicide/endangering own life -- OR 6.0; [and] self-injury prior to 2000 -- OR 11.7." Researchers arrived at these conclusions after reviewing "government records of individuals born in Sweden from 1936 to 1973 and who died of cancer during 2000 through 2003."

 

Quality Of Breast Cancer Patients' Personal Relationships May Be Linked To Survival.

HealthDay (11/16) reports, "The quality of a breast cancer patient's personal relationships may be as important as the size of her social networks in predicting survival," according to a study published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. The study of more than 2,200 breast cancer patients found that "women who were socially isolated were 34 percent more likely to die from breast cancer or other causes than women who were socially integrated." The researchers "also discovered that levels of support within personal relationships were important risk factors for breast cancer death."

 

Cancer Survivors May Have Poorer Quality Of Physical, Mental Health.

MedPage Today (11/1, Petrochko) reports, "Cancer survivors may be cured of their disease, but they are still more likely to report a poorer quality of physical and mental health than adults who have not had cancer," according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention. Investigators found, "in a national survey on health-related quality of life, 24.5% of cancer survivors reported poor physical quality of life and 10.2% said they had poor mental quality of life." This "compared with 10.2% and 5.9%, respectively, among adults with no history of cancer, a significant difference (P<0.0001)."

 

"Cancer-Free" May Mean Different Things To Some Physicians, Patients.

The Chicago Tribune (9/26, Sadick) reports on the ambiguity, among cancer survivors and physicians, surrounding the phrase "cancer-free." Most "experts agree that there is no magic number of years for a survivor's risk of recurrence to disappear completely." The Tribune adds, "For studies run by Cancer Cooperative Groups, which include researchers, cancer centers, and physicians working together to run clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, patients are usually followed for 15 years after diagnosis." Meanwhile, "Dr. Catherine Alfano, deputy director of the Office of Cancer Survivorship at the National Cancer Institute, says that of the women diagnosed with breast cancer today, 90 percent will be alive in five years, compared with 63 percent in the 1960s."

 

Stress, Depression May Have Adverse Impact On Renal Cell Carcinoma Outcomes.

The CNN (9/15, Enayati,) reports that "several recent studies underscore how critically important it is for those fighting" cancer "to learn how to combat stress." For instance, in a study recently published in PLOS ONE, "a team of researchers led by Lorenzo Cohen, professor of general oncology and director of the Integrative Medicine Program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, found that symptoms of depression among a group of patients with late-stage renal cell carcinoma were associated with an increased risk of death." The primary "suspects in Cohen's study: cortisol - also known as the 'stress hormone' - and inflammatory pathways."

 

Having fun helps fight cancer

Prof Matthew During from Ohio State University conducted an experiment in mice with implanted cancers which was reported in the journal cell. Those living in a stimulating healthy environment had a slower rate of progression compared to those in a more confined environment. Levels of leptin were lower in the more stimulated mice

Women With Breast Cancer May Often Struggle With Depression.

In the "First Person" column in the Miami Herald (1/3), Miami Herald editor Andrea Torres, a breast cancer patient, wrote, "Experts in psychosocial oncology say that women with breast cancer have the third highest rate of depression among cancer diagnostic groups, and that major depression is an under-recognized and under-treated problem." Torres goes on to describe her particular battle with depression. Currently, she is being treated with antidepressants and "staying connected to others with the help of social media" to improve her outlook on matters. She is also "set to begin behavioral therapy soon."

 

Mindfulness Training May Benefit Patients Undergoing HSCT.

Medscape (11/15, Nelson) reports that "Mindfulness training might prove beneficial for patients who are undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), according to researchers who conducted a randomized trial of the intervention." The investigators "evaluated the longitudinal and short-term effects of mindfulness meditation training in 241 cancer patients who were hospitalized for HSCT." The researchers found that "although an intent-to-treat analysis did not reveal long-term group differences, there were significant immediate improvements in symptoms and mood in patients who underwent the training, compared with those who didn't." The research was presented at a Society for Integrative Oncology conference.

Chemotherapy May Lead To White Matter Alterations.

Medscape (12/23, Lowry, Subscription Publication) reports, "Cerebral white matter is altered and cognitive function declines after chemotherapy," according to a study published online Dec. 19 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study, which used magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging "to document actual physical changes in the brain, along with a detailed cognitive assessment before and after a course of chemotherapy for breast cancer, adds to the emerging body of literature attesting to the effects of chemotherapy on brain structure and function, comments the author of an accompanying editorial." Researchers found that "patients who had received chemotherapy performed significantly worse on attention and concentration tests, psychomotor speed, and memory compared with baseline," which correlated with "significant decreases in fractional anisotropy in the frontal, parietal, and occipital white matter tracts after chemotherapy."

Chemotherapy Can Impair Cognition More than Two Decades Later

More than 20 years after treatment, breast cancer patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy exhibited cognitive deficits compared with women who were never diagnosed with cancer. The results, which appeared online February 27 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, suggest that the phenomenon known as chemobrain can persist for decades after cancer treatment ends and may become more common as the number of cancer survivors grows.

To investigate chemotherapy’s long-term effects on cognition, Dr. Vincent Koppelmans of Erasmus MC University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and his colleagues identified 196 eligible breast cancer patients from two Dutch hospital registries and invited them to participate in tests that measured learning, memory, information processing, and psychomotor abilities.

All of the patients had received six cycles of adjuvant chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil (CMF) on average 21 years earlier and were between 50 and 80 years old when recruited to the trial. Women who had experienced a relapse, second primary tumor, or distant metastases, and those who used adjuvant endocrine therapy were excluded from the study.

The 1,509 women in the reference group were selected from the Rotterdam Study, a population-based study also being conducted in the Netherlands. These women had no history of cancer and were also between 50 and 80 years old when they were tested.

Although the researchers observed no difference between the two groups in a dementia screening test, the breast cancer survivors performed worse on some tests of delayed verbal memory, processing speed, and psychomotor speed. The survivors also had more memory complaints but fewer symptoms of depression.

This pattern of deficits is similar to those from other trials conducted closer to the time patients finished chemotherapy. But it is unclear whether the results of this study are representative of the long-term effects of other chemotherapy regimens.

Although newer regimens are now available for women with early-stage breast cancer, the authors noted, “[CMF] was the standard regimen up to the 1990s... [and] cyclophosphamide and fluorouracil continue to be incorporated into currently used regimens.”

“This work is an important reminder that it is not enough to focus on the cure and control of cancer,” commented Dr. Julia Rowland, director of NCI’s Office of Cancer Survivorship. “We must also attend to the impact of therapy on the long-term health and function of our growing population of survivors.”

See also: “Delving Into Possible Mechanisms for Chemobrain

 

Breast Cancer May Be Linked To Memory Problems.

The Los Angeles Times (11/15, Kaplan) "Booster Shots" blog reports, "A study of breast cancer patients finds that women who had chemotherapy along with surgery to treat their disease had more trouble kicking their brains into high gear than women who were treated with surgery alone." The breast cancer patients "also performed much worse on tests of mental function than a group of healthy women who served as controls." The research was published in Archives of Neurology.

        MedPage Today (11/15, Gever) reports that investigators "recruited 44 breast cancer survivors and 18 healthy controls matched for age, menopausal status, and education level." All "participants underwent functional MRI scans while performing a card-sorting task in order to measure brain activation in specific regions." Participants "also were evaluated with a series of other neurocognitive tests, including one to identify potentially confounding psychiatric symptoms such as depression."

        HealthDay (11/15, Gardner) reports that the participants "with breast cancer, whether or not they had had chemotherapy, showed reduced activity in two areas of the prefrontal cortex, including one heavily involved in memory, the investigators found." Individuals who "had undergone chemotherapy also had reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex and tended to repeat errors and complete tasks more slowly compared to both other groups." Reuters (11/15, Steenhuysen) also covers the story.

 

Meditation Significantly Improves Cancer Survivors' Overall Well Being.

Medscape (5/24, Harrison, Subscription Publication) reported that group sessions "during which cancer survivors are taught meditation, mindful yoga, and communication techniques significantly improve psychological symptoms and quality of life (QoL)," according to findings presented at the American Society of Breast Surgeons meeting. Researchers randomly assigned 77 female cancer survivors to either attend "weekly two-hour classes for eight weeks plus a single for-hour weekend retreat" or be on a waiting list (control group). Patients in the intervention group "showed a significant improvement on the SCL-90-R," with an effect size of 0.373 and a QoL of "P=.005 in terms of significance." All domains in "symptoms of stress improved in the intervention group" achieved significance. In contrast, the control group "did not achieve statistical significance" on any of the parameters.

 

Group therapy may prolong survival for women with breast cancer
This article describes a Cancer study indicating that women with breast cancer who participate in group therapy sessions - consisting of a year of small-group meetings led by clinical psychologists - may live longer and have a lower risk of cancer recurrence.  Researchers found that after 11 years, women who participated in the one-year group sessions were 56 percent less likely to die of breast cancer and 45 percent less likely to experience cancer recurrence, compared to women who did not participate

Researchers to examine cognitive rehabilitation program for women with breast cancer. Chemo brain is a common, and disconcerting, side effect of chemotherapy" that is "generally described as changes in cognitive abilities that occur during" treatment. Patients who suffer from chemo brain typically "complain that they are mentally tired, can't think clearly, or can't think as fast as they used to." Now, researchers are "evaluating a cognitive rehabilitation program for women with breast cancer who may be experiencing cognitive difficulties." They speculate that variations "in genes that regulate the immune system render some patients more vulnerable to" these symptoms. The researchers aim "to develop and evaluate a rehabilitation program for breast cancer survivors who believe they are having trouble thinking and concentrating after receiving treatment."

Breast Cancer-Recurrence Worry Level May Vary By Race, Ethnicity.

MedPage Today (4/1, Smith) reported, "Worry about a recurrence of breast cancer varies markedly according to racial and ethnic background," according to a study in the journal Cancer. The researchers analyzed data from Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registries of women whose "nonmetastatic breast cancer was diagnosed from June 2005 to February 2007." They found that "46% of Latinas" who spoke primarily Spanish "reported they worry 'very much' about recurrence, compared with 25% for Latinas who mainly spoke English." In contrast, only "14% of white women and 13% of African Americans said they worried 'very much.'" High levels of worry were also "significantly associated with younger age, having a job, frequency of pain and fatigue, and receipt of radiation therapy."

 

Marital distress may slow breast cancer recovery:

This article reports on a Cancer study finding that breast cancer survivors who report marital distress have greater difficulty recovering from treatment, compared to women who said they were in a non-distressed relationship.  The article notes that participants who reported marital distress were more likely to experience slower recovery of physical functioning, more severe side effects, an increase in depressive symptoms and unwanted thoughts and fear about cancer recurrence.  Researchers suggested women in this group may benefit from psychosocial referrals.  Article: Reuters

Beta-Blockers May Boost Breast Cancer Survival.

Reuters (5/31, Joelving) reported that findings from two preliminary studies suggest that women with breast cancer who take blood pressure drugs known as beta-blockers may have a better chance for surviving the disease. The results are published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. In one study, women taking beta-blockers who survived longer were less likely to be diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. In the other study, after five years, women taking propranolol had an average, estimated 9% risk for dying of breast cancer, compared with 27% of the control group

 

Multidisciplinary Interventions Help Cancer Survivors Return To Work.

Medscape (2/23, Nelson) reported, "Cancer survivors who received multidisciplinary interventions, which included physical, psychological, and vocational components, were nearly twice as likely to overcome challenges and successfully return to work as those who received usual care," according to a meta-analysis published online in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Included in the analysis were "14 randomized controlled trials and four controlled before/after studies, for a total of 1,652" subjects. The researchers found that "there was moderate-quality evidence that showed that multidisciplinary interventions led to higher return-to-work rates than care as usual (OR, 1.87)."

 

New Research Suggests Obese People Can Be Fit.

Bloomberg News (9/5, Hallam) reports that "obese people who are otherwise physically fit had no greater risk of dying prematurely than those whose weight is normal, according to research partially funded by Coca-Cola Co. (KO), the world's biggest soft-drink maker." Additionally, it points to a separate study, which "found that obese people with heart disease have a lower risk of dying early than underweight or normal-weight heart patients." Bloomberg News says that "the findings undermine decades of public health messages, also supported by research, that obesity can accelerate the development of heart disease, diabetes and cancer and shrink lifespans, three European researchers who weren't involved in the two studies wrote in an editorial that accompanied the results in the European Heart Journal today."

CNN (9/5) "The Chart" blog also reports on the study published this week in the European Heart Journal that "shows it is possible to be both obese and healthy." According to the blog, "the researchers found that the metabolically healthy but obese participants had a 38% lower risk of dying than their metabolically unhealthy peers." Additionally, the article says that the study found that "there was also no risk difference between the metabolically healthy obese and the metabolically healthy normal weight participants."

Study: Smokers More Likely To Quit Using Nicotine Patches, Medications.

Reuters (9/5) reports on an international study published in the journal Addiction, which found that smokers are more successful in quitting when they use nicotine patches or prescription medications, rather than going it alone. Study leader Karin Kasza, a statistician at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, and colleagues wrote, "Smokers in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the United States are more likely to succeed in quit attempts when they use (drugs) or nicotine patch." They added, "The disappointing reality is that even when people use these medications to help them quit, relapse is still the norm. It's better than nothing, but it's by no means a magic bullet."

 

 

Reducing stress before prostate surgery helps outcome.

Research from the integrative medicine group at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston has shown that helping men cope with the stress of prostate cancer surgery before the operation  speeds up both their physical and psychological recovery.  In this study of 159 men with early-stage prostate cancer, scheduled for radical prostatectomy, a third of the men in the study received routine care, a third  “supportive care,” meaning they had access to psychologists one to two weeks before surgery as well as right before the operation and in the days after the procedure and a third group received stress management training. These men met with a psychologist for support but also learned deep breathing and guided-imagery techniques to help cope with the stress of surgery. They were led through a mental imagery exercise so they understood everything that would be happening to them as they were taken into surgery and recovery. Two days after surgery, the men who had received stress management had a measurably stronger immune response, based on higher levels of natural killer cell function and circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines, which affect the healing process.

BMI, Waist-To-Hip Ratio May Impact Breast Cancer Survival.

HealthDay (10/30, Preidt) reports, "Having a very high or low body-mass index or high waist-to-hip ratio raises the risk of death among breast cancer patients, but this association varies some by race and ethnicity," according to a study that was scheduled to be presented at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. Investigators looked at data on approximately 12,000 breast cancer patients. Researchers found that, "compared to normal-weight women, underweight women had a 47 percent increased overall risk of death and extremely obese women had a 43 percent increased risk." The investigators also found that, "compared to those with the lowest waist-to-hip ratio, women with the highest waist-to-hip ratio (highest level of abdominal fat) had a 30 percent increased overall risk of death and a 36 percent increased risk for breast-cancer-related death."

 

 

Higher Levels Of Emotional Support May Be Linked To Better Survival In Ovarian Cancer.

Reuters (7/24, Norton) reports that, according to a 168-patient study published online July 16 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, ovarian cancer patients may have a higher chance of survival if they feel that they are receiving emotional support from friends and family. Researchers reported that after nearly five years, a higher percentage of study patients who were classified as having strong emotional support were alive, compared to those with lower levels of emotional support.

 

 

COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES

 

Reflexology May Benefit Cancer Patients.

The Detroit Free Press (11/13, Spratling) reports on a study conducted by Michigan State University Professor in the College of Nursing Gwen Wyatt and funded by the National Cancer Institute that found, "Reflexology - the method of massaging the feet to stimulate parts of the body - can help cancer patients perform daily tasks better." It is "believed to be the first large-scale study to put hard science behind the benefits of reflexology as a complement to standard cancer care." The study found that "people who received the reflexology treatment had significantly less shortness of breath and were able to more easily perform such tasks as climbing stairs, getting dressed and going grocery shopping." It "involved 385 women undergoing chemotherapy or hormonal therapy for advanced-stage breast cancer that had spread beyond the breast."

 

Acupuncture May Relieve Hot Flashes Associated With Prostate Cancer Treatment.

HealthDay (4/25, Dotinga) reported that acupuncture might help "reduce the hot flashes that frequently affect prostate cancer patients while they're on hormone therapy," a small study suggests. The findings "don't confirm that the ancient Chinese discipline relieves hot flashes, and only 14 men participated in the study," which was conducted by researchers at New York Methodist Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University. Still, "our study shows that physicians and patients have an additional treatment for something that affects many men undergoing prostate cancer treatment and actually has long-term benefits, as opposed to more side effects," said lead author Dr. Hani Ashamalla in a news release from the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

Acupuncture May Help To Reduce Cancer-Related Fatigue In Female Patients.

Reuters (10/30, Pittman) reports that, according to research published online Oct. 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, acupuncture may help to reduce fatigue in female patients who have had breast cancer. Investigators reported that participants who underwent a series of acupuncture sessions reported more improvements in fatigue, anxiety, depression, and quality of life, compared to patients who had been given only educational materials

 

38 Million US Adults Turning To Alternative Therapies.

WebMD (7/22, Hendrick) reported, "Most Americans believe that prescription medications are the most effective treatments for many common illnesses, but a Consumer Reports survey of more than 45,000 people finds that three-fourths of us are turning to alternative therapies like yoga and acupuncture." Specifically, "38 million adults make more than 300 million visits per year to acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and other practitioners of alternative and complementary techniques," the report found. The report appears in the September issue of Consumer Reports Health, an online publication.

Study Finds Medicine From Chinese "Thunder God Vine" Destroys Pancreatic Tumors In Mice.

Bloomberg News (10/18, Armstrong) reports that medicine "made from a plant known as 'thunder god vine,' or lei gong teng, that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine, wiped out pancreatic tumors in mice, researchers said, and may soon be tested in humans." The study, which was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, found that "mice treated with the compound showed no signs of tumors after 40 days or after discontinuing the treatment." Study leader Ashok Saluja was quoted as stating that the medicine "is just unbelievably potent in killing tumor cells." Researchers said that these findings will lead the way for clinical trials of the medicine dubbed "Minnelide" in people with pancreatic cancer. The research was funded by the University of Minnesota and the National Institutes Of Health.

 

Red Wine Compound May Double Effect Of Breast Cancer Immunosuppressant.

The UK's Telegraph (2/15, Adams) reported that an "organic compound in the wine called resveratrol can double the effect of the chemotherapy drug rapamycin," according to an analysis published in the journal Cancer Letters. Cancer cells "often develop resistance to rapamycin, an immunosuppressant. ... 'Our findings show that resveratrol seems to mitigate rapamycin-induced drug resistance in breast cancers, at least in the laboratory,'" said lead researcher Dr. Charis Eng of the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio. She added that their "lab study on human breast cancer cell lines found that when rapamycin was used in conjunction with resveratrol, it was twice as effective at killing those cells than using rapamycin alone.

 

Herbal supplement may help treat cancer: Los Angeles Times
This article describes claims that the herb curcumin, derived from turmeric, has anti-inflammatory benefits and may be a treatment for various cancers.  Experts note the lack of research on the effects of the herb in humans, but note data suggesting that curcumin can block inflammation, eliminate free radicals and kill cancer cells in the laboratory. 
Article: Los Angeles Times 

 

Depression May Be Linked To Reduced Survival Times In Kidney Cancer Patients.

HealthDay (8/2, Dallas) reports, "Symptoms of depression are linked to shorter survival times among cancer patients, according to a new study" published in PLoS ONE. Investigators "analyzed surveys completed over a five-year period by 217 patients newly diagnosed with kidney cancer that had spread." The participants also provided several saliva samples that were used to gauge levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The researchers found that depression was linked to a shorter period of survival. The investigators also found "that higher than usual cortisol levels throughout the day were...linked to shorter survival among the cancer patients."

 

 

EXERCISE

Research Links Fitness In Men To Reduced Risk Of Certain Cancers.

Bloomberg News (5/16, Armstrong) reports, "Middle-aged men who stayed fit were less likely to die from three common cancers after being diagnosed than those who were out of shape," according to research released by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, in advance of the group's upcoming conference. Researchers found, "in a study of 17,049 men, those with good respiratory and cardiovascular fitness were more likely to survive prostate, lung or colorectal cancer, and avoid developing lung or colorectal cancers." In an interview, ASCO President Sandra Swain said, "It really does lead to telling patients that they can do something to control their outcome."

        In an interview on the PBS NewsHour (5/16, Clune) "The Rundown" blog, Dr. Susan Lakoski, the study's primary author, said, "This is the first study that really addresses the issue of fitness being a prognostic marker of cancer risk in men, and then a marker of prognosis after a cancer diagnosis."

        MedPage Today (5/16, Smith) reports that the study also indicated that "the risks of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular death were lower for the fittest men, compared with the least fit."

