August 2009



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Oral cancer: increase ‘alarming’ amongst forty-somethings


Rates of oral cancers, such as cancers of the mouth, tongue and lip, have increased by around a quarter in the past decade amongst people in their 40s, according to figures from Cancer Research UK,


CRUK conclude that ‘oral cancer is largely a preventable disease with tobacco and alcohol use being the main risk factors. Cancers caused by smoking often take up to 30 years to develop, so tobacco is less likely to be the main reason behind the increase in oral cancer in people in their 40s compared with older people. And since smoking rates have gone down and alcohol consumption has gone up, experts believe the increase in oral cancer rates could mainly be down to drinking. Other risk factors include a diet low in fruit and vegetables, and a sexually transmitted infection called the human papillomavirus (HPV)’.


Ed: I personally find it curious that CRUK omit mention of recent important research from the University of Melbourne that showed daily use of alcohol-based mouth washes increased risk of oral cancer. In case they missed it – here it is again:


Mouthwash oral cancer dangers – especially for drinkers and smokers


In a major study conducted by researchers from the Australia’s University of Melbourne and University of Queensland School of Dentistry, the use of mouthwashes containing alcohol as an ingredient was found to significantly increase the risk of cancers of the mouth, head and neck.
"We see people with oral cancer who have no other risk factors than the use of a mouthwash containing alcohol, so what we’ve done is review all the evidence," said lead researcher Michael McCullough, chair of the Australian Dental Association’s therapeutics committee. They followed mouthwash use amongst 3,210 people and compared it with rates of mouth, head and neck cancers.


The researchers found that those who used an alcohol-containing mouthwash at least once per day had a significantly increased risk of cancer, independent of other risk factors such as smoking or drinking alcohol.
However, where people also drank alcohol regularly, there was a 500 per cent increase over drinkers who did not use mouthwash. For smokers who used mouthwash there was a 900 per cent increase over smokers who didn’t use one of these mouthwashes.
"Since this article, further evidence has come out," McCullough added. "We believe there should be warnings. If it was a facial cream that had the effect of reducing acne but had a four to fivefold increased risk of skin cancer, no one would be recommending it."


Fish oils beat the breast cancer drug for effectiveness


The omega-3 essential fatty acid known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is more effective at reducing the size of breast cancer tumors than the chemotherapy drug cisplatin, and can also reduce that drug’s harmful side effects, reports a new study published in the journal Cell Division.


After research studies on mice lead researcher A.M. El-Mowafy of Egypt’s Mansoura University said, "Our results suggest a new, fruitful drug regimen in the management of solid tumours based on combining cisplatin and possibly other chemotherapeutics with DHA. DHA elicited prominent chemo-preventative effects on its own, and appreciably augmented those of cisplatin as well. Furthermore, this study is the first to reveal that DHA can obliterate lethal cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity [kidney damage and renal tissue injury."


In animals who received 125 milligrams per kilogram of DHA, tumour growth was 38 percent less than in animals who received a placebo. Animals receiving cisplatin had 55 percent less tumour growth, while those treated with 250 milligrams per kilogram of DHA had 79 percent less. The combination of DHA and cisplatin not only reduced tumour growth by 81 percent compared with a placebo, it also returned white blood cell counts to normal levels. The 250 milligram per kilogram dose of DHA was nearly as effective at restoring a normal white blood cell count as the DHA-cisplatin combination. (Natural News)




Obese women at greater risk of worse breast cancer


Researchers at Geneva University have looked at obesity, body fat, oestrogen levels and breast cancer and concluded that not only do overweight women develop more breast cancers, they have more aggressive cancers. Apparently women who are overweight are often diagnosed with tumours that are two to three times bigger than normal women and are more often Stage III or IV.


Are mammograms useful in detecting breast cancer?


Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer mortality in women and the fifth most common cause of overall cancer death worldwide. But new research from the University of Nebraska and the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County (BioMed Central Medical Informatics and Decision Making) shows that even with women who have ‘the screening subset of mammography-detectable cancers’, there is a less than 5 percent chance that a mammogram will save her life.


The researchers, led by radiologist John Keen, noted that a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer between the ages of 55 and 70 is approximately 6 percent, with a 1 percent chance of breast cancer causing her death. The researchers concluded that by starting mammogram screening at age 50, 1.8 lives would be saved for every 1,000 women who were screened every year for 15 years. At age 40 this would only reduce a woman’s risk of dying by 0.1 percent. Keen added that this did not mean that mammograms were useless but that medical people recommending them needed to be clearer on exactly what the benefit rates were, when compared to the known risks.


