Foods that Decrease and Increase Breast Cancer Risk





 

A new study finds that breast cancer risk is significantly affected by specific foods.


 

 

FOODS THAT DECREASE AND INCREASE BREAST CANCER RISK

As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, breast cancer is associated with more modifiable risk factors than any other type of cancer.  Among the many known modifiable risk factors for breast cancer, diet is currently thought to play a relatively minor but still important role.  Now, a newly published research study adds important new information regarding potential links between diet and breast cancer risk.  This new public health study appears in the current issue of the journal Nutrition & Cancer.

In this case-control study, the dietary habits of 3,443 women with breast cancer were compared to those of 3,474 women without breast cancer.  As with previous studies, this new study found that increased vegetable intake decreased breast cancer risk.  Specifically, frequent vegetable intake was associated with a 20 percent overall decrease in breast cancer risk.  Increased intake of the so-called allium vegetables, including onions, garlic, chives, leeks and scallions, appeared to be especially protective against breast cancer in this study.  Although increased fruit intake, overall, did not appear to reduce breast cancer risk, this study did find that certain individual types of fruits appeared to reduce breast cancer risk, including citrus fruits and the so-called rosaceae fruits (apples, pears, peaches, apricots, plums, raspberries and strawberries).  On the other hand, both meat and fish appeared to increase breast cancer risk in this study (as I also discuss in my book).

While questionnaire-based public health studies such as this study provide weaker levels of clinical evidence than prospective, randomized, controlled studies, the findings of this study are largely consistent with similar previous studies, with the exception of the favorable association between specific types of fruit and breast cancer risk.  As an added bonus, most of the foods that were found to decrease breast cancer risk in this public health study are also known to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, and other serious illnesses as well.

 

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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Kids, Vegetables, Diet, and Rewards

Welcome to Weekly Health Update



KIDS, VEGETABLES, DIET, AND REWARDS

My now 10 year-old daughter used to eat almost everything that we put in front of her when she was a toddler.  Lately, however, she has decided that all she wants to eat is macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes.  My now 7 year-old son, on the other hand, spent the years between age 3 and age 5 subsisting largely on “chicken nuggets” and multi-vitamins, and little else….  (The first time that I was able to persuade him to eat some broccoli, at age 5, after suggesting that he dip this much-maligned vegetable in ranch sauce and grated parmesan cheese, I was moved nearly to tears!)

Most kids are fussy eaters, and getting your child to eat a healthy, balanced diet can be a serious challenge, if not a perpetual struggle between parent and child.  As with most aspects of child-rearing, there are a number of recommended strategies to get Junior to eat his or her vegetables, and other healthy foods.  However, many of these strategies turn out to be utterly ineffective in practice.  Certainly, one of the most commonly recommended strategies is to offer reluctant young eaters various types of rewards for healthy eating (and which is, in my view, tantamount to bribery, but which has probably been resorted to by most of us parents during times of diet-related desperation, and with varying results).  (As I discuss in my bestselling evidence-based book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, fresh vegetables, whole grains, and reduced meat intake have all been associated with a reduced risk of developing both cancer and cardiovascular disease.)

Given the never-ending mealtime struggles in our own home, I came across an interesting new research study related to this very topic, and which appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  In this innovative little prospective, randomized, controlled clinical study, 173 children, ages 3 to 4 years, were divided into three groups.  All of these children were exposed to vegetables, 12 times per day, that they were known to dislike after these vegetables were first introduced.  The first group of children received a tangible reward (a sticker) each time after being served a vegetable that they had initially disliked.  The second group of children received praise as a reward upon being served vegetables that they too had disliked upon initial presentation.  Finally, a third group (the “control group”) was served vegetables that they had also initially disliked, but this group of children did not receive any rewards (i.e., no stickers and no praise).

The findings of this study, while not terribly surprising, offer parents a potential strategy to improve the diets of their (our) vegetable-hating kids.  Of course, the children who were repeatedly served disliked vegetables, and who received no stickers or praise, continued to refuse repeated servings of these vegetables.  However, the toddlers who were bribed with stickers (a material reward) significantly improved their intake of the offending vegetables over time, and this improvement in vegetable consumption persisted when the children were reevaluated 3 months later.  Importantly, the children in this “material reward” group were also significantly more likely to develop a liking for these same vegetables over time!   The third group of children, who received praise (a “social” reward) along with each serving of undesired vegetables, sadly, and somewhat unexpectedly, were no more likely to increase their consumption of these vegetables over time, or to develop a liking for these vegetables, than the kids who were in the “no reward” control group!

In this clinical study of toddlers, offering children a material reward (stickers, in the case of this clinical study) in conjunction with repeated introductions of initially disliked vegetables resulted in a significant improvement, over time, in the willing consumption of these vegetables, as well as in increased “liking” of these same vegetables.  Positive reinforcement through praise was, however, completely ineffective in getting these little tykes to eat (and like) their veggies.