 

 

Exercise loweres oestrogen levels in post menopausal women

This trial  evaluated 540 Polish women, aged 40 to 74, who were enrolled as healthy control patients in the NCI Polish Breast Cancer Study. None of the patients was on hormone therapy.

The women engaged in a range of physical activity. For seven days, they wore a device called an accelerometer on their waist while awake, which measured overall activity. The women also collected 12-hour urine samples.

Dallal measured the hormones estradiol and estrone, along with different estrogen breakdown products, or metabolites, in the urine. "Physical activity was associated with lower levels of the main estrogens," she said. Activity also was associated with increased metabolism of some of the breakdown products, she found.

"Increased overall activity appears to increase the metabolism of estrogen," she said. "This is the first time we have been able to assess these 15 metabolites."

Using the accelerometers gives a much more accurate picture of activity during the day than other methods, such as having women recall their exercise activity, said Leslie Bernstein, a professor and director of cancer etiology at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, in Duarte, Calif.

Exercise prevents breast cancer and lowers oestrogen

But the principal strength of the latest study, published Tuesday in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, is that it uses new techniques and measurements to provide "the most comprehensive analysis on the effects of exercise on estrogen metabolism to date." Among exercising women, it finds an increase in "good" estrogen metabolites, which in other studies have been closely linked to decreases in breast cancer risk.

Mindy Kurzer, a University of Minnesota professor of food science and nutrition and lead author of the study, said there's still more work to be done to understand the mechanisms that link aerobic exercise and breast cancer. But there's no shortage of evidence already that it can drive down the risk of heart disease--a far more probable threat to a woman as she ages. 

 

Exercise May Reduce Risk Of Prostate Cancer In Caucasian Men.

MedPage Today (2/11, Smith) reports, "Another benefit of exercise – at least for Caucasian men – is that it may cut the risk both of developing prostate cancer and having high-grade disease," according to a study published online in Cancer. Investigators found, "in a prospective study, Caucasian men suspected of prostate cancer and scheduled for biopsy were less likely to have the disease if they were at least moderately active." Among those who "did have cancer, they were significantly less likely to have high-grade disease if they had been working out regularly." The researchers, however, did not see these associations in black men.

 

Prolonged Sitting May Contribute To Diabetes, Certain Cancers.

The Arizona Republic (3/9, Midey) reports, "Medical experts long have preached that lack of exercise contributes to heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Now they point to prolonged sitting as a villain, too." At last year's American Institute for Cancer Research conference, researchers reported that "the combination of too much sitting and too little exercise may be connected to as many as 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 cases of colon cancer in the United States each year."

Study: Sitting For Extended Periods Can Lead To Diabetes, Cancer, Heart Disease.

The Daily Telegraph (UK) (2/21, 871K) reports that, according to research conducted by Richard Rosenkranz of Kansas State University, "People who sit down for long amounts of time are more likely to get chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure." Rosenkranz's study "involved around 60,000 men aged between 45 and 65 who were asked how long they spent sat down each day," and found that "those sitting for at least six hours per day were significantly more likely to report having diabetes." Rosenkranz said that "It's not just that people aren't getting enough physical activity, but it's that they're also sitting too much. And on top of that, the more you sit, the less time you have for physical activity."

 

Associations of Recreational Physical Activity and Leisure Time Spent Sitting With Colorectal Cancer Survival

Purpose Little is known about the association of recreational physical activity or leisure time spent sitting with survival after colorectal cancer diagnosis. This study examined the associations of prediagnosis and postdiagnosis recreational physical activity and leisure time spent sitting with mortality among patients with colorectal cancer.

Patients and Methods From a cohort of adults without colorectal cancer at baseline in 1992-1993, we identified 2,293 participants who were diagnosed with invasive, nonmetastatic colorectal cancer up to mid-2007. At baseline, before their cancer diagnosis, and again after their cancer diagnosis, participants completed detailed questionnaires that included information concerning recreational physical activity and leisure time spent sitting.

Results During a maximum follow-up of 16.1 years after colorectal cancer diagnosis, 846 patients with colorectal cancer died, 379 of them from colorectal cancer. Engaging in 8.75 or more metabolic equivalent (MET) hours per week of recreational physical activity (equivalent to approximately 150 minutes per week of walking) compared with fewer than 3.5 MET hours per week was associated with lower all-cause mortality (prediagnosis physical activity: relative risk [RR], 0.72; 95% CI, 0.58 to 0.89; postdiagnosis physical activity: RR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.47 to 0.71). Spending 6 or more hours per day of leisure time sitting compared with fewer than 3 hours per day was associated with higher all-cause mortality (prediagnosis sitting time: RR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.10 to 1.68; postdiagnosis sitting time: RR, 1.27; 95% CI, 0.99 to 1.64).

Conclusion More recreational physical activity before and after colorectal cancer diagnosis was associated with lower mortality, whereas longer leisure time spent sitting was associated with higher risk of death.

Physical activity and risk of breast cancer: a meta-analysis of prospective studies

A meta-analysis to summarize the evidence from prospective studies regarding the association between physical activity and breast cancer risk. A comprehensive search was conducted to identify eligible studies. The fixed or random effect model was used based on heterogeneity test. The dose–response relationship was assessed by restricted cubic spline model and multivariate random-effect meta-regression. Overall, 31 studies with 63,786 cases were included, and the combined relative risk (RR) with 95 % CI of breast cancer was 0.88 (0.85–0.91). In subgroup analysis by activity type, data from 27 studies including 37,568 cases for non-occupational activity (including recreational activity and household activity) and seven studies including 28,268 cases for occupational activity were used, and the RR (95 % CI) of breast cancer was 0.87 (0.83–0.91) and 0.90 (0.83–0.97), respectively. The inverse association was consistent among all subgroups analyses. Stronger association was found for subjects with BMI <25 kg/m2 [0.72 (0.65–0.81)], premenopausal women [0.77 (0.72–0.84)], and estrogen and progesterone receptor-negative breast cancer [0.80 (0.73–0.87)]. Dose–response analysis suggested that the risk of breast cancer decreased by 2 % (P < 0.00) for every 25 metabolic equivalent (MET)-h/week increment in non-occupational physical activity, 3 % (P < 0.00) for every 10 MET-h/week (roughly equivalent to 4 h/week of walking in 2 miles/h or 1 h/week of running in 6 miles/h) increment in recreational activity, and 5 % (P < 0.00) for every 2 h/week increment in moderate plus vigorous recreational activity, respectively. Physical activity could significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer.

 

Walking, Cycling May Help Increase Energy In Patients Treated For Cancer.

Reuters (11/16) reports that, according to a study published in The Cochrane Library, walking or cycling may help to increase energy in individuals who have been treated for cancer. Researchers analyzed data from 38 studies that included more than 2,600 patients. The investigators found that physical activity after treatment for cancer, as well as during treatment, was linked to higher levels of energy. The researchers found that walking and cycling generally led to greater reductions in fatigue than resistance training.

 

Cancer Survivors Who Believe In Ability To Exercise More Likely To Continue.

HealthDay (10/13, Dallas) reports that a study published in the October issue of Supportive Care in Cancer conducted by Oregon State University researchers found that "breast cancer survivors who believe in their ability to follow through with an exercise program are more likely to continue working out after their treatment ends," and "physical activity can reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence." The researchers also said that "We can teach breast cancer survivors how to enlist the support of others and how to identify exercise-related barriers."

 

New Research Suggests Obese People Can Be Fit.

Bloomberg News (9/5, Hallam) reports that "obese people who are otherwise physically fit had no greater risk of dying prematurely than those whose weight is normal, according to research partially funded by Coca-Cola Co. (KO), the world's biggest soft-drink maker." Additionally, it points to a separate study, which "found that obese people with heart disease have a lower risk of dying early than underweight or normal-weight heart patients." Bloomberg News says that "the findings undermine decades of public health messages, also supported by research, that obesity can accelerate the development of heart disease, diabetes and cancer and shrink lifespans, three European researchers who weren't involved in the two studies wrote in an editorial that accompanied the results in the European Heart Journal today."

CNN (9/5) "The Chart" blog also reports on the study published this week in the European Heart Journal that "shows it is possible to be both obese and healthy." According to the blog, "the researchers found that the metabolically healthy but obese participants had a 38% lower risk of dying than their metabolically unhealthy peers." Additionally, the article says that the study found that "there was also no risk difference between the metabolically healthy obese and the metabolically healthy normal weight participants."

Exercise, Balanced Diet May Be Linked To Better Survival In Older Women With Cancer.

HealthDay (10/18, Dallas) reports, "Older women diagnosed with cancer who stay physically active, maintain a healthy weight and eat a well-balanced diet are much more likely to survive than those who don't, according to a new study" that was scheduled to be presented at the annual cancer prevention conference of the American Association for Cancer Research. Investigators "found that of the three factors, getting regular exercise had the most significant effect on the women's cancer survival."

 

Study: Six Hours Of Housework Per Day May Reduce Women's Cancer Risk By 13%.

The Daily Telegraph (UK) (9/4, Smith, Editor) reports on a new study that finds that "those who are extremely physically active can reduce their risk of breast cancer by 13 per cent - but they have to do six hours of housework per day." Additionally, the findings suggest that even women who do three hours of gardening or two-and-a-half hours of housework or walking a day can reduce their risk by about six percent. The Telegraph details that "the findings were based on 257,805 women, across Europe who are part of the massive European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC) study, funded by Cancer Research UK." The article says that "when the other factors were taken into account it was found that the more exercise women did the bigger the reduction in their cancer risk."

 

Study: Fit 50-Year Olds Less Likely To Face Chronic Disease.

Reuters (8/28, Joelving) reports that a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that fit 50-year-olds are less likely to be afflicted with chronic disease as they get older than those who are sedentary. Dr. Jarett Berry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center led the study. Berry explained the findings of the research, "We see truly reduced chronic disease, rather than just delaying the inevitable." He added that the study also makes the case for more vigorous exercise. Berry states, "We know from prior literature that higher-intensity exercise tends to translate into more fitness."

The Washington Post (8/28, Huget) reports in "The Checkup" blog that "the strongest connection between fitness and chronic disease burden was found among those with the lowest levels of midlife fitness (i.e. those in the bottom fifth of the group, fitness-wise, had the heaviest load of chronic disease near the end of their lives)." From that finding, the researchers "found promise, suggesting that those with low fitness levels who make modest improvements (the equivalent of six months of moderate-intensity exercise, 150 minutes per week) might lighten their future burden of chronic conditions by 20 percent," according to the article. However, the blog also notes that "the authors acknowledge several limitations in their work, including the fact that the participants in the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study were in a socioeconomic group - with higher income and better education - that generally enjoys better fitness and health than the general population."

HealthDay (8/28, Goodwin) also quoted Dr. Jarett Berry, who said, "not only do the people with higher fitness live a little bit longer, the onset of chronic disease occurs even later, so that the amount of time you spend in your life with chronic diseases is compressed into a smaller period of time."

MedPage Today (8/28, Walsh) notes that "limitations of the study included its reliance on administrative data and the relatively healthy participants included in the cohort, and the lack of other information such as dietary habits." The article also stated that "in an invited commentary, Diane Bild, MD, of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Md., pointed out that genetics also plays a role in successful aging and longevity."

Also covering the story are the Los Angeles Times (8/28, Healy, Times) "Booster Shots" blog, the ABC (8/28, Barnett and Shroff) "Medical Unit" blog, and the CNN (8/28) "The Chart" blog.

 

CDC: More People In US Walking Regularly. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report on walking trends in the US population received moderate coverage, mostly online. The report is portrayed as a step in the right direction, although a large swath of the population is still getting little or no exercise. Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the CDC, is quoted in several articles, as is Joan Dorn, chief of CDC's Physical Activity and Health Branch.

USA Today (8/8, Hellmich) reports, "More people in this country say they're walking regularly, a new government survey shows." However, "less than half of people say they are meeting the federal government's physical activity guidelines." According to Frieden, "The basic news today is that physical activity is the wonder drug, and more Americans are making a great first step in getting more physical activity." Meanwhile, Dorn says, "We hypothesize that new walkers appear to be starting with short bouts of walking, so overall the average time people spent walking has gone down slightly."

On its website, Fox News (8/8, Serrie) reports, "Sixty-two percent of adults surveyed in 2010 said they walked 10 minutes or more at least once during the preceding week, compared to 56 percent in 2005. However, the National Health Interview Survey determined only 48 percent of adults are getting enough physical activity to see health benefits."

The Time (8/8, Sifferlin) "Healthland" blog reports, "Increases in walking were seen among nearly all subgroups of participants surveyed, regardless of age, gender, weight, race, geography or overall health. Even among adults who needed walking assistance, one in four reported walking."

CQ (8/8, Norman, Subscription Publication) reports that during a news conference, Frieden told reporters, "Physical activity is the wonder drug," and added, "Even if you don't lose any weight, regular physical activity will reduce your risk of getting sick...and a host of many other conditions." Still, CQ added, "About a third of all adults reported no physical activity at all, and half don't meet the 150-minute standard, said the CDC."

a lipid transporter gene," according to a study published in Cancer Research. Investigators found that "deletion or down-regulation of LDL receptor-related protein 1B (LRP1B) correlated with resistance to liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil), a common choice for second-line chemotherapy in ovarian cancer." The researchers reported that "all tumor specimens with LRP1B deletion came from patients who had received liposomal doxorubicin, and none of the patients had objective responses."

Exercise May Improve QoL For Cancer Survivors, Patients Receiving Treatment.

MedPage Today (8/17, Fiore) reports, "Exercise improves quality of life for both cancer survivors and patients currently undergoing treatment," according to research published in Cochrane Reviews. "In two separate studies, 12 weeks of exercise was associated with significant improvement in overall health-related quality of life for cancer patients and survivors (standard mean difference [SMD] 0.33, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.55, and SMD 0.48, 95% CI 0.16 to 0.81), Shiraz Mishra, PhD, of the University of New Mexico, and colleagues wrote." The studies are available here and here.

 

Exercise May Help Reduce Fatigue, Depression In Breast Cancer Patients.

The Huffington Post (4/14, Chan) reported, "Exercise could be the secret weapon to help breast cancer patients combat common side effects of cancer and cancer treatments," according to research presented at a Society of Behavioral Medicine meeting.

HealthDay (4/14, Preidt) reported, "University of Miami researchers examined the physical activity levels and mental/physical health of 240 women with non-metastatic breast cancer...who were recruited for the study four to 10 weeks after surgery."

WebMD (4/14, Boyles) reported, "Half the women took part in a 10-week, group-based behavioral therapy program aimed at reducing stress, while the other half participated in a much less intensive, single-day educational session." The investigators "found that women who increased the time they spent engaged in physical activity between the time of surgery and other treatments had less fatigue-related disruptions in everyday activities." The researchers reported that "women in both groups who exercised more also experienced less depression and scored higher on tests measuring quality of life."

 

Vigorous Exercise May Cause Changes In 180 Prostate Genes.

HealthDay (2/1, Reinberg) reports, "Vigorous exercise causes changes in some 180 prostate genes among men with early stage prostate cancer," according to a study scheduled to be presented at an American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. Investigators "found 184 genes that were differently expressed in men" with low-risk prostate cancer "who did activities such as jogging, tennis or swimming for at least three hours a week, compared with genes in men who did less exercise." The same researchers, in a study published in the "Journal of Clinical Oncology," found that "men with prostate cancer who participated in three or more hours a week of vigorous activity had about a 50 percent lower risk of death from all illnesses, and a 60 percent lower risk of death from prostate cancer, compared to men who participated in less than one hour per week of vigorous physical activity," one of the researchers "said."

 

BMJ 2012

Meta analysis of 30 RCT trials  0 regular exercise reduced fatigue, obeseity

 

 

A study from Seattle demonstrate the importance of exercise guidelines after cancer
The 2008 Physical Activity (PA) Guidelines recommend engaging in at least 2.5 h (10 MET-hours/week) of moderate intensity PA per week (defined as 4 METs) to reduce risk of morbidity and mortality. This analysis was conducted to investigate whether this recommendation can be extended to breast cancer survivors. Data from four studies of breast cancer survivors measuring recreational PA from semi-quantitative questionnaires a median of 23 months post-diagnosis (interquartile range 18–32 months) were pooled in the After Breast Cancer Pooling Project (n = 13,302). Delayed entry Cox proportional hazards models were applied in data analysis with adjustment for age, post-diagnosis body mass index, race/ethnicity, menopausal status, TNM stage, cancer treatment, and smoking history. Engaging in at least 10 MET-hours/week of PA was associated with a 27% reduction in all-cause mortality (n = 1,468 events, Hazard Ratio (HR) = 0.73, 95% CI, 0.66–0.82) and a 25% reduction in breast cancer mortality (n = 971 events, HR = 0.75, 95% CI 0.65–0.85) compared with women who did not meet the PA Guidelines (<10 MET-hours/week). Risk of breast cancer recurrence (n = 1,421 events) was not associated with meeting the PA Guidelines (HR = 0.96, 95% CI, 0.86–1.06). These data suggest that adhering to the PA guidelines may be an important intervention target for reducing mortality among breast cancer survivors Jeannette M. Beasley et al .

Volume 131, Number 2, 637-643, DOI: 10.1007/s10549-011-1770-1

Further evidence for the mechanism of the benefit of exercise 
There is convincing evidence from numerous clinical and epidemiological studies that physical activity can reduce the risk for breast and prostate cancer. The biological mechanisms underlying this phenomenon remain elusive. Herein we suggest a role for naturally produced antibodies reactive with the vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) in the suppression of breast and prostate cancer, which we believe could offer a possible molecular mechanism underlying control of these cancers by physical exercise. METHODOLOGY AND RESULTSWe found that sera from individuals having breast and prostate cancers have decreased titers of VIP natural antibodies as demonstrated by a lower reactivity against peptide NTM1, having similar informational and structural properties as VIP. In contrast, sera collected from elite athletes, exhibited titers of natural NTM1-reactive antibodies that are significantly increased, suggesting that physical activity boosts production of these antibodies. SIGNIFICANCE Presented results suggest that physical exercise stimulates production of natural anti-VIP antibodies and likely results in suppression of VIP. This, in turn, may play a protective role against breast and prostate cancers. Physical exercise should be further investigated as a potential tool in the treatment of these diseases.Physical Activity and Natural Anti-VIP Antibodies: Potential Role in Breast and Prostate Cancer Therapy; Veljkovic M, Dopsaj  et al 2012 pLoS One. 2011;6(11):e28304. Epub 2011 Nov 30.

Regular Walking May Improve Fatigue, Ease Pain In Pancreatic Cancer Patients.

HealthDay (4/11, Preidt) reports, "Regular walking can help reduce fatigue in some pancreatic cancer patients," according to a study published in the April issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. After randomizing "102 white men and women aged 66 or 67 who underwent pancreatic cancer surgery" to a walking program or to usual post-operative instructions for care, researchers found that by the study's end, "improvements in fatigue levels were reported by 27 percent of those in the walking group and 19 percent of those in the control group. The patients in the walking group also reported less pain than those in the control group."

 

Factors which predict reduced physical activity after Breast Cancer 
Physical activity offers many benefits to breast cancer survivors, yet research on physical activity during the immediate period following a breast cancer diagnosis is limited. In a prospective cohort study of 1,696 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Medical Care Program from 2006–2009, we describe change in self-reported physical activity levels from around diagnosis to 6 months post-diagnosis and determine factors associated with change. Participants completed a comprehensive physical activity questionnaire at baseline (2 months post-diagnosis) and at follow-up (8 months post-diagnosis). Predictors of physical activity change were determined by multivariable linear regression. Reductions in all physical activity levels were observed (P < 0.0001); mean (SD) change (h/week) of moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was −1.28 (4.48) and sedentary behavior was −0.83 (6.95). In fully-adjusted models, overweight and obesity were associated with greater declines in MVPA of −1.58 h/week (SD = 0.92) and −1.29 h/week (SD = 0.93), respectively (P = 0.0079). Receipt of chemotherapy only was also associated with a greater decrease in MVPA (−2.12 h/week; SD = 0.92; P < 0.0001), specifically for recreational activities (−1.62 h/week; SD = 0.64; P = 0.0001). These data suggest challenges in maintaining physical activity levels during active treatment among women with breast cancer. Interventions to encourage physical activity in breast cancer survivors should be pursued. Marilyn L. Kwan 2012
Volume 131, Number 2, 679-690, DOI: 10.1007/s10549-011-1788-4

 

Researcher: Between 8% And 30% Of Cancers Potentially Linked To Inactivity.