Tamoxifen – can it cause a second, more dangerous breast cancer?


In a new study published by Cancer Research online on August 25th 2009, researchers observe that breast cancer survivors have a ‘substantially higher’ risk of developing a second primary new cancer in the other breast, when compared to the rate in the general population. And this cancer can be more dangerous.


While hormone therapy, (in this study, the use of Tamoxifen) reduces overall risk of reoccurrence by about 40 per cent, preliminary data from this new study indicate that it may also increase the risk of hormone receptor–negative contralateral tumors. The study involved a matched control of women and showed that compared with women not treated with hormonal therapy, users of adjuvant tamoxifen for 5 or more years had a reduced risk of ER+ contralateral breast cancer but a 4.4-fold increased risk of ER- contralateral breast cancer. The researchers concluded that ‘Although adjuvant hormonal therapy has clear benefits, risk of the relatively uncommon outcome of ER- contralateral breast cancer may now need to be tallied among its risks. This is of clinical concern given the poorer prognosis of ER- compared with ER+ tumors.’ [Cancer Res 2009;69(17):6865–70


Lung cancer risk – three genes implicated


Professor Richard Houlston, a scientist at The Institute of Cancer Research, and his team have confirmed that inherited changes in certain regions of the genome can increase a smokers’ risk of developing lung cancer, and determine the type of lung cancer that develops (Journal Cancer Research August 2006). They have identified changes in three regions of the genome which were more common in lung cancer patients than healthy individuals. These regions sat on chromosomes 5, 6, and 15. The researchers found that the variation at chromosome 5 influenced the type of lung cancer that developed. Those that carried this variant are more likely to develop a subtype of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) called adenocarcinoma, which accounts for 27 per cent of lung cancers in the UK and is the most common type of lung cancer in non-smokers.


Cancer Watch has covered a number of studies, most notably one from Canadian Scientists, which have reported that one third of people contracting lung cancer have never been near cigarettes or their smoke. Increases in young women have implicated chemicals such as formaldehyde, and xenoestrogens (common chemicals that mimic oestrogen in the body). In the USA, factors such as radon gas bubbling up through some houses and even diesel fumes have been established as causes.


Two drugs better than one for lung cancer


According to researchers from M. D. Anderson, who presented the findings of an international Phase III trial at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) annual meeting in May, when combined with the standard chemotherapy drug Taxotere® (docetaxel), the oral targeted therapy Zactima® (vandetanib) improves progression-free survival for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer.
Vandetanib, is an oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor, and is the first agent to target two lung cancer receptors, Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)


Childhood cancer survivors: 3 times normal rate in adulthood


We have covered research like this before. Now another study, this time from the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Copenhagen, Denmark, shows that childhood cancer survivors run a threefold greater risk than normal of developing another cancer in adulthood (the Journal of the National Cancer Institute).


Tracking 47,679 people from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden who had been diagnosed with cancer before the age of 20 scientists concluded that childhood chemotherapy is the most likely culprit for the increased risk of adult cancers (


 Pancreatic Cancer – animal fat a cause


We have recently covered research studies on Pancreatic cancer showing the protective effects of whole foods, and another on resveratrol, while others showed increased risk links to smoking, blood sugar levels, refined carbohydrates and alcohol, Now from the  Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics division at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in America comes a 500,000 person study that implicates red meat, dairy and animal fats.


Melanoma responds to new vaccine


A new peptide vaccine, known as gp100:209-217 (200M), developed in conjunction with the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Texas works by stimulating patients’ T cells, which help control immune responses.
"This vaccine activates the body’s cytotoxic T cells to recognize antigens on the surface of the tumor,” said Professor Hwu, head of Melanoma Oncology. “The T cells then secrete enzymes that poke holes in the tumor cell’s membrane, causing it to disintegrate."
Patients with advanced melanoma, one of the most dangerous cancers, showed improved response to treatment and length of progression-free survival when a vaccine was added to their treatment with the immunotherapy drug interleukin-2 (IL-2).
Results from the Phase III clinical trial – the first of its kind in melanoma and one of the first in any type of cancer – were presented by M. D. Anderson researchers at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in May.
According to the American Cancer Society, the incidence of melanoma is growing quickly. In 2009, more than 68,720 people in the United States will be diagnosed with the disease, and 8,650 will die because of it. The five-year survival rate for melanoma that has metastasized (spread to other parts of the body) is just 16 per cent.
A previous Phase II study combining the vaccine with IL-2 showed response rates of 42 per cent in metastatic melanoma patients.


