Vigorous Exercise Activates Cancer Prevention Genes





 

New research shows that at least 3 hours per week of vigorous exercise improves the function of multiple cancer-preventing genes.


 

VIGOROUS EXERCISE ACTIVATES CANCER PREVENTION GENES

As I extensively discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, moderate-to-vigorous physical exercise has been repeatedly shown to reduce our risk of developing cancer, as well as reducing the risk of recurrence of breast cancer and other types of cancer.  Moreover, there is research to suggest that this cancer-prevention benefit of exercise is independent of whether or not a person is overweight or obese.  However, the exact mechanism, or mechanisms, whereby exercise reduces cancer risk has not been clear, thus far.  Now, a newly presented research study offers some fascinating insights into potential biological links between exercise and cancer risk reduction.  This new study was just presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s 2012 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, and has been published in a supplement to the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

In this study, 70 men underwent biopsy of their prostate glands, which revealed normal prostate tissue.  These normal prostate tissue samples were then subjected to extensive genetic analysis.  These 70 men also completed detailed questionnaires regarding their exercise habits, which included questions that asked if they engaged in any vigorous physical activity at all, and whether or not they engaged in at least 3 hours of vigorous activity per week.

Genetic testing of these prostate gland biopsy specimens revealed that the function of 184 different cancer-related genes was significantly affected by vigorous exercise for at least 3 hours per week.  Among these observed changes in gene function was an increase in the function of the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, which are known to reduce the risk of developing cancer (i.e., tumor suppressor genes).  In fact, inherited mutations of these BRCA genes are known to dramatically increase the risk of breast cancer (in both men and women), ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer in patients affected with these “deactivating” BRCA gene mutations.  Moreover, the function of genes which are involved in the normal growth and division of cells, and in the repair of damaged DNA, also improved in the men who reported at least 3 hours of vigorous physical activity per week.  Another important finding of this very impressive research study is that the men who reported engaging in vigorous physical activity forless than 3 hours per week did not show any improvement in cancer-suppressing gene function when compared to men who indicated that they did not engage in any vigorous physical activity.

The findings of this innovative research study are hugely important, in my view, as it is one of the first studies to identify specific genetic mechanisms that may potentially explain why vigorous exercise reduces cancer risk.  While many other clinical studies have indirectly linked increased levels of physical activity to a reduced risk of developing cancer, this intriguing research study has identified multiple actual cancer-suppressing genes whose function appears to be significantly improved, or “upregulated,” in response to vigorous, frequent exercise.  The finding that at least 3 hours of vigorous activity per week is necessary to improve the function of these critical anti-cancer genes is particularly important, and may serve as a guide as to how much exercise we need to engage in to significantly lower our risk of developing cancer.  Additionally, knowing which cancer-suppressing genes respond favorably to frequent and vigorous exercise may also help scientists to develop new strategies to manipulate these anti-cancer genes, in an effort to further reduce our risk of developing cancer.

This study is a crucial advance in our understanding of the biological mechanisms whereby higher levels of physical activity appear to reduce the risk of developing cancer.  Although this is a rather small study, its implications with respect to cancer prevention are likely to be huge!


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, 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. Within three months of publication, 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


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 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  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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Red Meat Increases Risk of Death Due to Cancer and Heart Disease






 

New research finds that even one serving of red meat or processed meat per day significantly increases the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease and cancer.


 

 

RED MEAT INCREASES RISK OF DEATH DUE TO CANCER AND HEART DISEASE

As I discuss in the “Diet & Cancer Risk” chapter of my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, diets rich in red meat and processed meats are known to increase the risk of several forms of potentially deadly cancer, including cancers of the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, colon and rectum, as well as other types of cancer.  Now, a new update from two very large prospective public health studies indicates that even a single daily serving of red meat or processed meat significantly increases the risk of death due to both cancer and cardiovascular disease.  This new research update appears in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

This new update combines the findings from two large and ongoing prospective public health studies.  The first of these two public health studies is the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, and includes data collected on 37,698 male health professionals.  The second prospective public health study is the Nurses’ Health Study, which includes data collected on 83,644 female nursing professionals.  Importantly, all of these 121,342 health care professionals were clinically healthy at the time they entered into these two landmark public health studies.  However, over a cumulative follow-up period that encompassed nearly million “person-years” of observation, there were 5,910 deaths due to cardiovascular disease and 9,464 deaths due to cancer among these study participants.

Analysis of the huge amount of clinical data collected from these two public health studies revealed that only one serving of unprocessed red meat per day was associated with a 13 percent increase in the risk of death due to any cause, while a single daily serving of processed meat (e.g., sausages, luncheon meats, bacon, and hot dogs) was associated with a 20 percent overall increase in the risk of death.  More specifically, one serving of unprocessed red meat per day was associated with an 18 percent increase in the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, while a single serving of processed meat per day was linked to a 21 percent increased risk of death due to cardiovascular disease.  Similarly, one serving of unprocessed red meat per day resulted in a 10 percent increase in the risk of dying due to cancer, while a single daily serving of processed meat increased the risk of dying from cancer by 16 percent.

