Marriage Improves Cancer Survival



A new study shows that being married is associated with improved cancer survival in both men and women.


 

MARRIAGE IMPROVES CANCER SURVIVAL

It has often been observed that married people, and married men in particular, tend to be healthier and live longer than unmarried people.  A number of explanations have been offered to explain this phenomenon, including the greater tendency of married men to abstain from unhealthy behaviors when compared to unmarried men.  Now, a newly published clinical research study suggests that married cancer patients may have significantly better outcomes when compared to unmarried patients.  This research study appears in the current issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Using a large public cancer database (the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results, or SEER, database), 734,889 patients diagnosed with cancer between 2004 and 2008 were studied.  These patients’ diagnoses included cancers of the lung, colon, rectum, breast, pancreas, prostate, liver, bile ducts, head and neck, esophagus and ovaries, in addition to lymphoma.

After adjusting for other potential confounding factors, the researchers conducting this study found that married patients were17 percent less likely to present with advanced-stage (“metastatic”) cancer, compared to unmarried patients.  Married patients were also 53 percent more likely to undergo recommended treatments for their cancers when compared to unmarried patients.  Finally, married cancer patients were, in general, 20 percent less likely to die as a result of their cancers when compared to unmarried patients.  Not surprisingly, male cancer patients experienced a greater benefit from marriage in these important areas when compared to married female cancer patients.  (Although married women appeared to significantly benefit from marriage, as well.)

A particularly fascinating finding in this clinical study was that the survival benefit associated with being married exceeded the average survival benefit of chemotherapy for cancers of the prostate, breast, colon, rectum, esophagus, and head and neck!

The findings of this very interesting clinical study suggest that the social support that married people enjoy, as well as other benefits of marriage, appears to have a very positive impact on patients seeking care for cancer at an earlier stage of disease, and in patient compliance with cancer treatment recommendations.  Therefore, marriage appears to be associated with significant improvements in cancer detection, earlier and more complete cancer treatment, and cancer-associated survival.  While these benefits of marriage appear to apply to both men and women, men especially seem to benefit from marriage in this regard.

 

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 & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’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.com Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

 

Join Dr. Wascher on Facebook

 

Additional Links for Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS

New Facebook Page for Doc Wascher Music

New Instrumental Rock by Dr. Wascher (Facebook)

Facebook Page for A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race

CNN Story on CTCA’s Organic Farm in the Phoenix Area

Dr. Wascher Discusses Signs & Symptoms of Skin Cancer

Profile of Dr. Wascher by Oncology Times

Bio of Dr. Wascher at Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Dr. Wascher Discusses Predictions of Decreased Cancer Risk on azfamily.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Environmental Risk Factors for Breast Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer on talkabouthealth.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention Strategies on LIVESTRONG

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention on Newsmax

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer Risk & Cancer Prevention on The Doctors Radio Show

Dr. Wascher Discusses Lymphedema After Breast Surgery on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Hormone Replacement Therapy & Breast Cancer Risk on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Chronic Pain After Mastectomy for Breast Cancer on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy for Cancer on cancersupportivecare.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Role of Exercise in Cancer Prevention on Open Salon

Dr. Wascher Discusses Aspirin as a Potential Preventive Agent for Pancreatic Cancer on eHealth Forum

Dr. Wascher Discusses Obesity & Cancer Risk on eHealth Forum

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Role of Radiation Therapy in the Treatment of Breast Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Treatment of Stomach Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Management of Metastatic Cancer of the Liver on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses Obesity & Cancer Risk on hopenavigators.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Hormone Replacement Therapy & Breast Cancer Risk on interactmd.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Thyroid Cancer on health2fit.com

 

Links to Other Breaking Health News

Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Not Protect Brain Health

Parasite in Cat Feces May Affect Brain Function

Lung Diseases Cause 1 in 10 Deaths

Music May Heal The Heart

Poor Oral Hygiene Increases Cancer Risk

Autism May Affect Female Brains Differently than Male Brains

Child Obesity Rates Fall for the First Time

New Teeth Grown from Urine

HPV Virus Newly Linked to One-Third of All Oral Cancer Cases

FDA Approves New Brain Scan to Assess for ADHD in Kids

Epidemic of Drug Overdose Deaths Among Middle-Aged Women

Man Loses 155 Pounds

Naked Mole Rat May Provide Important Cancer Prevention Clue

The Effects of Poverty on the Brain

Half of Us Will Develop Cancer in Our Lifetimes

Protein Critical for Long-Term Memory Identified

HPV Virus and Cancer Risk

Probiotics May Decrease Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea caused by C. difficile

3-D Printer Helps to Save Baby’s Life

Experimental Drug May Reduce Heart Damage after Heart Attack

Vitamin D May Improve Asthma Symptoms

Doctor Provides Patients with Own Feces for Fecal Transplants

Rising Arsenic Levels in Chicken

Dramatic Increase in Suicide Rate Among Middle Aged Americans Over the Past Decade

