PSA Screening: There’s More to Prostate Cancer Prevention

Today the US Preventive Services Task Force — an advisory panel of cancer experts — released a new recommendation that men should no longer routinely undergo a PSA blood test to screen for prostate cancer.  The federally appointed panel concluded that the harms of unnecessary surgeries or other interventions outweigh the benefits of the test.

The Task Force released the recommendation in today’s issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

The American Urological Society is one organization saying the Task Force is taking an extreme position, and that regular PSA screening for men 50 and over saves lives.

While the back-and-forth continues, we at AICR believe that the decision of how often to screen for this and other cancers remains a personal one, and one that is best decided in consultation with one’s healthcare provider. Continue reading

Popcorn: Hero or Villain?

If you’ve been following the health news over this past week, you’ve heard two conflicting messages about the humble, quintessentially American snack, popcorn.

It’s a conflict straight out of a superhero flick: Yesterday, popcorn was a caloric villain determined to wreak havoc on our innocent waistlines. Today, it’s a nutritional champion, valiantly defending our bodies from damage.

So which is it?

Earlier this month, in a bid to urge lawmakers to require movie theaters to list calorie counts on menu boards, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) launched an awareness campaign. In its materials, such as this video, CSPI singled out one alarming data point: A medium popcorn without added butter from Regal Cinemas weighs in at an astonishing 1200 calories. That’s the equivalent of four fast-food cheesburgers and 5 slices of Papa John’s pepperoni pizza. Continue reading

AICR Fact Check: Fiber and Cancer?

Heard a great story about fiber on NPR this morning, all about how food manufacturers add fiber to things like sugary cereals and white bread so they can make claims about fiber and health on the packaging.

We’re pleased that the story makes the point that foods that are naturally high in fiber — vegetables and fruits, whole grains and beans — are better options, but then we heard something that brought us up short:

So are these fiber-fortified foods actually making you healthier? This question turns out to be one of those places where scientists know a lot less than you may think they do. For example, a lot of people think that fiber will help protect you against colon cancer. But so far, that link is not conclusive.

In this case, it’s “a lot of people” who are right, and NPR who’s … well, not wrong, exactly, but imprecise.

Because the evidence that diets high in fiber can and do protect against colorectal cancer is not only strong, it’s just gotten stronger. And with February being Cancer Prevention Month, it’s a good opportunity to remind people of the hard science showing that they can protect themselves from colorectal cancer.  Continue reading