German scientists experimenting with sniffer dogs have found they can accurately detect lung cancer by smelling breath samples.
In a study carried out by researchers from Schillerhoehe Hospital in Germany, the dogs were able to correctly detect lung tumors in 71 percent of patients, suggesting a similar technique could be used for early detection in future.
“In the breath of patients with lung cancer, there are likely to be different chemicals to normal breath samples and the dogs’ keen sense of smell can detect this difference at an early stage of the disease,” said Thorsten Walles, who led the study and published its findings in the European Respiratory Journal on Thursday.
Lung cancer, mostly linked to smoking, is the second most common form of cancer in men and women across Europe and causes more than 340,000 deaths per year. It is also the most common cause of death from cancer worldwide.
The disease is notoriously hard to detect in its early stages and scientists have been working on using breath tests for possible future screening programs. The sniffing method relies on identifying so-called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are linked to the presence of cancer.
The researchers explained that although many different possible breath test techniques have been tried, they are very difficult develop for use in practice in clinics because patients are not allowed to smoke or eat before the test, sample analysis can take a long time and there is also a high risk of interference. Because of these reasons, no lung cancer-specific VOCs have yet been identified.
In this study the researchers worked specially-trained dogs and with 220 volunteers, including some lung cancer patients, some patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients and some with no lung health problems.
The results show the dogs successfully identified 71 samples with lung cancer out of a possible 100, and correctly detected 372 samples that did not have lung cancer out of a possible 400.
The animals were also able to detect lung cancer independently from COPD and tobacco smoke.
Walles said their results confirm that there is a reliable and stable “marker” for lung cancer in the breath, but there is still a lot of work to do to find out exactly what that is.
“This is a big step forward…but we still need to precisely identify the compounds observed in the exhaled breath of patients. It is unfortunate that dogs cannot communicate the biochemistry of the scent of cancer.”
African American women have higher rates of a type of breast cancer that isn’t dependent for growth on the hormones estrogen or progesterone. They also have a higher rate of childbearing than do white American women.
A new study finds there is likely a link between those two facts – that bearing a baby to term raises the risk for this type of cancer, called estrogen or progesterone receptor-negative breast cancer.
The study also finds that black women who breastfeed their babies can lower their odds of developing this cancer back down again.
The study, published Tuesday in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, followed a group of 47,000 African American women from 1996 through 2009. Researchers had participants fill out, every two years, a detailed questionnaire assessing a wide range of factors that affect a woman’s risk for breast cancer — including weight, age at which they began menstruating, pregnancies and age of first childbearing, birth control or hormone-replacement use, physical activity and alcohol consumption.
What they found was that African American women who had given birth to more children were more likely to develop estrogen or progesterone-negative cancer than their peers who had not given birth or who had given birth to only one child. But when a woman with two or more childbirths breastfed her babies, that risk declined considerably.
The authors — epidemiologists from Boston University, Georgetown University and Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Rochester, N.Y. — surmised that given the prevalence of infectious diseases in Africa, women of African origins may respond to pregnancy with a particularly strong immune response, which in turn can allow cancers to gain a foothold in the body. Lactation, they noted, appears to blunt that effect.
Estrogen or progesterone receptor-negative breast cancers are less common than those that are fueled by those hormones, representing just one in four breast cancers. But they tend to be more aggressive and harder to treat.
Despite aggressive public health campaigns touting the benefits — to mother and child — of breastfeeding, the practice is less common among African American women than among white women. Future efforts to promote breastfeeding, wrote the authors, should let African American women know that moms who nurse their babies may also reduce their odds of developing a breast cancer that affects them disproportionately and is difficult to treat.
