Red Meat and Cancer Risk

Red meat cancer risk

Red meat cancer risk

A number of studies have suggested that red meat can play a role in the development of certain cancers. The largest study to provide evidence of the red meat-cancer link involved 478,000 men and women in Europe. It found that eating more than 5 ounces of red meat per day could raise your colon cancer risk by approximately a third, when compared to those who ate the least red meat.

The consumption of chicken did not appear to alter the colon cancer risk and eating fish actually lowered colon cancer risk.

The other substantial study involved nearly 150,000 Americans between the ages of 50 and 74. It found that a diet heavy in red and processed meats increased cancer risk of the colon and rectum. Eating fish and poultry appeared to protect individuals from these forms of cancer. Other studies have sugested that red meat can increase colon cancer risk by between 20% and 28%.

Red meat consumption is also believed to increase the risk of other cancers, including breast, prostate, lung and ovarian cancers.

Why does red meat increase cancer risk?

The conventional thought in recent years was that the act of grilling red meat created various carcinogens. However, new research at UC San Diego has highlighted at alternative theory. Researchers believe that the risk of cancer is increased because red meat contains a substance that is not found in the human body. This substance (called Neu5Gc), increases inflammation which can result in higher cancer risk.

Researchers established the interactions of this chemical by using mice, genetically engineered to not produce it internally. When this foreign chemical integrated with tissue, it triggered a reaction from the immune system and increased inflammation.

Interestingly, the inflammation and cancer risk from this chemical only occurs in humans, which is why researchers had to use genetically modified mice in their tests.

The inflammation from this chemical may also help other forms of cancer take hold within the body. For example, a smoker might be at greater risk of getting lung cancer if they eat a lot of red meat.

Researchers don’t suggest we should stop eating red meat, but simply eat it in moderation. It contains high levels of iron and protein, which benefit the human body. The senior author of the paper, Dr Varki, suggests that red meat consumption for people under 40 years of age is less of a problem. As people get older and their cancer risk increases, the inflammation presents a large threat.

If you decide to continue eating meat, researchers suggest having 3-4 ounce servings 1-3 times a week should present no substantial increase in cancer risk. Interestingly, the lead researcher only eats chicken and fish!

Neu5Gc is a type sugar molecule, referred to as a sialic acid. Researchers believe that sialic acids can affect many parts of the body, causing inflammation, altering brain development and affecting the immune system. It is believed that some diseases make use of sialic acids to hide themselves from the immune system.

The reason that fish and chicken do not carry the same inflammation risk, is that for the most part, they do not carry nonhuman sialic acids like Neu5Gc. The fish that do carry it, carry small amounts. Fish in particular carries properties than can reduce cancer risk, like high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids.

The next step is to find a medication which is capable of helping the body deal with the chemical and prevent the inflammation. These research findings could eventually help lower cancer rates in countries where red meat consumption is very high — like the United States.

New Study Looks at Cancer “Alarm” Symptoms

People ignoring potential cancer symptoms

People ignoring potential cancer symptoms

A new study has taken a look at the number of people who attribute cancer symptoms to another less dangerous illness. By attributing the symptoms to a less dangerous illness, cancer diagnosis is delayed. The study, entitled “Attributions of Cancer ‘Alarm’ Symptoms in a Community Sample“, looked at potential cancer symptoms experienced by 1,724 people over the age of 50.

The researchers asked people if they had experienced any of 17 specific symptoms (that may indicate cancer) in the last three months. The questions were similar to the following:

“Have you experienced unexplained weight loss?”
“Do you have unexplained lumps on your skin?”
“Have you experienced extra tiredness or dizziness?”

The researchers found that many people ignored the possibility of cancer despite suffering a number of symptoms that could indicate cancer. From the 1,724 respondents, 53% had experienced a symptom of potential cancer, but only 20 (2%) thought cancer was a possibility. The most potential cancer common symptom was an unexplained lump, which was reported by 7% of respondents.

The paper indicates that many people ignore or are unaware of potential cancer symptoms. Early detection is crucial for many forms of cancer, particularly for older adults with a higher cancer risk.

