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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American Surgeons in Crisis: Implications for Healthcare






 

A new study finds that more than half of surgeons are experiencing work-home conflicts that threaten their personal and professional wellbeing.


 

AMERICAN SURGEONS IN CRISIS:  IMPLICATIONS FOR HEALTHCARE

As I have discussed in previous columns (The Silent Epidemic of Surgeon Burnout and DepressionEpidemic of Alcohol Abuse Among Surgeons), there are quiet and evolving, and disturbing, developments within the community of American surgeons, and these developments may portend of significant potential future problems for surgeons, and for patients who require surgical care.  Now, a newly published research study, which appears in the current issue of the Archives of Surgery, further suggests that the epidemic of surgeon burnout and depression is indeed real, and has serious potential implications for both surgeons and their patients.

In this study, 7,197 active surgeons were surveyed, electronically, by the American College of Surgeons, using questions from validated surveys that assess for career burnout, depression, quality of life, alcohol use, and other measures of satisfaction with both personal and professional life attributes.

When asked if they had experienced any significant conflicts between their “work lives” and their “home lives” within the previous three weeks, an astounding 53 percent of the queried surgeons replied, “Yes.”  Thus, more than half of all surgeons who participated in this confidential survey reported substantial and distressing conflicts between their professional lives and their home lives within the preceding three weeks.

When the study’s authors analyzed the personal and professional factors that were most closely associated with “work-home conflicts,” and with both personal and professional dissatisfaction, a clearer picture emerged.  For example, the number of hours worked per week, having children, the surgeon’s gender, and the type of surgical practice were all closely linked with work-home conflicts, and with lower levels of personal and professional satisfaction.  For example, surgeons who practiced at Veterans Administration hospitals were 91 percent more likely to report work-home conflicts when compared to surgeons in private practice, while surgeons who practiced at an academic medical center were 19 percent more likely to report such conflicts when compared to private practice surgeons.  Not surprisingly, having children at home was associated with a 65 percent greater likelihood of work-home conflict when compared to surgeons without children at home.  Working more hours per week and being younger were also factors associated with a higher likelihood of work-home conflict, as was being a female surgeon (i.e., when compared to male surgeons).  Surgeon specialty was also significantly linked to work-home conflicts and overall lower satisfaction levels, with broadly practicing general surgeons being twice as likely to report work-home conflicts as surgeons in other specialties (e.g., breast surgeons, heart surgeons, neurosurgeons, and other subspecialist surgeons).

The high level of work-home conflicts identified among surgeons is an issue of great concern to all of us, as such conflicts were significantly associated with career burnout, exhaustion, decreased quality of life, depression, relationship difficulties, alcohol abuse, and overall career dissatisfaction by scientifically validated surveys.  Surgeons reporting recent work-home conflicts were also substantially less likely to recommend surgery as a career option to their children.

In addition to higher levels of burnout, depression, alcohol abuse, relationship difficulties, and career dissatisfaction, surgeons who reported recent work-home conflicts were also 77 percent more likely to be planning to reduce their clinical work hours, and71 percent more likely to be planning to leave their surgical practices for reasons other than planned retirement.

At a time when the demand for some types of surgical care is already outstripping the supply of experienced, competent surgeons in many areas of the country, the findings of this study are cause for considerable concern.  For example, looking into the near future, our population is aging, and many acute and chronic diseases that require surgical treatment are more common in elderly patients.  Therefore, there is real concern that an increasingly burned-out surgeon workforce, and a declining interest in the more challenging surgical specialties (like general surgery) by today’s medical students, will someday soon leave the United States with an inadequate number of experienced surgeons to meet our nation’s healthcare needs.

All of the above noted adverse factors within the American surgeon community, once again, raise the concern that adequate levels of surgical care may not be available in the not too distant future if significant changes in surgical training and surgical practice are not considered and implemented, particularly in the workhorse specialty of general surgery.  The surgical community has been, admittedly, slow to appreciate or embrace generational changes in perceptions about work-life balance, and has only grudgingly (and recently) acquiesced to external pressures to treat its surgeons-in-training in a more considerate and supportive manner, compared to the conditions that surgery interns and residents toiled under during my era of training, as well as previous generations of surgical trainees.  (When I was a surgical intern, in the late 1980s, there were no limitations on the number of hours that interns and residents were expected to work in the hospital, including the number of nights spent on call for emergencies within the hospital, and it was not uncommon for us to spend 100 to 120 hours inside the hospital each and every week.)  Regardless of how more senior surgeons feel about it, it must be acknowledged that the current generation of medical students and young surgeons, both male and female, are much more concerned about work-life balance, and overall quality of life issues, than was typical for my generation of surgeons.

