Vitamin D May Improve Breast Cancer Survival



A new study links higher Vitamin D levels with improved survival in patients with breast cancer.


 

 

VITAMIN D MAY IMPROVE BREAST CANCER SURVIVAL

As I extensively discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, Vitamin D is the last vitamin left standing tall based upon the findings of recent high quality cancer prevention research studies.  Other than Vitamin D, virtually every other vitamin has been shown, by solid clinical research data, to have little or no favorable impact on cancer risk.  Based upon extensive research, Vitamin D appears to be particularly effective in reducing the risk of cancers of the GI tract, including, especially, colorectal cancer.  When it comes to breast cancer, the clinical research findings for Vitamin D tend to be mixed, with some studies showing a decreased risk of developing breast cancer (and improved survival in patients already diagnosed with breast cancer) associated with higher blood levels of this hormone-like vitamin, while others studies have failed to show that these beneficial effects are associated with increased Vitamin D levels.  Now, a new update from the December 2012 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (the largest annual meeting dedicated exclusively to breast cancer research in the world) strongly suggests that higher Vitamin D levels, when combined with chemotherapy and the bone-strengthening drug zoledronic acid (ZOMETA®), are associated with improved survival in patients with breast cancer.

The ongoing prospective AZURE breast cancer study was not directly designed to evaluate the role of Vitamin D in the treatment of breast cancer, but among the more than 3,000 women who were enrolled in this British study, some received Vitamin D supplements and some did not.  Therefore, a secondary aim of this study was to assess the impact of Vitamin D levels on clinical outcomes in this large group of women with breast cancer.

Out of the 3,360 women who volunteered to participate in the AZURE trial, blood samples of 872 of these women were available; and these blood samples were, therefore, evaluated by measuring Vitamin D levels.  As this study was conducted in the United Kingdom, where sunlight is notoriously scarce, it was not surprising to learn that only 10 percent of the women in this AZURE trial subgroup had blood levels of Vitamin D at or above the “sufficient” level of 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).

The primary aim of the AZURE study was to assess the impact of the bone-strengthening drug zoledronic acid on clinical outcomes in patients previously diagnosed with breast cancer.  As published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year, there appeared to be no significant differences in outcomes between women randomized to receive zoledronic acid and women who received placebo (sugar) pills while undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer.  However, in this new update from the AZURE trial, postmenopausal breast cancer patients who were randomized to receive zoledronic acid and who had blood levels of Vitamin D above 30 ng/mL were 11 percent less likely to develop spread (metastasis) of their breast cancer to their bones when compared to the postmenopausal women who also took zoledronic acid but who also had low Vitamin D levels.  (As breast cancer metastasizes to the bones more commonly than any other site in the body, this apparent Vitamin D-associated 11 percent reduction in bone metastases in postmenopausal patients being treated with chemotherapy and zoledronic acid would be expected to improve survival as well.)

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America, where I work as a Surgical Oncologist, and as the director of our breast cancer program, we routinely measure Vitamin D levels on all patients, and those who are found to be deficient in this important vitamin are routinely placed on Vitamin D supplements.  The updated findings of the AZURE breast cancer trial, as well as similarly positive research findings for other types of cancer, suggest that this approach to monitoring and, when necessary, supplementing Vitamin D levels may be an important adjunct to standard cancer therapies.

 

 

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Dr. Wascher’s latest video:

Dark as Night, Part 1


Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1



At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is now more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


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.  Over the past 12 months, 2.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  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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Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy

December 16, 2012 by Robert Wascher  
Filed under Uncategorized





 

 

This week’s column is dedicated to the innocents lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and their loved ones, in Newtown, CT



 

 

Sad Teddy Bear

 

I have posted the following helpful articles on my Facebook page, and include them on Weekly Health Update, this week, in lieu of my usual discussion of new health research news.

Please keep those who are suffering from this horrific tragedy in your thoughts and prayers.

Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS

 

Help for victims of Sandy Hook Shooting

By Katie Walmsley, CNN

updated 4:29 PM EST, Sun December 16, 2012

CNN.com

Watch CNN’s LIVE TV coverage of the Connecticut elementary school shooting as the story continues to unfold.

(CNN) – The chilling sound of multiple gunshots shattered the relative quiet of the school day at Sandy Hook Elementary School at around 9:30 Friday morning — children screaming, then silence, as teachers did their best to protect their students and keep them quiet, hoping desperately the shooter would not find them.

This is a morning no one in this small town in Connecticut will ever forget; the morning a gunman forced his way into the school and killed 26 people — six adults and 20 children, all under the age of 10; the last morning some Newtown, Connecticut, parents would see their kids alive.

As the community reels, organizations are setting up ways to help through donations and support.

An official fund for victims’ families, and the community as a whole, has now been established: The Sandy Hook School Support Fund, set up by the United Way of Western Connecticut will provide support services to families and the community. All donations to this fund will go directly to those affected.

The Red Cross has also been on the ground, offering food and water to first responders, and providing more than 50 units of blood to Danbury hospital where some of the victims were transported. They have set up a center for emergency grief counseling.

In addition, the nonprofit mental health clinic Newtown Youth and Family Services will be open all weekend from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for grief counseling. They say all donations made at this time will go to helping those impacted.

The Newtown Parent Connection has also pledged to try and bring in extra counselors to help parents cope.

Some private funds have also been set up in the wake of the tragedy to help victims. The Newtown Memorial fund is taking donations for the families and community affected, and is also actively recruiting volunteers and offers of help of all kinds. A fund has also been set up to help the family of 6 year old Emilie Parker, who was killed at Sandy Hook. For ways to help her family you can visit the fund’s Facebook page.

The band One Republic has also started a fund to raise money for those affected. You can find details on how to donate to One Republic’s fund here.

For families from the Newtown area, and even beyond, a pressing problem will be how to help children cope with the aftermath of this tragedy — and indeed how to give parents space to grieve, knowing their children are being looked after. To that end, Save The Children has opened a “child-friendly space” in Newtown to give kids a place to play and express themselves while parents seek support or counseling. The space is located in Newtown’s Reed Intermediate School, where students of Sandy Hook elementary go after graduating.

In addition, Save The Children has released 10 tips for parents wondering how to help their children deal with their feelings about such a traumatic event, such as spending extra time with your kids, and limiting TV time.

A number of other organizations, such as the National Association of School Psychologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, have released recommendations for parents and teachers as to how to support children if they want to talk about what happened.

You can send words of support and messages for families affected in an evergram here. They will be collated and given to the families in the future.

The Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection says anyone wishing to volunteer should call 211 or (800) 203-1234.

 

Traumatized nation reels from ‘day of sadness and grief’

By Maggie Fox NBC News

12/16/2012 8:38:19 AM ET

NBCNews.com

The shootings at an elementary school in Connecticut are a national nightmare, experts say, and parents, neighbors and community leaders need to look out for the most vulnerable in the coming days.

The trauma of the shooting in which 20 young children died has affected the town hardest, of course, but neighboring communities will feel the effects and the country as a whole as people digest the images of children under deliberate attack.

Children need reassurance most of all – and it will be hard to give because the shooting took place at school. But psychiatrists say there are useful ways to cope, and they include sticking to routines.

“I think that clearly, that fact that every child goes to school across the country makes this something that they imagine can happen to them,” said Dr. Harold Koplewicz, president of the Child Mind Institute in New York.

Dr. Thomas McInerny, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, called it a “day of sadness and grief for everyone who cares for children.” “As in any frightening situation, young children should not be exposed to the extensive media coverage of the event — in other words, turn off the TV, computer, and other media devices,” he advised.

