Cancer-Sniffing Dogs

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”



Cancer-Sniffing Dogs

The earlier that cancer is detected, the greater the likelihood of cure. Therefore, cancer researchers are always looking for more sensitive tests that can detect cancer at the earliest possible stage. When I was a cancer research fellow working in the lab, I used an exquisitely sensitive chemical test to identify trace amounts of genetic material from otherwise invisible tumor cells floating in the blood or bone marrow of patients who had previously been diagnosed with cancer, and who were thought to have been cured of their disease. (This test, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, or RT-PCR, works by “amplifying” trace amounts of genetic material using a powerful chemical reaction.)

There have been many novel strategies proposed to improve our ability to detect cancer at the earliest possible stages, but few have been more novel than the proposed use of domesticated animals to sniff-out chemicals secreted by cancerous tumors in humans. In an extremely novel cancer detection research study, which appears in the current issue of the journalGut, a specially trained Labrador retriever was employed to sniff the exhaled breath and stool samples of humans. In this innovative pilot study, this specially trained dog was directed to sniff the exhaled breath and stool samples from patient volunteers with colorectal cancer, and patient volunteers without colorectal cancer (all of these patient volunteers subsequently underwent colonoscopy to confirm the presence or absence of colorectal cancer). The results of this preliminary study are, quite simply, amazing.

When compared to the findings at colonoscopy, the “scent detection” dog was able to correctly identify colorectal cancer patients simply by smelling their breath in more than 90 percent of cases! Even more astonishing, this dog was able to accurately identify patients with colorectal cancer 98 percent of the time by sniffing their stool specimens!

Anyone who has undergone colonoscopy knows that the bowel-purging “prep” on the day before is quite unpleasant. (Colonoscopy, itself, can be rather unpleasant, although most patients are moderately sedated, and many patients will have no subsequent recollection of this scope procedure.) Moreover, colonoscopy is an expensive screening test for colorectal cancer, and like all invasive procedures, colonoscopy is associated with a small risk of complications, including bleeding and bowel perforation. Therefore, it is mind-boggling to me that, based upon the results of this very small clinical research study, a specially-trained dog proved to be virtually as accurate in diagnosing both early and advanced colorectal cancers as the “gold standard” colorectal cancer screening test, colonoscopy, merely by sniffing the breath and stool of human volunteers! (As an aside, it has been estimated that dogs have a sense of smell that is hundreds-of-thousand to millions of times more sensitive than humans.)

Of course, the dramatic findings of this intriguing pilot study will have to be validated by larger studies. That being said, the findings of this study are very exciting, and could revolutionize screening for colorectal cancer, and perhaps other types of cancers as well.

Once again, it appears that dogs have truly earned the title of “Man’s Best Friend!”

 

For a comprehensive guide to living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.




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Green Tea and Skin Health

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”



GREEN TEA AND SKIN HEALTH

 

In our youth-obsessed culture, there are countless creams, lotions, vitamins, herbal remedies, and personal care devices that have been advertised as rejuvenators of aging skin.  Unfortunately, very few of these skin anti-aging remedies are supported by any rigorous clinical or laboratory research data.  Now, a new prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded clinical research study strongly suggests that antioxidant polyphenols from green tea may actually help to protect skin against damage caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, and may also help to improve overall skin quality.

In this new clinical research study, which appears in the current issue of The Journal of Nutrition, 60 adult female volunteers were randomized into either a control group or an interventional group. The women in the intervention group consumed a beverage fortified with green tea polyphenols (1,402 milligrams of green tea catechins per day), while the women in the control group consumed a beverage that was identical in appearance but which did not contain any green tea polyphenols. Skin protection against UV light damage, skin structure, and skin function were then tested in all of these women at the time they began the study, 6 weeks into the study, and once again 12 weeks into the study.