Medscape (11/9, Yin) reports, "Between 8% and 30% of all cancers are potentially related to physical inactivity, according to a researcher who reports that exercise can lower the risk." Christine Friedenreich, PhD, a cancer epidemiologist at the Department of Population Health Research, Alberta Health Services, "reported the results from the Alberta Physical Activity and Breast Cancer Prevention (ALPHA) trial, which found that physical activity can lower the risk for cancer in postmenopausal women...at the American Institute for Cancer Research 2011 Research Conference on Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer." The results "add to existing evidence that physical activity reduces the risk for colon, breast, and probably endometrial cancer, and possibly prostate, lung, and ovarian cancer, by 10% to 30%, said Dr. Friedenreich."

 

Physical Inactivity, Prolonged Sitting Linked To More Than 90,000 New Cancer Cases.

USA Today (11/3, Hellmich) reports, "More than 90,000 new cancer cases a year in the United States may be due to physical inactivity and prolonged periods of sitting," according to an analysis presented at the annual conference of the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). The research "cites about 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 of colon cancer."

 

Exercising May Help Reduce Risk Of Dying From Colon Cancer.

Walking for just 30 minutes a day could lower the risk of dying from colon cancer, new research shows. "  The Telegraph added, "Taking on an exercise program could also reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other cancers," while "regular physical activity can...be beneficial after a cancer diagnosis has already been made."

Exercise May Benefit Cancer Patients.

BBC News (8/8) reports that a study called Move More recommends that "adult cancer patients and cancer survivors should undertake 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week," which can reduce side effects, lower chances of other diseases, and reduce the chance of cancer recurring. The report also found that "physical exercise does not increase fatigue during treatment, and can in fact boost energy after treatment."

 

Study suggests exercise during adolescence may cut risk of gliomas in adulthood.

HealthDay (10/6, Thomas) reported, "Exercising during adolescence may help guard against" gliomas "in adulthood," according to a study published Nov. 1 in the journal Cancer Research. Researchers "examined data on nearly 500,000 men and women aged 50 to 71" who responded to "questionnaires on height and weight at various points during their lives." They found that participants "who'd reported doing substantial amounts of light, moderate, and vigorous exercise between the ages 15 and 18 were 36 percent less likely to develop glioma than those who were sedentary." The study also showed that "those who were obese during their teen years had a three to four times greater risk of developing glioma than those of a normal weight." Notably, "tall people were also at increased risk of glioma," with "each 10 centimeter...increase" linked to "a nearly 20 percent increase in risk of developing glioma."

 

Researchers say moderate-to-vigorous exercise may cut breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women.

The UK's Daily Mail (10/1) reports, "A daily dose of housework could cut the risk of breast cancer," according to a study appearing in BMC Cancer. For the study, investigators surveyed over "110,000 postmenopausal women to rate their activity levels at different ages." They found that "women in the group who had done more than seven hours a week of moderate-to-vigorous exercise were less likely to develop breast cancer than inactive women." In fact, data indicated that "women who stay fit and physically active after the menopause are 17 percent less likely to develop the disease than those who rarely leave the sofa." But, "light exercise in later life did not help, nor did exercise at younger ages." The researchers speculated that "exercise may affect hormones in a way that helped prevent breast cancer."

Yoga May Benefit Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients.

Medscape (12/17, Mulcahy, Subscription Publication) reported, "The practice of yoga might reduce psychological distress and modulate abnormal cortisol levels and immune responses in patients with metastatic breast cancer, according to a study presented...at the 34th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. ... In a three-month study, 45 patients were randomized to a daily yoga intervention and 46 to standard supportive counseling. The subjects, with an average age of 50.5 years, were assessed at baseline and after the intervention." After the yoga intervention, researchers reported "a statistically significant decrease in anxiety" and depression, "as well as cortisol levels, compared to the controls." Those in the yoga group also had "a significant increase in the percentage of natural killer cells."

 

Weight lifting may ease lymphedema in women with breast cancer, researchers say.

On the front page of the New York Times (8/18, D1) Science Times section, Tara Parker-Pope writes in the Well column that women who undergo "surgery for breast cancer" are typically advised not to "lift anything heavier than 15 pounds" or "carry a heavy purse or grocery bags" in order to "prevent lymphedema." The condition is "a painful and unsightly swelling of an arm or leg that can occur near the site where lymph nodes have been removed or damaged by radiation." But, "new research," published in The New England Journal of Medicine, "suggests that much of that advice may be too restrictive." In the "study of 141 breast cancer patients who had lymphedema," women who "embarked on a slow, progressive program of weight lifting" had "significantly fewer flare-ups than the women who restricted their activity." Still, Parker-Pope cautions patients not to "disregard everything their doctors tell them about lymphedema," noting that "some patients never fully recover."

 

Fitness Regimen May Benefit Cancer Survivors.

The Los Angeles Times (2/1, Stein) "Booster Shots" blog reports that research published in the British Medical Journal "suggests that a fitness regimen can enhance the health of" cancer "patients following treatment." Investigators looked at data from 34 different studies. Researchers found that "breast cancer patients who exercised showed improvements in body mass index, weight and blood sugar control, and had better lower limb strength," in addition to other benefits. Among "those with other types of cancer, improvements were seen in BMI and body weight, oxygen consumption and hand-grip strength (fitness measures), as well as depression and quality of life."

 

Walking after prostate cancer

BBC News (5/25, Roberts) reports that men who "power walk for at least three hours a week can halve how much their cancer will grow and spread over the next couple of years," according to a study in Cancer Research. Strolling, however, "does not have the same effect," the study authors cautioned.

        WebMD (5/24, Hendrick) reported that the researchers followed "1,455 men who had been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer." The results showed that survivors who walk briskly "at a pace of at least three miles per hour for three hours or more per week were 57% less likely to develop the biochemical markers of cancer recurrence or to need a second round of treatment for their disease." Also covering the study were HealthDay (5/24, Mozes) and the UK's Telegraph (5/25, Beckford). Author: Erin L. Richman, a research associate in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco.June 1 issue of Cancer Research.

 

SMOKING

Smokers Said To Cost Employers An Extra $5,816 Per Year.

The New York Times (8/7, 1.68M) reports on its “Well” blog that researchers at The Ohio State University have analyzed data from earlier studies on the costs of smoking and concluded that a smoker “costs a private employer in the United States an extra $5,816 per year compared with a nonsmoker.” The researchers “estimated that the largest cost, at $3,077 annually, came from taking smoking breaks” as smokers took, “on average, about five breaks a day, compared with the three breaks typically sanctioned for most workers.” At $2,056, the second largest cost “was related to excess health care expenses,” as smokers “typically have more health problems than nonsmokers, including heart and lung disease and various cancers.” Additional costs were dues to “increased absenteeism.”

 

Study: Smoking Increases Chance Of Colon Cancer In Women.

HealthDay (5/1, Reinberg) reports a study published Tuesday in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention states "women who've ever smoked have an almost 20 percent increased risk for colon cancer, compared with women who never smoked." Lead researcher Dr. Inger Gram, a professor of community medicine at Norway's University of Tromso, stated that moderate smoking by women can lead to "many new cases" of colon cancer. The study found the "more years a woman smoked, the earlier she started smoking, and the more packs of cigarettes smoked a year, the greater her risk of developing colon cancer. Women who smoked for 40 years or more increased their risk for colon cancer almost 50 percent, the researchers said." The researchers note the study does show an association between smoking and colon cancer, it does not firmly link a cause-and-effect relationship.

        MedPage Today (5/1, Laino) documents the study. "Using four Norwegian Institute of Public Health surveys, the researchers identified 602,242 adults (ages 19-67) and followed them from 1972 through 2003. All had a short health exam and completed questionnaires about smoking habits, physical activity and other lifestyle factors." It adds, "During a mean follow-up of 14 years, 3,998 participants - 46% of whom were women - developed colon cancer."

        BBC News (4/30, Roberts) reported the study shows "female smokers had a 19% increased risk of the disease while male smokers had a 9% increased risk." Furthermore, researched published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism suggest a reason why this might be. A recent study by University of Western Australian researchers "found teenaged girls exposed to passive smoking had lower levels of the 'good' form of cholesterol that reduces heart disease risk." However, the study also revealed "second-hand smoke did not appear to have the same impact on teenage boys."

        HealthDay (4/30, Preidt) quoted lead author Dr. Chi Le-Ha, of the University of Western Australia, said in a news release from the Endocrine Society: "In our study, we found 17-year-old girls raised in households where passive smoking occurred were more likely to experience declines in HDL cholesterol levels." She added, "Secondhand smoke did not have the same impact on teenage boys of the same age, which suggests passive smoking exposure may be more harmful to girls. Considering cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women in the western world, this is a serious concern." She said officials need to "redouble public health efforts" to curb children's exposure to secondhand smoke.

 

Study: Smokers With Colon Cancer More Likely To Have Recurrence.

Reuters (4/4, Seaman) reports that a study published online April 1 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that among patients who had colon cancer surgery, 74 percent of non-smokers were cancer-free three years after surgery, compared to 70 percent of smokers. Amanda Phipps, the study's lead author from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues previously concluded smokers with colon cancer had an increased chance of dying of any cause compared to non-smokers, but their most recent study examined what it meant for recurrence.

 

Cancer Patients Who Quit Smoking Before Surgery Less Likely To Resume The Habit.

HealthDay (1/26) reports, "Cancer patients who smoked up until their surgery were more likely to take up the habit again compared to those who quit earlier," according to a "study from the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla." that "included lung cancer and head and neck cancer patients who quit smoking before or immediately after surgery." Participants were followed for 12 months following their surgery. In a Moffitt news release, study corresponding author Vani Nath Simmons said, "Sixty percent of patients who smoked during the week prior to surgery resumed smoking afterward, contrasted with a 13 percent relapse rate for those who had quit smoking prior to surgery."

Study Strengthens Link Between Smoking, Breast Cancer.

HealthDay (3/1, Doheny) reports that a study published online Feb. 28 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that "cigarette smoking appears to increase the risk of breast cancer, especially when women start smoking early in life." After analyzing "data from more than 73,000 women," researchers found that the "incidence of invasive breast cancer was 24 percent higher in current smokers and 13 percent higher in former smokers, compared to never smokers."

 

Quitting Smoking May Be Linked To Longer Survival In Younger Lung Cancer Patients.

Reuters (10/12, Grens) reports that, according to a study published online in Cancer, younger lung cancer patients with advanced disease who abandoned their smoking habit do better for example, that 45-year-old patients who had stopped smoking faced a 30 percent lower risk of dying from stage 4 disease within 24 months compared to patients who had not stopped smoking.

Cancer Risk Of Nicotine Gum Use Likely Smaller Than With Smoking.

In its "Well" blog, the New York Times (1/24, O'Connor, 1.68M) reports that "some research has raised speculation that long-term use of nicotine might also raise the risk of cancer, though it has mostly involved laboratory and animal research, and there have not been any long-term randomized studies specifically addressing this question in people." The article points out that "one recent report that reviewed the evidence on nicotine replacement therapy and cancer concluded that, 'the risk, if any, seems small compared with continued smoking.'" According to the blog, Lauren Indorf, a nurse practitioner with the Cleveland Clinic's Tobacco Treatment Center, said, "ultimately, the biggest problem with using nicotine gum for long periods is that the longer you stay on it, the longer you remain dependent on nicotine, and thus the greater your odds of a smoking relapse."

 

CDC Report Suggests Many Smokers Attempt To Quit.

The Wall Street Journal (11/11, McKay, Subscription Publication) reports that in 2010, 69% of adult smokers wished to quit, according to a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Of those, 6.2% succeeded. Most smokers did not utilize advice, counseling, or other assistance to help them quit.

        Bloomberg News (11/11, Lopatto) reports, "Smokers could double or triple their chances of quitting by getting counseling, medicine or both, said the US Centers for Disease Control."

        The National Journal (11/11, Quinton, Subscription Publication) reports that "Tim McAfee, director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health," expressed concern that "many of the states have drastically cut back their efforts, not only because of tough economic times," but also because "the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have made it easier to get quit-smoking services. Until recently, Medicaid did not offer states the flexibility to help smokers quit with medication or counseling, said McAfee; and until recently, Medicare only offered such services to seniors who had already contracted a smoking-related disease."

        Reuters (11/11, Steenhuysen) reports that having health insurance increased the odds of succeeding in smoking cessation, since insurance increased access to doctors, counseling, and reimbursements for aids, such as nicotine patches.

        HealthDay (11/11, Reinberg) reports, "Other factors that are equated with quitting are education, where 11 percent of those with a college degree were able to quit, compared with three percent of those who did not graduate from high school. ... In addition, blacks had the highest interest in quitting and the highest quit attempt rate than any other group, but blacks also had the lowest rate of successful quitting" and "were also less likely to use medication or counseling." Based on the report's conclusions, advocates said that "to help more smokers quit, it is critical that all private and government health plans provide affordable and accessible coverage for smoking-cessation medication and counseling, and that states use more of their tobacco revenues to properly fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs."

        MedPage Today (11/11) reports, "The findings come from analysis of the National Health Interview Surveys from 2001 through 2010, and are being released a week ahead of the annual Great American Smokeout on Nov. 17, according to Tim McAfee, MD, director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health." CQ (11/11, Bunis, Subscription Publication) also covers the story

 

tudy: Smokers More Likely To Quit Using Nicotine Patches, Medications.

Reuters (9/5) reports on an international study published in the journal Addiction, which found that smokers are more successful in quitting when they use nicotine patches or prescription medications, rather than going it alone. Study leader Karin Kasza, a statistician at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, and colleagues wrote, "Smokers in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the United States are more likely to succeed in quit attempts when they use (drugs) or nicotine patch." They added, "The disappointing reality is that even when people use these medications to help them quit, relapse is still the norm. It's better than nothing, but it's by no means a magic bullet."

 

Smokers Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer May Be More Likely To Experience A Recurrence.

CNN /Health.com (6/22, McMillen) reports, "Men with prostate cancer who are cigarette smokers at the time of their diagnosis are much more likely to die of the disease or experience a recurrence than nonsmokers, including former smokers who kicked the habit at least 10 years before diagnosis," according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers followed 5,366 men with prostate cancer "for about eight years" and found that nearly "10% of the men ultimately died from the disease, and 16% experienced a recurrence after treatment." Those who were "actively smoking when their cancer was diagnosed were 61% more likely to die and 61% more likely to experience a recurrence." Notably, even when the researchers factored in the severity of the cancer, smokers were still "38% more likely to die and 47% more likely to have a recurrence."

        "However, former smokers who had quit 10 years or more before they were diagnosed saw a risk of recurrence and death similar to men who never smoked," AFP (6/21) reported. The story was also covered by Reuters (6/22, Steenhuysen), MedPage Today (6/21, Neale), and HealthDay (6/21, Preidt).

 

Exposure to tobacco smoke may promote lung tumor growth.

HealthDay (1/19, Preidt) reported that a "team at the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine conducted tests on mice with early lung cancer lesions and found that those repeatedly exposed to tobacco smoke developed larger tumors -- and developed tumors more quickly -- than those that weren't exposed to tobacco smoke." Investigators say their work in Cancer Cell "offers definitive proof that lung inflammation caused by chronic exposure to tobacco smoke promotes lung cancer growth."

Patients with early lung cancer may double their chances of survival by quitting smoking.

The AP (1/22, Cheng) reports that "there has been little proof that quitting smoking after developing lung cancer makes any difference to survival." Now, however, researchers in the UK are saying those who do "could double their chances of surviving."

        In fact, "63 to 70 percent of" their study participants "who quit survived" for five years, HealthDay (1/21, Gardner) reported. Conversely, "only 29 to 33 percent of early stage lung cancer patients who kept smoking survived" for that long. According to the paper in the BMJ, the "survival seemed to come from a lower likelihood of tumor recurrence, not from heart/lung improvements." WebMD (1/21, Stacy) also covered the study.

 

Nicotine Replacement Therapy May Not Lower Risk Of Smoking Relapses.

On the front of its Personal Journal section, the Wall Street Journal (1/10, D1, Esterl, Subscription Publication) reports that a study in Tobacco Control suggesting that smokers who quit using aids such as nicotine patches and gum are as likely to relapse as smokers who do not.

        On its front page, the New York Times (1/10, A1, Carey, Subscription Publication) reports, "Doctors who treat smokers said that the study findings were not unexpected, given the haphazard way many smokers used the products. ... Dr. Richard Hurt, director of the Nicotine Dependence Center at the Mayo Clinic," said that "products like nicotine gum and patches 'are absolutely essential, but we use them in combinations and doses that match treatment to what the individual patient needs,' unlike smokers who are self-treating." The Times notes that nicotine replacement therapy "products have been controversial since at least 2002, when researchers at the University of California, San Diego, reported from a large survey that they appeared to offer no benefit. ... A government-appointed panel that included nicotine replacement as part of federal guidelines for treatment also came under fire, because panel members had gotten payments from the product manufacturers."

        According to the Boston Globe (1/10, Kotz) "Daily Dose" blog, "researchers said they are surprised and disappointed by their results, which found that two-thirds of people resumed smoking within four years, even when nicotine therapies were used in conjunction with behavioral counselig." Investigators "found that one-third of recent quitters who used nicotine replacement therapies relapsed within two years after the study began," which "was the same relapse rate as among people who used no smoking-cessation aids." Study co-author Gregory Connolly, head of Harvard University's Center for Global Tobacco Control, noted that the results "should give public health officials pause in terms of how much money they allocate toward smoking cessation programs," since "Medicaid beneficiaries in Massachusetts can obtain FDA-approved smoking cessation medications, including nicotine replacement therapies and drugs."

        The Los Angeles Times (1/10, Kaplan) "Booster Shots" blog reports that GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, manufacturer of "Nicorette, Nicoderm and Commit lozenges, among other smoking cessation products...noted that most of the adults in the study who used nicotine replacement products didn't use them for the full eight weeks that are recommended" and suggested that if they had done so, "they might have had more success." Also reporting the study are WebMD (1/10, Doheny) and HealthDay (1/10, Mozes)

 

Study Links Tobacco Use To Increased Skin Cancer Risk In Women.

HealthDay (12/16, Holohan) reports, "If you're a woman who smokes and you are looking for another reason to quit, consider this: A new study" published online in Cancer Causes Control "has found a link between tobacco use and skin cancer." Researchers "found that women who had squamous cell skin cancer were more likely to have smoked than those who were free from the disease." Women "who smoked at least 20 years were twice as likely to develop squamous cell skin cancer, a less aggressive form of skin cancer than melanoma."

 

Kids With Fathers Who Smoked May Face Greater Risk Of Developing ALL.

Reuters (12/15, Grens) reports that, according to a study published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology, kids with fathers who smoked may face a greater risk of developing acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Investigators surveyed families of approximately 400 kids with the disease. The researchers found that while the mothers' smoking status did not impact the children's risk of developing ALL, children whose fathers smoked near the time they were conceived faced a roughly 15 percent higher risk of developing the condition.

 

Smoking May Boost Colon Cancer Risk In Older Women By Causing Genetic Mutations.

HealthDay (6/29, Dotinga) reported that "smoking may boost the risk of colon cancer in older women by causing certain genetic mutations," according to the paper in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. "Previous research has indicated that current and former smokers are 18 percent more likely to develop colorectal cancer than those who never smoked," but it was unclear "how smoking and tumors are connected, especially at the molecular level." After examining "statistics from the Iowa Women's Health Study," Mayo Clinic researchers eventually discovered "a strong link between smoking and a specific type of colorectal cancer that's connected to genetic mutations and variations."

 

Weight May Impact Smokers' Risk For Developing Breast Cancer.

The AP (4/4, Marchione) reports, "Smoking raises the risk of breast cancer for healthy-weight and overweight women but not for those who are obese," according to findings presented at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting. The researchers analyzed data from the Women's Health Initiative, and found that of the "3,378 breast cancer cases," those who were "healthy-weight or overweight, with BMIs under 30," had a 16- to 25-percent increased risk to "develop breast cancer if they smoked." Conversely, the study team saw "no added breast cancer risk in obese" smokers (BMI 30+) compared to obese nonsmokers. The researchers speculated that because fat tissue makes estrogen, which fuels many breast cancers, obesity may be contributing "so much risk" that the risk from smoking "is less apparent."

        According to HealthDay (4/1, Preidt), Juhua Luo, an assistant professor in the department of community medicine at West Virginia University, emphasized that previous research has shown "obesity alone is a risk factor" for breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Moreover, Luo stressed that because this is the "first study to examine the interaction between smoking, obesity and breast cancer risk," more research is needed to confirm the results.

 

Women Living, Working In Smoke-Free Environments Have Lower Breast Cancer Rates.