Source:
Whitaker, K., Scott, S., Winstanley, K., Macleod, U., & Wardle, J. (2014). Attributions of Cancer ‘Alarm’ Symptoms in a Community Sample. PLOS ONE, 9(12), e114028. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0114028

Sitting and Cancer Risk

How Sitting Increases Cancer Risk

How Sitting Increases Cancer Risk

Modern man spends a lot of time sitting down, either while relaxing or at work.  Some jobs involve long stretches of sitting down at a desk with little physical activity.  Many people have recreational activities that also involve a lot of sitting — like watching television or using the Internet.

Researchers are just starting to understand the health ramifications of sitting down for many hours each day.  Unfortunately it’s not good news, with a number of serious health risks associated with sitting.  This article will out line some of the recent research into sedentary behavior and the health problems associated with it.

Cardiovascular Health

One research paper looked at the effect of sedentary behavior on rodents.  One group of mice were allowed to perform exercise on gym equipment while the other were not.  Researchers found that the mice who did not undertake exercise had structural changes in the neurons in their brains.  Those neurons were responsible for regulating cardiovascular function.  It is thought that the changes to these neurons contribute to  cardiovascular disease (Mischel NA, Llewellyn-Smith IJ, Mueller PJ, 2014).

Cancer Risk

In a meta-analysis of 43 observational studies involving more than 4 million people, it was found that sedentary behavior greatly increased cancer risk (Schmid D,Leitzmann MF, 2014).  Researchers found that the risk of lung, colon and endometrial cancers was significantly increased by sedentary behavior.  The more a person sat down, the more their cancer risk increased.  For every 2 hours of sedentary activity per day, lung cancer risk increased by 6%, colon cancer risk increased by 8% and endometrial cancer risk increased by 10%.

The Canadian cancer society suggests that the health impacts of sedentary behavior create other problems that lead to cancer (Cancer.ca, 2014).  For example, most people who spend long periods sitting down gain weight.  That weight gain can substantially increase the chances of getting cancer (Cancer.gov, 2014). 

Sedentary behavior changes hormone levels which can also lead to some forms of cancer (Lynch BM, 2010).  Sex hormones estrogen and androgen increase, which is linked to breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.  Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) levels decrease because of inactivity.  The decrease in SHBG is thought to play a role in breast cancer (Moore JW, Key TJ, Bulbrook RD, Clark GM, Allen DS, Wang DY, Pike MC, 1987).

Diabetes

The less active you are, the more likely it is that you will have high blood sugar, increased insulin levels and eventually insulin resistance.  Some research has even indicated that regular exercise might not be enough to shield you from diabetes, if you spend a lot of time sitting down (Endocrineweb.com, 2011). 

The production of enzymes that burn fat also drastically slow when you are sitting. One study found that there were 90% less fat burning enzymes in people sitting for an hour or more (NYTimes, 2012).  Your metabolism also slows while sitting, potentially leading to weight gain and obesity.    

Brain Function

Research has shown that the human brain performs better if it has a supply of fresh oxygenated blood (MedicalNewsToday, 2014).  While sitting, your body is at rest and there is less fresh blood and oxygen reaching your brain.

One study demonstrated that people have better neuronal function within the brain while standing, as opposed to sitting (Ouchi Y, Okada H, Yoshikawa E, Nobezawa S, Futatsubashi M, 1998).  Put simply, your brain is more alert when you are in standing instead of sitting.

Muscle and Bone Degeneration

Sitting down for long periods can lead to muscular degeneration, because you aren’t using many muscle groups while in that position.  Your abdominal and back muscles are essentially unused while seated, worsening any back problems you may have.  You leg muscles are mostly unused in the position also, leading to muscle loss there.     

One study noticed that people who spent many hours sitting had a greater risk of  osteoporotic hip fracture (Weiss M, Yogev R, Dolev E, 1998).  This was due to low mineral density in the bones of people who spent a great deal of time sitting. 

Sitting can also damage your posture and can change the natural curve of your spine (Mashable, 2012).  Slipped discs are a common injury in people who spend a great deal of time seated.  Some doctors suggest people should only be seated for a maximum of 20 minutes, to avoid back damage.