Cutting Umbilical Cord Too Soon May Cause Anemia in Newborns

Spiny New Bandage May Speed Healing of Skin Wounds

Study Confirms that Men Really Do Have Trouble Reading the Thoughts of Women

Deadly new Bird Flu Strain Cases Continue to Rise

Abdominal Fat Increases Kidney Disease Risk

Increasing Dietary Potassium & Decreasing Salt Intake Reduces Stroke Risk

A New Explanation for the Link Between Red Meat & Cardiovascular Disease

Deadly New Bird Flu Identified in China

Infection Risk: Keeping an Eye on Your Dentist

Couple Loses 500 Pounds in Two Years

Coffee May Reduce Crash Risk for Long-Distance Drivers

Tiny Implant Tells Your Smart Phone When You Are Having A Heart Attack

Transplanted Kidney Causes Death Due to Rabies

Eating While Distracted Increases Calorie Intake

Resistant Bacteria are on the Rise

High Levels of Stress Linked to an Increase in Heart Disease Risk

Small Snacks Cut Hunger as Well as Big Snacks

Poor Sleep May Increase the Risk of Heart Failure

Ancient Mummies Found to Have Heart Disease by CT Scan

Physically Fit Kids Do Better on Math & Reading Tests

How Melanoma Skin Cancer Evades the Immune System

Possible Link Between BPA and Asthma

Baby Boomers Appear Less Healthy Than Their Parents

The Biology of Love in the Brain

Millennials May be the Most Stressed-Out Generation

Even Modest Alcohol Intake Raises Cancer Risk

Why Do Boys Receive Lower Grades than Girls?

Negative Emotions and Feelings Can Damage Your Health

Canker Sore Drug Cures Obesity (At Least in Mice…)

How Technology is Changing the Practice of Medicine

New Salt Intake Guidelines for Children

High Levels of Distress in Childhood May Increase Risk of Heart Disease in Adulthood

Quitting Tobacco by Age 40 Restores a Normal Lifespan in Smokers

Cancer Death Rates Continue to Fall

Self-Help Books Improve Depression

Marines Try Mindfulness and Meditation to Reduce PTSD

Dying Nurse Volunteers Herself to Teach Nursing Students about the Dying

Regular Walks Cut Stroke Risk

Falling Asleep While Driving More Common than Previously Thought

Celebrity Health Fads Debunked

Obesity Among Young Children May Be Declining

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


Dr. Wascher’s Home Page



According to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is 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.


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, 3.5 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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Nearly 1 in 5 Deaths are Caused by Obesity



A new research study finds that obesity causes nearly one in five deaths in the United States.


 

NEARLY 1 IN 5 DEATHS ARE CAUSED BY OBESITY

As I discuss in my book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, obesity is an underappreciated risk factor for cancer, as nearly 10 percent of all cancer cases, including some of the deadliest forms of cancer, are directly linked to obesity.  Being overweight or obese has also been linked to an increased risk of other serious illnesses, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, among others.

Now, a newly published public health study strongly suggests that premature death caused by excessive body weight may be much more common than previously thought.  This new study appears in the American Journal of Public Health.

Following the largest analysis of national death records and national health surveys ever performed in the United States, the contribution of obesity to annual death rates between 1986 and 2006 was calculated.

Based upon the findings of this study, being overweight or obese accounted for 5 percent of deaths among black men and 16 percent of deaths among white men, and being overweight or obese accounted for a whopping 27 percent of deaths among black women and 22 percent of deaths among white women!

Importantly, this public health study finds that the contribution of obesity to death rates in the United States appears to be significantly greater (nearly 4 times greater!) than prior estimates based upon less comprehensive public health studies.

The findings of this important public health study suggest that obesity may be a much greater public health problem than was previously appreciated, and that more effective strategies to reduce the epidemic of obesity should be considered and implemented.

 

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.com Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

 

Join Dr. Wascher on Facebook

 

Additional Links for Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS

New Facebook Page for Doc Wascher Music

New Instrumental Rock by Dr. Wascher (Facebook)

Facebook Page for A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race

CNN Story on CTCA’s Organic Farm in the Phoenix Area

Dr. Wascher Discusses Signs & Symptoms of Skin Cancer

Profile of Dr. Wascher by Oncology Times

Bio of Dr. Wascher at Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Dr. Wascher Discusses Predictions of Decreased Cancer Risk on azfamily.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Environmental Risk Factors for Breast Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer on talkabouthealth.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention Strategies on LIVESTRONG

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention on Newsmax

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer Risk & Cancer Prevention on The Doctors Radio Show

Dr. Wascher Discusses Lymphedema After Breast Surgery on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Hormone Replacement Therapy & Breast Cancer Risk on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Chronic Pain After Mastectomy for Breast Cancer on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy for Cancer on cancersupportivecare.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Role of Exercise in Cancer Prevention on Open Salon

Dr. Wascher Discusses Aspirin as a Potential Preventive Agent for Pancreatic Cancer on eHealth Forum