In the case of my son, “the vegetable-hater,” the Broccoli Breakthrough occurred on an evening when I took him and his sister out for dinner.  In exchange for the privilege of the three of us playing a family card game during our meal, and as a result of my inspired suggestion that he combine two foods that he loved (grated parmesan cheese and ranch dipping sauce) with a food that he hated (the aforementioned broccoli), the miracle of witnessing my little guy downing several florets of broccoli coated in ranch sauce and parmesan cheese finally came to pass.  I was so overcome by that moment, two years ago, as was my daughter, that I remember it like it happened yesterday.  Moreover, knowing that my wife would almost certainly doubt my incredible claim that this event had actually occurred, I documented this miraculous development with my cell phone camera on the spot, and emailed it to her from the restaurant that night.  Nearly two years later, I am happy to report that while both of our kids still challenge us in our ongoing efforts to get them to eat a healthy, balanced diet, our son (and daughter) will still regularly eat that most despised vegetable among children, broccoli!

 


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 AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


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


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


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 



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Dietary Fiber and Colon and Rectal Cancer Prevention

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A large new meta-analysis study indicates that a diet rich in whole grain foods significantly decreases colorectal cancer risk



DIETARY FIBER AND COLON AND RECTAL CANCER PREVENTION

For many years, it was widely believed that a diet rich in fiber, and rich in fresh fruits and vegetables in particular, significantly reduced the risk of developing colorectal cancer.  However, more recent public health studies have called this assumption into question.  As I extensively discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, there is ample clinical evidence that a so-called Mediterranean diet, which does include large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables (as well as foods rich in unprocessed whole grains), dramatically reduces the risk of colorectal cancer and other GI tract cancers.  Now, a landmark new meta-analysis research study provides important new evidence that certain high-fiber foods may, indeed, be associated with a significantly reduced risk of colorectal cancer.  This comprehensive research study appears in the current issue of the British Medical Journal.

In this huge meta-analysis, 25 prospectively conducted public health studies, including 14,500 study volunteers, were analyzed; and the findings of this large clinical study may explain why recent large public health studies have not been able to confirm that a diet rich in all types of fiber can reduce colorectal cancer risk.  In this meta-analysis study, dietary fiber from fruit and vegetable intake did not appear to significantly reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer.  However, whole grain foods, including cereals rich in whole grains, did appear to significantly reduce colorectal cancer risk.  In fact, for each 10 grams of whole grain fiber consumed per day, colorectal cancer risk was reduced by a very significant 10 percent.  Among research volunteers who consumed at least three servings of whole grains each day, the risk of developing colorectal cancer was reduced by 17 percent.

The health implications of this meta-analysis study are highly significant.  First of all, the authors of this study included only prospectively conducted public health studies in their analysis, thus eliminating some of the major limitations associated with the more common retrospective “case control” studies that make up the majority of public health studies on diet and disease prevention.  (As I have often mentioned, retrospective case control and case series studies are very often flawed by “recall bias,” wherein the data that is collected is based purely upon the recollections of volunteers recruited into such studies.)  Secondly, the findings of this meta-analysis are supported by higher level research studies that have found that highly refined grains and cereals are stripped of important cancer-preventing nutrients and bulk fiber during processing.

While fresh fruits and vegetables (and brightly colored and dark green leafy vegetables in particular) have been shown by other studies to reduce overall cancer risk, this landmark meta-analysis study appears to reconcile the contradictory findings of previous cancer prevention studies regarding the impact of dietary fiber intake on, specifically, colorectal cancer risk.  Based upon the findings of this very important study, a diet rich in unprocessed, or minimally, processed, whole grain foods appears to significantly protect against colorectal cancer.  (For a much broader and deeper review of evidence-based approaches to cancer prevention, see my book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.)


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 AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


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


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


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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Diet and Lifestyle Habits that Decrease Colorectal Cancer Risk

 

Welcome to Weekly Health Update



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



DIET AND LIFESTYLE HABITS THAT

DECREASE COLORECTAL CANCER RISK

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

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

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

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

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

 

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For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer, and other types of cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!



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


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


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link: 

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (As of 9/16/2010, more than 1,000,000 health-conscious people have logged onto Weekly Health Update so far this year!)  As always, I enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 

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Fruits and Vegetables Improve Memory

 

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


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


FRUITS AND VEGETABLES IMPROVE MEMORY

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and low in meat and other animal products, has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of those top two killers, cardiovascular disease and cancer.  Now, a newly published public health study, from Norway, suggests eating your fruits and veggies may also be good for your brain, as well.

