Lifestyle and Cancer

News, announcements, resources


July 2011   

 Welcome to our Summer newsletter 

This issue aims to highlight topical research news, relevant recent  announcements and products which add to our understanding of lifestyle and cancer. 

As well as performing our own studies, we screen the world literature for recent studies which show how lifestyle can reduce the risk of cancer, improve well-being during and after treatments and reduce the risk of relapse.  

Please feel free to contact us: To make a suggestion for a feature, news item or announcement for our next newsletter or if you know someone who would benefit from this evidence based research news please feel free to forward it to them by entering their email below (emails never given to third parties):-

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Previous newsletters: Spring 2011 | Winter 2010

 Contents of this issue

Lifestyle research in the news
- Processed meat and bowel cancer
- Talc and ovarian cancer.
- No benefit from selenium supplements
- Exercise reduces radiotherapy risks
- Walking after Prostate cancer reduces relapse
- Vitamins A&E increase skin cancer risk 
- Acupuncture and hot flushes
- Pomegranate extracts fight cancer
- Vitamin D test requests skyrocket

- New Nail Care Guidelines launched
- New Will and living Will service
- The world's first major antioxidant trial launched
- "Lifestyle and cancer" now available on Kindle

Antioxidant focus - benefits of Green tea

Guest article: Protect you nails during chemotherapy

Poem and healthy recipes of the month.

An inspiring new book, based only on facts. Read how lifestyle helps your chances of living longer and stronger  more / order online
Read foreword by Paula Radcliffe

Lifestyle research in the news


Processed Meat Intake and higher Colorectal Cancer Risk.

There is further 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. Read tips on reducing fat intake


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

The regular 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 analysed 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 taking into account the other risk factors for ovarian cancer including age, parity, oral contraceptive use, tubal ligation, body weight  smoking or alcohol use, and ethnic/racial or familial breast or ovarian cancer history, the study team performed analyses for cases of  cancer talc use was associated with an increased prevalence of all common types of ovarian cancer (nonmuscinous-invasive, nonserous-invasive, and serous-invasive); the magnitude of the difference between users and nonusers ranged between 20% and 40%, most often about 30%.


Large published Analysis Finds No Evidence Linking Selenium With Cancer Prevention

It is known from large environmental and some observational studies that long term selenium deficiency can lead to an increase risk of cancer. This is most likely due to an under performing antioxidant enzyme (glutathione) which requires selenium. Some nutritional supplement companies therefore market the mineral selenium as a cancer preventive, and there have been suggesting high selenium intake could reduce cancer risk. However, a comprehensive analysis of 55 studies found no evidence to supported supplementation with selenium and a link with different cancer types. This was published in the Cochrane Library so is regarded as a highly relevant piece of scientific work. 
The problem with taking over the counter mineral supplements is that the baseline levels are not known so if  you have a normal or higher level to start with, taking extra mineral can push the blood levels too high which actually increases the risk of cancer. This study further confirms that  supplements can be both good and bad and the most reliable way to to ensure you have the most benefit from them is to
measure your baseline micro-nutrient levels first.


Exercise reduces side effects of radiotherapy

The worlds first study linking an association between radiotherapy side effects and exercise levels was completed in June this year. The study sponsored by Macmillan Cancer support evaluated 440 men who had survived prostate cancer and had been successfully treated by radiotherapy  between 2000-2010 at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge University. The data was  analysied at The Primrose Lifestyle Research Unit and  the bio-statistical department at Cranfield University. It clearly showed that men who were active as measured by the  Practitioner Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPPAQ) were twice as likely to maintain erectile function. 
Full data is being presented at the NCRI conference this Autumn. In the mean time, it is strongly advisable to encourage men to exercise after prostate cancer -  read practical tips to improve exercise levels

Walking fast but not strolling after prostate cancer reduces the risk of relapse.

According to a study published in Cancer Research, men who have been treated for prostate cancer 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.  Strolling, however, does not have the same effect, the study authors cautioned. 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.  