Dr. Wascher Discusses Obesity & Cancer Risk on eHealth Forum

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Role of Radiation Therapy in the Treatment of Breast Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Treatment of Stomach Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Management of Metastatic Cancer of the Liver on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses Obesity & Cancer Risk on hopenavigators.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Hormone Replacement Therapy & Breast Cancer Risk on interactmd.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Thyroid Cancer on health2fit.com

 

Links to Other Breaking Health News

Autism May Affect Female Brains Differently than Male Brains

Child Obesity Rates Fall for the First Time

New Teeth Grown from Urine

HPV Virus Newly Linked to One-Third of All Oral Cancer Cases

FDA Approves New Brain Scan to Assess for ADHD in Kids

Epidemic of Drug Overdose Deaths Among Middle-Aged Women

Man Loses 155 Pounds

Naked Mole Rat May Provide Important Cancer Prevention Clue

The Effects of Poverty on the Brain

Half of Us Will Develop Cancer in Our Lifetimes

Protein Critical for Long-Term Memory Identified

HPV Virus and Cancer Risk

Probiotics May Decrease Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea caused by C. difficile

3-D Printer Helps to Save Baby’s Life

Experimental Drug May Reduce Heart Damage after Heart Attack

Vitamin D May Improve Asthma Symptoms

Doctor Provides Patients with Own Feces for Fecal Transplants

Rising Arsenic Levels in Chicken

Dramatic Increase in Suicide Rate Among Middle Aged Americans Over the Past Decade

Cutting Umbilical Cord Too Soon May Cause Anemia in Newborns

Spiny New Bandage May Speed Healing of Skin Wounds

Study Confirms that Men Really Do Have Trouble Reading the Thoughts of Women

Deadly new Bird Flu Strain Cases Continue to Rise

Abdominal Fat Increases Kidney Disease Risk

Increasing Dietary Potassium & Decreasing Salt Intake Reduces Stroke Risk

A New Explanation for the Link Between Red Meat & Cardiovascular Disease

Deadly New Bird Flu Identified in China

Infection Risk: Keeping an Eye on Your Dentist

Couple Loses 500 Pounds in Two Years

Coffee May Reduce Crash Risk for Long-Distance Drivers

Tiny Implant Tells Your Smart Phone When You Are Having A Heart Attack

Transplanted Kidney Causes Death Due to Rabies

Eating While Distracted Increases Calorie Intake

Resistant Bacteria are on the Rise

High Levels of Stress Linked to an Increase in Heart Disease Risk

Small Snacks Cut Hunger as Well as Big Snacks

Poor Sleep May Increase the Risk of Heart Failure

Ancient Mummies Found to Have Heart Disease by CT Scan

Physically Fit Kids Do Better on Math & Reading Tests

How Melanoma Skin Cancer Evades the Immune System

Possible Link Between BPA and Asthma

Baby Boomers Appear Less Healthy Than Their Parents

The Biology of Love in the Brain

Millennials May be the Most Stressed-Out Generation

Even Modest Alcohol Intake Raises Cancer Risk

Why Do Boys Receive Lower Grades than Girls?

Negative Emotions and Feelings Can Damage Your Health

Canker Sore Drug Cures Obesity (At Least in Mice…)

How Technology is Changing the Practice of Medicine

New Salt Intake Guidelines for Children

High Levels of Distress in Childhood May Increase Risk of Heart Disease in Adulthood

Quitting Tobacco by Age 40 Restores a Normal Lifespan in Smokers

Cancer Death Rates Continue to Fall

Self-Help Books Improve Depression

Marines Try Mindfulness and Meditation to Reduce PTSD

Dying Nurse Volunteers Herself to Teach Nursing Students about the Dying

Regular Walks Cut Stroke Risk

Falling Asleep While Driving More Common than Previously Thought

Celebrity Health Fads Debunked

Obesity Among Young Children May Be Declining

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


Dr. Wascher’s Home Page



According to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is 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.


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, 3.5 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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Hold the Bacon: Processed Meats Linked to Early Death



A new study links the consumption of processed meats with a significant risk of early death.


 

HOLD THE BACON: PROCESSED MEATS LINKED TO EARLY DEATH

As I extensively discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, red meat and processed meats (such as bacon, sausages, and luncheon meats) have been directly linked to an increased risk of multiple different types of cancer, including cancers of the breast, prostate, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, colon, and rectum. Moreover, diets rich in these meat products are also associated with a higher risk of that other great killer of mankind, cardiovascular disease.  Now, a newly published public health study puts the impact of a meat-rich diet into stark perspective. This important new clinical study appears in the current issue of the journal BMC Medicine.

Nearly 450,000 men and women between the ages of 35 and 69 have participated in a huge ongoing prospective public health study, the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), making this one of the largest prospective clinical research studies ever undertaken. All of these study volunteers were without clinical evidence of cancer, stroke, or cardiovascular disease at the time they entered into this clinical study. At the time when data from the EPIC study was collected for this analysis, after almost 13 years of follow-up on average, 26,344 study volunteers had died since enrolling in the study.

