Your County’s Health and Cancer Risk

The latest report on county health rankings found, once again, where you live makes a  difference to how long you live and your health. The least healthy counties have twice the death rates as the nation’s healthiest, according to the report. Wepeople_03

This is the fifth annual County Health Rankings, a report that compiles data on mortality and 29 health factors, including many that relate to cancer risk. For these factors, the findings are slightly encouraging for the nation. These include:

  • Obesity: Obesity rates for adults are holding steady with a rate of 28 percent for 2012. Prior, obesity rates increased from 16 percent of adults in 1995 to 28 percent in 2010. Aside from smoking, obesity is now the single largest risk factor for cancer. The latest research shows that obesity is a cause of 8 cancers, including post-menopausal breast, ovarian and endometrial. Continue reading


Halving Cancer Death with AICR Recommendations for Prevention

Eating mostly fruits, vegetables and other plant foods, staying a healthy weight and exercising are among AICR’s recommendations shown to reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Holding HandsNow a new study suggests that healthy people who follow at least five of AICR’s Recommendations have a lower risk of dying from cancer by more than half compared to those who don’t follow any. And the lower risk was seen with meeting just one recommendation, getting lower for each additional recommendation followed.

The study was published in the February issue of Cancer Causes & Control.

“We found that meeting the AICR recommendations for body weight, diet, and physical activity is associated with lower cancer mortality,” says lead author Theresa Hastert, an epidemiologist at University of Michigan School of Public Health who conducted the study while at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington. “Although the benefits are greatest for people who meet the most recommendations, even meeting one or two can be protective.” Continue reading


Pizza for Cancer Prevention? Mining Twitter for Popular Nutrition and Cancer Myths

I am not a cancer expert.canstockphoto6433880

So when I want to get a sense of the state of research related to nutrition and cancer I turn to resources like the AICR. But many people don’t know about such resources, and this is reflected in cancer knowledge. For instance, the AICR’s own survey found that 42% of Americans don’t think that a healthy diet can reduce cancer risk, and fewer are aware of associations with specific foods such as processed meat.

What resources are people visiting, and what are they talking about? One way to get a glimpse of this is to mine Twitter, which I did for the last couple weeks, collecting about 420,000 tweets containing the word “cancer”. From these, I used the list of terms and their derivatives from this AICR/WCRF report, along with other health related terms that I came up with (82 in total) to assemble a list of 14,585 tweets for analysis of the links being posted. Continue reading