Story: Shaken teachers - “In time we’re going to heal”

Parents will have to overcome their own fears and be calm examples to their kids, the experts agreed. “One of the things that we need to make sure of is that kids are reassured,” Koplewicz said. “The way to help kids is for parents to talk to them to model calm and to try to maintain routines.”

It may be hard for parents to do that.

“People will be thinking ‘schools are supposed to be this safe place that I bring my kids’,” said Melissa Brymer, director of terrorism and disaster programs at the UCLA-Duke National Center for Child Traumatic Stress.

“That feeling that where my kids spend the majority of their days may not be as safe as I imagined,” Brymer added. Many schools sent messages out over the weekend reassuring parents about safety routines.

Story: One way to grieve - read the names out loud

Most anxiety experts have learned that it’s important to give people something to do in a time of crisis. In this case, families can help cope by reviewing their own emergency plans, Brymer said.

“If something happens at my kids’ school, where is the reunification location?” she said. “What is the emergency contact number that I can call to get an update? How will the school communicate with me? We know, frankly, that texting is a way that families can get in contact with each other. Sometimes the phone lines can get jammed.”

And gestures to offer comfort help giver and recipient alike.

“I just had a lady call from Montana,” said Scudder Smith, publisher of the Newtown Bee, the local paper. “She said she’s going to send me a box of bears to distribute when the time is right so the kids can hug some bears.”

People who have themselves suffered a tragedy – especially those affected by other mass shootings but also military families – may be getting a double jolt right now, said Brymer.

“They might need to have additional support,” she said. “We know that military families might be having their own reactions and reminders.”  Her organization will be posting advice at www.nctsn.org.

For the children who survived, providing comfort and a feeling of safety will be key in helping them recover — and most, if not all, of them likely will, said Dr. Gail Saltz, a New York psychiatrist and TODAY show contributor.

These kids are at an age where this is going to be traumatic, and it may stick with them, Saltz said.

“You would assume some of the children would have some acute stress syndrome. They will be frightened, some may have difficulty sleeping. But many of them will go on ultimately to be able to bounce back,” she said.

Some of the children, Saltz said, may develop post-traumatic stress disorder. “The problem, is we don’t know which ones,” she said.

“Some kids are biologically predisposed to being anxious. They may go on to be more symptomatic,” she said. One clue is past experience. “Kids who had trauma already in the past, they are more likely to go on and have more post-traumatic stress symptoms,” she said.

Survivor trauma – an unease commonly felt by people who barely escape a bloody event that claims other lives – likely will be seen in some of the third-graders and fourth graders who were at the school Friday, said Dr. Jeff Dolgan, chief psychologist at Children’s Hospital in Denver.

After the Columbine massacre in 1999, Dolgan and his team worked with mental health experts in Jefferson County, Colo. to help the questions of local parents, advising what to say to their kids about the school shootings, and what not to say.

“Later on, I think the third and fourth graders will ask: Why are they alive and their friends are dead? That’s an existential question. How do you explain that to kids? It’s such a random event,” Dolgan said.

How do you help kids wrap their minds around such an unanswerable question?

“You tell them there was a shooter who should not have been there in the first place, who was obviously having terrible problems. If those survivors ducked down then they were saved. If the teacher pulled them down, they were saved. And others were not,” Dolgan said.

Younger students don’t have the emotional or psychological means to fully understand death and, consequently, aren’t generally afflicted with so-called survivor’s guilt, he added.

Saltz notes that good, old-fashioned comfort can go a long way to healing, Saltz said. “The community pulling together and giving the kids a sense of safety going forward,” she said. “Those that have a better support system, whose families will be able to get more help for any symptoms they do have in the short term.”

Psychologist and TODAY contributor Robi Ludwig said the coming winter break from school may be helpful. “I think the good thing here is we have a lot of vacation time coming up,” Ludwig said.