Following extensive statistical analysis of the huge amount of data collected in this study, the increased consumption of processed meats was linked to a 44 percent increase in the risk of death from all causes, including cardiovascular (heart) disease and cancer. Red meat was also associated with an increase in the risk of death due to all causes, although not to the same extent as was observed with processed meats. (As with multiple previous studies, this study also found no association between the consumption of poultry and an increase in the risk of death from any cause.)

Based upon their analysis of the data, the researchers who conducted this gigantic public health study concluded that more than 3 percent of the deaths observed in this study could have been prevented if all study volunteers had decreased their processed meat intake to less than 20 grams (0.7 ounces) per day.

As I discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, our dietary and other lifestyle choices can have an enormous impact on our overall health, including our risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. If you seek to minimize your risk of these two great killers of modern mankind, and you wish to begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle now, then get your copy of A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race from your favorite bookstore!

 

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.com Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

 

Join Dr. Wascher on Facebook

 

Links to Other Breaking Health News

High Levels of Stress Linked to an Increase in Heart Disease Risk

Small Snacks Cut Hunger as Well as Big Snacks

Poor Sleep May Increase the Risk of Heart Failure

Deep Brain Stimulation May Help Patients with Anorexia Nervosa

Ancient Mummies Found to Have Heart Disease by CT Scan

Physically Fit Kids Do Better on Math & Reading Tests

How Melanoma Skin Cancer Evades the Immune System

Possible Link Between BPA and Asthma

Toddler May Have Been Cured of HIV (AIDS) Virus

Baby Boomers Appear Less Healthy Than Their Parents

The Biology of Love in the Brain

Millennials May be the Most Stressed-Out Generation

Even Modest Alcohol Intake Raises Cancer Risk

Why Do Boys Receive Lower Grades than Girls?

Negative Emotions and Feelings Can Damage Your Health

Canker Sore Drug Cures Obesity (At Least in Mice…)

How Technology is Changing the Practice of Medicine

New Salt Intake Guidelines for Children

High Levels of Distress in Childhood May Increase Risk of Heart Disease in Adulthood

Quitting Tobacco by Age 40 Restores a Normal Lifespan in Smokers

Cancer Death Rates Continue to Fall

Self-Help Books Improve Depression

Marines Try Mindfulness and Meditation to Reduce PTSD

Dying Nurse Volunteers Herself to Teach Nursing Students about the Dying

Regular Walks Cut Stroke Risk

Falling Asleep While Driving More Common than Previously Thought

Growing Immune Cells to Fight Cancer

Celebrity Health Fads Debunked

Thousands of Surgery Mistakes Are Still Happening Each Year

New Graphic Antismoking Ads Debut in England

Kids with Food Allergies May Become Targets of Bullies

Obesity Among Young Children May Be Declining

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.


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, more than 2.7 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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Statin Drugs May Reduce the Risk of Death Due to Cancer





 

A new study suggests that cholesterol lowering statin drugs may reduce the risk of dying of cancer.


 

 

STATIN DRUGS MAY REDUCE THE RISK OF DEATH DUE TO CANCER

As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, cholesterol-reducing statin drugs can significantly reduce the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease in people with high cholesterol levels, and may also reduce the risk of cancer-related death.  However, the potential role of statins in preventing cancer, and cancer-associated death, remains unclear at this time, as much of the research evidence in this area, to date, has been contradictory.  At the same time, some of the known biological actions of statin drugs could conceivably play a role in reducing the risk of cancer, and reducing death rates due to cancer, through their anti-inflammatory and cholesterol reducing effects.

Now, a newly published Danish public health study, which appears in the current issue of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, strongly suggests that the use of statin drugs may significantly decrease the risk of death due to cancer.  In this study, the medical records of all Danish citizens diagnosed with cancer between 1995 and 2007 were reviewed.  Altogether, clinical data was available for a whopping 295,025 patients diagnosed with cancer over this 12-year period.

When the authors of this study looked at death rates due to all causes, the use of varying daily doses of statin drugs reduced the risk of death from any cause by 13 to 18 percent, when compared to death rates among patients who did not take statins.  At the same time, varying daily statin doses were also observed to reduce cancer-associated death rates by 13 to 17 percent, when compared to patients who did not take statin drugs.

In summary, the findings of this enormous public health study suggest that statin drugs may significantly decrease not only the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, but also the risk of dying from cancer as well.  Fortunately, there are more than a dozen randomized prospective clinical research trials underway at this time that are evaluating the appropriate role of statin drugs in the management of multiple types of cancer.


 

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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New Link to Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, Breast Cancer and Obesity in Women





 

A new study finds that high levels of the hormone neurotensin increase a woman’s risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, and possibly obesity as well.