When facing a cancer diagnosis, whether for yourself or a loved one, you know that cooking healthful, delicious food is not always easy. The body goes through various changes from the side effects of cancer and treatment that can affect taste buds, including a diminished appetite, limited foods that are appealing and changes to your taste and smell. Although the goal of cancer treatment is to destroy the cancer cells, normal cells can be damaged in the process, affecting how you feel. When going through treatment, each hour, each day and each week you can feel differently. As a person experiences these side effects, it is important to know the foods that are better tolerated and help to ease the symptoms.
The most common side effect of chemotherapy is loss of appetite, or anorexia, which can be a result of radiation, stress, depression and the cancer itself. Taste changes may also be an issue caused by treatment, resulting in flavor changes and or no taste at all.
Eat by the clock at regularly scheduled times. Your appetite signal may not be intact.
Eat between meals with high calorie, high-protein diet snacks and supplements, like cheese or peanut butter and crackers, hard boiled eggs or a nutritional energy drink supplement.
Add cream or butter to soups, cooked cereals and vegetables to increase calories. Add gravies and sauces to vegetables, meat, poultry and fish until weight loss is no longer a problem.
Try things to enhance smell, appearance and texture of food. Be creative with desserts.
Tart flavors such as lemon wedges and tart candies, peppermint or lemon drops may reduce the sensations of bitter or sour taste. Try choosing sugarless kinds. Try drinking lemonade. (If you have a sore mouth or throat, do not use this tip.)
If you experience that “metallic” taste in meat, try marinating it in a reduced sodium soy sauce or fat free Italian dressing to intensify the flavor. If red meat doesn’t work, try eating chicken, seafood or beans for protein.
Add extra seasonings to give the food more flavor such as onion, garlic, chili powder, basil, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, barbecue sauce, mustard, ketchup or mint. The rule of thumb is to add a little at a time to see if you can perk up those taste buds.
Rinse your mouth with tea, ginger ale, salted water or water with baking soda before eating to help clear your taste buds.
Use plastic utensils if you’re bothered by a bitter or metallic taste.
Marinate meats or cook them with sauces or tomatoes to help improve the flavor. Meats that are cold or at room temperature may be more palatable.
Neutropenia, or low white blood cell count, occurs after chemotherapy treatments for most patients. Neutropenia normally lasts for three to seven days. As soon as your counts have returned to normal, you can return to a regular diet.
To decrease your risk of infection, avoid fresh fruits, vegetables, raw meat or fish during the time your blood counts are low.
Avoid crowds and anyone who is ill until your blood counts are normal.
Always wash cooking utensils and surfaces that contact food well with soap and hot water.
Avoid uncooked herbs and spices and honey — use molasses.
Processed cheese, canned or cooked fruits, cooked or baked goods, jello, syrup, ice cream and sherbet made from pasteurized products are acceptable.
A dry or sore mouth, caused by chemotherapy or radiation, can get sore seven to 10 days following certain chemotherapy treatments. Precaution and care in choosing foods must be taken to sooth this sensitive side effect. Practicing good oral hygiene can help tremendously. Soft foods should be readily available, while avoiding rough textured, spicy, pain inducing foods.
With a sore mouth, avoid spicy, coarse textured foods, very hot or cold foods and beverages, citric juices or foods containing citric acid (tomatoes, oranges, lemon, etc.)
Limit alcohol, caffeine and tobacco, as they can dry out your mouth and throat and promote further irritation.
Cut food into small pieces.
Softer and easy to swallow foods include soft, creamy foods such as cream soups, cheeses, mashed potatoes, pastas, yogurt, eggs, custards, puddings, cooked cereals, ice cream, casseroles, gravies, syrups, milkshakes and nutritional liquid food supplements.
The gastrointestinal tract is often affected by cancer treatments, which can bring nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation along with it. Healthy well-tolerated high fiber foods are important for alleviating constipation, while low fiber foods are helpful for vomiting and diarrhea relief.
Try eating foods that don’t have strong odors to reduce feeling nauseous.
When stomach is upset, eat foods at room temperature. This can decrease the food tastes and smells.
