Category Archives: cancer

Mediterranean Diet With Extra Olive Oil May Prevent Breast Cancer

From my pantry...

From my larder…

A Mediterranean-style diet with supplemental extra-virgin olive oil seemed to reduce the incidence of breast cancer in a Spanish population. This is consistent with prior observational studies that link the Mediterranean diet with lower rates of breast and other cancers (colon, prostate, uterus, and melanoma).

The study population involved 4,000 women who were followed for five years. Thirty-five new cases of breast cancer occurred in this PREDIMED study sub-analysis.

The comparison diets were a reduced-fat diet and Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts.

This is a relatively small study, so results may not be entirely reliable.

Action Plan

If you’re a woman hoping to avoid breast cancer, consider the Mediterranean diet and be sure to eat plenty of extra-virgin olive oil. A good way to do this is to use home-made vinaigrettes.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Even if you think Spaniards are jovial, you won’t find any in my books.

Reference: Mediterranean diet and invasive breast cancer risk among women at high cardiovascular risk in the PREDIMED trial. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2015. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.4838

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Which Cancers Does Exercise Prevent?

Needs a bit more hormetic stress

“Would you spot me, bro?”

I’ve always assumed that exercise reduces the risk of cancer, contributing to the well-established fact that folks who exercise live longer than others.

But a recent study found a positive association between exercise and two cancers: melanoma and prostate. “Positive association” means the more you exercise, the higher your risk of melanoma and prostate cancer (if you have a prostate).

The good news is that exercise was linked to lower risk of 13 other cancers.

Here’s a quote for the New York Times Well blog:

The researchers found a reduced risk of breast, lung and colon cancers, which had been reported in earlier research. But they also found a lower risk of tumors in the liver, esophagus, kidney, stomach, endometrium, blood, bone marrow, head and neck, rectum and bladder.

And the reductions in risk for any of these 13 cancers rose steeply as people exercised more. When the researchers compared the top 10 percent of exercisers, meaning those who spent the most time each week engaging in moderate or vigorous workouts, to the 10 percent who were the least active, the exercisers were as much as 20 percent less likely to develop most of the cancers in the study.

I’m surprised the protective effect of exercise against cancer wasn’t stronger.

Action Plan

So how much physical activity does it take to prevent cancer? And what type of exercise? We await further studies for specific answers.

I’m hedging my bets with a combination of aerobic and strength training two or three times a week.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: If you think cancer’s bad, read one of my books. Wait, that didn’t come out right.

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From P.D. Mangan: Higher Altitude Means Much Lower Death Rates

Adult life is a battle against gravity. Eventually we all lose.

Adult life is a battle against gravity. Eventually we all lose.

I quote:

“Death rates from both of these cancers [breast in women, colon in men] were about half as high at an altitude of greater than 1000 meters (3300 feet).  The study also found about a 30% reduction in deaths from coronary artery disease at >1000 meters.

This accords well with a number of other studies. For example, “Lower Mortality From Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke at Higher Altitudes in Switzerland“. This study found 22% less heart disease death for every +1000 meters in altitude, and 12% less stroke death.

Association Between Alzheimer Dementia Mortality Rate and Altitude in California Counties“: This study found about half the death rate from Alzheimer’s at an altitude of 1600 meters vs that at sea level.

There’s less diabetes at high altitude.”

Source: Higher Altitude Means Much Lower Death Rates – Rogue Health and Fitness

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Filed under cancer, Causes of Diabetes, Dementia, Heart Disease

Night shift work does NOT raise breast cancer risk, new study finds

MNT has the details:

“In 2007, the World Health Organization published a review that concluded night shift work is likely to raise the risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer. A new review of more than 1.4 million women challenges this conclusion, after revealing night shift work had little or no impact on breast cancer incidence.

Working night shifts has little or no impact on women’s risk of breast cancer, a new study suggests.Study co-author Dr. Ruth Travis, of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues publish their findings in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 15 million adults in the United States work full-time night shifts, rotating shifts, or other irregular schedules.It is well established that such working patterns can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm – the physical, mental, and behavioral changes that occur over a 24-hour cycle, which mainly respond to light and dark in the environment.