 

NEW LINK TO DIABETES, CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE, BREAST CANCER AND OBESITY IN WOMEN

As I discuss in my book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, both obesity and diabetes are associated with an increased risk of cancer.  Obesity, in particular, is a potent risk factor for breast cancer, and for recurrence of previously diagnosed breast cancer.  As I have noted recently, diabetes is also a known risk factor for breast cancer (Diabetes Significantly Increases Breast Cancer Risk).  Additionally, obesity is the single greatest risk factor for diabetes.

In view of the known associations between obesity, diabetes cardiovascular disease and cancer risk, a newly published prospective clinical research study from Sweden provides tantalizing evidence of at least one possible explanation for these associations.  In this study, 4,632 participants in the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study were followed between 1991 and 2009.  Upon entry into this prospective public health study, all participants underwent blood testing for proneurotensin, a precursor of the hormone neurotensin.  Neurotensin is most commonly found in the brain and the gastrointestinal tract, and its secretion is stimulated by food intake, and particularly by fat intake.  Neurotensin has many known physiological effects, including a reduction in appetite and food intake after meals.  Interestingly, neurotensin levels normally rise after consumption of a fatty meal, which is thought to result in a decreased appetite for more food, and reduced food intake.  However, in obese patients, neurotensin levels appear to actually decrease after consumption of a fatty meal, which suggests that an abnormal neurotensin response to food intake may play an important role in obesity.  Moreover, following obesity surgery, neurotensin levels have been observed to rise, in a normal fashion, following fatty meals.  Additionally, neurotensin has been observed to stimulate the growth of breast cancer tumors, while blocking neurotensin appears to reduce breast cancer tumor growth.  Finally, certain inherited variations of one of the receptors for neurotensin is known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, primarily by increasing levels of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” form of cholesterol).

The findings of this study were very intriguing.  Among patients with elevated levels of proneurotensin, diabetes was 28 percent more common, cardiovascular disease was 17 percent more common, and death due to cardiovascular disease was 29 percent more common.  Interestingly, the adverse health impact of high proneurotensin levels was significant only in women. Among women only, high levels of proneurotensin were associated with a 41 percent increase in the risk of diabetes, a 33 percent increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease, a 50 percent increase in the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease, a 44 percent increase in the risk of breast cancer, and a 13 percent overall increase in the risk of death due to any cause.

This study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

While this study cannot explain the actual mechanism(s) whereby increased levels of proneurotensin and neurotensin may lead to an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and breast cancer in women, it nonetheless suggests that these hormones, when elevated, should be considered as markers for an increased risk of these serious illnesses, at least in women.  Moreover, based upon our knowledge of the physiological effects of neurotensin on digestion and appetite control, and its abnormal secretion in obese women, it is possible that stimulating an increase in neurotensin levels may help to restore more normal appetite levels, decrease caloric intake, and improve weight loss in obese patients.

More research needs to be done in order to understand how proneurotensin and neurotensin play a role in the development of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.  In doing so, we may be able to open up exciting new opportunities to reduce the incidence and impact of these common causes of premature death, particularly among women.

 

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 now!

 

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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Chronic Anxiety and Depression Significantly Increase the Risk of Early Death




 

A large new study suggests that chronic anxiety and depression are associated with a higher risk of premature death than was previously appreciated.


 

 

CHRONIC ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE THE RISK OF EARLY DEATH

As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, most previous research studies have suggested only rather weak links between chronic stress and cancer risk, although there is some data linking chronic depression with breast cancer risk.  However, in view of the increasing number of people around the world who are currently experiencing chronic anxiety and depression during these economically and geopolitically troubled times, the findings of a new public health study that psychological distress significantly increases the risk of premature death from serious illnesses, including cancer, is concerning.  This new study appears in the current issue of the British Medical Journal.

Altogether, 68,222 adults in Great Britain were followed for an average of more than 8 years within the prospectively conducted Health Survey for England study.  All of these study participants were clinically free of serious physical illness when they first joined this very large public health study.  All of the participants in this study were assessed for psychological stress using a validated assessment questionnaire, which was administered in their homes by research staff.  Subsequently, the incidence of serious physical illnesses during the course of this study was then correlated with the degree of measured psychological distress.  The rather dramatic findings of this large prospective public health study illustrate the magnitude of the impact of chronic, severe stress on our bodies, including the risk of premature death due to stress-associated physical illnesses.

After adjusting for preexisting serious physical illnesses, lifestyle-associated risk factors for serious illnesses, and socioeconomic factors known to be linked to chronic, serious illnesses, this study still identified a highly significant increase in the risk of premature death associated with the extent of psychological distress among volunteers in this very large study.  When the “psychological distress score” was compared with death rates, having a score of 1 to 3 (compared to a score of “0,” which reflects no evidence of psychological distress) was associated with a 20 percent increase in the risk of premature death.  A psychological stress score of 4 to 6 was associated with a 43 percent increase in the risk of early death, while a distress score of 7 to 12 was associated with a whopping 94 percent increase in the risk of premature death when compared to study volunteers who were without evidence of any significant psychological distress!

