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AI reveals new breast cancer types that respond differently to treatment

Published: August 02, 2019


Scientists have used artificial intelligence to recognise patterns in breast cancer -- and uncovered five new types of the disease each matched to different personalised treatments.

Their study applied AI and machine learning to gene sequences and molecular data from breast tumours, to reveal crucial differences among cancers that had previously been lumped into one type.

The new study, led by a team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, found that two of the types were more likely to respond to immunotherapy than others, while one was more likely to relapse on tamoxifen.

The researchers are now developing tests for these types of breast cancer that will be used to select patients for different drugs in clinical trials, with the aim of making personalised therapy a standard part of treatment.

The researchers previously used AI in the same way to uncover five different types of bowel cancer and oncologists are now evaluating their application in clinical trials.

The aim is to apply the AI algorithm to many types of cancer -- and to provide information for each about their sensitivity to treatment, likely paths of evolution and how to combat drug resistance.

The new research, published today (Friday) in the journal NPJ Breast Cancer, could not only help select treatments for women with breast cancer but also identify new drug targets.

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) -- a charity and research institute -- funded the study itself from its own charitable donations.

The majority of breast cancers develop in the inner cells that line the mammary ducts and are 'fed' by the hormones oestrogen or progesterone. These are classed as 'luminal A' tumours and often have the best cure rates.

However, patients within these groups respond very differently to standard-of-care treatments, such as tamoxifen, or new treatments -- needed if patients relapse -- such as immunotherapy.

The researchers applied the AI-trained computer software to a vast array of data available on the genetics, molecular and cellular make-up of primary luminal A breast tumours, along with data on patient survival.

Once trained, the AI was able to identify five different types of disease with particular patterns of response to treatment.

Women with a cancer type labelled 'inflammatory' had immune cells present in their tumours and high levels of a protein called PD-L1 -- suggesting they were likely to respond to immunotherapies.

Another group of patients had 'triple negative' tumours -- which don't respond to standard hormone treatments -- but various indicators suggesting they might also respond to immunotherapy.

Patients with tumours that contained a specific change in chromosome 8 had worse survival than other groups when treated with tamoxifen and tended to relapse much earlier -- after an average of 42 months compared to 83 months in patients who had a different tumour type that contained lots of stem cells. These patients may benefit from an additional or new treatment to delay or prevent late relapse.

The markers identified in this new study do not challenge the overall classification of breast cancer -- but they do find additional differences within the current sub-divisions of the disease, with important implications for treatment.

The use of AI to understand cancer's complexity and evolution is one of the central strategies the ICR is pursuing as part of a pioneering research programme to combat the ability of cancers to adapt and become drug resistant. The ICR is raising the final £15 million of a £75 million investment in a new Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery to house a world-first programme of 'anti-evolution' therapies.

Study leader Dr Anguraj Sadanandam, Team Leader in Systems and Precision Cancer Medicine at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:

"We are at the cusp of a revolution in healthcare, as we really get to grips with the possibilities AI and machine learning can open up.

"Our new study has shown that AI is able to recognise patterns in breast cancer that are beyond the limit of the human eye, and to point us to new avenues of treatment among those who have stopped responding to standard hormone therapies. AI has the capacity to be used much more widely, and we think we will be able to apply this technique across all cancers, even opening up new possibilities for treatment in cancers that are currently without successful options."

Dr Maggie Cheang, a pioneer in identifying different types of breast cancer and Team Leader of the Genomic Analysis Clinical Trials Team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:

"Doctors have used the current classification of breast cancers as a guide for treatment for years, but it is quite crude and patients who seemingly have the same type of the disease often respond very differently to drugs.

"Our study has used AI algorithms to spot patterns within breast cancers that human analysis had up to now missed -- and found additional types of the disease that respond in very particular ways to treatment.

"Among the exciting implications of this research is its ability to pick out women who might respond well to immunotherapy, even when the broad classification of their cancer would suggest that these treatments wouldn't work for them.

"The AI used in our study could also be used to discover new drugs for those most at risk of late relapse, beyond 5 years, which is common in oestrogen-linked breast cancers and can cause considerable anxiety for patients."

As well as ICR charity funding, the work was also supported by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

Higher vitamin A intake linked to lower skin cancer risk

Published: July 31, 2019


People whose diets included high levels of vitamin A had a 17 percent reduction in risk for getting the second-most-common type of skin cancer, as compared to those who ate modest amounts of foods and supplements rich in vitamin A.

That's according to researchers from Brown University, who unearthed that finding after analyzing data from two long-term observational studies.

Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma is the second-most-common type of skin cancer among people with fair skin. Vitamin A is known to be essential for the healthy growth and maturation of skin cells, but prior studies on its effectiveness in reducing skin cancer risk have been mixed, said Eunyoung Cho, an associate professor of dermatology and epidemiology at Brown.

"Our study provides another reason to eat lots of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet," said Cho, who is also an associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital. "Skin cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma, is hard to prevent, but this study suggests that eating a healthy diet rich in vitamin A may be a way to reduce your risk, in addition to wearing sunscreen and reducing sun exposure."

The findings were published on Wednesday, July 31, in the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology.

The research team led by Cho looked at the diet and skin cancer results of participants in two large, long-term observational studies: the Nurses' Health Study, which followed 121,700 U.S. women from 1984 to 2012, and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which followed 51,529 U.S. men from 1986 to 2012.

Between the two studies, some 123,000 participants were white (and thus had significant risk of developing skin cancer), had no prior history of cancer and completed the dietary reports multiple times. Among these individuals included in the team's subsequent analysis, a total of 3,978 cases of squamous cell carcinoma were reported and verified within the 24- or 26-year follow-up periods.

Both studies also asked the participants about hair color, the number of severe sunburns they had received in their lifetime and any family history of skin cancer, and the researchers adjusted for these and other factors. The studies did not, however, ask participants about their avoidance of mid-day sun, known to be a major risk factor for skin cancer.

After grouping the study participants into five categories by vitamin A intake levels, the researchers found that people in the category with the highest average daily total vitamin A intake were 17 percent less likely to get skin cancer than those in the category with the lowest total vitamin A intake.

Those in the highest category reported eating on average the amount of vitamin A equivalent to one medium baked sweet potato or two large carrots each day. Those in the lowest category reported eating a daily average amount of vitamin A equivalent to one-third cup of sweet potato fries or one small carrot, which is still above the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance of vitamin A.

The team also found that the majority of vitamin A came from the participants' diets, particularly from fruits and vegetables, rather than from animal-based foods or vitamin supplements. Plant-based sources of vitamin A include not only sweet potatoes and carrots, but leafy green vegetables and fruits like apricots and cantaloupe. Milk, some types of fish and liver are rich sources of animal-based vitamin A.

Cho cautioned that too much vitamin A, particularly from supplements and animal sources, can lead to nausea, liver toxicity, increased risk of osteoporosis and hip fracture, and even birth defects. Side effects from high levels of plant-based vitamin A are minimal, she added.

The researchers also found that eating high levels of other plant-based pigments similar to vitamin A -- such as lycopene, commonly found in tomatoes and watermelon -- was associated with decreased risk of skin cancer.

Because the analysis was based on studies surveying a large number of people about the foods they ate and observing whether or not they got skin cancer, rather than a randomized clinical trial, it cannot establish cause and effect. It's possible that another factor may have led to the differences -- such as the fact that people who consumed more vitamin A also tended to drink less alcohol.

As a next step, Cho would like to conduct a clinical trial to see if vitamin A supplements can prevent squamous cell carcinoma. However, she added, conducting a dietary clinical trial is quite challenging on a technical level, as is ensuring that participants actually stick to the diet.

"If a clinical trial cannot be done, then a large-scale prospective study like this is the best alternative for studying diet," Cho said.

Unique probiotic yeast can help prevent colorectal cancer, says study

Published: July 27, 2019


(Natural News) Pichia kudriavzevii, a probiotic yeast found in fermented dairy products and tea, potentially holds anti-cancer properties, according to researchers from Iran’s Tabriz University of Medical Science. The study, which appeared in the journal Nutrition Research, looked at the apoptotic effects of P. kudriavzevii As-12 supernatant – the residual liquid produced after centrifugation against different colorectal cancer cells – as well as the mechanism behind its anti-cancer activity.

For the study, the researchers tested whether the supernatant was toxic to colorectal cancer cells in vitro and found that those that were treated with metabolites from the P. kudriavzevii As-12 supernatant decreased significantly compared to control. The survival rates of the cancer cells after treatment were between 42.5 and 67.5 percent. In addition, the colorectal cancer cells also showed signs of shrinkage and death (apoptosis). The researchers observed that while the nuclei of the cancer cells were either condensed or fragmented – which indicated early or late apoptosis, respectively – this was not seen in normal cells that were exposed to the metabolites.

The ability of the metabolites to induce apoptosis was comparable to 5-FU (fluorouracil), a drug often used to treat colorectal cancer. Often used in chemotherapy, 5-FU was found to cause long-term brain damage, years after the treatment was completed.

The anti-cancer activity shown by P. kudriavzevii could be used to develop a natural agent that specifically targets colorectal cancer cells to induce apoptosis, the researchers proffered. In general, commercial chemotherapeutic drugs target cells indiscriminately, often leading to toxic, immunosuppressive, mutagenic, and carcinogenic side effects.

This also adds another strain to the growing list of probiotic yeasts, based on in vivo and in vitro studies. Another probiotic yeast that showed similar anti-cancer activity is Saccharomyces boulardii, a strain often used for treating harmful Candida overgrowth in the gut. Kluyveromyces marxianus BO399, a lactic yeast, modulated immune response and decreased pro-inflammatory cytokines.

In addition to its anti-cancer activity, P. kudriavzevii also possesses multiple biological activities, all of which have been widely studied. It can strengthen the gut from infectious agents by neutralizing bacterial toxins, improving the immune response of the mucosa, and modulating the cell proliferation signaling pathway of the host to prevent inflammation.

“Pichia kudriavzevii AS-12 secretion metabolites possess anticancer activity against human colorectal cancer cell lines,” the researchers wrote in their study.

Probiotics: not just bacteria

Most people associate probiotics to bacteria, that’s why they are referred to as “good bacteria.” While probiotic bacteria are indeed beneficial to the body, it’s worth noting that there are certain types of yeast that have probiotic potential. In an article in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, researchers investigated S. boulardii to determine properties that are unique to probiotic yeast.

One of the traits of probiotic yeast that the researchers found to be advantageous is its ability to tolerate extreme stress. Many types of yeast can better handle differing pH levels than bacteria, with some being unaffected by highly acidic environments. This makes them great at handling issues in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

The article found that S. boulardii, when mixed with Lactobascillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum, showed significant efficacy against pathogens in traveler’s diarrhea. It was also found to be effective against acute diarrhea in children, which can lead to life-threatening cases of dehydration, after only four days.

High glycemic foods magnify your risk of lung cancer, even if you don’t smoke

Published: July 24, 2019


(Natural News) Consumption of red meat, foods with saturated fats, and dairy products has long been associated with an increased risk of cancer. However, a recent study conducted by researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center adds another type of food to the list. According to this study, foods with a high glycemic index (GI) can also increase the risk of lung cancer. And what’s more concerning is that the study found a greater association between consumption of high-GI foods and lung cancer risk among people who even never smoke.

High-GI foods and why you should avoid them

Foods with high GI are the most common foods included in major meals. Some examples of these are white bread, bagels, white rice, pasta, bran flakes, and instant oatmeal. Diabetics are often the ones who use GI for meal planning as GI is the measure of how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose levels. But now, several research give healthy people a reason to consider GI as well.

The type and amount of dietary carbohydrate influence glucose and insulin responses. Previous studies show that both of these play important roles in the development of cancer and in promoting tumor growth. When people eat foods with high GI, their blood glucose levels go up, triggering the secretion of insulin. Insulin receptors activate mitogenic signaling pathways, and according to researchers, this could mean that chronically elevated insulin levels can influence the risk of cancer through indirect effects on insulin-like growth factors (IGFs). IGFs are involved in the regulation of cancer cell proliferation and differentiation. Additionally, IGFs are elevated in lung cancer patients.

“Diets high in glycemic index result in higher levels of blood glucose and insulin, which promote perturbations in the insulin-like growth factors,” explained Stephanie Melkonian, lead author of the present study.

“Previous research suggests increased levels of IGFs are associated with increased lung cancer risk. However, the association between glycemic index and lung cancer risk was unclear.”

Eating high-GI foods increases the risk of lung cancer, especially in non-smokers

In their study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, Melkonian and her colleagues sought to determine the link between GI and lung cancer risk. To do this, they recruited 1,905 patients newly diagnosed with lung cancer and 2,413 healthy people and assessed their dietary GI and glycemic load (GL). All of the participants were non-Hispanic whites. The researchers gathered data about their dietary habits, health history, and physical activity using questionnaires. The researchers also considered their socioeconomic status (education) and smoking habits. The participants were classified as never smokers, former smokers, and current smokers.

The study revealed that there was a significant association between GI and lung cancer risk. In fact, researchers found a 49 percent increased risk of lung cancer among participants who consumed large amounts of high-GI foods. In addition, the researchers observed a more pronounced association between GI and lung cancer risk among never smokers. When they looked at other factors, they also found that GI influences lung cancer risk in people with low levels of education (less than 12 years) and people with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). They attributed the effect observed in the former to low-quality diet and the latter to the fact that SCC is a subtype of lung cancer and is closely linked to smoking behavior.

As expected, high dietary GI had a minimal effect on the lung cancer risk of heavy smokers. The researchers said that smoking is still the main contributor to their risk of lung cancer. Nevertheless, the smokers who consumed foods with high GI still had a higher risk than smokers who consumed foods with low GI. GL, on the other hand, had no significant associations with lung cancer risk.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that dietary GI and other lung cancer risk factors jointly or independently influence lung cancer etiology, making GI an important dietary consideration that people need to pay attention to.

“The results from this study suggest that, besides maintaining healthy lifestyles, such as avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol consumption and being physically active, reducing the consumption of foods and beverages with high glycemic index may serve as a means to lower the risk of lung cancer,” said Xifeng Wu, coauthor of the study.

New technique helps create more personalized therapies for people with advanced cancers

Published: July 22, 2019


Being able to identify targets for adoptive cell therapies is one of the first steps in developing personalized treatments for people with hard-to-treat cancers. However, predicting whether a patient will have an immune response to a particular abnormal protein caused by mutations that serves as a new antigen (neoantigen), can be challenging. Using an ultra-sensitive and high-throughput isolation technology (termed imPACT Isolation Technology®) designed to isolate neoepitope specific T-cells, UCLA researchers were able to characterize and identify the neoantigens driving the antitumor responses in a patient treated with anti-PD-1 blockade and isolate the T cell receptors responsible for such effect.

Using immune checkpoint inhibitors to treat people with metastatic melanoma has helped transform the way people with the most deadly skin cancer are treated. Despite its success, there are still many people who do not benefit from the treatment. Up until now, adoptive cell therapy, which involves extracting and harvesting T cells from a patient and engineering them in the laboratory, have targeted shared antigens. That restricts many of the people that can potentially be treated with the therapy because not every cancer has the same antigen that needs to be targeted. Researchers are working to improve methods to identify new targets for these therapies in hopes to develop more effective and personalized therapies.

Researchers analyzed T cell responses in two patients with advanced melanoma, one who responded to anti-PD1 therapy and one who did not respond to the therapy. Using samples collected before and during treatment, the team isolated the T cells specifically recognizing the mutations on the tumor by using the imPACT Isolation Technology® developed by PACT Pharma. The technology allows researchers to identify the T cells, and their T cell receptors, that have the ability to detect mutations. After identifying the T cell receptors, they were re-introduced in T cells from peripheral blood using a non-viral genome engineering method to generate new neoantigen-specific T cells that were used to kill melanoma cells from the same patient.

"In the setting of patients treated with anti-PD-1, we identified for the first time, in a high-throughput manner, which neoantigen mutations in the tumor are being targeted by T cells. More importantly, we were able to identify their T cell receptors and demonstrate that they can actually specifically kill the tumor cells," said lead author Cristina Puig-Saus, PhD, associate project scientist in hematology/oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "We hope that a better understanding of the T cell responses that occur after immune checkpoint blockade will guide the design of personalized adoptive T cell therapies."

Uncovering new ways to identify targets for immunotherapies significantly increases the number of patients who will benefit from immunotherapy. The imPACT Isolation Technology® allows researchers to identify the mutation-specific T cells and understand which mutations are inducing responses against tumors.

Lead author is Cristina Puig-Saus, PhD, an associate project scientist in hematology/oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Senior author is Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD., director of the tumor immunology program at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and professor of medicine in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Thirty-three additional authors are listed in the abstract.

The research was featured at the American Associate of Cancer Research special conference on immune cell therapies for cancer.

The research was supported by the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

Protect your liver with whole grains: Study finds they reduce the risk of liver cancer

Published: July 17, 2019


(Natural News) Eating whole grains offers a wide range of health benefits, which include protection against liver cancer. A study published in the journal JAMA Oncology revealed that adhering to a diet rich in whole grains can lower your risk of liver cancer by 40 percent.

Whole grains are good sources of dietary fiber. A diet rich in whole grains and dietary fiber has been associated with a lower risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) – all of which are risk factors for primary liver cancer, or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In addition to reducing insulin resistance, regulating metabolism, and reducing inflammation, regularly consuming whole grains and dietary fiber may also improve gut health and change gut microbiota composition, which increases the production of metabolites.

For the study, researchers from China and the U.S. investigated whether eating more whole grains and fiber would reduce the risk of liver cancer. To do so, they monitored 125,455 men and women aged 63, on average. The participants were initially enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study, an all-women study that began in 1976, and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which began in 1986 and was comprised of male participants. Every four years, the participants reported their consumption of whole grains, as well as their components: bran and germ. They also reported their total dietary fiber intake from cereal, fruits, and vegetables. After a follow-up period of about 24 years, 141 participants developed liver cancer.

After considering other risk factors for liver cancer, the researchers found that those who consumed the most whole grains had as much as 37 percent lower risk of liver cancer than those who consumed the least. Liver cancer risk was also reduced among those who ate the most bran, but not those who consumed the most germ. Those who consumed the most cereal grain also had lower liver cancer risk, but not those who had the highest fruit and vegetable consumption.

“Interestingly, compared with fruit or vegetable fiber, cereal fiber has been shown in our study and other cohort studies to be more consistently associated with lower risk of total mortality, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer,” said senior study author Dr. Xuehong Zhang of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Zhang explained that this may be due to fruits and vegetables, particularly fruit juice containing sugar or added sugar, which may lead to liver damage and NAFLD. As a result, it cancels out the potential benefit of fruit- or vegetable-fiber intake.

5 Whole grain foods you should eat

Protect your liver from cancer and more with these whole grain varieties:

  1. Brown rice – Brown rice is a healthier alternative to white rice. It contains antioxidants, magnesium, phosphorus, and B vitamins. Brown rice may also help lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes.
  2. Whole oats – Oats are particularly rich in an antioxidant called avenanthramide, which protects the heart. Oats can also help you lose weight because they are rich in soluble fiber, which helps you feel full for long periods. Fiber also aids in digestion and prevents constipation. Eat oats with as little sugar as possible, mixing in just some fresh or dried fruit, or organic honey.
  3. Whole rye – Rye contains more nutrients per 100-calorie serving than any other whole grain variety. It offers four times more fiber than whole wheat and provides almost 50 percent of your daily recommended intake of iron.
  4. Buckwheat – Buckwheat is gluten-free and is one of the best grain-based sources of magnesium and manganese. You can use buckwheat flour to make pancake and waffles or whole buckwheat for soups and salads.
  5. Bulgur – Bulgur is the key ingredient in tabbouleh, a Middle Eastern staple. This whole grain contains the most fiber out of any grain. It is also a great source of iron, magnesium, and protein.

Plants are better than chemicals at stopping cancer: Pomegranates suppress cancer stem cells

Published: July 16, 2019


(Natural News) Plants are proving to be better-equipped for dealing with cancer than modern pharmaceuticals. According to numerous studies, certain plants possess powerful chemicals that can do what conventional cancer treatments cannot: stop drug-resistant cancer stem cells. In a recent study published in Nutrition and Cancer, researchers from the University at Albany in New York revealed that pomegranates can be used in the prevention of breast cancer due to their ability to suppress cancer stem cells, which have become important targets of cancer therapy.

What are cancer stem cells?

Cancer stem cells refer to a small subpopulation of cells that can be found in tumors. As their name implies, cancer stem cells are capable of self-renewal and of transforming into any cell type. But what makes these cells dangerous is that they also have the same characteristics as cancer cells. Cancer stem cells are responsible not just for the development of tumors, but also for their progression, metastasis, and drug resistance. Cancer stem cells are not affected by chemotherapy and radiotherapy; in fact, some studies have reported that these treatments actually increase their number and malignancy.

The existence of cancer stem cells was a random discovery. Researchers were investigating the cause of a common form of blood cell cancer known as acute myeloid leukemia (AML) when they noticed a small fraction of the cell population that was different from the rest. These cells were still capable of dividing while the majority of the leukemic cells had already lost this ability. When they transferred some of these curious cells to a mouse, they initiated a new incidence of leukemia. The cells also showed resistance to chemotherapy and rapidly replenished the leukemic cell population right after therapy. This caused the recurrence of AML.

Today, researchers know these cells as cancer stem cells. They also know that these cells have the same DNA mutations as ordinary cancer cells but behave differently due to their stem cell-like nature. As for the origin of these cells, researchers believe they are most likely the product of cell reprogramming, which has been observed in a variety of tumors. However, the mechanisms that drive this process are still unclear, and research on this subject is still ongoing.

Pomegranate extracts can alter the properties of breast cancer stem cells

The pomegranate plant (Punica granatum) is a fruit-bearing shrub native to Asian countries. It has been cultivated in the Mediterranean region since ancient times and is widely known for its fruit. The plant has attracted scientific interest for decades due to its medicinal properties, its history as a natural remedy, and its effectiveness against various pathogens. According to studies, nearly every part of the plant possesses antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Pomegranates are also rich in beneficial compounds, such as ellagic acid, anthocyanins, punicalagin, and other hydrolyzable tannins. Pomegranate juice, peel, and oil are known for their anti-cancer activities.

For their study, the American researchers investigated the effects of pomegranate extract on two different breast cancer cell lines. They took particular note of the cells’ ability to form mammospheres or clumps of mammary gland cells – a hallmark of breast cancer stem cells. They reported that pomegranate extract reduced the formation of mammospheres in both breast cancer cell lines, suggesting that it can affect the ability of cancer stem cells to self-renew. When the researchers incubated mammospheres with the pomegranate extract, they observed that the cells broke formation and became adherent cultures. This suggested that the extract can cause cancer stem cells to differentiate into a specific mature cell type. Differentiation robs stem cells of their ability to proliferate rapidly and renew themselves.

The researchers also tested the effects of pomegranate extracts on epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a reprogramming process associated with the formation of cancer stem cells and the maintenance of their characteristics. The researchers reported that pomegranate extract reduced the ability of breast cancer stem cells to migrate. It also reduced the expression of genes involved in EMT, including a transcription factor that induces EMT. Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that the anti-tumor activity of pomegranate is due in part to its ability to stop EMT from happening. Because of this, they believe that pomegranates can be used in the prevention of breast cancer.

An inflammatory diet correlates with colorectal cancer risk

Published: July 15, 2019


Researchers from the Molecular Mechanisms and Experimental Therapy in Oncology program (Oncobell) of the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) and the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO), together with the Biodonostia Health Research Institute (IIS Biodonostia), among others, have published in Nutrients the results of a multicenter study that unveils a correlation between inflammatory and antioxidant diets and the risk of developing colorectal and breast cancer. Dr. Mireia Obón-Santacana from IDIBELL-ICO is the first author of a research which was led by Dr. Pilar Amiano, principal investigator at IIS Biodonostia, and Dr. Víctor Moreno, head of the colorectal cancer research group at IDIBELL-ICO. Part of the study has been possible thanks to the funding provided by the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC).

"We have observed an association between the risk of developing colorectal cancer and the inflammatory potential of the diet. That is, the participants who followed an inflammatory diet had almost twice the risk of developing colorectal cancer, which is the 4th most frequent cancer worldwide," explains Dr. Mireia Obón. "On the other hand, we have not appreciated a significant increase in breast cancer risk. That is why we need to carry out more studies to check if there is really any correlation with other factors," she adds.

An inflammatory diet is usually characterized by the consumption of refined carbohydrates, red and processed meat, and saturated or trans fats. In an antioxidant diet, the consumption of vegetables, legumes, fruits and nuts predominates. "In this study we have focused on the role of diet, and specifically on its inflammatory and antioxidant capacity, as there is evidence that both chronic inflammation and oxidative stress influence the development of these two types of cancer," says Dr. Víctor Moreno.

"Following a pro-inflammatory and pro-oxidant diet is a very important risk factor for colon cancer. The positive part is that this is a modifiable factor and, therefore, it can be changed," underlines Dr. Mireia Obón. "Therefore, in order to prevent such cancers, it is very important to follow the recommendations of official agencies and international agencies. We should reorient our eating habits towards a Mediterranean diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains and healthy oils, such as olive oil and move away from a more pro-inflammatory diet," she argues.

What the IDIBELL-ICO researcher suggests is to "implement education strategies created by nutrition and health professionals, so that the general population can follow dietary recommendations and change their habits."

In this new study, scientists have specifically analysed the Spanish population through the Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) and the Non-Enzymatic Antioxidant Capacity (NEAC), which are two useful and validated tools to estimate the inflammatory and the antioxidant potential of the diet. To carry out the study, 1852 cases of colorectal cancer and 1567 cases of breast cancer were included, together with 3447 and 1487 control cases, respectively. The study drew on data from 12 Spanish provinces.

Targeting a key protein may keep ovarian cancer cells from spreading

Published: July 12, 2019


Preventing a protein from doing its job may keep a certain type of ovarian cancer cell from growing and dividing uncontrollably in the lab, according to a new study from Penn State College of Medicine.

In a study with cell cultures, the researchers identified the protein as a potential therapeutic target for high-grade serous ovarian cancer cells. Approximately 70% of patients with this type of ovarian cancer relapse with chemo-resistant disease, increasing the need for new approaches to treatment.

Katherine Aird, assistant professor of cellular and molecular physiology, and other researchers in her lab have identified a potential method to put high-grade serous ovarian cancer cells in a "sleep state," called senescence.

"One of the biggest problems of cancer cells is they can grow forever without stimulus," Aird said. "By inducing senescence, the cells can no longer divide and grow."

Cells break down and build up the chemicals needed for supporting life through various cycles and pathways in a process known as metabolism.

"A hallmark of cancer cells is that their metabolic processes are often different from normal, healthy cells," said Erika Dahl, a doctoral student at the College of Medicine and lead author on the paper. In the study, Dahl set out to evaluate the metabolic differences between normal fallopian tube cells and the cancerous cells.

The metabolites in each line of cells was quantified using spectrometry. After comparing differences in their metabolic processes, the lab found that the cancerous cells prefer to use sugars in the citric acid cycle, instead of making lactate, the more common route.

"Many therapies target glycolysis, but that may not be the best approach," Dahl said. She noted often when targeting glycolysis, there could be toxic damage to normal, healthy tissue.

Further investigation revealed that inhibiting, or stopping the activity, of a specific protein -- isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 -- in the citric acid cycle led to a halt in cell division. Aird said that while mutated forms of this protein are common in other cancers, she and her team identified that the wildtype, or normal, form was present in high-grade serous cancer cells.

"The Food and Drug Administration has already approved a drug that targets the mutant form of the protein," Aird said. "One of the drugs that target the mutant form can also target the wildtype form. One of our long-term goals is to try and repurpose this already-approved drug as a treatment for this form of ovarian cancer."

The research team found that inhibiting the wildtype form of the protein may be an effective strategy for future therapies for all stages of high-grade serous ovarian cancer. When these cells spread to other parts of the body, they adopt a form that is different from the original cancer cells. The inhibitor proved effective at arresting the cell cycle in both forms.

"It is important that therapies are effective at later stages, as this is when ovarian cancer patients are typically diagnosed," Dahl said.

Available data showed that the chances for progression-free survival decreased when the protein is highly expressed.

In the future, the lab will further investigate metabolic differences between normal and high-grade serous ovarian cancer cells. Researchers also will look to see if combining the inhibitor with other therapies is effective.

Possible link between sugary drinks and cancer

Published: July 10, 2019


A study published by The BMJ today reports a possible association between higher consumption of sugary drinks and and an increased risk of cancer.

While cautious interpretation is needed, the findings add to a growing body of evidence indicating that limiting sugary drink consumption, together with taxation and marketing restrictions, might contribute to a reduction in cancer cases.

The consumption of sugary drinks has increased worldwide during the last few decades and is convincingly associated with the risk of obesity, which in turn is recognised as a strong risk factor for many cancers. But research on sugary drinks and the risk of cancer is still limited.

So a team of researchers based in France set out to assess the associations between the consumption of sugary drinks (sugar sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices), artificially sweetened (diet) beverages, and risk of overall cancer, as well as breast, prostate, and bowel (colorectal) cancers.

Their findings are based on 101,257 healthy French adults (21% men; 79% women) with an average age of 42 years at inclusion time from the NutriNet-Santé cohort study.

Participants completed at least two 24-hour online validated dietary questionnaires, designed to measure usual intake of 3,300 different food and beverage items and were followed up for a maximum of 9 years (2009-2018).

Daily consumption of sugary drinks (sugar sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices) and artificially sweetened (diet) beverages were calculated and first cases of cancer reported by participants were validated by medical records and linked with health insurance national databases.

Several well known risk factors for cancer, such as age, sex, educational level, family history of cancer, smoking status and physical activity levels, were taken into account.

Average daily consumption of sugary drinks was greater in men than in women (90.3 mL v 74.6 mL, respectively). During follow-up 2,193 first cases of cancer were diagnosed and validated (693 breast cancers, 291 prostate cancers, and 166 colorectal cancers). Average age at cancer diagnosis was 59 years.

The results show that a 100 mL per day increase in the consumption of sugary drinks was associated with an 18% increased risk of overall cancer and a 22% increased risk of breast cancer. When the group of sugary drinks was split into fruit juices and other sugary drinks, the consumption of both beverage types was associated with a higher risk of overall cancer. No association was found for prostate and colorectal cancers, but numbers of cases were more limited for these cancer locations.

In contrast, the consumption of artificially sweetened (diet) beverages was not associated with a risk of cancer, but the authors warn that caution is needed in interpreting this finding owing to a relatively low consumption level in this sample.

Possible explanations for these results include the effect of the sugar contained in sugary drinks on visceral fat (stored around vital organs such as the liver and pancreas), blood sugar levels, and inflammatory markers, all of which are linked to increased cancer risk.

Other chemical compounds, such as additives in some sodas might also play a role, they add.

This is an observational study, so can't establish cause, and the authors say they cannot rule out some misclassification of beverages or guarantee detection of every new cancer case.

Nevertheless, the study sample was large and they were able to adjust for a wide range of potentially influential factors. What's more, the results were largely unchanged after further testing, suggesting that the findings withstand scrutiny.

These results need replication in other large scale studies, say the authors.

"These data support the relevance of existing nutritional recommendations to limit sugary drink consumption, including 100% fruit juice, as well as policy actions, such as taxation and marketing restrictions targeting sugary drinks, which might potentially contribute to the reduction of cancer incidence," they conclude.

Immunotherapy could work against bowel cancers resistant to important targeted treatment

Published: July 08, 2019


Patients with bowel cancer who have stopped responding to a widely used targeted drug could benefit from immunotherapy, a major new study reveals.

Scientists found that bowel tumours which had initially responded to cetuximab before developing resistance became more visible to the immune system -- potentially leaving them vulnerable to immunotherapies.

A phase II clinical trial has already begun to test the possible benefit of immunotherapy in patients who have stopped responding to cetuximab.

A team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust teased out the various complex mechanisms by which bowel cancers became resistant to cetuximab. Their study could not only lead to new approaches to treatment but also to tests to assess which patients are likely to develop resistance to cetuximab most rapidly.

The research is published in the journal Cancer Cell today (Monday) and was largely funded by Cancer Research UK, with additional support from the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The Royal Marsden.

The researchers studied tumour samples from 35 people with advanced bowel cancer who were treated as part of a clinical trial of cetuximab led by the ICR and The Royal Marsden.

Cetuximab is effective for some people with advanced bowel cancer -- but the treatment only works in around half of patients, and most will eventually stop responding as their cancer becomes drug resistant. Once bowel tumours evolve to become resistant to cetuximab, patients have very limited treatment options, and new therapies are desperately needed.

The new study offers a detailed picture of the many different ways in which bowel cancers can evade treatment with cetuximab either from the outset or through acquired drug resistance.

Surprisingly, the researchers were only able to find genetic changes that could explain the development of drug resistance in 36 per cent of the tumours they studied.

But in five out of seven patients who had stopped responding to cetuximab, tumours had become heavily infiltrated by non-cancerous cells from supportive tissue around the tumour, which nurtured the cancer cells and helped them to grow during treatment.

This finding adds to our understanding of the complex nature of cancer evolution, in which tumours often adopt genetic strategies to evade treatment or change their environment as a non-genetic approach to developing drug resistance.

The research team then studied the different types of immune cells in tumour samples before and after treatment with cetuximab, in an effort to find new ways to tackle drug-resistant cancers.

The researchers found that on average, cancer-killing immune cells were six times more active in tumours that had become resistant to cetuximab than those that had not responded to the drug from the outset.

The researchers believe that cetuximab kills cancer cells in a way that sends signals that attract immune cells to the tumour -- and their findings suggest that immunotherapies designed to take the brakes off the immune system could be effective in these cancers.

Researchers at the ICR and The Royal Marsden have now begun a phase II clinical trial of a combination of two immunotherapy drugs, nivolumab and relatlimab, in patients with advanced bowel cancer whose tumours have stopped responding to a combination of cetuximab and chemotherapy.

The new study also identified six new genetic mechanisms that can cause cetuximab resistance in patients. These findings could lead to the development of better tests to pick out patients who will either not respond to cetuximab from the outset or will rapidly stop responding -- so they can be identified early and where possible switched to alternative treatments.

The new research forms part of the ICR's ambitious strategy to understand and overcome cancer evolution and drug resistance through the world's first 'Darwinian' drug discovery programme.

The ICR -- a charity and research institute -- is raising the final £15 million of a £75 million investment in a new Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery to house the research programme, which aims to create a new generation of 'anti-evolution' treatments.

Dr Marco Gerlinger, Team Leader in Translational Oncogenomics at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said:

"In our new study, we have shone a light on the complex biology that lies behind the ability of bowel cancers to evade treatment with the targeted drug, cetuximab.

"Most bowel cancers are 'immune deserts' -- so it's enormously exciting to see that cetuximab attracts immune cells into these tumours. At the ICR and The Royal Marsden, we have already started a clinical trial of immunotherapy in people whose bowel tumours have become resistant to cetuximab and chemotherapy. I'm eager to see if immunotherapy can unleash the immune cells and shrink these tumours.

"Our findings could also lead to better tests so that people with changes in their tumours that mean they're unlikely to respond to cetuximab -- or likely to stop responding -- could be spared unnecessary treatment."

Professor David Cunningham, Director of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:

"This research underlines the importance of understanding how cancer evolves, especially when it occurs as a direct effect of treatment. In this study the antibody cetuximab made colorectal cancer tumours potentially susceptible to immunotherapy. This finding could have implications for the treatments we provide to patients with this disease."

Rachel Shaw, Research Information Manager at Cancer Research UK, said:

"Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, and it's the second biggest cancer killer. Treatment resistance remains a huge part of the challenge, so it's vital that we find new ways to treat this disease.

"While cetuximab works well for lots of people, most will eventually stop responding to their treatment. Delving into the mechanics of how cetuximab changes the biology of bowel tumours has given us valuable insight into what the next best treatment step could be, and we look forward to seeing the results of the trial."

Professor Sir Mel Greaves, who will be Director of Cancer Evolution within the ICR's new Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery, said: "Cancers are a moving target, constantly adapting and evolving within their environment so that they can survive, progress and evade treatment. As this intriguing study shows, cancers don't always need to accumulate genetic changes to become drug resistant -- they can also modify their behaviour and their immediate environment in complex and subtle ways to render treatments ineffective.

"By unravelling the mechanisms underpinning cancer evolution and adaptation in response to drugs, our research aims to open up new treatment strategies -- in this case through use of immunotherapy in bowel cancers that have become more visible to the immune system. It's an approach which lies at the heart of the ICR's pioneering plans to create a new generation of anti-evolution treatments, once we have raised the final £15 million to complete our Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery."

Protect your colon with food: Garlic and onions reduce risk of colorectal cancer

Published: July 07, 2019


(Natural News) Garlic and onions are commonly used to flavor food – but they offer far more benefits than that. A recent study suggests that garlic, onions, and other Allium vegetables – leeks, chives, shallots – may prevent colorectal cancer.

Bioactive compounds in Allium vegetables were previously reported to prevent breast cancer and prostate cancer. In this study, which was published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers from The First Hospital of China Medical University in Shenyang, China, looked at whether consuming allium vegetables could lower a person’s risk of colorectal cancer.

To do so, they compared 833 participants diagnosed with colorectal cancer with 833 cancer-free individuals. Both groups were similar in age and sex and lived in similar locations. The researchers interviewed all participants about their demographics and recorded their dietary habits using a validated food frequency questionnaire.

The researchers discovered that people who consumed the most Allium vegetables had 79 percent lower colorectal cancer risk than those who consumed the least. They found that eating at least 35 lbs. of Allium vegetables per year could slash colorectal cancer risk. This would be around 1 ½ oz. – or one onion – every day.

“It is worth noting that in our research, there seems to be a trend: the greater the amount of allium vegetables, the better the protection,” said senior author Dr. Zhi Li.

Li also noted that cooking methods may affect the anticancer effect of the vegetables. Li explained that boiling onions, for example, would reduce their useful compounds, while slicing and crushing fresh garlic were beneficial.  “In general, the present findings shed light on the primary prevention of colorectal cancer through lifestyle intervention, which deserves further in-depth explorations,” said Li.

More ways to prevent colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer, or colon cancer, develops in the colon or rectum. In the U.S., colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death by cancer and the third most common cancerin both men and women. Despite the high rates, this form of cancer is highly preventable. In addition to eating onions and garlic, here are six more ways to increase your protection against colorectal cancer:

  • Get screened – Getting regular screening tests for colon cancer can prevent the disease by finding abnormal growths called polyps in the colon or rectum that can be removed before they turn into cancer. It also helps detect the disease early, when it is most treatable. The American Cancer Society recommends getting screened starting at age 45 for people at average risk.
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains – Diets that incorporate plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer. Conversely, eating less of these and more red and processed meats increases the cancer risk.
  • Be physically active – A sedentary lifestyle can increase your chance of developing colorectal cancer and other diseases, so it’s best to start moving around and being more physically active to reduce your risk.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – Excess weight increases your risk of developing and dying from colorectal cancer. To maintain a healthy weight, eat healthier and exercise regularly.
  • Stop smoking/Don’t smoke – Quitting this habit will save you from tons of health risks. On top of increasing your risk of serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, and emphysema, smoking is a major cause of at least 14 types of cancer, including colorectal cancer.
  • Limit your alcohol intake – Drinking too much alcohol is shown to increase colorectal cancer, on top of other health problems. Alcohol intake should be limited to one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men.

Making these lifestyle changes can be hard, but they can greatly lower your risk for colorectal cancer and many other types of cancer, as well as other serious health problems like diabetes and heart disease.

Ovarian and breast cancer research finds new ways BRCA1 gene functions

Published: July 03, 2019


Research led by the University of Birmingham has found important new ways that the BRCA1 gene functions which could help develop our understanding of the development of ovarian and breast cancers.

The research, published in Nature today (July 3rd), was led by experts at the University of Birmingham's Birmingham Centre for Genome Biology and Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences and is part of a five-year research project which is playing a pivotal role in identifying and understanding breast cancer genes.

First author Manolo Daza-Martin, of the University of Birmingham, explained: "No two people are born the same and, as a result, we all have slightly different chances of developing diseases during our lifetimes -- this is the result of natural variation in our genes.

"On top of this natural variation, about one in a thousand people inherit from one of their parents a damaged, or 'mutated', copy of a gene called BRCA1.

"Previous research has shown us that in cells the BRCA1 gene makes a protein that helps repair damage to broken DNA. Therefore, people who inherit a faulty BRCA1 gene are less able to repair damage that inevitably accumulates in their DNA over time -- putting them at higher risk of ovarian and breast cancer.

Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy and announced she was to have her ovaries removed in 2013 after being tested positive for the BRCA1 genetic mutation. Her mother died at the young age of 56 due to cancer.

DNA damage can also occur when cells have difficulties copying their DNA leaving it vulnerable to breakage. BRCA1 helps protect DNA when the copying machinery gets stuck, but it was not known how. Now University of Birmingham researchers, in collaboration with scientists at Imperial College London, have found that BRCA1 changes shape in order to protect vulnerable DNA until the copying machinery can be restarted. In addition, the researchers found that in some patients with a personal or family history of breast and ovarian cancer, the protective role of BRCA1 in DNA-copying is disabled -- while its break repair function is still active.

Joint corresponding author Dr Ruth Densham, of the University of Birmingham's Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, added: "BRCA1 is like a DNA Damage Scene Coordinator, whose role is to coordinate emergency response units at a damage site in order to help repair. It was surprising to find out that BRCA1 changes shape depending on the type of damage it finds at the scene, and this shape change alters the way the cell responds."

Lead and corresponding author Professor Jo Morris, also of the University of Birmingham's Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, said: "Our research could be important for understanding how cancers develop and means we could have identified a new way of supressing tumours.

"We are long way from it, but ultimately this may alter how cancer patients are treated. We will now continue this important research into the role of BRCA1's DNA copying function in cancer development."

The average woman in the UK has a 12.5 per cent chance of developing breast cancer at some point in her life.

About one in 20 (five per cent) of the 50,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer every year carries an inherited gene fault like BRCA1.

A female BRCA1 carrier has between a 60 and 90 per cent chance of developing breast cancer, and around a 40 to 60 per cent chance of ovarian cancer. The precise figure for an individual woman will vary according to several things, such as her age, the number of affected family members, and the exact nature of the fault in the gene.

Bench to bedside study of a targetable enzyme controlling aggressive prostate cancer

Published: July 02, 2019


Prostate cancer represents a major health challenge and there is currently no effective treatment once it has advanced to the aggressive, metastatic stage. A new has revealed a key cellular mechanism that contributes to aggressive prostate cancer, and supporting a new clinical trial. The study was published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

The research led by investigators at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center -- Jefferson Health (SKCC) and their collaborators at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the University of California, San Francisco, and Celgene Corporation, focused on an enzyme called DNA-PK (DNA-dependent protein kinase), a pivotal component of the cellular machinery that controls both DNA repair and influences gene expression. The work was orchestrated by the laboratory of Karen E. Knudsen, PhD, EVP of Oncology Services and Enterprise Director of SKCC.

Previous studies showed that DNA-PK is excessively active in metastatic prostate cancer and that its hyper-activation is associated with a poor outcome in prostate cancer patients. "Our study further elucidates the functions of DNA-PK and identifies this protein as a master regulator of gene networks that promote aggressive cancer behaviors," says lead author Emanuela Dylgjeri.

A companion study in the same issue led by the laboratory of Felix Feng, MD, in collaboration with the Kundsen laboratory, identified DNA-PK as the most significantly associated kinase with metastatic progression of the disease. In an effort to understand how DNA-PK induces poor outcomes, the investigators found that DNA-PK modulates the expression of gene networks controlling a variety of important cancer-related cellular events, including a developmental process termed the epithelial-mesenchymal transition, the immune response, metabolic pathways (Dylgjeri et al.) and Wnt signaling (Kothari et al.).

The new findings suggest that targeting DNA-PK might allow the development of effective strategies to prevent or treat aggressive, late-stage prostate cancer. Data from the studies was used to develop a clinical trial combining standard-of-care with a first-in-man DNA-PK inhibitor. Early results of the trial have been promising, and the researchers have demonstrated in a laboratory setting that the combined approach is more effective than either single treatment in eliciting anti-tumor effects. The clinical trial is still underway and has now entered the expansion phase of testing.

The newly published studies are focused on translating basic science findings from the laboratory to the clinic, but the investigators also plan to take the lessons learned in the clinic back to the laboratory. The results of the clinical trial will offer important clues and raise new questions that will guide the design of new experiments, with the ultimate goal of understanding how DNA-PK regulates specific cellular pathways to promote more aggressive cancer behavior. These studies in turn will aid in the development of more accurate genetic tests to detect advanced prostate cancer, identify the most appropriate course of treatment for individual patients, and predict treatment outcomes. Team leader Dr. Karen Knudsen envisions long-term practical outcomes of this research, saying "it is our hope to use the information gained by these studies to understand which prostate cancer patients might benefit the most from combination treatments with a DNA-PK inhibitor drug."

New way to make cancer self-destruct

Published: July 01, 2019


For years, researchers have been trying to target a gene called MYC that is known to drive tumor growth in multiple cancer types when it is mutated or over-expressed, but hitting that target successfully has proven difficult. Now researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania have identified a new pathway that works as a partner to MYC and may be its Achilles' Heel. The pathway involves a protein called ATF4, and when it's blocked, it can cause cancer cells to produce too much protein and die. These findings in cell lines and mouse models could point the way toward a new therapeutic approach as inhibitors that can block synthesis of ATF4 already exist. The journal Nature Cell Biologypublished the findings today.

MYC is a gene that controls normal cell growth, but when it is mutated or amplified in cancer, it sets off a chain reaction that helps tumors grow uncontrollably. While there is currently no specific way to target it, previous research has focused on blocking other steps in the chain as a workaround to impede tumor growth. The team, led by Constantinos Koumenis, PhD, the Richard Chamberlain Professor of Radiation Oncology and vice chair and research division director of Radiation Oncology, have previously shown that in certain tumors, one of these steps is regulated by a kinase called PERK, which activates ATF4. However, in this new study, they've shown that blocking PERK does not always stop tumor growth because MYC actually controls a second process that can work in parallel as a redundancy in the system. This study identified this second kinase, which is called GCN2.

"What we've learned is that we need to go further downstream to block tumor growth in a way that cancer cells can't easily escape, and our study identifies the target to do just that," said Koumenis, who is the co-senior author on this study along with Davide Ruggero, PhD, a professor of Urology in the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

This study shows the alternative approach is to target ATF4 itself, since it's the point where both signal pathways converge, meaning there's less redundancy built in to allow cancer to survive. The findings also show that ATF4 turns on the genes MYC needs for growth and also controls the rate at which cells make specific proteins called 4E-BP. When the researchers knocked out ATF4 in cells or mice, they found tumor cells continued to build up those proteins and eventually died as a result of stress. This blocked tumor growth in mice with lymphomas and colorectal cancer. This study also found that when tumors in humans are driven by MYC, ATF4 and its protein partner 4E-BP are also overly expressed, which is further evidence that these findings may point to an approach that could work for humans.

"This shows us the potential impacts of targeting ATF4 in MYC-dependent tumors, something we're already studying. We're also working to confirm this approach will not cause any serious off-target effects," said lead author Feven Tameire, PhD, who conducted this research while she was a doctoral candidate at Penn.

Researchers say future studies will also focus on continuing to investigate why ATF4 works the way it does, which may help their understanding of whether there are other potential targets in the chain.

Protein linked to aggressive skin cancer

Published: June 28, 2019


Almost 300,000 people worldwide develop malignant melanoma each year. The disease is the most serious form of skin cancer and the number of cases reported annually is increasing, making skin cancer one of Sweden's most common forms of cancer. A research team at Lund University in Sweden has studied a protein that regulates a gene which is linked to metastasis of malignant melanoma.

Over the past ten years, new treatment alternatives that use different methods to strengthen the immune system or attack specific cancer cells have been developed for patients with metastatic skin cancer. The introduction of these treatments is due to an increased understanding of how melanoma develops. However, there is still a lack of knowledge about how the tumour cells spread to other parts of the body.

"We have discovered that a specific protein, called DDX3X, regulates the gene that is central to the development of the pigment cells in the skin. The gene is called MITF. Previously, other researchers have found that MITF is a melanoma-specific oncogene, i.e. a gene that can trigger the development of tumours. The general function of DDX3X was known, but the link to the MITF gene was not understood. We understand more about it now," say Cristian Bellodi, who led the study with Göran Jönsson.

The Lund researchers have now seen that the DDX3X protein does not affect whether or not you develop malignant melanoma, but that it plays a considerable role in the aggressiveness of the tumour. The patient's level of DDX3X can therefore serve as a biomarker for predicting how intractable the disease will be.

"The activity of the MITF gene determines the melanoma cells' specific characteristics, which are then linked to the disease prognosis. The lower the level of DDX3X protein the patient has in the tumour cell, the more aggressive the disease and the worse the prognosis will be," says Göran Jönsson, professor of Molecular Oncology at Lund University.

Both researchers consider that more knowledge is needed about how the MITF gene is regulated in order to understand the mechanisms behind how tumour cells move around in the body, with an aim for the future to prevent the spread of the cancer and improve treatment for melanoma patients.

Pulmonary metastasis of breast cancer prevented by a component found in safflower

Published: June 27, 2019


(Natural News) In this study, researchers from Zhejiang Chinese Medical University investigated the effects of safflower yellow (SY), the active component of the herbaceous plant Carthamus tinctorius, on the pulmonary metastasis of breast cancer and its mechanism of action. The results of their study were published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine.

  • C. tinctorius or safflower is a traditional Chinese medicine that activates blood circulation and dissipates blood stasis.
  • It is extensively used as an antitumor treatment in a clinical setting either alone or as part of a formulation. However, empirical evidence and a better understanding of the possible mechanisms involved in its biological activities are lacking.
  • The researchers used EGF-meditated time- and dose-dependent cell response profiles to screen for the activity of SY in vitro.
  • They established an orthotopic lung metastasis animal model via intravenous injection of breast cancer cells to evaluate the antimetastatic role of SY in vivo.
  • The researchers reported that SY dose-dependently inhibited EGF-mediated time- and dose-dependent cell response by inhibiting cytoskeletal rearrangement.
  • They also found that SY significantly inhibited the migration of breast cancer cells in vitro and pulmonary metastasis of breast cancer cells in vivo.
  • EGF stimulation of breast cancer cells (MBA-MD-231) treated with SY resulted in a decrease in the expression of MMP-9 and p-Src proteins and the formation of invadopodia.
  • The researchers reported a similar event in the lung metastatic foci. They also found a reduction in circulating tumor cells retained in lung capillaries.
  • These results suggested that the antimetastatic effect of SY is due to its inhibition of invadopodia formation, which occurs mainly through Src-dependent cytoskeleton rearrangement.

Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that SY should be considered as a potential novel therapeutic agent for the treatment of breast cancer.

TV Watching May Be Most Unhealthy Type of Sitting: Study

Published: June 26, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Next time you're ready to hit the sofa for an evening of TV, think twice -- it just might kill you.

Though too much sitting has long been linked to health risks, a new study suggests all sitting isn't the same -- and sitting in front of the TV after dinner for long hours at a stretch is especially unhealthy.

In fact, those who did just that increased their risk for heart attack, stroke and early death by 50% compared to those who didn't, researchers report.

"It's the combination of dinner and sitting on the couch watching TV for hours afterward that we think can be very toxic," said lead researcher Keith Diaz, an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.

Sitting in front of the TV is different from sitting at work, he said.

"At work, we get up and move often -- we go to a coworker's desk, we go to the bathroom, to the copy machine, etcetera," Diaz said. "But when we sit and watch TV, we tend not to move for hours at a time. That type of sitting is the most hazardous type of sitting."

Hours spent in front of the TV after dinner increase blood sugar and cholesterol. And because muscles are inactive, they don't help clear away the sugar and fat from blood vessels. Diaz suspects this is what make this type of sitting so lethal.

Although all participants in the study were black, Diaz said the findings probably apply to all groups.

He cautioned, though, that the study doesn't prove that sitting for long, uninterrupted periods causes heart attacks or stroke or premature death, only that there's a link.

"The last thing you should do after a big meal is sit down and watch TV for hours," Diaz said. "Go out for a 10- to 20-minute walk and then sit down."

The study followed nearly 3,600 Mississippians for almost nine years. Participants reported how much time they typically spent sitting while watching TV and doing work. They also reported on their exercise habits.

Those who watched TV four hours or more a day had a 50% higher risk for heart attack, stroke and early death, compared with those whose TV time was less than two hours a day, the study found.

Surprisingly, those who sat for long periods on the job had the same risk for heart disease and early death as those who sat the least, the researchers found.

But even the most devoted couch potatoes could reduce their risk by getting a little exercise, Diaz said.

For those who watched a lot of TV, exercising for at least 150 minutes a week removed the added health risk.

"These findings reinforce current recommendations to reduce time spent sitting and to engage in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic activity spread throughout the week," said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a American Heart Association spokesman and professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Moderate intensity aerobic activities include brisk walking (at least 2.5 miles per hour), dancing, gardening, doubles tennis and biking, he said.

"Even light intensity physical activity can offset some of the risks of being sedentary," Fonarow added. "These findings reinforce the advice to 'move more and sit less.' "

Statins May Lower Risk of Stroke After Cancer Radiotherapy

Published: June 19, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Radiation treatment for cancer can damage the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk for a stroke or heart attack. But a new study suggests cholesterol-lowering drugs can significantly reduce that risk.

The researchers reported that taking statins may lower the risk of a stroke after radiation treatment by 32%.

"Our study demonstrated that statin therapy could be favorable even with the competing risks of cancer and cancer-related mortality in patients who received radiation therapy," said lead researcher Dr. Negareh Mousavi, of McGill University Health Center in Montreal, Canada.

Nothing else has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke after radiation to the head, neck or chest, she said.

Radiation therapy can cause arteries to scar or thicken, leading to blockages that result in heart attacks and strokes, Mousavi explained. Strokes and heart attacks are the main cause of illness and death among cancer survivors, she noted.

Statin drugs work by keeping plaques from building up in blood vessels, preventing blockages.

Mousavi's team also found a 15% reduction in all heart-related events and deaths among cancer survivors who took statins. But she said that reduction was not statistically significant due to the high-risk population studied.

Dr. Anthony D'Amico, a professor of radiation oncology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, reviewed the findings.

D'Amico cautioned that this study only shows an association between statins and lower post-radiation stroke odds -- but it can't prove that statins actually reduce the risk.

"There is some rationale for the finding," D'Amico said. But this study lacks the strength of a randomized trial, he added. In such a trial, some people would get statins while others would not, and the outcomes would be compared.

Because many of the people in this study were taking statins before receiving radiation treatment, they may have also been taking other medications for conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, D'Amico said. These other drugs might also have an effect on stroke prevention, he suggested.

D'Amico said primary care doctors and cardiologists should decide whether a patient should take statins.

"I don't think you can use this data to support statin use in people undergoing radiation," he said. "I don't think it changes practice right now."

For the study, Mousavi's team looked at more than 5,700 people over 65 years of age who had had a heart attack or stroke after having radiation therapy for chest, head or neck cancer. Nearly 4,200 of them were taking statins for heart disease.

The concern about stroke after radiation to the head, neck and chest is real, said Dr. Dennis Kraus, vice chairman of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

"We don't do a very good job in terms of screening for it or even bringing it to patients' attention," Kraus said. "Even though we know it occurs, we are so worried about people dying from cancer, we don't communicate that this is a risk down the road."

Kraus said keeping an eye on a patient's risk for stroke after radiation should be part of long-term cancer care.

