Cancer Prevention Latest Research April -May 2009 - 1

Below are a number of articles about the dangers that can lead to cancer that have appeared in CANCERactives icon magazine. Just click on the title to read the piece.



Synthetic Madness

Sometimes I want to cry. Here’s this month’s stupid story no, it’s not April 1st.

Someone in their infinite wisdom at GlaxoSmithKline decided to release a synthetic version of omega 3 in 2005. You may ask why anyone would need a synthetic version. All we need to do is tell people to eat more oily fish and take fish oils and flaxseed daily. (Fish oil consumption has declined from 70,000 tonnes per annum ’when I were a lad’, to about 12,000 now, despite research showing all manner of benefits from being an anti-inflammatory to improving the IQ of your children).

Daily fish oil consumption can also reduce cholesterol levels and high triglyceride levels. All we need to do as responsible health professionals is tell people.

But there’s money to be made. Cue Lovaza. It is a patented drug of ’Omega-3-Acid Ethyl Esters’ and is FDA approved for lowering high triglyceride levels. When doctors find you have high cholesterol or high triglyceride levels, they need to prescribe something commonly a statin, nowadays. A synthetic version of omega 3 might just be an alternative. (Yes it does beg the question, ’Why don’t they just tell people to take fish oils, especially when some research studies show they work just as well as statins?’ But that opens a whole can of worms about doctors’ lack of nutritional training).

At the outset Lovaza was prescribed in cases where triglyceride levels were considered ’moderately’ high, 200- 499 mg/dl and GlaxoSmithKline pulled in close to $1 billion in 2008 from the drug!

Unfortunately, like many synthetic supplements, it’s not quite as good as the real thing. Several research studies show that while Lovaza, lowers triglyceride levels, it actually raises ’bed cholesterol’ levels by up to 20 per cent.

Please can we teach doctors about nutrition. Please will someone in authority start complimenting natural supplements and querying the new patented synthetic ones. For the record we have new ’drugs’ on the way for vitamin D, resveratrol, indole-3-carbinol and a dozen other natural ingredients. The world’s gone mad. (

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Bisphenol A can be harmful to primates

Bisphenol A is an industrial chemical used as an ingredient in the resins that coat cans of food or infant formula. It is also used to harden plastics and make them transparent, for example in water and baby bottles. Although there have been many studies about the dangers of Bisphenol A (BPA), particularly as a hormone disrupter with mice and rats, none has to date shown genuine harm in the human body. Previous studies have also implicated it in reproductive and developmental defects, including abnormalities of the brain and prostate

Now, in a genuine first, researchers from Yale School of Medicine (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) have shown BPA to be harmful to primates: The chemical was observed to produce neurological problems in monkeys.

"Our findings suggest that exposure to low-dose BPA may have widespread effects on brain structure and function," the researchers wrote. They had used levels detailed by the FDA to be safe.

The monkeys went on to develop mood disorders and irregular brain function.

This research follows recent concerns by the National Institutes of Healths National Toxicology Program in America which endorsed research supporting concerns over BPAs effects on the developing brains and endocrine systems of young children. Despite this, the official American Health regulating body, the FDA, continues to classify BPA as safe, basing its ruling only on the findings of two industry-funded studies.

"Unfortunately the regulatory agency charged with protecting the public health continues to rely on industry-based research to arrive at its conclusions, rather than examining the totality of scientific evidence," said Rep. John D. Dingell, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating the FDAs treatment of the BPA issue. (Source:

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Bisphenol A stays in the body

A second study (from the University of Rochester and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives) concludes that Bisphenol A remains in the body significantly longer than scientists had previously believed.

While scientists have known for some time that the chemical accumulates in the body, they believed that it was water soluble and so passed out quickly through the urine. The latest study shows that this is not the case. Lead researcher, Richard Stahlhut said, If it leaves the body quickly, then it reduces the amount of time when it can cause problems. If it does cause problems, obviously if it stays around much longer, then that changes the game," he said.

Previous research studies have found links to a higher risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver problems. (

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BPA is perfectly safe but we’ll remove it

Six companies have agreed to stop using BPA in baby bottles ( even though they have repeatedly stated that it is safe.

