More people are living with cancer – and living longer – than ever before. There are currently nearly 14 million cancer survivors in the United States and this number is expected to increase to nearly 18 million by 2022, less than 10 years from now. Is our healthcare system ready for this?
A new study by Janet de Moor from NCI’s Office of Cancer Survivorship and colleagues addresses the challenges that will be facing our nation over the coming years. The study was highlighted in this week’s issue of Cancer Research Update.
According to the authors, by the year 2020 two-thirds of all cancer survivors will be aged 65 or over. This population will be facing the challenges of aging as well as the challenges of being cancer survivors. The needs of cancer survivors vary widely according to their initial diagnosis, treatments they received, and their other health concerns and issues. The authors note that compared to people who have never had cancer, cancer survivors tend to have poorer health and functioning overall. Continue reading
Breastfeeding provides numerous benefits to babies, including preventing many illnesses. Often overlooked is the benefit moms get from breastfeeding their babies.
Now for the first time, a study published yesterday found that women who followed AICR’s recommendation for breastfeeding reduced their risk of premature death from all diseases.
The study, featured in Cancer Research Update, found that mothers who breastfed their babies for at least six months had a 17 percent reduced risk for early death compared to women who did not breastfeed at all. Even those who breastfed for a shorter duration had about a 13 percent lower risk for early death. Breastfeeding linked to lower risk for early death from both cancer and cardiovascular disease.
We’ve known, from AICR’s expert report and its updates, that lactation reduces breast cancer risk for mom, but this evidence shows it can also help prevent early death. Although the researchers in this study did not discuss why breastfeeding may lower death risk, we do have some ideas as to how it helps lower risk for breast cancer.
- The longer women breastfeed, the fewer menstrual cycles they have and therefore have reduced lifetime exposure to hormones, especially estrogen, that influence breast cancer risk.
- Breast tissue is shed during lactation and for mature cells, there’s programmed cell death. Both decrease cancer risk as cells with potential DNA damage are shed or die.
This is the first study to look at the association between breastfeeding and mortality in the mother. The researchers say more studies need to be done to confirm these findings.
Most moms do want to breastfeed their babies as long as they can, but it can be very challenging to maintain without support. Find help, tips and suggestions for successful breastfeeding at womenshealth.gov.
During National Public Health Week, we’re taking you behind the scenes at AICR to show you how we craft our empowering, evidence-based messages about cancer prevention, and target them to our different audiences.
It’s not enough to show people the research that eating more plant foods and less meat offers powerful protection from cancer. Nor it is enough to give them a simple rule of thumb to follow.
That information is important, but information only takes people so far. To help them actually make the kind of vital, life-saving changes AICR recommends, we need to provide them with tools — practical, versatile, easy-to-use tools.
And when it comes to those AICR Recommendations that deal with the foods we choose, the tools in question are recipes. Our recipes distill the wealth of scientific evidence on cancer prevention and transfer it to the dinner plate. They make the science real — and flavorful. Continue reading