Exposure to glyphosate increases risk of cancer by more than 40%

Published: June 14, 2019


(Natural News) The recent legal victories of people who developed cancer following glyphosate exposure have attracted a lot of headlines, with tens of millions of dollars being awarded to individuals and many other pending lawsuits expected to have similar outcomes. Yet the maker of glyphosate-based Roundup, Monsanto, continues to insist that their products are safe and the risk is exaggerated. However, it’s going to be hard to argue with a new meta-analysis that shows just how strong the link is between exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides like Roundup and a higher risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The new paper, which is a comprehensive review encompassing epidemiologic studies that were published from 2001 to 2018, found that those with high exposure to glyphosate have a 41 percent higher risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The study is considered the most up-to-date analysis of the link between glyphosate exposure and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and it looked at tens of thousands of people to reach its conclusions. It examined all human studies published during the time period in question, focusing on people with high exposure to the pesticide to reduce any potentially skewing confounding factors, as well as some animal studies and other types of glyphosate studies.

These findings contradict assurances of safety from the EPA, who said in 2017 that they believe the chemical is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans” – despite the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the U.N.’s World Health Organization, declaring it “probably carcinogenic to humans” in 2015.

Study co-author Lianne Sheppard of the University of Washington’s Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Department commented: “This paper makes a stronger case than previous meta-analyses that there is evidence of an increased risk of NHL due to glyphosate exposure. From a population health point of view there are some real concerns.”

Sheppard served as a scientific adviser to the EPA on glyphosate and was one of several advisers who told the agency that it didn’t follow proper protocols when determining glyphosate was unlikely to cause cancer because there is indeed evidence it is carcinogenic. The EPA has said they are “reviewing” the study.

It’s worth noting that this particular meta-analysis – a type of analysis that involves combining the results of a series of existing scientific studies to find bigger-picture trends – included a study that the pro-glyphosate lobby likes to cite, last year’s Agricultural Health Study, which found no firm association between pesticide exposure and cancer. The fact that the meta-analysis still found such a high degree of risk, even after taking this study into account, shows what an outlier that particular study is and how grave the danger truly is.

How long will Monsanto be able to defend its toxic practices?

Monsanto and owner Bayer are currently facing more than 9,000 lawsuits in the United States on behalf of people who suffer from non-Hodgkin lymphoma following exposure to their glyphosate-based herbicides. The findings of the analysis, which were published in the journal Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research, could hurt Monsanto’s defense. The publication’s editor in chief is EPA Genetic Toxicologist David DeMarini.

Bayer and Monsanto are, quite predictably, trying to downplay the results of the study because the researchers focused only on people with a high exposure to pesticides, but people with a very low exposure were left out because they can dilute risk estimates.


The researchers say they focused on the highest exposed groups in each study because those people are most likely to have a greater risk should glyphosate indeed cause cancer. If there was no connection, even those who are highly exposed wouldn’t develop cancer at any significant rate – but that’s not what they found. For Monsanto, it’s becoming an increasingly tough task to convincingly deny the dangers of toxic glyphosate.


Polyphenols in plum exhibit anticancer properties

Published: June 12, 2019



(Natural News) Researchers at Texas A&M University looked at the potential of plum (Prunus salicina L.) polyphenols in fighting cancer. They published their findings in the journal Nutrition Research.

  • The nutritional prevention of aberrant crypt foci, which are microscopic lesions in the lining of the colon and rectum, by polyphenols may be a crucial step to dietary cancer prevention.
  • In the study, the researchers examined the anti-inflammatory and antitumorigenic properties of plum polyphenols, such as chlorogenic acid and neochlorogenic acid, in azoxymethane-treated rats.
  • They hypothesized that plum polyphenols could suppress azoxymethane-induced aberrant crypt foci formation through alterations in the protein kinase B (AKT)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway and relative micro-RNA expressions.
  • To test this hypothesis, they treated rats with either plum beverage or a control beverage for 10 weeks and administered azoxymethane at the second and third week.
  • Results revealed that the consumption of the plum beverage decreased the number of dysplastic aberrant crypt foci by 48 percent and reduced the proliferation of mucosal cells by 24 percent.
  • The plum beverage also reduced the activity of glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, and catalase in mucosal scrapings, as well as the superoxide dismutase activity in serum.
  • Proinflammatory enzymes were also reduced, as well as the expression of AKT and mTOR messenger RNA, phosphorylated AKT, mTOR, and hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha protein levels, and the ratio of the phosphorylated/total protein expression of mTOR.
  • The plum beverage also increased the expression of miR-143, which is involved in the regulation of AKT.


In sum, these results suggested that plum polyphenols may fight against colon cancer by targeting the AKT/mTOR pathway and miR-143.


Compound from aged garlic demonstrates anti-cancer activity

Published: June 10, 2019


(Natural News) Researchers from Fujian Normal University, Shenzhen Third People’s Hospital, and The University of Hong Konglooked at the anti-cancer activity of a compound in aged garlic called S-allylmercaptocysteine (SAMC) in a review of studies. They published their findings in the Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines.

  • Daily consumption of food supplements with anti-cancer potential has become a way to prevent and manage cancer.
  • Emerging evidence supports a link between garlic consumption and decreased cancer incidence.
  • Notably, aged garlic extract (AGE) has stronger anti-cancer activities than that of fresh garlic, because it is enriched with AGE-specific organosulfur compounds, such as SAMC.
  • In this review, the researchers looked at studies on SAMC and its anti-cancer potential.
  • They summarized the up-to-date mechanistic pathways associated with the anti-proliferative, anti-metastatic and pro-apoptotic effects of SAMC in various cancer models.
  • Evidence suggested that SAMC can protect against cancer because of its ability to eliminate reactive oxygen species (ROS) and increase antioxidant enzymes.
  • SAMC also exhibits anti-tumor effects by activating mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), scavenging active oxygen, and inhibiting inflammation.
  • SAMC can induce Bcl-2 family imbalance to cause programmed cell death of tumor cells.
  • It can also inhibit tumor cell proliferation and suppress tumor cell invasiveness.
  • Additionally, it can increase the chemosensitivity of cancer cells.


Based on the evidence gathered, the researchers concluded that SAMC in aged garlic can be used as a promising daily food supplement for preventing and treating cancer.

Vitamin D once again scientifically proven to prevent cancer

Published: June 7, 2019


(Natural News) Do you hide from the sun, slathering on sunscreen and wearing a hat every time you step outdoors? The biggest star in the solar system has been demonized in recent years for its connection to skin cancer, but those who go out of their way to avoid it entirely could find themselves facing the very problem they’re trying to prevent.

A series of studies that were recently presented at a conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology demonstrated the protective effect that vitamin D has when it comes to cancer – and the sun is the top way to get enough of the vitamin.

Researchers from the Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute revealed that people who are deficient in vitamin D have more than double the risk of developing pancreatic cancer as well as a greater risk of colorectal cancer, while a different study found a link between daily vitamin D supplements and a reduction in prostate cancer.

In a third study of nearly 80,000 healthy adults, those who took a supplement of vitamin D for three years had a 13 percent lower risk of dying from any type of cancer in their lifetime. The study was carried out by researchers from Michigan State University.

The lead researcher of the study, Dr. Tarek Haykal, said: “I would like to see more oncologists and primary care doctors consider prescribing vitamin D for their patients as it carries many benefits with minimal side effects.” He also encouraged more researchers to study this topic.

Vitamin D is believed to help fight cancer by boosting the immune system, regulating cell growth, and making cancer cells less aggressive.

It’s not just cancer you need to worry about if you’re failing to get enough vitamin D. Studies have also shown a link between a deficiency in this nutrient and diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, and autoimmune diseases.

Get more sun to prevent cancer

Your body makes vitamin D when it is exposed to sunshine, but our modern lifestyles see many of us stuck at desks all day and then parked in front of the TV or smartphone in our free time. All of this time away from the sun is leading to unprecedented levels of vitamin D deficiency, and it’s not helped by the fact that people are so afraid of skin cancer that they largely avoid the sun. More than a billion people around the world are believed to be deficient in this vitamin, while half of the population has vitamin D insufficiency. The elderly and obese are at particularly high risk.

University of California, San Francisco, Professor of Medicine and Dermatology Daniel Bikle told the media that he’s a “big believer in sensible sun exposure,” emphasizing the need to strike a balance between getting some sun but not burning. He urges people to take vitamin D supplements in the winter months when it’s hard to get enough sunlight. You can also get vitamin D from foods like eggs, oily fish, and meat, but it’s very challenging to get proper amounts through diet alone.

Getting the right amount of sun can be tricky given all the factors involved. Studies show your body makes vitamin D most efficiently around noon, with 13 minutes in the sun at midday three times a week in summer generally enough for Caucasian adults in the U.K. to maintain healthy levels. Of course, your skin’s natural tone, your distance from the equator, and the amount of skin you expose all play a role.

Keep in mind that sitting by a sunny window won’t help, and wearing sunscreen of SPF 30 or more can reduce your body’s vitamin D production by as much as 98 percent. Never stay out long enough for your skin to burn, pay attention to skin changes, and be sure to protect your eyes when you’re out in the sun.

It’s time to stop hiding from the sun. If you want to reduce your chances of dying from cancer or even getting it in the first place, vitamin D can make a big difference.

'Focused' Radiation Could Lighten Treatment Burden for Early Breast Cancer

Published: June 6, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Wendy Lybarger lived an hour's drive from the hospital where her breast cancer would be treated, so she was looking forward to a heaping helping of hassle.

For as many as six weeks, she'd have to travel there every weekday to receive radiation treatments after surgery to remove the small lump in her breast.

But then her doctor offered her another option -- more focused and frequent radiation therapy over just five days.

"It kind of sounded too good to be true," said Lybarger, 58, a pastor living in Dayton, Ohio. "My first question was, it sounds good but is it as good? I don't want to give up effectiveness of treatment for convenience."

The answer is yes, it is as good, but only for select women at low risk of recurrence, according to clinical trial findings presented Monday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting, in Chicago.

For three decades, standard treatment has been to expose the entire breast to radiation beams daily, Monday through Friday, for between three to six weeks, said co-lead researcher Dr. Julia White. She is head of breast radiation oncology at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, in Columbus, Ohio.

"If you work or have little kids or don't live near a radiation center, that daily trek for weeks is a barrier," White said.

Advances in early detection and radiation therapy led White and her colleagues to ask if a shorter, more intense round of treatment might do just as well in women whose breast cancer had been caught early.

"We can give higher doses over a shorter period of time safely," White said. "We treat just about 30% of the breast around where the tumor used to lie, and we do it quickly over five days."

Doctors tested this approach in 4,200 women who underwent lumpectomies after being diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer at hospitals across the United States.

These women were randomly assigned to undergo either standard whole-breast radiation for the full round, or the more intense and shorter partial-breast radiation.

Partial-breast radiation was doled out in 10 sessions over five days, with at least 6 hours' recovery between the same-day sessions, White said.

Results were generally favorable across-the-board -- both sets of women had recurrence rates under 5% over 10 years, with survival rates around 90%, White said.

The two radiation strategies "weren't quite equivalent" for all women, however, White said. Whole-breast radiation performed slightly better when it came to cancer recurring, about 1% better than partial-breast radiation.

But in a certain group of women who were at very low risk -- over age 50, with hormone-sensitive tumors and lymph nodes showing no signs of the cancer spreading -- the partial-radiation therapy performed just as well as traditional treatment, White said.

"When we examined those women, the average recurrence rate was at 2% to 3% at 10 years," White said. "That's awesome, right? Ninety-seven percent with either treatment had no recurrence."

That means as many as 25,000 to 30,000 women every year could be eligible to receive the shorter, more intense therapy, White explained.

"That's nothing to sneeze at," White said. "That's a substantial percentage."

White believes that accelerated partial-breast radiation therapy should be offered as an option for women like Lybarger.

Lybarger said her tumor wound up being around 1.4 centimeters when surgically removed, and genetic testing showed she was at low risk for recurrence. She was diagnosed in early August 2018 during a regular mammogram.

Lybarger received her radiation treatments on a Wednesday-to-Friday, Monday-to-Tuesday schedule.

At the end of her 10th treatment, Lybarger packed her car from the hotel room where she'd stayed overnight in Columbus and drove home, where she facilitated a meeting that very evening.

"That night I was back in a local church doing a meeting, and did a staff meeting the following morning," Lybarger said. "I've felt fine ever since."

Not all doctors share such a rosy view of this accelerated radiation schedule, however.

Dr. Richard Bakst, a radiation oncologist at Mount Sinai in New York City, said he's concerned about how well the technique compares to full-breast radiation.

"It's unclear to me if it's efficacious," Bakst said. "I don't think this is a game changer by any means. I don't think it should be widely adopted at this point."

Research presented at meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Surprising new study may help scientists stop cancer from occurring in the first place

Published: June 5, 2019


(Natural News) Autophagy is the natural process of reusing the damaged parts of cells for cell repair and regeneration. A new study revealed that autophagy could stop the formation of  “undying” cancer cells.

Researchers from the Salk Institute were evaluating the potential links between telomeres and the risk of cancer when they discovered this. Telomeres are molecules that cap the ends of chromosomes – they ensure that these genetic structures would not merge.

Whenever a cell makes a copy of its DNA during cell division, the telomeres get shorter. Eventually, they become so short that they could no longer protect the chromosomes. The cell then receives a signal to halt cell division for good.

There are times, however, when cells don’t receive that signal so they keep dividing until their telomeres become too short or go missing. These cells enter “crisis,” a state where their uncapped chromosomes fuse and start malfunctioning, just like in cancer cells. 

Autophagy causes the cell death of potentially cancerous “crisis” cells

Salk researcher and lead author Jan Karlseder led efforts to investigate crisis. He knew that crisis often causes cells to die in droves, which stops pre-cancer cells from developing into full-blown cancer. Furthermore, he wanted to examine the mechanism of this beneficial process.

“Many researchers assumed cell death in crisis occurs through apoptosis, which along with autophagy is one of two types of programmed cell death,” explained Karlseder’s fellow researcher Joe Nassour. “But no one was doing experiments to find out if that was really the case.”

For their experiment on human cells, the researchers deactivated tumor-suppressor genes that impose a limit on cell division. They observed that cells divided nonstop until their telomeres became dangerously short, triggering crisis.

Next, they investigated the markers of autophagy and apoptosis, another natural process of cell death. The researchers wanted to figure out which of the two kills cells in crisis.

While both autophagy and apoptosis contributed to the death of a small number of normal cells, the researchers found that autophagy was the primary cause of cell death during crisis.

Damaged or missing telomeres trigger autophagy in pre-cancerous cells

Karlseder and Nassour went on to test the consequences of stopping autophagy during crisis. They reported that the cells continued to divide nonstop since they could not die through autophagy.

Furthermore, the chromosomes of the endlessly replicating cells ended up fused and deformed. Their DNA damage resembled the severe genetic damage found in cancerous cells.

The last part of the study called for inflicting DNA damage to healthy cells. The researchers intentionally damaged either the telomeres or the middle regions of the chromosomes.

They found that cells with damaged telomeres underwent autophagy. Meanwhile, those that suffered damage in other parts of their chromosomes underwent apoptosis.

Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that autophagy is a mechanism that destroys pre-cancerous cells. It is activated when cells incur DNA damage or when their telomeres are too short or are already missing.

However, autophagy can still be used as a valid strategy even after cancer has already begun. Reuben Shaw, one of the authors, published an earlier study about using autophagy to kill a tumor by “starving” it.

The researchers believe that their findings open up a new field of research that could lead to the eventual discovery of a cure for cancer.

Is MRI Screening Worth It for Breast Cancer Survivors?

Published: June 4, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Breast MRI screening is a good way to detect small tumors, but it's unclear how much it benefits women with a history of breast cancer, a new study finds.

Right now, experts recommend that breast cancer survivors have yearly mammograms to help catch any recurrences early. An unresolved question is whether adding breast MRI to that screening is beneficial.

In the new study, researchers found that when survivors underwent MRI screening, it did tend to detect more tumors, compared to yearly mammography alone. But it also more than doubled the number of biopsies women needed -- many of which turned out to be benign.

Experts said it leaves women with a choice to make.

"Rather than deciding for women that the risks of any exam outweigh the benefits, we need to be clear and open about exactly what those risks and benefits are, and let them decide what's most important to them," said Dr. Mary Newell, a radiologist at Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute in Atlanta.

Newell wrote an editorial accompanying the study published online June 4 in the journal Radiology.

Breast MRIs can catch some tumors not seen on standard mammograms, but they are also more likely to spot something that turns out to be benign, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Because of that, MRI is reserved for women at high risk of breast cancer. (The average U.S. woman has about a 12% risk.) Right now, the ACS recommends MRI, along with yearly mammograms, when women have a roughly 20% or higher lifetime risk of breast cancer.

That group includes women who carry certain inherited gene mutations, or who have a particularly strong family history of breast cancer.

But it does not include women with a personal history of breast cancer.

That's because at the time the recommendations were made -- in 2007 -- "there simply weren't any good studies from which we could draw conclusions," said Robert Smith, vice-president of cancer screening for the ACS.

Even now, he said, there remains little research evidence.

The new study is the largest and most comprehensive to look at the issue so far, according to lead researcher Karen Wernli of Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle.

Wernli and her colleagues combed through information on more than 13,000 breast cancer survivors who were screened for breast cancer at several sites across the United States. All together, they had received nearly 34,000 mammograms and about 2,500 MRI screenings between 2005 and 2012.

Overall, MRI caught more tumors -- at a rate of 11 per 1,000 exams, compared to eight per 1,000 for mammography alone. To achieve that rate, though, the MRI group had to undergo more biopsies: 10% of those screenings led to a biopsy, compared to 4% of mammograms.

And while MRI detected more early tumors, it's not clear what the ultimate benefit is: The rate of "interval" cancers -- cancers diagnosed in the year between screenings -- was the same in the mammography-only and MRI groups.

That suggests, according to Wernli, that mammography did about as well as MRI in detecting tumors that were "clinically important" -- small tumors that would progress enough to produce symptoms (like a lump) in the next year.

Wernli pointed to the potential broader impact of using MRI screening for all women with a history of breast cancer. If every U.S. woman diagnosed with non-advanced breast cancer in 2018 underwent one MRI, there would be more than 14,000 additional biopsies.

For individual patients, however, those types of figures may not mean much, Newell pointed out. If, she said, a woman has a lot of anxiety about a cancer recurrence, for example, she might feel the higher odds of needing a biopsy are worth it.

The decision comes down to women discussing the pros and cons of MRI screening with their doctors, the experts said.

They also agreed that more research is needed to figure out whether MRI screening benefits certain breast cancer survivors more than others.

Smith pointed to some examples. It might be that women with dense breast tissue -- which can make mammography interpretation harder -- benefit more from adding MRI. The same could be true of women with a family history of breast cancer.

But studies are needed to find out, Smith said.

There are also practical issues. Breast MRI costs substantially more than mammography, and the ACS advises women to first check that their insurance plan covers it.

A New Way to Fight a Previously 'Inoperable' Pancreatic Cancer

Published: May 30, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- A new treatment protocol for locally advanced pancreatic cancer can enable surgical removal of previously inoperable tumors and improve survival rates, according to a new study.

"Locally advanced" pancreatic cancer is confined to the pancreas, but the tumor still involves major abdominal blood vessels and usually cannot be removed by surgery.

It's one of the worst forms of an already deadly cancer, the Massachusetts General Hospital researchers explained.

However, the results of their clinical trial could offer such patients new hope.

The trial included 49 patients with previously untreated locally advanced pancreatic cancer who received a combination of intensive chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as the blood pressure drug losartan.

Use of the combo therapy allowed 34 of the 49 participants to go on to have their tumors surgically removed, the team reported May 30 in JAMA Oncology.

And in 30 (61%) of the patients, surgery ("resection") removed all evidence of cancer around the tumor.

The treatment protocol also significantly improved survival rates, the research team said.

As study co-lead author Dr. Janet Murphy explained, "around 40% of pancreatic cancer patients have either locally advanced or borderline resectable disease, with historically poor rates of successful surgery." She works in the hospital's hematology/oncology division.

"To be able to successfully remove the primary tumor in 61% of patients sets a new benchmark and offers much hope," Murphy said in a hospital news release. "A key part of the success of our approach was our surgeons' willingness to attempt an operation even in patients who had the appearance of cancer at or near their blood vessels."

She said that prior research had suggested that tumor spread (as evidenced on CT scans), and the ability of surgeons to remove the tumor after chemotherapy and radiation "are no longer clearly correlated."

That could give surgeons the green light to proceed.

"While we did not see total blood vessel clearance in 61% of patients, 61% achieved a complete removal of their cancer [anyway]," Murphy said.

"Locally advanced pancreatic cancer has been generally considered an incurable disease, so these results mark a dramatic improvement with respect both to rates of conversion to surgical resectability and to long-term disease outcomes," study co-lead author Dr. Jennifer Wo said in the news release. She's from the hospital's department of radiation oncology.

"Based on these results we have launched a new, multi-institutional clinical trial that will also include the immunotherapy drug nivolumab, since losartan treatment has also been shown to activate several immune system pathways," Wo said.

One specialist not involved in the trial agreed that the approach could be a new option for these patients.

"Of utmost importance, the results showed that they were able to successfully remove the primary tumor in 61% of patients, which definitely sets a new benchmark," said Dr. Wasif Saif. He's deputy physician-in-chief and medical director of the Northwell Health Cancer Institute in Lake Success, N.Y.

Blood Test Could Spot Multiple Cancer Types, Researchers Say

Published: May 29, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- A gene-based blood test can accurately detect breast, colorectal, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, gastric or bile duct cancers in patients, researchers report.

The test uses artificial intelligence to identify and interpret "fragments" of DNA in the blood that indicate the presence of cancer, explained researchers led by Dr. Victor Velculescu. He helps direct the Cancer Biology Program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore.

In the new study, the test -- called DELFI (DNA evaluation of fragments for early interception) -- accurately detected cancer in 73% of cancer patients overall, and only misclassified four out of 215 patients, meaning it had just a 2% error rate.

"DELFI helps identify the presence of cancer by detecting abnormalities in the size and amount of DNA in different regions of the genome based on how it is packaged," said lead author Jillian Phallen, a postdoctoral fellow at the Kimmel Cancer Center.

Still, this is just a proof-of-concept study, the researchers said, and more research is needed before it reaches routine use.

But such "liquid biopsies" are a holy grail of cancer research, potentially making cancer diagnosis easier and faster, and avoiding the need for invasive tissue biopsies.

Many blood-based biopsies are under development, but DELFI relies on a slightly different strategy than most. According to the Hopkins team, the test examines the way DNA is packaged within the cell nucleus. While healthy cells package their DNA in ordered, predictable ways, cancer cells do not -- instead, DNA appears more disordered and random.

This "means that when cancer cells die they release their DNA in a chaotic manner into the bloodstream," Phallen explained in a Hopkins news release. And it's these disorganized bits of DNA that the new test detects.

In the new trial, involving 208 cancer patients, DELFI accurately spotted one of seven cancers between 57% and 99% of the time in blood samples, the team reported May 29 in the journal Nature.

The study group included 54 breast cancer patients, 27 colorectal cancer patients, 12 lung cancer patients, 28 ovarian cancer patients, 34 pancreatic cancer patients, 27 gastric cancer patients and 26 bile duct cancer patients.

Genomic testing from these patients was compared to results from a comparison group of 215 healthy individuals.

As expected, the DNA fragmentation "profiles" of the healthy individuals were more ordered and much less variable than those of the cancer patients.

Besides simply spotting the presence of a cancer, the new blood test was between 61% and 75% accurate in determining the tissue of origin of the tumor, the study authors reported.

And when data from DELFI was added to another mutation-based analysis of "cell-free" DNA, this analysis accurately spotted tumors in 91% of the cancer patients, the investigators found.

This research remains in its early stage. However, "we're encouraged about the potential of DELFI because it looks at a completely independent set of cell-free DNA characteristics from those that have posed difficulties over the years," Velculescu said. "We look forward to working with our collaborators worldwide to make this test available to patients."

The researchers added that because the blood test is easy to administer and analyze in the lab, it could also prove to be a cost-saver.

Reduce your risk of colorectal cancer by getting plenty of vitamin D

Published: May 28, 2019


(Natural News) Colorectal cancer has been in the headlines recently for its concerning rise among young people. Already the second leading cause of cancer deaths among Americans, the incidence rates of colon and rectal cancers are projected to rise by 90 and 124 percent respectively by 2030 among those aged 20 to 34. It’s a frightening prospect, but researchers have found one big way that you can reduce your risk: Get plenty of vitamin D.

A new study carried out by researchers from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health explored the connection between vitamin D levels and a person’s risk of colorectal cancer, and they found the vitamin can be quite beneficial. They analyzed more than 5,700 cases of colorectal cancer, matching each one with more than 7,100 controls who don’t have the disease across the U.S., Europe and Asia.

For the purposes of the study, people were considered to have sufficient vitamin D levels in their blood if they met the levels of circulating vitamin D established by the National Academy of Medicine. They found that those who were deficient under this definition had a 31 percent increased risk of colorectal cancer, while those whose circulating vitamin D levels exceeded the NAM recommendations had the lowest risk of colorectal cancer. The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Although they found that vitamin D can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, the amount needed for this effect is far greater than the current guidelines, which were essentially set with the aim of preventing osteoporosis rather than cancer. The researchers suggest the optimal concentration of vitamin D for reducing your colorectal cancer risk is between 75 and 100 nmol per liter.

Getting more vitamin D is easier than you think

There are lots of ways you can ensure adequate vitamin D intake, but the best and most efficient approach is by getting lots of sunlight. Exposure to UVB rays in the sun prompts your skin to make vitamin D, so head outdoors regularly to get the benefits.

How much time you’ll need is difficult to say as it is going to depend on your skin tone, where you live, the cloud cover and weather conditions, the time of day and year, the amount of skin you have exposed, and other factors. However, as a general rule, around 20 minutes of sun exposure without sunscreen three times per week with your arms and legs exposed should do the job for those with fair skin.

While it’s also possible to get vitamin D from foods like fatty fish, mushrooms, and eggs, it’s hard to get enough of it from your diet alone. Supplements are also an option. If you’re concerned about your vitamin D levels, consider getting tested.

Other risk factors of colorectal cancer that you can control include diet, alcohol use, smoking, physical inactivity and obesity. It’s also important to avoid eating red and processed meats, which can raise your risk of the disease.

Factors for colorectal cancer that you can’t change include age, a family history of colorectal cancer, and a history of inflammatory bowel disease. If any of these uncontrollable factors are working against you, it’s particularly important that you focus on the factors you can control to keep your risk as low as possible and get regular colorectal cancer screening.

Summer is right around the corner, and it’s the perfect time to head outdoors and catch some rays to get the vitamin D needed to keep your cancer risk at bay.

Colon Cancer Screenings Increase When Medicaid Arrives

Published: May 24, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- There were greater increases in colon cancer screening rates in states that expanded Medicaid than in those that did not, a new study finds.

It also found that expansion resulted in hundreds of thousands more people getting screened for colon cancer through colonoscopy, stool testing or sigmoidoscopy.

"Health insurance is a strong predictor of cancer screening, and the uninsured and those with lower socioeconomic status are more likely to be diagnosed at late stage and die from screen-detectable cancers, including colorectal cancer," study leader Stacey Fedewa said in an American Cancer Society news release. Fedewa is senior principal scientist for the society's Surveillance and Health Services Research.

The Affordable Care Act let states expand Medicaid insurance coverage to low-income adults, who tend to have poor access to preventive health services.

Five states and the District of Columbia were very early adopters and expanded Medicaid eligibility in 2010-2011. Another 21 states expanded Medicaid in 2014, five states expanded in 2015-2016, and 19 states did not expand.

American Cancer Society researchers analyzed data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and found that in states that were very early adopters of the expansion, the rate of low-income adults ages 50-64 who were up to date with colon cancer screening rose from 42.3% in 2012 to 51.1% in 2016.

Rates increased from 49.6% to 52.5% in states that expanded Medicaid between 2014 and 2016, and from 44.2% to 48% in non-expansion states.

Rates of recent colon cancer screening (in the past two years) increased from 30.1% to 38.1% in very early adopters and from 29.1% to 31.8% in non-expansion states.

The increase in screening rates in very early adopters led to nearly 236,600 additional low-income adults with recent colon cancer screening in 2016.

If the same increase had occurred in non-expansion states, more than 355,000 more low-income adults would have had recent colon cancer screening, according to Fedewa and her colleagues.

The report also found that breast cancer screening increased only modestly among low-income women in the states that expanded Medicaid coverage.

But the authors say that there is more widespread support for mammography in low-income populations through programs like the CDC's National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, as well as programs offered by nonprofits and mobile mammography clinics.

Also, they added, mammography is cheaper and requires less preparation than colon cancer tests.

Poor Diet Might Raise Your Cancer Risk

Published: May 23, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Your unhealthy eating habits could increase your risk of cancer as much as drinking alcohol can, new research reports.

The Tufts University study found that poor diets cause about the same number of cancer cases as alcohol consumption does in the United States.

The researchers said their modeling study estimated that dietary factors may have accounted for over 80,000 of the new invasive cancer cases reported in 2015, or about 5% of that year's total among U.S. adults.

Alcohol was associated with 4% to 6% of cases, overweight and obesity with 7% to 8% of cases, and physical inactivity with 2% to 3%, the study authors noted.

The study also found that poor diet was linked with 38% of colorectal cancer cases, and with nearly 26% of mouth, pharynx and larynx cancers reported in 2015 in the United States.

In actual numbers, in 2015, poor diet was associated with over 52,200 colorectal cancer cases; over 14,400 mouth, pharynx and larynx cancers; nearly 3,200 uterine cancers; just over 3,000 cases of breast cancer in postmenopausal women; 2,000 kidney cancers; nearly 1,600 stomach cancers; and 1,000 liver cancers.

The investigators also looked at specific eating habits linked with cancer risk.

Low intake of whole grains was associated with the largest number and proportion of diet-related cancer cases, followed by low levels of dairy products, eating lots of processed meat or red meat, low vegetable and fruit consumption and drinking high amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Obesity played a role in about 16% of diet-associated cancer cases, the findings showed.

Men, middle-aged adults (aged 45 to 64), and black and Hispanic people had the highest rates of diet-associated cancers, compared with other age, gender, or racial/ethnic groups, according to the report.

The study was published May 22 in the journal JNCI Cancer Spectrum."Our findings underscore the opportunity to reduce cancer burden and disparities in the United States by improving food intake," corresponding author Fang Fang Zhang, a cancer and nutrition researcher at Tuft's School of Nutrition Science and Policy, said in a university news release.

Unfiltered Cigarettes Are Most Deadly

Published: May 22, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- There's no such thing as a safe cigarette, but unfiltered cigarettes are even more likely to kill you, a new study finds.

People who smoke unfiltered cigarettes have double the risk of lung cancer death that other smokers do. And smoking unfiltered cigs was also linked to a 30% higher risk of dying from any cause.

"All cigarettes are bad. They all increase the risk for lung cancer and the risk of dying from lung cancer, but unfiltered cigarettes have the highest risk of any type of cigarette," said study author Dr. Nina Thomas. She is a fellow in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina, in Charleston.

The researchers also found that smokers of light, ultralight or menthol cigarettes were just as likely to get lung cancer and die from lung cancer as people who smoked regular filtered cigarettes.

When the public started becoming concerned about the potential health risks of cigarettes -- even as far back as the 1950s -- tobacco companies responded by making changes to cigarettes, such as lowering tar levels and adding menthol flavor, the researchers noted.

Despite these changes, cigarettes are still linked to 90% of lung cancers, according to the study authors.

To see whether different cigarette types made any difference in the development of lung cancer or deaths related to smoking, the researchers reviewed data from the National Lung Screening Trial.

Thomas said there were a little over 14,000 people in their nationally representative sample. The participants were all aged 55 to 74, and had to have smoked for at least 30 "pack years."

Pack years are calculated by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years someone smoked. Examples of what 30 pack years might mean are smoking one pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years, Thomas said.

The average amount those in this study smoked was 56 pack years. The researchers controlled the data to account for a number of factors, such as sex, age and the number of pack years.

Smokers of unfiltered cigarettes were 40% more likely to develop lung cancer. They were also about one-third more likely to be nicotine dependent than other smokers.

People who smoked light, ultralight or menthol cigarettes had the same health risks as people who smoked regular filtered cigarettes. But those using light or ultralight cigarettes were less likely to quit than other smokers were, the findings showed.

Eric Jacobs is senior scientific director of epidemiology research for the American Cancer Society. He said, "We have known for many years that cigarettes that were misleadingly marketed by the tobacco industry as 'light' or 'ultralight' were not meaningfully less lethal than other cigarettes, a fact that led the U.S government to ban use of the term 'light' in cigarette labeling and advertising in 2010."

Thomas said this study didn't delve into why unfiltered cigarettes appeared to be more deadly, but suspects it might be due to the high levels of tar.

Thomas also said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should consider stronger regulations. Despite the FDA ban on using the word "light" on cigarette packaging, cigarette makers didn't change the look of cigarette packs, they only took the word "light" off to comply with the regulations. She said smokers likely still think of those particular cigarettes as light, and therefore safer.

"There's still this idea that light or ultralight might be better for you, and it's not," Thomas said.

According to Erika Sward, the national assistant vice president of advocacy for the American Lung Association, "The tobacco industry has been lying to the American public, suggesting that there were cigarettes that were less harmful. It's happening again with the e-cigarette epidemic."

Sward added that "the FDA has to end this merry-go-round once and for all. They need to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products. Menthol flavoring just makes it easier for the poison to go down."

The study was to be presented Wednesday at the American Thoracic Society annual meeting, in Dallas. Findings presented at meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until they've been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Women With Sleep Apnea May Have Higher Cancer Odds Than Men

Published: May 22, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Some people with sleep apnea have an increased risk of cancer, and the odds may be higher for women than men, researchers say.

"Recent studies have shown that low blood oxygen levels during the night and disrupted sleep, which are both common in [obstructive sleep apnea], may play an important role in the biology of different types of cancers," said study leader Athanasia Pataka.

"But this area of research is very new, and the effects of gender … have not been studied in detail before," said Pataka, an assistant professor of respiratory medicine at Aristotle University in Greece.

The researchers examined data from more than 19,000 sleep apnea patients in Europe in order to assess the link between obstructive sleep apnea severity, low blood oxygen blood levels and cancer risk.

In people with the sleep disorder, the airway closes completely or partially many times during sleep, reducing levels of oxygen in the blood. Common symptoms are snoring, disrupted sleep and excessive tiredness.

The study found that people who have more airway closures during sleep and whose blood oxygen saturation levels fall below 90% are diagnosed with cancer more often than people without sleep apnea.

The researchers also found that cancer was more common among women than men, even after factors such as age, body mass index (BMI), smoking, and alcohol consumption were taken into account.

Among the patients in the study, 2% had been diagnosed with a serious cancer, including 2.8% of women and 1.7% of men. Those diagnosed with cancer were more likely to be older than 50 and less overweight. The most common type of cancer among women was breast cancer, while prostate cancer was the most prevalent among men.

The study can't prove that the sleep disorder causes cancer, only that there's an association between the two.

Still, the findings suggest that sleep apnea could be an indicator for cancer in women, but more research is needed to confirm that, according to the study authors. The findings appear in the May 20 issue of European Respiratory Journal.

The signs of sleep apnea may be less noticeable in women, the researchers pointed out.

"The classic symptoms of [sleep apnea] such as sleepiness, snoring and stopping breathing during the nighttime are reported more frequently in men, but other lesser-known symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, depression and morning headaches are more common in women," Pataka explained in a journal news release.

She suggested that "clinicians should be more careful when evaluating their female patients for possible [sleep apnea]."

Dr. Anita Simonds, vice president of the European Respiratory Society, pointed out that the overall cancer prevalence was low -- just 2%.

Therefore, sleep apnea patients should not be alarmed by this research, said Simonds, who was not involved in the study.

Soy foods linked to fewer fractures in younger breast cancer survivors

Published: May 21, 2019


A new paper in JNCI Cancer Spectrum, published by Oxford University Press, is the first study to find that diets high in soy foods are associated with a decreased risk of osteoporotic bone fractures in pre-menopausal breast cancer survivors.

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the United States, with 1 in 8 women diagnosed with it during their lifetime. Many treatments for breast cancer can cause premature menopause and decrease bone mineral density. This leads to a higher incidence of osteoporosis-related fractures among survivors compared to healthy women in the same age range, and yet many factors connected to this increase in fracture risks are understudied.

Researchers here studied the impact that BMI, exercise, and soy food consumption had on bone fracture rates among breast cancer survivors. The study used data from the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study of 5,042 newly diagnosed breast cancer survivors between the ages of 20 and 75. Researchers collected detailed information at enrollment, including cancer diagnosis and treatment history, medication use, dietary habits, exercise and other lifestyle factors. About 52% of women in the study were postmenopausal. Patients then had follow-up visits at 18 months, and 3, 5, and 10 years after their diagnosis to update exposure and outcome information.

Throughout the 10-year study period, 3.6% of survivors reported an osteoporotic bone fracture. Higher soy intake was associated with a 77% reduced risk of osteoporotic fractures in younger women, and exercise showed a significantly reduced risk of fractures among older women.

Consistent with prior studies, the extended use of tamoxifen, a drug that is prescribed for breast cancer patients showed a 37% reduced risk of fractures in the overall study population. Tamoxifen is a selective estrogen receptor modulator, or SERM, that causes an increase in bone mineral density. Soy based foods, which are rich in isoflavones, provide a natural SERM.

"The menopausal transition is known to be a period of high risk for bone loss, and given the relative scarcity of data related to fracture risk among younger women with breast cancer, this study marks an important contribution to this body of literature," said the paper's lead author, Evelyn Hsieh. "Our findings, in particular regarding the protective effects of soy food consumption provide novel insight into how future interventions can be best tailored to different risk groups."

Colon Cancer Increasingly Striking the Young Worldwide

Published: May 17, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- The rise in colon cases among younger adults that's been seen in the United States is also occurring in wealthier nations worldwide, new research shows.

In the decade leading up to 2014, the number of cases of colon cancer among people under 50 increased by 3% a year in Denmark, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, and by 1% per year in Britain.

The increase was most pronounced among those aged 20 to 29, noted a team led by Dr. Marzieh Araghi, from International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France.

Among twenty-somethings, colon cancer cases rose by 18% a year in Denmark and 11% in Norway, according to the study published May 16 in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hematology.

"Although the incidence of colorectal cancer in adults younger than 50 years remains much lower compared with that in older age groups, our findings are of concern and highlight the need for action to counteract the rising burden of the disease in younger people," Araghi said in a journal news release.

The increase in cases among the young runs counter to declines in colon cancer among people over 50, the researchers pointed out. For example, between 2004 and 2014 cases of colon cancer fell each year among people over 50 -- by 2% in Australia and Canada, 3% in New Zealand, and 1% annually in the U.K.

Colon cancer remains a huge global killer. According to the research team, in 2018 alone nearly 2 million cases of colon cancer were diagnosed and the disease claimed 881,000 lives worldwide.

But why the surge among the young? According to Araghi, the increase is likely driven in part by increases in certain risk factors, specifically obesity and poor diet.

On the other hand, he said, the decrease in colon cancer among people over 50 is most likely due to better screening stool tests or colonoscopy that catches tumors early.

Dr. David Bernstein is chief of hematology and a gastrointestinal specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Reviewing the new report, he said similar data has already changed medical practice in the United States.

"The U.S, findings have led to updated [American Cancer Society] colon cancer screening guidelines, which now recommend the initiation of colon cancer screening at age 45, as opposed to previous guidelines recommending the initiating of screening at age 50," Bernstein noted.

Early screening and detection could bring colon cancer numbers down again among the young, he said.

Dr. Elena Ivanina is a gastroenterologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She believes younger Americans need to pay more heed to avoiding colon cancer risk factors.

"This includes things like obesity, diet, smoking and other carcinogens," she said. "Patients should discuss their colon cancer risk with their physician and not ignore any symptoms like rectal bleeding, no matter what their age."

In the meantime, Bernstein said, "perhaps the more important question is 'why in high income countries is the incidence of colorectal cancer increasing among young adults, and what factors are leading to this?'" Bernstein said. "Significant work needs to be done to answer this critical question."

Allspice herb can help men prevent prostate cancer

Published: May 16, 2019


(Natural News) Allspice is one of the most widely used seasoning in cuisines around the world. In addition to making food taste warm and great, Florida-based researchers reported that regular doses of the Jamaican spice could protect men from prostate cancer.

A natural compound in allspice was found to delay the growth of prostate cancer tumors. This led researchers at the University of Miami to consider the seasoning as a possible treatment for preventing or even curing one of the most common and deadly cancers found in men.

Around 14 percent of men in the world could be diagnosed with prostate cancer during any part of their lives. One out of every 38 of those patients would lose their life to the disease.

Allspice could prevent that grim statistic from happening. Originating in Jamaica, it is extracted from the dried and unripe berry of the native pimento tree (Pimenta dioica). The Miami researchers found that the seasoning contained a compound called ericifolin.

Their experiment showed that ericifolin could suppress receptors for the male hormone androgen. Those androgen receptors are responsible for the development of cancer cells in the prostate.

Allspice contains cancer-fighting compounds that delay the growth of prostate cancer

Androgen regulates the development of male characteristics. The hormone achieves its effects by binding itself to androgen receptors. An example of an androgen is testosterone.

Prostate cancer tumors co-opt testosterone and other androgens for their growth. If they are deprived of androgen supply, the tumors will not get bigger and spread elsewhere.

The Miami researchers believed that allspice could be employed as part of a hormone therapy for aggressive prostate cancer. In such an “androgen deprivation therapy,” ericifolin could block or even disable androgen receptors. By preventing androgen from binding themselves to the prostate’s receptors, the cancer tumor would not be able to use the hormones to fuel their growth.

Animal testing showed that ericifolin could delay the growth of prostate cancer cells by up to 50 percent. The researchers planned to evaluate the ability of the allspice extract to stop prostate cancer from appearing in the first place.

In addition to prostate cancer cells, the allspice extract was tested on breast cancer cells. It appeared to achieve the same delaying effects on the growth of breast cancer. The Miami researchers theorized that allspice contains other compounds that could also fight other types of cancers.

A number of pharmaceutical drugs can achieve the same androgen receptor antagonist effect as allspice. But these synthetic drugs are much less effective as ericifolin. Furthermore, they display toxic side effects that get worse over time. In comparison, allspice is safe for humans and tasty to boot.

Reduce the risks of prostate cancer with allspice and other natural anticancer foods

Allspice is considered to be the spice with the highest concentration of antioxidants. Consuming a modest amount of the seasoning would be enough to activate its anticancer abilities.

The Miami researchers recommended patients and healthy individuals to consume allspice at a slow but consistent rate. By taking their time raising their levels of ericifolin and other anticancer compounds, patients would experience slower growth and spread of prostate cancer, while healthy men could avoid the cancer entirely.

The results of the animal study suggested that women could also benefit from allspice. The spice could possibly slow down the rate of breast cancer growth.

Other foods can naturally slow down the progress of prostate cancer. Men should consider consuming larger amounts of broccoli, green tea, pomegranate, and turmeric, all of which had potent anticancer compounds of their own. These foods could be taken alongside allspice for even more protection against cancer.

Low-Fat Diet Could Be a Weapon Against Breast Cancer

Published: May 15, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Health experts have long touted the benefits of a low-fat diet for preventing heart disease, but now a large study suggests it might do the same against breast cancer.

Researchers found that eating low-fat foods reduced a woman's risk of dying from breast cancer by 21%. What's more, the women on low-fat diets also cut their risk of dying from any cause by 15%.

"This is the only study providing randomized controlled trial evidence that a dietary intervention can reduce women's risk of death from breast cancer," said study author Dr. Rowan Chlebowski. He is from the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, Calif.

Diet has long been suspected to be a factor in cancer. Obesity has been linked to 12 different types of cancers, including postmenopausal breast cancer, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. And, a diet full of healthy foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes is thought to help protect against cancer.

Chlebowski noted that previous studies have shown a higher cancer incidence in countries where people tend to eat more fat.

The latest study looked at the effect a low-fat diet might have on the incidence of breast cancer and death.

Nearly 49,000 postmenopausal women from 40 centers across the United States were included in the study. The women were between the ages of 50 and 79, and had no history of previous breast cancer. Eighty percent of the women were white, which Chlebowski said matched the population when the study began.

Between 1993 and 1998, the women were randomly assigned to one of two dietary groups. One group was assigned to a normal diet. This diet had about 32% of their calories from fat. The low-fat group had a target of 20% or less of calories from fat.

Chlebowski said the low-fat diet was close in content to the Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension (DASH) diet. This emphasizes eating vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains, while avoiding high-fat meats and dairy products, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

The low-fat group lost a modest amount of weight. Chlebowski said there was about a 3% difference in weight between the groups. He said the researchers factored the weight difference into their calculations and that weight alone didn't affect the risk of death.

Women in the low-fat group adhered to the diet for about 8.5 years, and both groups were followed for an average of nearly 20 years.

The women in the low-fat group weren't able to achieve the 20%-or-less target for fat, but they did manage around 25%, according to the researchers. And they did increase their intake of fruits, vegetables and grains.

"The diet was more moderate than originally planned. But we saw a diet of 25% to 27% fat is largely achievable," Chlebowski said.

He said the researchers don't know if any individual components of the diet were more important than others, but they hope further study will tease that out.

In the meantime, Chlebowski said he thinks the message should be one of dietary moderation rather than looking for any one particular food or food group. He said the women in the low-fat study group reduced their overall calories, changed their cooking methods, and reduced their portions of meat and dairy products.

The findings are to be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting, in Chicago, from May 31 to June 4. Findings presented at meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until they've been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

ASCO breast cancer expert Dr. Lidia Schapira, from Stanford University, noted that this study shows "what we put on the plate matters. It's worth coaching and pushing patients to put more fruits and vegetables on their plates."

She added that even when women didn't reach the more stringent dietary fat goal of 20%, they still showed a health advantage from trying to reduce the fat in their diets.

Dr. Monica Bertagnolli, president of ASCO, said these findings were "really, really striking."

She noted, "This was not an incredibly restrictive diet. People were able to adhere to it pretty well."

And yet, the incidence of breast cancer went down by 8% in the women on low-fat diets.

"They were getting fewer breast cancers, and even when they did get breast cancer, their death rate was reduced," Bertagnolli said.

Common food additive found to affect gut microbiota

Published: May 13, 2019


University of Sydney research provides new evidence that nanoparticles, which are present in many food items, may have a substantial and harmful influence on human health.

The study investigated the health impacts of food additive E171 (titanium dioxide nanoparticles) which is commonly used in high quantities in foods and some medicines as a whitening agent. Found in more than 900 food products such as chewing gum and mayonnaise, E171 is consumed in high proportion everyday by the general population.

Published in Frontiers in Nutrition, the mice study found that consumption of food containing E171 has an impact on the gut microbiota (defined by the trillions of bacteria that inhabit the gut) which could trigger diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases and colorectal cancer.

Co-lead author Associate Professor Wojciech Chrzanowski said the study added substantially to a body of work on nanoparticle toxicity and safety and their impact on health and environment.

"The aim of this research is to stimulate discussions on new standards and regulations to ensure safe use of nanoparticles in Australia and globally," he said.

While nanoparticles have been commonly used in medicines, foods, clothing, and other applications, the possible impacts of nanoparticles, especially their long term effects, are still poorly understood.

Titanium dioxide consumption has considerably increased in the last decade and has already been linked to several medical conditions, and although it is approved in food, there is insufficient evidence about its safety.

Increasing rates of dementia, auto-immune diseases, cancer metastasis, eczema, asthma, and autism are among a growing list of diseases that have been linked to soaring exposure to nanoparticles.

"It is well established that dietary composition has an impact on physiology and health, yet the role of food additives is poorly understood," said Associate Professor Chrzanowski, a nanotoxicology expert from the University of Sydney's School of Pharmacy and Sydney Nano Institute.

"There is increasing evidence that continuous exposure to nanoparticles has an impact on gut microbiota composition, and since gut microbiota is a gate keeper of our health, any changes to its function have an influence on overall health."

"This study presents pivotal evidence that consumption of food containing food additive E171 (titanium dioxide) affects gut microbiota as well as inflammation in the gut, which could lead to diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases and colorectal cancer," he said.

Co-lead author Associate Professor Laurence Macia from the University of Sydney said: "Our research showed that titanium dioxide interacts with bacteria in the gut and impairs some of their functions which may result in the development of diseases. We are saying that its consumption should be better regulated by food authorities."

"This study investigated effects of titanium dioxide on gut health in mice and found that titanium dioxide did not change the composition of gut microbiota, but instead it affected bacteria activity and promoted their growth in a form of undesired biofilm. Biofilms are bacteria that stick together and the formation of biofilm has been reported in diseases such as colorectal cancer," said Associate Professor Macia, who is an immunologist expert on the impacts of the gut and gut microbiota on health from the Faculty of Medicine and Health and the Charles Perkins Centre.

Study finds keto diet to be helpful for reducing obesity in cancer patients

Published: May 12, 2019


(Natural News) The ketogenic (keto) diet was developed in the 1920s to treat pediatric epilepsy. But according to a study, the keto diet could also be used to promote weight loss in obese or overweight patients with cancer.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and published in The Journal of Nutrition.

For their study, the researchers wanted to determine if the keto diet can help women with cancer lose more body fat and lower their insulin levels.

The scientists observed 45 overweight or obese women with ovarian or endometrial cancer. The participants were randomly assigned to follow either the keto diet or the American Cancer Society (ACS)-recommended diet. The latter is a low-fat, moderate- to high-carbohydrate, high-fiber diet.

They found that, compared with those who followed the low-fat diet recommended by the ACS, the women who followed the keto diet for 12 weeks shed more body fat and had lower insulin levels.

However, the researchers warned that positive weight loss in cancer patients doesn’t automatically mean that the diet can treat the disease. They want to continue the research to see if the keto diet can affect cancer treatments.

What happens when you follow the keto diet?

The keto diet limits your carbohydrate intake, which is known to increase glucose and insulin. The diet forces your body to burn fat as fuel. Some of the fats are converted to ketones, which the brain and other types of tissues use as another type of fuel.

If you follow the keto diet, your meals should contain the following foods:

  • Low-carb vegetables – Arugula, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, celery, eggplant, fennel, kale, mushrooms, spinach, and zucchini.
  • Low-sugar fruits – Avocado, blackberries, blueberries, coconut, lemon, limes, raspberries, strawberries, and tomatoes.
  • Seafood – Cod, crab, mackerel, mussels, sardines, shrimp, tuna, and wild salmon.
  • Meat, poultry, and eggs – Beef, chicken, lamb, pork, turkey, and venison.
  • Nuts and seeds – Almonds, Brazil nuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, macadamia nuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and walnuts.
  • Dairy products – Butter, cheese, cottage cheese, cream, and plain Greek yogurt.
  • Oils – Avocado oil, coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, and nut oils.

Barbara Gower, senior author and a professor at UAB, explained that since cancer cells prefer to use glucose, diets that limit glucose intake can benefit patients with the condition. She added that the keto diet limits glucose and several growth factors, which gives the patient’s immune system time to respond.

Data from earlier studies have demonstrated that the keto diet can positively affect the development and outcomes related to cancer. It can also lower insulin, a growth factor that stimulates cancer cell growth.

Aside from these, the keto diet results in the loss of visceral fat or the “bad fat” in the abdomen. Having visceral fat is linked to a greater risk of developing cancer and diabetes.

People with higher ketones also have low levels of IGF-1, another growth factor that stimulates cancer cells.

Does this mean the keto diet can treat cancer?

Registered dietitian Carolyn Lammersfeld, who is also the vice president of integrative medicine for the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, warned that research on the use of the keto diet to help cancer patients doesn’t suggest that the keto diet should be routinely recommended outside of a clinical trial setting for any type of cancer or treatment. She added that the study didn’t evaluate the diet’s impact on cancer outcomes.

Lammersfeld believes that the volunteers lost more weight while on the keto diet since it promotes a lower calorie intake because of the elimination of various types of foods. She added that the metabolic effects of the ketogenic diet also contributed to greater fat loss.

Dr. J. Michael Gonzalez-Campoy, medical director and CEO of the Minnesota Center for Obesity, Metabolism, and Endocrinology, advised that instead of following diets, individuals with cancer should stick to a long-term nutritional eating plan that is better suited to help patients. He shared that depriving your body of any major macronutrient changes your metabolism. This may even affect your health negatively. He concluded that a caloric-restricted, portion-controlled, well-balanced meal plan is the best nutritional intervention for weight loss.

If you are diagnosed with cancer, consult a nutritionist who can determine if the keto diet is suitable for your condition. To boost your overall health and lose weight safely, follow a nutritious diet and exercise regularly.

Do Doctors Give Better Care in the Morning?

Published: May 10, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Many people do their best work in the morning, and new research suggests the same may hold true for doctors.

The study, of nearly 53,000 primary care patients, found that doctors were more likely to order cancer screenings for patients seen early in the day, versus late afternoon.

During 8 a.m. appointments, doctors ordered breast cancer screenings for 64% of women who were eligible for them. That figure declined over the next few hours, rebounded around lunchtime, then fell again as the afternoon wore on: During 5 p.m. appointments, doctors ordered screening for just under 48% of eligible patients.

A similar pattern was seen with colon cancer screening. About 36% of patients with 8 a.m. appointments received a screening order, versus only 23% of those with 5 p.m. appointments.

What's going on? Senior researcher Dr. Mitesh Patel speculated on one explanation: As the day goes on, doctors often fall behind schedule, and may run out of time for cancer screening discussions.

There's "a lot to get done" during a standard appointment, Patel noted -- from routine health checks, to flu shots, to whatever concerns the patient is bringing up.

"So the doctor might think, 'I have limited time. I'll talk about this [screening test] the next time,'" said Patel, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

It's also possible "decision fatigue" is a factor, he said.

If a doctor has spent much of the day talking to patients about cancer screening -- and often hearing "no" -- he or she might let it slide by day's end.

"This is a reminder that doctors are human, too," said Dr. Jeffrey Linder, a professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. "They're laboring under the same psychological and fatigue constraints as everyone else."

Linder wrote an editorial accompanying the study, published May 10 in the journal JAMA Network Open.

"Not everyone can get an 8 a.m. appointment," Linder pointed out. But, he said, it's good for doctors and patients to be aware that time of day might affect their care.

The study is not the first to suggest doctors practice differently as the day wears on.

In an earlier study, Patel's team found the pattern held true with flu shots: Patients seen late in the day were less likely to get them.

Other researchers have found that toward the end of the day, primary care doctors are more likely to inappropriately prescribe antibiotics or opioid painkillers.

It's possible, Patel said, that patients are also in a rush toward day's end, or dealing with their own decision fatigue.

"At the end of a workday," he said, "you might not want to have a conversation about cancer screening."

The findings are based on records from patients in the University of Pennsylvania health system who had primary care appointments between 2014 and 2016. Over 19,000 were eligible for breast cancer screening, while over 33,000 were eligible for colon cancer screening.

Patel and his team looked at whether patients received a screening order at their first appointment during the study period -- and whether they actually went for screening over the next year.

They found that patients with late-day appointments were substantially less likely to be screened: One-third of women with an 8 a.m. appointment underwent breast cancer screening in the next year, versus 18% of those with 5 p.m. appointments. The figures for colon cancer screening were 28% and 18%, respectively.

What to do? Patel said there's a "great opportunity" for technology to help. Patients' electronic health records could be cued to remind doctors to order cancer screenings, for example.

Linder agreed. He also pointed to the low screening rates among these study patients overall. That, he said, suggests that patients need similar nudges, to encourage them to follow up on screening orders.

