Category Archives: Cancer

Mediterranean Diet May Prevent Cancer Only In Women, Not Men

The traditional Mediterranean diet has long been linked to lower risk of certain cancers, particularly colon, breast, uterus, and prostate cancer. That’s one reason the diet is usually ranked as the #1 healthiest diet in the U.S. News and World Report’s annual diet survey. A 2020study of a Netherlands population suggest that the anti-cancer benefit applies only to women. Excerpts from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

“In this NLCS analysis, sex-specific associations of a priori defined Mediterranean diet adherence with risks of overall cancer and cancer subgroups defined by relations with 3 major cancer risk factors (tobacco smoking, obesity, and alcohol consumption) were investigated. In women, middle compared with low aMEDr values [alternate Mediterranean diet score without alcohol] were significantly associated with a reduced risk of overall cancer and the majority of the cancer subgroups investigated. Other associations in women were not statistically significant after full adjustment for confounding, but all estimates were below 1. No association was observed between aMEDr and risk of overall cancer or any of the cancer subgroups in men. Inclusion of alcohol in the Mediterranean diet score diminished the model performance.

“Even though the association of Mediterranean diet adherence with overall cancer risk is comprised of a combination of potentially diverging associations with individual cancer (sub)types, overall cancer risk is an interesting end point for epidemiological studies. It provides insight in the overall possible benefits of Mediterranean diet adherence and the potential of the Mediterranean diet as a dietary strategy for cancer prevention. Findings of previously conducted prospective studies evaluating the relation between a priori defined Mediterranean diet adherence and overall cancer risk have been inconclusive and were rarely specified by sex.

“A priori defined Mediterranean diet adherence has previously significantly been associated with a reduced overall cancer risk in the total European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort as well as the Greek EPIC cohort.9,10 Comparing the highest with the lowest Mediterranean diet adherence category in the total EPIC cohort, HRs (95% CIs) of 0.93 (0.88-0.99) and 0.93 (0.89-0.96) were observed for men and women, respectively. Although inverse associations were also suggested for both sexes in the Greek EPIC cohort, only effect estimates obtained in women reached statistical significance (HRhigh vs low [95% CI]: 0.83 [0.63-1.09] for men and 0.73 [0.56-0.96] for women). In addition to the previously mentioned EPIC studies, weak inverse associations between Mediterranean diet adherence and overall cancer risk were observed in men (HRper tertile increase [95% CI]: 0.97 [0.94-1.01]) and women (HRper tertile increase [95% CI]: 0.97 [0.93-1.00]) participating in the Swedish prospective Västerbotten Intervention Programme. In the present analysis of the NLCS cohort, a priori defined Mediterranean diet adherence was not associated with overall cancer risk in men. In regard to women, although the multivariable-adjusted associations in female NLCS participants were not statistically significant in most cases, effect estimates were stronger inverse than those observed for women in the total EPIC cohort, which did reach statistical significance possibly due to the larger number of cases. Additional cohort studies in Germany and France have investigated the association between Mediterranean diet adherence and overall cancer risk in men and women together and did not observe an association. Besides the prospective cohort evidence, a reduced overall cancer risk (borderline significant, P = .05) was indicated in patients with coronary heart disease who followed an α-linolenic acid-rich Mediterranean-type diet as opposed to a control diet close to the step 1 prudent diet of the American Heart Association in the randomized Lyon Diet Heart Study. However, results should be interpreted with caution because they were based on only 24 incident cancer cases.”

Source: Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet and Overall Cancer Incidence: The Netherlands Cohort Study – Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

At least we still have unequivocal evidence for the cardiovascular, longevity, and anti-dementia properties of the Mediterranean diet. Or do we?

Steve Parker, M.D.

Mediterranean Diet May Help Men With Prostate Cancer

Grapes are a time-honored component of the Mediterranean diet

The traditional Mediterranean diet lowers the risk of several cancers, one of which is prostate cancer. Now we have evidence that the diet can help prevent progression of early-stage prostate cancer.