HealthDay (3/18, Preidt) reported, "Women in smoke-free homes and workplaces are less likely to develop or die from breast cancer," according to a study in the journal Tobacco Control. Researchers compared "rates of non-smoking homes and workplaces with state-specific rates of breast cancer incidence and death," and found that states with "higher numbers of smoke-free homes and workplaces had significantly fewer breast cancer deaths, particularly among younger premenopausal women." The study authors estimated that about "20 percent of the change in breast-cancer death rates is due to changes in smoke-free home and workplace policies."

Smoking May Raise Women's Bladder Cancer Risk.

AFP (8/17) reports a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showing that women smokers have a 52% risk of bladder cancer, while men's risk is 50%. Previous studies reported a lower risk for women, which the research attributes to "the composition of cigarettes" having changed "during the past 50 years," specifically a "reduction in tar and nicotine," but an "increase in the concentration of specific carcinogens, including beta-napthylamine, a known bladder carcinogen." Also, more women are smoking now than in the past. AFP notes the study was conducted by Neal Freedman of the National Cancer Institute and funded by the National Institutes of Health.

        The Canadian Press (8/17) reports, "Researchers found that former smokers were twice as likely as people who never used tobacco to develop bladder cancer. Those who had been smoke-free for at least 10 years had a lower incidence than those who quit for shorter periods or who still smoked."

        WebMD (8/17, Mann) reports that the National Cancer Institute's Neal D. Freedman, PhD, MPH, who authored the study, said that "future studies should try to replicate these findings and analyze the constituents of tobacco smoke and identify the components that may have led to this increase" in bladder cancer risk.

        HealthDay (8/17, Gordon) reports, "Although the incidence rates for bladder cancer appear to be remaining stable, the researchers noted that findings from several studies suggested that rates for smokers seemed to be rising."

        MedPage Today (8/17, Bankhead) notes, "A limitation of the study included lack of information on the year smoking started, thereby eliminating calculation of duration or pack years of smoking. Also, there was a lack of follow-up data on smoking after the baseline survey to know how many people may have quit."

 

Smoking's Impact On Breast Cancer Risk May Be More Profound Than Previously Thought.

Medscape (5/24, Nelson, Subscription Publication) reported that the impact of "smoking on breast cancer might be larger than previously assumed," according to findings presented in advance of the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. Researchers found that women between the ages of 15 and 35 "who smoked for had a 34% higher risk for breast cancer than women who never smoked." Notably, women who smoked for "at least 35 years had a 59% higher risk, whereas those who smoked for less than 15 years had no increased risk for breast cancer."

 

Smoking May Increase Risk For Prostate Cancer Recurrence.

HealthDay (5/16, Preidt) reported that for men who "had their prostate surgically removed due to prostate cancer, smoking seems linked to a rise in blood levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA)," according to findings presented at the American Urological Association meeting. Among "321 smokers and 309 nonsmokers who underwent radical prostatectomy" between 1989 and 2005, the study team found that smokers had a "higher volume and a greater volume of high-grade cancer than nonsmokers." Smokers also tended to "chart a steeper rise in their blood levels of PSA, signaling a greater risk of 'biochemical recurrence' of prostate cancer."

 

Smoking increases colon cancer risk: Reuters
This article reports on a JAMA study indicating that regular smokers are 18 percent more likely to develop colorectal cancer and 25 percent more likely to die of the disease than people who have never smoked.  Researchers suggest that smokers may need to undergo colorectal cancer screenings earlier than people who do not smoke. Article: Reuters

Study Suggests Stress Of Cancer Makes Smoking Cessation Harder.

The Winston-Salem (NC) Journal (4/3, Craver) reported, "Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center recently conducted a study of 742 cancer patients and caregivers to determine why they can't throw the cigarettes away, and whether there are reasons beyond their addiction to nicotine." The study, which was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute, found is that "having cancer 'creates a very stressful period of time for everyone involved, and the added stress may make it a difficult time to quit.'" The researchers found that "18 percent of lung-cancer patients and 12 percent of colorectal-cancer patients continued to smoke after their diagnosis." Among caregivers, "25 percent continued to smoke, even though a family member had been diagnosed with lung cancer, as well as 20 percent" who had a family member with colorectal cancer.

 

Tobacco Companies Sue FDA Alleging Cigarette Warnings Violate Free Speech.

Dow Jones Newswire (8/17, FitzGerald, Subscription Publication) reports that four of the largest US tobacco companies sued the federal government Tuesday over new graphic cigarette label warnings, which they say violate their constitutional right to free speech.

        The AP (8/17) reports that the companies, led by "R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Lorillard Tobacco Co.," also said the labels, which include the "sewn-up corpse of a smoker and a picture of diseased lungs" will cost them "millions of dollars to print." The tobacco firms said rather than simply conveying "facts to allow people to make a decision whether to smoke," the warnings force them to "put government anti-smoking advocacy more prominently on their packs than their own brands. ... 'Never before in the US have producers of a lawful product been required to use their own packaging and advertising to convey an emotionally-charged government message urging adult consumers to shun their products,'" the companies wrote in the lawsuit filed in federal court in the District of Columbia.

        Reuters (8/17) notes that FDA refused to comment on the suit, saying the agency does not discuss pending litigation. However, Reuters quotes HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as saying when she announced the new warnings in June that the new warnings would guarantee that every "person who picks up a pack of cigarettes is going to know exactly what risks" he or she is "taking."

Habits That Promote Heart Health May Also Protect Against Cancer.

HealthDay (11/17, Gardner) reports that individuals "who are diligent about keeping their heart healthy have a good chance of staving off cancer as well," according to a study scheduled to be presented at the American Heart Association meeting. In a study of approximately 13,000 healthy participants, researchers found that "between 1987 and 2006, the participants developed more than 1,800 new cancers, namely prostate, breast, lung and colon." The investigators found that "individuals who don't smoke and who maintain a healthy body-mass index (BMI), normal blood pressure and two to four other 'ideal' measures of heart health have a 38 percent lower risk of developing cancer."

 

Study Finds Obese Women At Greater Risk For Complications After Breast Surgery.

HealthDay (11/3, Dalls) reports that according to study results published in the November issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, "Obese women who undergo elective breast surgery, such as a breast reduction or reconstruction, are nearly 12 times more likely than non-obese women to have complications following their operation." The study analyzed "insurance claims of about 8,000 women undergoing elective breast surgery" and found "30 percent, or 2,400 women, were obese." Procedures and complications were compared between obese women and non-obese women. The researchers also noted that "obese women were more than 20 times as likely to experience inflammation as other women."

Depression May Be Linked To Reduced Survival Times In Kidney Cancer Patients.

HealthDay (8/2, Dallas) reports, "Symptoms of depression are linked to shorter survival times among cancer patients, according to a new study" published in PLoS ONE. Investigators "analyzed surveys completed over a five-year period by 217 patients newly diagnosed with kidney cancer that had spread." The participants also provided several saliva samples that were used to gauge levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The researchers found that depression was linked to a shorter period of survival. The investigators also found "that higher than usual cortisol levels throughout the day were...linked to shorter survival among the cancer patients."

 

 

Vitamin D tests increase after deficiencies are linked to diseases: USA Today (July 13, 2008)
This article reports that testing for vitamin D levels, once uncommon, has skyrocketed since medical studies linked deficiencies to a variety of diseases, including cancer.  The article notes that between 2006 and 2008, vitamin D testing increased by 74 percent and that manufacturers of vitamin D diagnostic tests have seen similar increases in demand. Article: USA Today   

Music Therapy May Help Cancer Patients.

In continuing coverage, Reuters (8/16, Pittman) reports a study published in Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews showing that cancer patients' anxiety and pain may be improved by music therapy. However, depression and fatigue did not show improvement. Drexel University creative arts therapist Joke Bradt, who performed the analysis, suggests that participating in the therapy may be empowering for the patient.

 

Parity Associated With Risk For Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.

MedPage Today (2/28) reports, "The risk of triple-negative breast cancer increased by almost 50% in women who had given birth three times or more," according to a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. In contrast, the analysis found that "nulliparity was associated with a 40% lower risk of triple-negative breast cancer but a 35% greater risk of estrogen receptor-positive cancer." The analysis was based on Women's Health Initiative data, which included "155,723 women, of whom 5,194 developed invasive breast cancer during a median follow-up of 7.9 years." Although the findings have implications for individualized care, they require confirmation, the study authors cautioned.

 

LA Times Calls For Improved Testing, Research To Determine Impact Of Chemicals On Health.

The Los Angeles Times (6/28) editorialized that the President's Cancer Panel, which published a report in May that "raises alarms about 'grievous harm' caused by synthetic chemicals and asserts that the number of cancer cases they're responsible for has been 'grossly underestimated,'" was "right to broaden the discussion of cancer." The report indicates "just how little we know, at our possible peril." Even though it is difficult "to track direct links to cancer, which would not show up for years after prolonged exposure," the public should "be wary about the long list of chemicals to which it is exposed." For their part, "the Endocrine Society...and the American Medical Assn. adopted positions last year calling for federal policies to reduce public exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals." The Times concluded, "We hope the [panel's] report...helps convince Congress that better testing and research for chemicals are in everyone's interest."

 

Men treated with androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer may face increased heart risks.

HealthDay (12/7, Edelson) reported that "diabetes, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular problems appear to be more common in men with prostate cancer who are treated with androgen deprivation therapy," according to a study published online Dec. 7 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Investigators looked at data on "37,000 men treated for prostate cancer at Veterans Affairs hospitals." The researchers found that "surgical removal of the testes was associated with a 40 percent increased risk for heart disease and a more than doubled risk for heart attack. Use of multiple hormone-blocking agents was associated with a 27 percent increased risk for heart disease."

 

Dog Sniffs Out Colorectal Cancer; Findings May Help Develop VOC-Based Tests.

Bloomberg News (2/1, Von Schaper) reports that a dog "trained to sniff out colorectal cancer was almost as accurate as a colonoscopy." According to a study in the journal Gut, a "Labrador retriever was at least 95 percent as accurate as colonoscopy when smelling breath samples, and 98-percent accurate when sniffing stool samples." The dog's sense of smell was "especially effective in early-stage cancer"; and the canine could "discern polyps from malignancies, which colonoscopy can't."

        The CNN (1/31, Bonifield) "The Chart" blog noted that the dog "sniffed out the cancer sample in 33 out of 36 breath tests and in 37 out of 38 stool tests." In contrast, a "fecal occult blood test to screen for cancer at early stages" is accurate in "only one in 10 cases," the study authors noted. According to WebMD (1/31, Warner), the samples "came from 48 people with confirmed colorectal cancer and 258 volunteers with no cancer." Half of the comparison samples "came from people with bowel polyps," which are thought to be a "precursor of colorectal cancer."

        The Los Angeles Times (1/31, Kaplan) "Booster Shots" blog reported that the although it is not yet clear whether "each cancer has its own chemical signature," the dog in the study has "been able to detect breast, lung, prostate, uterine, ovarian, bladder, gastric, pancreatic and esophageal cancers from breath samples, along with hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma."

        Still, according to Medscape (1/31, Chustecka), the researchers are "not suggesting using dogs in clinical practice." Instead, they propose using the findings to "develop cancer detection tests based on 'odor materials.'" MedPage Today (1/31, Fiore) and HealthDay (1/31, Reinberg) also covered the study.

 

 

Diabetes May Increase Risk For Developing, Dying From Cancer.

HealthDay (4/3, Gordon) reported that the risk of dying from a cancer is "higher in people with diabetes -- 11 percent greater for women and 17 percent higher in men," according to findings presented at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting. The researchers analyzed data on "55,888 men and 26,364 women" with cancer. Notably, lead study author, Gabriel Lai, a fellow at the National Cancer Institute, said diabetes was associated with an "8-percent increase in cancer risk in women, and there was a similar pattern in men, except for prostate cancer." She said that when prostate cancer rates were included, diabetic men's "odds for cancer generally were reduced by 4 percent. But, once the statistics on prostate tumors were factored out," men with diabetes had a "9-percent higher risk for cancer overall, compared to nondiabetic men."

 

Experts say HPV-positive head, neck cancers may respond better to treatment.

Following a MedPage Today article, Medscape (7/30, Mulcahy) reported, "HPV-positive cancers of the head and neck have dramatically better prognoses and are more responsive to chemotherapy and radiotherapy than HPV-negative cancers, which have a poor prognosis, experts noted at a press conference organized by the American Association for Cancer Research." Therefore, they maintain that "clinicians who diagnose oropharyngeal cancer should now test their patients' tumor tissue for" the virus. Although the suggestion is not new, the new study, led by researchers at the University of Maryland "makes an important contribution to the understanding of this link." What's more, it demonstrates, "for the first time, that the well-known difference in survival between black and white patients" is not "racially based. Instead, it is due to the fact that blacks are much more likely to have difficult-to-treat HPV-negative oropharyngeal cancer than whites, and thus have greater mortality."

        Delving into the specifics of the study, which was published online July 29 in Cancer Prevention Research, HealthDay (7/30, Preidt) reported that the team "found that median overall survival was 70.6 months for white patients and 20.9 months for black patients treated with chemotherapy and radiation." Yet, "median survival was 26.6 months for HPV-negative patients, while the survival rate for HPV-positive patients couldn't be calculated because most were still alive." Notably, "four percent of black patients and 34 percent of white patients were HPV-positive."

 

 

New Data Show Nearly 12 Million US Adults Are Cancer Survivors.

The CBS Evening News (3/10, story 8, 0:20, Couric) reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "said today about one in 20 Americans over the age of 20 is a cancer survivor."

        According to the New York Times (3/11, A14, Belluck), the study in the CDC's most recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report indicates that the "number of cancer survivors increased by about 20 percent in just six years, to 11.7 million in 2007, the latest year for which figures were analyzed, from 9.8 million in 2001." CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said the increase was due to many factors. "In some cases of breast cancer and colon cancer, for example, improved treatment and increased follow-up after treatment have helped increase survival." He added that in others, such as prostate cancer, an "explosion in screening has identified many men with the disease, but the cancer is often so slow-growing that they would be unlikely to die from it."

        The CNN (3/11, Willingham) "The Chart" says that researchers believe the increase is due to a "growing aging population, early detection, improved diagnostic methods, more effective treatment, and improved clinical follow-up after treatment." Moreover, Dr. Frieden said, "Not smoking, getting regular physical activity, eating healthy foods, and limiting alcohol use can reduce the risk of many cancers."

        On ABC World News (3/10, lead story, 2:50, Stephanopoulos), Dr. Frieden was shown saying, "Life doesn't have to end with cancer. If you get a diagnosis of cancer, there's a lot you can do to ensure that you lead a long, healthy, productive life as much as possible."

        The AP (3/11) notes that the data showed "7 million -- 60 percent -- of the cancer survivors were 65 or older." Women diagnosed with breast cancer "made up the largest share of cancer survivors, at 22 percent, followed by men with prostate cancer, at 19 percent."

        The Los Angeles Times (3/11, Maugh) "Booster Shots" blog reports that trailing "far behind" survivors of breast and prostate cancers were the "1.1 million survivors of colorectal cancer; in fourth place were the nearly 800,000 survivors of kidney and renal pelvis cancers." The data come from the "nine Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results programs."

        According to the Fox News (3/10) Body & Mind column, CDC defines a cancer survivor as "anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, from the time of diagnosis through the balance of his or her life."

        The National Journal (3/11, Fox, subscription required) reports, "Approximately 1.1 million of the 11.7 million cancer survivors had lived with a diagnosis of cancer for 25 years or more."

        In contrast, notes the NPR (3/11, Knox) "Shots" blog, in "1971, when cancer was considered pretty much a death sentence, there were only one-fourth as many survivors, and they made up less than 2 percent of the population."

 

Higher Melanoma Incidence Documented In Girls, Young Women In Higher Socioeconomic Groups.

MedPage Today (3/21, Smith) reported, "Girls and young women who live in wealthier neighborhoods and get more sun-soaked recreation appear to have a higher risk of melanoma," according to a study published online March 21 in the Archives of Dermatology. "Data from" one "state's cancer registry linked greater melanoma incidence among women and girls ages 15 through 39 with socioeconomic status and the average ultraviolet-B light exposure in their neighborhoods."

        HealthDay (3/21, Salamon) reported, "In research examining the relationship between melanoma incidence, ultraviolet (UV) light exposure and socioeconomic status, scientists studied data from 3,800 white girls and women in California aged 15 to 39 during two periods a decade apart." In these "women, 3,842 melanomas were diagnosed, with diagnoses increasing most significantly over time in the three highest socioeconomic levels."

        WebMD (3/21, Boyles) reported, "Among women living in neighborhoods with the highest UV radiation levels, melanoma rates were 70% higher for those living in the highest income neighborhoods, compared to the lowest."

        Reuters (3/22) also covers the story, pointing out that, according to the National Cancer Institute, melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

 

Higher HDL Cholesterol May Reduce Risk For Colon Cancer.

(3/8, Reinberg) reported, "High levels of 'good' cholesterol" may reduce the risk of colon cancer, according to a study published online March 7 in Gut. The researchers compared 1,238 people (779 had colon cancer and 459 had rectal cancer) with 1,238 healthy people, and found that "those with the highest levels of HDL cholesterol and another blood fat called apolipoprotein A (apoA) had the least chance of developing colon cancer, but no impact was seen on rectal cancer." Specifically, for each "16.6 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) increase in HDL and 32 mg/dL increase in apoA, the risk of colon cancer was cut by 22 percent and 18 percent," respectively.

        WebMD (3/8, Boyles) noted that in an interview, study co-researcher Bas Bueno-De-Mesquita, MD, PhD, from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven, the Netherlands, said that if the "findings are confirmed, HDL levels may be a useful indicator of colon cancer risk, along with other risk factors that are already known." The UK's Press Association (3/8) also covered the study results.

 

Smoking, Second-Hand Exposure Raise Breast Cancer Risk.

HealthDay (3/1, Reinberg) reported, "Both smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke appear to increase the risk for breast cancer among postmenopausal women," according to a study in the BMJ. The researchers collected 10 years of follow-up data on "79,990 women aged 50 to 79 who took part in the Women's Health Initiative" and found that "3,250 women developed breast cancer." The women who smoked had a "16-percent increased risk of developing breast cancer. Among women who quit, the increased risk was 9 percent."

        BBC News (3/2, Roberts) adds that "women who had never smoked but had lived or worked with smokers for prolonged times also appeared to be at increased risk for breast cancer." For example, over "10 years' exposure in childhood, over 20 years' exposure as an adult at home and over 10 years' exposure as an adult at work, increased the risk by 32%," the researchers concluded. The same trend, however, was not seen "among women who had been exposed to lesser amounts." AFP (3/2) also covers the study.

Obesity May Boost Odds For Developing Triple-Negative Breast Cancers.

Reuters (3/2, Steenhuysen) notes that research has already shown that being overweight increases the risk of breast cancers, but excessive body weight may also increase the risk of triple-negative breast cancers, according to a new study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. The researchers analyzed study data from the 155,723 women and found that women with the highest BMIs had a 35% increased chance for developing triple-negative breast cancers. HealthDay (3/1, Doheny) and WebMD (3/1, Boyles) also covered the study.

Sedentary Lifestyle Increases Risk Of Developing Bowel Cancer Polyps.

BBC News (3/2, Hughes) reports, people who engage in regular exercise are "16% less likely to develop bowel polyps and 30% less likely to develop large or advanced polyps," according to an analysis of 20 previous studies published in the British Journal of Cancer. AFP (3/2) also covers the study; as does the UK's Press Association (3/2), which notes that bowel cancer is the "third most common cancer in the UK after breast and lung cancer, with more than 38,000 new cases each year."

 

 

Study Refutes Cellphone, Brain Cancer Risk.

The Washington Post (2/21, Huget) "The Checkup" blog reported that a study published in the journal Bioelectromagnetics in January suggests that cellphones do not cause cancer. Researchers fanalyzed data for cases of brain cancer reported by the "UK Office of National Statistics from 1998 to 2007," and reasoned that if the radio frequencies cellphones emit caused brain cancer, there would have been a "notable uptick in the number of such cancers in cellphone-using societies during the past 20 years as cellphone use has risen. In short, the paper finds, no such uptick is evident."

        According to HealthDay (2/18), the study did find a "very small increase (0.6 more cases per 100,000 people) in the incidence of cancers of the brain's temporal lobe." That equates to "31 extra cases per year in England's population of nearly 52 million people," the researchers said.

Data Indicate Oral Sex Increases Risk Of Oropharynx Cancers.

The CNN (2/21, Landau) "The Chart" blog reported that experts are saying that it is crucial for teens to understand that "oral sex carries many of the same risks as vaginal sex, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of oral cancers in America in people under age 50." During a conference on Sunday, researchers said that the "latest data suggest that 64% of oropharynx cancers -- growing in the middle part of the throat -- in the United States are caused by HPV, which is more than tobacco causes." Notably, the

Melanoma In Adults May Be Preventable With Regular Sunscreen Use.