On a brighter note, the American College of Surgeons’ sponsorship of this research study, and others like it, suggests that the older generation of surgeons who currently serve as senior leaders and mentors for young surgeons and surgical trainees may, finally, be coming to grips with the rather dramatic shift in attitudes and priorities among their young charges. Hopefully, it is not too late to make meaningful structural changes in surgical training and surgical practice conditions before there are widespread adverse public health consequences to the ongoing crisis among the community of surgeons in the United States….

 

A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race is now available in both printed and digital formats from all major bookstores.  Get your copy now, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle!


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.  (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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Diabetes Pill (Metformin) Improves Survival in Patients with Deadly Pancreatic Cancer





 

New research suggests that the diabetes medication metformin significantly improves survival in patients with deadly pancreatic cancer.



 

 

DIABETES PILL (METFORMIN) IMPROVES SURVIVAL IN PATIENTS WITH DEADLY PANCREATIC CANCER

Despite the many recent advances in cancer treatment, pancreatic cancer remains one of the most lethal of all forms of cancer.  An aggressive form of cancer which frequently spreads before patients are even aware that they have the disease, pancreatic cancer remains highly resistant to cure even with aggressive surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.  As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, diabetes is a known risk factor for pancreatic cancer (as are obesity and smoking).  In my book, I also discuss preliminary research evidence suggesting that metformin, a common oral medication used to treat diabetes, may actually have anti-cancer properties in diabetic patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer (and, perhaps, in other types of cancer, and in non-diabetic patients, as well).  Now, another newly published clinical research study adds further weight to the hypothesis that metformin may indeed improve survival among diabetic patients diagnosed with this dreaded form of cancer.  This new study appears in the current issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

In this study, the outcomes of 302 patients with pancreatic cancer were studied.  Among these patients, 117 were taking metformin, while 185 patients were not taking metformin for their diabetes.  In this retrospective clinical study, the two-year survival rate among the patients taking metformin was 30 percent, while the two-year survival among the patients receiving other types of treatment for their diabetes was only 15 percent.  In fact, the patients who took metformin experienced a 36 percent overall lower risk of death when compared to the patients who were not taking metformin for their diabetes.  (Of note, metformin appeared to prolong life only in those pancreatic cancer patients with cancers that had not yet spread, or metastasized, outside of the pancreas.)

A major limitation of this study is, of course, its retrospective nature.  However, there are currently over 100 ongoing prospective clinical research trials looking at the use of metformin in pancreatic cancer, as well as in colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, and other types of cancer (and in both diabetic and non-diabetic cancer patients).  Based upon the available, and encouraging, retrospective data linking metformin with increased survival among pancreatic cancer patients (including the data reported by this study), I have started to selectively place some of my pancreatic cancer patients on metformin, in addition to their other standard pancreatic cancer therapies, given the dismal outcomes typically associated with this form of cancer.  I will, therefore, be very interested to see the results of ongoing prospective, randomized metformin clinical studies in patients with pancreatic cancer, once this data becomes available.

As metformin is a prescription drug used, specifically, to treat diabetes, this medication should only be prescribed by your physician for the treatment of diabetes at this time.


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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Epidemic of Alcohol Abuse Among Surgeons





A new study indicates that chronic alcohol abuse among surgeons is far more common than among the general population.


 

 

EPIDEMIC OF ALCOHOL ABUSE AMONG SURGEONS

In a previous column (Surgeon Performance and Alcohol), I reviewed a clinical research study that revealed just how significantly alcohol intake degrades surgical skills among surgeons, even well into the day following alcohol intake.  In another recent column, I examined a study that revealed a disturbingly high rate of burnout and depression among American surgeons (Surgeon Burnout and Depression).  This week, I will present a newly published clinical study that, once again, raises serious concerns about the health and wellbeing of many surgeons in the United States.