The research is clear — prolonged sitting can have a negative health impact which can shave years off your life.  For people who are sitting all day, then going home for more sedentary activity like watching television, the problem is even worse.  To enjoy a healthy life and avoid some particularly nasty health issues, stand as much as possible and keep moving!    

Sources

Cancer.ca (2014). Sedentary behavior.  cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-101/what-is-a-risk-factor/sedentary-behaviour/?region=on

Cancer.gov (2014). Obesity and Cancer Risk.  cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/obesity

Endocrineweb.com (2011).  Sedentary lifestyles connected to type 2 diabetes.  endocrineweb.com/news/type-2-diabetes/6750-sedentary-lifestyles-connected-type-2-diabetes

Lynch BM, (2010).  Sedentary Behavior and Cancer: A Systematic Review of the Literature and Proposed Biological Mechanisms.  cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/19/11/2691.full

Mashable (2012).  Why Sitting Too Much Is Dangerous.  mashable.com/2012/06/18/too-much-sitting/

MedicalNewsToday (2014).  Sedentary behavior ‘may counteract brain benefits of exercise in older adults’.  medicalnewstoday.com/articles/282745.php

Mischel NA, Llewellyn-Smith IJ, Mueller PJ (2014). Physical (in)activity-dependent structural plasticity in bulbospinal catecholaminergic neurons of rat rostral ventrolateral medulla.  ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24114875

Moore JW, Key TJ, Bulbrook RD, Clark GM, Allen DS, Wang DY, Pike MC (1987).  Sex hormone binding globulin and risk factors for breast cancer in a population of normal women who had never used exogenous sex hormones.  ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2001893/

NYTimes (2012). Taking a Stand for Office Ergonomics.  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/business/stand-up-desks-gaining-favor-in-the-workplace.html?_r=0

Schmid D,Leitzmann MF (2014).  Television Viewing and Time Spent Sedentary in Relation to Cancer Risk: A Meta-Analysis.  jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/106/7/dju098.full

Ouchi Y, Okada H, Yoshikawa E, Nobezawa S Futatsubashi M (1998).  Brain Activation During Maintenance Of Standing Postures In Humans. brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/122/2/329.full

Weiss M, Yogev R, Dolev E (1998).  Occupational sitting and low hip mineral density.  ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9405733

Skin Cancer Costs Rising

Skin Cancer Treatment Cost Increasing

Skin Cancer Treatment Cost Increasing

A report by Kimberly Leonard has found that the costs of skin cancer have increased greatly within the United States.

Treating skin cancer has become more expensive, between 2002 and 2011 growing five times faster than other forms of cancer treatments. The study that the report was based on came from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. It found that the average yearly cost for treating skin cancer has increased by 126 percent in the 2002-2011 time period.

Despite massive publicity campaigns, many Americans are still complacent about protecting their skin. Between 2001 and 2011 the rate of skin cancer increased significantly, by 1.6% per year among men. More people are being diagnosed with skin cancer and it is becoming more expensive to treat — a recipe for disaster.

Other forms of cancer have become more expensive to treat, but not to the same degree. On average they increased by 25 percent.

The deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma, saw the large increase in treatment costs. It went up by 106 percent. Skin cancer now costs more to treat per person and in the community as a whole.

A large percentage of the costs of treating skin cancer are held by the public, with medicare covering 41 percent of the costs. This is due to the large number of seniors who have been diagnosed with skin cancer.

Skin cancer is usually caused by damaging ultraviolet light from the sun or from tanning beds. Prevention is key when it comes to skin cancer and there are a number of steps that can be taken to avoid it. Skin cancer is also on the increase in many other developed countries, despite many millions spent on awareness campaigns.

NFL Continues to Raise Money for Breast Cancer

NFL Supporting Breast Cancer

NFL Supporting Breast Cancer

The NFL is continuing with it’s annual breast cancer awareness month, which occurs every October. The campaign is designed to increase breast cancer awareness and raise money for breast cancer research. The breast cancer awareness campaign began in 2009. In the United States, breast cancer remains the 2nd most dangerous form of cancer for women.