Medscape (1/25, Mulcahy) reported, "Melanoma in adults might be preventable with the regular use of sunscreen -- that is, with the daily application to the head, neck, arms, and hands," according to a study published in the Jan. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. In a study in which 1,621 adults were randomized "to regular sunscreen use or to discretionary use, which included no use at all," researchers found that "regular application of sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 or more during a five-year treatment period reduced the incidence of new primary melanomas during a subsequent 10-year follow-up period."

 

"

Dutasteride May Slow Growth Of Early, Low-Risk Prostate Cancer.

The AP (2/16, Marchione) reports, "A new study suggests a way to help men with early, low-risk prostate cancer avoid being overtreated." According to results "released Tuesday in a telephone news conference sponsored by the American Society for Clinical Oncology," the study enrolled about 300 men with low-risk prostate cancer. Biopsies taken 1-1/2 years later showed that prostate cancer got worse in "38 percent" of men taking Avodart (dutasteride) and "49 percent of those" on placebo. Final biopsies at three years, however, "showed no signs of cancer in 36 percent of men on Avodart versus 23 percent of those on dummy pills." The researchers concluded that Avodart, which is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, can "slow the growth of these tumors in men who opt to be monitored instead of having treatment right away."

        FDA Panel Rejects Bid To Include Prostate Cancer Prevention In Dutasteride's Indications. MedPage Today (2/15, Bankhead) reports that the FDA in January "rejected a bid to expand dutasteride's indications to include prostate cancer prevention." The decision followed a "December meeting of an FDA advisory committee, whose members voted overwhelmingly against the indication for both dutasteride" and Proscar (finasteride). The advisory committee "cited evidence of an increased risk of high-grade cancer among" men treated with 5-alpha reductase inhibitors as the "key factor in their thumbs-down votes."

 

Women Exposed To Second-Hand Smoke May Be More Likely To Have Abnormal Pap Tests.

Reuters (2/11, Norton) reported that studies have shown that women who smoke have a higher-than-average cervical cancer risk. Now, a new study of 4,400 women, in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, reveals that women who are exposed to second-hand smoke have damaged cervical cells. Although the study did not confirm that the women had an increased cervical cancer risk, it did show that one out every 14 women, who reported second-hand smoke exposure, had an abnormal Pap test result. Overall, the researchers found that 70 percent more women who reported second-hand smoke exposure were likely have abnormal Pap results, even after the women's own smoking habits and sexual history were considered.

 

 

 

Obesity May Influence Molecular Pathogenesis Of Colon Cancer.

MedPage Today (12/28, Fiore) reports, "Obese patients are less likely to have a genetic mutation that is associated with better outcomes in colorectal cancer," according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Researchers found, "in a retrospective study," that "obese patients were significantly less likely to have a tumor with deficient DNA mismatch repair (dMMR) status -- a phenotype predictive of improved outcomes -- than normal-weight patients (P<0.001)." According to the investigators, "Obesity may influence the molecular pathogenesis of colon cancer and reduce the favorable prognostic dMMR subtype."

 

Some Scientists Attribute Childhood Leukemia, Brain Cancer Increases To Environmental Chemicals.

WebMD (1/27, Mann) reports that the rise in childhood leukemia and brain cancer rates "may be partially" blamed on exposure to environmental chemicals such as "chlorinated solvents and the head lice treatment lindane," according to experts speaking at a conference call sponsored by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. The group is seeking to "overhaul the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)." Sean Palfrey, MD, of Boston University, "says that chemical exposures can be passed down, much like genes. ... 'They may not harm the first organ, but they may harm the blood cells related to leukemia and brain cells related to brain cancer,'" Dr. Palfrey said. However, "not everyone in the scientific community agrees" with the chemical-exposure connection. Some suggest that "improvements in diagnosing childhood cancers may also have a role."

 

Meta-Analysis Shows Having Both Breast Cancer, Diabetes Doubles Mortality Risk.

HealthDay (1/20, Goodwin) reported, "Having both breast cancer and diabetes greatly increases the chances of dying," according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of seven studies and determined that six of them "found pre-existing diabetes was associated with significantly higher long-term, all-cause mortality." Specifically, the studies showed "breast cancer patients with diabetes were nearly 50-percent more likely to die than those who didn't have diabetes."

Research Suggests Cigarettes May Cause Genetic Damage Within Minutes.

AFP (1/18) reports, "Those first few puffs on a cigarette can within minutes cause genetic damage linked to cancer," according to a study in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology. The researchers "said the 'effect is so fast that it's equivalent to injecting the substance directly into the bloodstream,' in findings described as a 'stark warning' to those who smoke."

        According to HealthDay (1/18, Mozes), the investigators "focused on a class of cancer-causing culprits found in cigarette smoke called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs." They labeled and tracked the PAH phenanthrene "through the bodies of 12 volunteer smokers" and found that the PAH "began to cause havoc on the DNA of the smokers within just 15 to 30 minutes after smoking," suggesting that a smoking habit "causes immediate genetic damage and quickly raises the short-term risk for cancer." BBC News (1/15) also covers the study.

 

FDA Says Breast Implants May Be Linked To Rare Form Of Lymphomatous Cancer.

ABC World News (1/26, story 7, 2:10, Sawyer) reported, "An important health warning tonight from the FDA about a possible link between breast implants and a rare form of cancer." ABC (Stark) added, "The government says they may be linked to a rare form of lymphoma. ... There are 60 cases worldwide, in as many 10-million women with implants."

        The Washington Post (1/27, Stein) reports that the FDA on Wednesday announced it had "detected a possible association between saline and silicone gel-filled breast implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL)" The agency said most women with implants "do not have to have them removed or take any other steps," but they should "immediately seek medical care" if they develop "unusual problems," such as "swelling or pain around the implant."

        According to the AP (1/27), the FDA based its warning on a review of "scientific literature going back to 1997 along with information provided by international governments and manufacturers." Most of the cases were "reported after patients sought medical care" for problems "around the surgical site."

        The Wall Street Journal (1/27, Dooren, Mundy, subscription required) reports the FDA has identified 60 ALCL cases in women who had breast implants, of which 34 cases have thus far been verified, according to a statement released by the agency. HealthDay (1/26, Reinberg) noted that 24 of the cases were "related to silicone implants, seven to saline implants and the type of implant in the remaining three cases are not known," according to the FDA. The agency also said that "19 of the implants were inserted for cosmetic reasons and 11 were used in reconstructive procedures. The reasons for the other four procedures are not known."

        The New York Times (1/27, A18, Grady) reports that in some cases, simply "removing the implant and scar tissue gets rid of the disease, but some women might need chemotherapy and radiation," said Center for Devices and Radiological Health Deputy Director Dr. William Maisel. He noted that although 60 cases is "a tiny number compared" with the number of women who have implants, it is an excess when "compared with the usual incidence." ALCL in the breast is "normally found in only three in 100-million women who do not have implants."

 

Study Suggests 30 Percent Of Breast Cancers Could Be Prevented By Lifestyle Modifications.

The Boston Globe (1/19, Kotz) "Daily Dose" blog reports that a study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology "compared 6,386 healthy women with 3,074 breast cancer patients." The researchers then "calculated the percentage of cancer cases attributed" to particular risk factors and found that about "37 percent of all postmenopausal breast cancers are caused by factors women can't change, such as their family history, their age, or the age of their first and last menstrual period." However, the researchers also determined that nearly "30 percent of breast cancers could be prevented by modifying certain lifestyle habits." The biggest lifestyle habits were "use of hormone replacement therapy and a lack of physical activity," while excess "body weight and alcohol consumption" played minor roles.

 

Behavioral Therapy May Help Reduce Incontinence Episodes After Prostate Cancer Surgery.

The Wall Street Journal (1/11, Hobson, subscription required) "Health Blog" reported that some 65% of men experience incontinence after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer. Some patients opt for more surgery to correct the issue. Now, however, a paper appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that a therapy, often prescribed for women, may help relieve the problem.

        The "behavioral intervention consisted of four visits scheduled two weeks apart," WebMD (1/11, Mann) reported. "Men received education on their pelvic floor anatomy and learned how to do the pelvic-floor-muscle exercises." They "were also advised to hold their urine stream during voiding once a day for two weeks, keep a bladder diary, avoid caffeine, and to distribute their fluid throughout the day."

        The University of Alabama study participants, 208 men, were "randomly assigned to one of three groups," HealthDay (1/11, Gordon) reported. "After eight weeks, the researchers found that the average number of incontinence episodes dropped from 28 to 13 a week, a 55 percent decline, for the men in the behavioral therapy group, and from 26 to 12 episodes a week, down 51 percent, for men who'd had biofeedback and electrical stimulation as well as behavioral therapy. The control group had a 24 percent reduction, on average, in incontinence episodes."

Researchers May Have Pinpointed Association Between Bedroom Light Intensity, Breast Cancer Risk.

Medscape (1/11, Chustecka) reported "that light at night, specifically in the bedroom, increases the risk for breast cancer," researchers in Israeli concluded after evaluating 1,679 women. The study detailed in Chronobiology International, the authors asserted, is the "first...to have identified an unequivocal positive association between bedroom light intensity and breast cancer risk." However, two "experts in the field took issue with the word 'unequivocal.'" Richard Stevens, PhD, of the University of Connecticut, said "there is a serious potential for recall bias, he emphasized," while Johnni Hansen, PhD, from the Danish Cancer Society's Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, "noted that there was a large difference is the response rates -- only 52% of controls, compared with 86% of cases, agreed to answer the questions on light in the bedroom."

  

Vitamin and mineral supplements increase the risk of skin cancer (SU.VI.MAX study)

A study in France compared supplementation with Vitamin A, C & E with selenium and zinc against placebo. After 7.5 years the incidence of skin cancers including melanoma were higher in the supplementation group although only in women. Fortunately a study published in the EJC (2010, 46, 3316-3322) showed that stopping the supplements reduced the risk in the normal levels within 5 years. This study did not measure baseline levels of this vitamins an mineral and confirms the importance of measuring levels before taking supplement with the aim of correcting specific deficiencies avoiding excess levels which are clearly carcinogenic.

Vitamin Use Linked To Reduced Risk For Mortality, Recurrence In Some Cancer Patients.

Medscape (12/30, Nelson) reported, "The evidence continues to be unclear as to whether dietary supplements are helpful or harmful during cancer treatment." Yet, researchers at Vanderbilt University were unable to find "evidence that the use of vitamins during first six months after a diagnosis of breast cancer adversely affected outcomes. In fact," according to their paper in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, "vitamin use -- and the use of vitamins C and E in particular -- appeared to be associated with reduced risk for mortality and recurrence." Specifically, those "who used antioxidants (vitamin E, vitamin C, multivitamins) had an 18% reduction in their mortality risk, and the risk for recurrence was decreased by 22%," an association that "was observed whether vitamin use was concurrent or nonconcurrent with chemotherapy."

Long-Term Soy Isoflavone Use May Not Increase Risk For Breast Cancer In Menopausal Women.

According to a study published online Dec. 22 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, long-term use of soy isoflavones does not appear to increase the risk for breast cancer in menopausal women. In a study of 403 women who were randomized to placebo or to 80- or 120-milligram tablets of soy hypocotyls isoflavone supplementation over the course of two years, researchers detected no differences in screening tests, blood tests, and blood pressure measurements taken during well-woman examinations.

Replacing Carbs With Proteins From Plants May Be Better Than Doing So With Meat Proteins.

USA Today (9/7, Hellmich) reports, "If you're trying to cut carbs, it may be better for your health to eat more protein and fat from plant sources than animal sources," according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Investigators "followed 85,168 women and 44,548 men for several decades." The researchers found that "participants who replaced carbs with protein and fat from animal sources were more likely to die from all causes, including cancer and heart disease." The Los Angeles Times (9/6, Stein) "Booster Shots" blog, the CNN (9/6) "The Chart" blog, and HealthDay (9/6, Gardner) also covered the story

Obesity May Increase Risk Of Colon Cancer-Induced Mortality Among Postmenopausal Women.

The Los Angeles Times (9/9, Khan) "Booster Shots" blog reported, "Obesity doesn't just increase postmenopausal women's risk of developing colon cancer, it might even raise their risk of dying from it," according to a paper published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. "That doesn't mean going on a crash diet and emaciating yourself." The "term 'healthy body weight' is the key here," considering that "being underweight is also dangerous: Underweight women diagnosed with colon cancer were 89% more likely to die of any cause than women with a normal BMI."

        Before reaching those conclusions, the team looked at data on 1,096 women and eventually discovered that "obese women -- those with a body-mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher -- had a 45 percent increase in all causes of death compared to women with a healthy weight," HealthDay (9/9, Doheny) reported. Investigators also discovered that an "unhealthy waist-to-hip ratio and large waist...were associated with a higher risk of dying from colon cancer." Specifically, "women with waists of 37.5 inches or higher had a higher death risk than those with a healthier waist size."

Consuming Even Moderate Amounts Of Alcohol May Raise Breast Cancer Recurrence Risk In Certain Women.

HealthDay (8/30, Mozes) reported, "Drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol may raise the risk for breast cancer recurrence in some women," according to a paper in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The "association seems confined to former breast cancer patients who are postmenopausal or overweight or obese." In fact, Kaiser Permanente researchers found that "participants who were postmenopausal or overweight/obese raised their risk for breast cancer recurrence by nearly 1.5 times if they regularly consumed a minimum of three to four drinks of any type of alcohol a week."

 

Oklahoma Researchers Studying Effects Of Turmeric On Prostate Cancer.

The Oklahoman (7/27) reports "Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Biji Kurien is studying the effects of curcumin, a chemical in the spice turmeric, on prostate cancer." Turmeric is a "widely used spice in Asia, where the rate of prostate cancer is much lower" than in the US. So far, "published studies have shown that curcumin can induce death in some cancer cells, which absorb more of the chemical than normal cells," he said

 

Dietary Nitrites, Nitrates May Be Linked To Bladder Cancer Risk.

MedPage Today (8/2, Fiore) reported, "High intake of nitrite and nitrate added to processed meats to aid preservation may be tied to bladder cancer," NIH researchers found. "In a prospective cohort study that followed more than 300,000 men and women for seven years, dietary nitrite and nitrate, and nitrite alone, were associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer among individuals with the highest consumption of processed meat -- but it was of borderline statistical significance," according to the paper in Cancer. "However, consumption of processed meat itself was not associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer."

        Apparently, during the cooking process, chemicals that are naturally present in meat can combine with nitrates and nitrites to form N-nitroso compounds, which have been known to cause cancer, Reuters (8/3, Peeples) reports. Upon exiting the system, the compounds may come in contact with the bladder's lining -- hence the potential cancer risk.

 

Long Ring Finger Linked To Prostate Cancer Risk.

The UK's Telegraph (7/21, Jamieson) reports that "hospital patients...whose ring finger on the right hand was significantly longer than the index finger were more likely to" develop prostate cancer "than those fingers were roughly same length," South Korean researchers found after looking at 366 men. "Blood tests showed that men whose ring fingers were much longer than their index finger, next to the thumb, had almost double the normal levels of prostate specific antigen." And, "three times as many of these men went on to be diagnosed with prostate cancer."

 

 

Guidelines Urge Cancer Survivors To Exercise More Often.

The AP (6/29, Neergaard) reports that the medical community has "long advised that being overweight and sedentary increases the risk for various cancers." Now, new "guidelines issued this month" from a panel commissioned by the American College of Sports Medicine "advise cancer survivors to aim for the same amount of exercise as recommended for the average person: about 2 1/2 hours a week." Indeed, "patients still in treatment may not feel up to that much, the guidelines acknowledge, but should avoid inactivity on their good days." Notably, "innovative new studies are under way to start answering" questions regarding exercise type and intensity.

 

 

IOM Panel Investigating Possible Link Between Breast Cancer, Environmental Risk Factors.

NBC Nightly News (7/7, story 7, 2:20, Williams) reported, "It's long been a fear -- more than that, a belief held by many people that things in our environment, our daily life that we come in contact with cause certain kinds of cancer." Specifically, "for breast cancer," there are concerns about "pesticides and chemicals like BPA in plastic bottles and can liners that can disrupt hormone function in animal studies." Yesterday, however, "a panel of experts...in San Francisco heard so far there is no proof of a connection, but it is critical to look." Therefore, the "panel from the Institute of Medicine...is holding studies to determine what further research is needed."

Fish Oil May Help Lower Risk Of Certain Types Of Breast Cancer.

CNN /Health.com (7/8, Gardner) reported, "Millions of Americans already take fish oil to keep their hearts healthy and to treat ailments ranging from arthritis to depression." Now, a paper appearing in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention indicates that the "supplements may also help women lower their risk of breast cancer." In fact, "postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 76 who took fish oil were...less likely to develop certain types of breast cancer than women who didn't," researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found.

        Delving into specifics, the UK's Press Association (7/8) reports that the "Vitamins and Lifestyle (Vital) study recruited 35,000 post-menopausal women who had no history of breast cancer." Each participant was "asked to fill out a 24-page questionnaire about their use of dietary supplements and monitored for six years." Eventually, "880 of the women went on to develop breast cancer."

        Yet, "researchers found a 32-percent reduction in breast cancer risk among women taking fish oil," Canwest News Service (7/7, Kirkey) reported. "The results held for ductal breast cancer, the most common type of the disease, but not for lobular cancers." Lead investigator Emily White said, "To find that it reduced a specific type of breast cancer adds a little support to the association."

        Still, according to the UK's Independent (7/8, Laurance), the findings are "likely to further boost the booming market for the supplements, worth about $2bn (Ł1.31bn) globally in 2007, doubling since 2003." The UK's Daily Mail (7/8, Borland) also covers the study.

 

 

Consuming Fruit, Vegetables Regularly May Lower Lung Cancer Risk.

The UK's Daily Mail (7/6) reports, "Eating fruit and vegetables regularly may lower the risk of lung cancer," according to "research based on 700 people." Meanwhile, "another study...found eating 1˝ pieces of fruit or a large tablespoonful of vegetables every day can protect against emphysema and chronic bronchitis." In fact, those "who ate the most celery had a 60 percent lower risk than those who ate the least," while those who ate carrots experienced a 50 percent reduction.

Tea Tree Oil May Help Treat Some Skin Cancers.

The UK's Daily Mail (7/5) reported, "Tea tree oil may provide a fast, cheap and effective treatments for some skin cancers, according to researchers." A team of researchers from the University of Western Australia found that the common remedy was able "to shrink non-melanoma skin cancers in mice in just one day and wiped them out within three days." Study leader Dr. Sara Greay said, "We are very excited about these results and are hoping to find funding for a small clinical trial of about 50 people with pre-cancerous lesions, with the aim of preventing the development of skin cancers."

 

 

Women Who Drink Tea May Be Less Likely To Develop Ovarian Cancer.

The UK's Telegraph (5/25) reported that "women who drink a single cup every day are ten per cent less likely to develop" ovarian cancer "than those who never drink tea," according to a study published in the journal Cancer Causes and Control. Investigators found that "a single daily cup of black tea appeared to lower the risk by around ten per cent, two to three cups by 13 per cent and four or more by 12 per cent." The researchers also found that "those drinking green tea saw their risks decline by 20 per cent for one cup a day, eight per cent for two to three cups, and 18 per cent for four cups or more."

 

Healthy, Largely Plant-Based Diet May Reduce Risk For Colorectal Cancer.

WebMD (6/16, Doheny) reported that, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, "eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, and fish may reduce your risk of colorectal cancer." After comparing the diets of "431 men and women with colorectal cancer and the diets of 726" matched controls without colon cancer, researchers found that "eating a largely plant-based diet with higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and low-fat dairy in women and fish in men" appeared to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by 62% in men and by 65% in women.

 

 

Smoking May Increase Risk Of Leukemia, Hodgkin's Lymphoma In Women.

Bloomberg News (8/10, Kitamura) reports, "Female smokers have a higher risk of developing leukemia and Hodgkin's lymphoma, according to a study published in the British Journal of Cancer." Investigators found that "the risks of Hodgkin's lymphoma and some bone marrow cancers were doubled in women who smoked about 20 cigarettes a day compared with non-smokers in research that looked at 1.3 million middle-aged women."

 

 

 

 

High blood sugar risk of cancer The UK's Telegraph (1/3, Alleyne) reported that, according to findings published in the Public Library of Science journal, "excess blood sugar means someone could be more likely both to develop cancer and also to die from it." In a study of "blood sugar levels in 274,126 men and 275,818 women from Norway, Austria, and Sweden," researchers found that "women were more vulnerable than men, and high blood sugar is linked to a range of different cancers for each gender." Notably, "the increased likelihood of cancer occurred regardless of the participants' body mass index levels."