In a study that appears in the current issue of the Archives of Surgery, more than 7,000 surgeons in the United States agreed to participate in a confidential assessment of alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence among members of the American College of Surgeons.  Validated surveys and tests were administered to these surgeon-volunteers, and the resulting data was analyzed.

Based upon the results of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, 15 percent of the responding surgeons, overall, were identified as meeting the criteria for either chronic alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence.  Further evaluation of the data collected in this study revealed that 14 percent of the participating male surgeons met the criteria for chronic abuse of alcohol or alcohol dependency, while 26 percent of the corresponding female surgeons met these same worrisome criteria.  Moreover, surgeons who reported having committed a major medical or surgical error within the previous 3 months were 45 percent more likely to abuse alcohol, or to be dependent upon alcohol, when compared to surgeons who did not report any recent errors.  Similarly, surgeons who reported feeling burned out in their professional lives were 25 percent more likely to be problem drinkers when compared to surgeons who did not report professional burnout.  Finally, surgeons who reported symptoms consistent with depression were nearly 50 percent more likely to abuse alcohol than surgeons who did not report feeling depressed.

Interestingly, surgeons were less likely to have alcohol abuse and dependency problems if they were older, male, or had children.  (Approximately 11 percent of adult males in the general population are thought to have chronic alcohol abuse problems, while only about 5 percent of adult females in the general population appear to abuse alcohol on a regular basis.)

The findings of this study, once again, indicate a disturbingly high rate of substance abuse among American surgeons; and this is the first study to show that female surgeons, unlike women in the general population, are twice as likely as their male counterparts to regularly abuse alcohol.  Taken together with previous studies showing very high rates of depression and career burnout among surgeons in the United States, the findings of this latest study are rather worrisome.  (Previous studies have also linked an increased likelihood of medical and surgical errors to surgeons who are depressed, and who abuse alcohol and other drugs.)

I should also note that only 29 percent of the surgeons who were contacted agreed to participate in this confidential study.  Because this participation rate is much lower than what is typically seen in most survey-based research studies, it raises the important question as to whether or not the rate of alcohol abuse and alcohol dependency might actually be considerably higher among surgeons, in general, than what is reflected in this study.  Indeed, most statistics experts believe that a very common reason for nonparticipation in survey-based studies is a reluctance to divulge negative information about oneself.  Moreover, even people who elect to participate in survey-based studies often “fudge” their responses in ways that tend to underestimate their bad habits and other self-perceived shortcomings.  Therefore, it is entirely possible that the incidence of chronic alcohol abuse and alcohol dependency among surgeons may be even higher than what was reported in this study….

 

As I have observed in previous columns, surgeons who abuse alcohol, or other drugs, are more likely to be associated with medical errors and worse patient outcomes.  However, the stigma of reporting oneself as having an alcohol, or other drug, problem is so great in the medical profession that impaired surgeons (as with other physicians) are generally extremely reluctant to admit that they have an alcohol or drug problem.  Most medical boards still require physicians to indicate whether or not they have a history of drug or alcohol abuse on licensure applications, and the medical profession, in general, still seems to be in a state of denial regarding the unusually high incidence of drug and alcohol abuse among physicians when compared to the general public.  It also goes without saying that the potential consequences of being operated upon by an impaired surgeon can be catastrophic to both patients and their loved ones, and, therefore, the still prevailing “head in the sand” approach to identifying, and rehabilitating, impaired physicians would not appear to serve the public interest very well, in my view.

 

While the vast majority of surgeons are passionately devoted to providing the best possible care to their patients, and would therefore not engage in personal behaviors that might potentially endanger their patients, it is becoming increasingly clear that a sizable percentage of surgeons in the United States are seriously impaired by burnout, depression and other mental health illnesses, and by alcohol and drug abuse.  Therefore, a better system of screening out surgical trainees who are predisposed to these serious health problems should be considered, while, at the same time, medical authorities at the state and federal levels should make it easier, and less threatening, for currently impaired physicians and surgeons to reach out for help without fearing that they will be punished or professionally sanctioned as a result.  I, therefore, applaud the American College of Surgeons for sponsoring and publishing this important study as a preliminary step forward in this direction.


 

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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Lifestyle, Diet and Diabetes Risk

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


New research reveals the profound impact of diet, obesity, and lifestyle factors on diabetes risk.