Similar campaigns have been started in other countries with the rugby league competition in Australia also raising awareness and funding for breast cancer research.

NFL players and fans wear pink to the games in October, leading to the stunning sight of a crowd awash in bright pink. The NFL most definitely has some work to do as it attempts to repair it’s reputation after damage domestic violence incidents from players.

The games in October include cancer survivors honored at half time and player gear auctioned off to support cancer research. It’s not a small amount of money either, with the event raising over $7 million since it began.

The more funding breast cancer research obtains, the close we are to a cure for this terrible disease. While enjoying the games this month, make sure to donate some money and talk to the women in your family about breast cancer.

How Scientists Used Shrimp to Help Detect Cancer

Mantis shrimp cancer detection

Mantis shrimp cancer detection

It seems like a strange concept, using the biological advantages that a sea shrimp has to create tools for detecting cancer. But that is just what researchers at the University of Queensland are looking into.

The mantis shrimp has a unique ability that allows it to detect polarized light. The ability allows it to better track food in water conditions with filtered light.

Through a series of tests, researchers discovered that polarized light reflects differently when it hits cancerous tissue. Since the eyes of the mantis shrimp have the ability to discern this type of light, the researchers took a second look at the shrimp’s compound eyes. They are using the design of a shrimps eye to develop a camera to spot cancerous cells from the light they reflect.

The main advantage of this form of cancer detection is that it is non-invasive. It could be of particular use for spotting skin cancer cells in their early stages.

Researchers are using the unique advantages of the shrimp that were develped over millions of years, to help humans in the 21st century!

References

York, T., Powell, S., Gao, S., Kahan, L., Charanya, T., & Saha, D. et al. (2014). Bioinspired Polarization Imaging Sensors: From Circuits and Optics to Signal Processing Algorithms and Biomedical Applications. Proc. IEEE, 102(10), 1450-1469. doi:10.1109/jproc.2014.2342537

Do Vitamins Help Reduce Cancer Risk?

Vitamins & Cancer Prevention

Vitamins & Cancer Prevention

It is a commonly held belief by most people that taking vitamins will not only keep you healthy, but it may help prevent cancer and heart disease. That belief is often developed by manufacturers who make claims about anti-oxidants in their products helping to prevent cancer and maintain overall health.

Well according to a government panel of health experts, there is not sufficient evidence to suggest that taking additional vitamins will reduce your cancer risk. Surprisingly, there is even some evidence that taking the wrong vitamins can actually increase cancer risk!

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released it’s findings this week, gathered from numerous clinical trials and dozens of studies. The results have been published in full in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

In the United States, over 45% of adults take vitamins everyday, some with the belief that they are lowering their cancer risk. A third of Americans take a multivitamin most days.

Why did multivitamin companies market some of their products as cancer preventatives? Because on first glance it appears that they are. In the laboratory, research on animals and in laboratory dishes suggest that oxidative stress contributes to cancer and heart disease. So logically vitamins that are antioxidants like (for example vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A), could be useful to prevent oxidative stress and therefore reduce your chances of getting cancer.

However researchers looked at the actual instances of cancer and the people who were taking multivitamins and did not see a correlation. Mineral supplements, multivitamins, individual vitamins like vitamin E, all failed to show a decreased risk of cancer. They also failed to demonstrate the vitamins and minerals could reduce the risk of heart disease in normal people.

The worst part is some of the vitamins could be increasing cancer risk! The panel found that there was some evidence that people who have an elevated risk for lung cancer may be further increasing their risk by taking beta-carotene supplements (a vitamin A precursor). Those with an increased risk for lung cancer would be smokers and people exposed to environmental hazards like asbestos.

So if anything, smokers should be avoiding beta-carotene as there is no benefit in terms of preventing cancer and heart disease, but there is increased lung cancer risk.

Keep in mind that even if multivitamins do not play a direct role in prevention of cancer, there is still some evidence that they help some people maintain good overall health. Particularly people who do not receive adequate vitamins and minerals from their diet. That would include pregnant women, elderly people, people who are ill, who may need extra vitamins for their overall health.