Save your favorite foods for times when you feel well. Try not to eat one to two hours before treatment or therapy. If you no longer enjoy beef or pork, you may find chicken, fish, eggs, milk products or legumes more appealing.
Eat high-fiber foods, such as whole grain breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables (raw and cooked with skins and peels on), popcorn and dried beans.
Try adding shredded veggies into other casseroles or recipes.
Bran (such as wheat bran) may be added to baked goods or casseroles. By consuming two tablespoons of wheat bran, your stools will be softer and easier to pass.
Remember when you increase bran intake; increase your water intake also.
Eat smaller mini meals throughout the day to see what you can tolerate.
Avoid raw vegetables and fruits, and high fiber foods, nuts, onions, garlic
Avoid spicy food and greasy, fatty or fried foods.
Limit caffeine intake and milk.
Ginger can be soothing to the stomach: gingersnaps, ginger candy
Drink and eat high-potassium foods, such as fruit juices and nectars, sports drinks, potatoes without the skin and bananas.
Be sure to sip fluids throughout the day to prevent dehydration
Soluble fiber can be used to relieve mild to moderate diarrhea. Soluble fiber soaks up a significant amount of water in the digestive tract causing stool to be more firm and pass slower.
Soluble fiber sources include: Legumes, oats, bananas, apples, berries, broccoli, carrots, potatoes and yams (without skins).
Maintaining adequate calories and nutrition during this time can be a difficult task, however it is very important to keep nutrition a priority for optimal health and strength, while incorporating nutrition therapy to help ease the side effects of your treatment.
You’ve probably heard jokes or perhaps even told a few about getting a prostate test or going for a prostate cancer screening. But considering that one in six men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, getting a prostate test is no laughing matter.
Let’s face it: people poke fun at the prostate (pun intended). And while it’s okay to make a few jokes, prostate cancer, like a prostate cancer screening, is no laughing matter. One reason people make jokes about the prostate test is that one part of the process involves a less than dignified but very brief examination called a digital rectal examination (DRE). If you’re a guy who has not yet had a DRE, I explain it below. For now, just let me say that if getting a DRE is your reason for not getting your prostate checked, then it’s time you took a deep breath and just did it. Hey, every guy who goes into the military has had to cough or strain while a doctor felt his groin, so if they can do that, you can get a DRE is all I’m saying. Forget the jokes, learn all you can about prostate tests and prostate cancer, and then make an informed decision about getting screened.
Prostate and Prostate Cancer
Despite the fact that prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer among men in the United States and is estimated by the National Cancer Institute to kill more than 32,000 US men in 2010, prostate cancer screenings do not get the amount of press or respect–that breast cancer screenings do. Don’t get me wrong: screening for breast cancer is extremely important and every woman should discuss screening with their physician and heed his or her recommendations.
But prostate screening is critically important too. True, the prostate gland is not as glamorous or sexually appealing as breasts nor is it visible to remind us that it’s there, but it performs various important functions, including making some of the fluid for semen, keeping urine out of the semen, and enhancing pleasurable sensations of arousal and orgasm. You also want to keep the prostate healthy because if it become infected or enlarged, it can seriously impact urinary and sexual functioning. Therefore maintaining prostate health is of utmost importance, and undergoing prostate tests is one way to do it.
Do I Need a Prostate Test?
Doctors and other experts do not all offer the same recommendations for prostate cancer screening, although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of the PSA test along with the DRE to help detect prostate cancer in men 50 years and older. Some say men older than 50 should be screened every year, while others recommend men who are at higher risk for prostate cancer to begin screening at age 40 or 45. (Risk factors include age, a family history of prostate cancer – especially a brother or father, being African American, a high-fat diet, obesity, lifestyle and other factors such as exposure to chemicals and toxins.) Other experts say routine prostate tests are not necessary.