 

 

LIFESTYLE, DIET AND DIABETES RISK

Along with the incidence of obesity, the incidence of diabetes has recently skyrocketed in the United States and around the world.  The list of health complications associated with diabetes is frightening, and includes heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, stroke, kidney failure, progressive blindness, and as I discuss in my book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, an increased risk of cancer.

Now, a newly published clinical research study, which included more than 200,000 adult volunteers, sheds important light on the major lifestyle-associated risk factors for this life-threatening disease.  Nearly 2 million adults will be newly diagnosed with diabetes this year in the United States, and nearly 80 million Americans are currently living with diabetes at this time. In fact, diabetes has become such a serious public health problem that it is now considered the seventh leading cause of death in the United States!

This newly published prospective public health study appears in the current issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, and was sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute, as part of the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study.

A total of 114, 996 men and 92,483 women, aged 50 to 71 years, participated in this public health study; and this huge group of research volunteers was closely followed for an average of 10 years. Importantly, none of these research volunteers had diabetes, heart disease, or cancer at the time they initially joined this research study.

After evaluating diet, level of physical activity, smoking status, and alcohol intake, this enormous group of research volunteers was assessed for the risk of onset of diabetes according to these lifestyle factors. Altogether, about 10 percent of the men and 8 percent of the women went on to develop diabetes during the 10-year course of this public health study. When compared to men who ate poorly and did not exercise, and who also smoked and regularly consumed alcohol, the men who had very healthy behaviors in these same areas had a 39 percent lower risk of developing diabetes, while the women with healthy lifestyle behaviors experienced a 57 percent lower risk of diabetes when compared to the women with unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. Even more impressive was the additive role of obesity on diabetes risk. When all of the previously mentioned healthy lifestyle behaviors were combined with the absence of being overweight or obese, men experienced a whopping 72 percent decrease in the risk of diabetes, while women experienced an extraordinary 84 percent reduction in the risk of developing diabetes. Importantly, these dramatic reductions in the risk of diabetes were maintained even among the men and women who had a family history of diabetes or obesity.

This huge prospective public health study adds important and helpful information to our understanding regarding the most important risk factors for diabetes, and reveals just how important eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, abstaining from tobacco use, and minimizing alcohol intake are to the prevention of diabetes.  Other large public health studies have also conclusively linked these healthy lifestyle-associated behaviors with a significant reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease (including heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, and stroke) and cancer, as well!




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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Obesity, Alcohol, Smoking and Breast Cancer Risk

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


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




OBESITY, ALCOHOL, SMOKING AND BREAST CANCER RISK

As I discuss in detail in my recent book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, there are several important lifestyle and dietary factors that have been linked to cancer risk by numerous high-level research studies. Moreover, breast cancer risk, as well as the risk of several other hormone-responsive cancers in particular, appears to be especially associated with potentially modifiable lifestyle and dietary factors, including obesity, alcohol intake, smoking, lack of physical activity, high-fat diets (and diets rich in animal-based foods, specifically), as well as other modifiable risk factors.

While certain lifestyle and dietary risk factors linked to breast cancer risk have been confirmed by numerous research studies, the underlying mechanisms whereby these risk factors increase breast cancer risk has not been entirely clear. Now, a comprehensive new review of 13 prospective breast cancer public health studies sheds important light on the important topic of breast cancer prevention, and provides much-needed insight into how our own personal habits may directly increase our risk of developing breast cancer. The findings of this new cancer prevention study are scheduled to appear in the next issue of theBritish Journal of Cancer.

Of the 13 prospective clinical research studies that were analyzed in this report, 7 were performed in the United States, 1 was performed as part of a multinational European study, and 1 each was performed in Australia, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Altogether, 6,291 women were evaluated in these 13 prospective public health studies.

As has been shown in many previous studies, this report confirmed that women with high levels of the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone in their blood are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop breast cancer when compared with women who have low circulating levels of these hormones.

Among postmenopausal women, who make up the great majority of all new breast cancer cases, the single most significant risk factor for having elevated levels of estrogen in the blood was obesity, in this study. Although obesity has long been known to be a risk factor both for developing breast cancer and for experiencing a recurrence of a prior breast cancer, it has not been entirely clear how excess body weight actually causes breast cancer risk to increase. (Aromatase, an enzyme that is manufactured by fat cells, is known to increase the production of estrogen in overweight and obese women and men, and has long been suspected to contribute to breast cancer risk in obese women.) Perhaps the most important finding of this new report, therefore, is to confirm the long-suspected linkage between excess weight and elevated levels of estrogen in the blood. Increased estrogen levels, in turn, are known to increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.