Folic acid plus vitamin B12 may increase risk of cancer, death in heart-disease patients.

Canada's Globe and Mail (11/18, Weeks) reports that, according to research published Nov. 18 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, "heart-disease patients treated with a combination of folic acid and vitamin B12 had an increased risk of cancer and death, compared to patients who didn't receive the vitamins as treatment." The finding "fuels fears that mandatory fortification of the food supply with folic acid could yield unintended consequences."

        The Los Angeles Times (11/17, Dennis) "Booster Shots" blog reported that the researchers "analyzed data from 6,837 people with ischemic heart disease treated with folic acid, B6 and B12; folic acid and B12; just B6 or a placebo," finding that "those treated with folic acid and B12 had higher rates of cancer, cancer deaths, and deaths in general over the course of several years."

        In fact, 10 percent "of patients getting folic acid and vitamin B12 developed cancer, compared with 8.4 percent who didn't receive this treatment," Bloomberg News (11/18, Cortez) reports. Meanwhile, "four percent died from cancer and 16 percent died from any cause among those getting folic acid and vitamin B12" compared to "2.9 percent of people who died from cancer and 13.8 percent who died from any cause among those who didn't get the combination."

        Notably, "the most common cancers associated with folic acid were colorectal, lung, prostate, and blood cancer," HealthDay (11/17, Reinberg) reported. But, "other researchers cautioned that the results should not turn women away from normal folic acid supplements that can help prevent birth defects," MedPage Today (11/17, Walsh) reported. WebMD (11/17, Boyles) also covered the story.

 

Heart Disease Could Potentially Be A Prostate Cancer Risk Factor.

HealthDay (2/10, Preidt) reports, "Heart disease may be a risk factor for prostate cancer," according to a study published online in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Investigators looked at data on nearly 6,400 men participating in a clinical trial to see if a medication would cut the risk of prostate cancer. The investigators "found that men with coronary artery disease had a 35 percent greater risk of developing prostate cancer over time and a 24 percent greater risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer within the first two years of the study compared to men who did not have heart disease." Meanwhile, "four years into the clinical trial, men with coronary artery disease had a 74 percent higher risk of prostate cancer than those with no heart disease."

 

Soy foods may be safe, beneficial for breast cancer survivors.

USA Today (12/9, Szabo) reports that, according to a study published Dec. 9 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, "soy foods may be safe, and possibly even beneficial, for breast cancer survivors." Until now, "many breast cancer doctors have been cautious about recommending soy products -- such as soy milk, tofu, edamame, or miso soup -- because they contain plant estrogens. Most breast cancers are fueled by estrogen, which can make it risky to take additional hormones, such as for menopausal symptoms."

        The Los Angeles Times (12/9, Roan) reports that researchers at Vanderbilt University "analyzed data from the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study of 5,042" Chinese women "ages 20 to 75." The investigators found that "patients with the highest intake had a 29% lower risk of death during the study period and a 32% lower risk of breast cancer recurrence compared to patients with the lowest intake of soy foods," which "was measured by either soy protein or soy isoflavone intake."

        Bloomberg News (12/9, Ostrow) reports, "The study, which followed women for an average of about four years, is the largest to examine the influence of soy intake on breast cancer survival and recurrence, the authors said. More than 192,000 women in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, according to the National Cancer Institute."

        HealthDay (12/8, Gordon) reported, "What's more, the association between soy and a reduced risk of death held true even for women with estrogen receptor-positive cancers and women taking tamoxifen," the investigators found. In fact, the research team "found that soy actually reduces the availability of naturally occurring estrogen by binding to its receptors," having "a very similar effect to tamoxifen."

        MedPage Today (12/8, Phend) noted that "the study was done in China, where soy intake tends to be higher than in the US and eaten in less processed forms." But, "while American women typically eat less than one-tenth as much soy as their counterparts in China, the results should be reassuring regardless of consumption, according to an accompanying editorial." The editorialists also "cautioned that any potential benefits cannot be extrapolated to dietary supplements containing soy," but said that "patients with breast cancer can be assured that enjoying a soy latte or indulging in pad thai with tofu causes no harm and, when consumed in plentiful amounts, may reduce risk of disease recurrence."

        The UK's Telegraph (12/9, Smith), the UK's Press Association (12/8), Medscape (12/8, Barclay), WebMD (12/8, Doheny),

        and Time (12/8, Park) also covered the study.

 

Exposure to aristolochic acid may increase risk for urinary tract cancer.

MedPage Today (12/21, Woznicki) reported that "exposure to aristolochic acid, found in some Chinese herbal products such as Mu Tong and Fangchi, significantly increased the risk for urinary tract cancer, according to a" study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Investigators "found prescription of more than 60 grams of Mu Tong and consumption of more than 150 mg aristolochic acid were independently associated with an increased risk for urinary tract cancer." MedPage pointed out, "Once used in Chinese herbal preparations taken for weight loss or urinary tract infections, aristolochic acid has been banned in several countries, including in Taiwan and in the US."

 

Compound found in hops might help prevent prostate cancer.

The Time (12/8, O'Callaghan) "Wellness" blog reported, "Prostate cancer researchers are enthusiastic about new findings that suggest a natural compound found in hops plants might help to prevent the disease." Previous research revealed that xanthohumol "can effectively bind to estrogen receptors, blocking estrogen and potentially helping to prevent breast cancer." The new work suggests that it "may work similarly with testosterone, potentially interrupting the development of prostate cancer."

 

Coffee consumption, exercise may lower prostate cancer risk.

Bloomberg News (12/8, Bennett) reported that Harvard scientists have discovered that "drinking coffee may lower the risk of developing the deadliest form of prostate cancer." In fact, "the five percent of" study participants "who drank six or more cups a day had a 60 percent lower risk of developing the advanced form of the disease than those who didn't consume any." The work, Bloomberg notes, "is the first to associate coffee with prostate cancer, contradicting previous research that's found no link."

        The team is quick to point out, however, that "it's too early to start recommending that men start drinking coffee to help prevent prostate cancer, but the results are encouraging," WebMD (12/7, Warner) reported. BBC News (12/8) and the UK's Telegraph (12/8, Smith) also cover the study.

        Research explores role exercise could play in fight against prostate cancer. A presentation made "at the Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research conference" touched on the "role that exercise...could play in the fight against prostate cancer," the Time (12/7, O'Callaghan) "Wellness" blog reported. "An analysis of activity levels among 2,686 prostate cancer patients showed that men who jogged, played tennis, or participated in other comparable exercise for an average of three or more hours per week had 35% lower mortality rates than those who exercised less frequently or not at all." As for walking, those who did so "for four or more hours per week" had "overall mortality rates [that] were 23% lower than those of men who walked for fewer than 20 minutes per week."

 

Research indicates many breast cancer patients may have low levels of vitamin D.

HealthDay (10/9, Preidt) reported, "Many breast cancer patients have low levels of vitamin D, which could lead to weaker bones and increased risk of fractures," according to research presented Oct. 8 at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's breast cancer symposium. Researchers examined "166 women undergoing treatment for breast cancer," finding that "nearly 70 percent had low levels of vitamin D in their blood." On average, there were "27 nanograms of vitamin D per milliliter of blood," while "levels of 32 nanograms per milliliter are adequate, according to the US Institute of Medicine." Notably, researchers found "the lowest levels of vitamin D...in non-whites and those with late-stage breast cancer." But, "weekly supplementation with high doses of vitamin D (50,000 IU or more) boosted the levels of the vitamin among all women."

 

Many cases of cancer may be preventable with healthier lifestyle.

The UK's Daily Mail (11/16, Hope) reports, "Almost 80,000 patients diagnosed with cancer each year could have avoided the disease by adopting a healthier lifestyle," according to data from the World Cancer Research Fund. In fact, "39 percent of cases of the 12 major cancers are preventable through better diet, drinking, and exercise habits." For the UK in particular, "record levels of drinking" have "risen more sharply...than in any other developed country," which means "the UK has one of the highest levels of preventable cancers." Research has shown that "bowel cancer can be cut by eating less red and processed meat, while drinking less alcohol would reduce the chances of breast cancer." Meanwhile, "eating more fresh fruit and [vegetables] and keeping a healthy weight reduces cancers of the stomach and pancreas."

 

Chronic pain may be common after breast cancer surgery.

USA Today (11/11, Szabo) reports, "Nearly half of breast cancer survivors suffer from persistent pain, even two to three years after surgery," according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The findings highlight "the need to improve care, both by finding ways to reduce nerve damage during surgery and by learning why some women have so much pain and others do not," researchers noted.

        The New York Times (11/10, Rabin) reports in Vital Signs that the study of "3,253 women who were breast cancer patients" showed that "the patients most likely to" report chronic pain "were those under 40, those who had undergone radiation treatment, and those who had surgery to remove all of the lymph nodes in the armpit rather than...a sentinel node biopsy."

        Of those who reported "severe pain, 77 percent said they had it daily," while 36 percent of patients experienced "light" pain every day, HealthDay (11/10, Doheny) reported. Patients reported "pain...in the breast area, the armpit, the arm and the side of the body."

        WebMD (11/10, Boyles) reported that the researchers concluded "that the cause of most chronic pain following breast cancer treatment is injury to key nerves during surgery." As a result, they called for "more delicate surgical techniques to avoid nerve damage." MedPage Today (11/10, Phend) also covered the story.

 

Herbal Supplements May Intensify, Weaken Chemotherapy Effects.

The Toronto Sun /QMI Agency (8/18) reports, "Patients undergoing chemotherapy may think they're helping their treatment by taking herbal supplements" such as "acai berry, herbal teas, cumin, turmeric and...garlic," but they "can intensify or weaken the effect of chemotherapy drugs, and in some cases may cause a toxic or even lethal reaction." Some supplements can also interfere with the metabolism of chemotherapy drugs, while garlic taken over a long time may increase bleeding risk during surgery. The results were presented at an American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. Lead investigator Dr. June M. McKoy recommended that patients always tell their doctors what supplements they are taking.

 

ACS calls for more effective, efficient screening of carcinogens.

MedPage Today (10/28, Walsh) reported, "Although many carcinogens have been removed from working and living environments, many potential hazards remain, including building materials, additives, or contaminants in food and water, and pollutants, indoors and out, the American Cancer Society reported" in the Nov./Dec. issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. The report stated that "concerns remain because of the vast and increasing number of potentially risky substances and the involuntary nature of many exposures."

        ACS "calls for new strategies to more effectively and efficiently screen the chemicals to which the public is exposed," WebMD (10/28, Wilbert) reported. The authors outlined several goals, including "new strategies for toxicity testing, for occupational and community exposures to meet regulatory standards, [and] funding for research to identify and reduce carcinogenic hazards." The Time (10/28, Guthrie) "Wellness" blog also covered the story.

 

Study indicates heavy cell phone use may increase risk of brain tumors.

The UK's Telegraph (10/24, Beckford, Winnett) reported that "the World Health Organization (WHO) will publish evidence that heavy users" of cell phones "face a higher risk of developing brain tumors later in life." The "decade-long investigation" was "conducted...in 13 countries" where researchers interviewed "tumor sufferers and people in good health to see whether their mobile phone use differed." The review of "12,800 people" showed that "six of eight...studies found some rise in the risk of glioma (the most common brain tumour), with one finding a 39 percent increase." Meanwhile, "two of seven studies into acoustic neurinoma (a benign tumor of a nerve between the ear and brain) reported a higher risk after using mobiles for 10 years." But, the "inquiry has faced criticism for including people who made just one call a week, and leaving out children, which some experts said could underplay the risks."

 

Obesity linked to 124,050 new cancer cases in Europe last year, researchers say.

Bloomberg News (9/24, Cortez, Kresge) reported, "Obesity may have caused 124,050 new cases of cancer last year in Europe," according to research presented at the European Cancer Organization and European Society for Medical Oncology. That estimate, "based on information from sources including the World Health Organization and the International Agency for Research on Cancer," was "77 percent higher...than in 2002, when 70,000 of the 2.2 million cancers diagnosed across Europe could be linked to extra weight."

        For the study, researchers "designed a model to estimate the number of cancers that could be blamed on being fat in 30 European countries," finding that "being overweight or obese accounts for up to eight percent of cancers in Europe," the AP (9/25) reports. But, experts said that the "figure is poised to increase substantially as the obesity epidemic continues, and as major causes of cancer, such as smoking and hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women, drop dramatically."

        Researchers found that the "65 percent of all cancers linked to being fat" included "colorectal cancer, breast cancer in menopausal women, and endometrial cancer," the UK's Telegraph (9/24) reported. While researchers remain uncertain "why being fat boosts...cancer risk," they "suspect it is connected to hormones," as those who "become fatter...produce more hormones like oestrogen that helps tumors grow."

        The UK's Daily Mail (9/25) reports that "almost one in ten new cases of the disease among women in Europe are currently attributed to being overweight or obese -- almost three times more than men," the study showed. Specifically, 8.6 percent "of new cancers could be attributed to being overweight or obese" in women, compared to "3.2 percent...in men," the UK's Press Association (9/24) noted.

 

 

Prostate cancer survivor says he was "ambushed" by depression.

In the New York Times (9/29) "Well" blog, Dana Jennings discussed how he has been "ambushed" by depression, despite the fact that he is "recovering well from an aggressive case of prostate cancer." Jennings noted that "as many as 25 percent of cancer patients develop depression, according to the American Cancer Society," compared to "about seven percent of the general population." Currently, Jennings is "seeing a psychiatrist who specializes in cancer patients," and has begun "a course of medication." Even though his physician has assured him that "depression isn't unusual among those who are on the far side of [cancer] treatment," Jennings said he is still "grieving for the person" he was before cancer.

 

Many People Continue Unhealthy Habits After Disease Diagnosis.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (6/27, Gormly) reported, "Even when faced with a health scare like a heart attack or stroke, or a life-changing diagnosis like diabetes or cancer, many people continue unhealthy habits with eating, smoking, exercising and the like." One "study of more than 9,000 cancer survivors, Canadian researchers found that few people had made significant lifestyle changes." Approximately "80 percent of people in the study, published in 2008 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, had quit smoking, but fewer than 20 percent were consuming five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and exercising regularly."

Vitamin D, Calcium Supplements May Lower Melanoma Risk For Some Women.

Reuters (6/27, Pittman) reported that taking a vitamin D and calcium supplement may help some women reduce their risk for developing melanoma, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Researchers analyzed medical data from roughly 36,000 women between the age 50 and 79, were randomized to either take both calcium (1,000 mg) and vitamin D3 (400 IUs) supplements or placebo, daily for seven years. The study team found that women who previously had non-melanoma skin cancer were less likely to get melanoma, if they were in the calcium and vitamin D group.

        HealthDay (6/27, Reinberg) reported that the women taking the supplements who had had previous non-melanoma skin cancer reduced their risk of developing melanoma "by 57 percent," compared with women taking the placebo supplements. Overall, "176 cases of melanoma developed." Lead researcher Dr. Jean Tang from Stanford University School of Medicine "speculated that cancer cells lurking in the skin of women who have had a previous skin cancer may be waiting to develop into melanoma. 'But if they take calcium and vitamin D that reduces the risk of developing an actual tumor,' she said." Although the US Institute of Medicine "recommends 600 IU of vitamin D" daily, the findings indicated that as little as 400 IU "may be protective," Dr. Tang added.

 

Excess weight's influence on prostate cancer risk may vary by ethnicity, research suggests.

HealthDay (9/1, Reinberg) reported, "Men who pack on excess pounds as young adults are at heightened risk of developing prostate cancer, although the risk varies by ethnic group," according to a University of Hawaii study appearing online in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Investigators reviewed "data on almost 84,000 men" of varying ethnicity. "In all, more than 5,500 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer." However, it was important to note the specific timeframe in which the men gained weight. For instance, "higher weight in older adulthood was associated with increased risk of prostate cancer among white and Native Hawaiian men," but "a decreased risk of prostate cancer among Japanese men." And, "excessive weight gain in young adulthood increased the risk of advanced and high-grade prostate cancers...for white men," while it "upped risks for less hazardous, localized, and low-grade forms of the disease" in black men.

 

Study suggests married cancer patients may live longer than single ones.

The New York Times (9/1, D6, Rabin) reports in Vital Signs, "Married cancer patients live longer than single ones, presumably because they have a built-in support system, are more likely to stick to their treatment regimens, and may even be in better health to begin with," according to a study published in the journal Cancer. Data indicated that 65 percent "of married patients survived at least five years after a cancer diagnosis, compared with 57 percent of those who had never been married, 52 percent of the divorced patients and 47 percent of widowed patients."

Researchers say healthier lifestyles may help prevent breast cancer among women in the UK.

The UK's Daily Mail (9/1, Hope) reports, "Thousands of women could avoid breast cancer if they adopted healthier lifestyles," according to experts at the World Cancer Research Fund. For the report, which "updates the fund's cancer prevention report in 2007," researchers examined "many different types of the disease," finding that "over 40 percent of breast cancer cases in the UK could be prevented just by making...relatively straightforward changes." In fact, researchers said that "at least 18,000" breast cancers "could be prevented" each year in the UK if women "drank less, kept healthy weight, and were more active." Research also showed that "breastfeeding babies is...an important factor in cutting the risk of the disease." The UK's Telegraph (9/1, Devlin) also covers the story.

 

Wine associated with decreased risk of Barret's esophagus: Reuters Health; HealthDay News; WebMD
These articles report on a Gastroenterology study finding that wine may reduce the risk of developing Barrett's esophagus, a precursor to esophageal cancer.  The articles note that study participants who drank one or more glasses of red or white wine a day were 56 percent less likely to develop Barrett's esophagus, compared with those who did not drink wine. They report beer or liquor did not lower the risk of developing Barrett's esophagus. 
Representative Article: Reuters Health

 

Research suggests cancer survivors may be more likely to suffer psychological distress.

HealthDay (7/30, Thomas) reported, "Cancer survivors are more likely than their healthy peers to suffer serious psychological distress, such as anxiety and depression, even a decade after treatment ends," according to a study published in the July 27 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers "analyzed mental health and medical data on 4,636 adults who'd survived cancer and 122,220 who had never had cancer," finding that "about 5.6 percent of cancer survivors...have experienced severe psychological distress within the previous month, compared with three percent of those without cancer." Among those "at the highest risk of psychological problems" were patients "who were relatively young at the time of diagnosis, unmarried, had less than a high-school education, were uninsured, had other illnesses, or had difficulty doing the activities of daily living." Data indicated that "nine percent of long-term cancer survivors and six percent of individuals without cancer reported seeing or talking to a mental-health professional within the previous year."

Scientists say ovarian tumor growth could be slowed using "suicide genes."

HealthDay (7/30, Preidt) reported, "Treatment with 'suicide' genes slowed ovarian tumor growth in mice and may one day offer a way to treat late-stage ovarian cancer in women." According to the paper, published online in Cancer Research, investigators "found that nanoparticle delivery of diphtheria toxin-encoding DNA selectively expressed in ovarian cancer cells significantly slowed the growth of ovarian tumors." Dr. Edward Sausville, the journal's associate editor, says the "new treatment, which could be tested on humans within 18 to 24 months, could prove to be a significant advance in targeted therapy for cancer."

Study indicates ALL in children may be linked to exposure to household pesticides.

MedPage Today (7/30, Bankhead) reported, "Children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) had a significantly greater likelihood of exposure to household pesticides compared with a control group," according to a study published in the August issue of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring. The study included "41 children with ALL and their mothers," who were "matched for age and area of residence with 41 children without ALL." Researchers "assessed environmental exposures by means of questionnaires and by analysis of pesticide metabolites in urine samples." They targeted "six organophosphate metabolites commonly found in household and garden insecticides," which "consisted of three dimethyl phosphates and three diethyl phosphates." The study showed that "33 percent of case mothers reported use of insecticides in the home, compared with 14 percent of control mothers." Notably, "children with ALL had significantly higher levels of diethyldithiophosphate (P<0.05) and diethylthiophosphate."

 

Lifestyle after cancer - New self help book launched. This practical guide book summarises the lifestyle evidence from across the world, and is based only on proven facts. It explains how lifestyle after a cancer diagnosis can optimise the chances of living longer and living better, both during treatments and afterwards. The author Robert Thomas is Director of the Primrose Research Unit, visiting Professor at Cranfield University and Oncologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge University NHS trust. He specialises in communication and lifestyle research and was awarded the UK “Hospital Doctor of the Year” and “Oncologist of the Year”. More information and how to order

New Data Show Nearly 12 Million US Adults Are Cancer Survivors.