The point is, every man needs to have a prostate test at some point, and that point differs for each man. Therefore you should work with your physician and consider your unique state of health, along with the risk factors already mentioned, and the fact that age is the most common risk factor, with nearly 63 percent of cases occurring in men age 65 and older.
Prostate cancer screening typically involves two procedures. One is the digital rectal exam, during which a doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum. It takes about a minute or so for the doctor to feel the prostate through the wall of the rectum and to check for any suspicious lumps, as well as for any abnormalities in the glands shape or size. While it is not the most comfortable procedure you will ever experience, it usually is not painful and is over rather quickly. (By the way, women also have DREs to check for abnormalities in their reproductive organs. DREs are also used to check for colon polyps.)
The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test involves taking a small blood sample and having it tested for the level of the antigen. PSA is a substance produced mostly by the prostate that may be present in elevated amounts in men who have prostate cancer. However, high PSA levels can also be an indication of noncancerous conditions, such as an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH) or prostatitis.
Prostate tests are not foolproof, however, so you should have a discussion with a trusted, knowledgeable healthcare provider to determine the best time for you to be screened. During that discussion your healthcare provider should inform you about the risks of prostate screening.
Risks Associated with Prostate Tests
As with most tests, prostate tests run the risk of providing false-negative or false-positive results. If you receive a false-negative test results (one that shows you do not have cancer when you really do), then you may delay seeking treatment even if you have symptoms. A false-positive result means your test appears to be abnormal even though you don’t have cancer. Such results could send you on an unnecessary route of more tests, including a biopsy, and the risk of complications, which include fever, pain, blood in the semen or urine, and urinary tract infections.
A common risk associated with prostate tests is if your PSA test shows an elevated level, your doctor may recommend you have a biopsy of the prostate to help determine whether you have cancer. He or she may recommend a biopsy because a man’s PSA level alone does not provide enough information to distinguish between a noncancerous prostate condition and prostate cancer. A biopsy, however, is associated with complications, as I have already noted.
If the biopsy indicates that you do not have cancer, then that’s great news, and you can explore other reasons why your PSA levels are high, such as an infection, BPH, or prostatitis. But having had the biopsy, you still run the risk of experiencing the complications. If the biopsy indicates that you do have prostate cancer, then you and your healthcare provider will need to discuss whether you should undergo treatment. According to prostate cancer researcher Arul Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD, the SP Hicks Collegiate Professor of Pathology at the University of Michigan Medical School, the PSA test is responsible for hundreds if not thousands of unwarranted biopsies a year, and ultimately overtreatment of incidental [cancers]. (WebMD) This is all food for thought and discussion with your physician.
Another risk factor associated with prostate tests is that thus far, there is no scientific proof that undergoing these tests improves your health or will help you live longer if you do have cancer. In fact, a multicenter study that included more than 71,000 men found no evidence that screening with PSA and DRE is effective in reducing the risk of death from prostate cancer. (Concato et al)
If the tests indicate you do have prostate cancer, then the good news is that you have identified it and you can now take steps to deal with it. Some prostate cancers do not cause symptoms or become life-threatening, and so doing nothing”except monitoring the situation regularly with repeat PSA tests, a process known as watchful waiting”may be all that is necessary. Prostate cancer tends to be a slowly progressive disease, and very slow-growing tumors are unlikely to threaten a man’s life. Therefore treating these men with surgery, radiation, or hormone therapy, all of which may cause serious side effects, would unnecessarily disrupt their quality of life.
What You Can Do Now?
If you’re a guy, or if you’re a woman who has a man in her life who has not taken any steps toward having his prostate tested, then it’s time to consider a few factors:
- One in six men develop prostate cancer is that one you? Talk to your healthcare provider about when you should have your prostate tests. Now may not be the time to have your PSA and DRE, but it is time to plan ahead.
