Category Archives: cancer

Do You Contribute To Discovering The CURE For Breast Cancer?

While a little off the beaten path, this post has some useful information on donating to fight breast cancer.

Tony

All About Healthy Choices

Passionately Pink JPGcropped400The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (later known as Susan G. Komen for the Cure) has become the largest and most well known breast cancer organization in the United States: It was started by Susan G Komen’s sister (Nancy Goodman Brinker) in 1982.

We want to believe that tragedies like Susan’s story of breast cancer develop into massive organizations (ex.Susan G. Komen for the Cure) based on honest altruistic intentions to offer real hope to OTHERS suffering from this dreaded disease.

What do the facts reveal about Nancy Brinker’s financial gains as Founder and CEO and the success her organization has achieved winning the “war” against beast cancer?

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“In early 2012, the Komen organization announced it was pulling its grants for breast-cancer screenings from Planned Parenthood, drawing an immediate backlash from Komen supporters and abortion rights advocates. Within days, Nancy Brinker, the group’s founder and CEO, reversed…

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40% Of Cancers Diagnosed In U.S. Related To Obesity, CDC Says

As if we needed another reason to pay attention to our weight as well as what (and how much) we eat. Here is the CDC with some hard facts.

Tony

Our Better Health

Add cancer to the many good reasons to strive for a healthy weight

The rates of 12 obesity-related  cancers rose by 7 per cent from 2005 to 2014, an increase that is threatening to reverse progress in reducing the rate of cancer in the United States, U.S. health officials say.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 630,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with a cancer linked with being overweight or obese in 2014.

Obesity-related cancers accounted for about 40 per cent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States in 2014. Although the overall rate of new cancer diagnoses has fallen since the 1990s,  rates of obesity-related cancers have been rising.

“Today’s report shows in some cancers we’re going in the wrong direction,” Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC said on a conference call with reporters.

According to the International Agency for…

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More bad news about extra belly fat – Study

Scientists have found that carrying fat around your middle could be as good an indicator of cancer risk as body mass index (BMI), according to research (link is external)* published in the British Journal of Cancer today (Wednesday).

“However you measure it being overweight or obese can increase the risk of developing certain cancers.”Dr Julie Sharp, Cancer Research UK It shows that adding about 4.3 inches to the waistline increased the risk of obesity related cancers by 13 per cent.
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For bowel cancer, adding around 3.15 inches to the hips is linked to an increased risk of 15 per cent.

Carrying excess body fat can change the levels of sex hormones, such as oestrogen and testosterone, can cause levels of insulin to rise, and lead to inflammation, all of which are factors that have been associated with increased cancer risk. Continue reading

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When screening for disease, risk is as important to consider as benefits – study

Physicians and patients like to believe that early detection of cancer extends life, and quality of life. If a cancer is present, you want to know early, right? Maybe not.

An analysis of cancer screenings by a University of Virginia statistician and a researcher at the National Cancer Institute indicates that early diagnosis of a cancer does not necessarily result in a longer life than without an early diagnosis. And screenings – such as mammograms for breast cancer and prostate-specific antigen tests for prostate cancer – come with built-in risks, such as results mistakenly indicating the presence of cancer (false positives), as well as missed diagnoses (false negatives). Patients may undergo harsh treatments that diminish quality of life while not necessarily extending it.

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Yet the benefits of early diagnosis through screening often are touted over the risks.

“It is difficult to estimate the effect of over-diagnosis, but the risk of over-diagnosis is a factor that should be considered,” said Karen Kafadar, a UVA statistics professor and co-author of a study being presented Sunday at a session of the 2017 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “How many diagnosed cases would never have materialized in a person’s lifetime, and gone successfully untreated? Treatments sometimes can cause harm, and can shorten life or reduce quality of life.”

Kafadar is not advocating against screening, but her findings show that frequent screening comes with its own risks. As a metric for evaluation, reduction in mortality is considered the standard. So if a disease results in 10 deaths per 100,000 people in a year, and screening reduces the deaths to six per 100,000 people, then there seems to be an impressive 40 percent reduction in mortality.