The CBS Evening News (3/10, story 8, 0:20, Couric) reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "said today about one in 20 Americans over the age of 20 is a cancer survivor."

        According to the New York Times (3/11, A14, Belluck), the study in the CDC's most recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report indicates that the "number of cancer survivors increased by about 20 percent in just six years, to 11.7 million in 2007, the latest year for which figures were analyzed, from 9.8 million in 2001." CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said the increase was due to many factors. "In some cases of breast cancer and colon cancer, for example, improved treatment and increased follow-up after treatment have helped increase survival." He added that in others, such as prostate cancer, an "explosion in screening has identified many men with the disease, but the cancer is often so slow-growing that they would be unlikely to die from it."

        The CNN (3/11, Willingham) "The Chart" says that researchers believe the increase is due to a "growing aging population, early detection, improved diagnostic methods, more effective treatment, and improved clinical follow-up after treatment." Moreover, Dr. Frieden said, "Not smoking, getting regular physical activity, eating healthy foods, and limiting alcohol use can reduce the risk of many cancers."

        On ABC World News (3/10, lead story, 2:50, Stephanopoulos), Dr. Frieden was shown saying, "Life doesn't have to end with cancer. If you get a diagnosis of cancer, there's a lot you can do to ensure that you lead a long, healthy, productive life as much as possible."

        The AP (3/11) notes that the data showed "7 million -- 60 percent -- of the cancer survivors were 65 or older." Women diagnosed with breast cancer "made up the largest share of cancer survivors, at 22 percent, followed by men with prostate cancer, at 19 percent."

Research Suggests Metformin May Slow Tumor Growth.

The Los Angeles Times (4/2, Kaplan) "Booster Shots" blog reports, "Results of a preliminary study presented...at the American Assn. for Cancer Research's annual meeting," and published in Cancer Prevention Research, "suggest metformin slowed the growth of prostate cancer tumors." Investigators looked at 22 prostate cancer patients, "all of" whom "were scheduled to have their prostates removed." The researchers found, "after the" participants' "prostates were excised...that tumors grew more slowly in men who took the diabetes drug than in men who didn't."

HealthDay (4/1, Gardner) reported that, in a separate "study, researchers...reviewed records of 302 patients who had both diabetes and pancreatic cancer, two conditions that often go hand-in-hand," about 40% of whom were using metformin. The investigators found that approximately "30 percent of those who had taken the drug were alive after two years, compared with 15.4 percent of those who had not taken metformin." The researchers also found that "patients on metformin lived an average of just over 15 months versus about 11 months for the control group, translating into a 32 percent reduced risk of dying."

       

Healthier lifestyles can reduce cancer cases worldwide: Reuters
This article reports on a World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research study suggesting that healthier living can prevent one-third of the most common cancers in developed countries and a quarter of cancers in developing countries.  Researchers suggest that diets based on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, instead of red meats, dairy and fats, as well as exercise and weight control, can reduce the risk of many cancers, including cancers of the breast, prostate, kidneys and lungs. Reuters

Dogs May Be Able To "Sniff Out" Lung Cancer.

The CNN (8/18, Rice) "The Chart" blog reports that four dogs were trained on "test tubes containing breath samples of 220 patients, both those with lung cancer and those without it," and were able to correctly find 71 out of 100 patients who had lung cancer. The study, published in the European Respiratory journal, also found that dogs could find cancer in COPD patients as well as otherwise healthy patients. The theory is that "cancer cells may produce chemical compounds that circulate throughout the body and can be breathed out." The blog notes that previous studies have "shown promise in sniffing out breast cancer, bowel cancer, colon cancer, COPD and lung cancer, and even type 1 diabetes." Researchers say that while the study is encouraging, more study is needed to identify what exactly the dogs are smelling.

        WebMD (8/18, Goodman) reports that Suresh S. Ramalingam, MD, of Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute, "is developing technology that aims to replicate the ability of dogs to smell trace amount of chemicals produced by cancerous tumors." WebMD notes that "doctors have previously reported cases in which dogs have alerted their owners to undiagnosed skin, breast, and lung cancers by repeatedly pawing or nosing an affected body part," and that "in June, researchers in Japan reported that dogs could detect the presence of colon cancer in human breath and stool samples with nearly 90% accuracy, a success rate only slightly lower than colonoscopy."

        Also covering the story are BBC News (8/18, Gallagher), CBC News (8/18), and the UK's Daily Mail (8/18, Hope).

 

Four In 10 People In UK Will Develop Cancer At Some Point.

BBC News (7/14, Brimelow) reports, "Rising cancer rates mean four in 10 people in the UK get the disease at some point in their lives," Macmillan Cancer Support, "a health charity, says." The projections "are drawn from projections published two years ago in the British Journal of Cancer, which concluded that at the end of 2008 there were two million cancer survivors in the UK and that the figure was rising every year." The charity "also looked at recent cancer incidence and mortality statistics for the UK, indicating that 310,000 people were diagnosed with cancer in 2008."

 

 

One alcoholic drink per day increases women's cancer risk: The Washington Post; Los Angeles Times; Associated Press; Reuters; HealthDay News
These articles report on a JNCI study finding that nearly 13 percent of breast, liver, rectum, upper respiratory and upper gastrointestinal system cancers in women may be associated with alcohol use.  Researchers noted that as little as one serving of alcohol per day increases cancer risk, regardless of the type of alcohol consumed.  Representative Article:
The Washington Post

Breastfeeding May Help Reduce Breast Cancer Risk In Certain High-Risk Women.

The UK's Telegraph (3/17) reports, "Breastfeeding for at least a year can cut the chances of developing breast cancer by a third in women with a strong family history of the disease," according to a study published in BioMed Central. Investigators "found that women carrying the BRCA1 gene were 32 per cent less likely to develop breast cancer if they breastfed for at least a year compared with women with the gene who didn't." The study, "conducted by the Women's Research Institute in Ontario, Canada, calculated that just five women with the BRCA 1 gene needed to breastfeed for a year to prevent one developing cancer."

Heart Failure May Be Associated With Increased Risk For Fatal Cancer.

MedPage Today (11/11, Petrochko) reports, "Heart failure patients face an increased risk of cancer along with an increased risk of death, researchers said" at the American Heart Association meeting. Investigators found that "a cohort of patients diagnosed with heart failure at baseline were significantly more likely than participants in a control population without heart failure to develop cancer at follow-up (HR 1.57, 95% CI 1.13 to 2.50)." The researchers reported that "incident cancer was associated with a 46% increased risk of death in heart failure patients (hazard ratio 1.46, 95% CI 1.22 to 1.99)."

 

 

 

Lung Cancer Rates Among Women In UK Rising Rapidly.

BBC News (11/12) reports that the "number of women living with lung cancer in the UK is set to rise significantly faster than the number of men with the disease over the next 30 years," according to new data released by Macmillan Cancer Support. The group estimates that cases of lung cancer "in women will rise from about 26,000 in 2010 to 95,000 in 2040," and roughly "80% of cases are linked to tobacco." In contrast, tobacco-related lung cancer cases among men in the UK are expected to "increase from 39,000 to 42,000" during the same time frame.

The Daily Mail (UK) (11/12, Borland) adds that lung cancer is the "third most common form of the illness" among women in the UK "after breast and bowel" cancer; and it is "also the biggest cause of death in Britain claiming 35,000 lives annually, more than heart disease or any other type of cancer." The Daily Mail also points out that tobacco manufacturers in the UK target women by "saying smoking helps you stay slim."

Colon Cancer Prognosis May Be Worse For Obese, Patients With Type 2 Diabetes.

HealthDay (12/3, Gordon) reported, "People who have been diagnosed with colon cancer have a poorer prognosis if they're obese or have type 2 diabetes," according to two studies published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The first study of 2,303 people found that "the risk of dying from colorectal cancer was 35 percent higher" in those who were obese vs. those of a normal weight. The second study of 2,278 people revealed that those "with type 2 diabetes had a 53 percent higher risk of dying from any cause and a 29 percent higher risk of dying from colorectal cancer, compared to people without type 2 diabetes."

 

Mobile phones do not increase risk of eye cancer:  Reuters
This article discusses a Journal of the National Cancer Institute study finding that regular mobile phone use does not appear to increase the risk of uveal melanoma. Article: Reuters

 

Head of cancer research institute warns cell phone use causing cancer: Associated Press  
This article reports that the head of the Pittsburgh Cancer Institute urged his faculty and staff to limit cell phone use because of the possible increased risk of cancer.  The article notes that the warning was based on unpublished data and that numerous studies have not found a link between cell phone use and cancer.  Article: Associated Press 

 

Red wine may protect against lung cancer: HealthDay News  
This article describes an American Association for Cancer Research study
suggesting that each glass of red wine consumed per month is linked to a 2 percent reduced risk of lung cancer among men.  Researchers note that smokers who drink one to two glasses of red wine per day reduce their risk of lung cancer by 60 percent, compared to smokers who do not consume red wine. Article: HealthDay News 

 Exercise cuts some health risks of smoking: Los Angeles Times (August 4)
This article discusses the benefits of smoking cessation for athletes and the effects of exercise for smokers.  The article cites a Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention study showing that women who were current or former smokers and had high levels of physical activity were less likely to develop lung cancer than those who were less sedentary. 
Article: Los Angeles Times 

Manufacturers to reduce amounts of suspected carcinogen in snacks:     
These articles report that after a lawsuit in California, four snack manufacturers agreed to reduce levels of a suspected carcinogen called acrylamide in potato chips and french fries over the next three years.  The articles note that acrylamide forms naturally when starchy foods are baked or fried, and that the FDA is studying the effects of the compound but has not yet taken formal action. 
Representative Article: Associated Press 

 Broccoli compound may fight cancer: Newsday (October 5)
This article reports on research finding that sulforaphane glucosinate, a compound found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, boosts tumor-fighting enzymes and may help prevent breast cancer.  The article notes that despite promising research on anti-cancer foods, doctors are cautious about sweeping recommendations that focus on one food group. 
Article: Newsday   

Effects of breast cancer diagnosis on some marriages: Los Angeles Times (October 5)
This article, written by the author of a book on breast cancer, discusses the effects of breast cancer diagnoses on patients' marriages.  The author describes research suggesting that a breast cancer diagnosis contributed to divorce among some couples, but in others, it strengthened the relationship. 
Article: Los Angeles Times

Cancer patients turn to complementary therapies: HealthDay News 
This article discusses a Cancer study finding that as many as 61 percent of cancer patients use alternative therapies like prayer, relaxation and massage.  Researchers note that women are more likely to engage in complementary therapies and that it remains unclear how much benefit these therapies confer to cancer patients. 
Article: HealthDay News     

Experts Predict 165 Million Americans Will Be Obese By 2030.

ABC World News (8/25, story 7, 2:00, Stephanopoulos) reported, "Tonight, sobering new numbers on America's struggle with obesity." A new series on obesity published in "the medical journal Lancet says if trends continue, half of all American men will be obese by 2030."

        Bloomberg News (8/26, Gerlin) reports, "US health-care spending will rise by as much as $66 billion a year by 2030 because of increased obesity if historic trends continue," the study suggested. "Almost 100 million Americans and 15 million Britons are already considered obese, based on body-mass index, a ratio of weight to height, Y. Claire Wang, an epidemiologist at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York, said yesterday at a London news conference." Yet "another 65 million American adults and another 11 million British adults would join them in the next two decades based on past trends, said Wang."

        The Washington Post (8/26, Huget) "The Checkup" blog reported that a "four-part series by a number of international public health experts argues that the global obesity crisis will continue to grow worse and add substantial burdens to health-care systems and economies unless governments, international agencies and other major institutions take action to monitor, prevent and control the problem." The blog adds, "The series, which had support from the federal government and foundations, is published in advance of the first High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly focused on non-communicable disease prevention and control, which will take place in New York City Sept. 19 and 20."

        WebMD (8/26, Boyles) reports that should164 million Americans become obese by 2030, "Wang says the health care burden will include an additional eight million cases of diabetes, 6.8 million additional cases of heart disease and stroke," and "over 0.5 million cases of cancer." But, "the researchers calculate that just a 1% reduction in body mass index (BMI) at the population level would prevent as many as 2.4 million cases of diabetes and 1.7 million cases of heart disease and stroke."

Researchers See No Increased Cancer Risk Among Statin Users.

HealthDay (7/18, Mann) reported that "a large, new study" published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology "appears to quell concerns that taking statins might raise the risk of cancer." For roughly "91,000 adults whose full medical records were available via an electronic database, researchers report there was no significant difference in cancer risk among those who took statins and those who didn't." The investigators found that, "after an average of five years of follow-up among nearly 46,000 pairs of people who either used the cholesterol-lowering drugs or did not use them, 11.37 percent of participants taking a statin developed cancer, compared to 11.11 percent of those individuals not taking a statin."

 

Women Who Drink, Smoke Less Likely To Stick With Tamoxifen Regimen.

HealthDay (8/24) reports, "Women at high risk for breast cancer who smoke and drink are less likely to stick with a drug regimen meant to prevent cancer," according to a new study published online Aug. 23 in the journal Cancer Prevention Research. "Researchers analyzed adherence to the drug tamoxifen by 11,000 women with a high risk of breast cancer," and found that "heavy drinkers" and smokers were both less likely to "stick with the drug regimen." However, the researchers found that "physical activity levels and obesity were not associated with adherence," which according to the researchers could indicate that "poor adherence is not simply based on a pattern of unhealthy behavior in general, but could be related to common sociological, psychological, biological or genetic mechanisms that impact both substance use and medication adherence."

        Medscape (8/24, Hitt, Subscription Publication) reports Stephanie R. Land, PhD, from the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute, and colleagues, said that the "lack of adherence represents a significant barrier to the efficacy of chemopreventive therapies, " and that "there have been calls for research to identify patients most at risk of poor utilization."

 

  

Therapy Program May Improve QoL In Some Advanced Cancer Patients.

Reuters (9/15, Pittman) reports that, according to a study published online in Cancer, a therapy program designed to improve quality of life in cancer patients may be beneficial. The study included more than 130 patients with advanced cancers of the colon, brain, or lung. Participants had all been diagnosed within the previous 12 months and were undergoing radiation therapy. Patients were randomly assigned to either receive usual medical care or to the therapy, which combines physical and talk therapy, relaxation techniques, and discussions of spiritual matters. Participants who were assigned to the program reported higher quality of life than other participants.

Obesity Costs Some States $15B Annually.

MSNBC /MyHealthNewsDaily (8/24, Rettner) reports, "Obesity costs some states as much as $15 billion a year," according to a study recently published in the journal Obesity. Using "medical expenditure information from 2006," the study authors "estimated how much each state spends on obesity-related medical costs each year." They found that "the estimated costs range from $203 million in Wyoming to $15.2 billion in California. (Estimates are in 2009 dollars.)"

Active lifestyle may help prevent cancer: Reuters   
This article describes an American Journal of Epidemiology study that found individuals who are physically active, including those who exercise and are active in daily routines, are less likely to develop cancer than sedentary people.  Researchers note that the most active groups of men and women surveyed had a 13 percent and 16 percent lower risk of developing cancer, respectively, compared to the least active groups. 

Women Who Drink, Smoke Less Likely To Stick With Tamoxifen Regimen.

HealthDay (8/24) reports, "Women at high risk for breast cancer who smoke and drink are less likely to stick with a drug regimen meant to prevent cancer," according to a new study published online Aug. 23 in the journal Cancer Prevention Research. "Researchers analyzed adherence to the drug tamoxifen by 11,000 women with a high risk of breast cancer," and found that "heavy drinkers" and smokers were both less likely to "stick with the drug regimen." However, the researchers found that "physical activity levels and obesity were not associated with adherence," which according to the researchers could indicate that "poor adherence is not simply based on a pattern of unhealthy behavior in general, but could be related to common sociological, psychological, biological or genetic mechanisms that impact both substance use and medication adherence."

        Medscape (8/24, Hitt, Subscription Publication) reports Stephanie R. Land, PhD, from the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute, and colleagues, said that the "lack of adherence represents a significant barrier to the efficacy of chemopreventive therapies, " and that "there have been calls for research to identify patients most at risk of poor utilization."

Fish Oil May Block Some Chemo Effects.

AFP (9/13) reports a study in Cancer Cell showing that "cisplatin, often used to treat lung, bladder, ovarian and testicular cancer, was rendered impotent by" platinum-induced fatty acids (PIFAs), "which are made by stem cells in the blood and are also present in fish oil supplements." In mice tumors, animals injected with "'normal amounts of fish oil,' became insensitive to chemotherapy." Medical oncologist Emile Voest said "we currently recommend that these products should not be used whilst people are undergoing chemotherapy" and that "the body itself secretes protective substances into the blood that are powerful enough to block the effect of chemotherapy."

        BBC News (9/13, Gallagher) reports, "Using drugs to block the production of the fatty acids prevented this form of resistance which "significantly enhances the chemotherapy," the study says." The Daily Telegraph (UK) (9/13, Adams) also covered this story.

Breast Cancer Statistic Cited By Mitchell Refuted.

The New York Times (9/16, Parker-Pope) "Well" blog reports, "Andrea Mitchell of NBC recently announced she had been treated for breast cancer this summer." Mitchell said that she is "now among the 1 in 8 women in this country -- incredibly 1 in 8 -- who have had breast cancer." But, Gary Schwitzer, publisher of HealthNewsReview.org, points out that "Mitchell misused" the statistic. The National Cancer Institute says that "there are 2,632,005 women alive in the United States who have ever been given a breast cancer diagnosis," which "translates to about 2.2 percent, or 1 in 45 adult women, who are undergoing active treatment or have in the past had a diagnosis of breast cancer."

 

Cancer Survivors May Have Increased Risk Of Heart Damage.

ABC World News (9/21, story 6, 2:00, Sawyer) reported, "Beating back cancer cells with toxic chemicals and beams of radiation takes a toll on the healthy cells, as well. When radiation is targeted at the breast or lung, especially on the left side of the body, the heart can be accidentally damaged." Chemotherapy can also weaken the heart. These concerns have "given rise" to the field of cardiooncology, focusing on "at-risk cancer survivors." ABC's Besser said that doctors "recommend a stress test or heart ultrasound to check for damage." On a more positive note, there is now "more precise equipment that allows radiologists to do a better job at avoiding the heart and the drugs are monitored more closely to reduce their damaging effects on the heart itself."

Lung Cancer Patients May Be At Elevated Stroke Risk.

Reuters (9/22, Thrasybule) reports that a study of more than 150,000 adults published Sept. 13 in the journal Stroke found that 26 out of every 1000 lung cancer patients had a stroke every year, but for those without cancer, the incidence was 17 out of 1000. The risk was highest in the first three months after diagnosis for men, and between months four and six for women. Moreover, hemorrhagic stroke was more common than ischemic stroke in lung patients, even though it is less common overall. Researchers suggested that tumors and chemotherapy may both lead to bleeding and blood clots that cause strokes. However, factors such as smoking, alcohol, or diet were not accounted for in the study.

Study: Male Partners Of Breast Cancer Patients Not Fans Of Spousal Support Groups.

HealthDay (8/10, Dotinga) reports that "male partners of women with breast cancer aren't big fans of spousal support groups and instead choose to de-stress by exercising or hanging out with friends," according to a study published in Oncology Nursing Forum. Researchers "also found that men had difficulty going to medical appointments with their partners due to work schedules." Investigators came to these conclusions after looking at surveys from "men in Edmonton and Saskatoon" who "answered questions about how they dealt with their partners' breast cancer."

 

Cancer Patients May Not Be Getting Needed Rehab.

USA Today (10/24, Szabo) reports on the end of cancer treatment, which can be difficult for patients. "Two-thirds of cancer survivors have trouble sleeping, even two years after treatment, found a study presented last year at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Up to 30% of breast cancer survivors suffer from persistent fatigue," and many "suffer from 'chemo brain,' a common term for post-cancer memory problems." In addition, "a 2008 study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that 90% of women with metastatic breast cancer could benefit from rehab, but only 30% got it." Some groups, such as the American College of Surgeons, are now requiring "accredited hospitals to provide follow-up care plans and make rehab available."

Number Of New Cancer Cases In The UK Could Rise By 45% By 2030.

BBC News (10/28, Brimelow) reports, "The number of new cancer cases in the UK could rise by 45% by 2030 to more than 430,000 a year, research suggests." The increase "is explained almost entirely by the expected increase in the number of people living in the UK and the ageing population." BBC News adds that "Cancer Research UK, which funded the study published in the British Journal of Cancer, says the NHS must act now to avoid being 'overwhelmed.'"

 

Rehabilitation After Cancer Presents Challenges For Patients, Doctors.