- If you get prostate cancer, your life will never be the same, no matter what you read or people tell you. Research suggests that a healthful diet that is rich in antioxidants such as lycopene, quercetin, catechins, and procyanidins, may help protect against prostate cancer. (Konijeti; Jung; Reagan-Shaw) This is a step men can start at any age! You are never too young to reduce your risk of cancer through positive modifications to lifestyle, diet, exercise, stress-management, weight loss and nutrition as well as hormone and inflammation management, consuming limited dairy products and avoiding foods, additives and supplements that may contribute to prostate cancer. And while there is nothing that can “prevent” prostate cancer, this does not mean you shouldn’t do all you can to reduce your risk, no matter what age you are.
- Even if you think you’re too young to be tested, think again: prostate cancer can affect men in their thirties. Statistics from 1998 to 2002 found that the median age at diagnosis was 68 years, yet 0.5 percent of men between 35 and 44 were diagnosed with the disease, and 8.3 percent were between 45 and 54 at the time of diagnosis. (emedtv) And more and more evidence is showing that the positive effects of antioxidants is only being seen when commenced in your 20?s and early 30?s so it’s important to start eating healthy and taking positive lifestyle steps no matter what age you are.
- Think about adding to your diet and nutritional program with supplements like lycopene, quercetin, omega 3, mushroom extract, curcumin (turmeric), vitamin D, resveratrol, pectin, green tea, cayenne (capsaicin) that all have tier 1 and tier 2 clinical (human and animal) trials supporting their effectiveness in boosting immunity and causing apoptosis (self destruction) of cancer cells. And be cautious about supplements that may contribute to prostate cancer such as calcium and excessive folic acid/folate intake from supplements (as opposed to diet). Note also that daily multivitamin use has been linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer.
The bottom line. Talk to your doctor today and if it’s the right decision for you then “Man Up” and get tested. The earlier the detection, the better your treatment options and overall post-treatment quality of life.
Ten years ago, Sally Scanlon, 55, of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, was facing a breast cancer diagnosis. Today she is helping other women through the disease by motivating them to exercise.
In June 2001, Scanlon’s doctor found a lump during an annual exam. A mammogram and subsequent biopsy confirmed stage II breast cancer. After discussing options with her doctor, Scanlon decided to have chemotherapy and radiation.
She was 45 at the time.
She started her chemotherapy in July and finished in September, then began a 7-week course of radiation that November. During treatment, she experienced a lot of nausea and slept a lot. But over the course of her treatment, Scanlon says, she tried to stay positive.
“I didn’t want to hear about the worst-case scenarios,” she says.
Instead she leaned on her family and church family. Her daughter and grandson, who lived in Georgia, came to stay with her while she went through treatment. Her husband was unflappable throughout the process, as well.
“My husband, Rob, was so great through the whole experience. He even shaved my head when my hair started to fall out,” she recalls.
While in treatment, Scanlon attended an American Cancer Society Look Good, Feel Better class, which offers beauty tips to cancer patients to help them feel good about how they look during chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
“I was so impressed with the class and the people I met there. So when I found out that the American Cancer Society was doing a walk in my area – the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event in Providence – I signed up.”
As part of getting ready for Strides, Scanlon joined a walking program with some of the other participants. They met every Saturday to walk.
“I discovered there were huge benefits to exercising,” Scanlon says, “I’ve since lost 50 pounds. But the mental benefit has been even more important. It is such a big stress release.”
Around the same time that Scanlon started walking, she found out about the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery program, which matches specially-trained breast cancer survivors with newly diagnosed breast cancer patients to provide emotional support and guidance.
In 2004, Scanlon went through the training and became a Reach to Recovery volunteer. And through that work, she found out about a study called Moving Forward Together 2, a research program to boost exercise among Reach to Recovery participants.
Scanlon was a natural fit.
“I saw the woman I was counseling get a lot of the same stress relief from exercise,” she says. “Even though I was the one in the counselor role, it helped motivate me to stay on track with my own exercise.”
Her advice to women who are newly diagnosed: get out there, get online, and talk to people.