However, a more meaningful metric, Kafadar said, may be: “How much longer can a person whose case was screen-detected be expected to live, versus a case that was diagnosed only after clinical symptoms appeared?” This issue becomes harder to discern – how long a patient survives after a diagnosis versus how long the patient might have lived anyway. Some cancer cases might never become apparent during a person’s lifetime without screening, but with screening might be treated unnecessarily, such as for a possibly non-aggressive cancer. And some aggressive forms of disease may shorten life even when caught early through screening.

Kafadar and her collaborator, National Cancer Institute statistician Philip Prorok, gathered long-term data from several study sources, including health insurance plans and the National Cancer Institute’s recently completed long-term randomized control trial on prostate, lung, colorectal and ovarian cancer, to consider several factors affecting the value of screening – over-diagnosis, lead time on a diagnosis and other statistical distortions – to look at not just how many people die, but also life extension.

“People die anyway of various causes,” Kafadar said, “but most individuals likely are more interested in, ‘How much longer will I live?’ Unfortunately, screening tests are not always accurate, but we like to believe they are.”

Because the paper considers together the factors that affect statistical understanding of the effectiveness of screening, rather than looking at each of these factors in isolation as previous studies have done, it offers a new statistical methodology for teasing out the relative effects of cancer screening’s benefits and risks.

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Low Vitamin D may raise bladder cancer risk – Study

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of developing bladder cancer, according to a systematic review of seven studies led at the University of Warwick.

Five out of the seven studies linked low vitamin D levels to an increased risk of bladder cancer.

The researchers then looked at the cells that line the bladder, known as transitional epithelial cells, and found that these cells are able to activate and respond to vitamin D, which in turn can stimulate an immune response.

 

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Sources of Vitamin D

This is important because the immune system may have a role in cancer prevention by identifying abnormal cells before they develop into cancer. Lead author of the study Dr. Rosemary Bland said, “More clinical studies are required to test this association, but our work suggests that low levels of vitamin D in the blood may prevent the cells within the bladder from stimulating an adequate response to abnormal cells. Continue reading

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Music eases some cancer patients’ symptoms

I first encountered the idea of music therapy in 1977 when I was living in London. I heard a music therapist interviewed on the radio. Remember, this was 1977, before the internet. I was on a one year posting and had no TV or phone. As a music lover seemingly since birth, the idea of using music to treat people blew my mind. I actually looked up the man and visited him in his home outside of London. We had some great conversations and he pointed me to some books for further reading on the subject.

While I still listen to music religiously, I hadn’t thought much about music therapy  until I ran across this study from Drexel University.

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A systematic review published by the Cochrane Library found that there is significant evidence that music interventions help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, pain and fatigue in cancer patients, while also boosting their quality of life. Continue reading

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Alcohol Causes 7 Kinds of Cancer, Study Concludes

I thought it only fair to send this as my previous post mentioned alcohol (in small amounts) as a treat.

alcohol

Tony

Our Better Health

Alcohol researcher Jennie Connor says the link is a causal one and that no alcohol is considered safe and risk does go up as you drink.

Alcohol is a direct cause of seven forms of cancer. Tough words to swallow, but those are the conclusions of researchers from New Zealand, who say they found that no matter how much you drink, alcohol will increase your risk of cancer.

“There is strong evidence that alcohol causes cancer at seven sites in the body and probably others,” the authors write in the latest issue of the journal Addiction.

Those seven cancer sites are:

  • liver
  • colon
  • rectum
  • female breast
  • larynx, (the throat organ commonly called the voice box)
  • orolarynx (the middle part of the pharynx) behind the mouth
  • esophagus (commonly the “food pipe”)

The researchers from the University of Otago reviewed previous studies and meta-analyses, analyzing all the major studies done over the…

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Following Prevention Guidelines Linked to Lowered Risk for Cancer

In addition to reducing your cancer risks – eating healthy and exercising regularly will eliminate your ever needing to worry about your weight. You won’t have a weight problem.