New treatment could become first targeted therapy designed for 'untreatable' childhood brain cancer

Published: May 09, 2019


A new type of drug that targets a genetic weakness in an untreatable childhood brain cancer could become the first ever treatment designed to target the disease.

The prototype treatment could also offer hope for patients with the rare and devastating 'stone man syndrome' -- in which muscles and ligaments turn to bone.

Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, led research with an international team of colleagues, finding that the new drug class can kill brain cancer cells with mutations in the ACVR1 gene and shrink tumours in mice.

Open science company M4K (Medicines for Kids) Pharma has taken on development of the ACVR1 inhibitor drugs -- and clinical trials in children with brain cancer are expected to begin in 2021.

There have been no new drugs licensed to treat brain cancer in adults or children for 20 years.

The new type of drug targets the protein molecule produced by mutated versions of the ACVR1 gene found in the deadly childhood brain cancer 'diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma' (DIPG).

Curiously, ACVR1 mutations don't exist in any other type of cancer, but they are the cause of the inherited disease, stone man syndrome, where damaged muscle remodels as bone as it heals.

The study is published in the journal Communications Biologytoday (Thursday) and funded by Abbie's Army, Children with Cancer UK, Cancer Research UK and the DIPG collaborative.

There are currently no life-extending treatments other than radiotherapy for DIPG tumours and this is never curative, with children expecting to live only nine to 12 months after diagnosis.

Because they occur in the brainstem or 'pons' area of the brain, DIPG tumours can't be removed by surgery, and chemotherapy simply doesn't work.

In 2014, scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) discovered that ACVR1 mutations occur in a quarter of DIPG tumours and have been working on drugs that target it ever since.

Following this discovery, teams at the Structural Genomics Consortium in Oxford and the ICR created a new series of molecules that target mutant forms of ACVR1.

In the new study, the ICR-led team tested 11 prototype drugs with anti-ACVR1 activity -- including some from the Structural Genomics Consortium, as well as other drugs previously investigated for stone man syndrome -- on brain cancer cells grown in the lab.

They found that two of the prototypes from the new series were particularly good at blocking signals sent out by ACVR1 and killing ACVR1-mutant cells, while having very little effect on healthy brain cells.

The researchers transplanted human DIPG tumours into mice and found the potential new drugs stopped ACVR1 activity, shrunk tumours and extended survival by 25 per cent (from 67 to 82 days).

Looking at cells in the lab, the new study shows that ACVR1-mutant cells respond inappropriately to a molecule called activin A -- which is present in high levels during brain development -- sparking a cascade of events that trigger tumour growth.

A similar situation is thought to occur in stone man syndrome, with high levels of activin A occuring during inflammation in muscles and inappropriately triggering the formation of bone tissue in people born with ACVR1 mutations.

The drugs have now been taken on as the first project of a new open science company called M4K Pharma, which aims to discover and develop affordable drugs for childhood diseases that are rare, where there is less market incentive and that aren't well served by current business models.

Professor Chris Jones, Professor of Paediatric Brain Tumour Biology at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:

"It's simply not good enough that we can cure some cancers, but in others we have seen no progress in decades. We owe it to children and their families to do better.

"DIPG is a relatively rare childhood brain cancer, but it is always deadly. Learning more about the biology of DIPG, and trying to find ways to translate that knowledge into new treatments, has been a passion of mine for years. My lab discovered that mutations in the ACVR1 gene occur in a quarter of DIPG cancers and it's incredibly exciting to see this now lead to potential new drugs for the disease. I can't wait to see how they perform in patients."

Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:

"This is an important study which perfectly illustrates how gaining a detailed understanding of the biology of cancers can allow us to move very quickly to the discovery of new treatments -- in this case to a devastating rare type of children's brain cancer.

"I'm proud that the ICR is working in an academic-industry partnership with the biotech company M4K Pharma to take a drugs forward to the clinic. Where the patient population is very small, it can be difficult to get companies to take such drugs on. And even where this does happen the result is often a very expensive drug that the NHS struggles to afford. One important solution, as shown here, is for academic researchers to take a leading role in working closely with companies to create genuinely innovative treatments at an acceptable price.

"I hope that a new drug from this research can be taken to the clinic as quickly as possible to help children with DIPG tumours, and of course it would also be excellent to see patients with stone man syndrome benefit from the treatment as well."

Amanda and Ray Mifsud lost their six-year old daughter Abbie to DIPG brain cancer in 2011. Together they set up Abbie's Army in November 2012 so that one day parents of children diagnosed with DIPG will not be told that there is no cure and no hope, as they were. Amanda said:

"We're so pleased to see some of the pre-clinical research work that 'Abbie's Army' has supported in the Jones lab with ACVR1 heading towards a biologically relevant treatment. Our hope very much is that further translation and combination studies will provide a successful therapy for this sub-set of DIPG patients in the near future."

Exercise can improve heart function in women with breast cancer

Published: May 07, 2019


(Natural News) A recent study reported that exercise benefits women who are undergoing breast cancer treatment. The study was presented on December 7, 2018 at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, and it was the largest trial to date that measured cardiovascular function in patients before any breast cancer treatment.

According to C. Kent Osborne – co-director of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium and director of Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston – it is the first study to measure maximum oxygen uptake, which is the maximal rate at which oxygen can be used by the body during maximal work.

Maximum oxygen uptake is directly related to the maximal capacity of the heart to deliver blood to the muscles.

Other studies have also examined the benefits of exercise during treatment and confirmed that it is helpful.

Statistics for breast cancer in women in the U.S.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. About one in eight women in the U.S. (about 12 percent) is estimated to develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Breast cancer death rates are also higher than rates for any other cancer, except lung cancer. 

However, being diagnosed with breast cancer isn’t the end of everything.

Today, women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have better outlooks than patients did several years ago. Breast cancer treatments have improved over the years, and survival rates are now higher than they were in the past decade.

According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year relative survival rate of women with breast cancer of all stages is about 90 percent – meaning that, on average, they are about 90 percent as likely to live for at least five years after their diagnosis as women who don’t have the disease.

How exercise improves heart function

Last year, researchers reported that women who participated in a supervised exercise program while undergoing breast cancer treatment had better cardiovascular fitness than women who did not.

The study was sponsored by Oslo University HospitalSt. Olavs Hospital, and The Research Council of Norway. It began in September of 2014 and was conducted by a team of Norwegian researchers.

Their findings are particularly important as breast cancer survivors experience a decrease in heart function after undergoing cancer treatments.

Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy can be harsh, and they can cause toxicity to the heart muscle. The lead author of the study, Inger Thune, also said that cardiovascular disease is a significant cause of death among breast cancer survivors.

The study involved 375 women who had undergone surgery for stage 1 or stage 2 breast cancer. About 57 percent had chemotherapy, while 78 percent had radiation therapy.

The researchers measured the patients’ heart function prior to surgery. Then, they divided the women into two groups: The control group, which did not participate in a supervised exercise program, and the intervention group, which received the benefit of having a trained instructor supervise their twice-weekly, 60-minute workouts.

Their exercise regimen consisted of aerobic exercise, stretching, and weight training. The participants also did additional physical activity on their own for 120 minutes each week.

The researchers reported that women in both the control and intervention groups experienced a decline in their maximum oxygen uptake six months after their surgeries. However, by the 12th month, the women who regularly exercised showed an improvement in their maximum oxygen uptake, while the women in the control group had worsened maximum oxygen uptake.

A full year after their surgeries, the researchers reported that the women in the intervention group had returned to their pre-surgery cardiovascular strength, suggesting that regular exercise strengthened their heart muscles and restored their hearts’ normal function.

“Breast cancer patients should be offered a tailored exercise program that’s based on their pre-surgery level of physical function,” suggested Thune. He also confirmed that the exercise regimen they used for the study was safe.

Quitting Smoking Helps Shield Women From Bladder Cancer: Study

Published: May 06, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- If you're an older woman who smokes, quitting may bring a health benefit you haven't considered: A new study suggests it lowers your risk of bladder cancer.

The largest decline in risk was in the first 10 years after quitting, with a modest but steady decline in following years.

Bladder cancer is fairly rare -- about 4.6% of new cancer cases in 2019 -- but is the most common type of urinary system cancer. It often recurs and it has a significant death rate, according to study author Dr. Yueyao Li, a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Public Health at Indiana University in Bloomington.

While bladder cancer is more common in men, women often have worse outcomes even when diagnosed at similar stages.

Smoking is a known risk factor, but findings about the link between how long it's been since a person quit and reduction in bladder cancer risk have been inconsistent.

In this study, Li's team examined data from about 144,000 participants in the Women's Health Initiative, a long-term study of postmenopausal women in the U.S.

Of those, 52.7% never smoked; 40.2% were former smokers and 7.1% were current smokers.

As of Feb. 28, 2017, there had been 870 cases of bladder cancer among the women. Compared to those who never smoked, former smokers had twice the risk of bladder cancer and current smokers had more than triple the risk.

Researchers found a 25% reduction in risk among former smokers in the 10 years after they quit, and it continued to fall more slowly after that. But even 30 years after quitting, ex-smokers still had a higher risk of bladder cancer than women who never smoked.

Compared with current smokers, former smokers had a 39% decrease in bladder cancer risk, which continued to fall over time.

The study was recently published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

"Our study emphasizes the importance of primary prevention (by not beginning to smoke) and secondary prevention (through smoking cessation) in the prevention of bladder cancer among postmenopausal women," Li said in a journal news release.

"Current smokers should be advised to quit smoking in order to reduce the risk of bladder cancer," she added.

Use extra virgin olive oil regularly to lower your breast cancer risk, study finds

Published: May 05, 2019


(Natural News) Olive oil is the primary source of dietary fat in the Mediterranean diet, which has been well-praised for its role in protecting against diseases, such as cardiovascular disease. In a study in Spain, it was found that extra virgin olive oil can lower your risk of developing breast cancer by as much as 66 percent.

Researchers from The Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain looked at the effects of extra virgin olive oil on cardiovascular disease and breast cancer. For this purpose, they recruited 7,447 participants.

For the breast cancer part of the study, the researchers gave thousands of participating families one liter of extra virgin oil oil every week for five years to ensure that they have enough supply of the oil. Then, they observed 4,282 women aged 60 to 80 in those families who had similar health and lifestyle characteristics. The women were divided into three groups. One group followed a diet rich in olive oil, another group adhered to a diet rich in dried fruits and nuts, and the third group followed a low-fat diet.

The study revealed that women who consumed four spoons of olive oil every day had their breast cancer risk reduced by 66 percent. On the contrary, the other groups did not find any significant changes in their breast cancer risk. The results of this study were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Earlier studies involving animals suggested that the polyphenol in extra virgin olive oil slows the progression of cancer cells,reducing the cells’ opportunity to spread and form malignant tumors. Other studies also showed that olive oil inhibits the activity of some of the proteins necessary for the survival of cancer cells. In addition, olive oil is said to protect the DNA in the cell nucleus. All these beneficial effects of extra virgin olive oil contribute to its ability to inhibit the spread of cancerous tumors.

Reasons to add extra virgin olive oil to your diet

Olive oil is the healthy, natural oil extracted from the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea). Extra virgin olive oil is considered healthier than regular olive oil because it is less processed. In addition, extra virgin olive oil offers many health benefits, such as:

  • Providing healthy fats. Extra virgin olive oil is loaded with monounsaturated oleic acid, a fatty acid that is known to fight inflammation. Monounsaturated fats are also quite resistant to high heat, which makes extra virgin olive oil a healthy choice for cooking.
  • Offering antioxidants. Extra virgin olive oil is rich in vitamins E and K and also contains powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants reduce inflammation and lower the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease.
  • Protecting against cardiovascular disease. One of the most prominent health benefits of extra virgin olive oil is its ability to protect the heart from diseases. In a review published in the journal Pharmacological Research, researchers from Spain found that people who regularly consume olive oil have lower chances of developing cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, stroke, and hyperlipidemia. The anti-inflammatory properties of the oil are said to contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
  • Preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Extra-virgin olive oil contains a natural phenolic compound called oleocanthal. Animal studies have shown that oleocanthal plays a role in the prevention of beta-amyloid accumulation in the brain. Beta-amyloid is said to be a key factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Breast Surgeons' Group Issues New Mammogram Guidelines

Published: May 03, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- The largest organization representing U.S. breast surgeons is issuing new screening guidelines, advising women at average risk to begin annual mammograms at age 40.

Those guidelines differ from advisories from the influential U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), which moved first mammogram screening from 40 to 50 years of age, as well as that of the American Cancer Society, which puts the starting age at 45.

The American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBrS) says it based the new guidelines on a different model than that used by the USPSTF.

The new guidelines recommend that all women undergo formal risk assessment by age 25. Screening based on specific risk factors is recommended for women with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Women with average risk should begin annual screening at age 40, however.

"Routine screening for women age 40 to 49 has been unequivocally demonstrated to reduce mortality by 15%," ASBrS president Dr. Walton Taylor said in a society news release.

"However, today's USPSTF guidelines delay annual screening until age 50 because they are based on an 'efficiency' statistical model that also considers the impact of potential screening risks," he said.

Risks or adverse effects in the USPSTF's calculations include the cost of screening, as well as the probability "of false-negative and -positive results," Taylor explained. Mistaken findings can mean unnecessary anxiety and unnecesssary medical procedures, he said.

In contrast, the new ASBrS guidelines "are based on a 'life-years gained' model," Dr. Julie Margenthaler said in the news release.

"They are based solely on the demonstrated breast cancer survival benefits. The ASBrS prioritizes life," said Margenthaler. She directs breast surgical services at the Siteman Cancer Center and is also professor of surgery at Washington University School of Medicine, both in St. Louis.

Individual risk assessment is a key part of the new guidelines, the ASBrS said.

For example, women with a predicted lifetime breast cancer risk of 20% or more should begin mammography screening, with access to supplemental MRI imaging, starting at age 35.

Similar imaging should start at age 25 for women with breast cancer-related genetic abnormalities, the group advised.

"While mammographic screening is not as easy or accurate in younger women, when we find and treat cancer, the benefits in years of life saved are highly significant. Many current guidelines will leave a subset of these women to die," Margenthaler explained.

Dr. Dana Smetherman is chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR) Commission on Breast Imaging. "Catching more cancers early by starting yearly screening at age 40 -- rather than less frequent or later screening -- increases the odds of successful treatment and can preserve quality of life for women," she said in the news release.

"We are pleased that ASBrS has reaffirmed their support for this most sensible approach," said Smetherman. The new ASBrS guidelines are in keeping with ACR recommendations.

Two more experts in breast cancer care supported the new guidelines.

"As breast surgeons we have long realized that one-size-fits-all screening is a problem," said Dr. Alice Police, regional director of breast surgery for Northwell Health Breast Care Centers of Westchester County in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

She believes that guidelines that don't account for individual risk profiles "sacrifice many 'life years' for some women for a greater good that claims to be more cost-effective and to create less anxiety."

Breast surgeons "think the life years are more important," Police said.

Dr. Kristin Byrne is chief of radiology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She believes the new guidelines are "individualized, in order to balance the benefits and harms of screening in each category without risking the patient's lives.

"For example, mammography should not be used on a patient under the age of 30 [under the ASBrS guideline]," Byrne noted. Instead, young, at-risk patients "with genetic mutations or prior chest wall radiation should have annual screening MRI until they feel it is safe for mammography screening," she said.

And at the other end of the life span, the new guidelines recommend stopping screening mammography when life expectancy is less than 10 years. This is "medically reasonable," Byrne said.

"Many guidelines have arbitrarily chosen the age of 74 to stop screening mammography, but this does not reflect the life expectancy of many individuals, and the risk of breast cancer increases with age," she said.

Finally, "screening every year for women of average risk over the age of 40 is essential to early diagnosis," Byrne believes.

Device Spots Lymphedema Early in Breast Cancer Patients, to Help Stop It

Published: May 02, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- An easy-to-use, noninvasive device can detect early signs of the cancer complication known as lymphedema, a new study reports.

Lymphedema is the buildup of fluid in the body's tissues when a part of the lymph system is damaged, as can happen in cancer care, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The fluid causes swelling, usually in the arms or legs, and can be severe enough to limit range of motion in an affected limb.

Detecting lymphedema sooner can give doctors a chance to intervene when it's possible to stop development of this chronic, painful and potentially debilitating condition.

Researchers found that when they used a bioimpedance spectroscopy device after breast cancer surgery, the risk of lymphedema dropped by nearly 70%. The device uses slight electrical currents to measure fluid volume in body tissue.

"Bioimpedance spectroscopy takes about a minute to do, and the device takes up the space of a scale. If you used this every time you saw a breast cancer patient for an appointment, you would know if they're starting to get into trouble," said study lead author Sheila Ridner. She directs the Ph.D. in Nursing Science Program at the Vanderbilt School of Nursing in Nashville, Tenn.

Ridner said there are several causes of lymphedema, including surgery, trauma, radiation, obesity, genetics and some types of chemotherapy.

"It's hard to predict with 100% accuracy who will get lymphedema," she said.

The condition often occurs in women who have had lymph nodes removed from the underarm area along with breast cancer surgery, according to the NCI.

Treatment includes wearing compression garments or bandages to prevent fluid buildup, weight loss, a special type of massage and some light exercises.

The study included just over 500 patients who completed at least a year of follow-up. All had had breast cancer surgery -- either with or without lymph node involvement. The average age was 59 and 77% of the women were white. Almost 57% had stage 1 cancer; 39% had stage 2 or 3 breast cancer.

The women were randomly assigned to testing with either a tape measure (to detect swelling through increased size) or with bioimpedance spectroscopy. Ridner said the device is painless and can also detect body fat and bone mass.

Just 5% of women who had bioimpedance spectroscopy eventually needed complex interventions for swelling, compared to nearly 15% of women who had tape-measure surveillance.

Dr. Lauren Cassell, chief of breast surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said despite surgical advances, lymphedema is still a big concern. She wasn't involved in the current research.

"Breast cancer-related lymphedema remains one of the most challenging problems we face in patients undergoing treatment for breast cancer," Cassell explained. "Once a patient develops swelling of the arm, it becomes almost impossible to eliminate it. We can only hope to keep it under control."

Cassell said identifying early swelling looks promising for preventing long-lasting lymphedema.

"Using a tape measure is just not as sensitive as the use of bioimpedance spectroscopy," she said. "This study suggests that following these patients closely in the immediate postoperative period with bioimpedance spectroscopy may help us avoid significant lymphedema and its subsequent complications."

The study is scheduled to be presented Thursday at the American Society of Breast Surgeons' meeting, in Dallas.

Gene Therapy May Help Fight Tough-to-Treat Blood Cancer

Published: May 01, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- A gene therapy that tweaks the immune system might offer hope to people with blood cancer that has resisted standard treatments, a new preliminary trial suggests.

The cancer, called multiple myeloma, arises in certain white blood cells. It is currently incurable, but there are treatments that can help people live with the disease for years.

However, most people eventually progress, and some fail to respond to the available therapies at all.

The new study involved 33 patients just like that: They'd typically had seven to eight rounds of various treatments and were out of options. So researchers tried a recently developed approach that harnesses the immune system's cancer-killing potential: CAR T-cell therapy.

It involves removing immune system T-cells from a patient, then genetically altering them to be armed with chimeric antigen receptors, or CARs.

That allows the T-cells to recognize and attack cancer cells once they are infused back into the blood, said senior researcher Dr. James Kochenderfer.

CAR T-cell therapy is already approved for certain cases of leukemia and lymphoma -- two other types of blood cancer.

But the approach is not one-size-fits-all. CARs have to target a protein specific to the cancer, explained Kochenderfer, a scientist with the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

In this study, his team used CARs that recognize a protein on multiple myeloma cells, called BCMA.

The investigators found that the therapy appeared safe. It caused short-term side effects in all patients, but they were manageable.

There were also early signs that the therapy helped. Most patients -- 85% -- saw their tumors shrink or go away, and they typically went one year before the cancer started to progress again.

"This therapy is totally different than other myeloma therapies," Kochenderfer said. "So myeloma resistant to other therapies might respond to anti-BCMA CAR T-cells."

His team reported the findings in the May 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The trial was funded by Bluebird Bio and Celgene, the companies developing the therapy.

Multiple myeloma is relatively uncommon, based on American Cancer Society statistics: The average person has less than a 1% chance of developing it. But for those who do, the disease is often deadly. Just under half of Americans diagnosed with multiple myeloma die within five years, according to the cancer institute.

Treatment options range from chemotherapy to "targeted" drugs that zero in on certain abnormalities in the cancer, to stem cell transplants.

Some patients respond well to them, said Dr. Melissa Alsina, who heads the multiple myeloma transplant program at Moffitt Cancer Center, in Tampa, Fla. Others, such as those in this trial, do not.

The fact that 85% responded to the CAR T-cell therapy is "impressive," said Alsina, who was not involved in the trial.

She said it's "somewhat disappointing" that the disease typically progressed after one year. But overall, Alsina said, the results are "exciting," and it seems likely that the therapy will eventually be submitted for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

An important question for the future is whether CAR T-cell therapy would be more effective if it's begun earlier in the course of multiple myeloma, Alsina added.

The therapy carries risks. One is cytokine release syndrome -- where the body produces a massive amount of inflammatory substances (cytokines) that cause high fever, low blood pressure and other symptoms. Three-quarters of patients in this trial developed cytokine release syndrome -- but it was usually mild and able to be treated within a few days.

Neurological issues -- like dizziness, confusion and memory problems -- are another concern. Forty-two percent of patients had those types of side effects, but they were mild in all cases but one, the researchers said.

Kochenderfer noted that more research is "clearly needed," and the companies developing this particular CAR T-cell therapy are moving it into further trials. His lab at the cancer institute is working on a slightly different CAR T-cell therapy, also targeting BCMA.

For now, Alsina said, multiple myeloma patients can only get the treatment by enrolling in a clinical trial. One way to find out about trials is by contacting the cancer institute.

One High Dose of Radiation May Be Enough for Early Prostate Cancer

Published: April 30, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Treating men with low-risk prostate cancer with just one high dose of radiation may be safe and effective, British researchers report.

Therapy for prostate cancer typically involves low-dose radiation given over several days or weeks. Conversely, high-dose radiation is given once through a set of tiny tubes inserted directly into the tumor.

"For low-risk patients, a single dose of high-dose radiation is sufficient, but for medium- and high-risk patients, a single dose of 19 Gy isn't enough. They will likely need a bigger dose or going back to multiple doses," said lead researcher Hannah Tharmalingam. She's a clinical research fellow at the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in Northwood, England.

According to Tharmalingam, high-dose radiation could be more convenient for low-risk patients, and less time-consuming and costly for the medical system.

But one radiation oncologist fears that the side effects make it potentially dangerous.

For the study, Tharmalingam and her colleagues treated 441 prostate cancer patients between 2013 and 2018. The cancers were classified as low-, medium- or high-risk.

All of the men were treated with one high dose of 19 Gy of radiation, which is equivalent to the total amount of radiation given over several days with current treatments, Tharmalingam said.

In addition, 166 men were also given hormone therapy. None of the men, however, had surgery or chemotherapy.

For comparison, men with prostate cancer are normally given about 2 Gy of radiation at each of several sessions. Low-dose radiation is given to minimize side effects.

Over 26 months, the researchers measured the men's levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), which indicates how well the treatment worked. If PSA levels increase, it might mean that cancer has returned.

After two years, 94% of the men remained cancer-free. Among men with low-risk cancer, it was 100%; among men with medium-risk disease, it was 95%; and in men with high-risk cancer, it was 92%.

But after three years, that dose of radiation wasn't enough for those patients with medium- or high-risk cancer, Tharmalingam said.

After three years, 88% of the men, overall, remained free of cancer. Specifically, it was 100% of the men with low-risk cancer, 86% of the men with medium-risk cancer, and 75% of those with high-risk cancer who remained cancer-free.

Among 27 men whose PSA levels rose, 25 had their cancer return. In 15, the cancer returned in the prostate, and in the others it had spread to other areas of the body, the researchers found.

When the men were treated, no serious side effects occurred. Later on, however, two men had urethral strictures, which can prevent urination and required surgery, and two patients developed rectal fistulae that required an operation called a colostomy.

Tharmalingam said that to improve the results of single high-dose radiation among men with medium- and high-risk cancer, other groups are experimenting with radiation doses as high as 23 Gy.

But for these patients, it might be better to go back to giving smaller doses of radiation over a longer time, Tharmalingam said.

Dr. Anthony D'Amico, a professor of radiation oncology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, doesn't think high-dose radiation is safe. D'Amico was not involved with the new study but was familiar with the findings.

"This single dose of radiation is very convenient and very well thought out in terms of killing the cancer," he said. "But there is no way to get around the one stumbling block, which is the follow-up of only three years."

A follow-up of three years in prostate cancer has very little meaning because it doesn't indicate what will happen over the long term, D'Amico said.

Even more troubling were the side effects seen in some patients, namely urethral strictures and rectal fistulae, he said.

"These are unheard of complications in the radiotherapy world in this day and age," D'Amico said. "You don't see those anymore because those things are the result of doses being way too high."

These side effects can take years to appear, so seeing even a few patients developing them so soon is very concerning, he explained.

"I would be very careful with this approach and I wouldn't recommend it," D'Amico said. "I'm worried about safety -- and this isn't something that's safe."

The findings were scheduled for presentation Monday at the meeting of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology, in Milan. Research presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Urine test could prevent cervical cancer, study finds

Published: April 29, 2019


Urine testing may be as effective as the smear test at preventing cervical cancer, according to new research by University of Manchester scientists.

The study, led by Dr Emma Crosbie and published in BMJ Open, found that urine testing was just as good as the cervical smear at picking up high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes cervical cancer.

The research team say a urine test could help increase the numbers of women who are screened for cervical cancer, which affects more than 3,000 women every year in the UK.

The research was supported by the Manchester NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.

Urine testing could also have a role in the developing world, where cervical cancer is up to 15 times more common and smear testing largely non-existent.

The NHS cervical screening programme tests for so called 'high-risk' types of human papillomavirus (HPV) and the health of the cells of the cervix in women who test high-risk HPV positive.

Around 1 in 20 women show abnormal changes which might go on to become cancer and are referred for colposcopy, where the cervix is examined under magnification, allowing abnormal areas to be seen, sampled and treated, before they ever cause cancer.

According to the team, cervical smear samples, self-collected vaginal samples and urine samples are all effective at picking up high risk HPV infection.

Cervical cancer is most common in women aged 30 to 35 years. But the precancerous stage is detectable in the 5-10 years before this, when up to a third of women fail to attend for their smear test.

"We're really very excited by this study, which we think has the potential to significantly increase participation rates for cervical cancer screening in a key demographic group," said Dr Emma Crosbie.

"Many younger women avoid the NHS cervical cancer screening programme because they find it embarrassing or uncomfortable, particularly if they have gynaecological conditions like endometriosis."

She added: "Campaigns to encourage women to attend cervical screening have helped. The brilliant campaign by the late Jade Goody increased numbers attendance by around 400,000 women.

"But sadly, the effects aren't long lasting and participation rates tend to fall back after a while. We clearly need a more sustainable solution."

Of the 100 or so types of HPV, some are linked to cervical cancer, and some are linked to other conditions, like genital warts.

Most cervical cancers are caused by high-risk types HPV-16 and HPV-18.

104 women attending the colposcopy clinic at St Mary's Hospital, Manchester participated in the study and were screened using two brands of HPV testing kits.

Around two-thirds of the women tested positive for any high-risk HPV type, and a third for HPV-16 or HPV-18.

From the total, eighteen women had pre-cancerous changes to the cervix that needed treatment.

With the Roche HPV testing kit, urine, vaginal self samples and cervical smears picked up 15 of these.

With the Abbott HPV testing kit, urine picked up 15 of these and vaginal self samples and cervical smears picked up 16.

Dr Crosbie said: "These results provide exciting proof of principle that urine HPV testing can pick up cervical pre-cancer cells, but we need to trial it on a greater number of women before it can be used in the NHS. We hope that is going to happen soon.

"Urine is very simple to collect and most hospitals in the developed and developing world have access to the lab equipment to process and test the samples.

"Let us hope this is a new chapter in our fight against cervical cancer, a devastating and pernicious disease."

Study Supports Radiation for Early, Hormone-Driven Breast Cancer

Published: April 26, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- For women with hormone-driven breast cancer, adding radiation to hormone therapy might keep their cancer from coming back for up to a decade, a new study finds.

Breast cancer didn't come back in the same breast for 97.5% of women who had radiation therapy plus hormone therapy compared to just over 92% of women who had hormone therapy alone, the researchers said.

In addition, over the study's 10-year follow-up period, 94.5% of the women in the radiation therapy group were still alive without a cancer recurrence, compared to just over 88% of women who only had hormone therapy.

Study author Dr. Gerd Fastner, from Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg, Austria, said the study shows that adding radiation therapy can increase disease-free survival and improve the odds a cancer won't come back over the long term.

Dr. Alice Police, regional director of breast surgery at Northwell Health Breast Care Centers Westchester in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., said the findings are important because "there have been a lot of studies trying to prove that in small cancers in postmenopausal women, there may be a group of women who can skip radiation. This study shows it's still not safe to omit radiation therapy in women who have had breast-conserving surgery."

Police added that while women with these specific cancers might think they can choose one treatment or another, a combination yields the best results.

The study included nearly 900 postmenopausal women. Fastner said they were between 46 and 80 years old, with an average age of 66. All of the women were from Austria, and most were white.

The women in the study all had breast cancer that was considered low risk for spreading. Their tumors were small in size (under 3 centimeters).

All of the women had breast-conserving surgery. That means rather than removing the entire breast (mastectomy), surgeons remove the tumor and a bit of the healthy tissue around the tumor.

The study patients all had hormone receptor-positive cancers, which means that hormones such as estrogen and progesterone fueled the cancer's growth, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute. About two of three breast cancers are hormone receptor-positive, according to the American Cancer Society.

After surgery, the women in the study were all treated with hormone therapies such as tamoxifen or anastrozole. These therapies either remove hormones or block their action, according to the cancer institute.

Some women -- 439 -- received radiation therapy for just over a month within six weeks of their surgery. The remaining 430 women took hormone therapy alone.

A decade later, 10 women in the radiation group had a recurrence of cancer in the same breast. In the hormone therapy-only group, 31 women had a cancer recurrence, the researchers found.

The findings are to be presented Sunday at the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) meeting, in Milan. Findings presented at meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until they've been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Fastner said it's still a matter of some debate if all women with these low-risk cancers should be given radiation therapy after breast-conserving surgery, largely because of newer techniques, such as partial breast radiation and brachytherapy.

And, in a small, select group of women, it might be better to forgo radiation.

"The total omission of radiotherapy should only be considered in frail, elderly patients who would not be able to tolerate such treatment," Fastner said in a meeting news release.

Stop cancer cells dead in their tracks with turmeric

Published: April 24, 2019


(Natural News) There are many natural ways to stop the spread of cancer. One of the most effective methods is to consume turmeric, a spice that is rich in the anticancer compound curcumin. This natural compound achieves its anticancer effects by preventing inflammation that causes the disease in the first place.

There is strong scientific evidence that cancer and chronic inflammation are closely intertwined. In 1863, Rudolf Virchow noted that cancer often appeared in body parts that suffered from severe inflammation due to injury or a degenerative disease.

Turmeric happens to be a powerful anti-inflammatory food. By neutralizing inflammation, it makes it much harder for cancer cells to appear and grow in an area. 

Turmeric and curcumin suppresses the inflammation that leads to the formation of cancer cells

Many studies have shown that cancer and other similar chronic diseases originate from inflammation and the damage caused by excessive oxidation. Chronic inflammation is often attributed to poor diet and low levels of physical activity.

It stands to reason that preventing inflammation is the best way to avoid cancer. This can be done by working out on a regular basis and eating nutritious food such as curcumin-rich turmeric.

Curcumin is the primary bioactive compound in turmeric. It is responsible for the yellow color of the spice, as well as the superfood’s inflammation-fighting and cancer-fighting properties.

In its role as a natural anti-inflammatory, curcumin suppresses the activity of various molecules that cause inflammation in cells and tissues. These inflammatory substances include adhesion molecules, cytokines, enzymes, and protein kinases.

Preventing oxidative stress in the body reduces the risk of cancer

Exposure to harmful substances and severe stress causes the body to produce higher amounts of free radicals than normal. These oxygen-based molecules deplete natural antioxidants that protect the body from their effects.

When there are too many free radicals and too few antioxidants in the body at the same time, it undergoes oxidative stress. The cells, tissues, and organs start taking damage and begin to function less effectively.

Car exhaust, paint fumes, tobacco smoke, and pollutants in the air, food, and water are some of the toxic substances that contribute to excessive levels of free radicals. Emotional and mental stress factors include fear, guilt, and resentment.

Antioxidants protect the body from the negative effects of free radicals. By neutralizing free radicals, antioxidants prevent the onset of oxidative stress and, by extension, diminish the chances of cancer.

The curcumin in turmeric is a natural antioxidant. So its anticancer activity works in two different but complementary ways.

Taking turmeric can stop cancerous tumors from getting bigger or spreading elsewhere

Turmeric is available in many forms, such as powder, supplements, and herbal juices and teas. A 2017 study by researchers from Jahangirnagar University established that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity needed to fight cancer can be acquired from any of these forms.

“We conclude that the turmeric varieties investigated in this study are useful sources of natural antioxidants, which confer significant protection against free radical damage,” remarked the researchers.

The superfood will continue to provide anticancer benefits even after a patient has been designated with the disease. Curcumin is capable of disrupting the signaling pathways of a tumor, preventing the cancerous growth from further increasing its size or spreading to healthy cells.

In addition to fighting cancer, turmeric can also help improve dementia, metabolic syndrome, and many other health conditions. So there is no reason why a health-inclined person should not take advantage of the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of its curcumin content.

Sit All Day at Work? Exercise Can Counter That

Published: April 22, 2019


 (HealthDay News) -- If your job keeps you chained to a desk all day, you might be able to erase the ill effects with regular exercise, a large new study suggests.

Research has shown that people who spend a lot of time sitting may pay for it with a higher heart disease risk and a shorter lifespan. But the new study, of nearly 150,000 adults, indicates you can avoid those consequences by fitting in exercise when you can.

People who spent a large portion of their days sitting were more likely to die during the study period -- of heart disease or other causes.

But those risks were mainly limited to people who got little exercise, the investigators found.

It seemed that for many people, moderate exercise -- at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week -- was enough to offset the health risks of sitting.

The exception was people who sat for more than eight hours a day, the findings showed. Moderate amounts of exercise lowered, but didn't erase, their higher risk of death. They need heavier amounts of exercise for that.

"Our study suggests that doing enough walking, strenuous housework and gardening -- as well as dedicated exercise -- decreased the risks from sitting," said lead researcher Dr. Emmanuel Stamatakis. He's a professor at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

"What people do when they're not sitting seems to matter more," he said.

Dr. Matthew Martinez is chair of the American College of Cardiology's sports and exercise section leadership council. He said the study drives home the message that "some exercise is better than no exercise."

Martinez said, "Going from zero minutes to 60 minutes of exercise every day is tough. So just try adding a little bit of activity each day."

He suggested taking a walk during your lunch break or while waiting for the kids to get out of soccer practice -- any time you can replace some sitting with moving.

"We're all busy, but there is time for physical activity," Martinez said. "It has to be part of your day."

The study was published online April 22 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. It involved more than 149,000 Australian adults, aged 45 and up. All were free of heart disease or cancer at the outset.

Over nine years, nearly 8,700 study participants died -- including more than 1,600 who died of heart disease or stroke.

Overall, the risk of death was higher among people who, at the study's start, reported sitting for long periods each day. That was true even when the researchers accounted for other factors -- like age, body weight, smoking and diet habits.

But that link was clear mostly among people who got little to no exercise. Among non-exercisers, for instance, those who sat for eight-plus hours a day were 52% more likely to die, versus those who spent less than four hours a day sitting.

Stamatakis agreed that even when work and commuting necessitate sitting, it's possible to fit in exercise.

"Taking any opportunity for movement is important -- in particular movement that gets people out of breath, such as fast walking, stair climbing, walking uphill or carrying groceries," he said.

What about people who are sedentary because of chronic health conditions? This study did not specifically address that, Stamatakis said. And people with heart disease and cancer were excluded.

Martinez said that, to him, these findings apply to the people who are relatively healthy and wanting to ward off heart disease and other major ills.

For people who already have heart disease, Martinez said, the goal is to get regular, dedicated exercise -- and they should work out a plan with their doctor.

Omega-3 improves quality of life of breast cancer survivors

Published: April 21, 2019


(Natural News) Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that offer various health benefits for your body and brain. According to a study, omega-3 fatty acids can lower the mortality rate of breast cancer patients.

The study was published in the journal Cancer, and it was conducted by researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC).

Earlier research already confirmed the many health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. This study demonstrated that increased intake significantly improved the survival rates of women after breast cancer diagnosis.

What are omega-3 fatty acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are crucial to your overall health. These fatty acids are used in various systems and several functions of the body.

But because the body is unable to produce omega-3 fatty acids, they must be acquired through a healthy diet and supplements.

Fish and plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:

Bass, Beef (from grass-fed cows), Chia seeds, Cod, Flax seed (linseed), Herring, Mackerel, Salmon, Sardines, Soybean, Tilapia, Trout, Tuna, Walnuts

Increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids is linked to improved survival rates

In the study, researchers found that increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids is linked to lower mortality rates among breast cancer patients.

Participants of the one-way study increased their omega-3 levels by consuming oily fish like tuna and other foods rich in the fatty acid. The volunteers were also given omega-3 supplements.

For the study, Dr. Nikhil K. Khankari from UNC and her fellow researchers analyzed data from 1,463 breast cancer patients who took part in the Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project (LIBCSP).

The LIBCSP monitored the fish consumption of the participants as well as their intake of omega-3 fatty acids like alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (arachidonic acid and linoleic acid).

Their findings revealed that in the span of 14.7 years, 485 volunteers had died and 210 of them died due to breast cancer. However, the participants who consumed the most omega-3-rich foods (such as fish) were 25 to 29 percent more likely to survive.

Analysis of the omega-3 fatty acids showed that both EPA and DHA significantly affected the survival rates of the female participants. 

 A follow-up study revealed that reductions in mortality rates ranged from 16 to a whopping 34 percent, 15 years after the participants started consuming higher levels of DHA and EPA in both fish and supplement form. The researchers concluded that long-chain omega-3 fatty acids were the most effective in improving survival rates after a breast cancer diagnosis.

The many health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids

Aside from improving breast cancer survival rates, omega-3 fatty acids have other health benefits.

Omega-3 fatty acids have cancer-fighting properties.

Omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent asthma in both children and young adults.

These fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and can lower blood pressure. They also promote healthier cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Omega-3 fatty acids help regulate heart rhythms and prevent heart disease.

Studies suggest that these fatty acids can improve mood and attention disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression.

Omega-3 fatty acids help minimize inflammation and the symptoms of various autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis. They can also reduce menstrual pain.

Consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon or trout and take a fish oil supplement daily to boost your overall health and lower your risk of developing breast cancer.

Eating processed food can increase cancer risk by ‘crazy’ levels

Published: April 20, 2019


(Natural News) Most people steer clear of junk foods because they don’t want to put on more pounds. But the real health risk they should be worried about is how eating lots of candy, junk foods, and other highly-processed foods can increase the chances of contracting cancer.

Integrative medicine practitioners say that most cancer diagnoses are caused by the environment and the lifestyle of the patient. By adopting a healthier lifestyle, a person can avoid cancer. And one of the most important and effective lifestyle changes is avoiding processed food.

This is corroborated by data gathered from the NutriNet-Sante cohort over the course of eight years. Researchers evaluated the everyday meals eaten by nearly 105,000 participants.

They found that every 10 percent of a participant’s total daily calories that came from junk foods and other highly processed foods caused a 12 percent increase in the risk of cancer. The increased cancer risk was attributed to the lack of proper nutrients in junk food as well as the cancer-causing ingredients that are used in some of the foods. 

Avoid these processed foods and the industries that produce them

Candy and cakes are just two of the examples of highly processed foods that can increase the risk of cancer. The long list includes sodas and sweetened beverages, reconstituted meat products that were altered using nitrates or other non-salt preservatives, instant noodles and soups, and ready meals that are either kept in the freezer or can last up to several years on a shelf.

Processed foods also include products that are mostly or completely made from fats, oils, and sugars. There are also food products made from hydrogenated oils, modified starches, protein isolates, and other substances that may technically be edible but are not originally intended to be consumed as food.

These products often get cosmetic additives such as artificial colors, emulsifiers, flavoring agents, moisture-retaining substances, and artificial sweeteners. These additives make the processed food look, smell, and taste like fresh foods or minimally-prepared foods. They also help to hide any unpleasantness in the final product.

If food underwent extrusion, reactions with hydrogen or water, molding, frying as part of pre-processing, reshaping, and other industrial processes, it will count as processed food.

Shopping hacks for healthy foods in grocery stores

For people who want to make healthier choices in food, there are some helpful guidelines to keep in mind during the next visit the grocery store. First and foremost is to always go for whole real food that is fresh and natural. These healthy foods are usually found along the border of the store, where few shoppers bother to go.

Avoid any foods that are found in the middle aisles of the grocery store. They were placed there to increase their accessibility and not because of the benefits they provide.

Similarly, do not pick any food that has a very long shelf life. One of the original reasons for inventing processed food was to preserve the perishable product for storage.

Check the list of ingredients of a product. If it contains an ingredient with a fancy name that is hard to read aloud, it is probably a synthetic ingredient. Drop that food immediately.

Processed foods are intended to be addictive. That is why they are inexpensive, easily found and obtained, and cause people to crave for them.

Like all habits and addiction, the craving for highly processed food can be broken. Refuse junk foods, learn how to cook simple and healthy meals, and eat organic foods that are close to the natural foods consumed by early humans.

HPV Vaccine Driving Down Cervical Pre-Cancer Rates

Published: April 18, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is largely responsible for a decline in precancerous cervical lesions among young women in the United States, a new government report shows.

The number of these precancerous lesions detected during screening went down from an estimated 216,000 cases in 2008 to 196,000 cases in 2016, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

This reduction occurred solely in women under the age of 30, the age group for which the HPV vaccine has been available.

About 55% of cervical pre-cancers were found in women under 30 in 2008. By 2016, that percentage had slipped to 36%.

At the same time, precancerous lesion detection increased for those between the ages of 30 and 64.

"As these [lesions] decrease for vaccinated women, we will also see decreased cervical cancer rates in this population as it ages," said Dr. Jennifer Wu, an ob-gyn at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "The hope for the next 10 years of the HPV vaccine is to see even more significant decreases in pre-cancers and cancers."

The HPV vaccine first became available in 2006 and initially was recommended for girls aged 11 or 12, with catch-up vaccination available through age 26. It has since been added to boys' standard vaccination schedule as well.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also approved the vaccine for adults aged 27 to 45 as of October 2018, Wu noted.

"This expanded coverage should lead to cervical cancers and pre-cancers becoming a rarity," Wu said.

The first vaccine targeted HPV strains responsible for about 70% of all cervical cancers, explained Debbie Saslow, senior director of women's cancers at the American Cancer Society.

An updated vaccine introduced in 2016 now prevents HPV strains responsible for more than 90% of cervical cancers, Saslow added.

For this new study, CDC researchers tracked cervical cancer screening in five surveillance network locations across the United States, and made estimates for the entire nation based on that data.

Some of the observed decrease could be due to changes in screening, experts said.

In 2008, girls were urged to undergo a pap smear within three years of starting sexual activity or by age 21, with annual screenings afterward.

Guidelines have evolved, and now screening starts at 21 and occurs every three years.

"Some of the decrease may reflect the fact that we're looking less frequently, particularly in that earlier age group," said Dr. Lois Ramondetta, a professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

But the decreases in precancerous lesions among younger women points to the success of HPV vaccination, she added.

"The fact you can link the decrease to the HPV types 16 and 18, which were the subtypes covered by the initial vaccine, is indicating that it is related to vaccination," Ramondetta said. "We already know that the ability to find these types of HPV in the vaccinated age group, girls and boys, has decreased by up to 70%."

HPV vaccination rates are increasing by an average 5% annually, Saslow added.

About half of teenagers were up to date on the HPV vaccine in 2017, and two-thirds had received the first dose of the two-dose series, the CDC says.

"More parents are getting their kids vaccinated than don't get their kids vaccinated, but it's still not as high as other vaccines," Saslow said.

Doctors and other experts still have to make the case that the vaccine is safe and effective, and that it is aimed at preventing cervical cancer rather than promoting sexual activity.

"It's amazing that some people can still try to claim that this vaccine doesn't work, because it's almost every week we see more evidence that it works so much better than any of us even dreamed," Saslow said. "We have more and more and more evidence that this vaccine is drastically and dramatically decreasing the number of pre-cancers from cervical cancer.

"These numbers are going to get even better," Saslow concluded. "We have more kids being vaccinated at the right age with a better vaccine."

Researchers pinpoint tumor-related protein, slow progression of cancers

Published: April 17, 2019


Locking a biochemical gate that admits fuel into immune-suppressing cells could slow tumor progression and assist the treatment of multiple cancers, says new research from the Wistar Institute, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and others.

Published April 17 in the journal Nature, the study found elevated levels of fatty acid transporter protein 2, or FATP2, in a type of cell known to muffle immune responses and impede cancer therapies. After isolating tumorous cells from humans and mice, the researchers also discovered substantially higher numbers of an energy-granting lipid that FATP2 helps produce and traffic into cells.

Collectively, the study's findings implicate FATP2 in maliciously rewiring the body's most common white blood cells, which otherwise act as first responders in fighting infections.

When the researchers knocked out a gene linked to FATP2, they found that the tumors of several cancers -- lymphoma, lung carcinoma, colon carcinoma and pancreatic cancer -- grew markedly slower in mice. Administering the FATP2-inhibiting compound Lipofermata -- identified by Nebraska's Concetta DiRusso in the mid-2000s -- likewise helped slow and even reject tumors when paired with a drug that disrupts cellular replication.

The study suggests that targeting FATP2 in the immune-suppressing cells could block the resulting buildup of lipids and mitigate tumor progression without significant side effects, the team said.

"I think the unique thing, and why this will cause some excitement, is that this is not specific to one cancer," said DiRusso, a study co-author and George Holmes University Professor of biochemistry. "Being able to target some of the cells that are common to different cancers is something that's highly desired.

"It doesn't wipe (tumors) out totally, but it's a piece of the picture. We're now more interested in combination therapy. It's not one target but (instead) targeting in multiple ways, because cancer is smart. Cancer finds a way around our best drugs, which is why these combinations of drugs are so powerful and, we expect, more effective."

The Wistar Institute's Dmitry Gabrilovich and colleagues first noticed an uptick of FATP2 in solid tumors several years ago. Their observation prompted Gabrilovich to contact Nebraska biochemist Paul Black, who has studied the fundamentals of how fat molecules cross cellular membranes.

The Black Lab's early research in yeast identified a gene segment and associated protein that activate and carry fatty acids into cells, where they get metabolized for energy or embedded into membranes. That protein? FATP2.

"If you've got a gate sitting on the membrane that controls the amount of fat that gets in, and then you start screwing around with that gate, it's going to impact things downstream," said Black, Charles Bessey Professor and chair of biochemistry. "And if a cancer cell needs to be fed lipid so it can undergo metastasis and really become a nasty disease, it has to up-regulate that protein. So this gate is playing a very pivotal role in all of these metabolic systems."

Black's prior research also helped determine that there were two genetic variants of FATP2: one to prime fatty acids for metabolism, another to actually transport them across cellular membranes. That important distinction informed the efforts of DiRusso's lab, which screened more than 100,000 anti-FATP2 compound candidates to suss out which might help combat obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

The blue-ribbon candidate, Lipofermata, essentially eliminates fat accumulation in tissue cultures and reduces the absorption of lipids in mice by more than 60 percent -- leading DiRusso to patent the drug's use in treating metabolic diseases. So when Black was contacted by Gabrilovich, he quickly touched base with DiRusso. The duo ultimately supplied Gabrilovich with the biochemical insights, samples and Lipofermata needed to carry out his team's experiments.

"Whether it be cancer biology or diabetes or whatever you're going after in this biomedical world, you can't do it by yourself anymore," Black said. "Long gone are the days where we can just sit up and be a little silo somewhere, just doing our own things. Some of our early mechanistic work was done that way, but the work (now) is far too complicated. It's just a ton of information.

"We don't know the full story yet, but the data that's coming out is going to really drive this stuff forward very, very quickly."

The Wistar Institute and Nebraska researchers authored the Nature study with colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh, Duke University School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Helen F. Graham Cancer Center and Moscow State Medical University.

How inflammation causes gastric cancer

Published: April 16, 2019


In 1982, researchers reported a link between chronic gastritis and stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori, triggering a flurry of research into this newly-identified pathogen. These studies made it clear that in addition to its involvement in gastritis, H. pylori was a significant factor in the development of both peptic ulcers and gastric cancer. But while the link between the bacterium and disease was clear-cut, exactly how H. pylori caused gastric tumors remained the subject of much debate.

Now, almost four decades later, researchers from Kanazawa University and the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development have finally shown how inflammation caused by H. pylori infection causes the proliferation of gastric epithelial stem cells, leading to gastric tumors.

In a report published recently in cancer genetics journal Oncogene, the researchers describe how they built on previous findings to solve the mystery.

"We previously showed that tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), a cytokine that causes inflammation, promotes gastric tumor formation by activating a protein called NOXO1," says lead author of the study Dr Kanae Echizen. "What we didn't know was exactly how NOXO1 induces tumor formation in the stomach."

NOXO1 is a component of the NOX1 complex, which produces tissue-damaging molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS, or more accurately, the oxidative stress caused by these molecules, can result in mutations in the DNA of stomach cells, leading to tumor formation. Inflammation caused by H. pylori infection also produces ROS, increasing oxidative stress in the stomach.

In the newly-published study, the research team showed that inflammation caused excess production of NOX1-complex proteins in response to signals from NF-κB, a regulatory protein that turns on genes to combat stress or bacterial infection, and which is a major player in the inflammatory response. However, most importantly, they found that NOX1/ROS signaling caused gastric epithelial stem cells to multiply uncontrollably, resulting in tumor formation.

Knowing this, the researchers used a drug to suppress the activity of the NOX1 complex, which immediately halted the growth of gastric cancer cells. Even more excitingly, disruption of Noxo1 in a mouse gastritis model stopped the proliferation of epithelial stem cells.

"We have finally been able to show that inflammation enhances the expression of NOXO1, which induces the proliferation of gastric epithelial stem cells, leading to gastric tumors," explains Dr Masanobu Oshima, senior author of the study. "Gastric cancer is the fourth most common cancer worldwide and has the second highest mortality rate. If we can disrupt the NOX1/ROS signaling pathway in situ, we may be able to prevent the development of this aggressive disease."


Scanning for cancer treatment

Published: April 15, 2019


11,000 people are predicted to die from acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in 2019, according to the American Cancer Society. The cancer starts in the bone marrow. There, mutated genes fail to prevent blood cells from replicating again and again and again, growing tumors.

Chemotherapy helps two out of three patients achieve remission. And recently, drug developers designed a new attack, one intended to target the patient's malfunctioning genes, reclaim their hijacked cells, and halt growth. But this kind of drug development can result in more errors in trials, and can take years to get from lab to patient.

Now, in a paper published in Nature Chemical Biology, Harvard University Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Brian Liau reveals why certain AML drugs only work some of the time. With his new technique, Liau and team expose more intimate details about the drug-body relationship and, in the process, disprove previous assumptions about how AML drugs work.


To test a new drug, developers manipulate their product's small molecules, shifting them to see how the changes impact the drug's efficacy.

To investigate how AML drugs work, the Liau group followed the same process. But, like a good mediator, they hunted down the other side of the story, too: What happens, they wanted to know, if we manipulate the protein target instead?

"As chemists, we have the ability to make nearly anything," Liau says. "Now, we have the unprecedented ability to systematically change protein structure directly in cells."

For their first mediation, the Liau group focused on a specific subtype of AML, whose mutated genes cause a shift in a blood cell's so-called epigenetic state. Epigenetic changes, in which chemical tags land on genes and turn them on or off, result from environmental triggers -- what you eat, how much you exercise and sleep, and where you live, can all impact your epigenome.

In AML, the mutated genes are enough to trigger an epigenetic change and reprogram cells to grow uncontrollably. Since enzymes often regulate the conversation between the genes and their hostage cells, new drugs target these proteins, hoping to reverse their malfunction. For AML, this enzyme target is called LSD1 (lysine-specific histone demethylase 1).

So far, LDS1-targeting drugs only work sometimes. So, Liau and his team decided to uncover what makes the protein so slippery.


Proteins, like bicycles, have both essential and non-essential parts (or domains). Without handlebars, the machine keeps moving; without wheels, it stops. So, the Liau group searched for LSD1's "wheels," which, once dismantled, would halt the protein and the disease.

To do so, the team used a technique called CRISPR-scanning. The gene-editing tool CRISPR can make precise cuts in the genetic code (DNA). So, the Liau group used the tool to execute systematic but random slices in many AML-relevant genes at once.

Then, when the cell steps in to repair the cut, tiny scars can form in the genome. These scars produce various kinds of mutant genes, and the mutant genes produce mutant proteins. One mutant loses handlebars, another pedals, and eventually, one loses its wheels. Even though the first two proteins lost some parts, their cancerous cells live on. But the last is immobilized; growth shuts down.

With their systematic approach, the Liau group can classify which LSD1 weaknesses drug developers can exploit. A well-designed drug can act like a pebble in a gear spoke: A small but effective way to impede the machine.


Some mutations can strengthen rather than weaken: The protein might acquire a new set of wheels that are impervious to drugs.

To determine which mutations might hinder drug efficacy, the Liau group examines how a drug interacts with each mutant (a technique called CRISPR-suppressor scanning). Once again, some mutants die while others persist to continue malignant growth. Developers can use this information to tweak their drug and subvert the protein's new defenses.

"Maybe I add something on the drug, like make it bigger or add a bump," Liau says. "Or maybe I add something to the protein, like a hole. If the bump-hole complement each other, we can tease this information apart with the methodology."

Using CRISPR-suppressor scanning, his group explored how bumps and holes might affect the relationship between the AML mutant LSD1 and drugs currently under development to treat the cancer. What they found surprised him.

Drugs that target LSD1 shut down the protein's enzymatic function. But, this function is not as critical to cancer growth as previously assumed. The Liau group discovered that the drugs can end up cutting off communication between LSD1 and a transcription factor (GFI1B).

Even though the drugs worked because they (sometimes) disrupted both actions, the Liau group's new technique showed that the LSD1-GFI1B relationship is the most critical for AML survival. Their discovery could also explain why certain AML subtypes rely so heavily on LSD1. Armed with this new information, drug developers can focus their work, hasten drug development, and produce more targeted treatment.

Next, Liau and his team plan to investigate more bumps and holes on LSD1, the protein's darkest corners, and other cancer-relevant proteins. Before, according to Liau, "It wasn't appreciated or understood why certain cancers were sensitive to LSD1 inhibitors." Now, his technique could reveal new and more potent sensitivities, leading to more effective and efficient treatments for cancer.


A quick and easy guide to understanding antioxidants – and why you benefit from them

Published: April 12, 2019


(Natural News) Antioxidants protect cells and tissues from the harmful effects of toxic molecules called free radicals. In doing so, they help prevent the appearance of serious diseases that are connected to oxidation.

Free radicals are oxygen molecules that have been broken down into individual atoms with unpaired electrons. The lack of electrons causes them to freely move around the body, harming cells and DNA.