The findings of this report also indicate that, second only to obesity, regular alcohol intake and smoking were the next most significant lifestyle-related factors associated with an increased circulating level of estrogen and other sex hormones. (Both alcohol and smoking have previously, and consistently, been linked to breast cancer risk. Indeed, as I discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, women who consume 2 or more alcoholic beverages per day have been shown, by multiple studies, to experience a significant increase in breast cancer risk, as well as an increased risk of several other cancers.)

While some breast cancer risk factors (such as gender, age, and family history) cannot be changed, this new report, and the research studies which it analyzes, confirms that women can significantly reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by making evidence-based changes in their lifestyle and diet. When it comes to cancer, an ounce of cancer prevention really is worth a ton of cancer treatment or cancer cure.



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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Surgeon Performance Impaired After Drinking Alcohol the Day Before Surgery

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


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



 

SURGEON PERFORMANCE IMPAIRED AFTER DRINKING ALCOHOL THE DAY BEFORE SURGERY

Surgeons, like pilots, are held to a very high standard of conduct when it comes to alcohol and drug use. Unlike pilots, however, there are no rules barring surgeons from having a few beers, or other alcoholic drinks, on the day or evening before they enter the operating room to perform surgery.

While most surgeons drink alcohol responsibly, some surgeons (like people in any other profession) may occasionally have a few more drinks the day or evening before they report for duty than might be considered prudent. When a surgeon has a few more alcoholic drinks than they might have planned on the day before they are scheduled to perform surgery, most will undoubtedly assume that “sleeping it off” overnight will leave them fresh and in tip-top shape to wield the scalpel in the operating room on the next morning. However, a newly published clinical research study suggests otherwise….

A newly published prospective, randomized clinical study, which appears in the latest issue of the Archives of Surgery, included two groups of study volunteers. A total of 8 expert laparoscopic surgeons were included in one group, while the other group consisted of 16 university science students. All 24 participants were trained to use a computer-based laparoscopic surgery training device that is routinely utilized to train new surgeons in laparoscopic surgery skills. The science students were then divided into two groups. The “control” group abstained from alcohol for the 24-hour period prior to being tested on their laparoscopic skills, while the other half of the students (the “experimental group”) were allowed to drink alcohol freely until they felt themselves to be “intoxicated.” The 8 expert laparoscopic surgeons were all permitted to drink alcoholic beverages “until intoxicated.” The following day, all 24 study volunteers were tested on the laparoscopic training device at 9:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 4:00 PM. All study participants also underwent breathalyzer testing to measure their blood alcohol level, and only one of the volunteers had a blood alcohol level above the legal limit (for driving) of 0.1 percent at 9:00 on the morning after their drinking binge.

Among the science students, performance deteriorated in all of the tested laparoscopic surgery skills among those who had consumed alcohol on the day prior to testing (when compared to the “control group” of students). The outcome was not any better for the expert laparoscopic surgeons, either. These experienced surgeons, all of whom consumed multiple alcoholic drinks on the day before testing, showed significant deterioration in the time that it took them to perform specific laparoscopic surgery skills, as well as a significant deterioration in their coordination and in the number of technical errors that they made. Moreover, this significant deterioration in surgical performance was still detectable at 4:00 PM on the day after these study volunteers had consumed multiple alcoholic beverages, and despite blood alcohol levels well below the legal limit for driving.

As previous research with airline pilots has shown, alcohol consumption within 24 hours of performing critical tasks can cause significant cognitive and physical impairment, even when blood alcohol levels are zero, or near zero. The findings of this clinical study of surgeons came to similar conclusions, and these findings suggest that surgeons should avoid the consumption of multiple alcoholic drinks within 24 hours of entering the operating room.

For a complete evidence-based discussion about how to live 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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Beer May Prevent Heart and Arterial Disease (Atherosclerosis)

 

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


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


BEER MAY PREVENT HEART AND

ARTERIAL DISEASE (ATHEROSCLEROSIS)

 

Dietary polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants, are thought to have a wide range of potential health benefits, including a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer.  Polyphenols are found in many plant-based foods that we eat, including that age-old beverage, beer.