This study supports the finding of another study published by Kenfield in the Journal of Clinical Oncology which showed that men who exercised vigorously for more than 3 hours a week had a lower relapse rate and those more than 5 hours a better prostate cancer specific survival -  read practical tips to improve exercise levels



Vitamin A&E with mineral supplement increase the risk of skin cancer

It has long been known that vitamin and mineral deficiencies can reduce immunity and ability to deal with environmental carcinogens. This leads to an increased risk of cancer. These studies suggest that if an individual in the west takes a vitamin and mineral supplement it could reduce the risk of cancer. A study from France, however, 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 actually higher in the supplementation group. 
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. The fundamental design problem of this and other similar trials is that they did not measure baseline levels of these vitamins and mineral before the start. So although some people may benefit others, with a normal level to start with would end you taking them in excess. This study again further confirms the importance of measuring your micro-nutrient levels before considering supplements - see micronutrient testing


Acupuncture May Relieve Hot Flashes Associated With Prostate Cancer Treatment.

A recent small study suggests that the ancient Chinese discipline of acupuncture might help reduce the hot flushes that frequently affect prostate cancer patients while they're on hormone therapy. This finding supports a recent trial involving menopausal women comparing the incidence of hot flushes against the anti-depressant venlaflexane. 
This latest study involved only 14 men so the finding has to be taken with caution.  In fact the oncology centres where the trial was conducted (New York Methodist Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University) understate the finding saying they are non-conclusive but add  "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. ..Read tips on coping with hot flushes


Pomegranate Extract May Slow Prostate Cancer Progression.

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. All men had rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels before they started taking the pomegranate extract At baseline, the men's PSA levels were doubling on average every 12 months. The researchers found that for the men in the group taking pomegranate capsules for at least six months, their PSA doubling time extended to 19 months. The researchers attributed the anticancer effect to antioxidants in pomegranates. There were some side effects in  men who took three of the one-gram pomegranate extract capsules daily. Fourteen percent suffered mild to moderate diarrhea compared to those who only took one pill. The design of this study was very similar to  one involving 113 men published from Bedford and Addenbrooke's Hospitals 3 years ago which showed that 40% had a prolongation of doubling time following lifestyle and dietary maneuvers. 


Requests for blood vitamin and nutrient analyses sky rocket in the USA

Health trend articles are reporting that testing for essential micro-nutrient, once uncommon, has skyrocketed since medical studies linked deficiencies and excesses to a variety of diseases, including cancer. Our last newsletter reported one of the many articles related to cancer especially benefits after melanoma. The trends in the USA reveal that Vitamin D requests are particularly sort after. The  increased in requests started between 2006 and 2008, but have increased by 74 percent by 2010. Manufacturers of vitamin D diagnostic tests have seen similar increases in demand. Despite the evidence, showing the harm associated with Vitamin D deficiency GP's and hospital doctors in the UK have not been allocated funds for these test. Fortunately, cancernet now offer an online service





Cancernet and The Primrose Cancer Unit launch joint "Nail Care Guidelines".

Following a study conducted at the Primrose Oncology Unit published in the Journal Focus on Cancer Medicine joint guidelines have written by the medical information team. As well as information learnt in this study (see below) the guidance was based on a search of the world literature advice from dermatologist and above all tips from patients who have gone through chemotherapy and experienced discomfort, disfigurement and even loss of their nails. As well as good hygiene the main advice is moisturizing the nail beds with a natural oil based cream and cooling the nails during chemotherapy full guidelines 


Cancernet  driving down the cost of "Making a Will or Living Will".  

As part of a drive to reduce  the financial burden of cancer and the effect of its treatments cancernet has teamed up with a  leading UK lawyer to drive down the cost of making a solicitor reviewed Will. They have developed a  reliable, easy to use, online resource which ensures your assets (money, property, jewellery, etc) go to the person you want and not those you least want such as the taxman. Cancernet-glossLegal Wills start from  £39 and living Wills for only £15 ... read more  


Lifestyle and Cancer - the facts is now available on Amazon Kindle

Following the success of the first edition a completely revised second edition has been launched in 2011. The fully colour illustrated book is still available to order online but now it has also been reformatted for the benefit of Kindle users.

This second, 2011, edition has been extensively re-written with evidence from the latest high quality research from around the world which has demonstrated how diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes can; help avoid cancer especially if you have a family history or genetic risk; help you cope with treatments side effects; reduce the risks of complications of cancer treatments; slow the rate of progression of cancer and help prevent your cancer relapsing. What some of the 5000 readers of the first edition have said:

"This book has been fundamental in providing well needed support; arming my mother with the tools to win her own personal marathon" Paula Radcliffe.