Nanoparticles use bee venom to kill cancer


Neelesh R Soman and colleagues at Washington UniversitySchool of Medicine, St Louis, (Journal of Clinical Investigation ) looked into how melittin (a component of honey-bee venom which punches holes in cell membranes, could help deliver cancer killing nanoparticles to tumours in mice.
The tests were conducted with melanoma and breast cancer, and in these early stages the nanoparticles stopped tumour growth and caused some reduction in size when compared to placebos. 


50 per cent, (sorry, half), of all people don’t understand percentages


Apparently half of all patients over-estimate the risks associated with cancer treatments because the details in leaflets are recorded in percentages and they don’t understand percentages.


Apparently they were also misled when words such as common, very common or uncommon were used.


Researchers questioned 285 visitors to Cancer Research UK’s patient information website, CancerHelp to develop this finding. At CANCERactive we will note this starting next issue!




Green Tea and Cancer – 5 cups a day please


From the Tohoku School of Medicine comes a 9-year study which followed the consumption of green tea by 42,000 people. Looking at blood cancers and cancer in lymph nodes in particular, the researchers found there was a 40 per cent reduction for the former, and 50 per cent for the latter, in those people consuming 5 cups per day (American Journal of Epidemiology).


In a second study on influenza, comparing green tea supplement with a placebo, researchers found that the group taking supplement had one third less cold and flu attacks. And twice as many people taking the placebo sought medical advice. (Journal of the American College of Nutrition)


Vitamin A can reduce damaging effects of oestrogen


Known to drive many cancers from breast, to colon, to prostate and even some brain tumours, oestrogen causes its damage by binding to cellular receptor sites. Now scientists at the University of Chicago have shown that a metabolite of vitamin A (retinoic acid) can compete with and block this damaging action. Whereas oestrogen causes random and raid cell growth to occur, the retinoic acid was found to normalise proceedings. Professor Kevin White, director of the Institute for Genomics and System Biology at the University of Chicago and his team have even mapped the effects against areas of the genome affecting breast cancer, (published in Cell). In a follow up study the scientists discovered the more strongly a tumour responded to retinoic acid, the greater the chances of long-term survival and a lack of relapse.


Coenzyme Q10 linked to significant anti-cancer activity


Japanese researchers at the National Cancer Center Research Institute in Tokyo used a highly carcinogenic chemical, azoxymethane, to induce colon cancer in rats. In a controlled study lasting one month half the rats were given CoQ10, the other half nothing. One month later the supplemented group had only half the number of cancers.


The US National Cancer Institute has concluded that CoQ10 can help the body resist infections, including cancer. Furthermore it concludes that CoQ10 may well cause cancer cell death, and prevent cancer cells from growing.


Resveratrol is definitely a beneficial natural compound in the fight against cancer – but please don’t overclaim


As readers know, we have been providing research on the benefits of the natural compound resveratrol for about 5 years. There are a number of quality research studies, usually led by Harvard, and they show resveratrol to be of benefit in a number of diseases from cancer to dementia.
Sadly a number of US sites have now moved in to overclaim mode even telling people that red wine is a cure for cancer . It is not. For the record, Resveratrol is a naturally occurring phytoalexin produced by some red and black fruits to ward off fungal infection. Phytoalexins in general have been shown to be chemical substances produced by plants as a defence against infection. There is but a little resveratrol in red wine these days as it is sprayed to reduce fungus, and therefore the grapes simply don’t produce much as there is little to respond to. Clearly organic fruits are likely to produce more. For the time being you can consume large quantities of organic red and black fruits or take a natural supplement. Click here  for the complete low down.


Vegetarians have less cancers


In the last issue of icon we told you that meat caused inflammation in the body, and inflammation was a known precursor to cancer. Now comes a repeat of a study from several years ago. Last time an Oxford study concluded that overall vegetarians had 40 per cent less cancers; this time it was just 12 per cent but the figure varied enormously by cancer type (British Journal of Cancer). This study followed more than 61,000 people for over 12 years, during which 3,350 of the participants were diagnosed with cancer. The study looked at 20 different types of cancers


The risk of being diagnosed with cancers of the stomach, bladder and blood was lower in vegetarians than in meat eaters, but the most striking difference was in cancers of the blood including leukaemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The risk of these diseases was 45 per cent lower in vegetarians than in meat eaters. Professor Tim Key of Cancer Research UK Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University, was lead author.