A newly published research study, which appears in the current issue of the British Journal of Nutrition, has drawn some very important conclusions about the potential health benefits of alcohol-free beer.

As we age, the inner lining of our arteries often becomes progressively more diseased.  As our arteries age, complex “plaques” can form on the inner surfaces of our arteries (a process known as atherosclerosis), which may then result in a critical narrowing of important arteries, including the arteries that nourish our heart, kidneys, brain, legs and feet, and other important sites in our bodies.  When these atherosclerotic plaques bleed or rupture, the blood supply to our vital organs can then become compromised, resulting in heart attack, kidney failure, stroke, and the potential loss of toes, feet, and legs.

In this interesting laboratory study, mice with a genetic predisposition towards atherosclerosis were fed either alcohol-free lager beer or alcohol-free dark beer for 20 weeks.  (Mice within a third group, the control group, did not receive any alcohol-free beer.)  The results of this study were striking.  The mice that received alcohol-free lager (“light”) beer experienced 44 percent less atherosclerosis within the main artery in their bodies (the aorta), while the mice that consumed the more polyphenol-rich alcohol-free dark beer were noted to have 51 percent less atherosclerosis in their aortas (versus the control group mice).

Additional results from this animal study indicated that the consumption of alcohol-free beer significantly also reduced the presence of substances that cause the lining of arteries (endothelium) to become “sticky,” such that inflammatory white blood cells, muscle cells, and fat cells begin to “stick” to the interior of these arteries, causing arterial atherosclerosis.

While I always caution that the findings of laboratory animal research studies are very often not validated in subsequent human studies, this particular animal study is exciting in that not only was a significant reduction in atherosclerosis observed among the mice that received alcohol-free beer supplements, but also the actual biochemical mechanisms linked to the development of atherosclerosis, in both mice and men (with apologies to Steinbeck…), were also shown to be inhibited by alcohol-free beer supplementation.

The findings of this study raise the possibility that beer polyphenols may be able to significantly reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, particularly in people with an increased predisposition towards premature atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.  (I must stress that the frequent consumption of beer, or other beverages that contain alcohol, is associated with a variety of potentially serious health problems, including liver disease, GI tract bleeding, pancreatitis, cancers of the breast and GI tract, and other life-threatening illnesses.  However, fortunately, based upon the results of this laboratory animal study, alcohol-free beer appears to retain the potential health benefits of traditional beer, but without the harmful health effects associated with beer that contains alcohol.)

 

For a complete discussion of the role of dietary polyphenols in cancer prevention, and other important evidence-based approaches to cancer prevention, 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.com Top 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, a professor of surgery, a cancer researcher, an 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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Job and Workplace Stress

 

Welcome to Weekly Health Update



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


JOB AND WORKPLACE STRESS

 

The global economy remains in the doldrums, unemployment remains at historically high levels around much of the world, and many people are feeling stressed in both their professional and personal lives.  In today’s highly competitive job market, many employees are feeling increasingly vulnerable.  There is also the perception among many workers that the poor job market has given employers the upper hand when it comes to the workplace environment.  Employees are working longer hours (and often without traditional overtime pay, and the other economic incentives of the pre-recession era), taking more work home with them, and in general, are feeling a great deal more stress and insecurity than they experienced before the economy took a nose-dive in 2008.

Increased levels of chronic stress have been linked to a variety of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, depression, obesity, increased drug use (including tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs), domestic abuse, interpersonal conflicts (at home and at work), and some cancers.  With no end in sight to this second-worst economic downturn in modern history, the odds remain relatively high that many employees will continue to face increased demands in the workplace, increased difficulty in finding a reasonable work-home life balance, and will continue to feel vulnerable and anxious about the stability of their jobs.  Many employers recognize that treating their employees fairly, and helping them to feel secure and appreciated in their jobs, is a “win-win” for everyone.  Employees who are treated fairly, and who come to work each day knowing that their workplace environment is both supportive and free of unnecessary strife, are more efficient and more productive, and tend to take fewer days of sick leave.  On the other hand, employees who feel that they are not being treated fairly, or that they are being taken advantage of, or that their jobs are at risk for reasons other than their performance, are less productive, more prone to interpersonal conflicts, and take more days of sick leave than employees who enjoy a healthy workplace climate.  While some employers may see the current economic downturn as an opportunity to take advantage of their employees, and to exploit and mistreat their employees at a time when many workers already feel insecure and vulnerable, most employers understand that when their employees look forward to coming to work in a healthy, supportive, and fair workplace climate, both employer and employees are more likely to thrive.