Upon further analysis, death due to cardiovascular disease and other non-cancer causes increased significantly, and proportionally, with each increase in the psychological distress score.  Cancer-associated deaths also increased with rising psychological distress scores, although this association was only observed among volunteers with significantly elevated distress scores.  However, for non-cancer causes of death, the risk of premature death was significantly elevated with evenmild increases in psychological distress.

The potential impact of this study’s findings are highly significant, as they not only reveal a “dose-dependent” relationship between stress levels and the risk of premature death from serious physical illnesses, but the sheer magnitude of the impact of high levels of chronic anxiety and depression on the risk of premature death is much higher, potentially, than has been observed in previous and much smaller studies.

Although this study was not designed to identify the biological mechanisms whereby prolonged periods of increased psychological distress lead to early death, numerous prior studies have shown that chronic depression and anxiety can directly activate an inflammatory response in humans which, in turn, is known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, infection, and cancer, as well as other chronic, serious illnesses.  It is also well known that chronic anxiety and chronic depression increase the likelihood of unhealthy behaviors that have also been linked to serious, chronic illnesses, including smoking, excess alcohol or other drug intake, unhealthy diets, and lack of exercise, in addition to other unhealthy behaviors.  What is especially unique about this new study (other than its sheer size), however, is that the researchers were able to identify and adjust for preexisting unhealthy behaviors among the study’s volunteers when they analyzed the study’s data, which increases the likelihood that the adverse effects of chronic anxiety and depression on the risk of premature death observed in this research study are actually a direct result of psychological distress rather than unhealthy lifestyle choices.

If you are experiencing high levels of chronic stress, and if you are frequently anxious or depressed, then please seek help from your personal physician or a mental health professional.  If you are thinking of harming yourself, or someone else, then please seek immediate help.  These are very trying times for many people, and the ongoing worldwide challenges that have provoked such high levels of stress do not appear likely to disappear any time soon.  Knowing that so many other people around the world are also feeling worried and chronically stressed can make each of us feel less alone in our distress.  However, sometimes the awareness that others are experiencing similar levels of distress is, by itself, not enough to ease our anxiety or depression.  So, if you are struggling with anxiety or depression, and especially if you are feeling alone and isolated at the same time, then please seek the help and support of others.  In the vast majority of cases, feelings of hopelessness or helplessness will eventually pass when you get help and support during dark times in your life.


 

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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Watchful Waiting (Observation) Versus Surgery for Prostate Cancer





 

A new landmark study suggests that some patients with early-stage prostate cancer can be safely observed rather than undergoing radical surgery.


 

 

WATCHFUL WAITING (OBSERVATION) VERSUS SURGERY FOR PROSTATE CANCER

In the United States, prostate cancer is the most common type of non-skin cancer occurring among men, and the second most common cause of cancer death in men.  (Lung cancer, an almost completely preventable form of cancer, sadly, remains the most common cause of cancer death for both men and women.)  The American Cancer Society estimates that, in 2012, more than 240,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed, and more than 28,000 men will die from this form of cancer.

The debate surrounding the ideal management of early-stage prostate cancer has revolved around “watchful waiting” (observation) versus aggressive treatment with surgery or radiation therapy.  In many cases, prostate cancer is a slow-growing cancer, and when it arises in older men in particular, it seldom leads to death.  On the other hand, there are more aggressive variants of prostate cancer that spread rapidly, and these forms of prostate cancer can indeed lead to death.  The dilemma regarding which patients can be safely observed and which should be subjected to aggressive treatment has been difficult to resolve, however, because it can be difficult to determine, up front, which patients will benefit from treatment and which will not.

Last year, I reviewed a prospective randomized clinical research study from Sweden which revealed a significant improvement in survival among patients with prostate cancer who underwent prostate cancer surgery, when compared to patients who were managed with “watchful waiting”  (Prostate Cancer: Watchful Waiting Versus Surgery (Prostatectomy).)  Now, a similar new prospective randomized clinical research study provides additional important clinical information that may help doctors to identify selected prostate cancer patients who can be safely observed, thus avoiding radical cancer treatments that are associated with a high incidence of incontinence and impotence, as well as other potentially serious complications.  This new study appears in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the same journal that published last year’s Swedish prostate cancer clinical research study.

In this prospective randomized study, 731 men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer were randomly assigned to undergo radical prostate cancer surgery (prostatectomy) versus observation only.  This group of research volunteers, with an average age of 67 years, was then followed for approximately 10 years, and their outcomes were carefully monitored.  It is important to note that all of these men had early-stage prostate cancer, which appeared not to have spread outside of the prostate gland.

