Vigorous Exercise Activates Cancer Prevention Genes





 

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


 

VIGOROUS EXERCISE ACTIVATES CANCER PREVENTION GENES

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

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

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

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

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


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

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.



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


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


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 




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New Drug Dramatically Reduces Breast Cancer Risk

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


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




NEW DRUG DRAMATICALLY REDUCES BREAST CANCER RISK

Known risk factors for breast cancer include: (1) age greater than 60, (2) a previous personal history of breast cancer or precancerous conditions of the breast (such as atypical lobular hyperplasia, lobular carcinoma in situ, atypical ductal hyperplasia, or ductal carcinoma in situ), (3) one or more first degree relatives with breast cancer, (4) A personal history or family history of BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 hereditary breast and ovarian cancer gene mutations, (5) not having children, or having children after age 35, (6) multiple prior breast biopsies for non-cancer lumps, and (7) early-onset of menstruation, or late onset of menopause, as well as other less powerful breast cancer risk factors.

There are very few prescription medications available that significantly reduce the risk of developing cancer. However, for women who are at increased risk of developing breast cancer, the so-called SERMs (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators) can significantly reduce breast cancer risk. The most widely prescribed SERM is tamoxifen, which has been shown to decrease the risk of developing breast cancer, in high-risk women, by nearly 50 percent. However, while tamoxifen is commonly prescribed for women who have hormone-sensitive breast cancer (because this drug also reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence in such cases), it is not widely prescribed for cancer prevention purposes.

There are several reasons why tamoxifen is not frequently prescribed as a breast cancer prevention medication. First of all, tamoxifen is most commonly prescribed by Oncologists, and so most primary care physicians are not comfortable enough with this medication to prescribe it. Secondly, tamoxifen has been associated with potentially serious side effects, including an increased risk of uterine cancer, blood clots in the veins and lungs, and cataracts. (Another SERM, raloxifene, does not appear to significantly increase the risk of uterine cancer, but this medication otherwise has the same potential side effects as tamoxifen.)

A new class of estrogen-blocking medications, aromatase inhibitors, is now commonly used in place of tamoxifen as hormone-blocking therapy in postmenopausal patients with breast cancer. Although aromatase inhibitors, like virtually all medications, have side effects of their own, they are not known to be associated with an increased risk of cancer or potentially life-threatening blood clots, like tamoxifen, and they appear to be even more effective in reducing the risk of breast cancer recurrence than tamoxifen and other SERMs.

Now, a newly published clinical research study, which appears in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, has revealed that exemestane, an aromatase inhibitor, appears to be even more effective in preventing breast cancer than tamoxifen (as well as being safer, in terms of side effects, than tamoxifen).

This clinical research trial was a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded study (which is the “gold standard” method of performing clinical research). A total of 4,560 women, ages 35 and older (the average age was 63 years), were enrolled in this clinical research study, and were secretly and randomly assigned to receive either exemestane or an identical-appearing placebo (“sugar pill”). These patient volunteers, all of whom were at increased risk of developing breast cancer, were then followed for an average of about 3 years.

By the end of the study, 11 women in the exemestane (treatment) group had developed breast cancer, while 32 women in the placebo (control) group were diagnosed with breast cancer. These findings translated into a 65 percent reduction in the risk of developing breast cancer associated with the use of exemestane in these high-risk women.

Although the prolonged use of aromatase inhibitors can lead to osteoporosis (“thinning” of the bones), there was no increase in the incidence of bone fractures or other skeletal complications noted among the women who took exemestane during the course of this research study. (Aromatase inhibitors can also cause significant bone and joint pain.) Indeed, during the course of this clinical study, there were no significant differences between the exemestane group and the placebo group in terms of side effects or complications.

Therefore, this breakthrough clinical research study showed that an aromatase inhibitor, exemestane, was more effective in preventing breast cancer in high risk women than tamoxifen and other SERMs; and unlike tamoxifen, exemestane did not appear to be associated with any significant side effects or complications following three years of treatment. Because of this clinically important combination of greater effectiveness and fewer side effects, this study’s findings are highly likely to change recommendations for the “chemoprevention” of breast cancer in women who are at an elevated risk of developing this most common of cancers in women. (One important caveat to note is that aromatase inhibitors, unlike tamoxifen and other SERMS, can only be used in postmenopausal women.)



 

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:

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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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Mammograms Save Lives in Women with Family History of Breast Cancer

 

Welcome to Weekly Health Update



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




MAMMOGRAMS SAVE LIVES IN WOMEN WITH

FAMILY HISTORY OF BREAST CANCER

 

While the debate about whether or not routine screening mammograms can save lives continues in some circles, the clinical research evidence supporting mammograms as a lifesaving cancer screening exam continues to accumulate.  Now, a newly published public health study, which appears in The Lancet Oncology, examines the survival benefit associated with routine screening mammograms in women who have a family history of breast cancer.

In this large multicenter prospective clinical research study, which was performed in the UK, 6,710 women between the ages of 40 and 42 were enrolled in this study, and were followed for an average of about 4 years.  These women, who had at least some family history of breast cancer, underwent annual screening mammograms as part of this clinical research study.  This study used two important control groups to assess the impact of regular annual screening mammograms on the risk of mortality in these young women.  The first control group consisted of women who were at average risk for breast cancer (these women, themselves, served as the control group for the enormous UK Age Trial, which included more than 106,000 patient volunteers, and which recently reported a 10-year follow-up of its results).  The second control group, against which these 6,710 women with an intermediate familial risk of breast cancer were compared, included young women from another large public health study that was performed in the Netherlands.

Among the 136 women who were diagnosed with breast cancer during the relatively brief course of this ongoing study, 77 percent were diagnosed by screening mammography, while 21 percent were diagnosed when they presented with a new breast lump (or with other clinical signs or symptoms of breast cancer).  (Another 2 percent of patients failed to attend their scheduled screening mammograms, and subsequently developed clinical signs or symptoms of breast cancer.)

In this study (and as other studies have shown, even among women who are at average risk of developing breast cancer), breast cancers that were detected by annual screening mammograms were significantly smaller in size, and significantly less likely to be associated with the spread of cancer to the lymph nodes.  In addition to these very important breast cancer prognostic factors, women who were diagnosed with breast cancer as a result of annual screening mammograms had much less aggressive appearing tumors under the microscope when compared to women who were diagnosed with breast cancer only after a lump, or other signs of breast cancer, appeared.

Based upon the findings of this newly published study, young women with even an intermediate risk of breast cancer, based upon having one or more relatives with breast cancer, were 20 percent less likely to die within 10 years when compared with a poorly screened, or unscreened, average-risk population of young women.  Moreover, this survival advantage appeared to be directly related to annual screening mammograms, once all other breast cancer risk factors among these three populations of women had been considered.

 

For a complete discussion of the compelling scientific evidence linking routine screening mammograms with a decreased risk of death due to breast cancer, please see the extended clinical section on breast cancer in my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.

  

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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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