Importantly this study ruled out other influencing factors. The differences in risks between vegetarians and meat eaters were independent of other lifestyle behaviours including smoking, alcohol intake and obesity which also affect the chance of developing cancer.




A tale of two heads


Fatal fish mutations at a fish farm in the Noosa river, Australia have been laid firmly at the door of pesticides. The fish farm reported that all its Sea Bass larvae had been born with two heads and died. Then chicken, horses and sheep in a neighbouring hatchery were reported as experiencing birth defects. 


The cause has been identified as organophosphates used on a near-by macadamia nut plantation. Those in question were carbenzadim and endosulphan, which are recognized as dangerous and even banned in some countries, but are actually recommended for use in Australia. (Bangkok Post)


The Dangers of EMF’s – a user friendly web site


Eileen O’Connor was convinced the mast over the road from her house caused her breast cancer. Now she is over the ordeal of the disease and the mast has gone. Eileen is a leading campaigner against EMF’s in the UK. She has a monthly e magazine on how better to protect yourself from EMF’s. Click here for details.


Liver disease linked to environmental pollution


US researchers analysing the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) have looked at low-level exposure to 111 common pollutants (including lead, mercury, PCBs and pesticides) and unexplained liver disease in adults. The specific pollutants were detectable in at least 60 percent of the 4,500 study participants. Liver injury was indicated in people with elevated alanine transaminase (ALT) liver enzyme levels.
"Our study found that greater than one in three U.S. adults had liver disease, even after excluding those with traditional risk factors such as alcoholism, obesity and viral hepatitis," Matthew Cave, MD, assistant professor, department of medicine, division of gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Louisville, said in a statement. "Our study shows that some of these cases may be attributable to environmental pollution."


City pollution increases cancer risks


According to a new report from the US Environmental Protection Agency, the risk of cancer to city dwellers can average 100 per million, country dwellers 36 per million and mountain dwellers just 2 per million. Obviously pollution is blamed. In one area of LA the estimate was over 1,200 per million.


Consumer groups grit teeth at FDA on mercury backdown


In 2008 Consumers for Dental Choice ( sued the US FDA over the issue of mercury fillings. A court settlement required the FDA to remove from its website statements about mercury fillings being "safe" and, instead, to publish this statement: "Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses."


That statement stayed on the FDA’s website for several months. But that page has now been removed from the FDA’s website (, returning no results. The FDA also deleted a "question and answer" page from its website that discussed the health risk of mercury fillings.


Instead, the FDA now posts a press release stating that the levels of mercury "released by dental amalgam fillings are not high enough to cause harm in patients." ( Consumer groups are in uproar. (Natural News)


Can cancer scans cause damage?


New research from the University of Vermont asks questions of ‘imaging agents’, The original research looked at kidney patients who took contrasting agents (the CARE Study), like iopamidol and iodixanol, to enhance the contrast between healthy and damaged areas.


Apparent almost one in three of the patients subsequently experienced some negative health effect, with just over one in ten having a heart attack.


Researchers suggested that it was essential to conduct some proper clinical trials on the use of all contrasting agents whether they be used in CT scans or other such analyses.


This report follows findings in the medical journal Radiology where people who had numerous CT scans over their lifetime had a significantly increased risk of cancer. In fact, CT scans increased the risk of cancer nearly three times to 12 percent.


Russians blaming Swine Flu on genetically modified chips!


No it is not April 1st and apparently Russian Scientists are deadly serious. So serious that those in the Ministry of Health have reportedly sent a note to President Putin on the subject.


According to the report, ‘the protease enzyme genetically modified in the potatoes to protect against Potato virus X causes an “explosive” replication of the H1N1 influenza virus ‘


Evidence confirming these dire findings by top Russian scientists is supposedly supported by the World Health Organisation who in their reporting on the current Influenza Pandemic do indeed show that the H1N1 virus is nearly totally confined to those Western Nations allowing their citizens to consume these genetically modified potatoes. Cases of swine flu are virtually non-existent in Russia, and all the South East Asian countries where rice is the staple carbohydrate.


Apparently we use the GM potatoes for French Fries in fast food stores and this is why the disease is particularly common in the young. In another Epidemology study, people flying Aeroflot were found to have far less incidence of Swine flu. (It could well be statistically true but actually I threw it in as one of my little jokes! Sorry.)




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