Following 10 years of monitoring, on average, 47 percent of the men who underwent prostatectomy died, while 50 percent of the men in the observation group died (this small difference in overall survival was not statistically significant.)  When the researchers looked at the risk of death caused specifically by prostate cancer, or due to complications associated with prostatectomy, 5.8 percent of the men in the prostatectomy group died directly as a result of either their prostate cancer or due to complications of surgery, while 8.4 percent of the men in the observation group died due to their prostate cancer, for a relative cancer-specific survival difference of 37 percent and an absolute difference of 2.6 percent in favor of the men who underwent surgery instead of observation.  Importantly, however, this observed difference in cancer-specific survival did not quite achieve statistical significance, suggesting that the cancer-specific survival benefit of radical prostatectomy in men with early-stage prostate cancer is, in general, either nonexistent or very small, at least over a 10-year period of time.

Importantly, when the authors of this study assessed prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, specifically, as a predictor of survival among the two groups of men who participated in this study, they found that prostatectomy did, in fact, significantly improve survival among men with a PSA level greater than 10 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml), compared to observation alone.

As is often the case, pundits on either side of the prostate cancer treatment debate will find some ammunition in this study’s findings to support their respective positions.  Those experts who espouse aggressive treatment for most or all early-stage prostate cancers will note the nearly 3 percent improvement in absolute survival associated with radical prostatectomy, although, in this study, this difference in absolute survival was not considered to be statistically significant.  (However, it should be noted that the observed survival advantage associated with surgery in this study would have actually been higher, and perhaps statistically significant as well, had there not been a postsurgical death of one of the patients in the prostatectomy group.)  On the other hand, proponents of “watchful waiting” will point to the very small difference in observed death rates between these two groups of patients, and the relatively large number of adverse events associated with radical prostatectomy (21 percent).  However, in my view, this study’s findings offer a reasonable, evidence-based, “middle ground” strategy, based upon patients’ PSA levels.  Specifically, for older patients who have a PSA level below 10 ng/ml and no worrisome microscopic features that suggest an aggressive variant of prostate cancer, observation may indeed be a reasonable alternative to prostatectomy, based upon the findings of this landmark study.  (Unfortunately, this study did not assess radiation therapy, which is the other common form of treatment for early-stage prostate cancer.)

In completing my review of this important clinical study, I should also note that 1 out of 5 patients who enrolled in this prospective study did not remain within their assigned groups and, therefore, crossed over into the opposite group after they entered into this study.  However, while this factor does somewhat complicate the analysis of the data collected in this study, it probably does not affect the overall accuracy of the study’s conclusions.

I do not believe that this important but admittedly imperfect study will, by itself, completely resolve the ongoing debate regarding the optimal management of early-stage prostate cancer.  However, as one of only a very few well-performed randomized prospective clinical studies that have directly compared radical surgery with observation alone, and with reasonable long-term follow-up of patients, this is a very important clinical research study for both patients and their prostate cancer physicians alike.  Because of this study, both patients and their doctors will now be better able to make individualized, evidence-based decisions regarding the likely risks and benefits of surgery versus careful observation as an initial approach to prostate cancer management.


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 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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Statin Drugs Reduce Heart Attacks and Strokes Even in Low-Risk Patients





 

 

A pivotal new study concludes that statin drugs sharply reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke even in patients who are at low risk for cardiovascular disease.




 

 

STATIN DRUGS REDUCE HEART ATTACKS AND STROKES EVEN IN LOW-RISK PATIENTS

The cholesterol-lowering drugs known as “statins” are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the world, and they have been credited with sharply reducing the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, and stroke.  The statin drugs work primarily by lowering blood levels of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol), thus reducing the risk of developing the arterial plaques that cause cardiovascular disease.

There is a huge body of research data showing that statin drugs reduce death rates due to cardiovascular disease in patients with elevated levels of LDL cholesterol, including patients with only mildly-to-moderately elevated LDL cholesterol levels. However, there have also been several intriguing public health studies that have suggested a potential benefit associated with statin drugs even in patients with normal LDL cholesterol levels.  Despite these research findings, however, there has been a general reluctance to prescribe statin drugs to patients with normal LDL levels, or to patients with mildly elevated LDL levels, particularly as statin drugs, like all medications, are associated with known side effects, including potential injury to the muscles, liver and kidneys, as well as a possible increase in the risk of diabetes.  Now a massive new research study, which appears in an early-release edition of the journal Lancet, may lead to a wholesale change in the way that physicians prescribe statin drugs.

This newly published study, a meta-analysis study, combined and analyzed the data from 27 different statin research studies, which included nearly 175,000 adult research participants, making this an enormously powerful research study.  In this study LDL cholesterol levels were measured, and the impact of statin drugs on the incidence of heart attacks (myocardial infarction) and stroke, and death due to cardiovascular disease, was observed.  Study participants were grouped into five different categories, based upon their estimated 5-year “cardiovascular event” risk, ranging from less than 5 percent to greater than 30 percent 5-year risk.  This risk assessment was, in turn, calculated using LDL cholesterol levels, age, gender, blood pressure, and lifestyle factors such as tobacco use and physical activity levels.

