With a cure for cancer still frustratingly absent, doctors argue that the best defense is prevention. In a press release from the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Washington, D.C., in April, Ernest Hawk, an oncologist with The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, stated that maintaining a healthy lifestyle could effectively prevent “at least half of all cancer deaths”. It’s an impressive number and one that could potentially be even larger if doctors are able to create personalized lifestyle recommendations for each patient in their care. New research presented at last week’s meeting brings doctors a step closer to understanding how lifestyle and genetic traits influence cancer risk and death. It also gives solid evidence of the importance of healthy eating, staying active and avoiding bad habits, no matter who you are.
Minimal Weight Gain Hurts More Than You Think
Five pounds doesn’t sound like much but this small amount of weight gain can cause prostate cancer to return in patients in remission. In a large survey conducted at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, researchers found that prostate cancer was twice as likely to return in men who gained weight within five years of undergoing a prostatectomy. Interestingly, the weight gain put men who had no family history of prostate cancer at increased risk.
Cooking Methods Just As Important As What’s For Dinner
Cooking at high temperatures creates cancer-causing chemicals in food and could be part of the reason eating grilled or fried food increases the risk of developing bladder cancer. Researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center found that even frying fish can reduce the healthy benefits of this meat alternative. Also, certain genetic traits related to how food is metabolized influenced how much patients were affected by eating foods like bacon and fried chicken.
Unhealthy Habits Multiply Risk Of Cancer Death
Even when unhealthy habits aren’t associated with a particular cancer risk, they can hurt a patient after diagnosis. A Brigham and Women’s Hospital study showed that men with prostate cancer were twice as likely to die from it when they were obese or a smoker. For men with a high body mass index, an indicator of the amount of fat in the body, every five-point increase caused a whopping 52 percent increase in risk of death.
Ethnicity and Disease Impact Risk of Liver Cancer
Researchers at the National Cancer Institute have concluded that diabetes causes more cases of liver cancer than any other risk factor examined, including alcohol. Asian patients in the study had the greatest association between disease risk factors and liver cancer. Whether the risk is from diabetes itself or the medications used to treat the disease is unclear.
Second-hand Smoke Particularly Harmful To Some Children
Moms who smoke a pack a day double their children’s risk of developing bladder cancer later in life. University of Minnesota researchers found the risk was only in children with specific genetic traits, those that dictate how the body responds to the cancer-causing chemicals in cigarette smoke. For more information about the studies, visit http://www.aacr.org/. Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-04/aafc-cps041210.php