Really? Cancer Links to Obesity? Yes.

Last month I spoke on obesity and cancer prevention at a conference focused on medical innovations. The attendees were highly educated leaders – executives, investors, clinicians and entrepreneurs – deeply involved in all aspects of the healthcare and medical field.Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 12.51.17 PM

So I was surprised – whenever I explained my topic – at the many times I heard: “I didn’t realize there’s a link between obesity and cancer.” I had expected these medical leaders and innovators to know about the obesity-cancer link. We know overweight and obesity is a cause of 117,000 cases of cancer every year in the U.S. But this lack of awareness is not unusual.

AICR’s most recent cancer risk awareness survey found that fewer than half of Americans know about that link. The survey participants identified pesticide residue on produce and cancer genes as causes of cancer far more often than obesity. Yet, obesity is second only to smoking as the most important risk for cancer in the U.S. Continue reading

For Cancer Researchers, A Social Media Wake-Up Call

This year, AICR is trying something different at our Annual Research Conference on Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer next week. Something we hope will act as a clarion call for cancer researcher and health professionals.canstockphoto6433880

We’ve all gone to conferences where the social media engagement is limited to attendees being encouraged to tweet their experiences. But at a breakfast session first thing in the morning on November 8th, AICR is hosting a special panel to discuss how scientists can engage in meaningful conversations with the public using social media.

There is an urgent need for responsible, evidence-based cancer information in social media, and unfortunately this need, in many cases, is now being met by self-appointed health “gurus” who make unverifiable or patently false claims. Now is the time for informed, rational voices to enter the furious ongoing discussion. We must provide context and sober, well-informed resources and information.

Social media gives scientists and practitioners with a means of sharing their work and engaging in a meaningful two-way discussion with a wider audience. Continue reading

The Research Conference That Almost Was

It was with heavy hearts that we made the decision to cancel this year’s AICR Research Conference on Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer. The lingering effect of Hurricane Sandy on air travel and communications across the East Coast left us no choice.

We feel a particularly poignant sense of loss, as this year represents an important milestone for AICR. In 2012, we mark 30 years of supporting innovative cancer research and delivering to the public the evidence-based message that many cancers can be prevented. We would have greatly enjoyed observing this achievement with the researchers, health professionals, policy makers and journalists who have been with us from the beginning — as well as welcoming many new colleagues who are making their own contributions to the field.

Our research conference is a yearly highlight for the entire AICR staff. We are tremendously proud to bring together the world’s leading figures in the study of diet, physical activity and cancer risk, and we delight in offering them a chance to share their findings and discuss bold new research directions. Continue reading