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Eat less; move more, live longer.

Tony

Our Better Health

Keeping active and eating healthy really does seem to reduce the odds of getting certain cancers and dying from them, according to a new review of past research.

The analysis of 12 large studies found significant reductions in breast, endometrial and colorectal cancers in particular among people who consistently followed cancer-prevention lifestyle guidelines compared to those who didn’t.

“What is most interesting to me is how much cancer can be reduced by our lifestyle behaviors,” said lead author Lindsay N. Kohler of the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health in Tucson.

We already knew that making healthy choices reduces cancer risk, but “most of us don’t follow all the guidelines like we should,” Kohler told Reuters Health by email.

Nearly 1.7 million new cancer diagnoses and 600,000 deaths from cancer are expected in the U.S. this year, the study team writes in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers…

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Magnesium Intake May Help Prevent Pancreatic Cancer – IU Researchers

Although I have had three skin cancer operations and my father died of lung caner, I find myself virtually ignorant about pancreatic cancer. Yet, pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in both men and women in the United States. The overall occurrence of pancreatic cancer has not significantly changed since 2002, but the mortality rate has increased annually from 2002 to 2011, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Indiana University researchers have found that magnesium intake may be beneficial in preventing pancreatic cancer.

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Their study, “Magnesium intake and incidence of pancreatic cancer: The VITamins and Lifestyle study,”recently appeared in the British Journal of Cancer.

“Pancreatic cancer is really unique and different from other cancers,” said study co-author Ka He, chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. “The five-year survival rate is really low, so that makes prevention and identifying risk factors or predictors associated with pancreatic cancer very important.”

Previous studies have found that magnesium is inversely associated with the risk of diabetes, which is a risk factor of pancreatic cancer. But few studies have explored the direct association of magnesium with pancreatic cancer; of those that did, their findings were inconclusive, said Daniel Dibaba, a Ph.D. student at the School of Public Health-Bloomington, who led the IU study.

Using information from the VITamins and Lifestyle study,  Dibaba and the other co-authors analyzed an enormous trove of data on over 66,000 men and women, ages 50 to 76, looking at the direct association between magnesium and pancreatic cancer and whether age, gender, body mass index, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs use and magnesium supplementation play a role.

Of those followed, 151 participants developed pancreatic cancer. The study found that every 100-milligrams-per-day decrease in magnesium intake was associated with a 24 percent increase in the occurrence of pancreatic cancer. The study also found that the effects of magnesium on pancreatic cancer did not appear to be modified by age, gender, body mass index or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use, but was limited to those taking magnesium supplements either from a multivitamin or individual supplement.

“For those at a higher risk of pancreatic cancer, adding a magnesium supplement to their diet may prove beneficial in preventing this disease,” Dibaba said. “While more study is needed, the general population should strive to get the daily recommendations of magnesium through diet, such as dark, leafy greens or nuts, to prevent any risk of pancreatic cancer.”

Tony

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Nutrition and Healthy Aging for Men

Here’s a closer look at five of the most common health conditions that affect men as they age, and how better nutrition and lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce their risk.

Excellent information in this. I must admit to being highly satisfied to see the increased emphasis on exercise.

Please check out my Page on Important Facts About Your Braind (and Exercise Benefits).

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

Judith C. Thalheimer, a dietitian wrote . . . . .

As men get older, their risk of developing chronic diseases increases. Adopting healthier lifestyle habits can decrease that risk and help ensure a higher quality of life for years to come.

“Eating a well-balanced diet with a variety of foods can help men promote their overall health and reduce their risk of chronic diseases,” says Ximena Jimenez, MS, RDN, LD, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the Academy). By sharing that wisdom with male clients in a way that empowers them to take control of their health through lifestyle choices, nutrition professionals can have a major impact on their lives.

Here’s a closer look at five of the most common health conditions that affect men as they age, and how better nutrition and lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce their risk.