Many bodily processes produce free radicals as waste products. They are also produced by external factors such as a bad diet, exposure to air pollution and toxic chemicals, and unhealthy practices.

Normally, the body mitigates the effect of free radicals by repairing the damage they cause. However, excessive amounts can prove to be too much for the natural repair processes to handle.

Heavy concentrations of free radicals lead to oxidative stress. This eventually leads to diseases such as several types of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by providing them with electrons. Their levels must be constantly replenished in order to maintain good health. While the body naturally produces some antioxidants, the majority comes from food.

The different kinds of antioxidants and their benefits

There are hundreds of known antioxidants. They range from familiar vitamins to less-known flavonoids and polyphenols. They also operate in different ways and parts of the body, as well as targeting certain free radicals.

Vitamin E dissolves in fat, while Vitamin C can be dissolved by water. Selenium is a mineral absorbed by growing plants from the ground. Beta-carotene, lycopene, and polyphenols are pigments that give plants their bright color. Omega-3 fatty acids like ALA, DHA, and EPA are good fatty acids that come from oily sources – fish oil for DHA and EPA, and certain plant oils for ALA.

There are numerous studies that tackle the health benefits of antioxidants. One of the latest research was conducted by the IMDEA Food Institute of Madrid, Spain in 2016.

The Spanish researchers found that consuming large amounts of fruits and vegetables can lower the chances of various diseases and health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and cognitive problems. The plant-based chemicals in these foods are cited for demonstrating their antioxidant properties that help prevent diseases.

These foods will provide all the antioxidants needed for good health

Clove is considered to be the best source of natural antioxidants. Purple cabbage, on the other hand, is the most affordable option.

Kale is bursting with beta-carotene, vitamin C, and similar antioxidants. It also has large amounts of other vitamins and minerals.

If artichoke is on the menu due to its antioxidant content, eat the whole vegetable. The leaves are even healthier than the heart.

Oregano also offers anti-cancer benefits and can be easily grown in a small garden. Other antioxidant-rich spices include allspice, cilantro, and cinnamon.

Peppermint can be turned into a herbal tea. The resulting hot drink is both refreshing and will replenish antioxidant levels.

Among the various berries, blueberries boast the greatest amount of antioxidants. Goji berries give it a run for its money, but the exotic berries also cost way more.

Dehydrated apples, apricots, and plums have more antioxidants than their fresh equivalents. Pick unsweetened ones as the fruits are quite sugary already.

Cacao contains a lot of natural antioxidants. Since dark chocolate contains the most cacao and the least sugar, it is the healthiest choice.

A handful of pecans makes for a healthy and filling afternoon snack. Eating this tree nut also helps prevent heart disease.


Finally, most Americans get the majority of their antioxidants from coffee. Green tea and black tea are alternative sources of both antioxidants and caffeine.


Remedy for painful jaw disease

Published: April 11, 2019



USC researchers and collaborators report a breakthrough to prevent damage to the jaw, a side effect suffered by some people undergoing treatment for cancer or osteoporosis.

The newly published research is an important step toward a cure for osteonecrosis of the jaw, which is a rare side effect caused by drugs commonly used to combat bone loss. It causes severe and persistent inflammation leading to loss of bone from the jaw and has no effective prevention or cure. The risk, though small, deters people from taking drugs needed to fight bone cancer or prevent fractures due to loss of bone density.

USC scientist Charles McKenna said the successful animal experiment, conducted by researchers at USC and UCLA, raises hope that physicians could adapt the new method to treat the condition in people.

"This is a condition that has been excruciatingly painful and difficult to treat for more than a decade," said McKenna, a professor of chemistry in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and adjunct professor of pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences in the USC School of Pharmacy. "We think our new approach may provide hope for the future," he said.

The new published findings appear in Bone. The authors are affiliated with the USC Center for Drug Discovery and Development at the Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience, the UCLA School of Dentistry and a Pasadena-based startup biotech company, BioVinc LLC.

For years, physicians have prescribed a class of drugs called bisphosphonates (BPs) for metastatic bone cancer patients and to maintain bone density in osteoporosis patients. BPs include a range of compounds that share a remarkable ability to stick to bone like Velcro.

But when used in high doses in the cancer clinic, BP drugs sometimes have a terrible side effect causing necrosis in the jaw. The problem often occurs after a tooth is removed, the gap doesn't heal and the jaw begins to deteriorate.

Although the condition is very rare at the lower BP doses used to combat osteoporosis, many patients are avoiding the drugs altogether for fear of the side effects. The risk is low as the National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates incidence of osteonecrosis of the jaw due to BP used to treat osteoporosis to be between 1 in 10,000 and 1 in 100,000 people annually. Risk has been estimated to be much higher, about 3 percent of patients, at the BP dose used to treat cancer, McKennna said.

Nonetheless, more and more osteoporosis patients are willing to take their chances with the disease rather than risk the side effects. Surveys have shown the recent trend in reduced hip fractures among post-menopausal women may be reversing due to BP drug aversion.

"The fear factor of this condition has led to severe underuse of bisphosphonates for osteoporosis so much so that we're seeing a rise in hip fractures in elderly people, aversion to bisphosphonates in oncology clinics and liability concerns in the dental office," McKenna said.

To solve the problem, McKennna devised an elegant solution. The research team used a different BP compound, an inactive compound that could be used locally in the mouth to push the BP drug from the jawbone while leaving undisturbed the useful drug in the rest of the skeleton.

Said McKenna: "Think of it as a way to fight fire with fire."

The scientists involved in the study used mice to test different BPs attached to fluorescent dyes. One color label coded the BP zoledronate, which is administered systemically to treat osteoporosis and cancer, while a different color labeled "rescue BP" coded a BP compound with similar bone affinity, but no biological activity. The researchers discovered that rescue BP injected into the jaw removed most of the BP drug causing the jaw bone tissue damage, clearing the way for the animal's natural healing process to repair the extraction site.


The new technique isn't ready for clinical use in humans yet. McKenna said BioVinc, which provided funding for the study via a National Institutes of Health small business research grant, will be responsible for advancing the treatment to commercial clinical use. Several of the authors of the study disclose a financial interest in BioVinc, a company specializing in "bone targeted therapeutics and diagnostics." McKenna is the company's academic founder.

Prevent cancer with chlorogenic acid-rich foods and supplements

Published: April 10, 2019


(Natural News) Coffee is one of the most commonly consumed drinks in the world, and it has been shown to have health benefits. Researchers from India evaluated the anticancer properties of chlorogenic acid complex, which is an active compound in green coffee beans. Their findings appeared in the Food Science and Human Wellnessjournal.

  • Chlorogenic acid (CGA) is the main ingredient in coffee beans. It has been studied for its therapeutic effects, but there are limited studies that have investigated its anticancer properties.
  • The researchers of the present study used chlorogenic acid complex (CGA7), a standardized decaffeinated water-soluble green coffee bean extract and evaluated its cytotoxic effect on human and mouse cancer cell lines.
  • The researchers cultured human cervical (HeLa), liver (HepG2), breast (MCF7), colon cancer (HCT-15, HCT-116), cell lines and mouse B16-F1, EAC, normal cell line MEF (STO).
  • The researchers found that CGA7 treatment induces dose- and time-dependent apoptosis or cell death in different cancer cell lines.
  • The CGA7-induced apoptosis was characterized by DNA fragmentation, PARP-1 cleavage, caspase-9 activation, and downregulation of Bcl-2 — an anti-apoptotic protein — and upregulation of pro-apoptotic protein BAX.

The findings indicated that CGA7 in green coffee beans is a potent anticancer compound that could be a safe bioactive ingredient for the prevention of cancer.

Yet ANOTHER reason to eat organic food: It reduces your risk of getting cancer

Published: April 09, 2019


(Natural News) French researchers can give you a scientifically backed reason for why you should switch to an organic diet. In an epidemiological study, they found that participants who ate plenty of organic foods are less likely to develop certain types of cancers, especially when compared to those who eat little or no organic foods.

In particular, the chances of developing breast cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and other lyphomas went down. The researchers surmised a connection between this and the reduced amount of synthetic pesticides in the diet of people.

In the government-supported study, nearly 70,000 participants answered an online form about their dietary intake of organic food. The survey covered 16 important food groups and asked if the participant brought organic products most of the time, only sometimes, never, or didn’t know if their purchase was organic or not.

Based on the number of times a participant bought an organic brand, researchers compiled an “organic food score.” They divided the participants between a “low intake of organic food” group and a “high intake of organic food” group. Then they followed both groups for four years while recording the number of new cancer cases that appeared during the follow-up period. 

Eating lots of organic foods could reduce risks of cancer caused by pesticides

The French researchers performed a thorough analysis of the results of their findings. They finally reported that members of the “high intake of organic food” group showed a 25 percent lower risk of contracting any form of cancer when compared to their low intake counterparts.

Organic foods are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides. Since they were never sprayed with the chemicals, they are much less likely to contain residues of the toxic compounds.

Pesticides have been shown to affect the health of farmers who tend to chemically-treated fields. Agricultural workers exposed to these chemicals are more prone to developing cancer, have a higher chance of dying early, and see more birth defects in their children.

There is also a growing body of scientific literature that indicated the risk of cancer increases for people who eat foods that had been treated with synthetic pesticides. Children are particularly at risk. In light of those findings, the 2008-2009 annual report of the President’s Cancer Panel strongly recommended that consumers should get organic food that was never exposed to any chemical pesticide or fertilizer.

Even conventionally grown plants can reduce the risks of cancer

Choosing to eat organic foods is not just good for your personal health. By supporting organic farming, you can encourage more farmers to switch to a pesticide-free method of agriculture, which would benefit their health as well. And there are also the environmental benefits of not drenching the air, soil, and water with cancer-causing chemicals.

One drawback to organically-grown food is that they are more expensive than conventionally-grown counterparts. Not everyone can afford an all-organic diet.

Instead, identify which foods in your diet contain the highest amount of pesticides. Then swap those foods out for organic equivalents to maximize the reduction of cancer-causing chemicals.

The Environmental Working Group identified strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, and hot peppers as the most heavily-contaminated produce. Strawberries are the worst offender.

Furthermore, conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables retain their tremendous nutritional value despite the taint of pesticides. Numerous studies have shown the health benefits of those foods when it comes to reducing chronic illnesses such as cancer. And if you think about it, most of the fruits and veggies used in those experiments had been grown in conventional farms, so clearly pesticides cannot overwhelm the healing power of healthy foods.

More Evidence HPV Vaccine Cuts Cervical Cancer Rate

Published: April 08, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Scotland is already seeing a payoff for vaccinating adolescent girls for human papillomavirus (HPV).

Since the vaccine became routine about a decade ago, cervical cancer cases in young Scottish women have plummeted, a new study reports.

HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. Vaccination protects against HPV types 16 and 18, which cause 70% of cervical cancer cases worldwide.

In 2008, Scotland began a national HPV immunization program. The vaccine, which protects against HPV 16 and 18, has become routine for girls aged 12 and 13, and a catch-up program is offered up to age 18.

The impact of routine vaccination on a large population had been unclear, according to Tim Palmer of the University of Edinburgh and his colleagues. Palmer is Scottish clinical lead for cervical screening.

So, the researchers looked at vaccination and screening records for nearly 139,000 women born between 1988 and 1996 who had a cervical screening test result recorded at age 20.

Specifically, the investigators looked at levels of abnormal cells and cervical lesions, known as cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). CIN is divided into grades: CIN1, 2 or 3. The higher the number, the greater the risk of invasive cervical cancer.

The findings were published April 3 in the BMJ.

Compared with unvaccinated women born in 1988, vaccinated women born in 1995 and 1996 had an 89% reduction in CIN grade 3 or worse; an 88% reduction in CIN grade 2 or worse; and a 79% reduction in CIN grade 1, the researchers reported in a journal news release.

The younger the age at vaccination, the more effective the vaccine, the findings showed. There was an 86% reduction in CIN grade 3 for women vaccinated at age 12 or 13, compared with 51% for those vaccinated at age 17.

Unvaccinated women also showed a reduction, possibly due to what is known as "herd protection," the study authors said. In herd protection, vaccines provide some protection for those who don't receive a shot, because fewer germs are being transmitted from person to person.

The findings show that routine immunization with the bivalent HPV vaccine is highly effective against high-grade cervical disease, Palmer's team said.

"The findings emphasize the credibility of using high-risk HPV infection as an early marker of the effectiveness and success of the vaccine and underpin the recent call for global action on cervical cancer from the World Health Organization," the authors concluded.

In an accompanying journal editorial, Julia Brotherton called the study results "dramatic." She's medical director at VCS Foundation in Australia.

"We must work towards a world in which all girls and their families are offered, and the majority accept, HPV vaccination, wherever they live," Brotherton wrote. "We must also actively develop, resource, and scale-up more effective, feasible and culturally acceptable strategies for cervical screening, such as self-collection of specimens, if we are ever to effectively reduce the global burden of cervical cancer."

Magnetic nanoparticles can 'burn' cancer cell

Published: April 04, 2019


Unfortunately, cancer isn't simply a single disease, and some types, like pancreas, brain or liver tumours, are still difficult to treat with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery, leading to low survival rates for patients. Thankfully, new therapies are emerging, like therapeutic hyperthermia, which heats tumours by firing nanoparticles into tumour cells. In a new study published in EPJ B, Angl Apostolova from the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy in Sofia, Bulgaria and colleagues show that tumour cells' specific absorption rate of destructive heat depends on the diameter of the nanoparticles and the composition of the magnetic material used to deliver the heat to the tumour.

Magnetic nanoparticles delivered close to the tumour cells are activated using alternating magnetic fields. Hyperthermia therapy is effective if the nanoparticles are absorbed well by the tumour cells but not by cells in healthy tissue. Therefore, its effectiveness depends on the specific absorption rate. Bulgarian scientists have studied several nanoparticles made of an iron oxide material called ferrite, to which are added small quantities of copper, nickel, manganese or cobalt atoms -- a method called dopping.

The researchers investigated magnetic hyperthermia based on these particles, both in mice and in cell cultures, for two distinct heating methods. The methods differ in terms of how the heat is generated in the particles: via direct or indirect coupling between the magnetic field and the magnetic moment of the particles.

The authors show that the tumour absorption rate greatly depends on the diameter of the nanoparticles. Surprisingly, the absorption rate increases as particle diameter increases, as long as the level of doping of the material is sufficiently high and the diameter doesn't exceed a set maximum value (max. 14 nanometres for cobalt doping, 16 nm for copper).

Older women have the highest risk of dying from cervical cancer

Published: April 03, 2019


Denmark has one of highest incidence of cervical cancer in the Western world. But once a person has turned 65, they are no longer automatically screened -- even though older women are in fact those who have the highest mortality. This is shown by new research from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital.

"Cervical cancer has become known as 'a young women's disease'. But it's a myth that it only affects young people. In fact, the mortality rate among women above the age of 65 is 25-30 per cent higher than previously thought," says medical doctor and postdoc Anne Hammer from the Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital.

She is behind the new study which has just been published in the scientific journal Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavia. The researchers looked at cervical cancer mortality rates in Denmark between 2002-2015 and found that the over 65s stood out here. For example, the mortality rate was five times higher among woman aged 75-79 compared to those aged 40-45.

Advanced cancer

The research results support a study from November 2018 in which Anne Hammer and her research colleagues found that older women were very often diagnosed so late that the cancer was already too big to be surgically removed. In such cases patients are instead treated with radiotherapy and chemotherapy -- a treatment that is associated with side effects such as pain and urination and defecation discomfort.

More than half of the older women with cervical cancer who had followed the screening programme on a regular basis until it expired are diagnosed with cancer that is so advanced that surgery is no longer possible.

"When people are screened, the cancer can be discovered in its initial stages or at such an early stage that surgical treatment is still possible. This significantly reduces the risk of dying," says Anne Hammer.

Older women should also be screened

With the current rules, the screening programme stops if a person is tested negative between the ages of 60-64. According to Anne Hammer, there are plenty of grounds -- especially with the new studies -- to introduce initiatives to reduce the incidences and mortality from cervical cancer. This could for example be done by extending the screening programme.

"The negative test does not guarantee that someone won't get the disease after the screening ends, because the HPV virus which is the cause of the cancer can lie dormant in the body," says Anne Hammer. She also points out that there will very likely be fewer young women with cervical cancer in 5-10 years' time due to the HPV vaccine.

"But it will take many years before we see an effect among older women. When the society you live in has such a high incidence of advanced cervical cancer among older women with such a high mortality rate, then it is important to explore which interventions should be initiated to reverse this trend," says Anne Hammer, before adding that as long as the screening programme is not extended, the only thing to do is to keep a close eye on symptoms such as bleeding and altered discharge.

Treatment Advances Making Pancreatic Cancer a Less Deadly Disease

Published: April 02, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Advances in chemotherapy and cancer monitoring can dramatically extend the lives of almost one-third of pancreatic cancer patients with tumors previously considered inoperable, researchers report.

It's good news for patients with a particularly deadly form of cancer that's been highlighted by the recent diagnosis of "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

About 35% of pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed with tumors that have started to grow outside the pancreas and involve many critical blood vessels surrounding the organ, explained lead researcher Dr. Mark Truty. He is a cancer surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Those patients have historically been told that their cancer is inoperable, and that they have only another 12 to 18 months left to live, the researchers said.

But new chemotherapy regimens have given these patients a fighting chance when delivered appropriately in conjunction with radiation therapy and surgery, Truty and his colleagues found.

Patients who had three specific chemo-related factors in their favor tended to live much longer, the results showed.

"Historically, the average survival is typically less than two years. These patients' average survival was about five years," Truty said.

The three factors were:

  • The amount of chemotherapy each patient received. "The more chemo they got, the longer they lived," Truty said.
  • Blood levels of a chemical called CA19-9, which is released by pancreatic cancer cells. Low levels indicated that the chemo had done its job well, rooting out hidden pockets of cancer cells.
  • A tumor that, when surgically removed, was found to be all or mostly dead due to chemotherapy. Positron-emission tomography (PET) scans were best at detecting when chemo had worked.

The prognosis for pancreatic cancer tends to be dire because it spreads rapidly, most often to the liver, lungs or abdominal cavity, Truty explained. Only about 15% of patients are diagnosed with tumors that haven't spread beyond the pancreas.

However, there's another third of patients whose cancer has spread to blood vessels but no other major organs, and researchers suspected that improved combination chemotherapies could make a difference in their outcomes.

The new study followed 194 Mayo Clinic patients over seven years who received chemo followed by radiation and surgery. About half of those patients came to Truty after being told elsewhere their cancer was inoperable.

The research team found people were more likely to live longer if they received more cycles of chemotherapy, enough to successfully kill their tumors.

About 29% of patients had all three factors, and their average survival time has not yet been calculated because more than half are still alive, the study authors said.

Another 29% had two of the factors and their median survival was just under five years, the findings showed.

"The more of those factors you had, the better you did," Truty explained.

To tell whether the chemo was killing cancer cells, researchers turned to two tools -- the CA19-9 test and PET scans.

Doctors typically use CT scans to judge when to operate and remove a tumor, Truty said. If the tumor has shrunk to a particular size, it's time to remove it.

But in pancreatic cancer, "CT is not a very good imaging study to determine response," Truty said. "In this study, in only 28% of people did the tumor actually shrink to any particular benefit."

CT scans are advanced versions of traditional X-rays, but PET scans are different -- they track the movement of radioactive tracer materials in the body that are drawn to living cells.

"If the PET scan of the tumor turned cold following chemotherapy, even if the CT scan was the same, that highly predicted that when a pathologist looked at the tumor following surgery, that cancer would be completely or mostly dead," Truty said.

This strategy produced impressive results, said Dr. Igor Astsaturov, an associate professor at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

Astsaturov said it was "remarkable" that 94% of the patients in the study had no living cancer cells in the tumors that were surgically removed.

However, this sort of treatment is not available at just any hospital, Astsaturov warned.

"This type of surgery requires virtuoso technical skills and a range of expert supportive service available in specialized academic and high-volume cancer centers," Astsaturov said.

Cancer doctors should consider using PET scans and the CA19-9 test to determine how well chemo has worked for a patient before proceeding to radiation therapy and surgery, Truty explained.

"Right now," he added, "no one uses PET scans in pancreas cancer surgery and insurance providers typically don't cover it, but we found it was the most predictive" of patient survival.

Pancreatic Cancer Survival Odds Linked to Weight Before Age 50

Published: March 31, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Need another reason to stay slim? People who are overweight have a greater risk of dying from pancreatic cancer, especially those who are carrying extra pounds before age 50, a new study suggests.

"No matter what the age, there was some increase in pancreatic cancer deaths associated with excess weight. But the association was stronger for excess weight measured in people's 30s and 40s," said the study's lead author, Eric Jacobs, senior scientific director of epidemiology research at the American Cancer Society (ACS).

"We're not completely sure why this is. Weight gain later in life may simply have less time to cause cancer," he said.

Between 2000 and 2015, the rate of pancreatic cancer rose about 15 percent, he said. It's now the third-leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

One reason pancreatic cancer is so deadly is that it often isn't discovered until it has reached an advanced stage. The disease rarely causes noticeable symptoms, and there are no effective screening tests, according to the cancer society.

But a few risk factors for pancreatic cancer can be changed. Smoking, weight and exposure to workplace chemicals are the three known risk factors that can be modified.

In the new study, researchers looked at data for almost 1 million U.S. adults with no history of cancer. The participants were enrolled in a nationwide study that began in 1982, and were followed through 2014.

The study participants reported their weight and height once -- at the start of the study. This information was used to calculate each person's body mass index (BMI), an estimate of body fat based on height and weight. A BMI from 18.5 to 24.9 is normal, while 25 to 29.9 is overweight. Over 30 is considered obese.

When BMI rose by five units -- equivalent to about 32 pounds for someone who is 5 feet 7 inches tall -- the risk of dying from pancreatic cancer rose:

  • 25 percent for those between 30 and 49 years old.
  • 19 percent for people between 50 and 59.
  • 14 percent for people in their 60s.
  • 13 percent for those between 70 and 89.

As newer generations who are heavier than past generations reach older ages, Jacobs said he expected pancreatic cancer deaths to rise.

About 28 percent of that risk for people born between 1970 and 1974 comes from BMIs in excess of 25. That's about double the risk people born in the 1930s face, the investigators found.

Dr. Matthew Weiss, deputy physician-in-chief of surgical oncology at Northwell Health Cancer Institute in Lake Success, N.Y., reviewed the findings.

He said, "This study shows a clear association between obesity in patients under 50 years old and an increased risk of dying from pancreatic cancer. Interestingly, this phenomenon does not seem as impactful at older ages."

Weiss pointed out that the study doesn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship. It only shows an association.

"It may be that some of the factors that are important in the development of obesity also increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, which is a highly lethal disease," Weiss said.

It's also possible that both conditions are on the rise, but for different reasons, he said. However, Weiss added, obesity has been linked to other cancers as well.

Dr. Rishi Jain is an assistant professor of hematology/oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. He urged people who are overweight to do something about it, to reduce their cancer risk.

"When lifestyle modification -- such as diet and physical activity -- are insufficient in promoting weight loss, patients may seek additional support from a weight management program, which may incorporate other interventions including weight-loss medications or bariatric [weight-loss] surgery procedures," Jain suggested.

Jacobs is scheduled to present the findings Sunday at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting, in Atlanta.

FDA Says Breast Density Must Be Reported to Women During Mammograms

Published: March 27, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Women with dense breasts who get mammograms must be told of their higher risk for breast cancer under new rules proposed Wednesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA would also tighten its regulation of mammogram facilities, giving the agency the power to notify patients if problems are found at a center so that repeat mammograms can be done at another certified center.

"The steps we are announcing today are intended to modernize breast cancer screening and help empower patients with more information when they are considering important decisions regarding their breast health care," FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said during a Wednesday morning media briefing.

Not only is dense breast tissue a risk factor for breast cancer, but mammograms can be difficult to interpret because dense tissue can obscure signs of breast cancer, Dr. Amy Abernethy, principal deputy commissioner at the FDA, explained during the briefing.

"For women with dense breasts, they should talk with their health care provider about their high breast density and how it relates to breast cancer risk and their individual situation," Abernethy said. "Given that more than half of women over the age of 40 in the United States have dense breasts, helping to ensure patient access to information about the impact that breast density and other factors can have on the risk for developing breast cancer is an important part of a comprehensive breast health strategy."

However, one breast cancer expert noted that many women are already being informed about their breast density.

"The FDA's proposed amendment is in keeping with the 37 states and District of Columbia, which currently require that patients be informed about breast density," said Dr. Laurie Margolies, section chief of breast imaging at Mount Sinai Health System, in New York City.

"Mammography has been proven to save lives," Margolies added. "Supplemental screening finds additional cancers in women with negative mammograms. Hopefully, the FDA regulations will mandate [insurance company] payment for supplemental screening so those women who want the extra screening can avail themselves of it."

Another breast cancer expert welcomed the proposed rules.

"Mammography is regulated by the federal government as it should be, and the fact that new guidelines and standards are being asked for is a very good thing in my opinion. It is probably overdue," said Dr. Alice Police, Westchester regional director of breast surgery at Northwell Health Cancer Institute, in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

"Improvements in technology have made mammography better, and no patient should be stuck with inferior equipment or techniques," Police said.

The new rules mark the first time in more than 20 years that the FDA has proposed changes to key regulations for mammography facilities.

Another proposed rule meant to provide more information to health care providers would add three additional categories for the assessments of mammograms, including one called "known biopsy proven malignancy," which would alert health care providers about cases where cancer being evaluated by mammogram for treatment is already known and identified.

Under the proposed changes, patients and health care providers would also be given more detailed information about the mammography facility they use, the FDA said.

Proposed changes meant to update mammography quality standards and better enable the FDA to enforce regulations and take action against violators include giving the agency the power to "directly notify patients and their health care professionals, should facilities be unwilling or unable to do so, that mammography at a facility did not meet quality standards and that reevaluation or repeat of the mammogram at another certified facility may be needed."

The proposed changes are available online at for public comment for 90 days after publication.

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in American women and the second leading cause of death. About 12.4 percent of women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute. It said that in 2018, more than 260,000 women in the U.S. were diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,920 women died of the disease.

Move More, Live Longer

Published: March 26, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- If you're a couch potato, get moving. Your life could depend on it.

Researchers say replacing 30 minutes a day of sitting with physical activity could cut your risk of premature death by nearly half.

They examined 14 years of data on inactivity and activity with more than 92,500 people in an American Cancer Society study.

Among those participants who were least active (less than 17 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity), replacing 30 minutes of sitting with light activity was associated with a 14 percent reduced risk of premature death.

And the least active people who replaced their sitting with a half-hour a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity had a 45 percent reduced risk of early death, the study found.

There were similar, but smaller benefits, among participants who were already moderately active.

Those more active people who replaced 30 minutes of sitting with light physical activity had a 6 percent reduced risk of premature death, while those who logged a half-hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity lowered their risk by 17 percent.

For those considered the most active -- people who already get in more than 38 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous activity -- sitting less and moving more were not associated with a reduced risk of early death.

"These findings suggest that the replacement of modest amounts of sitting time with even light physical activity may have the potential to reduce the risk of premature death among less active adults," study author Erika Rees-Punia and colleagues said in an American Cancer Society news release. Rees-Punia is a postdoctoral fellow at the organization.

The study noted that regular moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and certain cancers. And more amounts of sedentary time is associated with a higher risk of disease and death.

Participants with high amounts of moderate/vigorous physical activity were leaner, more educated and less likely to be smokers. For all participants, sitting time largely included watching TV (39 percent) and reading (20 percent).

The study has several limitations, researchers noted. It relied on self-reported physical activity and sitting time, and it lacked information about activities of daily living such as cleaning, self-care and cooking that are common among older adults. In addition, participants were predominately white and educated, and may not represent the general U.S. population.

More Reasons to Follow the Mediterranean Diet

Published: March 25, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- More and more research supports the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, the way of eating followed by people who live in countries around the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece and Italy.

Various studies have indicated that it may help ward off Alzheimer's disease and other changes related to thinking and memory. It may also reduce your odds of getting type 2 diabetes. And eating this way when you're younger can increase your chances of living past 70 without a chronic illness.

While some studies have cast doubt on its seemingly infinite health benefits, more definitive evidence of its value was announced in December 2018 in a study done at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Researchers found that among women who most closely followed the diet, heart disease was cut by more than 25 percent.

It's also important not to lose sight of the big picture: Because it's a diet that relies on fresh food rather than packaged or processed choices, it can be a healthful way for everyone to follow general nutrition guidelines for wellness.

One aspect that people like about the Mediterranean diet is its flexibility -- it's more of a style of eating than a strict regimen. That means that, within the parameters of what's acceptable, you have many choices and can build your own daily menus.

Spice beats chemo: Study reveals turmeric is more effective at killing cancer cells than chemo or radiation

Published: March 22, 2019


(Natural News) The mere mention of cancer strikes fear in the hearts of many people, and rightfully so. Having certain types of cancer often means you’ll be facing years of brutal treatments – if you’re lucky enough to live that long. Although it’s hard to imagine the disease could one day be considered non-threatening the way that many of the illnesses that used to kill people hundreds of years ago are viewed now, scientific breakthroughs like a recent study exploring turmeric’s effects on cancer cells are starting to give patients some hope.

This ancient Indian spice has been the subject of many studies in recent years as it continues to demonstrate its strength when it comes to fighting and preventing a host of diseases. Its inflammation-fighting properties are already well documented, and now a study published in Anticancer Research provides a comprehensive view of how the primary polyphenol in turmeric extract can selectivity kill cancer stem cells safely in ways that put radiation and chemotherapy to shame.

Many natural cures are valued for their simplicity, but turmeric is surprisingly complex in the way it fights cancer. It uses multiple molecular mechanisms to attack cancer stem cells, which are responsible for producing the cells in tumors. These stem cells resist chemotherapy and radiation, and surgery can sometimes even cause them to spread, which is why they’re often behind conventional treatment failures and tumor recurrence.

One aspect of curcumin’s intelligent approach is its ability to downregulate interleukin-6. The over-expression of this cytokine has been linked to inflammation progressing to cancer, and curcumin stops it from being released and stimulating cancer stem cells. It also directly and indirectly downregulates interleukin-1, which plays a vital role in the growth of cancer cells, and interleukin-8, which stimulates the regrowth of tumor-forming cancer stem cells.

Another way curcumin can fight cancer is by decreasing the binding of CXCR1 and CXCR2 and modulating pathways like the Wnt Signaling Pathway, the Notch Pathway, the FAK/AKT/FOXo3A Pathway, and the Hedgehog Pathways. If those terms are unfamiliar to you, you’re not alone – cancer is a complicated disease, but the bottom line is that curcumin targets deadly cancer stem cells in eight different and very powerful ways.

Curcumin leaves healthy cells alone

Curcumin is a very efficient cancer fighter, targeting the most dangerous cells of all, cancer stem cells, without touching normal cells. Contrast this with chemotherapy, which damages the DNA of quickly-replicating cells while they’re vulnerable during the mitosis stage of cell division. It does this without determining if the cells are cancerous or completely healthy.

This is essential because normal stem cells are needed to maintain good health. They differentiate into the cells needed to replace those cells that become damaged or sick, and killing them is one of the biggest problems of chemotherapy and radiation.

Scientists aren’t exactly sure why curcumin doesn’t have these negative effects on normal stem cells. One possible explanation is that malignant cells simply take in more curcumin than normal cells do. It’s also possible that curcumin encourages cancer stem cells to differentiate into more benign cells. Others theorize that it changes cells’ microenvironments in ways that benefit normal stem cells and harm cancer stem cells.

We might not yet know precisely how it works its magic, we do know that it can be very effective. Perhaps even more importantly, it’s very safe compared to the currently available cancer treatments. Curcumin has been safely used as a cooking spice in many cultures for hundreds of years, and it causes very few, if any, side effects in trials.

Scientists are still trying to determine the best ways to harness curcumin’s healing power as a cancer therapy and the amounts needed to safely make a difference, but in the meantime, you can enjoy some of the benefits on a smaller scale by adding this bright yellow spice to your cooking. Remember to use a bit of black pepper as well to boost its bioavailability, and stay on top of the latest curcumin research. It’s possible that cancer will eventually become a far less frightening prospect as researchers develop curcumin-based treatments for the disease.

Lifestyle interventions dramatically increase survival rates in cancer survivors

Published: March 20, 2019


(Natural News) Good news for breast cancer survivors: Lifestyle intervention can improve your life. A study presented at the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium revealed that participating in a lifestyle intervention program helps survivors of early-stage breast cancer to lose weight and experience higher rates of disease-free survival.

“Many breast cancer survivors would like to contribute actively to improving their prognosis, and guiding them on lifestyle factors that can help them control weight is one possible way to positively impact patient outcomes,” said Dr. Wolfgang Janni, the study’s lead author of the study and chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Ulm in Germany.

For the study, Janni and his team examined 2,292 women enrolled in the German SUCCESS C study. All participants had a body mass index (BMI) of 24 or higher. While a BMI of 24 is still considered within a healthy weight range, going any higher is already considered overweight. Earlier studies have reported that obesity and not having enough exercise are linked to higher risks of developing breast cancer and a greater risk of recurrence and reduced survival.

The participants either received telephone-based, personalized guidance focused on helping them attain moderate weight loss for two years or general recommendations for a healthy lifestyle. Those who received the telephone calls received advice on how to improve their diets, reduce their fat consumption, get more exercise, and other tips that were adjusted to their particular needs.

After two years of follow-up, those who received personalized lifestyle intervention tips lost an average of 2.2 pounds, while those in the control group gained about 2.1 pounds, on average. Only 1,477 participants completed the lifestyle intervention, and these participants experienced a 35 percent higher rate of disease-free survival compared to those who started the program but did not complete it. Moreover, those who received the telephone calls had a 50 percent higher chance of surviving disease-free compared to the control group. The results were similar even after the researchers compared other factors that could influence the outcomes.

From these findings, it can be concluded that lifestyle interventions might be effective in improving breast cancer prognosis if adherence is high.

Living well after cancer

Cancer survivors often have the fear of recurrence, which may also lead to stress, depression and anxiety, and loneliness. Here are some tips on how to live well after surviving cancer:

  • Reflect: Cancer survivors often find a new way of living, although this may take some time. Assess your life and ask yourself questions like what fulfills you, what is important to you, or what gives your life meaning. Try to keep a journal and write down how you are feeling.
  • Take care of yourself: Focus on keeping yourself healthy by eating a healthy diet and exercising, but remember not to push yourself too much. These will help your body recover and put your mind at ease.
  • Relax: Avoid stressing yourself too much. Do something that relaxes you. It may be reading, listening to music, taking a bath, or practicing yoga.
  • Acknowledge your feelings and talk to someone about it: Do not keep your emotions to yourself. Instead, share your worries or concerns with people you trust.

Hormonal Therapy for Prostate Cancer Might Raise Depression Risk

Published: March 19, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Hormonal treatment can help control prostate cancer but may increase a man's risk of depression, a new study by Danish researchers suggests.

Male hormones, such as testosterone, are known to fuel the growth of prostate tumors. So doctors use drugs to reduce hormone production. But that can bring on tough side effects, such as incontinence or impotence.

The new study found that men on hormone-reducing therapy after having their prostate removed were 80 percent more likely to develop depression than other prostate cancer patients.

"Continuous awareness about signs of depression in prostate cancer patients, even many years after diagnosis -- and in particular, in case of treatment with androgen-deprivation therapy -- is warranted," said lead researcher Dr. Anne Sofie Friberg, of Copenhagen University Hospital.

Many men with cancer become depressed, but it's especially true for those with prostate cancer because treatment often affects their sexual functioning.

This study can't prove that hormonal treatment alone is a cause of depression, but it likely plays a part, Friberg said.

"Our results indicate that prostate cancer patients are vulnerable to depression," she said. "The association depends on many factors, and our results imply that treatment for recurrence contributes substantially to the risk."

For the study, Friberg's team collected data on nearly 5,600 men listed in the Danish Prostate Cancer Registry.

Just over 770 of them were treated for depression. The study found that men who were treated with hormone-reducing medicines had nearly twice the risk of depression, compared with other patients. The increased risk remained for all 18 years of follow-up, Friberg said.

The findings were strongest for men whose prostate was surgically removed. The results were inconclusive for men who had radiation therapy, the researchers said.

Men who have their prostate removed often suffer side effects such as erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence that increase their likelihood for depression. As many as one-quarter of these surgical patients will see their cancer return and may then undergo hormone-reducing treatment.

The treatment blocks testosterone, can alter libido, cause hot flashes and affect mood, all of which add to depression risk, the study authors said.

The study findings were presented Monday at a meeting of the European Association of Urology, in Barcelona, Spain. Research presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Dr. Anthony D'Amico, a professor of radiation oncology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, called the study conclusions into question. He noted that many men on hormone-reducing therapy are prescribed the antidepressant Effexor (venlafaxine) to control resulting hot flashes.

"This study is not definitive, because the number one treatment for hot flashes is antidepressant medication," D'Amico said.

The prostate patients most likely to develop depression are those with a history of depression, he added.

Although the study may overstate the effect of hormone-reducing treatment on depression, D'Amico said doctors should be aware that their patients are at risk and may need treatment for it.

Women, are you getting enough dietary fiber? Diets rich in vegetables and legumes decrease your risk of ovarian cancer

Published: March 18, 2019


(Natural News) The food you eat can either keep you healthy or make you sick. Some can cause cancer, such as processed and junk foods, while others help prevent it. In a recent literature review, it was found that eating foods rich in fiber may help ward off ovarian cancer.

Existing evidence on the link between dietary fiber consumption and risk of ovarian canceris inconsistent. So, researchers from Qingdao University in China carried out a meta-analysis on the available scientific literature on the link between dietary fiber intake and ovarian cancer risk. They hypothesized that adding foods rich in fiber to the diet might be linked to a reduced risk of ovarian cancer. To test this hypothesis, they collected 19 existing studies that explore the association. The studies included 567, 742 participants.

Based on the data that were gathered, researchers found that there was an association between dietary fiber consumption and risk of ovarian cancer. In addition, they discovered that for every 5-gram (g) increase in dietary fiber intake each day, the risk of ovarian cancer was reduced by three percent. These results, which were published in the journal Nutrition Research, indicate that consumption of fiber-rich foods is associated with a lower risk of ovarian cancer.

From these findings, the researchers suggest women to eat more foods rich in fiber to help cut their risk of ovarian cancer.

Dietary fiber intake also cuts the risk of breast cancer

Eating fiber-rich foods can also help protect against breast cancer. A systematic review published in the journal Oncotarget suggests that consuming foods rich in fiber is significantly associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal women.

A different team of Chinese researchers conducted a systematic review to assess the effectiveness of dietary fiber intake in reducing the risk of breast cancer because existing evidence from randomized controlled trials on this association is inconsistent. To conduct the review, they obtained a total of 24 studies on dietary fiber intake and breast cancer risk.

Researchers found that there was a 12 percent decline in breast cancer risk with dietary fiber consumption. In addition, they found that for every 10-g per day increase in dietary fiber consumption, the risk of breast cancer was slashed by four percent. From these findings, the researchers conclude that eating foods rich in fiber may play a role in the prevention of breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal women.

Tips on how to get more fiber in your diet

You can incorporate fiber in your diet by following these tips:

  • Eat fruits and vegetables daily: Experts recommend eating at least two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables every day. You can do this by adding fruits, vegetables, or both to every meal as a snack, side dish, or an ingredient to your dish. Also, when eating fruits and vegetables, do not remove their edible skin when possible because it is where most of their fiber content comes from.
  • Eat pulses: Pulses, such as beans, lentils, and peas, are loaded with fiber and are cheap. Experts recommend eating these foods at least thrice a week. You can use them as a substitute to meat protein, or as the starch side in place of grains.
  • Snack on nuts and seeds: Instead of snacking on unhealthy chips and other junks, snack on nuts and seeds as they are rich in fiber. You can also add them to your yogurt, oatmeal, salads, and stir-fries.
  • Replace refined grains with whole grains: For rice, eat whole grains like brown rice, wild rice, or bulgar, instead of refined grains like white rice. For pasta, choose those made from quinoa or pulses like chickpeas and lentils.

Genomics Could Improve Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer

Published: March 14, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- It's one of the toughest cancers to beat. But new research suggests that identifying the genetics of pancreatic cancer in individual patients could boost survival for some.

The five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer patients is less than 9 percent. One reason this cancer is so deadly is that many patients are diagnosed at a late stage and often with inoperable tumors.

In some cases, existing chemotherapy drugs might be able to shrink pancreatic tumors if the disease is diagnosed early enough.

In this study, University of Pittsburgh researchers analyzed the genomes of nearly 3,600 pancreatic tumor samples from around the world. In 17 percent, genetics suggested the tumor would respond to existing chemotherapy drugs.

The team also found evidence of hereditary genes -- including some in the BRCA family associated with breast cancer -- that can increase an entire family's risk of pancreatic cancer.

"People have been looking for such markers for a long time, and our study shows that it's possible to break pancreatic cancer patients into different treatment buckets," senior author Dr. Nathan Bahary, an associate professor of medicine, said in a university news release.

Lead author Dr. Aatur Singhi, an assistant professor of pathology, noted that every pancreatic cancer is different. Developing a molecular profile of each patient's tumor could help determine the best treatments, he said.

"Rather than blindly giving patients the same chemotherapy, we want to tailor a patient's chemo to their tumor type. A one-size-fits-all approach isn't going to work. Therefore, we would like to make molecular profiling standard of care for patients with pancreatic cancer," Singhi said in the news release.

The study was recently published online in the journal Gastroenterology.

Singhi and colleagues previously developed a test to evaluate common pancreatic cysts and identify which might progress to cancer. These newly discovered biomarkers can be added to the test, which is already in use at several institutions.

Scientists Spot Clues to Predicting Breast Cancer's Return

Published: March 13, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Figuring out which breast cancer patients will live disease-free after treatment is a bit of a guessing game. But new research indicates breast cancer cells hold molecular clues that may allow doctors to predict who is at high risk of having a recurrence up to 20 years later.

It has long been known that women who are successfully treated for breast cancer can still face a substantial risk of a recurrence years later. But there's no way to zero in on which women are at high risk, and which are unlikely to see the cancer come back.

Right now, doctors can look at certain factors to get a handle on a woman's recurrence risk, said Christina Curtis, one of the senior researchers on the new study.

Women with breast cancer that is ER-positive, for example, have higher odds of a recurrence years after being treated. (That means the cancer's growth is fueled by estrogen.) The same is true of cancer that has spread to multiple lymph nodes by the time it's diagnosed.

But those details don't tell the whole story, said Curtis, an assistant professor of medicine and genetics at Stanford University.

"Unfortunately, [current methods] are not as precise as we'd like them to be," she said. "There's a huge unmet need."

So for their study, Curtis and her colleagues looked to the medical histories of more than 3,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer as far back as 1977. For almost 2,000 of those patients, the researchers were able to dig into the molecular details of their cancer -- including the level of activity in certain cancer-linked genes, and the presence of particular genetic mutations.

When the investigators pulled that information together, they saw that certain subgroups of women faced a high risk of recurrence over the long term.

That included one-quarter of women whose original cancer was ER-positive but negative for the protein HER2 -- a common scenario in breast cancer.

For that one-quarter, the odds of a recurrence over the next 20 years ranged between 42 percent and 55 percent, the findings showed.

Similarly, a portion of women with "triple-negative" breast cancer remained at high risk of recurrence over 20 years. Triple-negative cancer has no receptors for estrogen, HER2 or the hormone progesterone -- and most recurrences happen within the first five years.

Dr. Harold Burstein is a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. He said the new findings could "open a door" toward better-tailoring patients' treatment.

"This study points the way toward understanding, with far more detail, what patients can expect as far as their risk of recurrence," said Burstein, who was not involved in the study.

He cautioned, however, that this is not something patients can ask their doctors about tomorrow. More research is needed before the findings can be translated into a test for use in everyday practice, Burstein said.

The hope, Curtis said, is that when patients are diagnosed with breast cancer, doctors will be able to analyze their tumor for molecular red flags -- and then "stratify them upfront."

If a woman has a cancer that's likely to come back down the road, that might change her treatment.

Burstein pointed to an example: Hormone therapy, with drugs that block estrogen's effects, is a standard treatment for ER-positive cancer. But, he said, there's "controversy" over how long that treatment should last.

If doctors could better predict which patients had a high recurrence risk, those women might want to continue hormone therapy past the standard five years.

At this point, though, it's not known whether such a treatment tactic would change the long-term outlook for those patients, said Dr. George Plitas, a breast cancer surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

"How would this be incorporated into clinical practice? It's unclear right now," Plitas said.

That said, he pointed to another contribution of the new findings. They give insight into the biology that helps determine whether a woman will have a recurrence years later. And that could help researchers develop new treatment approaches for those patients.

"This identifies potential molecular pathways for intervention," said Plitas, who played no role in the research.

"I tell my patients that we live in amazing times," he noted. "And this study highlights the fact that [treatment] is going to keep getting better."

Cancer patients found to benefit from cannabis; scientific study analyzed outcomes of 2,970 cancer patients to confirm results

Published: March 10, 2019


(Natural News) There are now at least 34 countries, and the same number of states in the U.S., where the use of cannabis or cannabis-derived products is approved for treating symptoms of various diseases. Europe leads the way with 28 countries. The U.S.A., on the other hand, has yet to approve it at the federal level. It may have no other choice but to approve it if more and more studies come out that show cannabis benefiting patients suffering from various diseases.

Cancer is a leading cause of death in Israel. Thus, it is considered as a major health problem in that country. In treating cancer, palliative care plays an important part of the treatment regimen. It focuses on alleviating pain, nausea, insomnia and anxiety experienced by patients in the advanced stages of this disease. Since 2007, the Israeli Ministry of Health has approved the use of medical cannabis for the palliative treatment of cancer symptoms.

Israeli scientists published a study in 2018 where they analyzed the data routinely collected as part of the treatment program of 2970 cancer patients treated with medical cannabis between 2015 and 2017. They sorted out which types of cancer the patients had, what main symptoms that required therapy were and how severe the pain was for the patients. Then they evaluated the safety and efficacy of this therapy.

Majority of the patients were aged between 43.2 and 75.8 years old, with the average being 59.5 years old. Slightly half (54.6 percent) of them were women, and 26.7 percent of all the patients reported previous experience with cannabis.

A significant majority (51.2 percent) of the patients were already at stage-4 cancer based on the TNM staging system used to describe how much cancer has progressed in a patient’s body.

The most frequent type of cancer the researchers encountered in the study was breast cancer, which was reported in 20.7 percent of the patients. It was followed by lung cancer at 13.6 percent, pancreatic cancer at 8.1 percent and colorectal cancer at 7.9 percent. Diverse types of cancer were reported for the rest.

Next, the researchers looked at the main symptoms of cancer for which medical cannabis was prescribed. Patients complained most of having sleep problems (78.4 percent). It was followed closely by pain (77.7 percent), then by weakness (72.7 percent). Nausea was experienced by 64.6 percent of the patients, while 48.9 percent of them complained of a lack of appetite. Those who complained of pain were already suffering terribly since the median for this cohort was already 8/10 on the pain scale. This means that the patients were experiencing from severe to the worst pain possible.

Nine hundred and two patients (24.9 percent) died and 682 (18.8 percent) stopped the cannabis treatment after six months of follow-up. Out of the 1,386 patients remaining, 1,211 responded to the study.

Almost 96 percent of the participants reported an improvement in their condition; 45 patients (3.7 percent) reported no change and four patients (0.3 percent) reported deterioration in their medical condition.

The scientists concluded that cannabis seems to be an effective, safe and well-tolerated option in the palliative care of cancer patients suffering from the symptoms, especially pain, brought about by the disease.

The highly positive effects of medical cannabis on cancer symptoms are encouraging other scientists to use it directly on cancer cells. A recent study suggests that purified extracts from whole-plant marijuana can slow the growth of cancer cells from one of the most serious types of brain tumors.

More studies like these open the door to the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of the symptoms of other diseases, like inflammation and seizures, as well as other diseases, such as addiction to prescription opioids. Hopefully, these studies also open the minds of people in government to the beneficial use of cannabis.

4 in 10 cancer cases can be prevented with these lifestyle changes

Published: March 07, 2019


(Natural News) A study conducted by scientists from Cancer Research U.K. (CRUK) showed that positive lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or maintaining a healthy weight, can significantly lower your cancer risk. The study findings were published in the British Journal of Cancer.

Make healthier choices to lower your cancer risk

In the landmark study by CRUK, researchers analyzed factors in peoples’ lives that cause cancer. They then calculated how many cases in the U.K. were associated with each of these risk factors.

For this study, researchers used all the latest available data and evidence to provide more accurate estimates and update current data.

The results of the study showed that over 135,000 cases of cancer (or four in 10 cases) could be prevented in the U.K. annually by making lifestyle changes. These cancer risk factors have already been confirmed, but the study results highlight the importance of how your daily habits can add up and affect your well-being.

Dr. Katrina Brown, who led the analysis at CRUK, explained that the research team collated data from national surveys that showed how common each risk factor is in the population. The researchers also used data from the U.K. cancer registries showing how many cases of each cancer type there are. They then searched published research for data on how much each risk factor increases cancer risk using only “gold standard epidemiology research.”

Smoking- and obesity-related cancer cases

To illustrate, these studies compared the number of cancers in individuals who smoke to the number of cancers in non-smokers to get a relative risk of cancer in smokers. Using this information, together with data on how common smoking is in the U.K. and how many cases of smoking-related cancer types exist, the CRUK researchers estimated how many of those cancer cases were due to smoking.

The researchers did this for all the modifiable risk factors. The results showed that in total, over 135,000 cases of cancer could be prevented through lifestyle changes like:

  • Enjoying the sun safely.
  • Following a healthy diet and limiting your consumption of red meat and saturated fat.
  • Limiting alcohol intake.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly.
  • Quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke.

The study findings confirmed that smoking is the biggest cause of cancer. Based on the new calculations, it’s responsible for a whopping 54,300 cases of cancer every year in the U.K.

The new data likewise revealed that being overweight or obese increases the risk of about 13 different types of cancer. The findings suggest that obesity causes at least 22,800 cases of cancer in the U.K. annually, making it the second biggest cause of cancer in the U.K. after smoking. Unfortunately, only 15 percent of individuals are aware of the link between obesity and cancer. National campaigns can help educate the public about this dangerous link.

What can American readers learn from this U.K.-based study? Your main takeaways should be: While prevention doesn’t guarantee that you will never develop cancer, making positive lifestyle changes can still significantly lower cancer risk.

Researchers: Hair dyes have a direct connection to breast cancer

Published: March 06, 2019


(Natural News) Though dying their locks might seem like an absolute necessity for many women as they get older and the gray starts setting in, new research from Finland should give women everywhere pause, as it indicates that this apparently harmless beauty ritual could be linked to an elevated risk of breast cancer.

For her doctoral dissertation, researcher Sanna Heikkinen of the University of Helsinkiand the Finnish Cancer Registry, examined self-reported information from 8,000 Finnish women with breast cancer and a further 20,000 controls. Heikkinen observed a 23 percent increase in breast cancer risk for those who dyed their hair on a regular basis.

Earlier research similarly found that women who regularly dye their hair are at increased risk of other cancers, including brain cancer, bladder cancer and leukemia. British scientists have also issued warnings in the past about the dangers of both home hair dye kits and professional dyes applied at hair salons.

One possible explanation for the elevated risk is that certain chemicals in the hair dye react with other pollutants in the air to form tumors when used on a continuous basis.

A landmark study back in 2000, by researchers from the University of Southern California, and published in the International Journal of Cancer, found that women who dye their hair on a monthly basis double their risk of getting bladder cancer. They also found that the risk continues to increase with prolonged use, and that hairdressers who work with hair dyes professionally face an even higher risk.

These shock findings prompted an immediate review by The European Commission, the body responsible for drafting legislation for the European Union. The results of that review led to the Commission withdrawing support for hair coloring products in Europe. The Commission stated at the time that there was insufficient evidence proving the safety of hair dyes. While recognizing that a robust study confirming their safety would take years, they felt it was imperative to protect consumers in the interim by advising against the use of these products. They particularly expressed concern about the long-term effects of a chemical called para-Phenylenediamine, or PPD, which is commonly used in hair dyes.

The CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) warns of the dangers of para-Phenylenediamine and notes, “Repeated or prolonged contact may cause skin sensitization. Repeated or prolonged inhalation exposure may cause asthma. The substance may have effects on the kidneys , [sic] resulting in kidney impairment.”

The European Commission’s recommendations raised concerns for many women at the time. As many as one-third of women in the United States routinely color their hair.

Several other health concerns are also linked to the use of hair dyes, including asthma and severe allergic reactions.

DIY hair dyes

Nonetheless, the reality is that very few of us have the courage to face getting older without helping nature along a little by covering the gray in our hair. Fortunately, there are several natural dyes available on the market, or if you want to be absolutely safe and create your own hair color at home, here are a few suggestions:

If your naturally blonde hair needs a color boost, try making a chamomile tea infusion as follows: Place eight chamomile teabags in a pot of water that has just been boiled, but has been removed from the heat. Allow the tea to steep for 30 minutes, then add a cup of yogurt and a few drops of lavender oil to the brew. Massage the mixture onto clean hair, leave it in for 30 minutes, then gently wash it out and allow your hair to dry naturally.

To restore the color to darker tresses, brew a pot of clean, organic coffee, using a dark, unflavored roast. Once the coffee has cooled, poured it into a basin, and working over the sink, work the mixture through all your hair. Leave it in your hair for 15 minutes, then rinse it off in the shower. You should be aware that some lighter hair may turn reddish rather than dark brown.

For those looking to restore their natural red, look no further than red hibiscus tea. Steep five of these tea bags in boiled water for 30 minutes. When the tea is cool enough, saturate all your hair with it. Leave it on for about an hour, then rinse and wash as normal.

Exercise Might Slow Colon Cancer's Advance

Published: March 05, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Exercise has countless benefits, even in small doses. And new research suggests the payoffs might extend to colon cancer patients.

Short sessions of intense exercise may slow the growth of colon cancer, Australian researchers report.

"We have shown that exercise may play a role in inhibiting the growth of colon cancer cells," said lead author James Devin, from the University of Queensland.

The report was published Feb. 27 in the Journal of Physiology.

"After an acute bout of high intensity exercise, there were specific increases in inflammation immediately after exercise, which are hypothesized to be involved in reducing the number of cancer cells," Devin said in a journal news release.

Devin and his colleagues at the University of Queensland worked with researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

The team took blood samples from 10 colon cancer survivors who had one session of intense exercise, and 10 survivors who had 12 exercise sessions over four weeks.

Analyzing the samples for the growth of cancer cells, the researchers found that even one session of high intensity exercise appeared to reduce the growth of colon cancer cells. These short exercise bouts are as important as longer regular exercise, they said.

The findings also suggest that continued exercise may aid in the "fight against cancer." Moreover, they highlight the importance of regular exercise and leading a physically active life, Devin and his team added.

However, the study can't prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Also, the researchers noted that their method of studying cancer cell growth in the laboratory may not apply to tumors growing in the human body. They said further research is needed.

Homes are laden with chemicals that are increasing your risk of CANCER

Published: March 03, 2019


(Natural News) Despite assurances of safety from both industry leaders and government entities, a staggering number of products contain hazardous chemicals that are toxic to humans. Whether it’s BPA-ridden canned goods, toxic personal care products, or harmful cleaning chemicals, there is no shortage of toxins in the average home.