After being contacted by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (who asked most of the companies to stop using the controversial chemical) six are now taking action. In the USA these are Gerber, Avent America Inc, Evenflo Co. Disney First Years, Dr. Brown and Playtex Products, Inc. Another (BornFree) has been selling BPA free bottles for two years.

However, if you try to buy these BPA free bottles outside of the USA, you may be disappointed. Just as with the pesticides Lindane and DDT which were banned for use in the Western World and so the unscrupulous manufacturers simply sold them for use in third world countries, the same fate seems set to befall BPA baby bottles.

For example, baby bottle manufacturer Philips Avent, having decided to stop selling BPA bottles to U.S. consumers, has apparently continued to ship baby bottles made with BPA to other countries. I’m sure they are not the only ones, and may quickly reconsider this strategy. If they do, and let us know, we will be the first to change our web article.

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Bisphenol A now turns up in canned drinks!

Health Canada (Canadas national health regulatory agency), has discovered Bisphenol A in 96 percent of canned soft drinks. In October 2008 Canada took a worldwide lead and banned BPA from baby bottles.

The agency tested 72 drinks purchased in Ottawa stores in Spring 2007, and representing 84 per cent of all soft drinks sold in Canada. These included diet and non-diet drinks, energy drinks, fruit drinks, fizzy drinks etc.
In general, energy drinks had the highest levels of the chemical, although one seemed completely free of contamination.

The average soft drink contained BPA levels of approximately 0.5 parts per billion, 500 times less than the ’safe levels’ set. However the chemical is known to be cumulative. (;

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Organic Solvents increase risks of lymphoma

A study conducted by researchers from the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut has revealed that women who are exposed to organic solvents while at work have a higher risk of getting non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Incidence has increased by about 3 to 4% annually since the beginning of the 70’s.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, with tumours appearing in the lymphocytes, defender white cells.

originates from ones lymphatic system, the core disease-repelling system in the human body. In this condition, tumors arise from lymphocytes, which are a kind of white blood cell. In its initial stages, symptoms of the ailment may only be the presence of swollen lymph nodes in ones neck, armpit or groin areas; these are usually painless. Symptoms include swellings in the lymph nodes (neck, armpits, groin), fever, fatigue, weight loss, abdominal swelling or pain, difficulty breathing, and very itchy skin.

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, had involved 601 Connecticut women who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma between 1996 and 2000. 717 healthy women without the condition were used as the control group. The womens occupational exposure to organic solvents was analysed and compared with their cancer risk.

Organic solvents are any solvents which contain carbon. Many of these chemicals, for example formaldehyde and benzene, are established carcinogens. Others like chlorinated solvents are organic solvents which also contain chlorine. These solvents are known to be harmful to the environment and humans alike.

The study found that exposure to carbon tetrachloride increased cancer risk by an enormous 130 per cent, while exposure to formaldehyde increased the womens risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma by 30 per cent and chlorinated solvents increased risk by 40 per cent. The more a person is exposed to these chemicals, the higher the risk.

Occupational risks are higher for people involved in dry cleaning or spraying pesticides.Even embalmers have increased risk. (Rong Wang et al. Occupational Exposure to Solvents and Risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in Connecticut Women. American Journal of Epidemiology 2009; 169(2):176-185)

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Common skin care products may increase skin cancer risk

In a rather bizarre accident, researchers from Rutgers University (Journal of Investigative Dermatology, March 2009) have discovered that all skin creams seem to increase the risk of skin cancer in tests on rats and they tried quite a few. The researchers had originally planned a study on the benefits of topically applied caffeine to see if it could reduce skin cancer risk, and were looking for a safe skin cream to act as a carrier.
When trying to ascertain first that the skin cream was safe, they continually got increased cases of squamous cell carcinoma, a slow growing and curable form of skin cancer..
The researchers could not say what ingredient was causing the heightened effect, suggesting it was possibly the mineral oil or the sodium laurel sulphate.

"Wed like to understand the mechanism," said lead researcher Conney. "What is most important is to see whether these moisturising creams are tumorigenic in people. Unfortunately Rutgers does not have the facilities to continue the studies. ( and

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Cancer Prevention Latest Research April -May 2009
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