"This book stands out from the crowd - it sorts out the wheat from the Chaff. My lifestyle bible, it helped me to recover earlier with more confidence" Cecilia Nicholson Journalist and Survivor.


The world's first randomised evaluation of a broad spectrum antioxidant rich super food under design. 

A randomised trial is about to be launched involving men with prostate cancer. It will measure PSA progression after intake of a mix of concentrated super foods or  placebo. The antioxidant rich supplement was designed by the research team following an extensive search of the world literature. Despite all the publicity being around tomatoes, the strongest evidence was actually for turmeric, pomegranate, green tea and broccoli. 
These super foods have a high antioxidant content which is not damaged by the during process in order to concentrate them into a tablet form.  By combining four different food sources it is hoped that their anti-cancer properties are enhanced whilst avoiding excesses within each category of anti-oxidant. The study will involves 150 men and is due to start at The Primrose Unit in the Summer of 2011, pending ethical approval. - read full protocol

 Email the trials unit to find out more about the clinical trial and to see if you may be eligible




Guest article of the issue 

Looking after you nails during chemotherapy

Clinical focus on Cancer Medicine 2010 2(1): 18-19. (full illustrated paper)


Introduction Docetaxel belongs to the taxane group of chemotherapy agents. One of the commonest side effect that affects as high as 44% of patients on taxane is nail changes which may include discolouration, brittle nail, acute paronychia and onycholysis.

Intervention:Mrs S is a 64 years old lady with breast cancer undergoing Docetaxel  immersedher right hand and both feet were in a bowl of cold tap water immediately  prior to the start of her Docetaxel infusion, during her 90 minutes infusion and then for 30 minutes afterward. The water was kept cold by the addition frozen gel packs which were replaced when necessary, in order to keep the fingers comfortably cool. She did this for each of the four cycles of Docetaxel administered at a dose of 75mg/m2

Results. Mrs S complained of marked discomfort in the right hand but not the left hand or her feet following cycle two and for six weeks after her fourth cycle (see photograph)

. Furthermore, she developed onycholysis in her right finger nails but not the nails of the left hand. A photo was taken 4 weeks after the end of the fourth cycle of Docetaxel administration which clearly showed onycholysis in the right hand but not left.

Conclusion The nails of this patient were protected by immersion in ice cooled water during the administration of Docetaxel.  This  report suggests that immersing hands and feet in cold water is a practical way to reduce the incidence of Docetaxel induced nail toxicity. Future randomised analysis could focus on the feasibility of introducing this cooling method into routine practice, particular the magnitude of benefit, optimal duration and temperature of cooling required. ... Read full illustrated paper



Anti-oxidant focus - the benefits of green tea


It may surprise some people that both green tea and the black stuff we’ve been drinking for several hundred years come from the same plant, Camelia Sinensis, found in tropical and sub-tropical regions like India and China. When dried, black tea is fermented and oxidised. Green tea is left unfermented, and then merely steamed. Many experts now believe that green tea is thus a better, more whole, source of natural chemicals like proteins, sugars and vitamins and, in particular, natural polyphenols and antioxidants.

The polyphenol, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), seems to be the most active antioxidant within green tea. In terms of reducing the risk of developing cancer, research from Perth University in 2002 showed drinking just one cup per day reduced ovarian cancer risk by 60 per cent, and in 2003 the same group showed it reduced prostate cancer risk by 33 per cent. As well as the antioxidant properties, Green tea´s active ingredients are also thought to be anti-oestrogenic. This was confirmed in a further study in 2009, which showed that Green Tea could reduce breast cancer rates by 40 per cent. And if women ate mushrooms daily as well as drinking green tea, only 1 in ten of them would get breast cancer compared to those who consumed neither. Furthermore, EGCG has been found to block an enzyme, ornithine decarboxylase, which tells cells to proliferate faster. As well as slowing cell growth by blocking this enzyme, has also been shown to cause cancer cell death or apoptosis.

Research from the Shanghai Cancer Institute looked at the risk of oesophageal cancer among those who neither drank alcohol nor smoked (two of the main causes). They found drinking green tea further and significantly reduced their risk, starting at 57 per cent in the no alcohol group and 60 per cent amongst the non-smokers. Overall the more green tea drunk, the better the results.