In this study, which appears in the current issue of the British Journal of Nutrition, 2,013 research volunteers between the ages of 70 and 74 underwent extensive cognitive testing and evaluation of their dietary habits. 

Overall, memory and other higher cognitive functions were significantly improved among those patient volunteers who consumed the most fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, and mushrooms.  Among these foods, the frequent intake of both fruits and vegetables (up to 500 grams per day) was, specifically, linked to the highest level of cognitive function in these older men and women.

Further study of dietary preferences revealed that cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, among others), carrots, citrus fruits, and whole-grain breads were the foods most closely associated with improved cognitive function.  (On the other hand, white bread consumption was associated with decreased levels of cognitive function!)

This interesting little study, therefore, suggests that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables (and cruciferous vegetables and carrots, in particular) may help to preserve memory, and other higher cognitive functions, in the aging brain.  The findings of this study are especially interesting in view of the rapidly aging populations of many countries around the world, including the United States.           

 

For an evidence-based review of the critical importance of diet in a cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new landmark book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon or Barnes & Noble!



 

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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Cruciferous Vegetables, Soy & Breast Cancer Risk

April 11, 2010 by Robert Wascher  
Filed under Weekly Health Update

 

Welcome to Weekly Health Update



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

CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES, SOY & BREAST CANCER RISK

 

The role of soybean-derived isoflavones in cancer prevention is not entirely clear at this time.  However, there has been intense interest in tofu, and other soy-derived foods, as potential breast cancer prevention agents.  At the same time, because genistein, and other soy isoflavones, are known to variably act as both inhibitors and mimics of estrogen (the primary female sex hormone), cancer experts remain divided regarding the safety of regularly consuming soy isoflavones by women who are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer (chronic estrogen stimulation of the breast is a known risk factor for breast cancer).  Meanwhile, the high level of tofu consumption among women in the Far East, coupled with the much lower incidence of breast cancer in those countries when compared to the United States and other western countries, has fuelled speculation that tofu and other soy-derived foods may actually be associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer. 

In addition to soy isoflavones, there is also research data available suggesting that the frequent consumption of cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower, may also be associated with a decreased risk of at least some types of cancer, including breast cancer.

A newly published public health study from Singapore evaluated the impact of the regular intake of vegetables, fruit, and soy-derived foods on the risk of breast cancer within the large Chinese population in that country.  This enormous prospective epidemiological study, which began in 1993, and which appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, included more than 34,000 women volunteers.  All of the 34,018 women in this study underwent detailed evaluation of their diets when they entered into this prospective public health study.  Among this very large group of women, 629 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed during the course of this ongoing study. 

Based upon their self-reported dietary patterns, the women participating in this large epidemiological study were divided into two groups.  The first group consisted of women who regularly consumed cruciferous vegetables, fruit, and tofu.  The second group of women generally favored meat and starchy foods (such as dim sum), and consumed far fewer portions of vegetables, fruit, and tofu when compared to the first group.

The results of this study indicated that increasing levels of vegetable, fruit and tofu intake were associated with a significant decrease in breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women.   Among the women reporting the highest levels of intake of these foods, there was, on average, a 30 percent reduction in the risk of breast cancer when compared to the women who rarely ate these healthy foods.  Moreover, among the postmenopausal women who frequently consumed vegetables, fruit, and tofu, and who were observed for 5 or more years in this study, the apparent reduction in the risk of breast cancer grew even stronger, and these women were found to be 43 percent less likely to develop breast cancer when compared to women who rarely consumed vegetables, fruit, and tofu in their diets.

Therefore, in this large diet survey-based, prospective public health study,  a diet rich in vegetables (and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, in particular), fruit, and tofu was strongly associated with a significant reduction in breast cancer risk in postmenopausal Chinese women living in Singapore.

Although there remains some concern that soy isoflavones may, under some conditions, actually stimulate the growth of either new or previous breast cancers (or cancers of the ovary or uterus), this public health study’s favorable findings are additive to a growing body of research data suggesting that both cruciferous vegetables and soy-derived isoflavones may be associated with a substantial decrease in the risk of breast cancer in women. 

 

To learn more about the potential role of cruciferous vegetables and soy isoflavones as part of a cancer prevention lifestyle, look for the publication of my new landmark evidence-based book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” in the summer of this year.



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: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-Tdv7XW0qg



I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would like to take this opportunity to thank the nearly 120,000 new and returning readers who visited our premier global health information website last month.  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. 


In view of the extreme devastation and human misery brought about in Haiti and Chile by the recent earthquakes, Weekly Health Update asks our tens of thousands of caring readers to give generously to established charities that are currently working in those countries to assist the injured, the ill, and the homeless.  There are many such legitimate charities, including the following two:

http://www.redcross.org/

http://www.imcworldwide.org/haiti 


 

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