“I didn’t know anyone who had cancer when I was first diagnosed,” she says. “Now my friends call me the ‘cancer magnet’ – I meet and talk to people with cancer all the time. Get in touch with the American Cancer Society. Get online. Talk to people. It really helps.”
As health care costs play an ever-increasing role in Washington’s budget drama, Medicare officials announced last week they will continue to pay for two extremely expensive cancer treatments despite lingering questions about their effectiveness.
At a cost of about $88,000 per year, the cancer-fighting Avastin will still be available to eligible senior citizens for breast cancer treatment. The same goes for Provenge, a new “therapeutic vaccine” that boosts the immune system to fight prostate cancer for about $93,000 per course.
Even the staunchest number-crunchers are hesitant to argue against effective cancer medications. But in this economic climate, the high costs and limited benefits of the two drugs make them a target for health care analysts on both sides of the health care debate. Given the circumstances, they wonder, can Medicare afford it?
An advisory committee to the FDA unanimously voted last week to rescind Avastin’s approval for breast cancer patients, citing recent studies that show it is ineffective at combating the disease. But because Avastin maintains its FDA blessing to fight other cancers — and because so many women swear it saved their lives — doctors can continue to prescribe it “off label” for breast cancer and Medicare will continue to fit the bill.
Also last week, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced its conclusion that Provenge “improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries” and is “reasonable and necessary.” Only men with advanced prostate cancer that has spread throughout the body and does not respond to hormone therapy or radiation are eligible for the treatment.
Medicare’s coverage decision will greatly expand access to the drug, extending the lives of thousands of elderly men by an extra four or five months.
When CMS began studying whether to pay for the new Provenge treatment several months ago, critics of health care reform swiftly joined outcry from prostate cancer sufferers who accused the agency of “rationing care” based upon costs.
That argument echoes the criticism that care will be rationed even further in the years ahead after the establishment of the Independent Payment Advisory Board — a panel created by the health reform law to cut costs in the Medicare system.
Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., recently reignited the debate by saying that under the presidentially appointed IPAB, “a bunch of bureaucrats decide whether you get care, such as continuing on dialysis or cancer chemotherapy.”
“I guarantee you when you withdraw that, the patient is going to die,” he said. “It’s rationing.”
Neera Tanden, chief operating officer for the Center for American Progress, a liberal advocacy group, said Republicans have been too quick to vilify the administration’s attempts to find savings in the current Medicare model — including comparative effectiveness research for expensive drugs.
“When the White House offers up ideas for comparative effectiveness, it’s really just about funding research that would show if they work or if other drug are more effective. Republicans attack that as rationing,” said Tanden, a former member of the president’s health reform team. “I’m concerned that discourse makes CMS intimidated when it comes to these decisions — and that drives up premiums and costs for everyone in the private and public sector.”
It’s still unclear whether treatments like Avastin and Provenge might be targeted for cost-saving in the years ahead. But Joseph Antos, a scholar of health care and retirement policy at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, said there is already overwhelming pressure on Medicare to pay for these drugs, and that won’t change.
“From the patient side, there is an awful lot of expectation that these drugs should be provided and that translates into political pressure,” he said. “It’s really hard to tell a doctor who firmly believes this could help someone that they can’t use the fancy stuff.”
They likely won’t have to do that, said Gail Wilensky, a senior fellow at the international health group Project HOPE. If political buzz words like “rationing” and “death panels” keep flying around the nation’s capital, Medicare is unlikely to discontinue coverage for cancer drugs — no matter how limited their effectiveness.
“Whether or not this is sensible outside of a trial environment is a question we should be discussing as a society,” Wilensky said. “If we’re going to pay for these medications that other countries don’t, it would be nice to have a more rational discussion about all of this.”