“I think everybody is still in shock and a bit in denial and that’s not such a bad thing because the body has a way of numbing itself so that it is not overwhelmed and overstimulated with scary news, with horrific news,” Ludwig said. “Then at a later point, you can access those feelings under less threatening circumstances.”

And by all means, holiday preparations should continue.

“If there’s ever a time to go Christmas shopping, it’s this weekend,” said Koplewicz. “Or go to church, or exercise.”

Keeping kids home may feel comforting to worried parents, but it will send the wrong message that they are not safe, the experts agreed.

Story: How to talk to your kids about the school shooting

“On Monday, you put them on the school bus,” Koplewicz said. “If your kid says ‘no, no, no,” then it is all right to say ‘Ok, today I’ll drive you to school’. But you make sure they go to school.”

Sandy Hook Elementary will have to offer grief counseling, Ludwig says. “Some of the kids who survived will know those kids who are no longer there,” she said. “That could raise survivor guilt.”

It will be much, much harder for the parents, Saltz says.

“This is the worst,” she said.  “This is the worst nightmare. There is not a magic psychiatric pill for this kind of horrible trauma.”

Again, community will help.

“There is the importance of the community support over what is going to be a long haul. The parents of these children, I would say, are at risk for at least the first year,” Saltz said. “When you lose a child it is the most devastating thing. Those parents, they really need some help, psychiatric, and otherwise.”

Now parents are going to be in the shock phase, Saltz said: “This is going to seem unreal. It may be some time before they even enter the grief phase.”

Story: Advice from a Columbine survivor

Neighbors can help protect the parents while they sort through their trauma. “It will be about trying to make the town feel as safe as possible,” Ludwig said. “It is about providing a safe place to grieve and have feelings. There are things beyond our control that don’t make any sense.”

And there will ultimately be no real explanation for what happened. “You can’t make sense of it because there is not going to be any sense to be made of it,” Saltz said. “This is a lot of loss for one community. Everyone is going to need to emotionally pitch in.”

NBC correspondent Bill Briggs contributed to this report.

© 2012 NBCNews.com


 

 

Links to Other Breaking Health News (New Feature)

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“Talking” Therapy May Help Depression When Antidepressant Medications Fail

New Egg-Free Flu Vaccine

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Predicting Childhood Obesity at Birth

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Dr. Wascher’s latest video:

Dark as Night, Part 1



Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1




At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is now more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


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.  Over the past 12 months, 2,017,594 pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  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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Mercury Exposure In The Womb May Cause ADHD





 

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children may result from maternal exposure to mercury during pregnancy.


 

 

 

MERCURY EXPOSURE IN THE WOMB MAY CAUSE ADHD

Over the past 10 years, there has been a significant increase in the number of children diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  While the reasons behind this rising number of ADHD diagnoses continue to be debated, there is emerging clinical research data suggesting that maternal exposure to specific environmental toxins during pregnancy may significantly increase the incidence of ADHD among the children of these exposed mothers.

Previous studies have linked prenatal (“before birth”) exposure to lead, tobacco and mercury with a higher incidence of ADHD, but these studies have suffered from a significant limitation, in that they have relied upon surrogate measures of exposure to these toxins rather than direct, quantitative measures of exposure.  Now, a newly published clinical study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine has overcome the limitations of previous studies, and strongly suggests that prenatal exposure to mercury increases the risk of ADHD.

There are multiple sources of potential mercury exposure in the environment around us.  Indeed, more than half of all of the mercury introduced into the environment comes from manmade sources, including coal-fired power plants, steel plants, cement plants, mining operations, waste processing plants, battery manufacturing plants, and fluorescent bulb manufacturing plants, among other industrial sources.  (Almost half of the mercury in the environment actually comes from naturally-occurring processes including, of all things, volcanic eruptions.)  Once released into the environment, mercury then becomes concentrated, or “bio-amplified,” within the plants and animals that we eat, as well as in the water that we drink and the air that we breathe.  Once ingested, mercury is a known toxin, with adverse effects on the nervous system (including the brain), lungs, kidneys, and other vital organs.  As is the case with many environmental toxins, mercury is especially toxic to the unborn fetus, infants, and small children.

