The Cancer Prevention Deal: Nurturing Nature

Your genes are not your medical destiny.

Dr. David Katz

With relatively uncommon exception, that is the rule established by ground-breaking research published over recent years, and nicely illustrated by a 2008 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That rule could, and perhaps should, remake the way you play the game of life.

The illustrative trial was a pilot study of 30 men with early stage prostate cancer who were eligible to be observed carefully for disease progression without undergoing surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. These men were enrolled into a trial called GEMINAL, developed and implemented by my friend, Dr. Dean Ornish, and his colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco.

The study took advantage of often indolent prostate cancer to assess the effects of a lifestyle intervention, without the confounding influences of medical or surgical cancer treatments. The men participating in the GEMINAL study received a lifestyle intervention: low-fat, whole foods, plant-based nutrition; stress management techniques; moderate exercise; and participation in a psychosocial support group. The study lasted three months. Continue reading

Study: Cut Alcohol, Up Plant Foods for Lower Cancer Risk

Low alcohol consumption and a plant-based diet, part of AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention, are associated with reducing the risk of colorectal and other obesity-related cancers, finds a new study, adding to a growing body of independent research on how following AICR’s recommendations links to lower cancer risk, longer survival, and improved overall health.Wines_FD001551_7

This latest study was published in Cancer Causes & Control. You can read more about the other studies investigating AICR recommendations here.

The Cancer Causes & Control study included almost 3,000 cancer-free adults who had no history of cancer. Participants were part of the ongoing Framingham Heart Study. Back in 1991, everyone filled out a questionnaire about how much they weighed, what they ate and their activity habits.

After almost 12 years, 480 of the participants had developed an obesity-related cancer, such as colorectal or breast.

Study researchers then scored how much participants met seven of AICR’s recommendations, giving them zero, half point or one point. The scoring included Continue reading

No, Cancer Isn’t Just “Bad Luck”

A paper published recently in the journal Science has generated an enormous amount of media coverage. The paper’s matter-of-fact title, “Variation in Cancer Incidence Among Tissues Can Be Explained By the Number of Stem Cell Divisions,” doesn’t sound like something that would set the internet buzzing, but it sure did.
Cell Division
That’s because of how the paper was promoted and covered: “MOST CANCERS DUE TO BAD LUCK, NOT PREVENTABLE, STUDY FINDS” screamed one headline. But there’s a sharp disconnect between this paper’s findings and the hype surrounding it.

Here at AICR, we fund and analyze the research showing that a healthy weight, a healthy diet and regular physical activity could prevent hundreds of thousands of U.S. cancers every year. We’re concerned that the oversimplified coverage this study received will reinforce the widespread conviction that cancer “just happens” and cause Americans to throw up their hands and ignore the empowering, evidence-based message that everyday choices play an important protective role in risk for many of the most common cancers.

When looking at this paper, ask yourself three basic questions. Continue reading