Based upon the findings of these two very large public health studies, the studies’ authors predicted that substituting just one daily serving of fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, whole grains, or low-fat dairy products for one daily serving of red meat or processed meat would have resulted in a 7 to 19 percent decrease in the overall death rate among these male and female health care professionals!  Moreover, it was also estimated that by cutting daily red meat intake to only one-half serving per day (42 grams per day), 9 percent of the observed deaths among the male health care professionals could have been prevented, while 8 percent of the deaths among the female nurses could have been prevented!

The findings of these two pivotal prospective public health studies reinforce the additional research data that I discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, in terms of the significant impact of diet on our risk of developing cancer.  To reach a deeper understanding of how to live an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order a copy of A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race today.



For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, 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. Within three months of publication, 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


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 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  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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Addition of MRI to Mammogram and Ultrasound Increases Breast Cancer Detection






 

New research shows that adding MRI to mammogram and ultrasound increases breast cancer detection rate, but with a high rate of false positive results.


 

 

ADDITION OF MRI TO MAMMOGRAM AND ULTRASOUND INCREASES BREAST CANCER DETECTION

Currently, women who are at an average risk of developing breast cancer are advised to undergo annual screening mammograms beginning at 40 to 45 years of age.  Mammography, like any medical test, is not perfect (at least 10 to 20 percent of breast cancers will not show up on a mammogram among women who are at average risk for this type of cancer).  Moreover, mammography, which relies upon low-powered x-rays to form images of the breasts, is especially challenged by women with dense breast tissue, which is, by itself, a known risk factor for breast cancer.

In many cases, the addition of ultrasound to mammography can help to form more accurate images of dense breast tissue, and is also useful for further evaluation of indeterminate breast abnormalities identified by mammography.  (Also, both the lobular sub-type of breast cancer and small “low-grade” breast cancers tend to show up better on ultrasound than they do on mammograms.)  Together, the combination of mammography and ultrasound can accurately detect approximately 85 to 90 percent of breast cancers in women with normal-density breast tissue; but, once again, in women with dense breast tissue (including most women under the age of 40), the sensitivity and overall accuracy of mammography plus ultrasound is often considerably decreased.

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, has become a popular tool for breast imaging, although, like mammography and ultrasound, MRI of the breast has its downsides as well.  MRI is known to be much more sensitive than either mammography or ultrasound in identifying breast cancers, with most studies showing a 95 percent or greater sensitivity associated with MRI.  However, this exquisite sensitivity of breast MRI, as I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, is also associated with poor specificity (i.e., a high false-positive rate).  Because of its poor specificity, MRI scans of the breast will be wrong, or falsely-positive, in 15 to 35 percent of cases where an abnormality is detected.  Although there are other reasons as well, this high false-positive rate is the primary reason that MRI scans are not routinely used to screen for breast cancer.

As I have noted, none of these three common breast cancer screening tests are perfect, and each of them will miss some cancers that the other types of scans might pick up. With this information in mind, a newly published study, which appears in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, examines the potential role of ultrasound and MRI scans as supplements to screening mammograms in women who are at an increased risk for developing breast cancer.

In this prospective clinical research study, 612 women deemed to be at increased risk for breast cancer underwent three years of annual breast cancer screening exams with mammography and ultrasound.  After completing these three years of annual screening with mammography and ultrasound, these women additionally underwent MRI scans of their breasts.  Abnormalities suspicious for cancer, based upon any of these three diagnostic tests, were further evaluated by biopsy.  This cohort of women volunteers was then followed for an additional 12 months, to monitor them for any signs of interval development of breast cancer.

The 612 women who underwent mammography, ultrasound and MRI screening were also part of a larger group of 2,662 high-risk women (54 percent of whom had a personal history of a prior breast cancer) who enrolled in this study, and who underwent annual breast cancer screening with both mammography and ultrasound.  Altogether, 110 of these 2,662 women were diagnosed with a new breast cancer during the course of this prospective clinical research study.

The results of this study clearly illustrate the limitations of currently available breast cancer screening tests, particularly among high-risk women.  Following three years of annual screening, only 52 percent of the breast cancers that arose were detected by mammography alone in these high-risk women, although the false-positive rate of mammography was very low, at 9 percent.  The addition of ultrasound to mammography improved the sensitivity, or detection rate, to 76 percent, with a false-positive rate of 16 percent.  When MRI was added to mammography and ultrasound, the detection rate (sensitivity) for breast cancer improved, significantly, to 100 percent, although the false-positive rate increased greatly due to the poor specificity of MRI and, to a lesser extent, ultrasound.  When these three breast imaging modalities were combined, 35 percent of the abnormalities identified turned out to be benign lesions, and not cancer, following biopsy or other confirmatory diagnostic procedures.

