Category Archives: Cancer

Good news for once: Night shift work does NOT raise breast cancer risk, new study finds 

MNT has some details:

“In 2007, the World Health Organization published a review that concluded night shift work is likely to raise the risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer. A new review of more than 1.4 million women challenges this conclusion, after revealing night shift work had little or no impact on breast cancer incidence.

Working night shifts has little or no impact on women’s risk of breast cancer, a new study suggests.

Study co-author Dr. Ruth Travis, of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues publish their findings in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 15 million adults in the United States work full-time night shifts, rotating shifts, or other irregular schedules.It is well established that such working patterns can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm – the physical, mental, and behavioral changes that occur over a 24-hour cycle, which mainly respond to light and dark in the environment.

Circadian rhythm disruption has been associated with an array of health problems, including sleep disorders, obesity, diabetes, depression, and bipolar disorder.”

Source: Night shift work ‘does not raise breast cancer risk,’ study finds – Medical News Today

Would You Rather Die of Heart Disease or Cancer?

These cows may give you cancer

Carcinogenic cows?

The idea that heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases are caused by dietary saturated fats is losing credibility. I lost faith in that theory in 2009.

Instead, cardiovascular disease is now linked to high consumption of carbohydrates, particularly those carbs that are rapidly absorbed and turned into blood sugar.

Unfortunately, the diet that reduces risk of cardiovascular disease may increase your risk of cancer. Keep reading.

If you’re a nutrition science nerd, here’s a pertinent report from researchers at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic:

“The results of our study show that high-glycaemic carbohydrates or a high overall proportion of carbohydrates in the diet are the key ecological correlates of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. These findings strikingly contradict the traditional ‘saturated fat hypothesis’, but in reality, they are compatible with the evidence accumulated from observational studies that points to both high glycaemic index and high glycaemic load (the amount of consumed carbohydrates × their glycaemic index) as important triggers of CVDs. The highest glycaemic indices (GI) out of all basic food sources can be found in potatoes and cereal products, which also have one of the highest food insulin indices (FII) that betray their ability to increase insulin levels.The role of the high glycaemic index/load can be explained by the hypothesis linking CVD risk to inflammation resulting from the excessive spikes of blood glucose (‘post-prandial hyperglycaemia’). Furthermore, multiple clinical trials have demonstrated that when compared with low-carbohydrate diets, a low-fat diet increases plasma triglyceride levels and decreases total cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol, which generally indicates a higher CVD risk. Simultaneously, LDL-cholesterol decreases as well and the number of dense, small LDL particles increases at the expense of less dense, large LDL particles, which also indicates increased CVD risk. These findings are mirrored even in the present study because cereals and carbohydrates in general emerge as the strongest correlates of low cholesterol levels.

In light of these findings, the negative correlation of refined sugar with CVD risk may seem surprising, but the mean daily consumption of refined sugar in Europe is quite low (~84 g/day), when compared with potato and cereal carbohydrates (~235 g/day), and makes up only ~20% of CA energy. Refined sugar is also positively tied to many animal products such as animal fat and total fat and animal protein, and negatively to % PC CARB energy and % CA energy. Therefore, a high consumption of refined sugar is accompanied by a high consumption of animal products and lower intakes of other carbohydrates. Furthermore, the glycaemic index of refined sugar (sucrose) is rather moderate (~65).”

Source: Food consumption and the actual statistics of cardiovascular diseases: an epidemiological comparison of 42 European countries | Grasgruber | Food & Nutrition Research

Elsewhere in this long article:

“Current rates of cancer incidence in Europe are namely the exact geographical opposite of CVDs. In sharp contrast to CVDs, cancer correlates with the consumption of animal food (particularly animal fat), alcohol, a high dietary protein quality, high cholesterol levels, high health expenditure, and above average height. These contrasting patterns mirror physiological mechanisms underlying physical growth and the development of cancer and CVDs. The best example of this health paradox is again that of French men, who have the lowest rates of CVD mortality in Europe, but the highest rates of cancer incidence. In other words, cancer and CVDs appear to express two extremes of a fundamental metabolic disbalance that is related to factors such as cholesterol and IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor).”

I wish these researchers had looked at over death rates associated with various ways of eating. Perhaps that will be in a future paper.

I’d rather die of a heart attack than cancer.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Eating Fish Is Still Good For You

Dead whole fish aren't very appealing to many folks

Dead whole fish aren’t very appealing to many folks

Heart disease is still the #1 killer in the U.S., followed by cancer and chronic lower respiratory tract disease. “Heart disease” is a broad category; the primary killer is heart attacks.