Circadian rhythm disruption has been associated with an array of health problems, including sleep disorders, obesity, diabetes, depression, and bipolar disorder.”

Source: Night shift work ‘does not raise breast cancer risk,’ study finds – Medical News Today

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Can we target cancer with ketogenic diets? Can you help? 

Richard David Feinman is raising money for ground-breaking research that may help cure cancer. I think it’s a worthy cause.

Dr. Feinman writes:

“We have a good deal of enthusiasm in the keto/paleo/low-carb community. We have the real sense that we can we use carbohydrate restriction to take advantage of the characteristic metabolic features of cancer — inflexible reliance on glucose. Enthusiasm may have outstripped the data and several groups are trying to fill the gap. The barrier rests with the difficulty for anybody to obtain funding from NIH or other government or private agencies and the long-standing resistance to low-carbohydrate diets makes it particularly difficult.We have some good experiments and a dedicated technician and we can efficiently use limited funds. Your backing can help. A $ 15 donation gets us several days of supplies for the in vitro experiments that provide the biochemical underpinnings for attacking cancer in the clinic. Our project at experiment.com provides background, a place for discussion and reports from the lab.

The current metabolic point of view in cancer — emphasizing flexibility of fuel choices —  derives from renewed interest in the Warburg effect. Warburg saw that many cancer cells were producing lactic acid, the product of glycolysis. In other words, the tumors were not using the more efficient aerobic metabolism even when oxygen was present in the environment. The tumor cell’s requirement for glucose suggests the possibility of giving the host an advantage by restricting carbohydrate and offering ketone bodies as an alternative fuel.”

Click the link below for a little more info and to make a donation:

Source: Can we target cancer with ketogenic diets? Can you help? | Richard David Feinman

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Higher risk of cancer before and after diabetes diagnosis 

The lifetime probability of an individual developing invasive cancer in the U.S. is about 4 in 10 (40%). A little higher in men (45%), a little lower in women (38%).

The good news is that cancer death rates in the U.S. have dropped over the last 20 years. The reduction is 18% for men and 10% for women.

The bad news is that the American Cancer Society projects around 600,000 yearly deaths from cancer in the U.S.

If we look at deaths of people under 85, cancer kills more people than heart disease.

In men, 25% of all invasive cancers will be prostate cancer. In women, breast cancer is the leader, comprising 26% of all cancers. (Common skin cancers are rarely invasive or fatal and are not included in these statistics. Melanoma, on the other hand, is invasive and dangerous.)

New research indicates that people with diabetes may be more prone to several cancers. Older research says men with diabetes are less likely than average to get prostate cancer. Don’t ask me why.

Medical News Today provides a few details:

People who have diabetes may have a higher chance of developing cancer either before or immediately after receiving a diagnosis of diabetes, according to a study published online in the American Cancer Society’s journal, Cancer.

Additional healthcare when people receive a diagnosis of diabetes may lead to more cancer diagnoses around the same time.The results indicate that there is a need for better understanding of the association between cancer and diabetes.

Previous studies have suggested that people with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of developing several different types of cancer.

Source: Higher risk of cancer before and after diabetes diagnosis – Medical News Today

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: The traditional Mediterranean diet protects against cancer. We don’t know if my versions of it are even better at preventing cancer.

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Live Longer and Reduce Risk of Cancer and Heart Disease With Vegetables and Fruits

MedPageToday has some of the details.  A quote:

The largest benefits were seen in people who ate seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day compared with those who ate less than one serving, with the higher level of consumption associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality (hazard ratio 0.67; 95% CI 0.58-0.78), lead researcher Oyinlola Oyebode of University College London, and colleagues, reported online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Spaghetti squash, an under-utilized vegetable

Spaghetti squash, an under-utilized vegetable

The population under study was English. In addition to lower risk of death, the heavy fruit and vegetable consumers had lower rates of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Click for the actual research report.

If seven servings a day seems like a lot, note that a typical serving is only half a cup. You’ll get those with the Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet.

Steve Parker, M.D.

1 cup spaghetti squash with minced black olive, sweet pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, celery

1 cup spaghetti squash with minced black olive, sweet pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, celery

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Filed under cancer, Heart Disease, Longevity