Drugs used to treat prostate cancer in men may also be useful for difficult-to-treat breast cancers in some women, a Cancer Research UK study suggests. Hormone treatments like tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors are ineffective against up to 30% of breast cancers. But laboratory research in Cambridge, reported in The EMBO Journal, suggests some of these tumours may respond to drugs for male cancers. Cancer Research UK said the findings were a “great surprise”. Hormones can switch on genes which lead to cells dividing uncontrollably and developing into tumours.
In women, breast cancers can be driven by the female sex hormone oestrogen. In men, prostate cancer can be driven by male sex hormones – androgens. Breakthroughs have been made in treatments for breast cancer by developing drugs which interfere with the oestrogen’s action, halting the tumour’s progress. However, tumours which are not driven by the hormone have been harder to treat.
Prostate to breast
Researchers at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute found that some of these oestrogen negative tumours were instead influenced by male hormones. The same genes which were switched on by female sex hormones in oestrogen responsive tumours were activated by the male sex hormones. It raises the prospect that drugs already developed for prostate cancer could help some women. While androgens, such as testosterone, are typically associated with male development, they are also present in women.
The lead researcher Dr Ian Mills said: “This important discovery suggests that patients with a type of oestrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer may potentially benefit from therapies given to prostate cancer patients, which could transform treatment for this patient group in the future. ”But at the moment this laboratory research is still at an early stage.” Researchers said this could apply to up to 5% of all breast cancers. Dr Lesley Walker, from Cancer Research UK, said: “Prostate cancer depends on the androgen receptor for growth so it’s a great surprise that a type of breast cancer might also be fuelled by this protein.” Dr Caitlin Palframan, policy manager at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: “This fascinating research opens the door to personalised treatment for a small group of breast cancer patients.
“Women with oestrogen receptor negative disease have fewer treatment options and new ways to tackle it are urgently needed.”
It’s a sunny summer day. You’re sitting by the pool, eating a non-organic apple, drinking bottled water and talking on your cell phone. Which of these is most likely to increase your risk of cancer?
Despite recent concerns about plastics, pesticides and cell phones, it turns out sitting may be the greatest risk factor, especially if you sit for long periods of time. Physical activity burns calories, and the more calories we expend, even by standing, the less likely we are to gain weight. According to the American Cancer Society, being overweight or obese is clearly linked with an increased risk of developing several types of cancer, including cancers of the breast, colon, uterus, esophagus and kidney.
If you are a cancer survivor who struggles with the very common fear of cancer recurrence, or you have a family history of cancer, where do you start?
Buy a pedometer
Steer clear of the freebie pedometers given out at health fairs and invest in a quality device that syncs with your computer. You can find a good one for less than $40. Then wear it every single day. Track your daily steps for one week to find out your baseline, and then set a goal each week to increase your steps by 500 to 1000 per day until you reach 10,000 steps per day. If you are in the midst of cancer treatment, 10,000 steps may seem overwhelming, but there is substantial evidence that increasing physical activity during treatment helps reduce fatigue.
Sign up for a charity race
Not only will you raise money for a good cause, but the training program will also get you moving. If you have never done a race before, start with a 5K (3.1 miles). Running is not required – the goal is to get you moving.
Take a TV hiatus
Replace your TV watching habit with physical activity. Set the DVR for your favorite shows then spend your evening in your garden, playing with your children or your dog, or going for a long walk. When you must watch your favorite show, limit TV time to no more than 60 minutes and get up from the couch at each commercial break to walk around the house, do squats or do sit ups.
Set an hourly alarm at home and work
If you work at a desk job, get up from your desk every hour to take a break. Use your cell phone alarm, or set a reminder in Outlook as a reminder to move. Walk to a coworker’s office instead of emailing, step outside for some fresh air, or take a lap around the parking lot.
Keep your weekends as active as possible
If you are currently in the midst of cancer treatment, this may be difficult, but if you are through treatment and work at a desk job all week, maximize your activity on the weekend. Go for walk at a local park, swim at the lake or pool, bike with your family, or work in your garden.