Eating fish regularly seems to reduce your risk of heart attack. I favor the cold-water fatty fish like salmon, trout, herring, and sardines.

I quote the NYT:

“Numerous studies have found that people who eat fish on a regular basis are less likely to die of a heart attack than those who don’t eat it or eat it less than once a month, and a 2006 Harvard review concluded that eating one to two servings of fish rich in omega-3s every week cut the risk of dying of a heart attack by one-third.”

Source: Why Is Fish Good for You? Because It Replaces Meat? – The New York Times

PS: Accidents are the #4 cause of death, and suicide is #10.

PPS: Click for ideas on reducing your risk of cancer.

Night Shift Work Is Dangerous

Not very pertinent, but a cool picture

Not very pertinent, but a cool picture

Shift work can kill you.

I’ve seen studies associating night shift work with T diabetes in Japanese men, higher breast cancer rates, more metabolic syndrome, and higher heart disease risk in men.

Now we have evidence for higher diabetes rates in women who do shift work”

“Our results suggest that an extended period of rotating night shift work is associated with a modestly increased risk of type 2 diabetes in women, which appears to be partly mediated through body weight. Proper screening and intervention strategies in rotating night shift workers are needed for prevention of diabetes.”

Source: PLOS Medicine: Rotating Night Shift Work and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Two Prospective Cohort Studies in Women

Action Plan: P.D. Mangan has some ideas.

Also, reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes with the Mediterranean diet.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: If you get one of my books, stay safe and read it during the day.

Dr. Gorski on diet and exercise versus cancer: A science-based view 

You need to worry about cancer because you have a roughly four in 10 chance of coming down with invasive cancer. (Skin cancers like squamous cell and basal cell are quite common, but rarely invasive.)

Dr. David Gorski is a breast cancer surgeon. He’s looked at the scientific literature on the linkage between diet and exercises, and the risk of developing cancer.

Here’s his conclusion from his review at Science-Based Medicine:

“You can reduce your risk of cancer by staying active and exercising, eating a healthy diet with a lot of plant-based foods and minimizing intake of processed meats, limiting alcohol consumption (although I think the WCRF/AICR guidelines go a bit too far in saying that you shouldn’t drink at all if possible), and maintaining a healthy weight. (Of course, if you stay active and eat a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight will probably not be a problem.) Conceptually, it’s easy to do. In practice, as I’m discovering, it’s anything but easy.”

Source: Diet and exercise versus cancer: A science-based view « Science-Based Medicine

The Mediterranean diet seems to protect against cancer.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: One of the reasons I write diet books is that I want to keep you from getting cancer.

Being overweight or obese linked to increased risk of eight more cancers 

From MedicalNewsToday:

“A new study strengthens the link between obesity and cancer, after identifying a further eight cancers that are more likely to develop with excess weight, including stomach, pancreas, and liver cancers.

Researchers have associated excess weight with a further eight cancers.

But there is some good news; researchers say losing the excess weight and preventing further weight gain can help lower the risk of these cancers.”

*   *   *

“The researchers found sufficient evidence to suggest excess weight can increase the risk of eight cancers, in addition to the five already identified. These cancers include:

Gall bladder cancer
Liver cancer
Meningioma – a form of brain tumor
Multiple myeloma – a type of blood cancer
Ovarian cancer
Pancreatic cancer
Thyroid cancer”

Source: Being overweight, obese linked to increased risk of eight more cancers – Medical News Today

To prevent or cure overweight and obesity, get one of my books. They’re expensive, but you’re worth it.

Mediterranean and Paleo Diets May Reduce Incidence of Colon Polyps

Colon cancer is one of several cancer types reduced by the Mediterranean diet. The diet may do so by preventing colon adenomas (aka colon polyps), which are precursors to cancer. Click the link at bottom for the full scientific report. A snippet:

“Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer mortality in the United States. Rapidly increasing incidence rates in previously low-incidence populations in urban China and Japan and among male Polynesians in Hawaii have coincided with the adoption of a more westernized lifestyle by those populations. These changing incidence rates, along with studies of immigrant populations, point to a strong influence of diet and other lifestyle factors on CRC risk.”

Source: Paleolithic and Mediterranean Diet Pattern Scores and Risk of Incident, Sporadic Colorectal Adenomas