Excess weight linked to eight more cancer types

Limiting weight gain may help to reduce risk of eight cancers | Science Daily| New England Journal of Medicine

 

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An international team of researchers has identified eight additional types of cancer linked to excess weight and obesity: stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, ovary, meningioma (a type of brain tumor), thyroid cancer and the blood cancer multiple myeloma.

Limiting weight gain over the decades could help to reduce the risk of these cancers, the data suggest.

The findings, published Aug. 25 in The New England Journal of Medicine, are based on a review of more than 1,000 studies of excess weight and cancer risk analyzed by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Cancer on Research (IARC), based in France.

Full reference: Lauby-Secretan, B. et al.  Body Fatness and Cancer — Viewpoint of the IARC Working Group. New England Journal of Medicine, 2016; 375 (8): 794 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsr1606602

Examination of Broad Symptom Improvement Resulting From Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Breast Cancer Survivors

Lengacher, C.A. et al. (2016). Journal of Clinical Oncology. vol. 34(24). pp. 2827-2834

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Purpose :The purpose of this randomized trial was to evaluate the efficacy of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Breast Cancer (MBSR[BC]) program in improving psychological and physical symptoms and quality of life among breast cancer survivors (BCSs) who completed treatment. Outcomes were assessed immediately after 6 weeks of MBSR(BC) training and 6 weeks later to test efficacy over an extended timeframe.

Patients and Methods: A total of 322 BCSs were randomly assigned to either a 6-week MBSR(BC) program (n = 155) or a usual care group (n = 167). Psychological (depression, anxiety, stress, and fear of recurrence) and physical symptoms (fatigue and pain) and quality of life (as related to health) were assessed at baseline and at 6 and 12 weeks. Linear mixed models were used to assess MBSR(BC) effects over time, and participant characteristics at baseline were also tested as moderators of MBSR(BC) effects.

Results :Results demonstrated extended improvement for the MBSR(BC) group compared with usual care in both psychological symptoms of anxiety, fear of recurrence overall, and fear of recurrence problems and physical symptoms of fatigue severity and fatigue interference (P < .01). Overall effect sizes were largest for fear of recurrence problems (d = 0.35) and fatigue severity (d = 0.27). Moderation effects showed BCSs with the highest levels of stress at baseline experienced the greatest benefit from MBSR(BC).

Conclusion :The MBSR(BC) program significantly improved a broad range of symptoms among BCSs up to 6 weeks after MBSR(BC) training, with generally small to moderate overall effect sizes.

Read the abstract here

Physical Activity Associated With Fewer Cancers

Jenks, S. (2016) JNCI: Jnl of National Cancer Institute. Volume 108, Issue 8

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Even moderate leisure-time physical activity may protect against 13 cancers, according to a massive observational study that appeared May 16 in JAMA Internal Medicine (doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.1548).

But which type of exercise brings the most benefit is not yet clear, researchers say, nor is exercise alone likely to account for its association with a lower cancer risk in colon, breast, and endometrial cancers, among others.

“Physical activity is not a stand-alone, magic bullet,” said William McCarthy, Ph.D., adjunct professor in the department of health services in the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles. “The biggest bang [in risk reduction] comes when exercise is coupled with a Mediterranean-style diet and not smoking.”

Still, McCarthy said, the recent joint study by researchers at the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society highlights exercise’s importance to cancer risk and overall health, despite what he described as years of skepticism in the scientific community. “It’s a shot in the arm for those of us doing exercise studies for years,” he said.

Researchers at both organizations analyzed pooled data for the self-reported leisure-time physical activities of 1.44 million people in 12 U.S. and European studies conducted between 1982 and 2004. Analyzing data from those combined studies gave investigators greater statistical power than a single study.

Read the original article abstract here

Read the commentary here

The European code against cancer

WHO Europe has issued a new edition of the European code against cancer to mark World Cancer Day (4 February 2016).

The 4th edition of the code lists 12 ways of helping people to adopt healthier lifestyles and of boosting cancer prevention.  The European code against cancer was prepared by cancer specialists, scientists and other experts to increase the awareness of European citizens about efficient ways to prevent cancer.

 

Why most cancer isn’t attributable to simple ‘bad luck’

Recent research suggested that most cancers arise for intrinsic reasons that cannot be prevented. But a newer study suggests external factors play a vital role – The Guardian 

study published in Science in early 2015 reported that most cancers aren’t preventable and are simply a case of “bad luck”. A year on, however, and a study published in Nature has come to the opposite conclusion: that external factors such as tobacco, sunlight and human papilloma virus play a greater part in whether or not a person gets cancer.

So what does cause cancer: bad luck or avoidable lifestyle choices and environmental factors?

Read the full comment article via the Guardian


 

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Wu, S. et al. Nature: 529,43–47(07 January 2016)

Abstract:

Recent research has highlighted a strong correlation between tissue-specific cancer risk and the lifetime number of tissue-specific stem-cell divisions. Whether such correlation implies a high unavoidable intrinsic cancer risk has become a key public health debate with the dissemination of the ‘bad luck’ hypothesis. Here we provide evidence that intrinsic risk factors contribute only modestly (less than ~10–30% of lifetime risk) to cancer development. First, we demonstrate that the correlation between stem-cell division and cancer risk does not distinguish between the effects of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. We then show that intrinsic risk is better estimated by the lower bound risk controlling for total stem-cell divisions. Finally, we show that the rates of endogenous mutation accumulation by intrinsic processes are not sufficient to account for the observed cancer risks. Collectively, we conclude that cancer risk is heavily influenced by extrinsic factors. These results are important for strategizing cancer prevention, research and public health.

Read the full article here

 

 

Most cancer cases are avoidable, say researchers

Study says environment and lifestyle factors such as toxic chemicals and radiation are main cause of disease

Most cases of cancer result from avoidable factors such as toxic chemicals and radiation, according to research published online in the journal, Nature.

The findings clash with research published earlier this year which found that differences in cellular processes were the chief reason some tissues became cancerous more frequently than others. That study led to claims that certain cancers were mainly the result of bad luck, and suggested these types would be relatively resistant to prevention efforts.

The new study used four approaches to conclude only 10-30% of cancers were down to the way the body naturally functions or “luck”.

Link to the research: Substantial Contribution of Extrinsic Risk Factors to Cancer Development. Song Wu, Scott Powers, Wei Zhu & Yusuf A. Hannun  Nature. Published online 16 December 2015