Skin testing with UV light exposure sufficient to cause redness of normal unprotected skin was performed in both groups of women. (This “erythema response” is a sign of acute UV-induced skin injury.) In the interventional group of women volunteers, skin redness in response to a standard dose of UV light decreased by 16 percent at 6 weeks, and by 25 percent at 12 weeks. Additionally, the elasticity, roughness, scaling, density, and water content of the skin all improved during the course of this study among the women who had been secretly randomized to receive daily green tea polyphenol supplements (when compared to the women in the control group who received the placebo beverage). Daily green tea polyphenol consumption was also shown to increase blood flow and oxygen delivery to the skin, with maximal blood flow improvement occurring about 30 minutes following green tea polyphenol consumption.

In summary, the daily consumption of green tea catechins was shown, in this innovative prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded study, to significantly improve the skin’s injury response to UV light exposure, and also appeared to significantly improve several important clinical aspects of overall skin quality. In addition to promoting healthier and more youthful appearing skin, green tea polyphenols, as I have discussed in previous columns (and in my recent book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race), have also been linked to improved cardiovascular health, and may also help to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

For a comprehensive guide to living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!


On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.





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Prostate Cancer: Watchful Waiting Versus Surgery (Prostatectomy)

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”



 

PROSTATE CANCER: WATCHFUL WAITING VERSUS SURGERY (PROSTATECTOMY)

As I have observed in previous columns, the optimal management of patients with prostate cancer is the subject of ongoing debate among prostate cancer experts. Most of the accepted treatments for prostate cancer carry a considerable risk of long-term complications, and determining precisely which patients will benefit from aggressive treatment, versus those who are not likely to benefit, has proven to be a very difficult clinical problem.

We know that for many men, and elderly men in particular, prostate cancer often grows very slowly, and often does not result in any major complications (including death) either with or without treatment. On the other hand, more than 32,000 American men died from more aggressive forms of prostate cancer in 2010. For selected men who develop less aggressive, indolent, forms of prostate cancer, “watchful waiting” may be more appropriate than subjecting these men to aggressive surgery or radiation treatment for their cancers. At the same time, men with potentially more aggressive cancers should, obviously, consider prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate gland) or radiation therapy to treat their disease. Unfortunately, we are still not able to predict how aggressively any individual patient’s prostate cancer will behave over time, nor are we able to accurately predict whether or not some other cause of death is more likely to occur rather than death due to prostate cancer.This inability to accurately predict the future likelihood of dying from prostate cancer, either with or without treatment, for individual patients has made it very difficult to accurately advise patients whether or not they might be candidates for “watchful waiting” rather than recommending aggressive prostate cancer treatment. However, a newly published prospective, randomized clinical research trial from Sweden, which appears in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine, may help doctors and their patients to make a more informed decision regarding the management of early-stage prostate cancer.

In this study, 695 men with early-stage prostate cancer were randomly assigned either to “watchful waiting” or radical prostate surgery (prostatectomy). These two groups of men were then followed for an average of about 13 years, and the clinical outcomes in each group, including death due to prostate cancer, were compared. Among the men in the “watchful waiting” group, the estimated risk of death due to prostate cancer was 21 percent, as compared to a 15 percent risk of death due to prostate cancer among the men who underwent prostatectomy. This difference in cancer-specific survival was equivalent to a 38 percent reduction in the relative risk of dying from prostate cancer with prostatectomy, and an absolute reduction in the risk of death of more than 6 percent.

The findings of this clinical research study are similar to other recent studies that have also linked prostate cancer treatment, in otherwise healthy men, with improved survival when compared to “watchful waiting” alone, and especially for men with early-stage prostate cancer that is still confined within the prostate gland itself. While “watchful waiting” may still be appropriate for some very elderly or very ill patients, the findings of this study, and others like it, still appear to favor active treatment for early prostate cancer in most otherwise healthy men.


For a comprehensive guide to living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, including strategies to reduce your risk of prostate cancer and other cancers, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race. For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!


On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity



Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author



For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam



I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.





Bookmark and Share



 

 

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