This study confirms that essentially 100 percent of detectable breast cancers can be identified using a combination of mammography, ultrasound and MRI.  However, this high level of sensitivity comes at a significant cost in that more than one-third of the abnormalities identified by the combined use of these three breast imaging modalities will, upon further testing, including biopsy, turn out to be completely benign.  Therefore, this high false-positive rate, particularly associated with breast MRI, is the Achilles heel of this combined imaging approach to breast cancer screening.

Fortunately, there are emerging new breast imaging technologies that appear to have the same very high sensitivity rate as MRI, while maintaining the high specificity (i.e., low false-positive) rate of mammography.  Among these promising technologies are Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging and Positron Emission (PET) Mammography (also known as “PEM”).  Ultimately, these newer technologies, as well as even newer technologies, will most likely someday replace the use MRI to screen for breast cancer.



For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, 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. Within three months of publication, 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


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 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  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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New Vaccine and Antibodies May Prevent Heart Disease





 

New studies suggest that heart disease may someday become preventable with vaccine and antibody therapy.


 

 

NEW VACCINE AND ANTIBODIES MAY PREVENT HEART DISEASE

As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, cancer has recently surpassed cardiovascular disease to become the #1 cause of death in many areas of the world.  However, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease and stroke continue to kill millions of people around the world every year.

In general, atherosclerotic artery disease arises when thick “plaques” develop on the inner walls of arteries.  These plaques can rupture, thus exposing their inner surfaces, which can then activate the components of the blood responsible for forming blood clots.  The progression of blood clots on the surface “atheromatous” plaques within the arteries of the heart and brain can directly cause blockage of affected arteries, leading to a heart attack or stroke, respectively.  Even more commonly, however, clumps of clot and atheromatous plaque can break off and travel downstream, where they block coronary artery and brain artery branches, causing heart attacks (myocardial infarction) and strokes, respectively.  As inflammation, caused by our bodies’ white blood cells and antibodies, plays an important role in the development of atherosclerosis, scientists have been testing both vaccines and blocking antibodies in laboratory animals in an effort to prevent (or even reverse) the development of atherosclerosis, in the hope that heart attacks and strokes (and limb loss, in the case of peripheral vascular disease) can be prevented.

Two experimental new approaches to preventing and treating cardiovascular disease were unveiled at the Frontiers in Cardiovascular Biology conference this past week in London, and they have generated a great deal of interest among cardiovascular disease experts around the world.

In one recent study, which was performed using laboratory mice, an experimental vaccine (“CVX-210”) that reprograms inflammatory white bloods cells into inflammation-fighting white blood cells was evaluated.  In this mouse study, the CVX-210 vaccine was able to reduce the extent of arterial atherosclerosis by 60 to 70 percent!  While treatments that are effective in laboratory mice do not always work in humans, the manufacturer of the CVX-210 vaccine, CardioVax, is currently awaiting FDA approval to begin preliminary human clinical trials.

A second immunological approach to the prevention and treatment of arterial atherosclerosis involves the use of blocking antibodies that are designed to target oxidized LDL cholesterol (the “bad cholesterol,” which is a major component of atherosclerotic plaques, and which also participates in the inflammatory cascade that leads directly to plaque formation.)  When injected into a patient, these antibodies attack oxidized LDL particles and, theoretically, block the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.  At this time, there is an ongoing human clinical trial that is evaluating this “BI-204” human monoclonal antibody.  (In preclinical studies, BI-204 has already been shown to decrease the extent of existing arterial atherosclerotic plaques in laboratory animals by as much as 50 percent!)

In addition to the potential of the CVX-210 vaccine and the BI-204 human monoclonal antibody to significantly reduce, and possibly prevent, arterial atherosclerosis, these two still experimental therapies, if proven to be safe and effective in humans, would also be available for use in combination with current cardiovascular disease prevention therapies, including the cholesterol blocking statin drugs, high blood pressure medications, and diabetes medications.  (When considered together, these three current, conventional treatments for the most common risk factors for cardiovascular disease are estimated to reduce the risk of heart attack by about 40 percent.)  Because all of these therapies target different risk factors for cardiovascular disease, combining CVX-210 and/or BI-204 with current conventional cardiovascular disease prevention therapies could dramatically further reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease and significantly prolong our lives in the future.

As a disease prevention expert, I consider these two new developments to be of potentially enormous importance in the area of cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment.  Given that inflammation is known to play an important role in the development of both cardiovascular disease and cancer, I will be very interested to see if these two new experimental approaches to cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment also have a beneficial risk on cancer risk as well!



For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, 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. Within three months of publication, 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 lighthearted 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 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  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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