In a study to examine a Mediterranean diet in relation to prostate cancer progression in men on active surveillance, researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center found that men with localized prostate cancer who reported a baseline dietary pattern that more closely follows the key principles of a Mediterranean-style diet fared better over the course of their disease.

Source: Mediterranean Diet May Help Men With Prostate Cancer

Steve Parker, M.D.

Mediterranean Diet Ranked as Best Overall of 2020

Santorini, Greek seaside

Not surprising!

Every year, the U.S. News and World Report puts together a panel of experts to rank various diets.

From MedScape:

For the third year in a row, the Mediterranean diet has been named the best diet overall in the U.S. News & World Report annual rankings.

In 2018, the Mediterranean diet shared top honors with the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. Both focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The ketogenic diet, one of the most popular, again fared well in the annual survey, but only in the fast weight loss category. Overall, it was not rated highly.

Angela Haupt, managing editor of health for the publication, says this year’s list has ”no surprises,” as it includes many diets that have been named outstanding before. Trendy diets typically won’t be found on its list, she says, explaining that its experts look for plans that have solid research and staying power.

Source: Mediterranean Diet Repeats as Best Overall of 2020

Click for the traditional Mediterranean diet.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Click the pic to purchase at E-book versions also available at Smashwords. com.


Exercise Reduces Risk for Cancer By Up to 25 Percent

Recreation, not exercise

Exercise isn’t supposed to be fun. Ken Hutchins wrote, “Do not try to make exercise enjoyable.”  Getting your teeth cleaned isn’t supposed to be fun, either.

Once I got that through my thick skull, it made it easier for me to slog through my  twice weekly workouts.

Hutchins again: “We accept that both exercise and recreation are important in the overall scheme of fitness, and they overlap to a great degree. But to reap maximum benefits of both or either they must first be well-defined and then be segregated in practice.”

Back on topic…

From UPI:

In findings published Thursday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers at the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health report that people who engaged in physical activity as recommended by the National Institutes of Health were able to reduce their risk for seven different types of cancer by as much as 25 percent.

This included common—and deadly—forms of the disease like colon and breast cancers, as well as endometrial cancer, kidney cancer, myeloma, liver cancer, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

*  *  *

Updated federal guidelines for physical activity recommend that people should aim for two and a half to five hours per week of moderate-intensity activity or 75 to 150 minutes per week of “vigorous activity.”

Source: Exercise may reduce risk for cancer by as much as 25 percent –

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Click the pic to purchase at E-book versions also available at Smashwords. com.

Alcohol and Cancer Risk: Clinical and Research Implications | Oncology | JAMA | JAMA Network

Stillhouse Moonshine Whiskey (NOT specifically linked to increased cancer risk)

Do you drink alcohol in part because you think it’s good for heart health? For longevity? To prevent dementia? If so, you may be increasing your risk of cancer.

From JAMA Network:

Ample evidence has been available for some time indicating that alcohol use is a preventable risk factor for cancer, and the World Health Organization deemed alcohol a carcinogen more than 30 years ago. In the United States, it is estimated that 5.6% of incident cancer cases (approximately 87 000 each year) are associated with alcohol, including cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, liver, esophagus (squamous cell carcinoma), female breast, and colorectum. Type of alcohol does not appear to matter; all alcoholic beverages include ethanol, which increases levels of acetaldehyde and in turn promotes DNA damage. Moreover, even moderate levels of consumption (often defined as approximately 14–28 g/d, the equivalent of about 1–2 drinks) appear to be associated with higher risk of some cancers, including cancers of the female breast. A protective association has emerged for some cancers, with the most evidence for kidney, Hodgkin lymphoma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Nonetheless, the overall cancer burden associated with alcohol use is substantial and comparable with that of other preventable risk factors such as UV exposure and excess body weight.

Source: Alcohol and Cancer Risk: Clinical and Research Implications | Oncology | JAMA | JAMA Network

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Click the pic to purchase at E-book versions also available at Smashwords. com.

