07/09 - 1 Cancer Prevention Latest Research

07/09 - 1 Cancer Prevention Latest Research

 

Below are a number of articles referring to cancer prevention through lifestyle, diet and nutrition that have appeared in CANCERactives icon magazine. Just click on the title to read the piece.

 

 

Being overweight increases cancer risk fact

Cancer Research UK have just researched 4,000 people and come up with the staggering fact that 97 per cent of people have no idea that being overweight is a significant cancer risk. Of course, had they read our report on the research we conducted 4 years ago they would have known that people haven’t much a clue what does cause cancer anyway. Indeed we went into all the key issues in our 2004 Cancer Prevention Conference, which was poorly attended by the ’major’ charities.

As we have been telling people for seven years, it all depends which report you read, and how much overweight you are, but to be just 7 kgs overweight knocks over 5 years off your life expectancy, and a whopping 13 years if you smoke as well. .All this is well documented in my book, ’Everything you need to know to help you beat cancer’  indeed it has been there since the first edition some 7 years ago.

All this comes in parallel with new Swedish research showing overweight women tend to be diagnosed with higher grade cancers than ladies who have restrained their weight.

One of the real issues is that many overweight people are in denial. We have had ladies write to us with breast cancer and they are 13 kgs over normal weight for their height. One described herself as ’cuddly’, another as ’being a bit chunky’.

In our original 2004 prevention research, people stated that giving up smoking was important, as was avoiding excess alcohol, and staying out of the sun. As we pointed out at the time, ’Burning is bad, sunshine is sensible’. 4 years ago there was too much bad science coming from cancer charities suggesting sunshine was carcinogenic. In fact there is actually a great deal of research that suggests that a daily dose of sun shine promotes vitamin D synthesis in the body, and reduces cancer risk. A few people also knew that exercise was a risk reducer. But, in all, few people knew any information about preventing cancer (unlike Heart disease or AIDS) and blame for this lack of information can only be laid at the doors of the Government and the cancer charities. It was in response to this research finding that CANCERactive decided to adopt the Precautionary Principle (that where there is expert research expressing concern, we will pass on that research information so that the people of Britain can make more informed choices). As a result just compare the volume of Prevention Topics we cover against those listed on the major charities web sites. Pesticides? EMF’s? Melatonin? Toxic Chemicals, from dioxins to oestrogen mimics in plastic bottles and preservatives?

Anyone who is unsure of the factors that may increase cancer risk should go to the prevention part of our web site where they will find more information on more possible causes than on any other UK charity web site. As you will see, we have given some weight to the issue of cancer prevention!

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Organic foods are better ignore the UK Food Standards Agency

All over the UK papers comes news of the ’ruling’ from the FSA that ’organic food is no more nutritious than other foods’. According to that well known medical journal, the Daily Mail, ’watchdogs’ have declared this to be true.

Claiming to be the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind, researchers for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’ trawled through more than 50,000 studies on the value of foods since 1958.’ The results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dr Alan Dangour (a public health nutritionist, no less) who was the lead researcher stated that, ’Currently there is no research to support the selection of organically produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority’.

Spokesperson Gill Fine from the FSA burbled on about, ’Ensuring people had accurate information’ and ’no evidence of additional health benefits from eating organic foods’.

What staggers us at CANCERactive is that in order to resolve this very same question the EU has just spent 12 million of tax payers’ money conducting as near as can be, the definitive Clinical Trial, growing fields of organic food in parallel with normal pesticide and fertiliser-grown crops and then employing top scientists to give us the results. The FSA, which is after all a Government funded unit, ought to know this and use the data. And be clear, Gill: The ’accurate information’ is that there is a considerable difference. And this is just from early assessments. The project will continue for a few more years yet, as that is how long it takes to be sure. Professor Carlo Leifert, one of the CANCERactive patrons, is a lead member of the team.We covered the early conclusions in this very magazine.

The Daily Mail falls into the usual ’bad science’ trap too, meandering on about 50 years of research and 50,000 studies. But, the researchers didn’t use 50,000 studies, they used, sorry selected, 55 that ’met their criteria’, whatever they were. So one concludes therefore they left out a mere 49,945 studies from their conclusions. Perhaps one was the definitive EU study?

Then there is Dr Alan ’no evidence to support nutritional superiority’ Dangour. I quote about 10 - 15 such studies in my book ’The Rainbow Diet and how it can help you beat cancer’. Leifert and his team have a hundred more! What planet do these people live on? Al, old chap, there is rather a lot of scientific evidence actually; I cannot believe you think there is none..

But for the last word we will return to Gill ’no additional health benefit’ Fine. All I can conclude is that she finds pesticides tasty and of absolutely harmless. Of course that view would put her directly at odds with the EU, which recently concluded that there were ’deep concerns’ and cited health hazards including cancer as a need for more regulation. It is puzzling that Gill ’ensuring people have accurate information’ Fine does not seem to be telling you all about  research studies showing that farmers using pesticides develop more multiple myeloma, and another that this is due to the pesticide making pre-cancerous MGUS proteins in the blood*, or (for example) that some third world suppliers to British retailers still use the banned pesticides of DDT and Lindane, each linked to higher rates of Breast Cancer. (If she is unsure, she could always trawl through back issues of Cancer Watch for more ’accurate information’.)

For the record, there is concern that organic foods grown on depleted soils offer little in additional mineral content over mass-farmed foods. How could they? On basic vitamins there is quite a lot of evidence that organic food is superior, but sometimes not by much. The real advantage seems to come in the area of complex natural compounds (like resveratrol, quercitin, omega 3 or polyphenols) where organic foods score much more highly. For example, the use of fungicide negates the need for grapes to produce fungus fighting resveratrol of their own several studies have measured this. And even 10 years ago researchers didn’t know too much about these compounds or their health benefits, and so did not research for them. How many such studies were in the ’selected’ group?

