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Posts Tagged ‘colon cancer’

Cancer is a universal fear. Yet, so many of the choices we make increase our chances of acquiring this terrible condition. Why do we continue practices that make us more vulnerable? In the last blog, we looked at pros and cons of the effects of moderate drinking of alcoholic beverages on heart disease.

Strong evidence confirms that women who drink even small amounts of alcohol will increase their risk for developing cancer. Alcohol may be responsible for as much as thirteen percent of cancer in women. When combined with smoking, that number increases. Women who only drink wine have the same risk as those who consume beer or hard liquor. Even women who drink as little as one drink are more likely to have certain cancers. The most common types related to alcohol are:

  • Breast: As many as eleven percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer may have resulted from drinking alcohol.
  • Liver: Alcohol is the primary cause of liver cancer.
  • Mouth/throat/ esophagus: Alcohol acts as an irritant to cells which may eventually lead to DNA changes that set the stage for cancer.
  • Colon/rectum: Bacteria convert alcohol to acetaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

The more women drink, the greater the risk of cancer. The exceptions are renal cell cancer and non-Hodgkins lymphomia. Increased amounts of alcohol may lower risks for these two.

For women who stop drinking, the risk for cancer remains bad news. It may take years to return to the risk level of non-drinkers. Even more than ten years after they stop drinking, the risk is greater for them than for those who never drank.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommends omitting alcohol entirely. They suggest several ways to cut out or cut down alcohol consumption.

  • Choose smaller servings. Dilute drinks with ice, water, or club soda.
  • Sip slowly and drink less.
  • Alternate with other beverages.
  • Select days to stay alcohol free.
  • Stock refrigerator with alternate beverages such as sparking water or juices.
  • Buy low-or-no alcohol beer or wine.
  • Keep track of the amount consumed each day.

The facts are in. Women who drink even small amounts of any alcoholic beverage are more likely to increase their chances of getting cancer. Is it worth the risk?

Check out the National Institute of Health brochures and fact sheets for more information on the effects of alcohol.

 

 

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Are you a candidate for cancer? People may take precautions yet still succumb to this awful disease. While the last blog looked at ways to avoid becoming a statistic, many questions remain. One study rarely paints a clear picture of what helps and what hurts in the prevention process. Below are recent research findings about nutrients to help discern what is best for you.

Antioxidants: Antioxidants are known to block the activity of harmful substances called free radicals. Because of this action, many tout that antioxidants ward off malignancy. Numerous foods, especially fruits, offer an abundance of antioxidants in the diet.

Grapes and grape juice: Grapes and grape juice contain high quantities of the potent antioxidants polyphenols and resveratrol. In animal studies, resveratrol prevented cell and tissue damage known to trigger the cancer process. Additionally, resveratrol slowed cancer cell growth and inhibited the formation of tumors in lymph, liver, stomach, and breast cells. It also triggered death of leukemic and colon cancer tumors and blocked development of skin, breast, and leukemia cancers at all stages of the disease.

Supplements: According to the National Cancer Institute, antioxidant supplements haven’t proven effective in reducing the risk of developing or in dying from cancer. In fact, evidence suggested that excessive antioxidant supplements may increase the risk of certain cancers. According to recent studies, vitamin E supplements increased possibilities for prostate cancer. Mortality rates increased for those who took supplemental beta carotene and vitamins A and E.

Fruits: Many fruits have benefits in addition to antioxidants that may effectively protect against cancer. Apples, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, raspberries and strawberries are high in fiber and vitamin C. These fruits may help prevent colon cancer and probably lower risks of mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, lungs, and stomach cancer. See additional information at this site of the American Institute for Cancer Research.

Cruciferous vegetables: This vegetable group (bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, radishes, turnips, and others) once strongly linked to preventing lung, colorectal, stomach, breast, prostate and other cancers, may be less effective than previously thought. Newer research failed to substantiate earlier relationships. However, these vegetables are high in nutrients and antioxidants and may in the future provide a link to combating cancer. In animal studies, broccoli and tomatoes—which are high in the antioxidant lycopene—reduced tumor growth in prostate cancer.

Teas: This beverage has the antioxidant catechin which may cut cancer risk. Green tea contains more catechin than does black tea. Green tea extracts may lower the risk of prostate cancer. While some studies found that oral cancer benefitted from tea, other studies failed to find the same association. Therefore, studies related to tea and cancer are inconclusive and need additional study.

Vitamin D and Calcium: Vitamin D lowers risks for colorectal cancer. Adequate blood serum levels of vitamin D cut total cancer incidents and mortality. However over a seven-year period, the Woman’s Health Initiative found that healthy women who took vitamin D and calcium supplements did not improve their chance of avoiding colorectal cancer. High intakes of calcium—greater than 1,500 milligrams/day—increased the risk for prostate cancer but results may have occurred because of lower vitamin D2 levels.

Modifying the diet may affect your risk of cancer. As researchers point out, diet alone is unreliable. However, it is one factor you can control to help you remain cancer free.

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