A practical guide to the Mediterranean diet – From Harvard

There are myriad reasons the traditional Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest diets. From Harvard Medical Publishing, an article written by a Registered Dietitian:

The Mediterranean diet has received much attention as a healthy way to eat, and with good reason. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, certain cancers, depression, and in older adults, a decreased risk of frailty, along with better mental and physical function. In January [2019], US News and World Report named it the “best diet overall” for the second year running.

Source: A practical guide to the Mediterranean diet – Harvard Health Blog – Harvard Health Publishing

Ready to get started? Click the link above.

Ready to lose weight and start a fitness program, too? Click the pic below.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Click the pic to purchase at E-book versions also available at Smashwords. com.


Animal Versus Plant Protein: Which Is Healthier?

Filet mignon and sautéed asparagus

“In this large prospective study, higher plant protein intake was associated with lower total and CVD-related mortality. Although animal protein intake was not associated with mortality outcomes, replacement of red meat protein or processed meat protein with plant protein was associated with lower total, cancer-related, and CVD-related mortality.”

Source: Association of Animal and Plant Protein Intake With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality | Cardiology | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

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Fresh Praise for the Mediterranean Diet in NYT

Dead whole fish aren’t very appealing to many folks

From Paul Greenberg’s opinion piece in the New York Times (July 19, 2018):

In 1953, not long before President Dwight Eisenhower suffered a heart attack in office, the social scientist Leland Allbaugh published “Crete: A Case Study of an Underdeveloped Area.” The landmark analysis of the eating patterns of an isolated Greek population strongly suggested that a calorie-limited diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil and low in animal protein, particularly red meat, could lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes, decrease chronic disease and extend life.

Medical research over the last half-century has largely borne out this initial finding. Weight-loss fads and eating trends come and go, but the so-called Mediterranean diet has stood fast. “Among all diets,” Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health concluded in an email, “the traditional Mediterranean diet is most strongly supported for delivering long term health and wellbeing.”

Click for a more complete definition of the traditional Mediterranean Diet, which includes alcohol. More from Greenberg:


As the clinician Artemis Simopoulos pointed out to me, two meatless days a week are the norm in Greek Orthodox communities. This religious provision encouraged traditional communities to eat fish not only on Fridays but on Wednesdays as well. Recent epidemiological evidence links two portions of seafood a week with lower blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides. In spite of this, American seafood consumption has stayed consistently low compared with other developed countries.


And for decades now, even Greeks have been abandoning their traditional foods and eating much more than they previously did. “In my view, the reason the diet worked to prevent heart disease on Crete was because they weren’t overeating,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. “By the time I got to Crete in the early 1990s, they were, and the hospitals were full of heart attacks and people with type 2 diabetes.”


Today, 65 years after Allbaugh returned from Crete, with modern America plagued by one of the highest obesity rates in the world and failing to meet life expectancy averages of almost every other developed nation, it’s worth circling back to the eating patterns of the ancients. For if the United States were to put itself on a Mediterranean diet, we would likely see huge improvements not only in human and environmental health, but also in rural economic stability.

RTWT for Greenberg’s roadmap to an American Mediterranean diet.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one

Is Drinking Tea Healthful?

Green tea isn’t always green

From P.D. Mangan’s new book “Best Supplements for Men“:

Green tea, which is commonly drunk in China and Japan, is associated with lower rates of cancer, about 30% lower in those who drank the highest amounts of green tea compared to the lowest. Deaths from cardiovascular disease were about 25% lower in the highest consumption group versus the lowest. This is of course epidemiological evidence, meaning that it can’t show whether green tea actually prevented disease, or that there’s some other connection such as that heather people drank more green tea.

Laboratory and other evidence, however, provides some good reasons to think that green tea is the real deal when it comes to sides prevention.

A recent study of the elderly in Singapore found tea consumption linked to much lower risk of neurocognitive decline in women and carriers of the “dementia gene” APOE ε4.

P.D. suggests that the health-promoting dose of tea is 3 to 5 cups a day, and black tea may be just as good as green.

Steve Parker, M.D.


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