So while the effect of multivitamins in relatively healthy people may not have a preventative role for cancer, they may still be important for people not receiving sufficient nutrients and you should continue to take them if that is the case with you.

There is still plenty of evidence which indicates that diet plays a crucial role in the prevention of certain types of cancer, so by maintaining a healthy diet you will be lowering your cancer risk. These new findings simply mean multivitamins shouldn’t be considered necessary to reduce cancer risk and should only be taken if you are concerned you are not getting sufficient nutrients from your diet.

Research Finds Cancer Prevention Methods Successful

Cancer Prevention Works!

Cancer Prevention Works!

Most people have heard health specialists repeat simple advice for cancer prevention – watch your weight, eat fresh fruit and vegetables, don’t smoke, don’t drink too much alcohol and get some moderate exercise. Those simple tips can reduce your cancer risk by a great deal for certain types of cancer.

A new study in the United States has confirmed that those simple tips are indeed accurate and worth pursuing if you want to live a longer life with less cancer risk.

In new research from the University of Arizona it was found that older women who had adhered to the cancer prevention guidelines of the American Cancer Society did in fact have lower cancer rates that older women in society. In fact they had less risk of dying from other leading causes of death as well, including heart disease!

The researchers said that the findings lead to a simple but effective message – if you want to reduce the risk of cancer, limit or avoid alcohol, don’t smoke, be active every day, eat a balanced diet low in processed foods. The American Cancer Society guidelines have been found to be very helpful in cancer prevention.

The full American Cancer Society guidelines can be found here: http://www.cancer.org/healthy/index?sitearea=ped

Diet is especially important for specific cancers such as bowel cancer. The guidelines suggest not only enjoying a variety of fruits and vegetables, but also limiting red meat consumption, avoiding processed foods in general, avoiding foods with lots of chemical additives, eating whole grains instead of processed grains (brown bread instead of white, brown rice instead white etc). If your family has a history of that kind of cancer, then following the dietary elements might be especially beneficial.

Many people are also unsure about how much exercise is enough. As it turns out you don’t need to do that much at all to prevent cancer with the guidelines suggesting as little as half an hour of moderate to vigorous exercise 5 times a week being adequate. That could be a brisk walk or light jog every weekday afternoon and you will not only be feeling and looking great, but reducing your cancer risk.

Women who followed the guidelines had a 17% lower risk of developing cancer and a 20% lower risk of dying from cancer according to the research. Additionally they had a 27% lower risk of dying from any cause! So that’s a great additional benefit. The guidleines are extremely effective for certain kinds of cancer chiefly colorectal cancer which saw a 52% reduced risk from following the guidelines. Women saw a 22% lower risk of developing breast cancer.

Women of certain racial groups benefited more from the guidelines with black and Hispanic women benefiting the most.

The best part of the American Society Guidelines is that by following them you will also have great general health, you will feel healthier and you will look healthier. It’s a win-win situation!

Vitamin D and Cancer

Vitamin D & Cancer Prevention

Vitamin D & Cancer Prevention

Vitamin D is actually a number of fat-soluble secosteroids including Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and Ergocalciferol (vitamin D2). It is an interesting vitamin because the human body can either digest it via food or it can be obtained via exposure to the sun as the body synthesizes it. In that sense it’s not a dietary vitamin in the strict sense as it can come from the human bodies exposure to sunlight.

Vitamin D is essential for the development, growth and repair of human bones, aids in the absorption of calcium and helps the immune system function. Vitamin D also plays a role in improving muscle strength and reducing inflammation.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a number of diseases including rickets (childhood osteomalacia), so in the developed world it is added to a number of food items like cow’s milk to avoid those illnesses. A lack of vitamin D can also play a role in the development of Osteoporosis. People with unusual diets and those who do not obtain enough sunlight are at risk of vitamin D deficiency. Between the ages 1-50, 5 μg (=200 IU) of vitamin D is recommended. After 50 most specialists recommend between 10 μg (=400 IU) and 15 μg (=600 IU) of vitamin D.

