Tag Archives: cancer

Booking my biospy …

Last week I wrote about the unpleasant news that after a chest X Ray and a CT Scan, I likely have some form of lung cancer. If you want details, you can read that post here.

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It has now been a week of dark shadowy uncertainty. When we got my CT Scan results, my doctor told me that they would call me to book a biopsy of my tumor. I waited for the call. The weekend came … and went. No call the following week. I finally sent a message on MyChart to my doctor that I hadn’t heard anything and was I supposed to have done something to get the biopsy scheduled. I received a message back with the phone number for the Radiational Intervention Department. Progress!

I phoned immediately and, of course, got a machine to answer. I recited my name and medical data along with my phone number with the message that I was calling to schedule a biopsy and they had my CT Scan. The machine assured me that my call was important and that someone would get back to me. The machine lied.

The next day, I phoned the department again and caught the same recorded message. I repeated my information. There was no call back.

At this point I was approaching seven days since my CT Scan with no ‘closure’ as far as finding out that nature of my likely cancerous affliction. I phoned my doctor and left a message that I had tried twice calling Radiational Intervention with no response.

Two hours later, Radiational Intervention called me. The nearest date for a biopsy is November 28. I booked it. They explained that I needed to get a COVID test with 72 hours of my procedure. So I booked that, too. I will be there at 1:00 p.m. for the procedure. They said that it would take about an hour to get into it and then I needed to stay there under observation for an additional two hours.

So, I may know on Tuesday, November 29, the condition of the likely cancerous mass on my left lung. Stay tuned ….

Tony

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Skin cancer may predict future cancers – MNT

As I wrote last week in My unpleasant health news , I very likely have some form of lung cancer. I am currently waiting to hear from the hospital to schedule my biopsy to get further information on my condition. As I am a committed non-smoker, you can imagine my surprise at this news. On further reflection, however, I have had skin cancer three times (see the Page on which I discussed that here.)

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Skin cancer is by far the most common cancer; there are a number of types, the most common being basal cell carcinoma. There are millions of diagnoses each year in the United States.

Our skin is regularly bombarded by ultra violet light, which damages DNA and can eventually lead to cancer.

In our cells, there is a range of proteins whose job it is to repair this type of damage.

Catching skin cancer at an early stage is important and, compared with other cancers, relatively easy.

Many internal cancers, however, do not produce particularly obvious symptoms until they are at an advanced stage. Because of this, finding ways to predict who might be most at risk is vital.

According to a new study — which now appears in the journal JCI Insight — basal cell carcinoma may help doctors predict who has an increased risk of developing other types of cancer.

Skin cancer as a predictor

Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine in California recently investigated how the number of basal cell carcinoma occurrences might impact an individual’s future cancer risk.

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Eye Exams Save Lives

Most people are surprised to learn that early signs of serious medical conditions affecting your body can be detected in the eyes. Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases, sexually transmitted diseases, and even Alzheimer’s disease can be detected in the eye. That’s because the blood vessels and nerves in our eyes are reflective of the state of the rest of the body. A routine eye exam can do more than save your eyesight, it can also save your life.

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Take for example Barbara Krupar, a 65-year-old retiree from Ohio who went to her ophthalmologist after experiencing some disturbing changes in her vision. When Nicole Bajic, MD, examined her, she detected possible early warning signs of a stroke, and recommended Barbara go to the emergency room immediately to have her head and neck imaged. The ER physician determined that the carotid artery in her neck was 85 percent blocked. She was at imminent risk of suffering a stroke. The exam likely saved her life.

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Cancer Survivors Face Higher Heart Risks Later

If you survive cancer, you’re more apt to have heart trouble later on, a new study shows.

Researchers found that compared to others, cancer survivors had a 42% greater risk of heart disease, most likely due to damage resulting from cancer treatment.

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“There are chemotherapies that can damage the heart, and radiation to the chest can also affect the heart,” said lead researcher Dr. Roberta Florido, director of cardio-oncology at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. “So it’s possible that these therapies, in the long run, increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

The risk for heart failure after cancer was particularly high: 52%. Stroke risk also rose 22%. There wasn’t, however, a significantly higher risk for heart attack or coronary artery disease.

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Gene-edited tomatoes could be a new source of vitamin D

Researchers used gene editing to turn off a specific molecule in the plant’s genome which increased provitamin D3 in both the fruit and leaves of tomato plants. It was then converted to vitamin D3 through exposure to UVB light.

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Vitamin D is created in our bodies after skin’s exposure to UVB light, but the major source is food. This new bio-fortified crop could help millions of people with vitamin D insufficiency, a growing issue linked to higher risk of cancer, dementia, and many leading causes of mortality. Studies have also shown that vitamin D insufficiency is linked to increased severity of infection by Covid-19.

