Category Archives: cancer

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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Why Do I Recommend Nuts to All My Patients?

Nuts with more omega-3 fatty acids (compared to omega-6) may be the healthiest

Nuts with the lowest omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratios may be the healthiest. In other words, increase your omega-3s and decrease omega-6s.

Conner Middelmann-Whitney explains in her recent post at Psychology Today. In a nutshell, they are linked to longer life and better health. For example:

In the largest study of its kind, Harvard scientists found that people who ate a handful of nuts every day were 20% less likely to die from any cause over a 30-year period than those who didn’t consume nuts. The study also found that regular nut-eaters were leaner than those who didn’t eat nuts, a finding that should calm any fears that eating nuts will make you gain weight.

The report also looked at the protective effect on specific causes of death. “The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29% in deaths from heart disease—the major killer of people in America,” according to Charles S. Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment Center at Dana-Farber, the senior author of the report and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “But we also saw a significant reduction—11% —in the risk of dying from cancer,” added Fuchs.

Read the whole enchilada.

Nuts are integral to my Advanced Mediterranean Diet, Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet, Paleobetic Diet, and Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet.

Walnuts seem to have the lowest omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio of all the common nuts. That may make them the healthiest nut. The jury is still out. Macadamia nuts also have a good ratio. Paleo dieters focus on cutting out omega-6s and increasing omega-3s. Julianne Taylor has a great post on how to do that with a variety of foods, not just nuts.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Prevents Cancer, Too

…according to a report in MedPageTodayType 2 diabetes is linked to higher incidence of several cancers: liver, pancreas, uterus, colo-rectal, breast, and bladder.  On a brighter note, diabetics have lower risk of prostate cancer. Diabetes is also associated with higher risk of heart disease.

I'm still not convinced that severe sodium restriction is necessary or even possible for most people

I’m still not convinced that severe sodium restriction is necessary or even possible for most people

The American Heart Association has published guidelines aiming to reduce premature death and illness caused by cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, high blood pressure, and strokes.

The guidelines focus on seven factors critical to cardiovascular health:

  • smoking
  • blood sugar
  • blood pressure
  • physical activity
  • total cholesterol
  • body mass index (BMI)
  • ideal diet

Using data from the Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities study (almost two decades’ follow-up), researchers found that those who maintained goals for six or seven of the American Heart Association critical factors had a 51% lower risk of cancer compared with those meeting no goals.

For detailed information about the specific goals, click here.

As you might expect, I was curious about what the American Heart Association considered a heart-healthy diet.  I quote the AHA summary:

The recommendation for the definition of the dietary goals and metric, therefore, is as follows: “In the context of a diet that is appropriate in energy balance, pursuing an overall dietary pattern that is consistent with a DASH [Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension]-type eating plan, including but not limited to:

  • Fruits and vegetables: ≥ 4.5 cups per day
  • Fish: ≥ two 3.5-oz servings per week (preferably oily fish)
  • Fiber-rich whole grains (≥ 1.1 g of fiber per 10 g of carbohydrate): ≥ three 1-oz-equivalent servings per day
  • Sodium: < 1500 mg per day
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages: ≤ 450 kcal (36 oz) per week

Intake goals are expressed for a 2000-kcal diet and should be scaled accordingly for other levels of caloric intake. For example, ≤ 450 calories per week represents only up to one quarter of discretionary calories (as recommended) coming from any types of sugar intake for a 2000-kcal diet.

Diet recommendations are more complicated than that; read the full report for details.  Only 5% of study participants ate the “ideal diet.”  The AHA-recommended diet may have too many carbohydrates for some diabetics. The Mediterranean diet easily meets four out of five of those diet goals; you’d have to be extremely careful to reach the sodium goal on most any diet.

Cardiovascular diseases and cancer are among the top causes of death in Western societies.  Adhering to the guidelines above may kill two birds with one stone.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Exercise Reduces Risk of Prostate Cancer

…according to an article in MedPageToday. For unknown reasons, diabetics are less likely than average to get prostate cancer, but they still do.

In a prospective study, white men suspected of prostate cancer and scheduled for biopsy were less likely to have the disease if they were at least moderately active, according to Lionel Bañez, MD, of the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Durham N.C., and colleagues.

If they did have cancer, they were significantly less likely to have high-grade disease if they had been working out regularly, Bañez and colleagues reported online in Cancer.

Another way to reduce your risk of prostate cancer is to follow the Mediterranean diet.  Other cancers reduced by the Mediterranean diet are breast, colorectal, and uterus.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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