Vitamin D Studies

Recent studies have suggested that high levels of vitamin D may actually reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and studies are looking at further possible cancer risk reduction for prostate cancer, breast cancer and pancreatic cancers. This post will take a closer look at the accumulated evidence for vitamin D playing a role in cancer prevention.

Many scientific studies have been performed which look at vitamin D specifically. In early tests, scientists looked at the geographic correlation studies to see if people in more sunny areas of the planet (higher vitamin D intake) had lower risk of cancers. People living in the southern latitudes were found to have a lower incidence of certain cancers than people in the less sunny northern latitudes. From these early studies, scientists suggested that vitamin D played some role in cancer prevention.

In laboratory studies, vitamin D was used on cancer cells and found to have an impact on the growth of the cancer cells and in some cases even killed them. Laboratory studies using cultures are quite often vastly different from the how vitamins operate within the human body however.

Clinical human trials have determined that vitamin D high intake may reduce the risk of cancer. One trial involving 1250 older women who took a combination of calcium tablets and vitamin D tablets for 4 years saw a 60% lower incidence of cancer compared to the placebo taking group. However in that study, a vitamin D only group (without calcium) was not used. The study itself was designed to look at bone health so the cancer findings were supplementary.

Observational studies have been undertaken to look at vitamin D and it’s cancer prevention abilities specifically. The studies haven’t been conclusive so far, largely due to the difficulty of determining how much the patients diet impacts their chances of getting cancer. Quite often the data which is given by patients to researchers is also inaccurate, with their determination of their dietary intake being way off. At this stage many of the studies suggest their is possibly a link between higher vitamin D consumption and reduced cancer risk.

There is also a very close relationship between vitamin D and calcium in the body, so it is somewhat difficult to study just the effects of vitamin D when varying levels of calcium intake are involved in the mix. New randomized trials which look at vitamin D specifically are required.

Vitamin D and Colorectal Cancer

The data in this area is somewhat inconsistent, but findings indicate that there is some role for vitamin D in the prevention of colorectal cancer.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention study which featured 120’000 men and women found that men who took 13 μg (525 IU) or more vitamin D per day in their diet had a lower risk of colorectal cancer. However, interestingly this reduced risk was not shown in women.

In a meta-study looking at 10 cohort studies, it was found that people who had very high vitamin D intakes had a slightly lower risk of colorectal cancer than those on the lowest intakes of vitamin D. However the risk was reduced by such a small amount it could have been a statistical anomaly.

In the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a look at over 16’000 participants concluded that those with higher vitamin D blood levels (≥80 nmol/L) had a 72 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer death compared to those with a very low level of vitamin D in their blood.

Of the types of cancer, colorectal cancer prevention is the one most likely linked with high vitamin D intake.

Vitamin D and Breast Cancer

There have been conflicting results in epidemiological studies looking at the link between breast cancer risk reduction and vitamin D. Some studies find a link in risk reduction, but others find no such link. A meta-study involving six other studies saw no association between vitamin D intake and breast cancer risk reduction. That being said, the studies involved did not have very high vitamin D intakes required, and when the study only looked at the very high intakes (>10μg) compared to the very low (<1.25μg) there was a reduced risk in breast cancer found.In another large study which involved many thousands of women taking calcium and vitamin D supplements, there was no reduced risk of invasive breast cancer found.

Vitamin D and Prostate Cancer Risk

Geographic correlation studies (comparing people in sunny locations to less sunny), have found a link between vitamin D and reduced prostate cancer risk. However epidemiological studies have found no such link.

In a large study that looked at the incidence of prostate cancer in men a number of years after their blood was tested for vitamin D levels, high vitamin D blood levels did not have a link to reduced prostate cancer risk. If anything, there was a link between increased vitamin D intake and an increased risk of the aggressive prostate cancer.

Vitamin D and Pancreas Cancer Risk

There is some debate about the role of vitamin D in reducing pancreas cancer risk with some vastly different results. One study involving 120’000 men and women found that participants with higher intakes of vitamin D had a progressively lower risk of pancreas cancer compared to the lower intake participants. However, this study used questionnaires which involved patients estimating their diet and there vitamin D levels.

In a PLCO study, no link was found between vitamin D level and reduced pancreatic cancer risk.