In this innovative new study, two groups of children were evaluated.  In the first group (421 children), hair samples collected from the mothers of these children at around the time of their birth were analyzed for mercury content.  In the second group (515 children), maternal hair samples were not available for testing, but maternal fish consumption (the most common source of mercury exposure) during pregnancy was evaluated, and this information was used to assess the impact of maternal fish intake on ADHD incidence in this second group of children.

The findings of this study were quite surprising.

The most important finding of this study was that increasing levels of mercury in the hair of mothers were significantly associated with a greater number of ADHD-related behaviors among their children.  In particular, impulsive and hyperactive behaviors were 70 percent more common among the children of mothers with hair mercury levels at or above 1 microgram per gram of hair, and attention-deficit (“inattentiveness”) behaviors were 40 percent more common among these same children. Another interesting observation was that the association between maternal hair mercury levels and ADHD symptoms was identified primarily in boys, and was not commonly seen in girls.

Given that the single greatest source of mercury ingestion for most of us is fish consumption, one would expect that higher levels of maternal fish consumption would be associated with an increased risk of ADHD if, indeed, prenatal mercury exposure can lead to ADHD.  However, this study actually found the opposite association between maternal fish intake during pregnancy and the risk of ADHD.  In this study, maternal fish consumption of more than 2 servings for week during pregnancy was actually associated with a lower incidence of ADHD among the children of these mothers, including a 60 percent lower incidence of impulsive and hyperactive behaviors.

Mercury is a known nerve poison (neurotoxin), and there is data suggesting that the prefrontal cortex of the developing fetal brain is especially sensitive to the effects of even low levels of mercury and other environmental neurotoxins.  As the prefrontal cortex (the “executive center” of the brain) is the area of the brain that exerts the greatest control on voluntary behavior, it is entirely reasonable to think that damage to this part of the brain could result in the inattentive and hyperactive behaviors that are the hallmarks of ADHD.

Based upon this study’s findings, it appears that maternal exposure to even relatively low levels of mercury (based upon maternal hair mercury content) during pregnancy may significantly increase the risk of ADHD-related behaviors in affected children.  At the same time, the finding of the more subjective half of this study, which assessed maternal fish intake during pregnancy as a risk factor for ADHD-related behaviors, is rather counterintuitive, as fish consumption is thought to be the greatest source of mercury exposure for most humans.  If, as this study suggests, increased maternal fish consumption during pregnancy is actually protective against ADHD-related behaviors, then environmental sources of mercury exposure other than fish must be involved in mercury-associated ADHD symptoms.

In my view, the findings of this study are very important, and, as an accompanying editorial notes, short of intentionally exposing children to mercury contamination for the sake of research, the hair analysis utilized in this study is as close as we are going to get to a “perfect” study of prenatal mercury exposure as a risk factor for ADHD.

Fortunately, there is an increasing awareness by public health experts regarding the potentially adverse health effects of environmental mercury.  However, the findings of this study suggest that more must still be done to reduce mercury levels in the food that we eat, the water that we drink, and the air that we breathe.

 

Give the gift of health during this Holiday Season.  My bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, is available in both print and digital formats from all major bookstores.  Help a loved one to begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

Links to Other Breaking Health News (New Feature)

Tamoxifen for 10 Years (Instead of 5 Years) Significantly Improves Breast Cancer Survival Rate

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Satisfaction with Life May Actually Increase with Age

Brain Changes in the Elderly May Increase Susceptibility to Being Scammed

“Talking” Therapy May Help Depression When Antidepressant Medications Fail

New Egg-Free Flu Vaccine

Graphic Cigarette Labels in Australia

Predicting Childhood Obesity at Birth

Inexpensive Power Foods

 


Dr. Wascher’s latest video:

Dark as Night, Part 1


Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1



At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is now more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


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.  Over the past 12 months, 2,017,594 pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  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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Alcohol, Folic Acid, and Breast Cancer Risk





 

A new study shows that both regular alcohol intake and decreased folic acid intake significantly increase breast cancer risk.