And worst of all, most of these toxins go unnoticed; we casually invite these hazards into our homes, never taking notice of the harm they cause. Toxins can even be hiding in your furniture, children’s toys and the pans you cook your food with. Whether in the form of building materials or consumer products, we are  basically surrounded.

Fortunately, you can still take steps to eliminate the presence of toxins in your home and reduce exposure.

Toxins hiding in the home

Children’s environmental health expert Dr. Leonardo Trasande, also a professor at NYU, tells Business Insider that there are a few types of chemicals commonly found in homes to be concerned about.

“There is increasing and accelerating evidence that synthetic chemicals commonly found in the home contribute to disease and disability,” Trasande says. Children are the most susceptible; in addition to the fact that they are still developing, children weigh less — which can make exposure to even small amounts more significant.

According to Trasande, there are four classes of chemicals to be mindful of.


Topping the list, of course, is pesticides. These can be found in an array of fruits, veggies and even grains. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) famously found traces of glyphosate — the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup — in a host of breakfast cereals and other goods. Glyphosate is the most commonly used pesticide in the U.S.

A number of pesticides have been linked to health issues. Glyphosate itself has been labeled a “probable carcinogen” by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. Atrazine, the second-most common pesticide, has been linked to birth defects and other adverse health effects.

Atrazine contaminates drinking water for an estimated 30 million Americans.

Recent research has also linked the entire class of organophosphate pesticides to IQ deficits in children.

Trasande recommends that parents avoid using pesticides in their yards, and suggests going organic when possible.


BPA is a toxic chemical used in plastics. It is found in water bottles, food packaging and containers, and is even found in the plastics used to line canned goods. BPA is an endocrine disruptor that’s associated with a bevy of health issues. Scientists have linked BPA to obesity, coronary artery disease, and reproductive problems.

The safety of BPA is widely contested by the scientific community, but BPA-free plastics may not be much better. Better options include glass, ceramic, stainless steel and other natural materials. Scaling back on canned food consumption, and avoiding microwaving plastic are other tips.


Pthalates are a type of plasticizer that are associated with a number of reproductive health issues, including infertility in men and endometriosis in women. The chemicals have also been linked to obesity, diabetes, ADHD  and cancer. As EWG notes, pthalates are known endocrine disruptors.

Though pthalates were banned from use in children’s toys by Congress in 2008, they remain a commonly used chemical and continue to pollute the environment and our bodies. Because of how prevalent they are, pthalates are hard to avoid. Looking for “pthalate-free” products is a good start. Products packed in “recycling-code-3” plastic or ingredient lists that contain the word “fragrance” can be indicators that pthalates are present, also.

Flame Retardants

Flame retardants are added to a variety of products to make them less flammable; furniture, electronics, building materials and even carpets can be laced with these toxins. Flame retardants can linger in soil, air, and water — and are also found in household dust. These chemicals have been linked to cancer, IQ deficits and a number of other adverse effects.

Trasande suggests that parents look out for children’s toys and mattresses that contain polyurethane foam. Regular dusting and mopping can help reduce exposure to flame retardants in dust, also.

Lifestyle Changes Can Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk

Published: March 01, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- While genetics, such as carrying BRCA gene mutations, play a role in who is more likely to get breast cancer, everyday lifestyle factors are involved, too.

Research published in JAMA Oncology used data from thousands of women to identify which lifestyle factors in particular could affect a woman's risk for breast cancer.

The study found that three specific steps could potentially prevent up to 29 percent of all breast cancers: Avoid alcohol and, after menopause, avoid both obesity and estrogen-progestin replacement hormone therapy.

The researchers noted that these recommendations could be most helpful for women at a high risk of breast cancer because of factors they can't change, like genetics and their age at menstruation and menopause. In fact, for them, having a low body mass index, not drinking alcohol, not smoking and not taking hormone therapy could lower breast cancer risk to that of the average woman.

The research has some limitations, however. For instance, the study only looked at data from white women in the United States, not other ethnic groups. But these are lifestyle changes that can boost overall health for all women.

For more global advice, the American Institute for Cancer Research states that excess body fat is one of the strongest factors linked to a greater risk of breast cancer after menopause. So is abdominal fat, regardless of your body mass index (a measure of body fat based on height and weight).

The organization also warns that drinking alcohol can increase breast cancer risk before menopause and touts the positive effects of daily exercise and, for new moms, of breastfeeding.

Fiber doesn’t just do wonders for your gut: It also can also keep breast cancer at bay

Published: February 28, 2019


(Natural News) Fiber is an important part of a person’s diet. It is known for its beneficial effects on the gut, heart, and metabolism. However, few people know that this nutrient also helps prevent breast cancer.

There two kinds of fiber in food, soluble and insoluble. The former is commonly found in vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, lentils, and peas. It easily dissolves in the presence of water and once in the gut, soluble fiber slows down digestion. Meanwhile, insoluble fiber, also known as roughage, is found in whole grains, wheat bran, parsnips, and spinach. This gut is unable to digest this kind of fiber so it just passes through the digestive system. On its way out, insoluble fiber brushes the insides of the colon. This helps eliminate harmful substances so that they don’t accumulate in the body.

The protective effects of fiber against breast cancer

There is a growing body of evidence regarding fiber’s role in the prevention of breast cancer. Some studies attribute this effect to the ability of insoluble fibers to regulate glucose metabolism and insulin levels. Experts claim that insulin resistance and high blood pressure increase the risk of breast cancer by up to 300 percent. This means that by eating adequate amounts of fiber, you can significantly reduce this risk.

Both insoluble and soluble fiber also have the ability to regulate hormones. This is especially beneficial against estrogen-positive breast cancer since women with this health problem can have estrogen levels that are up to one million times higher than normal.

When estrogen is broken down, the excess is sent to the colon so that it can be flushed out of the body. However, inadequate levels of insoluble fiber inhibit the large intestine from moving things along. So, instead of leaving the body, estrogen is recirculated. This can cause an estrogen overload. If a person has enough insoluble fiber in their body, this problem will not occur and estrogen can be eliminated properly.

Soluble fiber is also beneficial for the prevention of estrogen-positive breast cancer. This is because of its part in hormonal distribution as well as its interactions with the immune system. The gut, which contains 80 percent of the immune system, ferments soluble fiber from different plant-based foods. This process produces byproducts that nourish immune cells, effectively reducing inflammation that contributes to the growth of cancer cells.

Overall, scientific evidence suggest that fiber prevents breast cancer by boosting the immune system, regulating hormones, and keeping the gut healthy.

Dietary tips for preventing cancer

Diet is a major factor in the prevention of all kinds of cancer. Here are some other things that you should keep in mind when building your cancer-prevention diet.

  • Avoid sugar and refined carbs — It’s best to limit your intake of soft drinks, white bread, pizza, and sweetened cereals since they are rich in refined carbs. Intake of these foods cause rapid spikes in blood sugar, which consequently increase the risk of serious health problems, like colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, and obesity.
  • Cut down on processed and red meat — Many people love eating bacon, sausages, and hotdogs. Unfortunately, these kinds of meat contain high amounts of nitrate preservatives and other harmful chemicals associated with cancer.
  • Limit intake of grilled and fried foods — It’s nice to have a cookout every once in a while. But, make sure that not to burn the food that you’re grilling since this can create carcinogenic substances. You should also avoid frying your foods since this can turn oils and fats into carcinogenic substances.

Almost Half of Global Cases of Childhood Cancer Go Undiagnosed

Published: February 26, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- The actual number of childhood cancer cases worldwide is nearly double the recorded number, a chilling new study finds.

"Our model suggests that nearly one in two children with cancer are never diagnosed and may die untreated," said study author Zachary Ward. He is a researcher at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

The study, published Feb. 26 in The Lancet Oncology, found records of 224,000 childhood cancer diagnoses worldwide in 2015. Researchers estimated the actual number at 397,000.

Previous estimates have been based on data from cancer registries, but 60 percent of countries have no registry and those that do may cover only a small percentage of the population, the researchers explained.

The new study makes predictions for childhood cancers in 200 countries. It estimates that undiagnosed cases could represent more than half the total in Africa, South Central Asia and the Pacific Islands.

In North America and Europe, only 3 percent of childhood cancer cases are undiagnosed, the study authors said.

If no improvements are made, about 2.9 million of 6.7 million new childhood cancer cases worldwide will go undiagnosed between 2015 and 2030, according to the report.

Accurate estimates are essential for setting health care priorities, and planning for effective diagnosis and treatment of all kids with cancer, Ward said in a journal news release.

"While underdiagnosis has been acknowledged as a problem, this model provides specific estimates that have been lacking," he added.

In most regions, the number of new childhood cancer cases is declining or stable. But 92 percent of all new cases occur in low- and middle-income countries, more than previously thought, the researchers said.

According to study senior author Rifat Atun, "Health systems in low-income and middle-income countries are clearly failing to meet the needs of children with cancer." Atun is a professor of global health systems at Harvard.

"Universal health coverage, a target of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, must include cancer in children as a priority to prevent needless deaths," he added in the news release.

Don't Be Fooled: Thermography No Substitute for Mammograms, FDA Says

Published: February 25, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Women should not be misled into thinking that thermography is an effective alternative to mammography for breast cancer screening, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned.

Despite claims to the contrary, thermography should not be used in place of mammography for breast cancer screening, detection or diagnosis, the agency said Monday.

"There is no valid scientific data to demonstrate that thermography devices, when used on their own or with another diagnostic test, are an effective screening tool for any medical condition including the early detection of breast cancer or other diseases and health conditions," according to an FDA news release.

Thermography is a noninvasive test in which an infrared camera produces images that show patterns of heat and blood flow on or near the surface of the body. Thermography devices -- also called digital infrared imaging devices -- are approved by the FDA only for use with another screening or diagnostic test like mammography, not as a stand-alone diagnostic tool.

"Mammography [taking X-ray pictures of the breasts] is the most effective breast cancer screening method and the only method proven to increase the chance of survival through earlier detection," the FDA said.

But the agency said that health spas, homeopathic clinics, mobile health units and other health care facilities are using thermography on its own for breast cancer screening or diagnosis.

The FDA said it has "received reports that these types of facilities provide false information that can mislead patients into believing that thermography is an alternative or better option than mammography."

These inaccurate claims include statements that thermography can find breast cancer years before it would be detected through other methods, or that thermography improves detection of cancer in dense breasts, the agency noted.

Such claims are false or have no scientific evidence to support them, the FDA stressed.

If women fall for these falsehoods, the regulators fear they might not get mammograms to screen for breast cancer.

"People who choose thermography instead of mammograms may miss the chance to detect cancer at its earliest and most treatable stages," according to the report.

The agency said it's taking action to stop false advertising about thermography. Last week, it issued a warning letter to one company, Total Thermal Imaging, Inc., in La Mesa, Calif., for marketing and promoting thermography devices for uses that have not received marketing clearance or approval.

The FDA has also told five other facilities to stop making inappropriate claims about thermography devices.

High-Fat Diets Do No Favors for Your Gut Bacteria

Published: February 20, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Has a high-fat meal ever left you feeling bloated and sluggish? It turns out that a heavier fat diet may keep the many bacteria that live in your digestive system from doing their best, too.

New research found that when people boosted their fat intake to 40 percent of their daily diet for six months, the number of "good" gut bacteria decreased while "unhelpful" bacteria amounts increased.

"The [study] result showed that a high-fat diet is linked to unfavorable changes in the type and numbers of gut bacteria -- collectively known as the microbiome," said the study's senior author, Duo Li. He is chief professor of nutrition at the Institute of Nutrition and Health at Qingdao University in Qingdao, China.

In addition to changing the make-up of the microbiome, the study authors also noted an increase in inflammatory triggers in the body. These changes may contribute to the development of metabolic disorders, such as diabetes and heart disease, the researchers noted.

Nutritionist Samantha Heller, from NYU Langone Health in New York City, said bacteria living in the digestive system appear to have broad-ranging impacts on human health, and that they "eat what we eat."

"Research suggests that they thrive on plant fibers -- such as those found in fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains -- and that the typical Western diet, which is rich in fat, red and processed meats, cheese, sweets, refined grains and fast-fried junk foods, in a sense, poisons them," she explained.

In China, where the study was done, a traditional diet has been low in fat and high in carbohydrates. That, however, has been shifting to a diet higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates. At the same time, the rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes have also been rising, the study authors said.

To see if changes occur in the gut microbiome when people transition from a low-fat diet to a higher-fat diet, the researchers recruited about 200 young people, who weren't obese, for the study. Their average age was about 23 years old.

Li said their average fat intake before the start of the study was about 31 percent.

The study volunteers were randomly placed into one of three groups for six months. One group ate a diet comprised of 20 percent fat, another ate 30 percent of their daily calories from fat, while the third had a 40 percent fat diet.

The researchers altered carbohydrate intake -- things like rice and wheat flour -- to make up for the changes in fat intake. The amount of fiber and protein in the diets stayed essentially the same.

All three groups had weight loss, but the lowest-fat group lost the most weight and had the greatest reductions in waist circumference, total cholesterol and bad cholesterol. The low-fat diet group also had an increase in gut bacteria that have been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

Those on the higher-fat fare had an increase in a different type of gut bug -- one that's been linked to higher cholesterol levels. Their diet was also associated with "significant" changes in long chain fatty acid metabolism, producing higher levels of chemicals that are thought to trigger inflammation.

Li said the findings may be relevant in developed countries where fat intake is high, but that further research needs to be done to see if similar changes occur in different populations.

"We suggest that fat intake for a general healthy population should not be more than 30 percent of total energy -- at least in Asian populations," Li said, and added that most fat should come from healthy fats, such as soybean, peanut or olive oil.

Nutritionist Heller said it's important not to "interpret the findings of this study to suggest that dietary fat is unhealthy. We need to eat fats to be healthy, unsaturated fats in particular."

But, she added, you can have too much of a good thing. "Fad diets rich in animal fats -- such as 'Keto' or 'Paleo' -- over time, are likely to be deleterious to the gut microbiome and subsequently increase the risk of inflammation and chronic diseases," Heller said.

To keep your microbiome happy and healthy, Heller recommended eating more vegetables, legumes, fruits, grains and nuts, while avoiding processed meats, limiting red meat and cheese, and balancing your intake of fats, carbohydrates and protein.

Should You Get Tested for the 'Breast Cancer Genes'?

Published: February 19, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Women who have specific mutations in genes known as BRCA are at increased risk for breast and ovarian cancers. Now, an influential expert panel reaffirms that certain women should be screened for the genes.

The draft recommendation comes from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, whose advisories often guide physician practice and insurance coverage. The guidelines -- which restate a 2013 advisory -- encourage genetic testing only for women with either a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, or an ethnicity or ancestry associated with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.

Women who fall into these categories should receive genetic counseling to help them understand their risk and, if indicated, get genetic testing for BRCA, the recommendation says.

Women without a family history or ethnicity associated with these mutations should not be screened, counseled or tested, the task force says.

The BRCA genes first gained media attention when actor and director Angelina Jolie announced in 2013 that she had undergone a preventive double mastectomy after discovering that she carried one of the BRCA mutations. She later had her ovaries removed, as well. Jolie's mother died from ovarian cancer.

However, the USPSTF panel stressed that the gene tests are not advised for most women.

"BRCA testing is beneficial for the small number of women in the United States who are at increased risk for BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations," said task force member Dr. Carol Mangione. She is chief of general internal medicine at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine.

"The test results are complex and testing comes with some harms, so we recommend women who get tested meet with a licensed genetic counselor who can guide them through the process," Mangione said in a task force news release.

Only a few women have a personal or family history, ethnicity or ancestry associated with a risk for a BRCA mutation, according to the task force.

Current test results also do not definitively tell if a woman has harmful mutations that will lead to cancer. But for some women, testing and counseling will be a guide to their potential risk.

"Women should talk with their primary care clinician if they have questions about their risk for BRCA mutations," said Dr. Douglas Owens, vice chair of the task force, and a professor of medicine at Stanford University.

"This discussion can be part of a routine office visit and is the first step in determining if counseling and testing are needed," he said.

Scientists confirm link between eating organic food and a reduced cancer risk

Published: February 17, 2019


(Natural News) Organic foods have become increasingly popular over the last few years. However, there are still some people who aren’t convinced that they should shell out a few extra bucks on organic foods. If you’re one of those people, you might start rethinking your decisions now. A recent study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that people who eat more organic food have a lower cancer risk.

The researchers arrived at this finding by analyzing self-reported data from 68,946 adults in France. Participants accomplished questionnaires where they were asked to rate their frequency of eating commonly labeled organic foods from never, occasionally, to most of the time. Their food intake from 16 different categories was determined in the study. These included fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat and fish, eggs, grains, flour, and bread.

All of the participants were cancer-free at the beginning of the study, which was in 2009. However, by the follow-up, 1,340 of them had developed the disease. The most prevalent types were breast cancer (459), prostate cancer (180) skin cancer (135), colorectal cancer (99), and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (47). Upon analyzing their data, the researchers found that people who ate the most organic food experienced a 25 percent decrease in their overall cancer risk compared to people who ate the least. This was true even after they considered other factors that could affect cancer risk, including smoking, exercise, and socioeconomic status.

Cancer risk reduction was especially high for lymphoma, which was lower by 76 percent overall and 86 percent for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Postmenopausal breast cancer risk also had a significant reduction of 34 percent.

Pesticide exposure and cancer risk

The primary difference between conventional and organic foods is that the latter are less likely to have pesticide residues. This is because organic farmers have to adhere to a strict set of standards for their produce to be certified as organic. 

There is a growing body of evidence that pesticides pose many health risks. These include causing developmental problems in children and neurological diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Additionally, there have been legal cases against pesticide manufacturers claiming that their products caused cancer. By eating organic foods, you can reduce your exposure to these carcinogens.

Overall, the results of this study suggest that switching to organic foods can help reduce cancer risk.

More reasons to buy organic foods

If you’re still not convinced that you should make the switch, here are more reasons for you to start buying organic food.

  • Organic foods taste better — Since organic foods are given more time to mature, their mineral and sugar structures are of higher quality. This makes them taste better compared to conventional fruits and vegetables that were artificially induced to develop faster.
  • Organic foods contain more antioxidants — Unlike conventional foods, organic ones are free of foreign chemicals that react with vitamins, minerals, and other organic compounds. This results in higher antioxidant content, which can be attributed to many health benefits like preventing heart disease, vision problems, premature aging, and cognitive diseases.
  • Organic foods are good for the environment — Organic farming causes minimal interference with the environment. It doesn’t make use of harmful chemicals that can make their way into the water, air, and soil. This consequently reduces the incidence of health problems caused by pollution.
  • Organic foods are fresher — You can be sure that you’re consuming fresh foods when eating organic products. This is because organic foods are not allowed to contain chemical preservatives to prolong their shelf life.

Turmeric shows promise as a natural treatment for cancer

Published: February 15, 2019


(Natural News) A study by researchers from Guangdong Medical University and the University of Macau in China showed that turmeric has potent anticancer properties. This finding, which was published in the journal Chinese Medicine, was based on in vitro tests involving essential oil and the compound called furanodiene from turmeric.

  • Chemotherapy is a commonly used cancer treatment that’s known for its low efficacy and side effects, which include chemo-resistance.
  • It is possible to overcome chemo-resistance by targeting the adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, inducing cell apoptosis, inhibiting DNA repair, regulating metabolic reprogramming, or using combination therapy. However, this is still a major challenge for chemotherapy.
  • Natural products are great sources of bioactive compounds that can reverse chemo-resistance, enhance the efficacy of anticancer agents, and reduce the side effects of conventional therapies.
  • Turmeric has shown potential use in overcoming chemo-resistance. However, prior to this study, there were no reports of the anticancer effects of turmeric essential oil and furanodiene on chemo-resistant cancer cells through the regulation of ABC transporters.
  • In this study, the researchers observed the expression and function of ABC transporters of doxorubicin-resistant MCF-7 breast cancer cells. They then determined the effects of turmeric essential oil and furanodiene on ABC transporters and the viability of the cancer cells after treatment.
  • The results showed that turmeric essential oil and furanodiene effectively reduced the viability of doxorubicin-resistant breast cancer cells. However, neither of them were responsible for inhibiting ABC transporters.

From these results, the researchers concluded that turmeric has potential use as a natural remedy against cancer. This is because of its potent anticancer effects on the doxorubicin-resistant breast cancer cells.

New therapy for aggressive blood cancer discovered

Published: February 13, 2019


Researchers at the Vetmeduni Vienna and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research have identified a new therapeutic strategy for Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), the most common form of acute leukemia. They found that the activity of the mutated oncogenic protein C/EBPα is dependent on a functional epigenetic helper, the MLL1 histone methyltransferase complex. Laboratory tests clearly showed that functional perturbation of the MLL1 complex led to death of AML cells with C/EBPα mutations. Inhibitor treatment released the differentiation block of cancer cells and restored normal maturation of blood cells.

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common form of acute leukemia. It is characterized by an increase of malignant myeloid progenitor cells at the expense of mature blood cells. Only twenty-five percent of all AML patients survive five years beyond the initial diagnosis. Therefore there is an urgent need to deepen the knowledge about this form of blood cancer and to develop new therapeutic approaches.

A study carried out by researchers at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research, the Vetmeduni Vienna and the Medical University Vienna has now identified a possible approach for the treatment of AML patients, which carry a mutated, oncogenic isoform of the protein C/EBPα. According to the results published in Leukemia, the interaction of the mutated protein with an epigenetic regulator, the so-called MLL1 complex, represents a specific vulnerability of AML cells with CEBPA mutations. If the MLL1 complex was functionally inhibited, AML cells underwent cell death. Via targeted inhibition of MLL1, the cancer-associated block in normal blood cell maturation could potentially be released in affected AML patients.

Focusing on the malignant isoform of an important factor in blood development

The transcription factor CCAAT/enhancer binding protein alpha C/EBPα, is an important regulator of blood development, as it controls critical steps in the maturation of blood cells. However, in ten to fifteen percent of all AML patients, the CEBPA gene harbors mutations that prevent the formation of the correct protein isoform.

"In AML patients, most mutations occur in the N-terminal part of the CEBPA gene. This leads to the production of a shortened C/EBPα protein, the isoform p30, which is responsible for keeping cells in an immature state and can thus trigger leukemia," explains Luisa Schmidt, the first author of the study, whose work was funded by a fellowship from the Austrian Academy of Sciences (DOC).

The oncogenic protein variant C/EBPα p30, which is over-produced as a result of the mutation, makes use of epigenetic mechanisms to control gene expression in leukemia cells.

Oncogenic protein variant requires functional epigenetic regulator complex

It is known that epigenetic processes can control the expression of genes. It has also been shown that the C/EBPα p30 isoform uses these processes to regulate gene expression patterns of leukemia cells. This oncogenic variant binds to the promoters of certain genes and recruits chromatin-modifying complexes, including histone methyltransferases. One of these interaction partners is the MLL1 complex, which is required for transcriptional activation and has been shown to be critical for the maintenance of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells.

"Using a combination of biochemical, genetic and pharmacological approaches, we have now been able to show that the MLL1 histone methyltransferase complex is a critical vulnerability in AML with CEBPA mutations," says Schmidt. Global studies of protein-DNA interactions showed that the binding pattern of the C/EBPα p30 isoform strongly overlap with that of MLL1. This suggests an interaction and cooperation of these two factors, which was confirmed by additional biochemical experiments.

Targeting of the MLL1 complex function by CRISPR/Cas9-mediated mutagenesis of the MLL1 protein further demonstrated that the growth of AML cells with CEBPA mutations depends on the correct assembly and chromatin anchoring of the MLL1 complex. In accordance with these results, AML cells with CEBPA mutations were highly sensitive to pharmacological inhibition of the MLL1 complex by specific small-molecule inhibitors. MLL1 complex inhibition impaired proliferation and caused death of AML cells with CEBPA mutations. Further, treatment of CEBPA-mutated AML cells with MLL1 complex inhibitors reversed the differentiation block of cancer cells and restored normal maturation of blood cells.

Florian Grebien, head of the study at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research and at Vetmeduni Vienna, is optimistic, "The result that C/EBPα p30 requires a functional MLL1 complex to control oncogenic gene expression programs reveals a high sensitivity of CEBPA- mutated AML to the inhibition of the MLL1 complex function. These results broaden our understanding of CEBPA-mutated AML and identify the MLL1 complex as a potential therapeutic target for this disease."

PET imaging agent may allow early measurement of efficacy of breast cancer therapy

Published: February 11, 2019


Physicians may soon have a new way to measure the efficacy or failure of hormone therapy for breast cancer patients, according to new research published in the February issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. Researchers report that positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with 18F-fluorofuranylnorprogesterone (18F-FFNP) has been found to successfully measure changes in progesterone receptor (PR) levels resulting from a short-course estrogen treatment, also known as an estradiol challenge.

Estrogen-receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer is the most common class of breast cancer, affecting nearly 70 percent of patients. By participating in an estradiol challenge, physicians can determine the likelihood of potential benefit of hormonal therapies targeting ER for individual patients. Many hormone therapies interfere with the ability of estrogen to regulate the expression of PR protein, which is more pronounced in the presence of estrogen. As such, several PET tracers have been developed to monitor and analyze changes in the PR level during therapy. "Typically, anatomic size and proliferation biomarkers are analyzed to determine endocrine sensitivity," said Amy M. Fowler, MD, PhD, assistant professor, Section of Breast Imaging, Department of Radiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. "However, non-invasive detection of changes in PR expression with 18F-FFNP during an estradiol challenge may be an earlier indicator of the effectiveness of a specific hormone therapy."

In this study, T47D human breast cancer cells (cells with estrogen and progesterone receptors, but without human epidermal growth factor receptor-2) and mice bearing T47D tumor xenografts were treated with estrogen to increase PR expression. The cells and mice were imaged with 18F-FFNP, and assays were conducted for cell uptake and tissue biodistribution. To investigate the separate role of PR-A and PR-B isoforms on overall 18F-FFNP binding, triple-negative MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells were engineered to express either PR-A or PR-B. In vitro 18F-FFNP binding was measured by saturation and competitive binding assays, while in vivo uptake was measured with PET imaging.

In T47D cells treated with estrogen, an increase in 18F-FFNP uptake was measured at 48 hours after treatment; in mice with T47D tumor xenografts, increased uptake was seen at 48 and 72 hours after treatment. This increase in 18F-FFNP uptake also correlated with an increase in PR protein expression and proliferation. Results showed that there was no significant preferential 18F-FFNP binding or uptake by PR-A versus PR-B in PR isoform cell lines or tumor xenografts. "This is an important finding given the variability of PR isoform expression observed in breast cancer patients," stated Fowler.

She continued, "Validation of PR imaging as a biomarker of endocrine sensitivity in patients before and after estradiol challenge could provide new opportunities in the field of molecular imaging and nuclear medicine for breast cancer imaging. Improved methods for testing endocrine sensitivity in patients could better inform decisions for optimal individualized ER-positive breast cancer therapy, potentially reducing morbidity and mortality."

One Key Step Can Help Cancer Patients Quit Smoking

Published: February 08, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Cancer patients are already fighting a tough battle, so quitting smoking while doing so is a real challenge.

Now, research from Northwestern University in Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania shows that a combo of counseling and extended use of an anti-smoking medication can boost their odds for success.

One lung cancer patient understands how tough quitting smoking can be.

"When someone tells you that you have cancer, you get scared," said Chicago resident Billie Green, 70, a smoker for 50 years. She said the stress of her diagnosis made the prospect of quitting even tougher.

"Smoking used to be my best friend when I was upset, after I ate," she explained in a Northwestern news release.

"But I knew it didn't make any sense to keep smoking if I'm going in for treatment all the time," Green said.

But as the research team related, even though quitting smoking can boost the effectiveness of cancer treatment, nearly half of cancer patients keep smoking after their diagnosis.

Quitting smoking is possible, however, and medications like varenicline (Chantix) can help. But in their new study of 207 cancer patients, the researchers found that people were more likely to stop smoking and less likely to resume only if they had counseling and also took the anti-smoking medication varenicline for 24 weeks. It's usually prescribed for 12 weeks.

The higher success of quitting was true only for the 43 percent of patients who took varenicline as directed for the full 24 weeks, the investigators said. The 57 percent who didn't adhere to that schedule showed no better success than if they hadn't taken the medication at all.

Forty percent of the study participants had current cancer; the rest had had cancer in the past five years. The types of cancer included breast, skin and lung cancer.

"With the stress cancer patients are under, they tend to be at higher risk of relapsing for a longer period of time. So we thought providing treatment for longer would be more effective," said study senior author Brian Hitsman. He's an associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago.

All of the study participants had concurrent behavioral therapy. Though this therapy wasn't a focus of the research, Hitsman said that it needs to be studied more closely because it can be a powerful tool to help cancer patients quit smoking.

"You can imagine how someone going through a severe or significant disease and treatment process could benefit from the support we provided in this study," he said in a university news release.

For her part, Green said her daughter told her of Northwestern's quit-smoking study and asked her to enroll. Although Green hasn't quit smoking altogether, she now smokes just one cigarette every two days, versus the pack-a-day habit she had before.

According to Green, the effort to quit and the education she received in the study helped her better understand how smoking was harming her.

The study, published recently in the journal Psycho-Oncology, is only the second to examine the use of varenicline in cancer patients, and the first to examine its safety when used for 24 weeks alongside counseling.

Study first author Robert Schnoll added, "We hear from cancer patients and oncologists that varenicline may cause serious side effects or that managing the stress of the disease makes addressing tobacco use among patients inappropriate."

But this study shows that varenicline is effective for cancer patients, doesn't increase their risk, and benefits those who take it as prescribed, he said in the news release. Schnoll is associate director for population science at the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

"We need now to focus on how we can get more patients who smoke to use the medication and use it sufficiently if we are to see broader population-level gains," he added.

Benign Ovarian Cysts Should Be Left in Place, Study Suggests

Published: February 06, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- It's a common gynecological finding: A growth on an ovary, which turns out to be a benign cyst. Is surgical removal necessary?

Not always, according to data from a new study of more than 1,900 such cases in which outcomes were tracked for two years post-diagnosis.

The team behind the research now believes that most women with non-cancerous ovarian cysts can simply be monitored over time, instead of having invasive surgery to remove the growths.

"Our results may lead to a paradigm shift, resulting in less surgery for non-cancerous ovarian cysts -- on condition that trained ultrasound examiners reliably exclude cancer," said co-lead researcher Tom Bourne. He's a professor at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom.

As described by the researchers, ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop on ovaries and are identified through ultrasound scans. They're common and usually don't cause any symptoms, but in some cases do result in pelvic pain and bloating.

Cysts can be non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous, and should always be removed if suspected to be cancerous. However, even when a cyst is benign, doctors often recommend removal due to concerns about serious complications, such as the cyst bursting or causing the ovaries to twist. There's also the possibility that a benign cyst might turn cancerous, or that it was initially misidentified as benign.

But surgery comes with risks and complications of its own. And so with benign cysts, doctors sometimes instead turn to "watchful waiting" -- conducting scheduled ultrasound scans to monitor cyst size and appearance. Many ovarian cysts will go away over time or do not change.

However, watchful waiting is controversial and some physicians believe benign cysts should always be removed.

In an attempt to decide the issue, Bourne and his colleagues tracked two-year outcomes for 1,919 women, average age 48, in 10 countries. All of the women underwent monitoring scans for two years after being diagnosed with benign cysts. The average cyst size was 4 centimeters (1.6 inches).

In one in five cases, the cysts simply disappeared on their own, according to the report published Feb. 5 in The Lancet Oncology. In another 16 percent of cases, women eventually went on to have cyst-removing surgery.

But, overall, in 80 percent of the cases, either the cyst disappeared or did not require surgery, the investigators found.

Only a very small number -- 12 women, or just 0.4 percent -- were later diagnosed with ovarian cancer. These cases may have been due to the cysts being misdiagnosed as benign on the initial ultrasound scan, rather than a benign cyst turning cancerous, the researchers said.

The rate of ovarian twisting or cyst rupture was also very small -- 0.4 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

Based on these findings, the risks of watchful waiting have to be balanced against the risks of surgical complications, the study authors concluded. The risk of surgical complications -- such as bowel perforation -- among women aged 50 to 74 is between 3 percent and 15 percent, they noted.

Study co-lead author Dirk Timmerman said, "Despite these surgical risks being small, if the women in this age group underwent surgery in our study, then we could speculate that 29 to 123 of them could have suffered severe surgical complications." Timmerman is a professor at KU Leuven in the Netherlands.

"Instead, only 96 of them underwent surgery, which means severe complications may have been avoided in between 29 to 123 women," he explained in an Imperial College London news release.

One U.S. expert agreed that the issue of how to deal with benign cysts has been a difficult one, with most doctors erring on the side of caution.

"Though opinion is divided, the majority of surgeons around the world believe benign ovarian cysts should be surgically removed," said Dr. Mitchell Kramer. He directs obstetrics and gynecology at Northwell Health's Huntington Hospital in Huntington, N.Y.

However, the new data "suggest the benefit of watchful waiting without surgery," Kramer added. "Certainly, further study is advisable and each case should be managed individually. However, there is evidence to support this alternative management in the appropriate patient and setting."

Exercise Your Right to Fight Disease

Published: February 03, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Research consistently tells you just how important exercise is for health. It can help head off heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many types of cancer, including breast and colon cancers.

A report published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that another important prevention factor for an even wider group of cancers is having a body mass index (BMI) below 25. BMI is a measure of body fat that takes into account a person's height and weight. A low BMI means you have less fat on your body.

The report also showed that health risks can be up to 50 percent higher if you're overweight (with a BMI between 25 and 29.9) -- and up to 80 percent higher if you're obese (with a BMI of 30 and over).

Indeed, a high BMI may be to blame for nearly 4 percent of all cancer cases, according to another study, published in The Lancet Oncology.

There's no doubt that diet and exercise work together to lower BMI. Besides cutting calories, to lose weight you need at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week, and 60 to 90 minutes a day to maintain a loss.

But don't stop there. Other research has found that the more exercise you do, the more you can reduce your risk for many diseases. Indeed, people whose physical activity levels were several times higher than the recommended minimum had the greatest reductions in risk.

Of course, it's hard for everyday Americans to spend hours a day working out unless you have a treadmill workstation on the job, for instance. But try to take a few three- to five-minute exercise breaks throughout the day, and look for opportunities for more activity on the weekends, from family hikes to ski and camping trips.

Health Screenings Every Woman Needs

Published: February 03, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Mammogram? Check. Pap test? Check. Blood pressure? Check. Hearing and vision? Check.

Screenings are an important part of maintaining women's health. They can detect disease when it's most treatable and prevent serious problems, according to Dr. Lili Lustig. She is a family medicine specialist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in Ohio.

To get the right screenings, talk to your doctor, who will take into consideration your age, overall health, family history and current health concerns.

"Each test has its own time and place," Lustig said in a medical center news release. "Generally, the sooner your doctor can identify and treat a medical condition, the better the outcome."

In their 20s, women should have Pap and HPV screenings to check for pre- or early cervical cancer and the human papillomavirus, which can cause cervical cancer. (The American Cancer Society recommends women get a Pap test every three years starting at age 21.)

"Women ages 30 to 65 who have a normal Pap test and a negative HPV only need to be re-screened every five years," Lustig added.

It's also important to get screened for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). They may not cause symptoms, meaning you can pass them to your partner or, if pregnant, to an unborn child.

"All women who are sexually active from age 13 to 65 should be regularly screened for STDs," Lustig said. "This is especially important for women under age 25, and for other women who have had new or multiple sex partners."

If you suspect you might be pregnant, getting tested early sets you up for good prenatal care, including eating well and avoiding drugs and alcohol.

When it comes to mammograms, the current recommendation is to get your first at age 40, and follow-ups annually after that.

At age 18, start checking your skin monthly for suspicious moles or color changes, especially if you're fair-skinned or have high levels of sun exposure. Full body yearly skin exams with your dermatologist should begin at age 40.

A colonoscopy can detect and remove symptomless polyps that can develop into colon cancer. You should have your first one between ages 45 to 50. The results will determine when you should have your next one.

The general guideline for bone density tests is to start by age 65. But if you have a thin build or other risk factors, start at age 50, Lustig said.

Have a hearing test every 10 years until age 50, then annually after age 60. Have a baseline eye exam at age 18, then every two years until age 60, unless you have a health problem such as diabetes. Beginning at age 61, get your eyes checked every year.

Regular blood pressure screening is another important health check. As for cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends a baseline test at age 10, then testing every four to six years for people at average risk of high cholesterol.

Organic strawberries found to stop the growth of cancer cells

Published: February 01, 2019


(Natural News) Berries have been widely studied for their potential health benefits, particularly their anti-cancer properties. Various studies have provided evidence that among berries, strawberries, organic ones, in particular, can fight against cancer.

In a study conducted by researchers from Sweden, it was revealed that extract from organic strawberries are especially effective at inhibiting cancer cell growth as they contained more antioxidants and a higher ratio of ascorbate compared to dehydroascorbate, its oxidized form. Extracts from organic strawberries were also more significantly effective in stopping cancer cell proliferation compared to extracts from conventionally-grown ones.

Berries are good dietary sources of vitamin C and fiber, and evidence shows that these two are the primary cancer-fighting components of berries. A report published in the American Institute for Cancer Research revealed that foods rich in vitamin C are likely to protect against esophageal cancer. On the other hand, foods rich in fiber have long been known to fight against colorectal cancer.

Strawberries are also particularly loaded with ellagic acid, a natural phenol antioxidant. Laboratory studies have shown that ellagic acid can help lower the risk of cancers of the bladder, breast, esophagus, lung, and skin.

Quercetin is another cancer-fighting component of strawberries. Research published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry identified the means by which fruit extracts or their components work against human liver cancer cells. Out of all the compounds examined, quercetin was revealed to be the most active polyphenol, significantly decreasing cancer cell viability by up to 80 percent after only 18 hours of treatment. Additionally, effective cell death from strawberry extract was found to be dose- and time-dependent.

Quercetin is also a flavonoid that has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-cancer properties. Earlier research has associated this flavonoid to the prevention or slowing down of other forms of cancer, such as cancers of the ovaries, breast, colon, leukemia, and lung.

Moreover, strawberries and quercetin can decelerate the normal cell cycle before cell death, which suggests that these protective actions may take place together with the different phases of cancer cell development.

Why choose organic ones?

As you may have noticed, this article emphasized “organic” strawberries and not the conventionally-grown ones. Strawberries are naturally delicious and packed with antioxidants. However, if they are conventionally-grown, they may be actually harmful.

Strawberries may ward off cancer, but can be the cause of cancer if they are grown conventionally. This is because conventionally-grown strawberries are loaded with pesticides, which cancel out all the benefits you can get from eating strawberries. Furthermore, these pesticides are known carcinogens, or cancer-causing substances. A study published in the journal JAMA Network has also found a potentially harmful link between eating fruits and vegetables high in pesticides and having fertility problems.

In 2018, strawberries topped the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residues for the third consecutive year. In the study, the EWG, a non-profit research group, reported that nearly a third of all strawberry samples had at least 10 pesticides. One sample even had 22 pesticide residues.

The study based its findings on almost 39,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture tests of 47 fruits and vegetables and found almost 70 percent of conventionally grown produce has pesticides and 98 percent of strawberries, peaches, nectarines, cherries, and apples have at least one pesticide.

Spinach ranked second on the list, followed by nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, and sweet bell peppers.

Anti-inflammatory foods that prevent breast cancer

Published: January 31, 2019


(Natural News) Experts suggest that the most effective way to lower cancer risk is by making healthy lifestyle changes. To boost your overall well-being, maintain a healthy weight and eat anti-inflammatory foods that can also help lower your risk of developing breast cancer.

According to Alexandra Rothwell, a registered dietitian and a specialist in oncology nutrition, being overweight is one of the main risk factors for breast cancer. Since inflammation is also associated with both breast cancer and being overweight, eating anti-inflammatory foods can help you maintain your blood sugar levels and minimize inflammation.

The foods included in the list below aren’t just nutritious. They can also help reduce inflammation and prevent breast cancer.


Add fish like herring, mackerel, salmon, and sardines to your diet because they are full of omega-3 fatty acids. Rothwell explained that omega-3s can help reduce inflammation in the body. Alternatively, you can also eat seeds and walnuts if you prefer a non-animal source of these fatty acids.

A 2014 study, which was published in Cancer Causes & Control, suggests that consuming more omega-3s is also connected to a reduction in breast density.

Fruits and vegetables

Various studies have determined that eating a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables regularly can help lower your risk of developing breast cancer. Experts posit that there are several reasons why a plant-based diet is good for you.

A 2015 study revealed that fruits and vegetables are rich antioxidants, and the more antioxidants in a diet, “the lower the breast cancer risk may be.”

A separate 2011 study, which was published in the European Journal of Nutrition, showed that the fiber found in fruits and vegetables can help fuel their ability to lower cancer risk. 

 Rothwell recommends eating the following vegetables if you want to naturally lower your risk of developing breast cancer:

Allin vegetables – Sources include garlic, leeks, and onions.

Asian mushrooms – Sources include Chinese black, oyster, and Shiitake mushroom.

Cruciferous vegetables – Sources include broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower.

However, Rothwell suggests that you should try to stick to low-sugar fruit varieties, such as berries. She added that you need to limit high-sugar fruit, like bananas, mangoes, and pineapples, to keep your blood sugar levels normal.

Olive oil

Considered a healthy fat, olive oil offers many benefits. It can also help reduce breast cancer risk.

Data from a 2015 study revealed that adding four tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables can help lower breast cancer risk by a whopping 68 percent.

Additionally, olive oil “may come with an additional benefit relating to breast density,” another confirmed risk factor for breast cancer. According to a 2014 study, which involved more than 3,500 female participants, adding an extra 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil to your daily diet is linked to lower breast density.


Turmeric, a spice commonly used in Indian cuisine, contains curcumin. This substance has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that curcumin can help reduce the toxic effects of certain breast cancer cell and that it can potentially prevent the growth of cancer cells.

While there isn’t a scientific consensus on recommended daily dosage, common dosages in studies that offer health benefits range from 200 to 500 milligrams (mg) of curcumin daily.

Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy weight and add more anti-inflammatory foods to your diet to lower your risk of developing breast cancer.

Vaping Beats Nicotine Patch, Gum in Helping Smokers Quit

Published: January 30, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- For those who want to kick their smoking habit, switching to electronic cigarettes may offer better odds of success than nicotine patches, lozenges or gum, new research suggests.

The finding follows a small year-long study that tracked about 120 British smokers enrolled in a National Health Service smoking cessation program.

"E-cigarettes provide nicotine, which is important when someone is trying to quit smoking," said study author Dunja Przulj. "Going 'cold turkey' with no nicotine can make it difficult to deal with nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Having some kind of nicotine replacement improves your chances of quitting," she explained.

"In our study, smokers used e-cigarettes much like other nicotine replacement treatments. They were asked to set a 'quit day,' and advised to use their e-cigarette regularly throughout the day, and whenever they felt they needed it," Przulj added. "Everyone was encouraged to try and avoid smoking any normal cigarettes."

In the end, study results suggested that "e-cigarettes would almost double your chances of quitting at one year compared to nicotine replacement [products]," she reported.

Przulj is a research health psychologist with the Health and Lifestyles Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London.

For the roughly 15 percent of Americans who smoke, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved e-cigs as a means for quitting.

But as a practical matter, the investigators noted that more American smokers chose e-cigs as a cessation tool than FDA-approved treatments.

In the British study group, a total of 79 smokers were enrolled in an "e-cig group" and given a refillable e-cigarette to use. The remaining 44 smokers were given a three-month supply of any approved nicotine replacement product they wanted.

In the end, the investigators found that while nearly 10 percent of the nicotine replacement group were not smoking traditional cigarettes a year later, that figure nearly doubled, to 18 percent, among those using e-cigs to quit.

The study team acknowledged, however, that prior research has demonstrated that when nicotine replacement products are paired with prescription medications -- such as the nicotine receptor blocker Chantix (varenicline) and/or bupropion -- one year abstinence rates are the same or higher as the e-cig results.

What's more, 80 percent of those in the study's e-cig group were still using e-cigs at the one-year mark. This compared with just 9 percent of those in the nicotine replacement products group by that point.

So, might encouraging smokers to rely on e-cigarettes to help kick their habit raise the risk that quitters just end up swapping out one form of nicotine addiction for another? Przulj thinks that's a risk definitely worth taking.

"E-cigarettes are at least 95 percent less risky than cigarettes," she said, "and so even if someone is still using an e-cigarette, the benefits outweigh any cons."

In fact, "doctors should encourage any smokers to try e-cigarettes," Przulj suggested, "especially if they have tried other methods before and these have not been helpful."

The report was published online Jan. 30 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Belinda Borrelli is co-author of an accompanying editorial and director of the Center for Behavioral Science Research at Boston University. She interpreted the results more cautiously.

Borrelli noted, for example, that whether the findings might apply to all smokers is limited by the fact that all the participants were British and all were smokers trying to quit. She further stressed that very few studies have actually explored the pros and cons of using e-cigs to assist with quitting.

"It is a step in the right direction, but it is only one study," said Borelli.

"We do not have the evidence to say that e-cigarettes meet the standards for evidenced-based practice recommendations," she continued. "There is substantial evidence that they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but that doesn't mean they are not harmful."

For now, Borelli added, "the best way to quit smoking right now is to use FDA-approved evidence-based treatment as a first-line choice. And then if that fails, consider short-term use of e-cigs to quit smoking."

New target for gastric cancer therapies

Published: January 29, 2019


Cardiff University researchers have uncovered new information about the underlying mechanisms for gastric cancer, providing hope of potential new therapies in the future.

The team, at the University's European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, found they could stop gastric cells dividing and growing by deleting a particular cell-surface receptor implicated in the function of stem cells.

Dr Toby Phesse, Cardiff University, said: "The prognosis of gastric cancer is very poor, with very few treatment options available to patients, and thus we desperately need new clinical treatments for this disease.

"Some patients with gastric cancer have mutations in genes that are involved in the regulation of Wnt -- a cell signalling pathway involved in cell division. It drives the development of cancer and the spread of cancers throughout the body.

"We also see an increase in some of the Fzd receptors, which transmit Wnt signalling, and this is linked to poor prognosis in gastric cancer.

"Despite this evidence, there is limited research investigating the potential of targeting Wnt receptors as a treatment for gastric cancers. We aimed to understand the implications of inhibiting Wnt by targeting Fzd receptors and whether this could be used as an effective treatment."

The scientists targeted a specific Fzd receptor called Fzd7, as this was identified the predominant Wnt receptor responsible for the function of stem cells in the stomach and intestine. They found that deletion of Fzd7 in gastric cells made these cells unable to respond to Wnt signals and they failed to divide and grow.

Dr Phesse added: "This information gives us a potential new therapeutic route for gastric cancers, as we could target Fzd7 and consequently inhibit Wnt signalling and tumour growth. In fact, Vantictumab is a drug known to inhibit several Fzd receptors, including Fzd7, and is currently in clinical trials for the treatment of other cancers -- like pancreatic, lung and breast.

"We have now shown in this work that Vantictumab has potent anti-tumour effects in gastric tumours with and without mutations to the Wnt pathway.

"This research extends the scope of patients that may benefit from this therapy, to now include gastric cancer patients, and future work will establish if we can proceed with clinical trials targeting Wnt receptors for this devastating disease."

This research, in collaboration with the University of Melbourne, University Medical Center Utrecht, the Institute of Medical Biology Singapore, and Oncomed Pharmaceuticals, is published online in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Study confirms that healthy diet and regular exercise are the BEST ways to prevent prostate cancer

Published: January 28, 2019


(Natural News) Are you worried about prostate cancer? Not only is it easy to detect, but it can also be prevented through simple means that don’t involve expensive drugs or painful treatments. An article in Natural Health 365 asserted that eating the right foods and working out on a regular basis are more than enough to beat the second deadliest cancer that threatens American men.

Every year sees more than 180,000 new cases of prostate cancer and 26,000 deaths related to it. It is considered to be one of the deadliest cancers in the U.S.

However, it is also very easy to detect any signs of the disease. Prostate cancer is closely linked to prostate-specific antigen (PSA), an important enzyme produced by the prostate gland.

Normally, PSA is present in small amounts. Higher levels are considered a warning that the prostate gland is having problems – such as the impending onset of prostate cancer.

A simple blood test can determine the PSA levels of a man. This PSA blood test has been a staple when it comes to detecting the early stages of prostate cancer so that potential patients can take the right measures to prevent it.

While there are conventional treatments for prostate cancer, they are expensive and not guaranteed to work. So the best way to deal with the disease is to avoid it in the first place. And to do this, you have to change your lifestyle.

Eating the right foods and working out will help inhibit prostate cancer growth

The University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) studied the effects of healthy lifestyle choices on prostate cancer markers in men in 2005. They found that the participants who adopted healthier lifestyles were able to reduce their PSA levels.

These men chose to exchange their usual fatty food intake for more servings of fruits and vegetables. They also started working out on a regular basis.

UCSF researcher and study author Dean Ornish noted that increasing the amount of healthy food and exercise resulted in a commensurate improvement of prostate cancer markers. He also detailed how his team took blood serum samples from the participants and added them to cultured prostate cancer cells.

In Ornish’s paper, he detailed how the blood serum of healthy individuals slowed the growth of prostate cancer tumors by 70 percent. Meanwhile, the serum from participants with less healthy lifestyles achieved only a nine percent inhibition rate.

The study concluded that a combination of nutritious food and moderate levels of exercise is not just able to help prevent the onset of prostate cancer. It can also slow down the spread of the disease in a man who has been diagnosed with cancer by making his blood much less livable for tumors.

Your diet can make or break your resistance to prostate cancer

Other research papers corroborated the findings of the UCSF study. For example, a 2014 study by Iran’s National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute reported that there was a connection between a participant’s intake of fruits and vegetables and his resistance to prostate cancer.

The Iranian study identified apples, cabbage, pomegranates, and tomatoes as the foods consumed by its participants. They decreased the risk of cancer by 67 percent.

Another study – this one performed by Italy’s IRCCS-Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche “Mario Negri” – warned against eating animal products and starchy foods. These unhealthy foods were considered to increase the chance of cancer by a large margin. Instead, it recommended foods that contained plenty of fiber and vitamins.

The everyday food choices you make play a huge role in cancer development — more so than you think

Published: January 24, 2019


(Natural News) One of the scariest aspects of cancer is that it can strike anyone. Most of us know at least one person who is quite healthy and fit yet received a devastating cancer diagnosis, and it can make you feel like you have no control over the situation. While it’s true that there isn’t anything you can do to bring your risk down to zero, the food choices that you make every day can have a surprisingly big impact on your chances of developing cancer.

Consider the example of colorectal cancer, a type of cancer that was expected to cause around 50,000 deaths in the U.S. alone in 2018. Although there is a genetic component to the disease, this common cancer is actually one of the most preventable varieties if you make the right food choices.

If you eat the proper foods, you will turn your body into an environment where cancer is unable to survive. Your body will have the capability of identifying cancer cells so it can destroy them before they cause damage.

In the case of colorectal cancer, it’s particularly important to eat well. After all, everything you eat passes through your large intestine. This means that food that contains toxins and carcinogens will directly damage your large intestine’s cells, raising your risk of colorectal cancer.

Therefore, you need to avoid foods that contain preservatives. Processed meats should be the first thing you eliminate from your diet if you haven’t done so already – including foods like hot dogs, beef jerky, and sausages – but packaged food in general should be avoided as well. You should also stop eating foods that are high in sugar and refined carbohydrates.

Eat the right foods to prevent cancer

What you do eat can be just as important as what you don’t eat. Certain foods can help you to avoid developing colorectal cancer, and chief among them are cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. If dramatically increasing your intake isn’t feasible, you could try cruciferous vegetable extract.

Another food you should eat more of is garlic. Diets high in garlic have been linked to a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer; eating it raw or chopping it and leaving it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking is ideal. CBC News reports that eating garlic just two times per week can reduce your chances of getting lung cancer by nearly half; it is even effective on smokers.

Fish oil, meanwhile, is a great way to prevent cancer in general thanks to its ability to reduce your body’s overall inflammation. Studies have shown that those who live in countries where the diet generally involves consuming greater amounts of omega-3 fatty acids via fish have a lower prevalence of colon and prostate cancer than those in countries where omega-3 fatty acids aren’t consumed as frequently.

Omega-3 fatty acid consumption has been correlated to slower tumor growth. It is also believed to promote the death of cancer cells while reducing the enzymes these cells need to grow.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, blueberries are among the best foods you can eat to fight cancer thanks to their anthocyanin content. Research has shown that these antioxidants can reduce the free radical damage that leads to cancer, and they can cause breast, colon, prostate and mouth cancer cells to self-destruct.

Avoiding carcinogenic foods and increasing your intake of foods known to help prevent cancer is an easy way to take some control over your health and stack the odds in your favor.

Diet or Exercise -- or Both?

Published: January 21, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- There's no doubt that an unhealthy diet and couch potato lifestyle put your health at risk, but when considering improvements, should you change one at a time or both at once?

Northwestern University researchers found that it's not only doable, but also more effective, to change unhealthy behaviors simultaneously. Different groups of study participants were given a pair of changes to make. One involved diet -- either lowering saturated fat or increasing fruit and vegetables. The other involved activity -- either increasing exercise or reducing screen time.

All participants received remote coaching to help them with motivation, but those assigned to eat more produce and spend less time with their gadgets were most successful at making healthy changes stick.

The researchers followed up with another study that looked at making all the changes simultaneously -- increasing produce while reducing saturated fat, and exercising more while decreasing screen time. They added a smartphone component along with the coaching and found that participants who stuck with the program were able to reach all goals over the nine-month study.

A separate study at Stanford University found that participants who boosted exercise and diet together improved in both areas. They also reached the goals of completing 150 minutes a week of physical activity, getting the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables each day, and limiting saturated fat to 10 percent of daily calories.

Those who first focused on improving diet only had a harder time establishing a consistent routine and meeting fitness goals when they did start working out. Those who started with exercise and changed their diet later ultimately met key goals, but weren't as successful as people who did both from the beginning.

The bottom line? As you streamline calories, be sure to put exercise on the menu as well.

Breast cancer risk skyrockets when you gain weight

Published: January 17, 2019


(Natural News) Losing weight doesn’t just make you look and feel good. It can significantly improve your overall health, and according to a study, it might even lower the cancer risk of postmenopausal women.

The study was published in CANCER, the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) peer-reviewed journal.

The link between postmenopausal weight loss and breast cancer risk

Based on the study findings, which are related to the World Health Initiative Observational Study, women who manage their body weight have lower risk of getting breast cancer compared to those who don’t.

For the study, researchers from the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California, examined 61,335 postmenopausal women who took part in the World Health Initiative Observational Study. The female volunteers had no prior history of breast cancer and showed normal mammogram results.

The researchers also measured the women’s body height, weight, and BMI (body mass index) at the beginning of the study and years after it concluded.

The study monitored the postmenopausal women for an average of 11.4 years. Some of the women developed breast cancer, but the findings suggest that the participants who lost five percent of their body weight reduced their risk for aggressive breast cancer by at least 12 percent.

Meanwhile, the volunteers who gained at least five percent of their weight had an alarming 54 percent higher risk of very aggressive forms of breast cancer, such as triple negative breast cancer.

If you are diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), this means that the three most common types of receptors that fuel the majority of breast cancer growth – estrogen, progesterone, and the HER-2/neu gene – are absent from the cancer tumor. TNBC cells have tested negative for hormone epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2), estrogen receptors (ER), and progesterone receptors (PR).

When the tumor cells lack the necessary receptors, common treatments (e.g., drugs and hormone therapy) that target estrogen, progesterone, and HER-2 are can’t treat TNBC. This type of breast cancer can be more aggressive, making it harder to treat. TNBC may also spread and recur.