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Diet and Cancer Prevention – Tufts

According to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), 20 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the U.S. are related to poor dietary choices and lack of exercise. So what should we eat, and what should we avoid? News outlets and the internet are full of (sometimes conflicting) reports claiming links between specific foods or nutrients and cancer. Many of these claims are based on a limited number of studies. But when researchers analyze all of the research on cancer and nutrition together, it becomes clear that increasing intake of individual foods or popping dietary supplements doesn’t work. Overall dietary pattern, however, can make an important and significant difference.

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Diet and Cancer: “There is a clear link between diet and cancer,” says Jerold Mande, MPH, who worked on cancer policy for two Presidential administrations and the Yale Cancer Center before joining Tufts’ faculty. “In fact, trend lines indicate that dietary issues could surpass cigarette smoking as the greatest cancer-causing threat.”

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Low-dose aspirin linked to reduced liver cancer risk

When I was growing up there was a funny saying, “Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.” Supposedly, that was a typical doctor’s advice. Now, it like the aspirin might be a good idea.

Among adults at high risk of liver cancer, those who took low-dose aspirin were less likely to develop the disease or to die from liver-related causes. The findings come from an analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine and conducted by a team led by investigators at the Karolinska Institutet, in Sweden, and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

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“Rates of liver cancer and of mortality from liver disease are rising at an alarming pace in U.S. and European countries. Despite this, there remain no established treatments to prevent the development of liver cancer, or to reduce the risk of liver-related death,” said lead author Tracey Simon, MD, MPH, investigator in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at MGH. Continue reading

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Exercise May Lower Cancer Risk, Improve Outcomes – NIH

Eat less; move more; live longer. Where have I heard that before? Nice to see the National Institutes of Health adding this aspect of positive results from exercise.

Exercise can work wonders for your health, including strengthening muscles and bones, and boosting metabolism, mood, and memory skills. Now comes word that staying active may also help to lower your odds of developing cancer.

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After reviewing the scientific evidence, a panel of experts recently concluded that physical activity is associated with reduced risks for seven common types of cancer: colon, breast, kidney, endometrial, bladder, stomach, and esophageal adenocarcinoma. What’s more, the experts found that exercise—both before and after a cancer diagnosis—was linked to improved survival among people with breast, colorectal, or prostate cancers. Continue reading

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Higher red meat eating linked with premature death – Harvard

People who increased their daily servings of red meat over an eight-year period were more likely to die during the subsequent eight years compared to people who did not increase their red meat consumption, according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study also found that decreasing red meat and simultaneously increasing healthy alternative food choices over time was associated with lower mortality.

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The study was published online June 12, 2019 in BMJ.

A large body of evidence has shown that higher consumption of red meat, especially processed red meat, is associated with higher risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancers including those of the colon and rectum, and premature death. This is the first longitudinal study to examine how changes in red meat consumption over time may influence risk of early death. Continue reading

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Medical guidelines may be overaggressive, biased

For the most part I opt for natural remedies over drugs for my own personal health. But, there are times when a doctor’s recommendations may differ from my wishes. So I was fascinated to learn that sometimes medical practitioners may not be totally objective in their appraisals of our health.

Dr. Sunita Sah practiced general medicine for several years in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. When she came to the United States, she noticed something strange.

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The U.K. guidelines for tests such as mammograms and colon cancer screenings drastically differed from those in the U.S. – even though they were based on the same medical evidence.

“Having colonoscopy at the age of 50 – that struck me as rather odd when I moved to the U.S., because you don’t really hear about people having colonoscopies as a screening procedure in the U.K.,” said Sah. “It’s much less invasive to test for blood in the stool. It’s also less costly and doesn’t have the risks of undertaking a colonoscopy.”

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Higher consumption of sugary beverages linked with increased risk of mortality – Harvard

The more sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) people consumed, the greater their risk of premature death—particularly death from cardiovascular disease, and to a lesser extent from cancer, according to a large long-term study of U.S. men and women. The risk of early death linked with drinking SSBs was more pronounced among women.

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The study, led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, also found that drinking one artificially sweetened beverage (ASB) per day instead of a sugary one lowered the risk of premature death. But drinking four or more ASBs per day was associated with increased risk of mortality in women.

The study was published in the journal Circulation.

“Our results provide further support to limit intake of SSBs and to replace them with other beverages, preferably water, to improve overall health and longevity,” said Vasanti Malik, research scientist in the Department of Nutrition and lead author of the study. Continue reading

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Eating Red and Processed Meats, Even in Small Amounts, May Increase Death Risk

In my 30’s I was a vegetarian who still ate fish and chicken. In those days I was doing tons of yoga and had no trouble keeping my weight down. I also felt great, of course, I was in my 30’s so why wouldn’t I? I thought this study from Loma Linda University was very enlightening.

A new study out of Loma Linda University Health suggests that eating red and processed meats — even in small amounts — may increase the risk of death from all causes, especially cardiovascular disease.