Personally I don’t think everybody should rush off and buy everything organic we have told you which foods research studies show are more likely to hold their pesticides, and which do not. So in a number of cases there is not a lot to worry about. But red fruits like strawberries and greens like broccoli do need extra caution before using the sprayed versions.

It is all very sad really. I think that the people, and especially the patients who want to beat cancer deserve better than this. But then, that’s why we set up CANCERactive.

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Green tea seems to aid leukaemia patients

We have covered this same issue several times before in icon, but this time it involves clinical trials and the Mayo Clinic in the USA. Their researchers have found that a compound in green tea called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) may have beneficial effects in patients with chonic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

In the Phase I clinical trial, 33 adults with CLL received eight different doses of Polyphenon E, a substance made from decaffeinated green tea that contains EGCG. Participants received 400-2,000 milligrams of Polyphenon E twice daily for one month.

According to the results, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the supplement was well tolerated, and high doses helped decrease the white blood cells counts in one-third of patients with CLL, indicating cancer regression. Additionally, most people who had enlarged lymph nodes at the start of the study experienced at least a 50 percent reduction in lymph node size.

The research is now undergoing a second phase of clinical testing in which CLL patients will each receive 2,000 milligrams of Polyphenon E twice daily.

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If you think your water tastes sweet, you may be right!

Researchers from the Water Technology Centre in Karlsruhe, Germany have examined water levels of seven common sweeteners - acesulfame, saccharin, sucralose, aspartame, cyclamate (currently banned in the US and Canada),  neotame and NHDC - using a new method that enables detection of the substances simultaneously. The results showed that up to 80% of sucralose and 59% of acesulfame remained along with several hundred nanograms of saccharin and cyclamate despite treatment and advanced filtration.
There are no studies on the possible effects of the potential metabolites of the sweetener pollutants.

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Aspartame in focus again

A new report in May 2009 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute raises questions about aspartame again. Over 900 studies have been published on aspartame, including this recent one, which looked at the link between formaldehyde (a by product of aspartame breakdown in the body) and lymph cancer. .

Formaldehyde has been listed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since 1987 as a probable human carcinogen. Aspartame has USA and European Government safety approval. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed)

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Two foods help reduce risk of Breast-cancer by 90 per cent

According to a study from the University of Western Australia in Perth, two foods commonly eaten as part of the traditional Chinese diet can reduce a womans risk of breast cancer by as much as 90 percent (International Journal of Cancer).

Researchers compared consumption of mushrooms and green tea between two groups of Chinese women, one with breast cancer and one without. They found that women who ate at least 10 grams (0.35 ounces) of fresh ’medicinal’ mushrooms per day had a 64 percent lower risk of developing the disease than those who did not eat as much. Those who also regularly drank green tea reduced their risk by a total of 90 percent.

This is not the first study supporting the effects of these foods. Medicinal Mushrooms are known to boost the immune system and restrict tumour growth, whilst the polyphenols in green tea will also boost the immune system and reduce free radical levels.

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Broccoli can fight stomach cancer

Heliobacter pylori is a bacterium known to be behind stomach ulcers and stomach cancer we have covered it many times in Cancer Watch. Now researchers from Johns Hopkins University have found that eating just a few ounces of broccoli or broccoli sprouts ieach day may significantly reduce a persons risk of ulcers and stomach cancer by restricting the bacterium’s effects.(Cancer Prevention Research)

The research tested the controlled effects of human consumption broccoli sprouts alfalfa sprouts each day for two months.

Broccoli, and especially its seed sprouts, contains high levels of the phytochemical sulforaphane. Alfalfa however contains none.

The researchers then analysed participant stool samples for a chemical called HpSA, known to be a reliable marker of infection with the bacterium. Helicobacter pylori, which is known to cause chronic stomach inflammation.

The researchers found that in those participants who ate the broccoli sprouts, HpSA levels decreased 40 percent by the end of the experiment. Consumption of alfalfa had no effect on HpSA levels. When participants stopped eating the broccoli, their marker levels returned to normal after 2 months.

"The evidence is all pointing toward broccoli or broccoli sprouts being able to prevent cancer in humans," said the lead researcher. Sulforaphane is known to act as an antibiotic, and also reduces levels of a number of known ’bad enzymes’ that can cause inflammation leading to stomach, heart disease and even skin cancer.

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Heavy, daily drinking increases the risk of high-grade prostate cancer

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco, have examined the associations of total alcohol, type of alcoholic beverage, and drinking pattern with risks of total, low- and high-grade prostate cancer. They used data from more than 10,000 men participating in the US Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT). They found participants who reported heavy alcohol consumption (over 50 g alcohol/day) and regular heavy drinking (over 4 drinks/day on 5 or more days per week) were twice as likely or more to be diagnosed with high-grade prostate cancer (RR: 2.01, and 2.17, respectively). Less heavy drinking was not associated with risk. They also compared drinking patterns with treatment outcome among men enrolled on this placebo-controlled trial of the drug finasteride. They found finasteride’s ability to lower prostate cancer risk was blocked in men drinking more than 50g alcohol per day. (CANCER; Published Online: July 13, 2009 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.24423)

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US pig and beef imports - beware the ractopamine

Banned in 160 countries, including the EU and China, ractopamine (the active ingredient trading as Paylean and Optaflexx in the USA), is given to pigs and cattle to ’lean’ them up immediately prior to slaughter. No safe levels have been established and the compound is not for human consumption as it speeds heart rate and metabolism, with even the threat of cancer. As yet, no research is available on the consumption of meat from animals treated with ractopamine by high heart-risk humans, even though animals have been known to fall down dead of heart attacks. You have been warned.

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