The researchers posited that making an effort to lose weight postmenopause can offer various health benefits, and even losing just five percent of your body weight can help reduce breast cancer risk. 

The team of scientists acknowledged that while the results were observational, data randomized clinical trials conducted by the Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification support the findings. This randomized clinical trial determined that a low-fat dietary pattern with a similar amount of weight loss was linked to improved breast cancer survival rates.

Tips to lose weight postmenopause

To lose weight postmenopause, start making lifestyle changes such as:

  • Eating less sugar and white flour. White sugar and white flour are two of the main causes of insulin-level spikes. Reducing or eliminating foods that contain these two ingredients can promote weight loss after menopause and prevent fat storage near your abdomen.
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables. According to a study, women who consumed more fruits and vegetables and fewer sugary foods and drinks lost more weight than women who didn’t make the same dietary changes.
  • Eating more protein. As you age, your body requires more protein for various reasons, such as staving off hunger. Healthy protein sources include cheese, eggs, fish, meat, milk, poultry, and yogurt. Plant-based proteins include beans, nuts, peas, and soy.

Follow these tips to stay healthier and lower breast cancer risk.

Vaccine, Screening Can Prevent Cervical Cancer Deaths

Published: January 15, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- About 4,000 women in the United States die from cervical cancer each year -- even though there's a preventive vaccine and screening to catch the disease early.

"When cervical cancer is found early, it is highly treatable," said Dr. Sarah Ramirez, a family medicine physician with Penn State Health. "So it's important to make sure you are being screened for this disease."

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says all women aged 21 to 65 should have cervical cancer screening with cytology (Pap smear) every three years. Women between 30 and 65 may opt instead to lengthen the interval between screening with a combination of Pap smear and HPV testing every five years.

HPV (human papillomavirus) is the main cause of cervical cancer, but there is a vaccine to protect against HPV. Other risk factors for cervical cancer include smoking, autoimmune diseases, using birth control pills for five or more years, giving birth to three or more children and having several sexual partners.

Although screening and vaccination have helped reduce cervical cancer cases, many American women remain at risk, Ramirez noted.

"While we have made significant strides to decrease mortality from cervical cancer, we continue to see … minority females most commonly stricken with the disease," Ramirez said in a Penn State news release.

"As the U.S. population becomes increasingly diverse, it behooves us to examine why there is a disparity in cervical cancer health with our vulnerable populations and why they're not getting screened regularly," she added.

Hispanic women get fewer Pap tests than white and black women, even though Hispanics have the highest incidence of cervical cancer, according to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

Also, black women have the highest rate of cervical cancer death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Make Cancer Prevention a Priority in 2019

Published: January 11, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- If one of your resolutions for 2019 is to improve your health, reducing your risk of cancer should be part of that goal, a cancer expert says.

While cancer risk factors such as family history and aging can't be controlled, lifestyle changes such as eating right, staying active and not smoking can lower your risk, said Dr. Elias Obeid. He is director of breast, ovarian and prostate cancer risk assessment at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

Cancer screening is also important because it can detect the disease at an early and more treatable stage.

"Getting regular recommended cancer screenings is just as important as modifying your lifestyle to reduce your risk," Obeid said in a Fox Chase news release. "Regular screenings can greatly increase your chances of detecting cancers early, when they're most likely to be curable and before you begin having symptoms."

Screening tests are available for breast, colon, prostate, cervical, lung and many other types of cancers. "Individuals should talk with their doctor about their specific risk factors as well as when to start and how often to receive cancer screenings," Obeid advised.

In terms of lifestyle, the World Cancer Research Fund estimated that about 20 percent of all cancers in the United States are related to excess body fat, physical inactivity, too much alcohol and poor nutrition.

"Watching how much you eat can help control your weight and keep your body mass index (BMI) at healthy levels," Obeid said. "If you're overweight, losing even a small amount of weight has benefits and serves as an excellent starting point."

Regular exercise also reduces the risk of cancer, and the American Cancer Society says adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week.

Smoking is a major cause of cancer, but "no matter how long you have smoked and no matter what your age, quitting can reduce your risk for cancer and other chronic diseases," Obeid said. "The best advice I can give is to quit, and if you've never smoked, don't start."

It's also important to protect yourself from the sun's ultraviolet rays, and never use tanning beds or sun lamps.

Even a Little Exercise May Help Cancer Patients Live Longer

Published: January 10, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Regular exercise before and after a cancer diagnosis significantly improves odds of survival, a new study finds.

Among more than 5,800 U.S. patients with a range of early- to late-stage cancers, those who exercised three or four times a week before and after their diagnosis had a 40 percent lower risk of death than inactive patients, researchers reported.

But survival gains were strong even for patients who began exercising only after their cancer diagnosis.

"Patients who reported never doing any type of exercise until they were faced with a cancer diagnosis cut their risk of death by 25 percent to 28 percent compared to those who remained inactive," said first author Rikki Cannioto. She's an assistant professor of oncology at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, N.Y.

Patients who exercised once or twice a week also had a much lower risk of death than inactive patients, suggesting that any amount of regular, weekly activity is better than no activity, according to the researchers.

Study participants had blood or head and neck cancers, as well as breast, prostate, lung, colon, kidney, esophageal, bladder, ovarian, endometrial, pancreatic, liver or stomach cancers. Others had sarcoma or cervical, thyroid, testicular, brain or skin cancers.

The strongest link between exercise and reduced risk of death was seen with eight types: breast, colon, prostate, ovarian, bladder, endometrial, esophageal and skin cancer, the research team said.

The results "solidify the importance of the message that when it comes to exercise, some weekly activity is better than inactivity," Cannioto said in a Roswell news release.

The finding that low-to-moderate weekly exercise is associated with improved survival is particularly encouraging, Cannioto said, given that cancer patients and survivors can be overwhelmed by the current recommendations of at least 30 minutes of daily moderate-to-intense physical activity.

Cancer Patients May Face Greater Risk of Shingles

Published: January 09, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Newly diagnosed cancer patients may be at increased risk for the painful skin condition shingles, a new study finds.

Experts say development of new vaccines might help prevent shingles in cancer patients.

The study, of about 240,000 cancer patients in Australia from 2006 to 2015, found that any type of cancer was associated with a 40 percent increased risk of developing shingles, compared with not having cancer.

Patients with a blood-related cancer had the greatest shingles risk -- more than three times that of people without cancer, according to the recent study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

And those with a solid tumor -- such as cancer in the lung, breast, prostate or other organ -- had a 30 percent higher risk of shingles than people without cancer, study first author Jiahui Qian and colleagues said in a journal news release.

Qian is with the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

The higher shingles risk among blood cancer patients was present in the two years before their cancer diagnosis.

But among patients with solid tumors, the greater risk was largely associated with receiving chemotherapy treatment, rather than with the cancer itself, the researchers said.

Shingles (herpes zoster), marked by painful rashes and skin blisters, is caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. The virus remains dormant in the body, but causes shingles if it reactivates later in life.

"These findings have important implications in view of recent advances in development of zoster vaccines," wrote Kosuke Kawai, of Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Barbara Yawn, of the University of Minnesota, in a commentary accompanying the study.

A shingles vaccine approved for U.S. use in 2017 does not use a live form of the virus and may be safe for people with weakened immune systems, including those receiving chemotherapy, the commentary authors said.

However, due to a lack of data, this vaccine is not yet recommended for use in that group of patients.

Also in development is a shingles vaccine that uses an inactivated form of the virus.

These advances suggest that vaccines show promise as a way to prevent shingles and its complications in cancer patients, according to the researchers and commentary authors.

Nearly one-third of Americans people in the United States will develop shingles, and about 1 million cases occur in the country each year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Eating a lot of processed meat can increase your risk of cancer

Published: January 08, 2019


(Natural News) Bacon is a greasy guilty pleasure for most people. However, according to a study, it could also increase your risk of developing breast cancer. The results of a 2018 meta-analysis have revealed that bacon and other types of meat are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Data from the meta-analysis was published in September 2018 in the International Journal of Cancer Research.

For the meta-analysis, researchers examined 15 previous studies, which involved a total of over 1.2 million women, to determine a connection between breast cancer and processed meat.

Data from the study revealed that people who ate the most processed meat, or at least 0.9 ounces to one ounce (25 to 30 grams) daily, had about a nine percent higher risk of breast cancer unlike those who ate the least processed meat (about 0 to 0.07 ounces or 0.17 ounces (two to five grams) a day.

Processed meats and cancer risk

Take note that not all studies regarding processed meats and cancer have arrived at the same conclusion. For example, a 2015 World Health Organization-affiliated study showed that while processed meats aren’t linked to breast cancer, the results implied that these kinds of food may increase colorectal cancer risk.

Dr. Marji McCullough, a senior scientific director of epidemiology research at the American Cancer Society, warned that breast cancer is a common disease among women. She added that processed meats such as hot dogs are popular food choices and that together, these factors highlight the importance of considering processed meats as a potential cancer risk. In fact, an earlier meta-analysis on the topic also reached similar conclusions.

Other processed meats that may increase your cancer risk include:

  • Beef jerky and dried meat
  • Canned meat
  • Corned beef
  • Ham
  • Salted and cured meat
  • Sausages
  • Smoked meat

There are limitations, however. Research that points to a link between specific kinds of foods and the risk of certain health conditions have been inconclusive. For links between cancer and processed meats, current data suggests that the researchers could only assess the impact of high- and low-processed meat consumption since there was insufficient information about the risks of consuming 0.35 ounces to 0.5 ounces (10 or 15 grams) of meat products.

According to Andrew Milkowski, a meat science researcher and an adjunct professor of animal sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who wasn’t involved with the new meta-analysis, some of the studies involved in the analysis had participants recall “what their diet had been like at certain points in the past.” Milkowski, who worked for Oscar Mayer before joining the University of Wisconsin back in 2006, advised that this research technique heavily relies on memories with a lot of room for under- and overestimation.

To address this concern, Maryam Farvid, the lead author on the latest project, and the research team only reviewed studies that surveyed women before they received any diagnosis. Farvid, who is also a researcher at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, explained that the method she and her team used ensures that the women were less likely to confuse their pre- and post-cancer diets.

Milkowski posited that to gather accurate data, researchers needed to administer controlled diets to participants before they were diagnosed with anything. Researchers must then monitor the participants closely to identify any changes in their health. However, he admitted that these conditions are “extremely difficult to pull off.”

Milkowski added that the nine percent increase in risk noted in the report may be due to a statistical error and that it is not enough to be a cause for concern. Others pointed out the same thing when the results of the 2015 WHO-associated report were released since it stated that processed meats are “likely carcinogens” and that these types of food increased colon cancer risk by 18 percent.

Meanwhile, Farvid said that other dietary factors are also linked to breast cancer risk, like the amount of fiber or fruits and vegetables in an individual’s diet. She said that while these factors can also decrease or increase the risk of the disease by similar margins, not much is heard about these findings.

Avoidable cancer risk factors

Farvid advised that while study findings on the matter sometimes contradict each other, the fact that eating less processed meat can lower cancer risk is still significant, especially since other factors like genetics are unchangeable. It can be hard to change your dietary habits, but it doesn’t mean that doing so is impossible.

Both Farvid and McCullough warn that people should start paying attention to their consumption of processed meat. McCullough added that it is also part of the American Cancer Society’s current dietary recommendations for minimizing cancer risk.

Essential amino acid in humans, methionine, controls cell growth

Published: January 04, 2019


A recent study from the Laxman lab elucidates how a small metabolite and amino acid, methionine, acts as a growth signal for cells, by setting into motion a metabolic program for cell proliferation.

For cells to grow and then divide, they must be in an anabolic state, where there is sufficient production of all necessary building blocks. It was earlier thought that as long as enough nutrients are present, cells would continue to grow under the control of different internal signalling programs. However, recent studies show that many small intermediates and products of biological metabolism commonly termed as metabolites can themselves act as signalling molecules and control cell growth programs.

Several studies, particularly from cancer researchers, have hinted that methionine might be a signalling metabolite. Many cancers appear to be dependent on methionine for growth. However, how methionine controls growth is still a mystery. We used a very simple model system (budding yeast cells), to address how methionine might regulate growth. To understand the logic of such a growth program, we analysed gene expression profiles as well as measured the new synthesis of necessary building blocks. By piecing together this network, we constructed the organization of a core anabolic program triggered by methionine. This anabolic program relies on a few specific nodes in metabolism and is sufficient to orchestrate an entire cascade of transcriptional and metabolic events that can sustain growth.

Our findings on how cells perceive methionine as a growth cue are illustrated in the simple cartoon (see banner image). When methionine is limited, cells do not grow (the unhappy cell without a bud, on the left). On the other hand, when methionine is abundant, it acts as a growth signal and triggers a cascade of biochemical events, ultimately leading to cell growth (the happy yeast with a bud, on the right). Analogous to the butterfly effect, methionine leads to a series of larger metabolic events, controlling an entire cellular program. Methionine activates three key nodes in metabolism: the pentose phosphate pathway, the production of glutamine, and the formation of pyridoxal phosphate (the PPP-GDH-PLP node). These nodes produce a set of critical substrates and co-factors that fuel the production of all other amino acids, as well as make nucleotides, which are critical for growth. In the cartoon, the dominoes of increasing size show this chain of events and capture how methionine eventually has a significant impact on cell growth.

This is a fundamental study, which advances our understanding of how some metabolites can act as signalling molecules and play a critical role in controlling cell growth. This study provides a much-awaited explanation on the role of methionine in sustaining cell growth, and it might clarify why cancer cells are addicted to methionine for their growth. However, a long-term methionine study could provide strategies to control the growth of many types of cancer.

Testicular Cancer a Bigger Threat to Young Men

Published: January 02, 2019


(HealthDay News) -- Testicular cancer occurs most often in young men, and they need to know the signs of the disease, a urologist says.

Testicular cancer is relatively rare -- about 9,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year in the United States -- but it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in males aged 15 to 40.

It's a highly treatable disease, especially when diagnosed early, according to testicular cancer specialist Dr. Aditya Bagrodia, an assistant professor of urology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

"Embarrassment about symptoms and even confusion with sexually transmitted diseases can prevent some young men from seeking medical help when the disease is at its earliest, most curable stage," Bagrodia said in a medical center news release.

Signs of testicular cancer include: painless swelling or a mass about the size of a pea or marble in a testicle; a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum; a dull ache in the groin or scrotum; and breast tenderness or growth.

Only about 10 percent of patients have pain in the testicles.

If the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, patients may develop back pain, swelling in lymph nodes in the neck, difficulty breathing, chest pain or cough.

Men who are at high risk for testicular cancer should do a monthly self-exam. Risk factors include: family history of testicular cancer; personal history of testicular cancer; undescended testicle at birth, and infertility, Bagrodia explained.

"Diagnosis at an early stage can mean the difference between a straightforward surgical cure and having to potentially undergo chemotherapy, radiation and multiple surgeries," he added.

Emerging research shows that a natural citrus fruit extract can prevent cancer growth

Published: December 29, 2018


(Natural News) Citrus fruits contain numerous natural compounds that can help prevent or treat many diseases. A natural extract made from these fruits can reportedly stop a protein called galectin-3 from triggering cancer, heart disease, and kidney diseases, an article in Natural Health 365 stated.

There are no pharmaceutical drugs that can affect galectin-3. So it is very welcome to hear that modified citrus pectin could possibly halt its activity and repair the damage caused by the protein.

Galectin-3 is naturally produced by the body. In normal amounts, it encourages the growth and repair of healthy tissues. It also promotes inflammation and immune response against pathogens. However, high levels of this protein are also a known warning sign of a degenerative disease. Excess amounts are also linked with cancer, heart failure, and kidney problems.

Galectin-3 helps cancer cells cling to the walls of blood vessels. It protects the tumor cells from undergoing self-destruction. It spurs the creation of fibroblasts that scar the muscles of the heart, as well as type 1 collagen that causes dysfunction in those muscles.

If there is too much galectin-3, it induces excessive amounts of inflammation that disrupt the normal functions of tissue and organs. Older people are especially vulnerable to this, since galectin-3 levels increase with age.

Modified citrus pectin can protect against galectin-3-induced heart and kidney disease

Fortunately, the ill effects of galectin-3 can be halted by modified citrus pectin (MCP). Derived from the natural pectin found in citrus fruits, MCP contains special sugar molecules called galactosides.

MCP uses galactosides to bind with the galectin-3 protein. Once bound, it will shut down the protein, thereby preventing the latter from activating its harmful effects.

An animal model demonstrated that the effects of MCP was not limited to stopping galectin-3. It also managed inflammatory reactions, reversed fibrosis, and helped blood vessel walls get thinner again. In effect, the carbohydrate successfully reversed the damage that would have caused heart failure.

It performed these health benefits for the kidneys as well. It reduced the tissue swelling attributed to kidney disease, helped decrease fibrosis, and lowered the number of inflammatory cells. Last but not least, MCP neutralized the galectin-3 in those organs, preventing further damage.

MCP rallies natural anti-cancer defenses of the body

The immune system employs specialized cancer-fighting units called natural killer cells. It sends out these cells to find, identify, and kill cancers as the latter begin to emerge in the body.

It turned out that modified citrus pectin was capable of activating these anti-cancer cells. In an experiment conducted by Dharma Biomedical LLC (Dharma Biomedical) researchers, the complex carbohydrate spurred the natural killer cells to target leukemic cancer cells and cause apoptosis.

The cancer-fighting property of MCP was corroborated by other studies. One animal study proved that the carbohydrate can stop skin cancer cells from adhering to healthy tissue and blood vessels.

This blocking action prevented the skin cancer from migrating to the lungs, which would have caused further complications. MCP accomplished this same effect for colon cancer, which it stopped from infecting the liver.

Even more research – such as a 2005 study by the Harvard Medical School – have found that MCP itself can induce the apoptotic self-destruct factor in cancer cells. It can also make the cells more vulnerable to other anti-cancer treatments.

Modified citrus pectin can be extracted from the peel and pulp of citrus fruit. What was once considered a waste product could provide a natural anti-cancer remedy at a cheap price.

Vitamin D deficiency directly linked to your risk for cancer

Published: December 26, 2018


(Natural News) What are you doing to lower your risk of cancer? Perhaps you’re going out of your way to get organic food to avoid the cancer risks associated with pesticides, or maybe you’re using natural cleaning products around your house. You might be making a conscious effort to consume more superfoods and get more exercise, but are you keeping tabs on your vitamin D levels? This often-overlooked factor is linked to your cancer risk in a surprisingly strong way.

In a study that was published in PLOS ONE, researchers showed that optimal vitamin D levels reduce a person’s risk of invasive cancers. The team, which was led by researchers from UC San Diego, looked at data pertaining to thousands of participants. They discovered that vitamin D levels of 48 ng/mL or higher were linked to a 67 percent reduction in cancer risk when compared to those whose levels were 20 ng/mL or less.

This is pretty concerning when you consider the fact that the Institute of Medicine has been recommending a level of 20 ng/mL as “ideal” for many years. It may be a reasonable amount if bone health is your only concern, but if you want to prevent cancer, you’ll need at least twice that amount.

In fact, studies have shown that higher sun exposure throughout your lifetime is linked to a 70 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer. Those who live in southern latitudes with relatively high sunlight exposure have lower incidence and death rates when it comes to certain types of cancer.

Meanwhile, a study published this spring by The BMJ revealed that high vitamin D levels were associated with a reduction in cancer risk of 20 percent, particularly when it came to liver cancer. The study was huge, involving nearly 34,000 Japanese adults over the course of 16 years.

Cancer cell studies have shown that vitamin D can slow or prevent cancer development in multiple ways, including slowing the growth of cancer cells, spurring cancer cell death, reducing the formation of the blood vessels that tumors need to thrive, and promoting cellular differentiation.

The sun is not the enemy

One reason that so many people struggle to get enough vitamin D – and perhaps a big reason there’s so much cancer these days – is the way that sun exposure has been demonized in recent years. After all, sun exposure is the best way to trigger your body’s vitamin D production. It may be true that excessive sun exposure can be problematic in terms of skin cancer, but avoiding it at all costs – or worse, slathering chemical-laden sunscreen over every inch of your body every time you leave the house – can be far worse when it comes to your chances of getting cancer overall.

Thankfully, just a small amount of sun exposure is typically enough to get the job done. For many people, spending a few minutes outdoors each day with their skin exposed is all it takes for your body to create the ideal levels of vitamin D. It’s the UVB rays found in direct sunlight that you’re after, so if you live in a part of the world that is further from the equator, this may be more difficult for you.

In that case, you may need to rely on supplements. Although you can find vitamin D in foods like yogurt, eggs, mushrooms, and oily fish, it’s difficult to get enough of this nutrient through diet alone. If you do choose supplements, keep in mind that the amount you need is going to depend a lot on your body’s chemistry, skin tone, and your current levels, which is why a blood test can provide useful guidance. Generally, however, average-sized adults can typically get the ideal amount of 40 ng/mL by taking vitamin D supplements of 5000 to 10,000 IU per day.

If you’re not already doing everything you can to ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D, this is a simple change that could end up having a dramatic impact on your cancer risk.

Consuming highly processed foods linked to a higher likelihood of cancer

Published: December 19, 2018


(Natural News) Research provides another reason why you should avoid processed foods: You are putting yourself at risk of cancer. A study published in the British Medical Journal has found a link between eating highly processed or “ultra-processed” foods and a higher risk of cancer.

In the study, the researchers assessed the link between highly processed food intake and risk of cancer. To do this, they looked at 104,980 participants at least 18 years old with an average age of 42.8 years old enrolled at the French NutriNet-Santé cohort. The study’s participants recorded their food consumption from a selection of more than 3,000 items for two days. The researchers observed the participants for an average of five years.

The researchers categorized the foods according to their degree of processing by the NOVA classification, which is a food classification system that looks at the extent and purpose of food processing over nutrients to determine a food’s healthfulness.

Packed bread and snacks, sodas and sweetened beverages, chocolates and candies, instant noodles and soups, frozen meals, and foods containing high amounts of sugar, oil, and fat were considered “ultra-processed” foods. These foods are loaded with chemicals and additives that are detrimental to health. An average of 18 percent of the participants’ diet was ultra-processed.

The results revealed that a 10 percent increase in the proportion of highly processed foods in the diet was linked to an 11 percent increase in the risk of breast cancer. It was also linked to a 12 percent increase in the risk of overall cancer. This means that the more processed food you eat, the higher your risk of cancer is.

With these findings, it may be concluded that rapidly increasing consumption of highly processed foods may contribute to the increasing prevalence of cancer and cancer death.

Other negative health effects of eating highly processed foods

Eating processed foods can do more harm to your health other than increasing your cancer risk. Here are more reasons to convince you to quit eating these foods:

  • They contain high amounts of added sugar, sodium, and fat: Consuming high amounts of sugar, sodium, and fat can result in other serious health problems, such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
  • They are addictive: Processed foods are manufactured to make you addicted to them. Manufacturers of processed foods include ingredients that make their products highly rewarding to people. The reward system of the brain enables you to consume more of the foods you like than what your body actually needs.
  • They are loaded with artificial ingredients: Check the label of your favorite junk food. If you can barely pronounce most of its ingredients and barely know them, then they are most likely artificial or harmful ingredients. Consuming these ingredients can harm your health.
  • They are high in refined carbohydrates but low in nutrients and fiber: Refined carbohydrates found in processed foods can increase your blood sugar too quickly, which can result in a decline several hours later and make you feel even hungrier. In addition, processed foods often lose their nutrients and fiber during processing. While synthetic nutrients are added in, they are not as effective and safe.

Eat these naturally pink anti-breast cancer foods

Published: December 16, 2018


(Natural News) Pink has become a symbol of strength and hope for many breast cancer patients, which is why many companies take advantage of this color during breast cancer awareness month. However, many food products wrapped up in pretty pink packaging are bad for the people they’re supposed to be advocating for. To avoid being fooled by these health scams, go for naturally-occurring organic pink foods.

Colorful fruits and vegetables are great additions to a person’s diet because of the many nutrients that they contain. Each of their own nutritional profiles cater to specific purposes such as cancer prevention. To make it easier to remember which foods are great against breast cancer, here are some fruits and vegetables that are naturally found in different shades of pink.

  • Red cabbage — Like other cruciferous vegetables, red cabbage contains indole-3-carbinol, which has shown great potential in reducing the incidence of breast cancer. It also has another cancer-fighting agent called sulforaphane. This sulfur-containing compound, which gives red cabbage its slightly bitter taste, inhibits histone deacetylase, an enzyme involved in cancer cell proliferation. Moreover, red cabbage is rich in anthocyanins that give it its unique color and contributes to its antioxidant properties.
  • Pomegranates — Pomegranates inhibit an enzyme called aromatase that converts androgen to estrogen, effectively reducing the risk of hormone-driven breast cancer. Previous studies have also shown that pomegranates are effective against cancer stem cells, which differentiate into cancer cells. Conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy aren’t always effective against these types of cells, allowing them to form more invasive and treatment-resistant tumors.
  • Radishes — Another cruciferous vegetable with anticancer potential are the radishes, which contain large amounts of fiber, potassium, folate, and glucosinolates. The last compound is broken down into indole and isothiocyanates that prevent cells from becoming cancerous. Radishes are also rich in antioxidants that effectively prevent breast cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body.
  • Carrots — Carrots are not always orange. They also have red and purple varieties that are rich in beta-carotene, a compound that is known for its antioxidant properties. Moreover, non-orange carrot varieties also contain the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent anthocyanin. These compounds effectively prevent damage against cells, proteins, and DNA, which can contribute to cancer development.
  • Apples — The red peels of apples are due to the presence of cancer-fighting anthocyanins, similar to those found in red cabbage. Additionally, apples contain a flavonol called quercetin that has been shown to prevent breast cancer growth in an in vitro study.
  • Beets — Extracts from the beetroot prevent the growth of tumors not just in the breast but in other organs as well. This anticancer effect is attributed to the presence of betanin, which is also responsible for the unique color of beets. Moreover, it also reduces the toxicity and increases the effectiveness of conventional cancer treatments like doxorubicin.
  • Sweet potatoes — Large amounts of beta-carotene are found in the orange flesh of sweet potatoes. This compound reduces the risk of breast cancer by up to 25 percent when eaten regularly. Moreover, extracts from sweet potatoes also reduce existing breast cancer tumors and prevent new ones from forming by repairing cell damage and regulating cell proliferation.
  • Grapes — Red grapes are rich in antioxidants that significantly reduce cancer risk. Some studies suggest that this anticancer effect of grapes can also be acquired from red wine. However, one has to be careful since alcohol can also boost cancer risk.

Obesity to Blame for Almost 1 in 25 Cancers Worldwide

Published: December 12, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- Overweight and obesity accounted for nearly 4 percent of all cancers globally in 2012, and that rate is likely to rise in coming decades, a new study suggests.

Rates of excess body weight have been increasing worldwide since the 1970s. By 2016, about 40 percent of adults (2 billion) and 18 percent of children aged 5 to 19 (340 million) had excess body weight, the researchers said.

Some of the largest increases in overweight and obesity have been in low- and middle-income countries. That's likely due to the spread of a "Western" lifestyle that includes fatty, sugary foods and lower levels of physical activity, the study authors noted.

One U.S. obesity expert wasn't surprised by the new numbers.

Someday, "obesity is going to surpass cigarette smoking as the leading cause of cancer deaths," said Dr. Mitchell Roslin, chief of obesity surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "The links between obesity and cancer are becoming clearer."

The new report was drafted in part by scientists at the American Cancer Society (ACS), and published online Dec. 12 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

The study found that in 2015, about 4 million deaths were attributable to excess body weight.

According to lead researcher Hyuna Sung and colleagues at the ACS, the spread of Western lifestyles has led to a "rapid increase in both the prevalence of excess body weight and the associated cancer burden."

Looking at global data for 2012, excess body weight accounted for nearly 4 percent (544,300) of cancers worldwide, with rates ranging from less than 1 percent in poor nations to 8 percent in some wealthy Western countries and in Middle Eastern and northern African countries, the findings showed.

Overweight and obesity has been linked to an increased risk of a number of cancers: breast, colon, esophagus, gallbladder, kidney, liver, ovary, pancreas, stomach, thyroid, meningioma and multiple myeloma, according to the study.

Piling on too many pounds has also been linked to advanced prostate cancer and cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx, the researchers said in a journal news release.

Roslin agreed that obesity exerts hormonal effects that can, in turn, encourage cancer.

"Obesity changes fat-soluble hormone levels, explaining the link to postmenopausal breast cancers," he said. "Additionally, obesity increases insulin, glucose and insulin growth factors," which can also heighten cancer risk.

"This creates a perfect environment for cancer cells to grow. So in addition to an increased prevalence of certain cancers, obesity makes cancers grow faster and be less treatable," Roslin explained.

Sung's team believes the report calls for a "rejuvenated focus" on steps that could help curb the spread of obesity, such as banning trans fats, taxing sugary beverages, limiting average portion sizes, and making communities more walkable and bicycle-friendly, so people move more.

Healthy Lifestyle Lowers Odds of Breast Cancer's Return

Published: December 07, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- There's more evidence that when a survivor of early stage breast cancer takes up healthy eating and regular exercise, the odds of the disease returning go down.

The key is sticking with such programs, said study lead author Dr. Wolfgang Janni.

Healthier lifestyles "might improve the prognosis of breast cancer patients if adherence is high," said Janni, who directs obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Ulm in Germany. His team developed and implemented a new program to help keep those lifestyle changes on track.

The findings were scheduled for presentation on Thursday at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

In the study, Janni's team tracked outcomes for nearly 2,300 early stage breast cancer patients who'd been treated with chemotherapy. Half of these cancer survivors were randomly assigned to two years of ongoing telephone-based, personalized healthy living advice. The other half (the "control" group) received standard, general advice on a healthy lifestyle.

Those in the personalized lifestyle intervention group were coached in areas such as improving their diet, reducing fat intake, and increasing physical activity.

After two years, people in the intervention group saw an average weight loss of 2.2 pounds, while those in the control group experienced an average weight gain of 2.1 pounds, the findings showed.

But the real difference was in cancer outcomes, Janni's team said. The rate of disease-free survival among the nearly 1,500 patients who completed the lifestyle intervention was 35 percent higher than that of those who didn't complete the program. And it was 50 percent higher than women who didn't get the intervention at all.

The findings shouldn't come as a big surprise, Janni said.

Prior research "has shown that obesity and low physical activity are associated with higher risks of developing breast cancer, as well as an increased risk of recurrence and reduced survival," he noted in a meeting news release.

One U.S. expert agreed.

Many women who've survived breast cancer may feel helpless, but "it is great to be able to tell patients that, yes, there is something they can do to help prevent a recurrence," said Dr. Alice Police. She is regional director of breast surgery at the Northwell Health Cancer Institute, in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

She said sometimes women need a little nudge, though, to stay healthy.

"This is a very specific and focused look at the issues and includes information on exactly how a program of diet and lifestyle changes should look and function," Police said, "and that makes it very important."

Dr. Lauren Cassell is chief of breast surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Looking over the new study, she agreed that the new program appears to have merit.

"By providing the patient with a systematic telephone lifestyle intervention program -- which was not difficult to develop and implement -- they were able to increase patient compliance and as a result improve outcomes," Cassell said.

"I believe patients want to help themselves," Cassell said. "Sometimes they just need a little extra support."

Because the findings were presented at a medical meeting, they should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

AHA: How to Stop Smoking … for Good

Published: December 05, 2018


(American Heart Association) -- Nobody knows who first said, "To succeed, you first have to fail." But it's a phrase many smokers likely relate to.

About half of all smokers try to quit each year, according to federal data. But only about 7 percent are successful.

"We've heard about people who say, 'That's it!' and they stop for good. But that's pretty rare," said tobacco researcher John Dani. "The average person makes multiple attempts before they quit."

It is the nicotine in cigarettes that keeps people physically addicted. But there are multiple social and psychological factors that also play a role in determining why some smokers who decide to quit are successful while others aren't.

For women, weight gain is a common reason for relapse, said Dani, chair of the department of neuroscience at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

He advises women and men to substitute exercise for food when battling the cravings and nervous energy that often accompany nicotine withdrawal.

"Healthy habits like running or walking or doing yoga are great alternatives," Dani said. "I know people who started walking the steps of their building at work instead of walking out to the parking lot to smoke a cigarette."

Thomas Payne, director of ACT Center for Tobacco Treatment, Education and Research at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, said moments of extreme tension and strain often play a powerful role in why people return to smoking.

"Stress undermines our coping efforts and is often associated with more intense cravings," he said.

Getting enough sleep each night is essential in reducing stress and increasing a person's chance of quitting for good, he said. Trying to reduce stress with a glass of wine or beer, on the other hand, could make the problem worse.

"Even small amounts of alcohol are associated with an increased risk of relapsing because it causes our inhibitions to drop off a little bit," said Payne, who's also an investigator with the American Heart Association Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center.

Studies show smokers have somewhat higher quitting success rates if they use interventions such as counseling; quit lines; nicotine replacement products such as gum, patches and lozenges; and prescription medications.

"Professional help can make all the difference in the world, and many insurance plans cover all or most of the costs involved," Payne said.

The key, he said, is for people to keep using these programs and products even after they've stopped using tobacco.

"Think of it like antibiotics: You need to keep taking it even if you feel great," Payne said. "A minimum of three months of usage is really what we're shooting for, and for many people, as long as six months may be the sweet spot."

People who want to stay quit also shouldn't fall prey to the "one won't hurt" myth, Dani said.

"Just one often turns into one every couple of weeks, and then once a week, and pretty soon, they're smokers again," he said. "It's similar to how people start smoking in the first place."

Those who want to quit should also realize that setbacks are manageable.

"People can recover from a slip if they have a good mindset about it," Payne said. "The important thing is not to beat yourself up about it. Think about it as a learning opportunity. Recognize what happened that made you want a cigarette so badly and plan for how you'll react in similar situations down the road."

Every day, week and month a person goes without smoking, the better their chances of kicking nicotine addiction forever, experts say.

"There is never no risk of relapsing," Payne said. "But the greatest risk period is the first two weeks after quitting. And once a person gets past the first three months or so, relapse risk drops considerably."

High doses of vitamin C can reduce inflammation in cancer patients

Published: November 28, 2018


(Natural News) Vitamin C is so much more than just a potent immune booster to help ward off wintertime colds and flus. It is also one of the best weapons we have against disease-causing inflammation. Infection, autoimmune issues and the effects of the chemical environment we live in can all result in chronic inflammation. When long-term inflammation sets in, permanent tissue damage can occur, creating harmful immune responses and resulting in many serious illnesses, including cancer.

Researchers have long understood that vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which fights off the free radical damage that can interfere with immune function and lead to inflammation. They have also understood that cancer patients generally exhibit high levels of inflammation and that this inflammation can affect their prognosis and recovery as well as lowering the efficacy of conventional cancer treatments – which let’s face it, aren’t that effective to start with.

Now, a study conducted by researchers from the Riordan clinic, and published in the Journal of Translation Medicine, has joined the dots between high doses of vitamin C, a reduction in inflammation and better long-term outcomes for cancer patients.

Vitamin C has “preventative and therapeutic value”

As reported by Natural Health 365, inflammation levels in the body have a direct bearing on the risk of developing cancer as well as the chances of recovery and survival. Studies have found that patients with the lowest inflammation levels are more likely to survive at least two years after a cancer diagnosis. The Riordan research team therefore set out to determine if using high-dose intravenous vitamin C (IVC) treatments could lower inflammation and improve recovery outcomes for these patients.

For their study, the research team retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients who had received IVC treatments and analyzed their plasma ascorbate concentration levels before and after treatment. C-reactive protein levels – which rise when inflammation is present in the body – were also measured.

The study abstract conclusion notes:

Evidence suggests that IVC may be able to modulate inflammation, which in turn might improve outcomes for cancer patients. IVC may serve as a safe, adjunctive therapy in clinical cancer care.

Vitamin C is cancer’s worst enemy

This was not the first study to show the amazing effects of vitamin C in the treatment of cancer.

A study by researchers from the University of Salford in the U.K., published in the journal Oncotarget, found that vitamin C inhibits the growth of cancer cells in the laboratory, demonstrating a 10 times higher potency than the experimental drug 2-DG in the process.

Natural News previously reported:

[V]itamin C starves cancer stem cells by blocking a process called glycolysis. The process is responsible for glucose metabolism, and inhibiting it prevents the mitochondria from gaining essential energy for survival. Using vitamin C as an add-on treatment to chemotherapy may show potential in stemming tumor recurrence and further progression of cancer.

“We have been looking at how to target cancer stem cells with a range of natural substances including silibinin (milk thistle) and CAPE, a honey-bee derivative, but by far the most exciting are the results with vitamin C,” noted study author Dr. Michael Lisanti. “Vitamin C is cheap, natural, nontoxic and readily available so to have it as a potential weapon in the fight against cancer would be a significant step.”

Serious cancer protection requires high doses of vitamin C, however, with most studies finding that at least 5,000 mg must be taken each day to maximize its cancer-fighting potential.

Many Patients With Polyps Delay Follow-up Colonoscopy: Study

Published: November 26, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- Many people found to have colon polyps (adenomas) that can lead to cancer don't have follow-up colonoscopies at recommended times, a new study finds.

Patients who have certain types of adenomas, or large or numerous ones, are at increased risk for colorectal cancer, the study authors reported in the Nov. 20 issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

"When a patient is found to have some of these higher-risk findings, guidelines recommend that they come back for another colonoscopy in three years. This is called surveillance colonoscopy, and it improves our chances of preventing colorectal cancer or detecting it at an early stage," study author Jessica Chubak said in a journal news release.

Chubak is a senior scientific investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute.

Her team analyzed data from more than 6,900 U.S. patients, aged 50 to 89, with high-risk adenomas. The patients had their initial colonoscopies done at one of three Kaiser Permanente systems, or at the Parkland Health & Hospital System, which treats patients regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

Between 47 percent and 59.5 percent of the Kaiser Permanente patients had a follow-up colonoscopy within 3 1/2 years, compared with 18.3 percent of Parkland patients.

The significantly lower rate at Parkland was most likely due to differences in patient populations and resources, according to Chubak.

The study found that patients with more adenomas or with higher-risk adenomas were more likely to get the follow-up colonoscopy at the recommended time.

Age was another factor. Patients between the ages of 60 and 74 were more likely than those between the ages of 50 and 54 to get timely colonoscopies, while those in their 80s were less likely to do so.

"We encourage patients and health care providers to talk about how and when to test for colorectal cancer, and we encourage health care systems to find ways to support patients and providers in following the guidelines," she said. "In the future, it will be important to understand what types of reminders work best for different patient populations and in different health care settings."

Study: Women who eat lots of fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of breast cancer

Published: November 24, 2018


(Natural News) Statistics indicate that breast cancer is the second most common cancer in American women. While death rates from this deadly disease have been steadily decreasing in most Western countries, a breast cancer diagnosis remains both terrifying and dangerous. Medical experts advise regular screening, lifestyle changes and a healthy diet as the best ways to reduce the risk of developing this form of cancer. And a recent study has confirmed just how important eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies is in preventing this disease.

The study, conducted by a research team from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and published in the International Journal of Cancer, found a “significant association” between increased consumption of fresh produce and a reduced risk of breast cancer, particularly the risk of developing aggressive tumors.

Study based on over 30 years of data

As reported by Integrative Practitioner, the research team based their metanalysis on dietary questionnaires submitted every four years by 88,310 women to the Nurses’ Health Study beginning in 1980, and a further 93,844 women who submitted questionnaires for the Nurses’ Health Study II, which commenced in 1991.

The study found that women who consumed more than 5.5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day benefited from an 11 percent reduction in breast cancer risk when compared to those who ate fewer than 2.5 servings daily. An adult sized portion of fresh produce is defined as 80 grams or 2.8 ounces, and generally amounts to a cup of raw leafy veg, or half a cup of other raw or cooked fruits and veggies.

Interestingly, when the researchers isolated the link between fresh produce consumption and specific types of breast cancers, they found that the higher consumption was specifically linked to a reduction in risk of developing the most aggressive forms of this cancer, specifically HER2-enriched, ER-negative and basal-like tumors.

In a previous study, the same research team identified a link between high fiber intake and breast cancer risk reduction, but in this study, they found that the benefits of higher fruit and veg consumption was unrelated to the amount of fiber consumed. This would indicate that other nutrients and antioxidants are likely responsible for the risk reduction.

“Although prior studies have suggested an association, they have been limited in power, particularly for specific fruits and vegetables and aggressive subtypes of breast cancer,” said Maryam Farvid, first author and a research scientist with the Department of Nutrition. “This research provides the most complete picture of the importance of consuming high amounts of fruit and vegetables for breast cancer prevention.”

Increase consumption of vegetables high in carotenoids to reduce breast cancer risk

While increasing overall consumption of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables would be advisable to reduce breast cancer risk, a previous study conducted by researchers from Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that vegetables high in carotenoids are especially beneficial in this regard.

Natural News reported:

The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of the data from 8 separate studies on a total of 7,000 women – consisting of 80 percent of all published data on the link between carotenoids and breast cancer. In addition, the researchers re-analyzed all the original blood samples in order to standardize measurements of carotenoid levels.

They found that women whose blood was in the top 20 percent in terms of carotenoid levels were 15 to 20 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than women whose blood was in the bottom 20 percent.

So, what are carotenoids and which vegetables contain the most? Carotenoids are a group of A vitamins that include lycopene, lutein and beta-carotene, and are potent free radical fighting antioxidants. The veggies that contain the most carotenoids are carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens and tomatoes. 

Cancer link identified among people who work near chemical sanitizers, disinfectants, and sterilizers

Published: November 23, 2018


(Natural News) Exposure to chemical disinfectants and sanitizers on the job may increase the risk of developing thyroid cancer, a recent study found. Researchers examined 960 study participants and pooled data from their employment histories including job titles, responsibilities, and company name. The experts then calculated potential biocide and pesticide exposure in workers. Biocides used in the study included cleaning and health care products that were most commonly used in medical diagnosis and building maintenance. Pesticides included in the study were agricultural chemicals, herbicides, and rodenticides. These were commonly used in farming, landscaping and lawn services.

Data showed that workers exposed to various biocides — such as sanitizers, disinfectants, and deodorizers — had a 65 percent increased risk of thyroid cancer. Data also showed that women who were exposed to any form of biocides on the job had a 48 percent likelihood of  developing thyroid cancer. Men who had occupational exposure to the chemicals were up to three times as likely to develop thyroid cancer, the researchers added.

“Limited studies have investigated occupational exposure to pesticides in relation to thyroid cancer and have reached inconsistent results. Our study did not support an association between occupational exposure to pesticides and risk of thyroid cancer, but suggested that occupational exposure to other biocides might be associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer,” said lead study author Dr. Yawei Zhang in an article in Reuters.

The researchers did not identify the mechanism behind the link between occupational biocide exposure and increased risk of thyroid cancer. However, they inferred that the chemicals may possibly alter thyroid hormones. Triclosan, for example, was shown to reduce the levels of two thyroid hormones crucial in metabolism and growth. The liver cancer-causing chemical is commonly found in cleaning products. The results recommend that workers “should take caution when they apply pesticides or other biocides in work place or at home by wearing protective clothes or mask and washing hands afterwards,” Dr. Zhang added.

The findings were published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Occupational chemical exposure raises thyroid cancer risk in studies

A 2014 meta-analysis found a suggestive correlation between chemical, radiation exposure in workers and increased thyroid cancer risk. Data also showed that cancer risk was observed in pesticide-exposed workers and agricultural occupations. However, researchers said the findings were suggestive, but inconsistent. The researchers also noted that more studies with larger numbers of cases were needed to support the findings. The results were published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Another study published in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health established a link between workplace chemicals and thyroid cancer. Researchers pooled data from Sweden’s National Cancer and Death Registries and found that women workers exposed to solvents — including  shoe-cutters, lasters, and sewers — had an increased likelihood of developing thyroid cancer. The findings demonstrate that solvent exposure in the shoe and leather industries raise the odds of cancer in women workers, researchers said. 

The fungicide penconazole, mostly used in grape cultivation, was also linked to higher thyroid cancer risk. Researchers said cultured human cell lines exposed to the endocrine-disrupting fungicide was shown to alter a gene expression that was associated with the onset of thyroid cancer. The findings were published in the journal Toxicology in Vitro.

Pesticide use was also tied to the onset of many other forms of cancer. A report by the Pesticide Action Network North America revealed that farmers and pesticide applicators were at an increased risk of prostate cancer, while women exposed to pesticides has higher odds of developing ovarian cancer.

Women benefit from mammography screening beyond age 75

Published: November 21, 2018


Women age 75 years and older should continue to get screening mammograms because of the comparatively high incidence of breast cancer found in this age group, according to a new study being presented next week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Guidelines on what age to stop breast cancer screening have been a source of confusion in recent years. In 2009, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released controversial guidelines stating there was not enough evidence to assess benefits and harms of screening mammography in women age 75 and older. However, other professional groups advise that women may continue to undergo mammography screening as long as they are in good health.

"Ongoing debate exists regarding the age to cease screening mammography," said Stamatia V. Destounis, M.D., radiologist at Elizabeth Wende Breast Care, LLC, in Rochester, N.Y. "Our findings provide important data demonstrating that there is value in screening women over 75 because there is a considerable incidence of breast cancer."

For the study, Dr. Destounis and colleagues analyzed data from 763,256 screening mammography exams at Elizabeth Wende Breast Care between 2007 and 2017. Screening-detected cancer was diagnosed in 3,944 patients. Further analysis was performed to identify the number and type of cancers diagnosed among women 75 years of age and older.

There were 76,885 patients (10 percent) age 75 and older included in the study. The average age of the patients was 80.4. A total of 645 malignancies were diagnosed in 616 patients, for a cancer rate of 8.4 detections per 1,000 exams in this age group.

"For the relatively small percentage of our screening population that was composed of women 75 and older, the patients diagnosed in this population made up 16 percent of all patients diagnosed with screening-detected cancers," Dr. Destounis said.

Researchers also found that 82 percent of the malignancies diagnosed were invasive cancers, of which 63 percent were grade 2 or 3, which grow and spread more quickly. Ninety-eight percent of the cancers found were able to be treated surgically. Positive lymph nodes were reported at surgical excision in 7 percent of the patients. Seventeen cancers were not surgically treated due to advanced patient age or overall degraded patient health.

"Most of the tumors found in this age group were invasive, and almost all of these patients -- 98 percent -- underwent surgery," Dr. Destounis said.

Mammography plays a critical role in the early detection of breast cancer, because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before a woman or her physician can feel them, and early detection leads to better treatment options and improved survival.

Dr. Destounis advises women over 75 who are in relatively good health to continue routine screenings.

"The benefits of screening yearly after age 75 continue to outweigh any minimal risk of additional diagnostic testing," she said.

The power of herbal medicine for treating liver cancer

Published: November 21, 2018


(Natural News) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 33,000 Americans develop liver cancer every year and from these, approximately 26,000 people die from the disease. One of the main reasons for the high mortality rates of liver cancer is the limited treatments available for the disease, which include chemotherapy and surgical removal of affected areas. Moreover, these treatments also cause various complications and side effects that are potentially fatal. Recently, more and more studies are looking at the potential use of natural products for cancer therapeutics. A study conducted by researchers from the United Arab Emirates University and the University of Sharjah showed that the herbs fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), senna (Cassia acutifolia), and Rhazya stricta, which is locally known as harmal, have anticancer properties.

The liver is a very important organ. It is responsible for many metabolic processes, including breaking down substances, extracting energy, and removing toxins in the bloodstream. Its involvement in these functions causes the liver to become vulnerable to damage inflicted by harmful substances like free radicals that could lead to cancer. Antioxidants have been associated with anticancer properties since they neutralize reactive molecules to prevent DNA damage, abnormal cell division, and mutagenesis.

Although there are synthetic antioxidants, these have negative effects on a person’s health so natural sources are still preferred because of their safety. Potential sources of antioxidants include fenugreek, senna, and harmal, which are commonly used as traditional medicines in the United Arab Emirates. Locals used fenugreek and senna to remedy flatulence and constipation, respectively. Meanwhile, they used harmal to treat diabetes, sore throat, and inflammatory conditions.

In this study, which was published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the researchers looked at the antioxidant and anticancer activities of extracts from these three plants to determine if they have potential use in liver cancer treatment. They evaluated these properties through in vitro experiments. The authors of the study observed potent antioxidant and anticancer activity, which they observed to be dependent on the former. From the three plants, harmal proved to be the most promising since it was able to reduce free radicals and kill cancer cells to a greater degree.

Overall, these results show that fenugreek, senna, and especially harmal have potent antioxidant and anticancer activities. These prove that natural products have great potential as alternatives to harmful conventional treatments. 

Common liver diseases

Pre-existing liver problems can increase the risk of liver cancer. Some of the most common liver diseases include the following:

  • Hepatitis — There are many different types of hepatitis. These can either be caused by viral infections or by an unwarranted immune response of the body to the liver.
  • Cirrhosis — This condition occurs in people who consume too much alcohol or those who have chronic hepatitis or Wilson’s disease. In people with this condition, healthy liver tissue is replaced by scar tissues. Cirrhosis is associated with most cases of liver cancer.
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease — People suffering from diabetes and obesity are likely to have excessive amounts of fat in the liver. These can cause liver damage and inflammation.
  • Hemochromatosis — Although iron is needed by the body, too much of it can damage the liver.

Health Tip: Managing Hair Loss From Chemotherapy

Published: November 19, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- Chemotherapy may damage the cells that make hair and cause it to fall out, the National Cancer Institute says.

Hair loss may begin two weeks to three weeks after starting chemotherapy, the agency says. Before hair begins to fall out, consider shaving your head, getting a wig or wearing a hat or scarf, the institute advises.

After hair loss begins, the agency suggests:

  • Always protect your head from the sun. Use sunscreen or wear a hat when you are outside.
  • Protect your head from the cold by wearing a hat or scarf.
  • Consider wearing a soft scarf while you sleep.

Natural chemicals produced by vegetables like kale and broccoli help maintain a healthy gut and prevent colon cancer

Published: November 18, 2018


(Natural News) Cases of colon cancer are on the rise, which is bad news considering it’s the second leading cause of cancer death in adults in the U.S. How can you avoid being one of the 97,220 new cases of colon cancer expected this year?

While there is a genetic component to colon cancer that you can’t really get around, there is still plenty within your control. Regular screening remains crucial to catch cancer that has already developed, but when it comes to keeping it from occurring in the first place, diet can have a big impact.

You might have heard that consuming fiber is important, but now there’s something else you can add to that list: vegetables from the Brassica genus like kale, cabbage and broccoli. According to a new study carried out by researchers from the Francis Crick Institute, a compound our body produces upon digesting such vegetables can protect not only from gut inflammation but also colon cancer.

The compound, known as indole-3-carbinol, or I3C, works by activating a protein known as the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). AhR passes signals to the immune and epithelial cells that line the gut to protect it from inflammatory reactions to gut bacteria.

The researchers found that when mice ate a diet that was enriched with I3C, they didn’t develop cancer or even inflammation; when those who were already developing colon cancer were switched to I3C-rich diets, they ultimately developed significantly fewer tumors, and those that did develop were also more benign.

They said that in the absence of AhR, intestinal stem cells don’t differentiate into the specialized epithelial cells responsible for creating protective mucus and absorbing nutrients. Instead, they start dividing uncontrollably, which can cause colon cancer.

The researchers said they were surprised to see how profoundly diet could impact gut inflammation and colon cancer. Thankfully, adding such foods to your diet can restore epithelial cell differentiation, boosting intestinal infection resistance and stopping colon cancer from forming.

Next, the researchers would like to carry out tests on organoids derived from biopsies of the human gut, and if that’s successful, they’d like to eventually move on to human trials. They say there isn’t much information available on which vegetables work best in protecting against cancer, so they’d like to explore the connection further. Their findings were published in the journal Immunity.

While studies continue, the researchers emphasize that it’s never a bad idea to eat more vegetables. They also pointed out that even those who don’t have a genetic risk factor for colon cancer can develop the disease if their diet is lacking in vegetables.

What is the Brassica vegetable family?

The study focused on the Brassica family of vegetables, which are also known as cruciferous vegetables. They’ve gotten a lot of attention for the phytochemicals they contain, especially glucosinolates, which have been linked to a reduced risk of developing several types of cancer.

Some of the vegetables in this category include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, cauliflower, and turnips.

Consuming these vegetables raw is ideal, although it’s far more practical to eat raw mustard seeds mixed into salad or raw broccoli – perhaps dipped in hummus – than, say, raw Brussels sprouts. Experts warn that boiling these vegetables might reduce their health-boosting compounds, but stir-frying and steaming don’t appear to have this effect.

Brassica vegetables aren’t usually at the top of most people’s list of favorite vegetables when it comes to flavor, but their health benefits certainly make them a lot more palatable.

Pomegranates are some of the best foods you can eat to prevent cancer

Published: November 16, 2018


(Natural News) Why do you need to make pomegranates a part of your diet? Apart from being refreshingly delicious, pomegranates are packed with vital nutrients and offer many health benefits, among which is protection from cancer.

Fruits are an essential part of a healthy diet. A significant chunk of their nutritional profile is composed of antioxidants. These are compounds that fight free radicals, which are unstable molecules that tend to accumulate in your body because of factors like natural body processes, your diet, the presence of disease, and your environment.

High concentrations of free radicals in your body lead to oxidative stress, which damages your cells and tissues. The effects of oxidative stress can range from prematurely aging skin to serious diseases, including cardiovascular conditions, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer.

Antioxidants modify free radicals and turn them into harmless substances your body can either process or expel without incident. In this way, they are an essential part of a substantial protection against cancer.

Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants. One cup of its seeds gives you 30 percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamin C, known as one of the most powerful antioxidants in nature. Pomegranate peel and juice also have an abundance of punicalagins. These compounds have antioxidant properties that are three times more potent than those of either red wine or green tea, which by themselves are known for being antioxidant powerhouses.

But the cancer-fighting benefits of pomegranates do not stop with their antioxidant load. A review of the fruit’s value in cancer therapy, published in the journal Pharmacological Research, emphasized its anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, anti-angiogenic, anti-invasive, and anti-metastatic properties as great reasons it is so effective against cancer.

Inflammation is, under normal circumstances, actually a good thing. As part of your immune response, it tells you that your immune system is up and functional. It becomes problematic when it is prolonged and persistent, becoming a risk factor for cancer and a number of other diseases. The punicalagins and other antioxidant compounds found in pomegranate are linked to reductions in inflammatory activity in breast cancer and colon cancer cells.

Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, is a key factor in metastasis or the proliferation of cancer cells to other parts of the body. Once cancer has metastasized, it becomes a lot harder to treat, so preventing angiogenesis is an important step in disrupting the disease’s progression. The extracts of pomegranate peel have been confirmed, in a study published in the journal Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences, to have both antiangiogenesis and antiproliferative effects against melanoma.

Pomegranates can also induce apoptosis, or cellular death, according to research published in Growth Hormone & IGF Research. At the end of the day, cancer cells are simply mutated cells. Causing them to undergo the natural process of cellular death by administering substances with apoptotic effects is considered one of the safest ways to kill tumor cells and treat cancer. In the study, pomegranates were shown to cause the deathof prostate cancer cells.