 

 

 

ALCOHOL, FOLIC ACID, AND BREAST CANCER RISK

As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, alcohol is an underappreciated risk factor for multiple types of cancer, including breast cancer.  (As little as one alcoholic drink per day has been shown to increase breast cancer risk in women.)  The mechanism, or mechanisms, whereby alcohol increases breast cancer risk is not well understood, although some have conjectured that increased levels of estrogen, which accompany regular alcohol intake, may be one such mechanism.

The vitamin folic acid (sometimes referred to as Vitamin B9) has multiple functions, including DNA synthesis and DNA repair.  Folate deficiency can occur for a variety of reasons, including frequent or excess alcohol intake.  Because of alcohol’s ability to decrease folic acid absorption and increase folic acid excretion, some experts have also proposed that regular alcohol intake may increase breast cancer risk by depleting the body’s stores of folic acid.

Now, a new public health study, published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, adds important new information about the impact of both alcohol and folic acid on breast cancer risk.

In this Japanese case-control study, 1,754 women with breast cancer and 3,508 age-matched patients without breast cancer were evaluated.  Alcohol and folic acid intake was assessed for all of the women who participated in this clinical study; and other known breast cancer risk factors were identified and adjusted for.

As has been shown in multiple other studies, increasing levels of alcohol intake were associated with an increasing risk of breast cancer.  Compared with non-drinkers, women who consumed 23 grams or more of alcohol per day experienced a 39 percent increase in the risk of developing breast cancer.  (A single standard alcoholic beverage contains about 14 grams of alcohol.)

In this study, an increased dietary intake of folic acid was associated with a decreased risk of developing breast cancer.  When compared to women with the lowest intake of folic acid, women who took the highest amount of folic acid in their diet experienced a 21 percent decrease in the risk of developing breast cancer.

In view of the known effects of alcohol on folic acid absorption and excretion, the authors of this study also sought to determine whether or not folic acid intake affected the risk of breast cancer associated with alcohol consumption.  Based upon the findings of this study, it does, in fact, appear that folic acid has some potential beneficial impact on breast cancer risk associated with alcohol intake.  Among women with very low folic acid intake, the consumption of at least 23 grams of alcohol per day was associated with a whopping 58 percent increase in the risk of breast cancer.  At the same time, higher levels of folate intake seemed to significantly reduce any apparent increase in breast cancer risk associated with regular alcohol consumption.

Based upon the findings of this important public health study, the average daily consumption of more than one-and-a-half servings of alcohol per day was associated with a significant increase in breast cancer risk.  Additionally, this study found that low dietary levels of folic acid also significantly increased breast cancer risk.  Moreover, the combination of daily alcohol consumption and low folic acid intake was associated with more than twice the risk of developing breast cancer than regular alcohol consumption or low folic acid intake alone, while higher levels of folic acid intake appeared to be protective against breast cancer associated with regular alcohol consumption.  Therefore, the findings of this study suggest that breast cancer risk can be significantly decreased by decreasing one’s alcohol intake, combined with a diet that contains adequate amounts of folic acid.

 

Get your copy of A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

 

 

Links to Other Breaking Health News (New Feature)

New Egg-Free Flu Vaccine

Graphic Cigarette Labels in Australia

Predicting Childhood Obesity at Birth

Inexpensive Power Foods

 


A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race is now available in both printed and digital formats from all major bookstores.


Dr. Wascher’s latest video:

Dark as Night, Part 1


Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1



At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is now more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


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.  Over the past 12 months, 2,017,594 pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  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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