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Saeed Mastour Alshahrani, the lead author of the study and a doctoral student at Loma Linda University School of Public Health, said the research fills an important gap left by previous studies that looked at relatively higher levels of red meat intake and compared them with low intakes. Continue reading

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Green Tea for St. Patrick’s Day… and Every Day

Health Secrets of a SuperAger

If this looks familiar it’s because I ran it last year on St. Patty’s Day.

gif-st-patrick-188.gif“BETTER to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one.”
Ancient Chinese proverb.


If that really is an ancient Chinese proverb it must be referring to green tea. Don’t know about green tea? You are in for a treat.

About.com reports that in 1994 the Journal of the National Cancer Institute had a study showing that green tea drinking cut the risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by nearly 60%.

Nadine Taylor wrote an entire book on it – Green Tea: The natural secret to a healthy life.gif-st-patrick-192.gif

Green tea, beautiful benefits

HealthMad lists 10- benefits of green tea.

1 Used to treat Multiple sclerosis
2 Cancer treat/prevent
3 Stop Alzheimer’s/Parkinson’s
4 Raises metabolism and increases fat oxidation
5 Reduces risk of heart diseases and attacks by cutting…

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How Exercise Reduces Belly Fat in Humans

I am guessing that belly fat is the number one source of concern for people taking up exercise – or continuing it. So many fruitless hours have been spent on ‘ab-work’ like sit-ups and stomach crunches with little sign of success. It turns out that reduction of that ‘spare tire’ is far less complicated than many suppose. Simple, but not obvious.

Summary: According to researchers, interleukin 6 plays a critical role in how exercise helps to reduce body fat. Source: Cell Press.

Some of you may have made a New Year’s resolution to hit the gym to tackle that annoying belly fat. But have you ever wondered how physical activity produces this desired effect? A signaling molecule called interleukin-6 plays a critical role in this process, researchers report December 27 in the journal Cell Metabolism.

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This graphical abstract shows that in abdominally obese people, exercise-mediated loss of visceral adipose tissue mass requires IL-6 receptor signaling. NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to Wedell-Neergaard, Lehrskov, and Christensen, et al. / Cell Metabolism.

As expected, a 12-week intervention consisting of bicycle exercise decreased visceral abdominal fat in obese adults. But remarkably, this effect was abolished in participants who were also treated with tocilizumab, a drug that blocks interleukin-6 signaling and is currently approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Moreover, tocilizumab treatment increased cholesterol levels regardless of physical activity.

“The take home for the general audience is ‘do exercise,’” says first author Anne-Sophie Wedell-Neergaard of the University of Copenhagen. “We all know that exercise promotes better health, and now we also know that regular exercise training reduces abdominal fat mass and thereby potentially also the risk of developing cardio-metabolic diseases.”

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Light and social smoking carry cardiovascular risks – Harvard

The thoroughly preventable death of lung cancer kills thousands of people every year. I feel strongly that smoking is a horrible health habit. You can check out my Page – How many ways does smoking harm you for more details. Yet some folks feel that a ‘social cigarette’ is okay. Well, not quite. Following is an analysis by Harvard Heart Letter.

Light smoking isn’t as bad as heavy smoking, but it still harms the heart and body. If you quit smoking completely, your health will benefit.

man lighting cigarette

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“I’m not really a smoker. I only smoke a few cigarettes a day, or when I go out on the weekend.” This thought process is common among light smokers. However, if you think you are doing your heart and lungs a favor by smoking only “a little,” think again.

Light or intermittent smoking may be safer for you than heavy smoking, but they still cause plenty of harm. Quitting smoking completely is the best action for your help.Public health campaigns have reduced the number of American adults who smoke. Along with that decline has come an increase in the number of light and now-and-then smokers.

Experts long believed that smokers used light or intermittent smoking as a bridge to quitting smoking completely. But it’s becoming clear that more and more smokers continue this pattern indefinitely — almost one-quarter of all smokers today fall into these categories. Continue reading

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Is cooking oil safe? – Tufts

Is Cooking Oil Safe?

There are lots of ideas circulating about cooking oils and fats. Here is Tufts University Health and Nutrition Update on the subject of cooking oils.

Q. I heard that the heat from cooking makes oil dangerous. Is oil safe to cook with?

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A. “Oil is safe to cook with under usual conditions,” says Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, senior scientist at Tufts’ HNRCA and executive editor of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter. “The primary concern I suspect your source was referring to is oxidation, a natural process that occurs when one molecule gives up an electron to another as part of a chemical reaction. The process creates free radicals, which can cause damage that could increase risk for problems such as heart attack, stroke, and cancer. Oils and oily foods (like nuts and whole grains) can oxidize over time, even without cooking. Exposure to light, heat, and air speed up this process. Keep oils in a cool, dark place, and store nuts, whole-grain flours, and fish-, nut-, and seed oils in the refrigerator to keep them fresh longer. Repeatedly-heated cooking oil has been found to have more signs of oxidation, so it’s best not to reuse cooking oil.”

“To counteract free radicals, whether they are formed by normal metabolism in the body or in oils, eat plenty of plant foods. Fruits, vegetables, and other plants have antioxidants that can counteract free radicals in the body.”

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