1. Heart Disease

The statistics…

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8 Reasons to Eat More Mushrooms

“Mushrooms are miniature pharmaceutical factories, and of the thousands of mushroom species in nature, our ancestors and modern scientists have identified several dozen that have a unique combination of talents that improve our health,” says leading mushroom research, Paul Stamets, who has written six books about mushrooms.

Our Better Health

Diana Herrington   February 10, 2015

If you’re looking for a new food to boost your health and shake up your boring meal routine, mushrooms might be it. With over 100 thousand species of mushroom-forming fungi and huge health benefits, the mushroom is a little-known superstar. We often sprinkle mushrooms on our salads or add them to our casseroles. Next time add a few more handfuls of this ingredient–or, better yet, make it the main entree! Including a little more mushroom to your favorite meal is a tasty and rewarding move.

There are:

  • 140,000 species of mushroom-forming fungi.
  • Close to 100 types of mushrooms being studied for their health benefits.
  • A small number found to be very beneficial for boosting your immune system.

“Mushrooms are miniature pharmaceutical factories, and of the thousands of mushroom species in nature, our ancestors and modern scientists have identified several dozen that have a unique…

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Half of Dr. Oz’s Medical Advice Is Baseless or Wrong, Study Says

I have been a fan of Dr. Oz for some time and even quoted him here on the blog. Now comes the British Medical Journal with criticisms. This post is based on an article in the Washington Post.

Tony

The study is part of an ongoing debate about medicine on television. There’s clearly a market for doctor talk shows. “The Dr. Oz Show” ranks in the top five talk shows in the United States, bringing in a haul of roughly 2.9 million viewers per day. And the talk show “The Doctors,” also studied in the paper, nets around 2.3 million viewers per show. These days, Oz considers disease in terms of marketability. Cancer, he told the New Yorker, “is our Angelina Jolie. We could sell that show every day.”

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The Entertainer

It’s not hard to understand what makes Dr. Oz so popular. Called “America’s doctor,” syndicated talk-show host Mehmet Oz speaks in a way anyone can understand. Medicine may be complex. But with Dr. Oz, clad in scrubs and crooning to millions of viewers about “miracles” and “revolutionary” breakthroughs, it’s often not. He somehow makes it fun. And people can’t get enough.

“I haven’t seen a doctor in eight years,” the New Yorker quoted one viewer telling Oz. “I’m scared. You’re the only one I trust.”

But is that trust misplaced? Or has Oz, who often peddles miracle cures for weight loss and other maladies, mortgaged medical veracity for entertainment value?

These questions have hammered Oz for months. In June, he was hauled in front of Congress, where Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) told him he gave people false hope and criticized his segments as a “recipe for disaster.” Then…

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Low-Fat Diet May Boost Survival for Some Breast Cancer Patients

Chlebowski can’t explain why the low-fat diet helped, but it may be due to the diet and weight loss reducing inflammation, which can affect cancer growth. Chlebowski said it’s also not clear from this study why the low-fat diet provided greater benefit to women with estrogen receptor-negative cancers than to those with estrogen receptor-positive cancers.

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Eating a low-fat diet may reduce the risk of early death in some women with breast cancer, according to new research.

The low-fat diet seemed particularly helpful for early stage breast cancer patients with so-called estrogen receptor-negative (ER-negative) disease. These women had a 36 percent reduced risk of death from any cause over 15 years if they ate a low-fat diet for five years following their diagnosis, said study researcher Dr. Rowan Chlebowski. He is a medical oncologist at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

Women who had both ER-negative and progesterone-receptor negative (PR-negative) cancers had an even greater reduction in death risk during the study. Over 15 years, their risk of dying from any cause was reduced by 56 percent if they ate a low-fat diet during the five years after diagnosis, he found.

Women in the study reduced their dietary fat intake from…

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One Month After My Two Skin Cancer Surgeries

One September 11, a month ago, I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from my face and another one removed from my back.The facial incision extends an inch and a half while the one on my back stretches to three inches. I have spent the past month recovering from those surgeries.