Other health benefits of pomegranates

Here are yet more reasons to eat more pomegranates:

  • Pomegranates lower blood pressure – Hypertension increases your risk of dying from a heart attack. Some studies have found that drinking pomegranate juice for two weeks can effectively reduce your systolic blood pressure.
  • Pomegranates reduce joint pain – The discomfort caused by arthritis can be debilitating. The anti-inflammatory compounds in pomegranates can help mitigate the damage caused by osteoarthritis on the joints.
  • Pomegranates treat impotence – Impaired blood flow is considered one of the reasons behind erectile dysfunction. The antioxidants in pomegranates help improve blood flow and may even aid in improving erectile response.
  • Pomegranates protect from infections – The compounds in pomegranates have been shown to protect against bacterial and fungal infections. Among the microorganisms this fruit can boost your resistance to is Candida albicans, the cause of yeast infections.
  • Pomegranates may improve memory – Some studies indicate that pomegranates can help improve the memory of those who have just gone through surgery. Other inquiries found that it can enhance both visual and verbal memory.
  • Pomegranates improve exercise performance – One study found that taking pomegranate extracts 30 minutes before exercise can improve your blood flow. This can delay the onset of fatigue and improve your workout’s efficiency.

Teenage Obesity May Raise Pancreatic Cancer Risk Years Later

Published: November 14, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- Obesity in the teen years may increase the risk of developing deadly pancreatic cancer in adulthood, researchers report.

The odds for this rare cancer can quadruple due to obesity, the Israeli research team found. Moreover, the risk rises as weight increases, even affecting men in the high normal weight range.

"It's been known for some time that obesity can increase an individual's risk of developing pancreatic cancer, and [this is] an important new finding suggesting that obesity and overweight in adolescence can also impact risk," said Allison Rosenzweig, a senior manager at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

But being overweight or obese doesn't doom you to getting the disease, said Rosenzweig, who had no role in the study.

"Because pancreatic cancer is a relatively rare disease, thought to impact around 55,000 Americans this year, even those at an increased risk have a low likelihood of developing the disease," she said.

Also, because this study looked at retrospective data, it can't prove that excess weight is a cause of pancreatic cancer, only that an association exists.

Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, with a five-year survival rate below 10 percent, according to the cancer network.

For the new study, researchers led by Dr. Zohar Levi, of Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva and Tel Aviv University, collected data on more than 1 million Jewish men and 700,000 Jewish women in Israel. Participants had physical examinations at ages 16 to 19 from 1967 to 2002.

Using the Israeli National Cancer Registry, the researchers identified cases of pancreatic cancer through 2012. Their follow-up revealed 551 new cases of pancreatic cancer.

Compared with normal weight, obesity was associated with a nearly four times higher risk for cancer among men. Among women, the risk was slightly more than four times higher, the researchers found.

Overall, the researchers attributed almost 11 percent of the pancreatic cases to teenage overweight and obesity.

The report was published online Nov. 12 in the journal Cancer.

Dr. Chanan Meydan, of the Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Israel, wrote an editorial accompanying the study. He said weight gain in adolescence may increase inflammation, which damages cells and might raise cancer risk.

"It would be interesting to find whether the inflammatory process in obesity has links to the inflammatory process in malignancy. Are they connected somehow?" said Meydan.

The mechanism behind inflammation is "for the most part, a delicately balanced phenomenon with grave consequences when it's out of balance," he said.

Learning more about how this "switchboard of control" works may help scientists better understand the association between obesity and cancer, Meydan added.

Acid reflux linked with an increased chance of deadly disease such as cancer

Published: November 11, 2018


(Natural News) People who over-eat should rein in their eating habits this new year, warns a study. Researchers from the Tulane University School of Medicine discovered that frequent heartburn in older adults increases the risk of throat, tonsil, and sinus cancer in older people. In the study, the existence of heartburn increased the likelihood of developing the diseases by at least three percent.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which causes heartburn or acid reflux, happens when stomach acids come up the esophagus. This is known to affect 10 to 30 percent of the population, particularly older people and those who are obese. Additionally, medication for acid reflux increases your risk even further, as studies have shown that regularly taking pills can “double your chances” of developing stomach tumors.

With the results, the research team suggests senior adults with the condition be checked for head and neck cancers. According to the authors, GERD is related to “development of malignancy” in the upper digestive tract. This opens up the possibility for early detection and intervention. To note, cancers found in the respiratory system and upper digestive tracts claim 360,000 lives per year.

While most people have experienced acid reflux at some point, it is classified as a mild form of GERD if it happens once every two weeks at least, or moderate to severe if it happens at least once a week.

The group studied data from 13,805 patients aged 66 or older with either cancer of the respiratory system or the upper digestive tract, and compared them to a control group of 13,805 patients without cancer. They discovered a link between GERD and cancer in the larynx (voice box).

“This intuitively makes sense owing to the proximity to the esophagus and the readily exposed mucosa that lines the larynx, resulting in reflux-related tissue injury, mucosal inflammation, and chronic laryngitis,” according to the team.

The findings pointed that GERD was related to the cancer of the throat, tonsils, and parts of the sinuses.

Fast facts on GERD

Most instances of GERD can be modified with changes in lifestyle. Still, be on the lookout for the usual symptoms of the condition:

  • A burning sensation in your chest (heartburn) which may be worse at night
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Regurgitation of food (sometimes a sour liquid)
  • Feeling a lump in your throat

Acid reflux can be awful if it happens at night, as additional signs include:

  • A chronic cough
  • Laryngitis
  • Asthma (either a new case or worsening)
  • Disrupted sleep

Immediately look for a health care provider if GERD is accompanied by severe chest pain, shortness of breath, and pain in the arm or jaw – as this may also be the signs of a heart attack. Additionally, seek medical care if you experience severe and frequent GERD symptoms.

The likelihood of developing GERD is increased for people who are obese or have medical conditions such as a hiatal hernia (swelling of the highest point of the stomach) and connective tissue disorder. GERD can also appear during pregnancy or when the stomach is delayed with emptying.

Factors such as smoking; eating large meals or eating late in the evening; consuming fatty and fried foods; and drinking certain medicine such as aspiring all increase the likelihood of aggravating GERD.

Mammograms Do Save Lives: Study

Published: November 09, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- Women confused by the conflicting advice surrounding the benefits and timing of mammograms will be interested in a new study out of Sweden.

The research, involving more than 50,000 breast cancer patients, found that those who took part in a breast cancer screening program had a 60 percent lower risk of dying from the disease in the 10 years after diagnosis, and a 47 percent lower risk 20 years after diagnosis.

"This is really what we've been waiting for because there has been so much hoopla about mammography not reducing the death rate from breast cancer," said Dr. Lauren Cassell, chief of breast surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She was not involved with the study.

Many people have said it's better treatment, and not screening, that has improved survival, Cassell explained.

"But when you do pick up cancers earlier, patients do better," she said. "We've had a gut feeling that early detection makes a difference, and now we can prove it."

Study co-author Robert Smith, vice president for cancer screening at the American Cancer Society, said, "The advantage of screening is that it offers a woman, if she develops breast cancer, the opportunity to treat that cancer early when the treatment can be less aggressive and when she has more treatment choices."

Finding cancer in an early stage may also avoid aggressive treatments that can diminish quality of life, he added.

"Mammography today, in the setting of modern therapy, confers a substantial benefit to women who attend regular screening," Smith said. "The mortality reductions we observe are principally due to mammography detecting the most aggressive cancers early."

While the findings may seem obvious, the effect of mammograms on survival is something that's been debated in recent years.

The American Cancer Society recommends annual breast cancer screening for women aged 45 to 54, while the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends mammograms every other year for women aged 50 to 74.

The task force says the evidence for earlier screening isn't convincing, but women should make that decision on an individual basis.

Part of the discrepancy is caused by how the evidence is gathered, Smith explained.

Much of the data that has gone into making recommendations came from older studies that weren't able to clearly break out the benefit of early screening on survival, he said.

Early screening finds cancers that wouldn't show symptoms for years, Smith said. Also, survival from breast cancer can get confused with improvements in treatment, making it hard to tease out the benefit of screening, he added.

For the new study, researchers were able to take advantage of highly detailed Swedish data that spanned 52 years. This enabled the researchers to look at data from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, when widespread screening didn't exist, and 39 years later, when widespread screening was available.

What's more, the data for the new study were "individualized" -- so researchers could look at the outcome of every woman in the registry who had breast cancer and whether she was screened or not. This enabled Smith's team to pinpoint the effect of screening on survival.

The researchers also were able to quantify the benefit of screening by looking at deaths after diagnosis.

"The latest study adds to the large body of literature that demonstrates early detection of breast cancer through screening programs saves the most lives," said Dr. Nicole Saphier, director of breast imaging at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Monmouth Regional, in Middletown, N.J.

Breast cancers in women aged 40 to 49 tend to grow faster than breast cancers in older women, she said. "This means mammography and early detection are essential in these women, when the chances of survival are highest," she added.

For the study, Smith and his colleagues collected data on more than 52,400 women aged 40 to 69 in Dalarna, Sweden. All were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1977 and 2015. All the patients received the latest treatment for their stage of cancer, regardless of how it was found.

Dr. Jay Baker is president of the Society of Breast Imaging. In a society news release, he said that, "The conclusion of this study could not be more clear -- modern treatments are important but not solely sufficient. Women who get regular screening mammograms cut their risk of dying of breast cancer by about half."

The Indian gooseberry and chameleon plant contain compounds that kill cancer cells

Published: November 09, 2018


(Natural News) The cost of chemotherapy is often too hard to bear. Even disregarding the physical effects of the dangerous “treatment,” the financial strain alone could force cancer patients to flirt dangerously with despair, or worse, potentially fatal “quick cures.” Yet many people forget that the solution to their condition may be in natural medicine, particularly in certain ethnomedicines found in Asia.

Two such plants were recently validated in a clinical review published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Here, researchers found that the chameleon plant (Houttuynia cordata) and the Indian gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica) were able to successfully inhibit the growth of cancer cells. MTT assay and flow cytometric analysis of the ethanolic extracts of both plants revealed that compounds found in each induced apoptosis (cell death) and arrested the cell cycle of the cancer. These effects were noted to be dose-dependent.

The team likewise found that these plants displayed low toxicity to non-cancer cells. This means that while they are potent against cancer cells, they did not harm healthy ones.

It was hypothesized that these effects can be attributed to the presence of several phenolic acids, namely gallic, p-hydroxybenzoic, vanillic, syringic, p-coumaric, ferulic, and sinapinic acids.

The results of the study suggest the fermented broth of the chameleon plant or the fruit of the Indian gooseberry can be used as an alternative means to treat or prevent cancer.

Fighting the “Big C” using food

Overwhelming evidence links food to health. What you eat and how you do so directly influences how you feel, what you can do, and how vulnerable you are to disease.

Cancer is a scary medical issue to consider, but you can prevent it from happening to you by choosing to diligently follow healthy lifestyle habits. This includes skipping the burgers, chips, and cakes.

Dr. Colleen Doyle, the director of nutrition and physical activity for the American Cancer Society, notes that while “there’s no one food that will reduce your risk of this disease, it’s the synergy between many nutrients [emphasis added] – vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants – that’s likely to give you the most protection.”

Here are some foods that have incredible cancer-fighting properties.


Berries are excellent sources of polyphenols, antioxidants that reduce and repair damage to the cells. They also boost your immune system.

A study performed by a team from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California found that black raspberries and strawberries, in particular, were the most effective in inducing cell death in cancer lines linked to the colon, oral, and breast variety. This may have something to do with a unique phytochemical called ellagic acid found in these specific berries.


Grapes contain resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Studies have shown that deep purple and red grapes show the most potential in inhibiting tumor growth.

We recommend that you eat your resveratrol rather than drink it. Red wine does contain this compound, but the alcohol content found in the beverage may actually increase your risk of cancer.


The bright red color of this superfood is thanks to an antioxidant called lycopene. Data suggest that lycopene can protect cells from damage and kill off those that aren’t growing properly. They are especially useful in guarding against skin cancer as lycopene has been studied to negate the negative effects of UV light.


Cancers are vampires — so do yourself a nerdy favor and battle the disease with this yummy (though stinky) superfood. Garlic contains unique antioxidant phytochemicals that intervene in several steps of the cancer process.

To reap the full benefits of garlic, try eating them raw and as part of a homemade salad.

Blood cancers can be treated safely and naturally with cinnamon

Published: November 07, 2018


(Natural News) Cinnamon does more than add a pleasant and appetizing aroma to your favorite dishes – it can also help treat certain cancers. A study published in the Journal of Herbal Medicine found that cinnamon has the ability to modify the growth of and kill blood cancer cells.

Myeloma is a type of blood cancer. Another name for it is multiple myeloma. It’s not as rare as other types of cancer, accounting for only 2.1 percent of all cancer deaths in the U.S. in 2018. Myeloma, however, is a dangerous disease, leaving only 50.7 percent of patients alive five years after getting diagnosed with the disease.

The authors of the study looked at cinnamon as a possible natural alternative treatment for myeloma. Cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory properties are well-established – the researchers wanted to know if the spice had anti-proliferative and anti-angiogenic effectsas well.

They obtained human myeloma cell line RPMI 8226 and treated it with cinnamon bark powder extract. The authors noted that at a concentration of 72 micrograms per milliliter (mcg/mL), cinnamon caused a 50 percent inhibition of cell growth rate in the treated cancer cells compared to untreated controls.

The extract also prevented the formation of new blood vessels that may increase the tumor cells’ ability to spread or metastasize. It was further observed that the extract caused the fragmentation of cancer cell DNA, inducing apoptosis or cellular death.

Observations 24, 48, and 72 hours after treatment confirmed that the effects of cinnamon were time-dependent. DNA fragmentation was at its highest at the 72-hour mark compared to the 24- and 48-hour marks.

The researchers concluded that cinnamon may be an anti-cancer herbal medicine because of its ability to inhibit angiogenesis, prevent inflammation, and induce apoptosis in myeloma tumor cells.

The many health effects of cinnamon

Cinnamon has been used as a natural medicine about as long as it has been used as an aromatic spice. Here are some of the reasons it’s good for the body:

  • It has anti-inflammatory effects – As previously mentioned, cinnamon can help fight inflammation. Although inflammation plays a key role in the immune response, too much of it for too long causes damage to the cells, leading to a variety of diseases. Cinnamon can help minimize inflammation and its negative effects.
  • It has antioxidants – The antioxidants in cinnamon enable it to protect the body from free radicals that cause cellular damage. A comparison of the antioxidant content of 36 spices ended with cinnamon as the winner – it outranked even known superfoods like garlic and oregano.
  • It can help lower “bad” cholesterol – Some fats are good. Having too much of the bad ones can increase one’s risk of heart disease. Cinnamon has been proven to help by lowering the concentration of the bad ones and increasing that of the good ones. It can also help prevent hypertension that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • It reduced insulin resistance – People with Type 2 diabetes do not respond as well to insulin as normal people do. Called insulin resistance, this causes the concentration of glucose in the blood to rise, leading to a wide range of complications. Cinnamon increases the cells’ sensitivity to insulin and helps lower blood sugar levels.
  • It prevents neurodegenerative disorders – Two compounds in cinnamon prevents the abnormal buildup of proteins in the brain that leads to Alzheimer’s. The nutrients in the spice also protect the neurons from Parkinson’s disease by modulating the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain and improving motor function.

The Sooner You Quit Smoking, the Better

Published: November 06, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- Despite the well-known dangers of smoking, the sizable benefits of quitting may be overlooked, a new study suggests.

"These findings underscore the benefits of quitting smoking within five years, which is a 38 percent lower risk of a heart attack, stroke or other forms of cardiovascular disease," said study author Meredith Duncan, from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

"The bottom line is if you smoke, now is a very good time to quit," Duncan said in an American Heart Association news release.

Her team also found that it takes more than 15 years from the time you quit until your cardiovascular disease risk returns to the level of those who never smoked -- so the sooner you quit, the better.

Cigarette smoking in America is declining and leaving a growing population of former smokers. Earlier studies have hinted that the risk for heart disease lessens within a few years after quitting, but these studies haven't looked closely at smoking history, including changes in smoking habits.

In this study, Duncan and her colleagues analyzed data on the lifetime smoking histories of nearly 8,700 people who took part in the Framingham Heart Study.

At the beginning of the study, none of the participants suffered from cardiovascular disease. Over 27 years, researchers compared the risk for heart disease among people who never smoked with those who quit.

They found that more than 70 percent of heart disease occurred in current or former smokers who smoked at least 20 pack-years -- smoking one pack a day for 20 years.

But smokers who quit within the last five years cut their risk for cardiovascular disease by 38 percent, compared with people who continued to smoke. Moreover, it took 16 years after quitting for the risk of cardiovascular disease to return to the level of never smokers, the researchers found.

The findings are to be presented Sunday at the American Heart Association's annual meeting, in Chicago. Such research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

How Necessary Is HPV Cervical Cancer Screening for Women After Age 55?

Published: November 02, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- Testing for human papillomavirus (HPV) has become the standard of care in screening for cervical cancer. But now, Canadian researchers say it may become unnecessary in women aged 55 or older who have one negative result with the test.

The DNA-based HPV test is highly accurate in detecting 14 high-risk strains of the virus that causes the majority of cervical cancers.

In the new study, researchers first gathered data on more than 200,000 women living in British Columbia. They then created a mathematical model that estimated the lifetime risk of cervical cancer in older women, all of who had not been vaccinated against HPV.

The result: Just one negative HPV DNA test at the age of 55 suggested that a woman has a very low risk (less than 1 percent) of cervical cancer, and continued screening with this type of test would provide little benefit, according to the study.

However, the researchers said that regular screening with the traditional -- and cheaper -- Pap test up to age 75 may still prevent some cervical cancers. But even in that case, benefits would decline with age.

"Our results suggest that for countries that use HPV testing as part of their screening, it might be possible to stop screening earlier than we are currently doing, provided women have a negative HPV test," said study author Talia Malagon, of McGill University in Montreal.

But one obstetrician/gynecologist said it's too soon to make firm recommendations.

"I caution readers to use this data as a reason to stop performing cervical cancer screening after age 55," said Dr. Adi Davidov, who directs Ob/Gyn care at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City.

"Firstly, this study uses mathematical modeling, which may not be accurate," he said. "In addition, many patients are already skipping their annual gynecology visit because of newer recommendations of less frequent cervical cancer screening. If women stop seeing their gynecologist at age 55, I worry that other serious conditions will be left undiagnosed."

The new findings were published Nov. 1 in The Lancet Oncology journal.

Right now, most guidelines say cervical cancer screening -- done with either with the Pap test or HPV DNA test -- can be stopped after ages 65 to 69. However, there's been a lack of high-quality evidence to support this recommendation, the researchers said.

"Cervical cancers are caused by infections with oncogenic [cancer-causing] HPV types," Malagon explained in a journal news release. For decades, doctors have turned to the Pap test "to detect the precancerous lesions caused by HPV, which can then be treated before they ever progress to cervical cancer," she added.

The Pap test has saved thousands of lives, but "it is far from perfect because it does not always detect the precancerous lesions which develop into cancer," Malagon said.

"We have known for some time that directly screening instead for the HPV types that cause cervical cancer performs just as well, if not better, than [the Pap test] for screening in women below the age of 60," she said.

What hasn't been known is whether an older woman who tests negative on an HPV screen can safely stop screening, as happens for some older women whose Pap tests come back negative.

The new study might help clear up that question, Malagon said.

She cautioned that the study "does not necessarily suggest that all screening should stop at age 55, since the benefits of continued screening depend on the type of screening used. For countries that still use [Pap test] screening, screening at older ages should further reduce the risk of cervical cancer," she noted.

Furthermore, "our study did not include any cost-effectiveness analysis, which will be a useful next step to inform policy decisions before any change in guidance is considered," Malagon said.

Dr. Jill Rabin helps direct Women's Health Programs at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y. She called the findings "interesting," but offered several caveats.

She said factors that might cause "latent" HPV to go undetected -- things like stress or certain medical conditions -- might be in play for some older women, rendering continued HPV screening valuable.

Furthermore, one rare but potentially deadly form of cervical cancer, called adenocarcinoma of the cervix, does not rely on HPV and "most likely will go undetected until its later stages if a regular routine examination is not performed," Rabin noted.

She also agreed with David that cervical cancer screening has long been a "gateway" to better gynecologic care generally.

"My concern is if they stop coming for Pap tests, they will miss an examination which may help uncover other medical and gynecological issues, such as breast, uterine, ovarian and colon cancer," Rabin said.

Even low levels of heavy metals exposure can raise your risk of cancer and multiple organ damage

Published: October 31, 2018


(Natural News) Heavy metals are all around us. You might not see them, but they are widely distributed throughout the environment thanks to their many agricultural, technological, medical, and industrial applications. You might think that if you don’t come into direct contact with these metals, your risk must be minimal, but studies show that even low levels of exposure to heavy metals increase your risk of organ damage and cancer.

The toxicity of heavy metals depends on many factors. While the dose, chemical species and method of exposure all play a role on the heavy metal’s end, there is also an individual risk element depending on your genetics, age, gender and nutritional status. However, researchers have identified a few priority metals that are of concern to everyone on account of their high toxicity: lead, mercury, arsenic, chromium and cadmium.


Researchers from Jackson State University estimate that several million people around the world are subject to chronic arsenic exposure. In places like India, Mexico, and Taiwan, the groundwater is highly contaminated with arsenic, and it also exists in the air. Most people’s biggest source of exposure is diet. This is very concerning because arsenic has been linked in epidemiological studies to problems like vascular disease, neurological disorders, diabetes, and cancer. Exposure to this metal affects all the organs.


Cadmium occurs naturally in the Earth’s crust, but its use in industrial applications like batteries, alloys and pigments is very concerning. The most common methods of exposure to this metal are through ingesting food and inhaling air or cigarette smoke that contains it. Chronic exposure to low levels of the metal has been linked to osteoporosis and emphysema. It has long been linked to lung cancer as well as that of the stomach, prostate, liver and kidney.


Chromium exposure comes from its use in wood preservation, industrial welding, pigments, leather tanning and chrome plating. Although it’s an essential nutrient that helps with metabolism, exposure to higher amounts is very dangerous. For those who aren’t exposed to it at work or due to their proximity to manufacturing plants, ingestion of food and water containing it is the most common form of exposure. It usually targets the lungs, but it is also shown to cause multi-organ toxicity, asthma, and respiratory tract cancer; those who have greater contact with it are subject to even more serious conditions.


Most people are already familiar with how toxic lead can be thanks to public awareness campaigns and the reduction of the heavy metal to a large degree from many industrial uses. Nevertheless, a quarter of homes with more than one child younger than six in the U.S. still have significant amounts of lead in dust, paint, or soil. In fact, lead poisoning is still a common pediatric health problem. It is also found in many people’s drinking water thanks to decaying infrastructure and pipes.

Lead concentrations of just one part per billion can be problematic. Lead exposure has been linked to diminished intelligence, speech problems, attention disorders, social problems, and stunted growth in children, while adults may note spontaneous miscarriage or lower sperm count from low levels of exposure. At higher exposure levels, people might experience brain or kidney damage, blood problems, and gastrointestinal disease.


Mercury is so ubiquitous in our environment that it is impossible to avoid it entirely. However, one of the biggest sources of exposure to mercury in humans comes from dental amalgams, which is something that can be easily avoided. Consumption of mercury-contaminated fish is also a major source. Mercury is toxic to the nervous system, and it can also damage the digestive, nervous, respiratory and immune systems.

Many Mistakenly Believe Alternative Therapies Can Cure Cancer

Published: October 30, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- Despite evidence to the contrary, four in 10 Americans believe alternative therapies can cure cancer, a new survey finds.

Research shows that cancer death rates are much higher among patients who use only alternative therapies than among those who receive standard cancer treatments, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

The group's second annual National Cancer Opinion Survey also found that many Americans oppose limiting cancer patients' access to opioid painkillers (such as OxyContin) and support the use of medical marijuana by cancer patients.

The high cost of cancer also emerged as a major concern among Americans.

"This survey serves as a barometer of the American people's views on important cancer-related issues," said ASCO President Dr. Monica Bertagnolli.

"It's revealed a number of critical areas we urgently need to address -- from correcting widespread misinformation about cancer treatments, to ensuring patients have access to the pain medication they need, to alleviating the financial distress both patients and their loved ones experience too frequently," Bertagnolli said in a society news release.

The online survey, conducted in July and August, included almost 4,900 U.S. adults aged 18 and older. About 1,000 have or have had cancer.

The survey found that 39 percent of respondents -- including a high number of cancer patients and family caregivers -- believe cancer can be cured using just alternative therapies, such as enzyme and oxygen therapy, diet, vitamins and minerals.

According to ASCO Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Schilsky, "There's no question that evidence-based cancer therapy is necessary to effectively treat the disease."

He added: "The vast majority of alternative therapies either haven't been rigorously studied or haven't been found to benefit patients. When patients are making critical decisions about which cancer treatments to undergo, it is always best to follow the evidence from well-designed research studies."

Younger people -- between 18 and 53 -- were more likely to put their faith in alternative therapies, the survey revealed.

A recent study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute underscored the danger of such thinking: The death rate from common cancers for people who receive only alternative medicine treatments is 2.5 times higher than for patients who receive standard treatments, such as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and hormone-based therapies.

Other findings from the ASCO survey:

  • Nearly three-quarters of the respondents said new regulations that make prescription opioids harder to obtain should not apply to cancer patients.
  • Forty percent of cancer patients who have used opioids in the past 12 months to manage pain or other symptoms have had trouble obtaining the medications.
  • More than eight out of 10 respondents support use of medical marijuana by cancer patients. But 48 percent of cancer patients who have used medical marijuana in the past 12 months said they had trouble obtaining it.
  • If diagnosed with cancer, 57 percent said their chief concern would be the financial impact on their families or the cost of treatment. Dying or concerns about cancer-related pain and suffering would be the key worry for a smaller percentage (54 percent each).

"Patients are right to be concerned about the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis on their families. It's clear that high treatment costs are taking a serious toll not only on patients, but also on the people who care for them," Schilsky said.

"If a family member has been diagnosed with cancer, the sole focus should be helping them get well," Schilsky said. "Instead, Americans are worrying about affording treatment, and in many cases, they're making serious personal sacrifices to help pay for their loved ones' care."

Why nutrition-based therapy works better than chemotherapy for treating cancer

Published: October 29, 2018


(Natural News) Two thousand years ago, Hippocrates said that food should be the medicine. Recent developments mirror that ancient saying when it comes to cancer therapy. An Indian study indicated that nutritional therapy possessed certain advantages over chemotherapy as a means of treating the disease.

Cancer comes in many forms that attack various parts of the body. Whatever its appearance or location, it always involves the runaway growth of cells that invade and infect healthy cells.

Most cancers are treated using chemotherapy. Synthetic drugs are applied to the tumorous region to stop the growth of cancer cells or kill them outright.

These anti-cancer drugs are expensive and painful to apply. They also have serious side effects that often undermine the already fragile health of patients.

Researchers have sought out alternative means of treating the increasing number of cancer cases in the world. They set their sights on plants, which have provided both food and medicine since the dawn of time.

Plants have provided a number of natural compounds that show great promise for treating cancer. Three out of every five approved drugs comes from a plant or another natural source.

Fighting cancer with the right nutrition instead of toxic chemicals

Nutritional therapy is a promising means of treating all kinds of disease. It places emphasis on preventing the disease from ever taking root in the body by ensuring proper, balanced nutrition.

Studies have shown connections between the onset of cancer and the diet of patients. The low consumption of whole grains is considered to be a significant factor in the development of cancer.

The “green medicines” used by nutritional therapy are less likely to have adverse effects on the body due to their organic and natural origin. In comparison, chemotherapy drugsare synthetic chemicals that are not normally found in nature, so there is a much higher chance of them causing adverse effects or getting rejected by the body.

The nutrition-based approach to fighting cancer can, therefore, be described to be chemopreventive. It relies on natural compounds that can provide both chemo-preventive effects and the significant amounts of nutrition needed by cancer patients.

Instead of bypassing the immune system of the body to directly attack the disease, it strengthens and supports the immune system so that the body has a much better chance of avoiding illness or recovering from an ailment.

Research on these natural compounds takes more time and effort compared to those covering chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It is more difficult to identify the specific dietary ingredient that is responsible for preventing cancer from spreading or developing in the first place.

Consuming functional foods boosts the immune response against cancer

Nutritional therapy works by improving digestion and nutrient absorption. It uses functional foods that are packed with nutrients such as phytochemicals.

The bioactive compounds in functional food serve to stimulate the immune system. If the immune system is unbalanced, the natural substances guide it back to its normal state.

Many epidemiological studies have taken note of the reduced risk of contracting cancer for people who consumed large amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Such diets are also responsible for preventing heart disease.

The results of these and other studies have increased interest in nutritional therapy. Modern tools are being used to evaluate the therapeutic effects of functional foods used in diet-based treatments.

The review concluded that nutritional therapy could one day achieve viability as a treatment for lifestyle diseases, which include heart disease and obesity as well as cancer.

Study explains why tall individuals are more prone to cancer

Published: October 26, 2018


For most cancers, risk increases dramatically with age. But what about the effect of having more cells in the body? Might taller people be more prone to cancer because they have more cells?

Yes, according to Leonard Nunney, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Riverside, who examined data from four large-scale surveillance projects on 23 cancer categories. Each of these cancer studies established that tall individuals are at an increased risk of cancer, with overall risk increasing by about 10 percent per 10 centimeter (4 inch) increase in height.

Other researchers have proposed that that factors acting early in life -- nutrition, health, social conditions -- independently influence height and cancer risk. But Nunney, a professor of biology, challenges this hypothesis.

"I tested the alternative hypothesis that height increases cell number and that having more cells directly increases cancer risk," he said. "The data strongly supported this simple hypothesis. For most cancers, the size of the height effect is predictable from the height-related increase in cell number."

Study results appear in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

When Nunney performed a comparison of the observed effect of height on the risk of specific cancers for both women and men, he found that the effect of being tall on the risk of thyroid and skin cancer was high in women; for men, skin cancer stood out.

"Tall individuals are at increased risk of almost all cancers," he said. "But skin cancers -- such as melanoma -- show an unexpectedly strong relationship to height. This may be because the hormone IGF-1 is at higher levels in taller adults."

IGF-1 is a growth factor that is particularly important in early development, Nunney explained, but IGF-1 has also been linked to a higher rate of cell division in tall adults.

"If your cells divide more often, then that adds to your cancer risk," he said. "If skin cells are dividing more rapidly in tall people due to high levels of IGF-1, then this could account for the increased risk for melanoma."

Of the 18 cancers scored in both sexes, Nunney found only four showed no significant increase with height in either sex: pancreas, esophagus, stomach, and mouth.

"It is possible that these cancers are more strongly associated with environmental factors," he said. "It is possible, too, that in these tissues cell numbers do not scale with body size -- but this seems unlikely."

Nunney explained that two factors cause increased cancer risk: one is having more cells; the other is having more cell divisions.

"If you double the cells, you double the cancer risk," he said. "If you double the number of cell divisions, you more than double the cancer risk. Living a long time is the worst thing to do if you want to avoid cancer. But then what's the alternative?"

Men are taller than women on average, which may account for why men get more cancer than women.

"About a third of this effect can be accounted for by men having more cells," Nunney said. "But something else is going on to explain the rest."

Breeds of dogs also demonstrate cancer's link to height, he added.

"Smaller dogs get less cancer than bigger breeds of dogs."

Next, Nunney plans to explore how different cancers are being prevented in the body by looking at big long-lived animals.

"If all else is equal, large, long-lived animals should experience higher incidence of cancer than small, short-lived animals," he said. "After all, larger animals have more cells, more divisions, and more mutations. But they show no such tendency to be more cancer prone. This is called Peto's paradox, and I argue it can be resolved through adaptive evolution, namely, that species subject to selection for larger body size and greater longevity evolve additional layers of cancer suppression. I'm interested in exploring how as a species gets bigger and lives longer, it evolves additional barriers to cancer."

Three proteins may play key roles in female fertility and cancer biolog

Published: October 25, 2018


Three proteins regulate each other with surprising twists and turns in female mouse eggs, a finding that may play an important role in female fertility and cancer biology, according to Rutgers-led research.

The unexpected complexity in how these proteins regulate one another does not occur in any other healthy cell type, said study senior author Karen Schindler, an associate professor who specializes in infertility research in the Department of Genetics at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

The three proteins are Aurora kinase A (AURKA), AURKB and AURKC, and the research is published in the journal Current Biology.

"Our research could provide a way to diagnose and perhaps treat certain types of infertility that end in early miscarriage," said Schindler, who works in the School of Arts and Sciences. "This work also impacts cancer biology research because we suspect that the inter-protein regulation that occurs in eggs also occurs in certain types of aggressive cancers. Therefore, the findings could be useful in thinking about precision medicine treatments for cancer patients."

Schindler, an internationally recognized expert in female gamete (egg) biology, said she specializes in infertility research because she's fascinated by the surprisingly high frequency of infertility worldwide. One in six couples struggle to start a family in the U.S. alone, she noted.

The next steps for reproductive biology include studying the genomes of infertile patients to see if mutations in their genes represent a significant percentage of the patient population with poor outcomes in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic, Schindler said. The next steps for cancer biology include carefully evaluating cancers that have all three proteins and finding ways to harness their interactive regulation into a cancer therapeutic.

Scientists at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre contributed to the study.

New kind of compound shows early promise against prostate cancer

Published: October 23, 2018


A new type of molecule blocks the action of genes that drive the growth of therapy-resistant prostate cancer, a new study finds.

"Rather than continue making compounds that are just like older drugs, the focus of our work has been to rethink the definition of what a drug-like molecule can be," says corresponding author Susan K. Logan, PhD, associate professor in NYU Langone's Department of Urology.

A joint research team from NYU School of Medicine and New York University found that their "cyclic peptoids" reduced the growth of prostate cancer cells in cultures by 95 percent compared to untreated cells. The experimental drugs also blocked a key, related growth signal in live animal tests.

"We designed our peptoids specifically to hit targets that are currently 'undruggable,'" such as those causing treatment-resistant prostate cancer," adds co-senior author Kent Kirshenbaum, PhD, professor in NYU's Department of Chemistry.

According to the team's report, published online October 23 in Nature Communications, the study compounds blocked growth by interfering with the interaction between the protein beta-catenin and T-cell factor (TCF) transcription factors -- proteins that turn on genes that make cells multiply.

Although the genes are critical for early development of prostate tissue, this gene activity is normally dialed down in adulthood, unless changes re-activate it, which can lead to cancer.

First Test

Unlike many existing drugs, the new compounds do not target androgen hormonal signals known to encourage prostate cancer. Most patients treated with anti-androgen drugs see their cancer growth resume within months, so the field has sought additional therapeutic strategies. Many efforts have focused on abnormal Wnt protein signals that occur in 20 percent of the most treatment-resistant prostate tumors, but none have made it to the clinic.

Wnts can cause the buildup of the protein beta-catenin in cell nuclei, where it turns on genes. Leading up to the new study, the research team had spent years designing a new class of rugged, adjustable, protein-like compounds called peptoids that are just large enough to engage with the broad, flat surfaces used by beta-catenin to interact with TCFs.

Further, the researchers knew their compound must be engineered, not just to include the right chemical components, but also to fold into a desired three-dimensional form. The researchers "stapled" together the ends of a linear peptoid molecule to form a loop-like, or cyclic, structure. This form resembled the protein hairpins that TCFs depend on to interact with beta-catenin. The stapling stiffened the peptoid such that it could occupy and block the docking site that TCFs would otherwise use.

A new generation of computer simulation tools enabled the team to see early on how drug candidates might fit into their protein target. After this virtual testing, the team then synthesized the compounds for experiments in nutrient-filled, artificial environments called spheroids, where cancer cells grow in three dimensions. Spheroids are more lifelike than in two-dimensional petri dish cultures.

In these experiments, cyclic peptoids reduced treatment-resistant prostate cancer cell growth by roughly 95 percent when compared to untreated cancer cells over 22 days, which compared to just 40 percent growth reduction in cells treated with the unstapled version of the peptoid. The compounds also decreased androgen hormonal signaling, suggesting a dual anti-cancer effect, say the authors.

The researchers also wanted to show that their lead compound could block beta-catenin signals in a live animal. They chose zebrafish, in which rare genetic changes (mutations) that let beta-catenin build up are known to keep eyes from forming. In repeated experiments in fish with such mutations, the team found that that their looping peptoids -- by blocking overactive beta-catenin, a TCF interaction similar to those affecting human prostate cancer -- rescued eye development.

Furthermore, the treatment showed no toxicity in zebrafish at the rough equivalent of a dose that may work clinically in humans. Moving forward, the team will soon test their peptoids on human prostate cancer cells grown in mice. In addition, tests are planned to see if the compound can block the beta-catenin, a TCF interaction known to encourage growth in colon and breast cancers.

Envisioning the design of a new drug class required a multi-disciplinary effort. Logan is an expert in prostate cancer, and helped to choose beta-catenin as the cyclic peptoid target. Study author and androgen expert Michael J. Garabedian, PhD of NYU Langone's Department of Microbiology has long collaborated with the team of chemists at NYU, led by senior study author Kent Kirshenbaum, who designed the peptoids.

First author Jeffrey Schneider was the MD/PhD student in Dr. Logan's lab who did much of the experimental work on the project; and co-first author, Tim Craven of NYU's Department of Chemistry designed the active cyclic peptoid. Craven is a student in the lab of Richard A. Bonneau, PhD, at the NYU Center for Genomics and Systems Biology.

Holger Knaut, PhD, an assistant professor at Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine at NYU Langone, led the zebrafish work. Other study authors include Amanda Kasper, PhD, and Michael Haugbro of NYU's Department of Chemistry; Chi Y. Yun, of Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine; and Erica Briggs from NYU Langone's Department of Urology.

This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grants CA112226, T32GM007308, 5T32CA009161, and NS069839, and by a National Science Foundation grant, CHE-1507964. Additional support came from NYU Department of Biology's Fleur Strand Fellowship and NYU Graduate School of Arts and Science-funded Horizon Fellowship in the Natural and Physical Sciences.

Love Organic Foods? Your Odds for Some Cancers May Fall

Published: October 22, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- Paying extra for those pricey organic fruits and vegetables might pay off: New research suggests eating them might help you dodge a cancer diagnosis.

People who consumed the most organic foods had a 25 percent lower cancer risk compared with those who ate the least, the study found.

Specifically, eating more organically grown foods was linked to a 34 percent reduced risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, a 76 percent decreased risk for all lymphomas and an 86 percent reduced risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, said lead researcher Julia Baudry. She is a scientist with the Center for Research and Epidemiology and Statistics at the Sorbonne Paris Cite.

"If our findings are confirmed, organic food consumption may contribute to cancer prevention," Baudry said, though the study did not prove they directly caused cancer risk to drop.

And people shouldn't stop eating fruits and vegetables if they can't afford more expensive organically grown options.

Filling your diet with fruits and vegetables is known to reduce your risk of chronic disease and cancer, regardless of whether or not they're organic, Baudry and other experts said.

Mark Guinter, a postdoctoral fellow with the American Cancer Society, said, "More importantly than anything is making sure you consume your fruits and vegetables, avoid your red and processed meat, and eat whole grains. Those are established relationships with cancer, replicated in multiple populations."

Guinter added that "if people are interested in changing their diets or buying foods that are known to help prevent their cancer risk, those would certainly be avenues to take rather than simply buying organic."

For this study, Baudry and her colleagues analyzed data from nearly 69,000 people taking part in an ongoing French study of the associations between nutrition and health.

The participants all filled out questionnaires regarding their consumption of organic products. These included fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat and fish, eggs, breads and other foods.

They also filled out annual questionnaires regarding the status of their health, including instances of cancer, and were followed for 4.5 years on average.

The researchers found an association between eating organic foods and lower cancer risk, even after taking into account other risk factors for cancer.

"We did consider a variety of factors that may be involved in the relationship," Baudry said, "such as sociodemographic, socioeconomic and lifestyle factors, as well as family history of cancer, or healthier diet in terms of nutrients and food consumption. Controlling for these factors did not substantially modify the findings."

Organic foods are grown without pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals. Studies have shown that people who eat organic foods have lower levels of pesticide residue in their urine, she noted.

"Exposure to pesticide has been associated with higher cancer risk" in previous studies, Baudry said.

Specifically, Guinter said, this study supports results from a British study that also found an association between organic food consumption and lower risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

"Whenever you see a result that's replicated like that, you find it a little more believable. There's good biologic plausibility behind it," Guinter explained.

According to Dr. Frank Hu, chair of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, animal studies have shown that pesticides can increase DNA damage, which can increase risk of cancer. Chemicals also can disrupt the endocrine system.

But, Guinter and Hu said, there's not enough human evidence yet upon which to base any new dietary recommendations.

People should eat right and maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise to prevent cancer, Hu said. Cutting back on alcohol also will help.

"Basically, increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, whether conventional or organic, can improve overall diet quality and reduce your risk of chronic disease, including cancer," said Hu, senior author of an editorial accompanying the new study.

Why some cancers affect only young women

Published: October 19, 2018


Among several forms of pancreatic cancer, one of them affects specifically women, often young. How is this possible, even though the pancreas is an organ with little exposure to sex hormones? This pancreatic cancer, known as "mucinous cyst," has strange similarities with another mucinous cancer, affecting the ovaries. By conducting large-scale analyses of genomic data, researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and at the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG), Switzerland, in collaboration with colleagues from the United States have provided an answer: both tumours originate from embryonic germ cells. While still undifferentiated, these cells migrate to the reproductive organs. On their way, some can mistakenly stop in other organs, bringing a risk of tumour that may occur 30 years later. By allowing a better classification of these mucinous tumours, this study, to be read in the Journal of Pathology, paves the way for a more appropriate and personalized management aligned with the tumour's origin.

Mucinous tumours of the ovary and pancreas affect young women -- between 30 and 40 years of age. They take the form of a large cyst, a kind of ball filled with liquid. Rare -- they account for about 3% of ovarian and pancreatic cancers -- they are usually treated by surgery. Taken in time, the cancerous cyst is completely removed. However, in 15% of cases, the cyst breaks before surgery; the cancer cells spread into the peritoneum, giving rise to metastases that are highly resistant to chemotherapy. In such cases, the survival prognosis of patients does not exceed one year.

"Initially, this work was based on clinical observation," says study leader Dr. Intidhar Labidi-Galy, a researcher at the Translational Research Centre in Onco-haematology at the UNIGE Faculty of Medicine and a physician at the HUG. "As a specialist in ovarian cancer, I came across an article detailing the genetic profile of mucinous tumours of the pancreas. To my great surprise, they had the same genetic alterations as mucinous tumours of the ovary, although these two organs have no direct relationship with each other. Dr. Kevin Elias, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Brigham's and Women's Hospital, Boston, USA and first author of the paper, identifies the close links between the two tumours: "We found the same genetic mutations, the same types of victims -- young women, often smokers -- and, even more surprisingly, ovarian tissue in pancreatic cysts."

A common origin

Why is a non-gynaecological cancer almost exclusively female? What is the link between the ovary and the pancreas? "It is only during embryogenesis that these organs are really close. At the very beginning of pregnancy, the embryo possesses primordial germ cells -- in a way, precursors of gametes, oocytes or spermatozoa -- which, between 4 and 6 weeks of pregnancy, makes a long migration in the human body. They pass behind the future pancreas and arrive in the outline of the gonads, around the 7th week of pregnancy. Most likely, some of these germ cells stop on the way," says Dr. Labidi-Galy.

Using public databases, Kevin Elias and Petros Tsantoulis from UNIGE, together with Intidhar Labidi-Galy and co-leader Ronny Drapkin from University of Pennsylvania have developed a transcriptomic profile -- which identifies gene expression levels in a tissue -- of primordial germ cells at 6, 7, 11, 16 and 17 weeks of pregnancy, as well as of tumoral and healthy ovarian and pancreatic cells.

The researchers then compared these data, on one hand with the pancreas and on the other hand with the ovary, by studying for each of these two organs the profile of healthy tissues, mucinous tumours and other types of tumours. Their results are clear: in both cases, the transcriptomic profile of the mucinous tumour is far away from the supposed tissue of origin (ovary or pancreas), but very close to the primordial germ cells. This proves that these tumours are closer to the primordial germ cells than to the organ in which they developed.

Unexpected stops during migration

These results indicate that a stop in cell migration that occurred accidentally during the embryonic life of these women may, decades later, be expressed as cancer, depending on their other risk factors (e.g. smoking) and where in the body these primordial germ cells have settled. Indeed, while the scientists have examined the pancreas and ovary, similar cases have been reported everywhere on the migration line of germ cells, particularly in the liver or peritoneum.

"Our results will not change the surgical management of these patients, but may lead us to reflect on chemotherapy protocols. These rare tumours are a bit like the orphan diseases of cancers, for which there are no standard treatments. By linking them to other cancers, we hope to identify treatments that would be effective. For each mutation, what is the best treatment? We are here at the heart of personalized oncology: knowing your enemy in every detail makes it easier to fight him," concludes Dr. Labidi-Galy.

Increased mortality in children with inflammatory bowel disease

Published: October 18, 2018


Children who develop inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease) have an increased risk of death, both in childhood and later in life, a study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in the journal Gastroenterology reports. It is therefore important that patients who are diagnosed as children are carefully monitored, argue the researchers behind the study.

The researchers identified patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease between the years 1964 and 2014 via the Swedish patient register. Using these data, they compared mortality rates in about 9,400 children who developed IBD with those of other children.

Their results show that children who developed IBD before the age of 18 have a three to five-fold higher mortality rate than people without IBD, both during childhood and into adulthood. This translates to a 2.2-year reduction in life expectancy in individuals monitored up to the age of 65.

"It should be remembered that we're talking small differences in number of deaths," explains lead author Ola Olén, consultant and researcher at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Medicine in Solna. "Most young people with IBD do not die earlier than their peers, but a few individuals with a severe case of IBD and serious complications such as cancer greatly elevate the relative risk."

The most common cause of death was cancer, while fatalities due to IBD itself accounted for the largest relative increase in mortality.

"Individuals who are diagnosed in childhood need to be monitored carefully," says Dr Olén. "Those who might especially benefit from being closely monitored to avoid fatal intestinal cancer are children with ulcerative colitis, who also have the chronic liver disease primary sclerosing cholangitis."

IBD in adults has previously been linked to shortened life expectancy. IBD is often thought to have a more aggressive disease course in children than in adults and has been associated with several types of cancer. However, it has been unclear how life expectancy is affected by childhood-onset IBD and if the mortality rate has changed since the introduction of modern drugs.

"IBD therapy has improved greatly since the 1960s," says Dr Olén. "For one thing, we often now use new types of immunomodulating drugs. However, we couldn't see that mortality rates have gone down since their introduction."

Diets Rich in Fish Oil Could Slow the Spread and Growth of Breast Cancer Cells

Published: October 16, 2018


Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those typically contained in fish oil, may suppress the growth and spread of breast cancer cells in mice. This is according to a new study in the journal Clinical & Experimental Metastasis, which is published under the Springer imprint. According to lead author, Saraswoti Khadge of the University of Nebraska Medical Centre in the US, fatty acids stopped further delayed tumors from forming, and blocked the cancerous cells from spreading to other organs in mice. The researchers speculate that this might be because of the way in which omega-3 fatty acids support the body's immune and anti-inflammatory systems.

Two groups of adult female mice were fed a liquid diet for which the calorie count and percentage of fat that each contained were the same. The notable difference was that one diet contained plant oils rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, and the other diet contained fish oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The mice were then injected with 4T1 breast cancer cells that cause aggressive tumors to develop in the breast. These cells are known to spread spontaneously to other parts of the body, such as bones, the lungs and liver, but less frequently to the heart, kidneys and ovaries. The mice were autopsied and studied 35 days after the breast cancer cells were injected.

Khadge and her colleagues found the chance that the breast cancer cells would take hold in the breast glands of the adult female mice was significantly lower in those on the omega 3-diet. Tumors took significantly longer to start developing in these mice, and this had an influence on their size. After 35 days, the tumors detected in their breasts were 50 per cent smaller than those that developed in the omega 6-group. The likelihood of the cancerous cells growing and spreading to other organs in the omega-3 group was also lower and these mice survived longer than those on the omega-6 diet. Indeed some of the omega-3 fed mice appeared to never develop breast cancer.

More T-cells were found in the tissue of the mice in the omega-3 group than in the omega-6 group, and these correlated with dying tumor cells. This is important because T-cells are white blood cells that play a role in strengthening the immune system against tumors. The mice fed an omega-3 diet also had less inflammation. According to Khadge this could mean that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids helps to suppress the type of inflammation that can trigger the rapid development and spread of tumors as well as promote T-cell responses to tumors.

"Our study emphasizes the potential therapeutic role of dietary long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in the control of tumor growth and metastasis," explains Khadge, who emphasizes that this does not mean that an omega-3 diet could summarily prevent breast cancer tumors from forming altogether.

This study is based on dietary consumption during adult life. Its findings are in line with previous studies that showed how eating fish oil based diets during pregnancy and as a child markedly suppresses the development and spread of breast cancer.

Health Tip: Considering Genetic Testing For Cancer?

Published: October 13, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- Of all cases of cancer, only 5 to 10 percent are thought to be strongly related to an inherited gene mutation, the American Cancer Society says.

While most people do not need to have predictive genetic testing, the society says testing is worth considering if you have:

A number of close relatives -- such as parents or siblings -- with cancer, especially with the same kind of cancer or stemming from the same genetic mutation.

A close family member with more than one type of cancer.

A family member who developed cancer at a younger-than-expected age.

A family member with a relatively rare cancer, such as breast cancer in a male.

If you and family members are of a certain ethnic background.

If you have a physical symptom of an inherited cancer, such as having colon polyps.

A compound found in many medicinal herbs shown to prevent cancer, blood vessel growth

Published: October 12, 2018


(Natural News) Angiogenesis, the process of forming new blood vessels, begins even before humans are born. Although important to sustaining life, angiogenesis also plays a significant role in the metastasis or proliferation of cancer cells. Because of this, stopping the process is vital to delaying the progression of cancer. As part of their quest for a safe and universally effective treatment for the disease, researchers seek natural substances that inhibit angiogenesis. Oridonin, a compound found in many medicinal herbs, is one such substance, says a study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

The anti-tumor activity of oridonin is well-established, but information regarding its antiangiogenic effects is scarce. The researchers wrote that previous experiments on the compound did indicate its ability to inhibit the growth of capillary networks in tumors.

To test for possible antiangiogenic properties, the researchers conducted an in vitro experiment involving human umbilical vascular endothelial cells (HUVECs) and an in vivo inquiry into the embryonic vasculogenesis and postnatal regeneration of zebrafish.

Endothelial cells make up the endothelium that lines blood vessels. The researchers found that when administered with oridonin, these cells ceased their proliferation, migration, invasion and tube formation. Furthermore, the compound induced apoptosis, the process of normal cellular death. In short, oridonin caused the HUVECs to die out.

In vivo, the administration of oridonin prevented angiogenesis during the embryonic development of zebrafish. Angiogenesis was also inhibited in tail regeneration tests. Analysis showed that the compound reduced the levels of vascular endothelial growth factors, the proteins that stimulate the development of new blood vessels. In contrast, oridonin increased the levels of the gene TP53, which is expressed in the body’s bid to suppress the growth of tumors.

The researchers confirmed the antiangiogenic capabilities of oridonin which give it its antitumor and antimetastatic activities.

Natural ways to suppress cancer

Cancer is not easy to treat, but consuming the right diet can help. Here are some of the best anti-cancer foods one needs to have:

  • Tomatoes – This fruit is rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that’s noted to be more potent than either vitamin E, alpha-carotene, or beta-carotene. It is known to have protective properties against cancers in the prostate and the lungs. Tomatoes are best consumed cooked because this way, its lycopene content is fully released ready to be used by the human body.
  • Garlic and onions – Despite their pungent taste and smell, these vegetables are good for the body. The sulfur compounds that give them their distinct characteristics also block the formation of nitrosamines. These are carcinogens that have been linked to cancers in the colon, breast, and liver.
  • Fish – Fatty fishes like salmon and herring are excellent sources of heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids. This type of fat has been linked to improvements in general health and better organ function, but its protective effects against prostate cancer are also well-noted. Fruits like avocados, nuts, and seeds are other good sources of this “good” fat.
  • Olive oil – Aside from its antibacterial and cardioprotective benefits, olive oil also has potent anti-cancer activity. It is a key component of the Mediterranean diet and so is credited with helping make breast cancer rates in Mediterranean countries lower than those in the United States.
  • Grapes – Red grapes contain the antioxidant activin which has remarkably potent cardioprotective and anti-cancer effects. The said antioxidant can also lower the risk for neurodegenerative disorders. One can have it not just from eating the fruits, but also from drinking red wine and red grape juice.
  • Green tea – The epigallocatechin-3 gallate in green tea counters urokinase, an enzyme that plays a vital role in tumor growth. Regularly drinking green tea may lower one’s risk of developing pancreatic, lung, esophageal, breast, liver, and skin cancer.

Obesity Doubles Odds for Colon Cancer in Younger Women

Published: October 11, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- While rates of colon cancer have declined among people 50 and older, they're on the rise for younger Americans. Now, new research suggests widening waistlines may be one reason why.

In the study, women aged 20 to 49 who were overweight or obese had up to twice the risk for colon cancer before age 50, compared with normal-weight women.

"Our findings really highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, beginning in early adulthood, for the prevention of early onset colorectal cancer," said study co-author Yin Cao. She's an assistant professor of surgery at Washington University in St. Louis.

Even though obesity has been floated as a possible reason for rising colon cancer rates among the young, "we were surprised by the strength of the link," Cao said in a university news release.

The study wasn't designed to prove cause and effect, only an association. But one colon cancer expert wasn't surprised by the finding.

Dr. Jeffrey Aronoff, a colorectal surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, noted that obesity has long been a risk factor for colon cancer in people over 50. "I do believe that a healthy lifestyle, which includes diet, exercise," may help curb even younger people's odds for the disease, he said.

In the new study, Cao and her colleagues collected data on more than 85,000 U.S. women ages 25 to 44 who took part in a large, ongoing study.

Women who were heavy as teens and gained weight in early adulthood had an increased risk of colon cancer before age 50, the researchers found.

In fact, they estimated that about 22 percent of early onset colon cancers could have been prevented if those who were diagnosed had maintained a healthy weight. Across the whole American population, that could represent thousands of cases of early onset colon cancer that might be prevented.

The risk of early onset colon cancer for overweight and obese women was the same regardless of whether or not the woman had a family history of the disease.

Cao and her team members cautioned that the study cannot prove that increased weight causes early onset colon cancer, only that the two are associated. It is possible that weight is just a marker for other risk factors, such as diabetes or metabolic issues like high blood pressure or higher cholesterol, which have also been on the rise.

And the researchers stress that despite the rise in colon cancer among people under 50, it remains relatively rare, at about 8 cases per 100,000 people. Still, because screening for colon cancer usually starts at 50, those who develop it younger are often diagnosed when the disease is in its late stages and more difficult to treat.

That's why the American Cancer Society recently lowered its recommended age at which most people should have a first screening colonoscopy. The new guidelines advise that screening begins at 45, not 50 as in the previous guidelines.

Colon cancer expert Dr. Sherif Andrawes directs endoscopy at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City. He said the study "is very important and confirms a recent observation among clinicians and experts in the field."

And Andrawes said there's another reason to urge Americans to get screened for colon cancer earlier.

"A bigger concern is those younger patients with cancer present symptomatic at diagnosis -- which may reflect aggressive disease and an advanced stage at onset of discovery, which leads to overall worse outcomes in a younger individual," he said.

And what about the risk for young obese men? According to Cao's team, one limitation of the study is that it included mostly white women, so more research is needed to see if these associations hold for men and other populations.

Being obese can cause breast cancer cells to become more aggressive

Published: October 10, 2018


(Natural News) Obesity has been linked to numerous health problems like cardiovascular diseases and cancer. A recent study observed that there is a link between obesity and metastasis.