Not surprisingly, the use of statins decreased the risk of cardiovascular events, on average, by about 21 percent for every 1 mmol/liter reduction in LDL cholesterol among the entire volunteer group of nearly 175,000 study participants.  What is particularly important about this study’s findings, however, is that the study participants in the two lowest risk groups experienced at least as much (if not more) benefit, in terms of reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke, as did the participants in the higher risk groups.  For example, patients with a calculated 5-year risk of heart attack or stroke of less than 5 percent experienced a 38 percent reduction in the risk (for every1 mmol/liter reduction in LDL cholesterol) of either of these cardiovascular events, while patients with a calculated 5-year risk of 30 percent or higher experienced a 21 percent reduction (for every1 mmol/liter reduction in LDL cholesterol) in the risk of a major cardiovascular event.

When looking at heart attack or death due to heart attack, specifically, the study participants with a 5-year predicted risk of heart attack or stroke of less than 5 percent experienced an enormous reduction in the risk of heart attack or death due to heart attack (43 percent for every1 mmol/liter reduction in LDL cholesterol) while taking statin drugs.  This same low-risk group, when taking statins, also had a 48 percent reduction (for every1 mmol/liter reduction in LDL cholesterol) in the likelihood that they would have to undergo surgical procedures to stent or bypass blocked coronary arteries.

The risk of stroke was also significantly reduced in both low-risk and high-risk study participants.  For example, patients with a calculated 5-year risk of major cardiovascular events of less than 10 percent were 24 percent less likely to have a stroke (for every1 mmol/liter reduction in LDL cholesterol) if they were taking a statin drug, which was similar to the reduction in stroke risk that was observed in the higher risk patients.

The public health implications of this very large study’s findings are highly significant.  For the first time, this study provides extremely compelling data that even patients who are at low risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke may derive as much, or perhaps even more, benefit from taking a statin drug when compared to patients who are high or very high risk of experiencing these major cardiovascular events.  When measured against the known risks of the adverse side effects of statin drugs, this study still showed an overwhelming health benefit associated with statin drugs in both patients at low-risk for cardiovascular disease and in high-risk patients.  It will now fall to public health experts, internists, cardiologists and family practice physicians to incorporate the findings of this exceptionally compelling, and powerful, meta-analysis study into their management of adult patients, and particularly those over the age of 50, even if these patients are predicted to be at low risk for heart attack and stroke.  I see this research study as a health care game changer, and I predict that it will, eventually, dramatically alter the current prescribing patterns for statin drugs.  (As always, I recommend that you consult your physician before starting any new medication or dietary supplement, including statin drugs.)


 

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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Vitamin D Improves Cancer Survival



 

New research shows that higher levels of Vitamin D in the blood increase survival among colorectal cancer patients.


 

VITAMIN D IMPROVES CANCER SURVIVAL

As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, there is a large body of research evidence available to suggest that low Vitamin D levels may be associated with a higher risk of developing cancer.  However, the vast majority of published Vitamin D research has been focused on the use of Vitamin D to prevent cancer, while there is almost no data available linking Vitamin D levels in the blood with survival rates after a person has been diagnosed with cancer.  Now, a newly published prospective clinical research study, which appears in the current issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, suggests that low Vitamin D levels in the blood of patients undergoing treatment for colorectal cancer may, in fact, be associated with poorer survival when compared to patients with higher blood levels of this hormone-like vitamin.

This new study was part of the large and ongoing European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study.  Altogether, 1,202 EPIC study volunteers were diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 1992 and 2003.  As with all EPIC study volunteers, Vitamin D levels in the blood were checked when each participant joined the study.  Additionally, extensive dietary, lifestyle and medical history information was obtained from each study volunteer.

Among these 1,202 EPIC study volunteers who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, 541 died during an average study observation period of 73 months, and 444 of these deaths were directly caused by colorectal cancer.  The findings of this study were highly significant, and strongly suggest that higher levels of Vitamin D in the blood, prior to the onset of cancer, are associated with better survival in patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer.  When comparing patients who had the highest Vitamin D levels with the patients who had the lowest levels, the patients with the highest Vitamin D levels were 31 percent lesslikely to die specifically from colorectal cancer, and 33 percent less likely to die from any cause.  Similarly, increased calcium intake prior to being diagnosed with colorectal cancer also appeared to reduce the risk of death due to colon or rectal cancer.  (Like Vitamin D, increased calcium intake has also been shown to reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer.)

These new findings from the landmark prospective EPIC public health study are highly significant, in my view, as they are among the first data available to show that, in addition to its known cancer prevention activity (as I discuss in detail in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race), higher levels of Vitamin D in the blood may also reduce the risk of dying in patients who develop colorectal cancer.  (I should note that I have also been studying potential links between Vitamin D levels in the blood and survival in patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and I expect to report our institution’s findings within the next 12 months.)

As always, I strongly recommend that you check with your physician before initiating any new dietary supplements, including Vitamin D, as excessive intake of this hormone-vitamin can lead to kidney injury, GI tract ulcers, calcifications throughout the body, and other serious health complications.

 

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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