Will losing weight lower your cancer risk? It can.

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Many people think that whether or not you get cancer is just luck of the draw. Or, that your chances are determined by genes you inherit from your parents.

Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD.

While there is some randomness to who develops cancer, and genes are important, a new awareness survey suggests most people don’t know about  lifestyle and health characteristics that affect your risk for cancer. Several of these can be reversed.

We’ve known for many years that being overweight or obese increases risk for several types of cancer, including cancers of the colon, rectum, endometrium, liver, kidney, breast (in postmenopausal women), gallbladder, pancreas, and some parts of the stomach, ovary, and esophagus. Obesity also increases risk for developing advanced prostate cancer, the most dangerous stage of this cancer. Some newer studies suggest that obesity also increases risk for thyroid cancer and for some cancers of the blood, lymph, and nervous systems. Read more… “Will losing weight lower your cancer risk? It can.”

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    Now, on World Cancer Day, We Already Have the Knowledge, Tools to Prevent So Many Cancers

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    In his State of the Union address, President Obama announced a “moonshot” program to fight cancer. In charge of that program, Vice President Biden has met with oncologists, scientists, and other leaders in the cancer field, and stated that, “We’re trying to get to a quantum leap on the path to a cure”

    Anne McTiernan MD, PhD.
    Anne McTiernan MD, PhD.

    Much of the focus has been on Big Data, and on sharing science across institutions, in the effort to quickly move results from the lab to the public. In a nation where approximately four in ten people can expect to be diagnosed with invasive cancer in their lifetimes, we need big efforts to fight this disease.

    Today, World Cancer Day, is a time to raise awareness of prevention: Cancer prevention needs to be a part of the renewed push against cancer.

    Focusing only on the cure is like trying to douse a forest fire on one front while someone is lighting matches on another. The good news is that we already have the knowledge and tools here on earth to prevent a large proportion of cancers from developing, without reaching for the moon.

    WCD adAvoidance of known carcinogens (including tobacco, excess radiation, sun and tanning), and use of vaccines for human papilloma and hepatitis B viruses, can prevent a wide range of cancers such as lung, skin, liver, cervix, mouth and throat. Screening and removal of premalignant lesions can prevent several cancers including those of the skin, colon, and cervix. Medications have been shown in clinical trials to prevent breast or prostate cancers in persons at high risk for those cancers. Read more… “Now, on World Cancer Day, We Already Have the Knowledge, Tools to Prevent So Many Cancers”

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