Previous studies have shown that obese individuals are more at risk of cancer. Obesity is a condition where there is an accumulation of body fat and a person’s body weight exceeds the ideal weight by at least 20 percent. This causes an expansion of adipose tissue that leads to the release of adipocyte cytokines known as adipokines. These adipokines serve as signals that help the adipose tissue perform its role in regulating cell function, as well as the prevention and spread of disease. Some examples of adipokines are: leptin, TGF-beta, adiponectin, and tumor necrosis factor.

Two major causes of breast cancer deaths in women are tumor recurrence and metastasis, which occur even after the original tumor has been surgically removed. This is why removing the tumor does not necessarily cure cancer.

In this study, conducted by researchers from Helmholtz Zentrum MünchenTechnische Universität München (TUM), and Heidelberg University Hospital, it was determined that the rate of metastasis is altered by a change in energy metabolism. This alteration is brought about by an increase in cytokine levels, specifically TGF-beta and leptin, brought about by obesity. As a result, the function of the lipogenic enzyme Acetyl-CoA-carboxylase 1 (ACC1) in fatty acid synthesis is impaired. When ACC1 is inhibited, the fatty acid precursor acetyl-CoA accumulates and turns on specific gene switches that activate gene programs involved in metastasis. In addition to this, the release of these adipokines has also been linked to chronic inflammation where tumor cell motility, invasion, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition is favored.

This study provides further insight into the link between obesity and metastasis. Now that the molecular mechanism behind has been determined, the next step is to find out therapeutic interventions for these mechanisms.

In one experimental model, the researchers used antibodies to block the leptin receptors involved in the pathway. This led to a reduced metastasis of breast cancer cells.

According to the researchers, “Blocking the signaling pathways and switching off the metastasis-related genes could be a therapeutic target.”

Overall, this study emphasizes what people have known for a long time: Obesity is dangerous to a person’s health.

How to naturally lose weight

In order to avoid the repercussions of obesity on cancer, it is best to maintain a healthy weight. Here are some suggestions on how to naturally lose weight:

  • Get enough sleep – A study revealed that not getting enough sleep slows down the body’s metabolism, which could lead to the storage of unused energy as fat. Aside from this, lack of sleep also leads to insulin and cortisol production, which also cause fat storage.
  • Reduce stress levels – When a person is stressed, the brain will signal the release of adrenaline and cortisol, which initially decrease appetite. However, for chronic stress, there is a prolonged presence of cortisol in the bloodstream. Cortisol signals an increase in appetite to replenish nutrients, such as carbohydrates, which are stored as fats if unused.
  • Reduce sugar and carbohydrate intake – Eating less sugar and fewer carbohydrates leads to a decline in appetite. This leads to reduced calorie intake so the body will start using stored fats to provide energy.
  • Drink enough water – Studies show that drinking water can help with weight loss. Drinking half a liter of water can lead to a 24 to 30 percent increase in the amount of calories burned within an hour. In addition to this, drinking water before meals can also reduce calorie intake.
  • Increase protein consumption – When digesting proteins, the body burns a lot of calories. Studies show that following a high-protein diet can boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories in a day. Aside from this, a high-protein diet can also reduce appetite.
  • Exercise – Along with eating a healthy diet, it is also recommended to introduce exercises into your routine. Lifting weights has been associated to burning calories and preventing the metabolism from slowing down.

Don't Overlook Heart Care After Cancer Diagnosis

Published: October 09, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- Patients with the heart rhythm disorder atrial fibrillation are less likely to see a cardiologist or fill prescriptions for blood-thinning drugs if they've had cancer, a new study finds.

A-fib is an irregular, often rapid heart rate. Failure to take anti-clotting drugs can put these patients at increased risk of stroke, the researchers said.

"Overall, our data suggest that suboptimal [anti-clotting] care exists in A-fib patients who have a history of cancer," said study author Dr. Wesley O'Neal. He's a cardiology fellow at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

The analysis of data from 380,000 A-fib patients found that 17 percent had a history of cancer.

During just over a year of follow-up, those with a history of cancer who did see a cardiologist were more likely to fill their prescriptions for blood thinners, had a reduced risk of stroke, and did not have an increased risk of bleeding.

They also were more likely to be hospitalized, which may be due to more aggressive treatments, according to the study.

The results were published Oct. 8 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"The decision to initiate [anti-clotting] therapy or refer to a cardiology provider should be individualized to the patient, but our data suggest that cardiology providers positively influence outcomes among these patients," O'Neal said in a journal news release.

With cancer survivors in the United States expected to number more than 20 million by 2026, more attention must be paid to their long-term health needs, according to an accompanying journal editorial.

High doses of vitamin C aggressively kill cancer cells, research confirms

Published: October 07, 2018


(Natural News) If you’ve heard that high doses of vitamin C can kill cancer, there’s a good chance you’ve also heard some official-sounding organizations claiming that there is no science to back this up. However, new research shows that high doses of vitamin C can indeed fight cancer, underscoring the findings of countless other studies like it that are widely ignored by the medical industry.

Detractors choose to focus on those studies that showed it didn’t work, conveniently ignoring the fact that many of the studies that were inconclusive in this regard simply weren’t testing big enough doses to unlock its effectiveness.

Research carried out at the University of Iowa confirms that vitamin C does kill cancer cells selectively without damaging normal cells. One study showed that the vitamins can reduce mutations that cause cancer in mice, while another study showed it can kill as much as 50 percent of human lymphoma cells.

Another study, this one from the Perlmutter Cancer Center, found that injecting mice with high doses of vitamin C stopped leukemia cancer stem cells from humans from growing, probably by telling the faulty stem cells in bone marrow to die. A different study found that adding vitamin C via IV to typical chemotherapy drugs extended the average survival times of pancreatic cancer patients from 5.65 months to 12 months.

Then there’s the University of Kansas study that injected high doses of vitamin C into ovarian cells from humans. They found that the vitamin targeted the ovarian cancer cells without harming healthy cells, and they went on to repeat the study on mice and human subjects.

These findings wouldn’t be surprising to the researchers who worked on a review that was published in the Puerto Rico Health Sciences Journal in 2008. After looking at studies that used extremely higher amounts of vitamin C intravenously, they concluded that it can be effective against tumors, although they said that its efficacy could not be judged when it was administered orally.

Even though the authors called for further research into vitamin C’s cancer-fighting power, nothing was done about it at the time. After all, chemotherapy has been so profitable for the medical and pharmaceutical industries, and it would be hard to profit off of something as cheap, widely available, and unpatentable as vitamin C .

IV may not be the only way to deliver high doses of vitamin C

Some people have been getting these treatments on their own at alternative cancer clinics, but it’s not widely accepted. In addition, those who are wary of IVs find it extremely difficult to get the high blood concentration needed for this treatment to work its magic when they take it orally.

Now, however, there is a new form of vitamin C that could change everything. Liposomal vitamin C can create vitamin C levels in the blood that are 100 to 500 times greater than those normally achieved by oral ingestion, making it easier for people to fight cancer.

Liposomal vitamin C is encapsulated in lecithin, which shields it from digestive enzymes that would normally break it down. It makes its way through the digestive system with ease and is absorbed by the intestines before being transported into the liver, where it is released into the bloodstream.

This approach does away with the waste and gastric upset seen with conventional vitamin C tablets while maintaining high blood concentrations. Whether it will one day make its way into the mainstream and give riskier treatments like chemotherapy a run for their money remains to be seen, however.

Does Aspirin Help Prevent Liver Cancer?

Published: October 05, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- Take two aspirins and reduce your risk of liver cancer? New research suggests this weekly routine might help.

The researchers found that taking two or more standard-dose (325 milligram) pills a week was associated with a 49 percent lower risk of liver cancer.

"Regular use of aspirin led to significantly lower risk of developing [liver cancer], compared to infrequent or no aspirin use. And we also found that the risk declined progressively with increasing aspirin dose and duration of use," said lead study author Dr. Tracey Simon. She's a research fellow in gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

It should be noted, however, that the study did not prove that aspirin reduced liver cause risk, just that there was an association.

For the study, researchers analyzed long-term data from more than 45,800 women and 87,500 men in the United States.

The investigators reported that aspirin's protective effect increased over time. Risk of liver cancer was 59 percent lower among those who took aspirin regularly for five years or more.

The risk reduction declined after people stopped taking aspirin, however. And it disappeared altogether eight years after aspirin was discontinued, the findings showed.

Regular use of acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) was not linked to reduced risk of liver cancer, according to the study. The results were published Oct. 4 in JAMA Oncology.

The findings support results from previous studies, the researchers said.

However, Simon said additional research is still needed. "Since regular aspirin use carries the risk of increased bleeding, the next step should be to study its impact in populations with established liver disease, since that group is already at risk for primary liver cancer," she said in a hospital news release.

Liver cancer is relatively rare, but it has increased in the United States over the past 40 years. Also, liver cancer death rates have risen faster than those of any other cancer, the researchers noted.

Senior study author Dr. Andrew Chan pointed out that "aspirin use is already recommended for prevention of heart disease and colorectal cancer in certain U.S. adults." Chan is the hospital's chief of clinical and translational epidemiology unit.

"These data also add to a growing list of cancers for which aspirin appears to have anti-cancer activity," he said in the news release.

This could be a rationale for more patients to discuss an aspirin regimen with their doctors, Chan said.

Could Diet Affect Breast Cancer Risk?

Published: October 03, 2018


 (HealthDay News) -- Like the human gut, the breast gland has a "microbiome" that's influenced by diet, new animal research suggests.

Although the findings are preliminary, scientists hope their work might someday improve the treatment and prevention of breast cancer.

"Being able to shift the breast microbiome through diet may offer a new approach to preventing breast cancer or at least reducing the risk," said the study's lead author, Katherine Cook. She's an assistant professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.

For the study, the researchers fed female monkeys a high-fat Western diet or a plant-based Mediterranean diet for 2.5 years. They noted this is the rough equivalent of eight human years.

The monkeys who were fed the Mediterranean diet ended up with a different mix of bacteria in their breast tissue from those fed the Western diet -- a roughly 10-fold increase in mammary gland lactobacillus, the researchers found.

There's some evidence that this type of bacteria may help inhibit breast cancer tumor growth, the study authors said. The monkeys on the Mediterranean diet also had more bile acid in the metabolites in their breast tissue, which could also reduce breast cancer risk, the researchers said.

A Mediterranean style of eating emphasizes lots of plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Its followers use herbs and spices instead of salt, and also limit red meat.

"We were surprised that diet directly influenced microbiome outside of the intestinal tract in sites such as the mammary gland," Cook said in a university news release. "However, we are just at the early stages of understanding how dietary effects on the microbiome might be used to protect women from breast cancer."

Much more research is needed, the researchers said. Also, it's possible that the results seen in lab studies on animals won't be replicated in humans.

Type 2 Diabetes Tied to Raised Risk of Tumors, Cancer Deaths

Published: October 02, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- Type 2 diabetes is associated with an increased risk of developing cancer and dying from certain forms of the disease, a new study suggests.

However, the researchers noted, the absolute increased risk is low.

"Our findings do not suggest that everyone who has diabetes will go on to develop cancer in later life," said study leader Hulda Hrund Bjornsdottir, from the Swedish National Diabetes Register.

Her team analyzed data gathered between 1998 and 2014 from more than 450,000 people in Sweden with type 2 diabetes and more than 2 million people without diabetes who were followed for an average of seven years. The study focused on 12 types of cancer.

The study couldn't prove cause-and-effect. However, compared to those without type 2 diabetes, people with the blood sugar disease had a 231 percent higher risk of liver cancer, a 119 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer and a 78 percent higher risk of uterine cancer.

In addition, those with diabetes had an increased risk of penile cancer (56 percent higher), kidney cancer (45 percent higher), gallbladder and bile duct cancer (32 percent higher), and stomach cancer (21 percent higher). They also had a 20 percent higher risk of colorectal cancer and bladder cancer, and a 5 percent higher risk of breast cancer.

The research was to be presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, in Berlin.

The findings don't necessarily mean that diabetes somehow causes cancer, Bjornsdottir stressed. Instead, "diabetes and cancer share certain risk factors that might contribute to these associations, including obesity, smoking and diet," she explained in a meeting news release.

When the investigators looked at the results over a 10-year period, they found there was a 38 percent greater increase in new cases of pancreatic cancer and a 30 percent greater increase in lung cancer incidence among people with type 2 diabetes than among those without the blood sugar disease.

The researchers also found that among patients with type 2 diabetes, death rates were 29 percent higher for prostate cancer, 25 percent higher for breast cancer and 9 percent higher for colon cancer, when compared with people without diabetes.

"With the number of people with type 2 diabetes doubling over the past 30 years, our findings underscore the importance of improving diabetes care," Bjornsdottir said.

Now, with diabetes tied to cancer risk, "the importance of a healthy lifestyle is clearer than ever," she added.

More than 415 million people worldwide have diabetes -- about one in 11 adults -- and the number is expected to rise to 642 million by 2040, the study authors noted.

New cancer vaccine shows early promise for patients with HER2-positive cancers

Published: September 30, 2018


Treatment with a HER2-targeted therapeutic cancer vaccine provided clinical benefit to several patients with metastatic HER2-positive cancers who had not previously been treated with a HER2-targeted therapeutic, according to data from a phase I clinical trial presented at the Fourth CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference: Translating Science into Survival, held Sept. 30-Oct. 3.

Among 11 evaluable patients who had received more than the lowest dose of the vaccine, six (54 percent) had clinical benefit. One patient with ovarian cancer had a complete response that lasted 89 weeks, one patient with gastroesophageal cancer had a partial response that lasted 16 weeks, and four patients (two with colon cancer, one with prostate cancer, and one with ovarian cancer) had stable disease.

"Immunotherapy marshals the exquisite specificity of the immune system to destroy cancer, and some types may have potentially fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy," said Jay A. Berzofsky, MD, PhD, chief of the Vaccine Branch at the Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. "We are using a vaccine approach to generate an immune response to HER2, which is found at high levels on and drives the growth of several types of cancer, including breast, ovarian, lung, colorectal, and gastroesophageal cancers.

"Our results suggest that we have a very promising vaccine for HER2-overexpressing cancers," continued Berzofsky. "We hope that one day the vaccine will provide a new treatment option for patients with these cancers."

The patients' vaccines are individually customized by Berzofsky and colleagues using their own immune cells isolated from their blood. The blood-derived immune cells are modified in several ways in the laboratory. The final product, which is administered intradermally (between the layers of the skin), comprises patient-derived dendritic cells genetically modified with an adenovirus to produce parts of the HER2 protein.

Preclinical studies, which were previously published in the AACR journal Cancer Research, showed that this type of vaccine could eradicate large, established tumors as well as lung metastases in mice.

In the dose escalation portion of the phase I clinical trial, patients were injected with the vaccine on weeks 0, 4, 8, 16, and 24 after enrollment in the study. Among the six patients who received the lowest dose of the vaccine, 5 million dendritic cells per injection, no clinical benefit was seen. Among the 11 patients who received either 10 million or 20 million dendritic cells per injection, six had clinical benefit.

Adverse reactions were predominantly injection-site reactions that did not require treatment. No cardiotoxicity was seen.

"Based on the current safety and clinical benefit data, the dose of the vaccine was increased to 40 million dendritic cells per injection and the trial opened to patients who have previously been treated with a HER2-targeted therapeutic, including patients with breast cancer," said Berzofsky.

"Moving forward, we would like to investigate whether we can increase the proportion of people who benefit from treatment with the vaccine by combining it with checkpoint inhibitor therapy," he added.

According to Berzofsky, the main scientific limitation of the study is that it is a relatively small, phase I clinical trial with no placebo control. However, the approach is sufficiently promising to warrant additional trials.

What you eat can prevent, manage, or treat cancer and diabetes

Published: September 28, 2018


(Natural News) Researchers from Northwestern Polytechnical University in China and the University of Agriculture Faisalabad in Pakistan discovered that a diet’s composition affects the gut microbiota. In particular, certain diets can modulate it, which, in turn, can lead to either beneficial or adverse outcomes in a person’s health. The findings of the study, which was published in Food Science and Human Wellness, came from a comprehensive analysis of previous reports that have linked certain diets and gut microbiota.

Gut microbiota – those microorganisms that hang around a person’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract – is an indicator of how we interact with the world. In an article published in Biochemical Journal, it is described as “one of the largest interfaces between the host, environmental factors, and antigens in the human body” – and for good reason: On average, at least 60 metric tons of food pass by the GI tract in a person’s lifetime, which is composed of both harmful and beneficial microbes.

There are a lot of factors that affect the composition of gut microbiota, with most studies pointing out to diet as one of the leading factors. However, more recent studies have started to look at the correlation between food and gut microbiota as it affects the overall health of the host, and some findings report microbial communities to be vital in the development of a person.

“A disturbance in the interaction between nutrition, metabolism, and microbiome may constitute an important factor in the deregulation of normal host homeostasis,” the authors wrote. “Such disturbances in the structure and function of microbiota have been found to be related to the development of various diseases.”

For this study, they looked at how specific diets impact the gut microbiota. In essence, a basic human diet is composed of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, collectively called macronutrients. A certain diet, therefore, adjusts the ratio of these macronutrients in order to address a certain need. In particular, a diet that is high in protein produces amino acids, ammonia, and short fatty acids after proteolytic bacteria in the gut process it. However, high concentrations of ammonia are positively linked to the development of malignant growths.

The authors also looked at the impact of certain forms of fiber in the gut. Cellulose, for example, is not completely degraded in the GI tract; instead, it undergoes bacterial fermentation – along with other complex carbohydrates – which stimulates the growth of beneficial microbes such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.

The effects of certain dietary components were also noted in the study, particularly on how it influences the gut microbiota and the host’s overall health.

  • A diet that has fewer vegetables and fruits reduced the gut microbiome. This increased the host’s likelihood of inflammation, as well as his triglyceride level, insulin resistance, and low-density lipoproteins cholesterol.
  • A high-protein diet caused a Bacteroides associated enterotype and decreased Firmicutes, with the host experiencing a loss in weight.
  • Reducing the food intake decreased overall microbial diversity which had poor health outcomes.

Modern Western diets, which have less fiber and vegetables, may have adverse effects on gut microbiota as some microbial species are lost. Conversely, those who have a high-fiber, low-fat diet adds more beneficial microbes to the gut and contains a smaller amount of pathogenic bacteria.

The Mediterranean diet, which contains fruits, grains, monounsaturated fat, vegetables, and polyunsaturated fats, has lower levels of Bacillaceae, Proteobacteria, and acute phase C-reactive proteins. Bacterial populations of Clostridium and Bacteroidetes, however, were higher. In addition, vegetarian diets showed increased levels of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Clostridium clostridioforme, and Bacteroides Prevotella, but Clostridium cluster XIVa species were lower.

In the study, the authors indicate that having a healthy gut microbiota is associated with the prevention of conditions like cancer, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and Parkinson’s disease.

The authors deduced a link between diet and gut microbiota, and how it can affect a person’s overall health; however, further research is still needed to understand its exact process.

“There is still a substantial gap in our understanding of how diet modulates the microbiota and how microbiota modulates the immunity of the host,” the researchers wrote in the study. “New tools and new approaches are needed for further investigations, as the modulation of the [gastrointestinal tract] microbiota represents a promising new method for the prevention, management, and treatment of various diseases.”

Scientists find that a popular Chinese herbal medicine is effective in eliminating colon cancer cells

Published: September 26, 2018


(Natural News) Coix lacryma-jobi var. ma-yuen (Rom.Caill.) Stapf, also known as adlay, adlay millet, or Job’s tears, has been identified by previous studies as having anti-proliferative effects on lymphoma, lung cancer, and colon cancer. A study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine investigated the anti-cancer effects of Coix lacryma-jobi var. ma-yuen Stapf sprout extracts (CLSE) on colorectal cancer cells.

  • The researchers used a variety of methods to determine the effects of exposing HCT116, a human colon cancer line, to CLSE. To determine the impact of the extract on cell proliferation and signaling, they performed Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) assay and western blot analysis.
  • They determined the anti-metastatic activity of the extract in hypoxic conditions through scratch-wound healing, transwell migration, matrigel invasion, and adhesion assays.
  • The researchers also administered CLSE on human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) to determine its effects on the formation of new blood vessels or angiogenesis.
  • They found that compared to the control cells, those exposed to CLSE exhibited decreased migration rates by more than 80 percent. The treatment also reduced the cells’ invasiveness and adhesive potency by 54 percent and 50 percent respectively. Finally, the extract inhibited the growth of tubes in HUVECs by up to 91 percent.

The results convinced the researchers that CLSE may be used to treat patients with colon cancer because of its ability to suppress the cancer cells’ migration, invasion, and adhesion, as well as the growth of new blood vessels.

Protein produced in gut could stave off deadly bone marrow transplant complication

Published: September 24, 2018


Researchers at Mount Sinai have discovered that an antimicrobial protein found in the gut can stave off a common and highly lethal side effect of bone marrow transplants, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation in September.

The protein, regenerating islet-derived 3-alpha (REG3α), is made by cells in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. It plays a role in a complication of bone marrow transplants called graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD), in which the donated bone marrow's immune cells attack the patient's gastrointestinal tract.

This study shows that GVHD causes increased serum levels of REG3α throughout the body while, paradoxically, decreasing the production of the protein in the gastrointestinal tract as GVHD worsens.

The Mount Sinai researchers showed that mice that could not make the protein did not survive GVHD, but also found that adding REG3α to human gastrointestinal cell lines prolonged their survival, confirming its unexpected function. These findings demonstrated that REG3α, previously only considered a biomarker for GVHD, can have a role in saving patients from the disease.

While patients suffering from GVHD are normally given immune suppressants, this research suggested that enhancing the immune system with REG3α is a better strategy and may also be helpful for illnesses such as inflammatory bowel disease that also involve the immune system in the gastrointestinal tract.

"There is a way to treat immune disorders of the gastrointestinal tract by enhancing the immune system rather than suppressing it, as we do now," said lead researcher James Ferrara, MD, Ward-Coleman Chair of Cancer Medicine and Director of the Hematologic Malignancies Translational Research Center at The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Co-Director of the Mount Sinai Acute GVHD International Consortium (MAGIC). "These results show a new function for the lining of the gastrointestinal tract protecting itself, leading to a new class of drugs."

Alternative therapies for breast cancer

Published: September 22, 2018


(Natural News) When you think of breast cancer, surgery and chemotherapy probably come immediately to mind. Many patients often end up undergoing one or both of these treatments, and the prospect of going under the knife or being injected with chemicals can be scarier to some people than the diagnosis itself. However, some patients are finding success with other options that rarely get mentioned in medical appointments because they don’t make their doctors any money. Here are some alternatives that are worth exploring in addition to or instead of traditional treatment.

Vitamins and minerals can have an effect on the cancer in many cases. Some of the vitamins and minerals that alternative doctors say can make a difference include vitamin E, vitamin B complex, calcium, zinc, magnesium, essential fatty acids, and coenzyme Q10.

The vitamin that tends to get the most attention when it comes to cancer is vitamin C. Researchers have shown that high doses of vitamin C can kill cancer cells. However, it works best when it is administered intravenously, bypassing the usual gut metabolism to create blood levels that are as much as 500 times higher than those achieved by oral administration. This concentration is needed for the vitamin to attack cancer cells, studies show.

Don’t overlook the importance of diet

While not everyone will see success with IV vitamin C therapy or even be willing to try it in the first place, the fact remains that vitamins can make a big difference to your health and immunity, which is extremely important when you’re fighting cancer or trying to prevent it. That’s why a healthy diet rich in organic vegetables and fruit should be the first change that anyone makes upon being diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s also important to avoid foods that are high in sugar – or even cut it out entirely if possible.

Another alternative treatment for breast cancer that is gaining some traction is saffron. A recent review in the Journal of Nutrition and Intermediary Metabolism revealed that some of the compounds found in saffron have incredibly powerful anticancer effects, killing cancer cells without damaging normal ones. Like vitamin C, however, high doses are needed to gain the effects.

Other treatments worth considering

There are lots of other approaches that people are using to supplement or replace conventional breast cancer treatment. For example, shark cartilage therapy blocks the creation the new blood vessels, starving tumors. Metabolic therapy uses approaches like detoxification, colon cleansing, and an anti-cancer diet of enzymes, whole foods, and vitamins.

Another area that deserves serious consideration is mind-body therapy. The reason that treatments like chemotherapy and surgery often fail is because on their own, they completely ignore how the mind and the body work together to maintain optimum health. Relaxation techniques, meditation and yoga are all excellent ways to reduce the stress hormones in the body that can make cancer worse. Massage therapy can help increase the protective white blood cells in breast cancer patients while taking the edge off of pain and anxiety.

Some people find that approaches like art or music therapy are also useful for relieving the pain, anxiety and stress that accompany cancer. Patients can even take the mind-body notion one step further by turning to treatments like hypnosis and biofeedback. Acupuncture can also help relieve the symptoms not only of cancer itself but also the side effects of treatment. These treatments usually work best in conjunction with other treatments rather than on their own.

It’s important to research all your options when it comes to breast cancer treatment. Even if you ultimately decide that you feel better going the conventional route, there are lots of valid alternative treatments that could increase your chances of success and mitigate the side effects.

5 Facts Every Woman Should Know About Ovarian Cancer

Published: September 19, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- The early symptoms of ovarian cancer are often confused with less serious issues, making successful treatment less likely, a cancer expert warns.

Ovarian cancer is called a "silent killer." That's because many women are diagnosed too late, said Dr. David Fishman of NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Hospital in New York City.

"Ovarian cancer takes the lives of far too many women, because of misdiagnosis, and a lack of awareness that all women are at risk of developing ovarian cancer," said Fishman, director of gynecologic oncology at the hospital.

It's important for women to know their risk of developing this deadly disease, and to recognize its earliest warning signs, Fishman said.

More than 250,000 women around the world are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year, and 140,000 die from it, according to a hospital news release.

Fishman offered the following five facts about this type of cancer that every woman should know:

  • Don't ignore symptoms. Ovarian cancer's signs may be mild or easily mistaken for other problems. They may include bloating, belly pain, feeling full quickly, more frequent urination, nausea or indigestion, weight gain, shortness of breath and back pain. If you notice these symptoms for more than a week, talk to your doctor and ask about any problems with your ovaries.
  • Pap smears won't help. This test is used to help diagnose cervical cancer; it does not detect ovarian cancer.
  • Every woman is at risk. One in 75 women will develop ovarian cancer but all women are at risk for it. Those who've had breast cancer or other forms of cancer in the past or have close relatives who have had it are at higher risk. There are also at least 100 genes linked to an increased risk for ovarian cancer. A genetic counselor can help you determine if you have any of these genes. Women who are infertile, obese or older than 70 are also at higher risk.
  • Lifestyle choices matter. Certain lifestyle choices are related to a lower risk for ovarian cancer. They include following a healthy, low-fat diet, giving birth and using birth control. Having a tubal ligation or preventive surgery to remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes can also reduce the likelihood of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Early stage ovarian cancer is very treatable. The disease is classified as stage 1 if the cancer is confined to the ovaries. The average five-year survival rate at this stage is 90 percent. It's critical for women to discuss any worrisome symptoms with their doctor as soon as possible.

Obesity and vitamin D deficiency may indicate greater risk for breast cancer

Published: September 19, 2018


Vitamin D is already well known for its benefits in building healthy bones. A new study supports the idea that it also may reduce cancer risk as well as breast cancer mortality, especially in women with a lower body mass index. Study results are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Breast cancer remains the most common cancer in women worldwide and is the leading cause of death from cancer in women. Reproductive risk factors such as early onset of puberty, late menopause, later age at first pregnancy, never having been pregnant, obesity, and a family history have all been shown to be associated with breast cancer development. The role of vitamin D concentration in the development of breast cancer, however, continues to be debated.

This study involving more than 600 Brazilian women suggests that vitamin D may reduce cancer risk by inhibiting cell proliferation. Study results appear in the article "Low pretreatment serum concentration of vitamin D at breast cancer diagnosis in postmenopausal women."

Researchers involved in the study concluded that postmenopausal women had an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency at the time of their breast cancer diagnoses, associated with higher rates of obesity, than women of the same age group without cancer. Similar studies also have previously demonstrated a relationship between vitamin D and breast cancer mortality. Women in the highest quartile of vitamin D concentrations, in fact, had a 50% lower death rate from breast cancer than those in the lower quartile, suggesting that vitamin D levels should be restored to a normal range in all women with breast cancer.

"Although published literature is inconsistent about the benefits of vitamin D levels and breast cancer, this study and others suggest that higher levels of vitamin D in the body are associated with lowered breast cancer risk," says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of NAMS. "Vitamin D may play a role in controlling breast cancer cells or stopping them from growing. Vitamin D comes from direct sunlight exposure, vitamin D3 supplements, or foods rich in vitamin D."

New blood test detects early stage pancreatic cancer

Published: September 17, 2018


Pancreatic cancer is currently very difficult to detect while it is still resectable. A new blood test developed by researchers at Lund University in Sweden, Herlev Hospital, Knight Cancer Center and Immunovia AB, can detect pancreatic cancer in the very earliest stages of the disease. The results have been published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Due to diffuse symptoms, pancreatic cancer is usually diagnosed very late in the disease progression. Therefore, despite pancreatic cancer representing less than 3% of all cancer cases, more people currently die from it than breast cancer. By 2030, pancreatic cancer is expected to be the second deadliest type of cancer in the world.

"Our test can detect pancreatic cancer with 96% accuracy at stage I and II, while there is still the possibility of successful surgical intervention. There is currently no cure and few treatment options for advanced pancreatic cancer, which is the late stage when pancreatic cancer is usually diagnosed," explains Carl Borrebaeck, professor at the department of Immunotechnology at Lund University.

The study used samples from patients in both Denmark and the US, at different stages of the disease.

The blood test is developed on a so-called antibody microarray that consists of hundreds of recombinant antibody fragments. These antibody fragments are specific for a number of immune-regulatory proteins, cancer-associated antigens, and so on.

Since the immune system is the first to respond to threats like complex diseases, such as cancer, autoimmune diseases and infections, the microarray was designed to mirror this early response. This provides information about the development of tumours long before being visible on CT or detected by ctDNA. From those hundreds of markers, 29 markers were selected to detect pancreatic cancer with 96% accuracy at stage I and II.

In the future, the screening method could be used to screen people who are at a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer, such as those with a hereditary risk, newly onset diabetes patients and patients with chronic inflammation of the pancreas.

The next step has already been initiated, which is a large US prospective study for high risk individuals.

High-fat diet found to stimulate cell growth in the colon, increasing risk of colon cancer

Published: September 16, 2018


(Natural News) A high-fat diet can make the cells of your intestinal lining prone to cancer, according to a study published in Nature. These results bolster the long-standing claim stating that obesity and a high-fat, high-calorie diet are salient factors for many types of cancer.

The paper, titled “High-fat diet enhances stemness and tumorigenicity of intestinal progenitors”, illustrates how a high-fat diet affects the structure and function of the intestine in mammals. It specifically includes in the study intestinal stem cells and non-intestinal stem cells — focusing on the cells’ capacity to create and initiate tumors.

“The new study of mice suggests that a high-fat diet drives a population boom of intestinal stem cells and also generates a pool of other cells that behave like stem cells — that is, they can reproduce themselves indefinitely and differentiate into other cell types,” says co-lead author Semir Beyaz. The behavior exhibited by these cells, he says, is what brings about intestinal tumors.

To verify the correlation between stem cells and cancer linked to obesity, mice were fed with a diet consisting of 60 percent fat for a period of nine months to a year. In comparison, Americans usually consume anywhere between 20 to 40 percent of fat in their diet.

Researchers found that mice fed the high-fat diet packed 50 percent more body mass and developed more intestinal tumors compared to mice that were fed normally. The intestinal cells from the mice were then isolated and grown in a culture dish, in which researchers discovered that cells from mice under the high-fat diet brought about “mini-intestines” at a more rapid pace than the mice that were fed normally. Consequently, they also identified that mice under the high-fat diet produced progenitor cells, which are differentiated daughter of stem cells, that exhibit behavior similar to stem cells. Similarities include an extended lifespan as well as the ability to generate mini-intestines outside of its body.

Upon further study of the mice under the high-fat diet, researchers also established a presence of a hyperactivated nutrient-sensing pathway. The pathway known as the fatty acid sensor PPAR-delta functions by enabling a metabolic process to convert fat instead of carbohydrates and sugars to energy when exposed to a high-fat diet. PPAR-delta is also found to activate a gene set essential to stem cell identity. Future studies will target narrowing down possible cancer drugs that will address tumors stemming from obesity.

The study bolsters previous research which claims that obese people are more likely to have colorectal cancer, as well as those which have indicated that intestinal stem cells are the most likely to acquire mutations resulting to colon cancer. The stem cells, which last a lifetime, live in intestine linings known as the epithelium. The stem cells, in turn, create all of the different cell types that compose the epithelium.

“The epidemiological link between a high-fat diet and colorectal cancer has been reported for many years, but the underlying mechanisms were not known,” Beyaz says. “Our study for the first time showed the precise mechanisms of how a high-fat diet regulates intestinal stem cell function and how this regulation contributes to tumor formation.”

Aside from Yilmaz, an assistant professor of biology and member of Massachusetts Institute of Technology‘s (MIT) Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, the research was co-authored by David Sabatini, M.D., Ph.D. of the Whitehead Institute. In addition, MIT post-doctoral student Miyeko Mana and MIT visiting scientist Jatin Roper were lead authors.

Look for Early Signs of Thyroid Cancer, Experts Urge

Published: September 15, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- Cases of thyroid cancer are on the rise in the United States, and experts want you to know how people at high risk for the disease can detect it early.

According to the American Cancer Society, 54,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the United States in 2018. And three out of four of these cases will be women. But anyone can get the disease. Symptoms can occur earlier in women, who are typically diagnosed in their 40s or 50s, while men commonly are diagnosed in their 60s or 70s.

"While the majority of thyroid cancers arise without a family history, if you have a family history of thyroid cancer, you should have any new lump or mass in your neck evaluated by your physician," said Dr. Brett Miles. He is co-chief of the division of head and neck oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Also, people with a history of Hashimoto's thyroiditis, radiation exposure to the neck, or familial colon polyps are at increased risk, he added.

"A good rule of thumb is that swollen lymph nodes or lumps in your neck that do not go away after about three to four weeks should be evaluated," Miles said in a Mount Sinai news release.

Thyroid cancer facts:

Thyroid cancer is a tumor or growth in the thyroid gland in the front of the neck.

Several types of thyroid cancer exist. The most common is papillary carcinoma, which is curable, especially if caught early.

Important risk factors include: A family history of thyroid cancer; a history of radiation exposure to the head, neck or chest; or a diet low in iodine.

Regular follow-up care is an essential part of treatment.

Symptoms of thyroid cancer include:

A lump or enlarged lymph nodes in the neck.

Neck pain or tightness.

Hoarseness, persistent cough.

Difficulty swallowing or breathing.

Prevention includes:

A thyroid exam every three years if you are 20 to 39 years of age.

A thyroid exam every year if you are 40 or older.

Avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation.

Have checks often if you've been exposed to radiation of the head, neck or chest, and have a family history of thyroid cancer.

Do a thyroid neck self-exam, looking for asymmetries or protrusions below the Adam's apple.

Most thyroid cancer patients do not have any symptoms when they are diagnosed, said Dr. Raymond Chai, an assistant professor of otolaryngology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

"These cancers are often only identified during routine physical examination by a physician," Chai said. "It's important to note the vast majority of early stage thyroid cancers can be successfully treated, and that's why early detection is critical," he added.

Severe periodontitis associated with an increased risk of lung, colorectal, pancreatic cancers

Published: September 14, 2018


(Natural News) Having severe periodontal disease may increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer, according to a long-term study published in JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Medical professionals explained that the condition, more commonly known as advanced gum disease, is usually caused by bacterial infection that damages the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. Previous studies demonstrated a link between gum disease and cancer onset, but the mechanism behind the connection remained unclear.

A team of health experts led by epidemiologists at the Tufts University School of Medicineand the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health pooled data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study as part of the research. The cohort included up to 7,466 participants from various U.S. states — such as Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi and North Carolina — who were followed up from the late 1990s until 2012.  The cohort was composed of Caucasian and African-American participants.

The research team measured the probing depth and gingival recession at six sites on all teeth to determine the severity of periodontal disease in patients. Likewise, the experts used two-sided statistical tests to determine the patients’ cancer risk. The participants’ smoking history was also taken into account, given its link to periodontal disease onset.

Severe periodontal disease elevates colorectal, lung cancer risk

The results showed that 1,648 patients developed cancer, while 547 died of the disease during a median follow-up of 14.7 years. Likewise, the study revealed that the overall cancer risk was 24 percent higher in patients with severe periodontal disease compared with those who had mild periodontal disease and otherwise healthy controls. The findings also showed that the risk rose to 28 percent in patients with no teeth. In addition, data from subgroup analysis found an 80 percent increased risk of colorectal cancer in patients who were edentulous at baseline.

Patients with severe periodontal disease were also twice as likely to develop lung cancer than those who had no/mild periodontitis. The research team added that the risk of lung cancer was more significant in patients who did not smoke. Moreover, the findings demonstrated that severe periodontal disease was associated with a slight increase in pancreatic cancer risk.

However, the scientists added that the overall risk of cancer was weaker or not apparent among black participants, except for lung and colorectal cancers. The research team also did not observe a correlation between severe periodontal disease and increased risk of breast, prostate or blood/lymphatic cancer. The scientists added that the findings highlight the importance of expanding dental insurance to more patients.

“When we looked at data for the people who had never smoked, we also found evidence that having severe periodontal disease was related to an increased risk of lung cancer and colorectal cancer. Knowing more about the risks that come about with periodontal disease might give more support to having dental insurance in the way that we should be offering health insurance to everyone,” researcher Elizabeth Platz told Science Daily online.

The researchers readily acknowledged the study’s limitations and noted that the findings might warrant further investigation.

“This is the largest study addressing the association of gum disease and cancer risk using dental examinations to measure gum disease prior to cancer diagnosis. Additional research is needed to evaluate if periodontal disease prevention and treatment could help alleviate the incidence of cancer and reduce the number of deaths due to certain types of cancer,” first author Dominique Michaud said.

Going Vegetarian to Cut Colon Cancer Risk

Published: September 11, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- There's no disputing the fact that regular colonoscopies, now suggested to start at age 45 for those with an average risk of colorectal cancer, can help prevent the disease by finding -- and removing -- precancerous growths.

And a study of 77,000 adults published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that you can also lower your risk of this cancer by making changes in your diet right now, whatever your age.

Doctors know that eating red and processed meats raises the risk of colorectal cancer, while eating fiber-rich foods lowers it. The JAMA findings got more specific about different types of diets.

On average, eating vegetarian may lower colon cancer risk by 19 percent and rectal cancer by 29 percent compared to non-vegetarians -- people who eat meat at least once a week. Besides eating less meat, the vegetarians in the study ate fewer sweets, snacks, refined grains and high-calorie beverages and more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts.

However, the protective effects vary with the type of vegetarian diet, the researchers said.

By the study's numbers:

Pesco-vegetarians: Eating fish and seafood, but avoiding other meats lowers colorectal cancer risk by 43 percent.

Lacto-ovo vegetarians: Avoiding meat, but eating eggs and/or dairy products lowers colorectal cancer risk by 18 percent.

Vegans: Avoiding all meat, eggs and dairy lowers colorectal cancer risk by 16 percent.

Semi-vegetarians: Eating meat less than once a week lowers colorectal cancer risk by 8 percent.

Research can't yet explain exactly how eating vegetarian helps. But one theory says it could be because vegetarians often follow other healthy behaviors, such as exercising and not smoking, which also reduce cancer risk.

Walking: Still the Starting Line for Fitness

Published: September 06, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- Being physically active is one of the most important steps people of all ages can take to improve their health.

Yet despite everything we know about the benefits of exercise, only half of U.S. adults and only about a quarter of high school students get the amount recommended in national guidelines.

If you haven't gotten onboard with the program, it's easy to start -- and walking is a perfect path to fitness. That's because it doesn't require any special skills or expensive equipment -- just a good pair of shoes.

Walking not only gets you aerobically fit, it can help with problems such as insomnia, diabetes and even a depressed mood. Walking also has a lower risk of injury than high-impact activities like running. And you can walk year-round, indoors or out.

Start at your own speed and walk in short increments, say for five minutes three times a day. Then gradually increase both length and intensity over time as you develop stamina.

Depending on where you live, however, you may not be able to just walk out of your front door and go. More than 30 percent of people 16 or older live in neighborhoods without sidewalks. The U.S. Surgeon General has called on communities to make walking more accessible to residents. Until then, ironically, you may have to drive to take a walk at a park or on a school track, for instance.

Keep in mind that you can walk at your convenience if you have a home treadmill. These machines aren't just for running, plus they can also keep track of miles logged and calories burned, and many can be set to increase the difficulty of your workouts.

Over 1.4 Billion of World's Adults Face Disease Because of Inactivity, WHO Says

Published: September 05, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- Couch potatoes, take note: Sedentary living has put more than one quarter of the world's adults at risk for serious disease, a new study says.

More than 1.4 billion adults face a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, dementia and certain types of cancer because they get too little physical activity, World Health Organization (WHO) researchers concluded.

The researchers analyzed findings from hundreds of surveys that included 1.9 million adults, 18 and older, in 168 countries.

In 2016, nearly one-third of women and one-quarter of men worldwide did not get the recommended levels of physical activity to stay healthy, the researchers found. Weekly guidelines call for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity.

The study was published Sept. 4 in The Lancet Global Health.

"Unlike other major global health risks, levels of insufficient physical activity are not falling worldwide, on average, and over a quarter of all adults are not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity for good health," lead author Regina Guthold said in a journal news release.

Women were less active than men in all regions of the world except in East and Southeast Asia.

Of particular concern were increases in already low levels of physical activity for men and women. Insufficient physical activity rose 5 percent in high-income countries, and increased just 0.2 percent in low-income countries.

The transition toward more sedentary occupations and motorized transportation in richer countries could help explain the higher levels of inactivity, researchers said.

It's important that governments provide infrastructure that promotes more walking and bicycling to work and active sports and recreation, they noted.

Eliminating inequalities in physical activity levels between men and women will be critical to achieving global activity targets, study co-author Fiona Bull said. And this will require efforts "to promote and improve women's access to opportunities that are safe, affordable and culturally acceptable," she noted.

Melody Ding, a researcher from the University of Sydney in Australia, authored an accompanying journal editorial. In it, she said in certain parts of the world women face more environmental, social and cultural barriers to participate in physical activity.

Those restrictions likely contribute to overall low activity levels. In restrictive Saudi Arabia and Iraq, for instance, more than half of all adults were insufficiently active, the study found.

Comparatively, around 40 percent of U.S. adults and 36 percent of British adults got too little activity.

Also, "although high-income countries have a higher prevalence of insufficient physical activity, it is important to note that low- and middle-income countries still bear the larger share of the global disease burden of physical inactivity," Ding wrote.

Working Workouts Into Your Life

Published: September 04, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- Weekly fitness guidelines can seem like a laundry list of to-do's that you just can't get done -- 30 minutes of cardio at least five days, resistance training two or three days, and at least two flexibility sessions … each and every week.

Yet each type of exercise does the body good, so it's important to find ways to meet these goals.

First, recognize that an exercise program will mean changes to your daily routine, and you'll likely need to cut out other, less important activities. Aim for a gradual transition and look for non-essential pastimes to replace, like watching TV and web surfing.

Next, draw up a realistic schedule that works with your lifestyle and, for a better chance of sticking to it, write it down. Realize that, if you have a family that expects you home at 6 p.m. for dinner, hitting the gym after work won't work for you. Instead block out 30 minutes after the kids go to bed or get up 30 minutes early and get in a workout while the house is still quiet. And you might double up on workouts on those days you do get to the gym by taking both cardio and flexibility classes.

Make exercise convenient. Maybe the gym near your home makes more sense than the one near your office. If you spend a lot of time just hanging out when your kids are at soccer or lacrosse practice, look for a nearby nature trail or track and spend your waiting time moving instead.

If you'll be working out at home, create a designated exercise space and outfit it with essentials, like a mat, free weights and DVDs you can pop into a laptop.

And don't forget to plan weekend family outings that involve walking or other exercise -- no one said you can't have fun and togetherness while getting fit.

What Every Woman Needs to Know About Ovarian Cancer

Published: September 02, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- Women need to know the symptoms of ovarian cancer and see a doctor if they have them, an ob-gyn expert says.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth-leading cause of death in American women, claiming more lives than any other cancer of the female reproductive system, according to the American Cancer Society.

About 22,240 women in the United States will be diagnosed with the disease in 2018, and over 14,000 will die from it, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

"Any woman who experiences unexplained bloating, an upset stomach, an urgency to urinate or abdominal pain for a few weeks, should go see a doctor, and if her doctor does not take these symptoms seriously, she should see another doctor," said Dr. Stephanie Blank. She is director of gynecologic oncology for the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City.

Other symptoms include pelvic pain, fatigue, unexplained weight change, and abnormal bleeding or any bleeding after menopause.

"Too often, women are sent to the wrong doctor, or [are] told they're just aging or gaining weight when experiencing these kinds of symptoms, and by then they have lost valuable time," Blank said in a Mount Sinai news release.

Women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer before it has spread have a five-year survival of 93 percent, researchers have found. But detection of ovarian cancer is difficult and often delayed.

Women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations are at increased risk for ovarian cancer, and the risk for all women increases with age. Half of all ovarian cancers are diagnosed in women who are 63 and older.


Long-term use of birth control pills reduces the risk of ovarian cancer by about 50 percent, according to the news release. Removing fallopian tubes and ovaries is the best means of ovarian cancer prevention, but is not appropriate for all women.

Common household products contain flame retardant chemicals that cause thyroid cancer

Published: August 26, 2018


(Natural News) If you value your thyroid gland, you should cut back on your use of all kinds of household products. An article in Natural Health 365 stated that these products contain flame retardant chemicals that can increase your risk of developing papillary thyroid cancer.

The thyroid gland handles the production of thyroid hormones that regulate the metabolism of the body. Like all parts of the body, its tissues can develop carcinoma when exposed to various toxic substances. Thyroid cancer, in particular, has the fastest rising rates among all types of cancer. The most common form of this disease is papillary thyroid cancer.

Experts theorize that environmental factors are partly responsible for the increasing frequency of thyroid cancers. Flame retardant chemicals are one of their primary suspects. Companies have been adding increasing amounts of these chemicals to the consumer products they manufacture. Their intended reason is to reduce the flammability of the items in question, which are often fire hazards. However, in their attempt to improve the safety of their household products, the companies inadvertently endangered the health of consumers by using chemicals that affect the thyroid.

Is there a connection between increasing thyroid cases and flame retardants?

Researchers from Duke University took samples of house dust from the homes of 140 participants. The latter were all required to have occupied their home for 11 years so that the researchers could study their long-term consequence in much better shape. The participants were also evenly split between thyroid cancer patients and healthy people.

The researchers evaluated the level of flame retardant in the house dust samples. Then they compared that with the rates of thyroid cancer at the time.

They also matched up the participants according to the latter’s age, body mass index, ethnicity, and sex. They also included education level, household income, and level of education.

In their paper, the Duke researchers discovered that the risk of papillary thyroid cancerincreased alongside the exposure level to flame retardants. The same held true regarding the severity of the disease.

Based on their findings, the research team believed there is a link between increasing levels of flame retardants and the recent rise in thyroid cancer incidences.

Earlier studies warned that certain flame retardants interfere with the endocrine system. The thyroid gland is part of this vital system.

Toxic flame retardants can disrupt the thyroid gland’s normal functions

The flame retardants are similar to thyroid hormones. When these endocrine disruptors are absorbed by accident, they affect the function and balance of the organ.

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) comprise a class of such fire retardants that impair the endocrine system. Two, in particular, are very closely linked with thyroid cancer: tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP) is used in chairs, couches, nursing pillows, and strollers, while decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE209) is found in carpet backings, furniture cushions, mattresses, and upholstery textiles.

High levels of BDE-209 levels in household dust was linked with much higher chances of thyroid cancer.

The Duke researchers checked this connection by sampling blood from the participants and examining the sample for key biomarkers of PBDE and BDE209 flame retardants. They found that participants who lived in houses with high amounts of TCEP were more than 400 percent more likely to have thyroid cancer.

Meanwhile, participants with the highest concentration of BDE209 are 14 times more vulnerable to thyroid cancer. Even if they did not have the BRAF V600E gene mutation, they still experience a much higher chance of developing papillary thyroid cancer. Women are also much more prone to getting this kind of aggressive cancer.

Study Explores New Way to Stop Cancer's Spread

Published: August 22, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- Scientists say they're researching a way to destroy cancer cells that travel to other parts of the body.

Many cancers become especially dangerous only when they spread (metastasize) from the initial location to other tissues such as the lungs, brain or bone, the University of Colorado Cancer Center researchers explained.

The investigators found that when a crucial part of cellular recycling is turned off in metastatic cancer cells, they can't survive the stresses of traveling through the body.

"Highly metastatic cells leave their happy home and have all these stresses on them. One way that the cell is able to deal with stresses is through disposing of cellular wastes or damaged cell components and recycling them," study co-author Michael Morgan said in a university news release.

"When we turn off the activity of cellular structures called lysosomes, which a cell uses to do this recycling, the metastatic cells become unable to survive these stresses," Morgan explained.

Morgan was an assistant research professor at CU Cancer Center during the study. He is now assistant professor of biology at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma.

HPV Test May Replace Pap for Some Women, New Guidelines Say

Published: August 21, 2018


(HealthDay News) -- The Pap smear has long been the gold standard for cervical cancer screening, but an expert panel now says the HPV (human papillomavirus) test is also an option for women over 30.

These women now have three choices under new recommendations issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF):

  • A Pap test screening every three years.
  • An HPV test alone every five years -- HPV is a virus known to cause cervical cancer.
  • Both tests every five years.

The task force also recommended a Pap test alone every three years for women between the ages of 21 and 29.

"It's very important for all women to get screened for cervical cancer. Screening can reduce deaths from cervical cancer," said Dr. Douglas Owens, vice chair of the USPSTF.

"There are three good options for screening for cervical cancer in women 30 to 65. Our recommendation is that women have a conversation with their clinician about which option is best for them," Owens added.

A Pap test looks for changes in cells from the cervix that indicate cancer or precancerous changes, according to the U.S. Office on Women's Health. The HPV test looks for evidence of the virus in cells, but not for cancerous changes, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by high-risk HPV infections, according to background information in the recommendations. Both tests use samples collected from a woman's cervix. A woman won't be able to tell a difference in the tests, the ACS said.

The task force didn't recommend HPV testing or co-testing for younger women.

Debbie Saslow, senior director of HPV-related and women's cancers for the ACS, explained why it's not a good idea to test for HPV in women under 30. "Almost everybody gets HPV, but more than 99 percent of the time, HPV goes away on its own. If you test for HPV in younger women [before the infection has a chance to clear on its own], it would be unnecessarily alarming," she said.

Dr. George Sawaya, author of an editorial accompanying the new recommendations, agreed.

"HPV testing sooner [than age 30] will lead to more 'false alarms,'" he said. "In other words, some women will have invasive diagnostic procedures and be found to have no cervical problem." Sawaya is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco.

The task force also made recommendations about who doesn't need cervical cancer screening. This included women under 21, women who've had a hysterectomy that included removal of the cervix, women aged 65 and older who have had adequate screening in the past and aren't at a high risk of HPV.

Saslow said the most important message women need to take away from the new recommendations is simple: get screened.

"Most cervical cancer is in women who don't ever get screened or who get screened rarely. Whatever test is available to you, get screened. If you have a choice, and you're over 30, ask for an HPV test," she suggested.

Sawaya concurred. "Regardless of the method used for screening, the most important thing for women is to have easy access to affordable screening," he said.

Saslow also pointed out that young people should be sure to get the HPV vaccine if they didn't get it in their pre-teen years. Men and women can get the HPV vaccine up until age 26, though younger is better, she added.

Insight into development of lung cancer

Published: August 18, 2018


Lung cancer is the leading cause of preventable cancer death. A disease of complex origin, lung cancer is usually considered to result from effects of smoking and from multiple genetic variants. One of these genetic components, a chromosome named 15q25.1, has been previously identified as a leading influencer of susceptibility to lung cancer, smoking behavior, and nicotine addiction. However, no previous study has investigated the mechanisms of this lead agent, or documented the susceptibility pathways that allow this chromosome to modify development of disease.

A research team led by Xuemie Ji, MD, PhD, Research Associate in Department of Biomedical Data Science at Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine, helped solve this central problem. The team identified two main pathways involving the mechanism by which the chromosome 15q25.1 locus influences lung cancer risk. The first pathway is an interaction pathway in the nervous system that is implicated in nicotine dependence. The other pathway can control key components in many biological processes, such as transport of nutrients and ions, and the human immune system.

The results have been newly published in Nature Communications. "Our findings in pathways uncover insights into the mechanism of lung cancer etiology and development, which will potentially shorten the interval between increasing biological knowledge and translation to patient care," says Ji. "Blocking genes downstream or in parallel pathways might provide a strategy to treat such cancer."

The study used two independent cohorts of 42,901 individuals with a genome-wide set of genetic variants, as well as an expression dataset with lung tissue from 409 lung cancer patients to validate findings. Two different methods were used to analyze data, and confirm that the findings are reliable and can be repeated with different methods. "To our knowledge, this is the first study to explore the pathogenic pathways related to the mechanisms of chromosome 15q25.1 and the first to use a novel analysis approach to analyze data and to validate the findings," says Ji. "The ability to block the damaging genetic variants downstream or in parallel pathways might improve lung cancer prognosis and survival, and therefore provide alternative strategies to treat such cancer."

The team is working to identify more mechanisms contributing to the increased risk of lung cancer. They aim to provide more explanation for the large unexplainable division of lung cancer occurrences.

Survive colon cancer by eating more Omega-3s, says new study

Published: August 17, 2018


(Natural News) An observational study has concluded that increasing your intake of omega-3s found in oily fish can reduce your risk of dying from colon cancer by 70 percent. These findings, published in the medical journal Gut, suggest that colon cancer and other related conditions can be managed with proper diet, among other things.

Dr. Jules Garbus, a colorectal surgeon at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. said in an article on, “We have long suspected the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. This study begins to show a correlation between ‘healthy living’ and reducing death from colorectal cancer.”

The study was led by Dr. Andrew Chan, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Dr. Chan and his team tracked data from 1,659 people diagnosed with colon cancer over a period of 10 years. The researchers found that out of 561 patients who died over the course of their study, 169 deaths were due to associated conditions caused by colon cancer, 153 deaths were from heart disease, and 113 deaths were from other types of cancer. The other cases were attributed to other factors. However, what was more noteworthy was the observation that patients who consumed at least 0.3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids from oily fish daily after their cancer diagnosis had a 41 percent reduction of dying from the disease, compared with those who consumed less than 0.1 gram per day. Dr. Chan found that the reduction of risk was associated with omega-3s coming from both food and fish oil supplements, although only a few of the patients they tracked used supplements.

Furthermore, the study noted that increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake by at least 0.15 grams a day after a colon cancer diagnosis reduced the risk of dying from the disease by 70 percent. A reduction of daily intake was also linked to a 10 percent higher risk of death from the disease. Those who increased their intake of omega-3s also had a 13 percent lowered risk of dying from other causes compared to a 21 percent increased risk who decreased their intake.

Despite these praise-worthy results, other cancer experts remain unconvinced. Dr. Arun Swaminath, who dir