 

 

Two newly published public health studies, which appear in the current issue of the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, offer both employees and employers important insights into creating a healthier, more productive, and more collegial work environment. 

 

The first study was a long-term longitudinal, prospective occupational health study of 326 men and 338 women who originally enrolled in this research study in 1980 (while between the ages of 9 and 18 years).  These children and adolescents were then followed for an impressive 27 years, until 2007.  This study found that the now adult workers who had engaged in frequent leisure-time exercise, and effort-intensive sports, during childhood and adolescence were significantly less likely to complain of chronic workplace stress after they reached adulthood (i.e., when compared to employees who had rarely engaged in exercise or sports during their youth).  Interestingly, after being tested for cardiovascular fitness during adulthood, this study found that a high level of physical fitness in adulthood only partially explained the apparent benefit of increased physical activity during late childhood and adolescence on perceived workplace stress.   In addition to engaging in regular exercise and sports, having a “Type A” personality also appeared to be predictive of less workplace-associated stress.  (People with “Type A” personality traits are highly goal-oriented, performance-oriented, “take charge” people, as opposed to people with so-called “Type B” traits.  “Type B” people tend to feel more comfortable in delegating tasks, are less confrontational than Type A” folks, and also do not feel the sense of task-oriented urgency that their “Type A” peers constantly experience.)

While we probably cannot change our basic personality type, we can all increase our levels of physical activity, starting in childhood and continuing through adulthood, as a means of coping with the increased levels of chronic stress that many of us are feeling these days.  (Importantly, there are many clinical research studies that have demonstrated a strong correlation between regular exercise and a decrease in the incidence of stress-related physical and mental illnesses.)

 

 

The findings of the second occupational health study should serve as a wake-up call to those employers that take advantage of hard economic times to exploit their workers, as well as those employers that permit an unhealthy or unfair work environment to persist.  In this study, 2,763 randomly selected employees from the general population were interviewed and evaluated with respect to their workplace environment and their satisfaction with their jobs.  A second group of 3,044 employees who appeared on their companies’ sick lists for more than 14 days, over a 2 month period, were similarly evaluated.

Among the women employees, a perceived unhealthy or unfair workplace environment was associated with an 80 percent increase in the likelihood that these female employees would end up on chronic sick lists.  The impact of a toxic workplace environment on the male employees was even more profound, as men who complained of an unhealthy or unfair workplace climate were 174 percent more likely to chronically call in sick when compared to the men who were generally satisfied with their workplace environment and their jobs.  (Interestingly, increased workload alone, in the absence of an unhealthy workplace environment, increased the risk of absenteeism among women, but not among men.)

 

 

In summary, these are tough times for many, many people.  Most employers treat their employees in a fair and ethical manner, knowing that happy and secure employees are more efficient, more productive, more reliable, easier to get along with, and less likely to take excessive sick leave.  Unfortunately, there are also employers who, sensing the insecurity of their employees during difficult economic times, exploit their employees through excessive and unfair workloads, and through their permissiveness in allowing unhealthy or unfair workplace environments to persist.  For employees who must navigate these uncertain times, regular and frequent exercise can be a very important coping mechanism, and can pay important dividends in both one’s personal and professional lives (including a reduction in the risk of stress-related physical and mental ailments).  For the minority of employers who take advantage of their anxious employees, or who turn a blind eye towards unhealthy or unfair workplace environments, such employers not only betray their responsibilities to their employees (and their responsibilities to society, in general), but their unethical treatment of their employees may also be detrimental to the overall success of these organizations, as disaffected employees often respond to such treatment with passive-aggressive work-avoidance behaviors, increased absenteeism, and in some cases, with litigation. 

In time, we will emerge from this terrible global recession.  When that happens, companies that have treated their employees fairly, and according to high ethical standards, during the worst of times will have an inherent advantage over those companies that took the low road.  High levels of productivity, excellent employee morale and loyalty, and low levels of absenteeism and workforce turnover, will improve the competitiveness, stability, and productivity of the companies that treated their employees well during tough economic times (while the companies that did not treat their employees well are more likely to face increased employee turnover as the economy improves, as their disenfranchised employees seek better opportunities within an improving employment marketplace). 