 After the development of cancer, green tea has also been shown to be beneficial. The prestigious Mayo Clinic in the USA researched green tea in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and concluded that over 4 cups per day prevented leukaemia cells developing. In fact the Phase I Clinical Trials showed that high doses of tea helped decrease the white cell count by one third in CLL patients. Those people with enlarged lymph nodes showed a 50 per cent reduction.

 Other studies have suggested that green tea has a beneficial effect in breast cancer, liver cancer and colon cancer prevention, and there is also work showing it improves the positive effects and reduces the negative effects with people undergoing radiotherapy. On a cautionary note, it is not wise to drink excessive amounts during chemotherapy as the powerful antioxidants can repair the chemotherapy damage on the cancer cells and therefore actually prevent the chemotherapy doing its job. Of course one or two cups is fine.

 A  study from Louisiana State University has found that green tea may reduce the levels of some compounds linked to prostate cancer progression. Through their study of prostate of 26 men with prostate cancer who were given a concentrated extract of tea polyphenols for an average of 34-days, they report a significant reduction in the levels of several growth factors that promote cancer as well as reductions in PSA.

The polyphenols in green tea are potent antioxidants and have also been shown to protect against heart disease, as they can prevent the oxidation of LDL into cholesterol. 

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Boston Biomedical Institute have also shown that EGCG helps protect the brain from the build up of amyloid proteins. They concluded that Green Tea would help prevent Parkinson´s and Alzheimer’s, and could also be used in treatment. Other 2009 researches from the American College of Nutrition found that regular Green Tea consumption could prevent colds and flu. The study compared people taking a green tea supplement with those taking a placebo and showed one third less colds and flu in the green tea supplement group. Green tea is also alleged to improve skin tone, smooth out wrinkles and even to help you slim. EGCG is also known to cause good bacteria in the intestine to flourish, thus aiding recovery after antibiotics or chemotherapy.

Green tea is well tolerated but drinking it regularly can be difficult to palate. Another downside of green tea is that it can cause discolouration of the teeth, turning them yellow or even green. Whole tea extract has all the goodness of tea itself as the antioxidants are not damaged in its production.  


Recipe of the issue


Super food breakfast mix




  • One cup of linseed
  • One cup of mixed nuts - walnuts, pecans hazelnuts
  • Half a cup of gogi berries


Add the ingredients to a food mixer. Mix until a course grainy powder has been achieved.

Add a heaped tablespoon to your breakfast cereals or porridge every morning alot with some fruit such as blackberries bananas or apples.

Not only a great tasting start to the day but packed with essential omega 3 and 6 oils, antioxidants and roughage. As the oil and fibre is mixed and not wheat based it produces a soft regular stool without any bloating. In you still get constipated after this try taking two tablespoons plus other measures for constipation.



  Poem of the issue

The Grainne

I hear a sound within me
A cry of pain I yet do not feel
Is there something growing
Please tell me what I fear

The doctors look at me
They tell me all is well
I feel within my body
That there is more than they can tell

I go for an examination
The results are not what I hoped
I feel that I have been lied to
Where is all my hope?

I have a life that I want
A husband most concerned
Children that need me
I am not ready to leave

Treatment is so worrying
However, I will survive
My future is with my husband
For my children I must survive

When this is all over
When I am made new
I will pledge my life to living 
And my gift of life is for you

For I will not look for bounderies
I will walk each day
For God has given me
A breathe for yesterday... Mark Ruddock, Belfast, Northern Ireland





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Lifestyle after Cancer - the facts

Following the sell-out first edition this book has been extensively re-written with even more evidence from two more years of international research and feedback from readers from over 5000 sales of the first edition.

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Chemotherapy and radiotherapy - An award winning 20 minutes preparatory DVD

Patients who had completed a course of treatment have teamed up with the medical profession  and TV personalities to produce this 20 minute program. Sue Lawley introduces the film and Anton Rodgers explains the details of chemotherapy and radiotherapy while watching patients actually going through the various stages of treatment. The sections on radiotherapy or chemotherapy both are clearly demarcated within which patients describe their own experiences, side effects and methods to alleviate them. This is the only cancer information film which has been scientifically evaluated and is now widely used in the UK, Australia and Italy.. read the scientific randomised trail of its evaluation published  in the European Journal of Caner:  

(Forewarned is forearmed – benefits of preparatory information on video cassette for patients receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy- a randomised trial.  EJC 36 (2000) 1536-1543). 

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