Should you take vitamin D?

Vitamin D is essential for the functioning of the human body. If you do not get much sunlight exposure, and/or you are over the age of 50, vitamin D supplements might be a good idea just for maintaining good health. To identify any vitamin D deficiency, have a blood test done by your doctor.

As to whether vitamin D reduces the risk of cancer, there is a great deal of data for and against it. The strongest evidence is for colorectal cancer prevention. However if you are concerned about prostate cancer, taking high levels of vitamin D might in fact increase your risk. There is potential benefit, but also potential risk of prostate cancer for men. At this stage the best decision you could make, would be to consult with your doctor and determine your levels then decide if you need more vitamin D.

Simple Cancer Prevention

Cancer Prevention Diet

Cancer Prevention Diet

There are numerous reports and studies about cancer prevention released on a seemingly daily basis. Often the reports can conflict with one another, with one study suggesting you eat more of vegetable A and and another report coming out a week later saying it is not effective at all! With so much conflicting advice and hundreds of opinions it’s often very hard to determine the best path to cancer prevention.

Instead of becoming wrapped up in the specifics of certain preventative measures which may or may not work, let’s take a look at the most important preventative measures which we know are effective and will help prevent cancer.

These are lifestyle changes that will without a doubt, improve your chances of avoiding cancer and will help you lead a longer and healthier life.

Have a healthy diet
One of the greatest risk factors for cancer is a poor diet. A healthy diet can help prevent cancer and should consist of plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes. You should eat a wide variety of all of the available fruits and vegetables, diversity in a diet in a good thing because you will be providing a wide spectrum of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Avoid foods which are processed, high in sugar or high in fat. You should be aiming to eat foods which are close to their natural state, not foods that may have been heavily processed, and have had preservatives and colorings added. Highly processed foods often carry a greater risk of you becoming overweight as well – a known risk factor for cancer.

Only consume meat in moderation because links between meat and cancer have been demonstrated. Becoming a vegetarian will lower your chances of getting cancer, but if you wish to eat meat, treat it like a luxurious side on your plate and not the main portion of a meal.

If you consume alcohol, do it in moderation because links between alcohol and certain cancers are well known. Drink plenty of water to help the body flush out toxins.

Don’t Smoke
It should be obvious by now, but some people still haven’t gotten the message – smoking causes cancer, and not just lung cancer. Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause a wide variety of cancers, from the bladder, to the cervix and kidneys. Chewing tobacco can lead to cancer of the oral cavity.

By quitting smoking you may also avoid some of the very nasty pulmonary diseases like emphysema that affect your breathing badly.

Exercise and stay at a healthy weight

Overweight people have an increased risk of breast, kidney, colon and lung cancers, among others. By staying physically fit you can reduce the risk of those cancers amd gain numerous other health benefits.

Even if it’s only a small amount of exercise it will help you stay healthy and prevent the risk of cancer – as little as 20 minutes of moderate exercise per day will help improve your physical condition and help keep your weight under control.

Get immunized against certain viruses

Some viruses have known links to cancer. One of those is Human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus that can lead to cervical and genital cancers. Men and women 26 and younger can obtain the vaccine which will protect against HPV.

Hepatitis B has also been linked with liver cancer. The Hep B vaccine is highly recommended for people who work in professions where they may have contact with bodily fluids – from hospital workers to cleaners and restaurant staff. Also anyone who is sexually active and has multiple partners should also have the Hep B vaccine.

Limit sun exposure and wear protection from the sun

Skin cancer is easily preventable with some common sense measures. Avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day when damage to the skin is more likely. Use the shade and use sun protective clothing to avoid skin damage. Use plenty of sunscreen when you are outdoors, and avoid tanning beds.

By moderating your sun exposure you will dramatically lower your risk of skin cancer.

See your doctor regularly

Get general checkups on a regular basis and have your general practitioner check your overall health – your weight, your fitness, and do a blood test to make sure you are getting all of the vitamins and nutrients you need in your diet.

By maintaining good general health, you will be lowering your risk of cancer. By following these simple steps and not sweating the finer points, you will be well on your way to a longer and healthier life.