From the Field: Working with Survivors for Stronger Bones

dreamstime_xs_12022463Yesterday at our research conference, one popular session focused on bone health for cancer survivors. More than 40 million adults in the US have or are at high risk for osteoporosis, a bone weakening disease.

Often due to some cancer therapies, survivors are at higher risk for bone loss and osteoporosis than the general population.

Breast and prostate cancer treatments may cause low estrogen or androgen levels, two hormones important for strong bones.

Between sessions, I talked with several oncology dietitians about how they work with survivors on bone health in their centers and clinics. While not unanimous, most RDs said their patients are very aware of their increased risk for bone loss and receive DEXA screening — a test for bone mineral density — and treatment, including diet and lifestyle prescriptions as well as appropriate medications. Continue reading

Broccoli: Steam It to Boost Cancer-Fighting Compounds

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables can lower risk of cancer, and it’s worth concerning yourself with how you cook them, says Elizabeth Jeffery, PhD, a scientist who spoke this morning at our annual research conference.Kohl

Her studies suggest that steaming your broccoli for three to four minutes until it turns a bright green will boost its cancer-fighting compounds.

Broccoli contains lots of compounds studied for their cancer-fighting abilities. One of the top contenders is sulforaphane. Sulforaphane isn’t found naturally in broccoli: it forms when other compounds in broccoli come together: glucosinolates and the enzyme myrosinase.

But microwave or boil your broccoli too much and it can destroy its myrosinase. Destroy that — sulforaphane can’t form. Continue reading

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