I was a good patient and did not ride my bike for the first two weeks after the operation. Actually, I was surprised that I did not even have the energy to take the bike out in that period. I was also taking a round of antibiotics to protect the two wounds.

Wilford Hall team treats ENT patients in Honduras
I started riding again after two weeks, but on a very restricted basis. I rode less than 10 miles on each of my first two days compared with a usual of 20 miles a day.

For the first three weeks after the surgeries I napped from one to two hours a day in addition to a full night’s sleep. So, my body was clearly in recovery mode.

At this point, a month later, I feel that I am about 80 to 85 per cent recovered. I am able to ride 20 miles a day although it is in two sections of around 10 miles each. I no longer need to nap.

In the past month I have added about a pound to my body weight. I think my appetite was curtailed from the procedures, too. My resting heart rate remains in the low 40s.

In summary, I consider myself well along on the road to recovery. I went into the operations a healthy
74 year old man and I am now finding my way back. I hope these details about the operations and my recovery have been of some value to you. I was surprised at how much they took out of me.

In talking about my skin cancer experience, I have been amazed at how many people have direct experience with it. To read more on the subject, check out my page: Skin cancer facts in general and my three skin cancer surgeries in particular.

Tony

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Cancer Diagnosis Can Take Toll on Mental Health

The most common mental disorders affecting cancer patients were anxiety disorders and adjustment disorders, according to the study. Adjustment disorders occur when a person cannot cope with a life crisis, and are unable to function on a daily basis or maintain relationships with those around them, Mehnert said.

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One out of three people diagnosed with cancer also wind up struggling with a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression, a new study from Germany reports.

Many people seem to cope with the natural stress of a cancer diagnosis, but for about 32 percent of cancer patients, the diagnosis may prompt a full-blown psychological disorder, said study lead author Anja Mehnert, a professor of psychosocial oncology at the University of Leipzig in Germany.

That’s much higher than the 20 percent mental disorder rate of the general population, she said. It’s important to note that although the study strongly links cancer and a mental health disorders, it wasn’t designed to prove that having cancer directly caused any mental health disorders.

“[Our] findings reinforce that, as doctors, we need to be very aware of signs and symptoms of mental and emotional distress,” Mehnert said. “We must encourage patients to seek…

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Goji Berry Benefits: 12 Facts About This Healthy Superfood

Goji BerriesYou can eat them raw or soak them in hot water before munching. Others prefer adding goji berries to trail mixes, smoothies or as a garnish on cereals, salads or yogurts. Basically, goji berries can be baked, cooked, steamed, and processed in any way after they are washed.

Must confess my ignorance about these fascinating berries. I  have ordered some from Amazon. Update: They came and I really liked their complex flavor. As Michelin would say, “Worth a detour.”

Caveats from WebMD: “There are herb-drug interactions with goji berries. If you take warfarin (a blood thinner) you should avoid goji berries. Goji berries may also interact with diabetes and blood pressure medicines, so check with your pharmacist about possible interactions.

“If you have pollen allergies you may want to stay away from this fruit. Case reports have linked goji berries consumption with skin photosensitivity, causing a skin rash on exposure to sunlight. They are also naturally rich in oxalate which may be a health issue in kidney problems.”

Tony

Our Better Health

The Huffington Post Canada     By Arti Patel     03/28/2014  

Even though goji berries date back to the early days of Chinese medicine, people (including celebrities like Madonna and Miranda Kerr) can’t seem to stop talking about this tiny scrunched up fruit.

“The sky is the limit when it comes to incorporating goji berries in your diet,” says health and nutrition expert Rosanna Lee based in Toronto.

Considered both a fruit and a herb, goji berries are typically found in Asian and European countries, but sold in bulk or packages across North America. Although they are a bit pricey, Lee says they include a long list of benefits.

“Goji berries are an excellent source of antioxidants,” she says, though she cautions against immediately believing all of the berries’ health claims. Helping to reduce cancer risk and its “fountain of youth” claims, for example, aren’t backed up by…

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