On the front of its Personal Journal section, the Wall Street Journal (10/11, D1, Beck, Subscription Publication) reports on the issues facing survivors of breast cancer. Side effects of treatment include heart damage, nerve damage, fatigue, secondary cancers due to treatment, sleep problems, sexual problems, or osteoporosis. One highlighted issue is various estrogen-blocking drugs, which can keep certain breast cancers at bay but bring side effects of menopause, blood clots, uterine cancer, or osteoporosis. Notably, a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that only about 50% of patients keep taking such drugs for five years, even though the drugs can increase survival.

        The Washington Post /Kaiser Health News (10/11, Graham) reports on the "'prospective surveillance model' of cancer rehabilitation," which "involves evaluating patients soon after diagnosis and then at regular intervals -- typically every three months, for up to a year -- once treatment is complete. If emerging problems are identified, they can be addressed promptly." Notably, "researchers estimated that treatment for breast-cancer-related lymphedema cost $636.19 a year when the prospective surveillance model was used vs. $3,125 for traditional treatment. ... In February, officials from" groups, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology, "met to review evidence supporting the prospective surveillance model and to consider promoting its widespread adoption. Proceedings from that meeting will be published early next year."

        In a related piece, Kaiser Health News (10/11, Graham) discusses a number of examples of rehabilitation from cancer treatment. "'We need to raise awareness of the functional problems that cancer patients experience, and our obligation to address them,' said Julia Rowland, director of the Office of Cancer Survivorship at the National Cancer Institute, noting that there are now 12 million cancer survivors in the United States." Kaiser adds that "what constitutes cancer rehabilitation and what best practices consist of are not yet clear. There are no generally accepted standards for programs and no clinical guidelines that medical professionals are expected to follow," and as a result, institutions vary widely in the services offered

Many Baby Boomers Do Not Have Living Will, Healthcare Proxy.

The AP (11/17) reports, "An Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll found that 64 percent of boomers - those born between 1946 and 1964 - say they don't have a health care proxy or living will." The "documents would guide medical decisions should a patient be unable to communicate with doctors."

 

Vitamin D, Calcium Pills May Not Reduce Risk Of Dying From Cancer Or Heart Disease.

Reuters (12/9, Grens) reports that, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, vitamin D or calcium pills may not reduce the risk of dying from cancer or heart disease in older patients who already face an increased risk of bone fractures.

(Reuters Health) - Among seniors with a high risk of bone fractures, taking vitamin D or calcium pills has no impact on their chances of dying from cancer or vascular disease, researchers say in a new study.

Vitamin D is considered beneficial for bone health, and earlier studies have found that having low vitamin D levels in the blood is tied to a greater chance of dying from heart problems (see Reuters Health reports of November 25, 2011 and June 24, 2011).

The thinking, therefore, has been that taking extra vitamin D might cut that risk.

"There's a lot of interest in vitamin D preventing heart disease and cancer, but the evidence from randomized trials is weak," said Dr. Alison Avenell, the lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Aberdeen in England.

In the latest study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, the researchers tracked the health of nearly 5,300 people over age 70 who had had a bone fracture.

The participants were randomly divided into four groups: one took 800 IU (International Units) of vitamin D daily, the second group took 1000 milligrams of calcium each day, a third group took both supplements, and a fourth group took fake pills that looked like the supplements.

People in the study took the pills for two to five years, and were followed for up to three years afterward.

Among people who took vitamin D, 32 out of every 100 died during the study, while 33 out of every 100 people who did not get the supplement died. That small difference could easily have been due to chance, the researchers found.

There were no differences in deaths from cancer or heart disease either. Calcium also proved unhelpful.

A recent analysis of 50 studies on vitamin D and heart health found no impact from taking the vitamin (see Reuters Health report of July 11, 2011).

Still, Avenell said her study doesn't provide the final answer on whether vitamin D can help stop heart disease or cancer.

"People often stopped taking their tablets, so we might not have had enough people taking tablets to find effects," Avenell wrote in an email to Reuters Health. "The dose of vitamin D might not have been high enough."

Peggy Cawthon, a researcher with the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute who was not involved in the new work, said people should be cautious regarding information on vitamin D's alleged heart and cancer benefits.

"A supplement or vitamin might not have the magic bullet to prevent the next disease," Cawthon told Reuters Health. "We've had a lot of examples, and vitamin D is just the latest showing it has no effect on these health issues."

Vitamin D is formed in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight. Though higher levels of the molecule are linked to better heart health, it could be that the vitamin D is only a sign of general health, and not something that actually improves the heart's function.

"My thought is that people who are healthier get out more and would produce more vitamin D," speculated Cawthon.

Avenell said she is looking forward to two other studies in the Unites States and the UK that will help confirm whether vitamin D has benefits beyond boosting bone strength.

SOURCE: bit.ly/s4fs1g Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, online November 23, 2011.

 

More Research Challenges Benefits Of Axillary Dissection.

Medscape (12/9, Mulcahy, Subscription Publication) reports, "More evidence suggests that there is no price to pay for forgoing axillary dissection (AD) in patients with breast cancer who have minimal lymph node involvement." A study presented at the 34th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) found that "the 5-year rate of disease-free survival was 87.3% for AD and 88.4% for no AD (P = .48), with a median follow-up of 57 months," while "the 5-year overall survival rate was 97.6% for AD and 98% for no AD (P = .35)." Medscape adds that "at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in 2010, the lead investigator of the Z0011 trial," whose findings were similar to this study, "admitted that leaving behind some cancer in the axilla was 'counterintuitive.'"

Experts Say Cancer Survivors Need More Customized Help.

Bloomberg News (12/17, Tozzi) reported, "The medical world is recognizing that the 12 million cancer survivors in the US can benefit from more comprehensive rehab. Six years ago the Institute of Medicine called for giving every survivor a 'care plan' to manage the lasting consequences of treatment, and this year the American College of Surgeons made such post-treatment attention to quality of life a requirement for its 1,500 accredited hospitals." However, experts say that "many survivors need more customized help, including physical, occupational and speech therapy, to regain their abilities and transition back into work and family life."

Hypertension May Be Linked To Certain Brain Cancers.

The UK's Press Association (12/21) reports a study in the Journal of Hypertension suggesting a link between high blood pressure and certain brain tumors. Researchers "analysed data for almost 580,000 people from Sweden, Austria and Norway, who were followed for around 10 years" and found that "20% of participants with the highest blood pressure readings were more than twice as likely to later be diagnosed with meningioma or malignant glioma compared with the 20% with the lowest readings." Limitations of the study included the lack of "data on whether the participants were using any medication, such as treatment for high blood pressure, which could have affected the results." The study authors also emphasized that "the absolute risks are low: roughly two in 1,000 over 10 years for people with very low blood pressure, compared with three in 1,000 for those with high blood pressure."

Statins May Lower Risk For Liver Cancer Among Individuals With Hepatitis B.

HealthDay (1/27, Mann) reports, "Popular cholesterol-lowering statins may also lower risk for liver cancer among people with hepatitis B," according to a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Researchers "in the new study of more than 33,000 individuals with hepatitis B" found that individuals "who took a statin were less likely to develop liver cancer, when compared to participants who were not prescribed statins." The investigators also found that "the longer a person took statins, the greater the liver-cancer risk reduction."

Combining Fasting, Chemotherapy May Slow Growth Of Tumors In Mice.

HealthDay (2/9, Dallas) reports, "Fasting, especially when combined with chemotherapy, appears to slow the growth of cancerous tumors in mice," according to a study published in Science Translational Medicine. In research on mice, "researchers found that fasting slowed the growth of growth of breast cancer, melanoma, glioma and human neuroblastoma in mice." The researchers "noted that results from the initial phase of a clinical trial, which involved patients with breast, urinary tract and ovarian cancer conducted at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, have been submitted for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Cancer Oncologists."

        AFP (2/9) reports that the researchers "published findings in 2008 that showed how fasting protected normal cells against chemotherapy in a study that focused on one type of cancer and a single chemo drug," and this "study expands on that research." The UK's Press Association (2/9) also covers the story.

Global Cancer Cases Projected To Rise 75 Percent By 2030.

The AP (6/1) reports, "Global cancer cases are projected to rise 75 percent by 2030, in part because many other diseases are being stamped out and more developing countries are adopting Western lifestyles linked to cancer, international cancer experts reported." Although "population growth and aging explain much of the increase, at least one-fifth of the new cancer cases will likely be due to preventable factors, the researchers predict."

Bloomberg News (6/1, Kitamura) reports, "The projection is based on the United Nations' population forecast, the" International Agency for Research on Cancer's "database tracking cancer incidence in 184 countries and expected increases in the rates of colorectal, female breast, prostate and, in high-income countries, lung cancer in women."

The CNN (6/1, Falco) "The Chart" blog reports, "The study found that any reductions in infection-related cancers like stomach, cervical or liver cancer (still more common in low-income regions of the world), are being offset by 'an increasing number of new cases that are more associated with reproductive, dietary and hormonal factors.'" Additionally, "tobacco usage...contributes to an increasing number of cancer cases."

Reuters (6/1, Kelland) reports that the projections are published in the journal Lancet Oncology. Also covering the story are the UK's Press Association (6/1), Medscape (6/1, Brooks) and HealthDay (6/1, Preidt).

Cancer Survivors May Take More Sick Leave Than Cancer-Free Colleagues.

HealthDay (6/22, Preidt) reports, "While many long-term cancer survivors return to work, they take more sick leave than their cancer-free colleagues," according to a study published online in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship. Investigators "analyzed data from more than 2,000 employed cancer survivors in Norway and more than 3,200 healthy people, and found that 75 percent of cancer survivors took sick leave during the first year after their diagnosis." Over "the next four years, 23 percent of men and 31 percent of women recovering from cancer took sick leave, compared with 18 percent of healthy men and 27 percent of healthy women."

 

Data Indicate Nearly 1.3 Million Individuals In EU Will Die From Cancer This Year.

Reuters (2/29, Kelland) reports that, according to research published in the Annals of Oncology, nearly 1.3 million individuals in the EU will die from cancer in 2012.

        However, Medscape (2/29, Nelson) reports that "even though the actual numbers have increased, the rate continues to decline." Altogether, the "2012 cancer mortality rates are estimated to be 139 per 100,000 men and 85 per 100,000 women." That "is a decrease of 10% in men and 7% in women over 2007 - the most recent World Health Organization (WHO) mortality data for most EU countries."

        The UK's Telegraph (2/29, Adams) reports, "Better treatment, rather than screening, appears to be the principal driving force behind the rapid declines," researchers "concluded, after finding the death rate had dropped faster in the under 50s."

Fasting May Benefit Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemo.

The Boston Globe (3/10, Weintraub) reported, "Since three square meals a day and regular snacks were not always available to our hunter-gatherer ancestors, the human body may have evolved to perform at its best with short-term feeding gaps. So sporadic food deprivation might have a positive effect on metabolism, giving a boost to such things as cancer treatment, Alzheimer's prevention, and wound healing."

In a related story, the Boston Globe (3/12, Weintraub) reports, "Research in mice and early studies of people suggest that cancer patients may benefit from eating no food for at least two days before chemo and a full day afterward, said Valter Longo, of the University of Southern California." Longo has performed "case studies of 10 people, is currently testing the safety of fasting in 18 cancer patients, and will shortly begin testing its effectiveness in 42 more

Number Of Cancer Survivors In US Expected To Surge By 2022.

The number of cancer survivors living in the US is expected to surge by one-third by 2022. In the UK this means that over 3 million and the USA over 18 million people will be expected to survive the disease. This estimate comes form a new report from a collaboration between The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute called Cancer Treatment and Survivorship Facts and Figures. They found that even though cancer incidence rates are decreasing in many cases, the number of survivors is growing due to the aging and growth of the population, as well as improved rates in cancer survival. The report argues that this increase makes it even more imperative that healthcare providers are aware of the health needs of this population.

 

Current Cancer stats

Currently one in three women and one in two men in Western countries will develop cancer during their lifetime.

The most common types of cancers among male survivors in 2012 are prostate cancer (43 percent), colorectal cancer (9 percent) and melanoma (7 percent).

The most common types of cancers among female survivors are breast cancer (41 percent), uterine (8 percent) and colorectal (8 percent)."

In the USA, there are 58,510 survivors of childhood cancer and an additional 12,060 children will be diagnosed in 2012,

 

Report: Number Of Cancer Survivors In US Will Increase To 18 Million By 2022.

The Los Angeles Times (3/27, Kaplan, 692K) "Booster Shots" blog reports, "Better cancer treatments and an aging population will push the number of cancer survivors in the U.S. to nearly 18 million by 2022, according to a new report from researchers at the National Cancer Institute." The findings were "published Wednesday in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, which is published by the American Assn. for Cancer Research."

        On its website, NBC News (3/27, Fox) reports, however, that "the growing population of cancer survivors will put pressure on a healthcare system in which cancer drug shortages are increasingly common and the demand for oncology services is poised to outpace the supply of oncologists," according to the researchers.

        The Time (3/27, Sifferlin, 3.38M) "Healthland" blog reports, "While the survival trend is encouraging, it may come at a price. Cancer survivors generally have twice the annual medical costs that patients without cancer do, because of they need routine monitoring for recurring tumors, as well as for side effects from their treatment or long term effects of their disease."

        Medscape (3/28, Mulcahy) reports, "By 2020, the growth of the cancer survivor population will lead to an estimated 27% increase in the overall cost of cancer care from 2010 levels, the investigators note." Medscape adds, "'By 2020, we expect that two thirds of cancer survivors are going to be age 65 or older,' said senior investigator Julia Rowland, PhD, director of the Office of Cancer Survivorship at the National Cancer Institute, in a press statement."

        HealthDay (3/28) reports, "The report, based on an analysis of national data, also found that patients with certain types of cancers account for a large proportion of the survivors." For instance, "breast cancer patients account for 22 percent of survivors, while prostate cancer survivors account for 20 percent." However, patients "with lung cancer, the second most commonly diagnosed cancer, account for only 3 percent of survivors, according to the report." According to Rowland, "For patients with prostate cancer, we have a nearly 100 percent five-year survival rate, and breast cancer has made tremendous strides as well, with five-year survival rising from 75 percent in 1975 to almost 89 percent in 2012," although "we clearly need to have better diagnostic tools and better treatments for lung cancer."

 

Group Says Coca-Cola Still Using Cancer-Linked Coloring In Drinks Sold Oversees.

Reuters (6/27) reports the Center for Science in the Public Interest has claimed that Coca-Cola continues using chemical 4-methylimidazole, a caramel coloring ingredient which has been linked to cancer in animals, in its soft drinks sold in Brazil and Kenya despite having altered the recipe for its beverages sold in California. The Daily Telegraph (UK) (6/27) also reports on the story.

Obesity May Impact A Woman's Response To Breast Cancer Treatment.

HealthDay (7/17, Preidt) reports, "Being obese may affect a woman's response to breast cancer treatment," according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. In the study, which involved 54 patients, investigators found that "women with a BMI of 30 to 35 had about three times higher levels of estrogen in their blood than those with a BMI of less than 25." Following "treatment with hormone-suppressing drugs, estrogen levels in the obese women dropped significantly, but still remained at more than double the levels seen in women of normal weight."

 

New Study Finds That Few Oncologists Discuss Exercise With Patients.

HealthDay (9/3) reports that "even though research has shown that exercise offers significant benefits in cancer care and recovery, many patients are reluctant to exercise and few discuss it with their oncologists, according to a new study." In a news release, Dr. Andrea Cheville, the study's lead author said, "As doctors, we often tell patients that exercise is important, but to this point, nobody had studied what patients know about exercise, how they feel about it and what tends to get in the way." According to the article, "cancer patients took exercise advice most seriously when it came directly from an oncologist, but none of the patients in the study said their oncologist had discussed exercise with them."

 

UK Men May Soon Face A One-In-Two Chance Of Developing Cancer In Their Lifetime.

BBC News (12/19, Roberts) reports on its website, "Men look set to have a one in two chance of developing cancer in their lifetime, UK experts predict." This "increase...up from the current 44 in 100 chance, is largely down to people living longer - age is the biggest cancer risk factor, says Cancer Research UK." According to BBC News, "The cancers set to increase the most in men within the next 15 years are bowel, prostate and skin (melanoma)."

 

SKIN Products

FDA Issues Warning On OTC Topical Pain Relievers.

Reuters (9/14) reports that the Food and Drug Administration issued a Consumer Warning Thursday cautioning that use of over-the-counter topical pain relievers products, which contain menthol, methyl salicylate, or capsaicin as active ingredients, may cause mild to severe skin burns.

According to the AP (9/14), FDA regulators "say they have received reports of skin injuries ranging from first- to third-degree chemical burns" caused by the OTC products; and in some cases, the "burns have required hospitalization." The agency "says consumers should stop using the pain relievers if they experience signs of skin injury, such as pain, swelling or blistering of the skin."

Bloomberg News (9/14, Edney) adds the FDA said the "majority of second- and third-degree burns occurred with the use of products containing menthol as the single active ingredient or having both menthol and methyl salicylate." The agency said only a few of the "cases involved a capsaicin-containing product."

CNN (9/14) in its "The Chart" blog notes that the FDA said it has "received more than 40 reports of skin injuries" from OTC "creams, lotions, ointments and patches. Reported brands included Bengay, Icy Hot, Capzasin, Flexall and Metholatum." The agency said that in "many cases severe burning or blistering occurred within 24 hours of a single application" and in some cases, "complications required hospitalization." But according to Dr. Jane Filie of the FDA's Division of Nonprescription Regulation Development, "There's no way to predict who will have this kind of reaction to a topical pain reliever for muscles and joints."

ABC News (9/14, Kreimer) in its "Medical Unit" blog reports that from 1969 to 2011, FDA scientists uncovered 43 skin burn cases "during safety surveillance" and the agency "noted that they represent only a small fraction of total consumer usage of these products." But FDA spokesperson Stephanie Yao said she couldn't "speculate as to whether this will result in changes to the label." She explained that because OTC labels are "continually updated, products conforming to a monograph may be marketed without further FDA clearance."

MedPage Today (9/14, Petrochko) also covers the FDA's Consumer Warning.

Life Spans For Least Educated Whites May Be Shrinking.

In a front-page article, the New York Times (9/21, A1, Tavernise, Subscription Publication) reports that research suggests that life spans may be shrinking for the "least-educated whites" in the US. While "the reasons for the decline remain unclear...researchers offered possible explanations, including a spike in prescription drug overdoses among young whites, higher rates of smoking among less educated white women, rising obesity, and a steady increase in the number of the least educated Americans who lack health insurance." The largest "declines were for white women without a high school diploma, who lost five years of life between 1990 and 2008, said S. Jay Olshansky, a public health professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the lead investigator on the study, published last month in Health Affairs."

Decline In UK Cancer Death Rates Predicted.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune (9/26, Stoxen) "Health Check" blog reports that "the rates of death from cancer are predicted to fall by 16.8% in the United Kingdom by 2030, according to new statistics released by Cancer Research UK." The data "show that breast cancer in women, bowel and prostate cancer will have large reductions – falling by 28% for female breast cancer, 23% for bowel cancer and 16% for prostate cancer."

BBC News (9/24, Gallagher) reports that approximately "170 UK deaths per 100,000 of population were from cancer in 2010, and this figure is predicted to fall to 142 out of every 100,000." The largest decline "is projected to be in ovarian cancer, with death rates dropping by 43%."

Study: Nearly 170 Million Years Of Healthy Life Lost In 2008 Because Of Cancer.

MedPage Today (10/16, Smith) reports, "Worldwide, nearly 170 million years of healthy life were lost in 2008 because of cancer, researchers reported" in the Lancet. Investigators, "using population-based data - most of it from cancer registries...calculated rates of years of life lost and years lived with disability as a result of cancer." The researchers "combined those figures to derive disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) lost for 184 countries in 12 world regions. The countries were grouped into four categories based on their development."

HealthDay (10/16) reports, "Colorectal, lung, breast and prostate cancers were the main contributors to total DALYs in most areas, accounting for 18 percent to 50 percent of total cancer burden." Additionally, "infection-related cancers such as liver, stomach and cervical cancers accounted for a larger part of overall DALYs in eastern Asia (27 percent of all cancers) and in sub-Saharan Africa (25 percent of all cancers) than in other regions." Meanwhile, "the study revealed that improved access to high-quality treatment has not improved survival for a number of common cancers associated with poor outcomes, especially lung, stomach, liver and pancreatic cancers."

Medscape (10/16, Chustecka) reports, "The largest cancer burden of all was for men in Eastern Europe; this was driven by colorectal, lung, pancreatic, and kidney cancers."

Study: Cancer Costs $7.5 Billion Annually In Lost Productivity In US.

HealthDay (12/18) reports, "The cost of lost productivity among U.S. workers with cancer is equal to 20 percent of the nation