  

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO OUR MANY HEALTH-CONSCIOUS

WEEKLY HEALTH UPDATE” READERS AROUND THE WORLD!

 

PEACE, LOVE, AND GOOD HEALTH TO ALL OF YOU!

 

 

For a complete discussion of the role of stress on cancer risk, and important evidence-based approaches to cancer prevention (including exercise), order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, now!  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!

  

Click the following link to join Dr. Wascher on Facebook

 








GIVE  THE  GIFT  OF  HEALTH  THIS  HOLIDAY  SEASON!  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, 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!




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, a professor of surgery, a cancer researcher, an 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.  (As of 9/16/2010, more than 1,000,000 health-conscious people have logged onto Weekly Health Update so far this year!)  As always, I 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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Diet and Lifestyle Habits that Decrease Colorectal Cancer Risk

 

Welcome to Weekly Health Update



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



DIET AND LIFESTYLE HABITS THAT

DECREASE COLORECTAL CANCER RISK

In the United States, approximately 106,000 people will be newly diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2010, and nearly 50,000 people will die of this disease.  Colorectal cancer remains the third most common cancer (excluding skin cancer) in both men and women, and the third most common cause of cancer death in men and women.  Unlike many other types of cancer, an effective method of screening for colorectal cancer is available, in the form of colonoscopy.  Fortunately, the incidence of this cancer has been gradually declining over the past 20 years, due in great part to the early detection, and removal, of precancerous polyps from the colon and rectum at the time of colonoscopy.

The links between specific lifestyle choices and the risk of developing certain types of cancer forms much of the basis of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.”  The risk of developing colorectal cancer, in particular, has been strongly linked to multiple dietary and other lifestyle factors.  Now, a newly published public health research study from Denmark puts a number on the effectiveness of commonly recommended cancer prevention lifestyle strategies in preventing colorectal cancer.

In this study, which appears in the current issue of the British Medical Journal, 55,487 men and women between the ages of 50 and 64 were prospectively followed for an average of 10 years.  Each of these Diet, Cancer and Health Cohort Study volunteers completed validated surveys regarding their social status, health status, reproductive history, and daily lifestyle habits.  They also completed a food frequency questionnaire that included, among its 193 items, foods known to be associated with colorectal cancer risk (including alcohol).  All study participants also underwent physical examinations that included measurements of their height, weight, and waist circumference.  During the course of this large prospective public health study, 678 participants were newly diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

All study volunteers were assessed in terms of 5 modifiable lifestyle and dietary factors that have repeatedly been linked to a reduction in colorectal cancer risk:  Increased levels of regular physical activity, avoidance of obesity, abstention from tobacco use, minimal intake of alcohol, and the observance of healthy diet habits (including increased fiber intake, decreased dietary fat content, decreased red meat and processed meat consumption, and increased fresh fruit and vegetable intake).  Based upon only these 5 simple colorectal cancer risk factors, the adoption of any one of these 5 colorectal cancer prevention factors was associated with a 13 percent decrease in the risk of developing colorectal cancer.  Among participants who generally observed all 5 lifestyle and dietary prevention factors, the risk of developing colorectal cancer was reduced by 23 percent.  (Of note, while this observed reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer was noted for both colon cancer and rectal cancer, this finding was only statistically significant for cancer of the colon, specifically.)

The results of this large prospectively conducted public health study reaffirm the findings of previous studies, in that the risk of colorectal cancer can be significantly reduced by: Engaging in regular moderate exercise, maintaining a healthy body weight, avoiding tobacco use, minimizing alcohol consumption, and by reducing the intake of red meat and processed meats and fat, while simultaneously increasing the consumption of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and whole grain foods.  For a more detailed evidence-based guide to colorectal cancer prevention, order or download your copy of “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race” now.  

 

Click the following link to join Dr. Wascher on Facebook

 



 

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer, and other types of 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!



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, a professor of surgery, a cancer researcher, an 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.  (As of 9/16/2010, more than 1,000,000 health-conscious people have logged onto Weekly Health Update so far this year!)  As always, I 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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