What We Googled in 2014 on Food, Drinks and Cancer

Here at AICR, we’re well versed in the latest scientific evidence on food, drink, and cancer prevention. We also know that a lot of people get their health information online, where it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. So what were we searching for this year, when it comes to cancer and foods and drinks? We used the 2014 Google Trends to find out.19024481_s

Alcohol and cancer
This was the most popular search term involving cancer and a specific food or drink, for good reason. The latest research has found that alcohol increases the risk of some cancers, including breast and colorectal. Based on the evidence, AICR recommends that if you do drink alcohol, limit your drinks to 1 per day for women or 2 per day for men.

Coffee and cancer
Coffee had a lot of people searching this year and the news is good for coffee drinkers. While scientists early on used to think coffee increased risk for certain cancers, research now shows a lack of association or even a beneficial effect for cancer risk. In 2013, our latest report on endometrial cancer found that drinking coffee – whether decaf or regular – is associated with a lower risk of this cancer. We’ll drink to that! Continue reading


Mammograms: Putting Headlines in Context

As an organization that focuses on helping people reduce their risk and survive cancer, we’re getting a lot of questions about a major study released this week on mammograms. And if you’ve read about the study questioning the benefits of mammograms, there’s a good chance you’re confused.mammogram_dreamstime_xs_21847816

The Canadian study involving about 90,000 women ages 40-59 was published this week in the British Medical Journal. The study spanned 25 years and during that time about half the women received regular mammograms and annual breast exams; the other half only had the breast exams.

The study found that whether the women received regular mammograms or not, a similar number of women died from breast cancer over the years.

The value of regular mammogram screening has been controversial for awhile– five years ago the United States Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF) changed its guidelines, recommending that regular mammogram screening begin at age 50 every two years rather than age 40 every year. As we wrote at that time, AICR’s recommendations relate to the prevention of cancer through diet, weight and physical activity; for screenings, like mammography, AICR’s materials rely on the National Cancer Institute recommendations.

Your own decision about mammography is best made in consultation with your health care provider who can help you weigh the risks and benefits based on your history and personal risk factors.

For more on the study and perspectives from other organizations, here’s a CNN article.

For prevention, AICR’s expert report and it’s continuous updates have found that lifestyle matters. There are specific steps you can take to lower your risk for breast cancers.  For postmenopausal breast cancers, for example:

  • aim to be physically active at least 30 minutes every day,
  • get to and stay a healthy weight
  • avoid alcoholic beverages or if you do drink, limit to 1 drink a day.

AICR estimates that about 38% of breast cancer cases – about 90,000 every year – in the U.S. could be prevented by following those recommendations.

Learn more about the research on reducing risk for breast and other cancers.


Celebrate with a Colorful, Healthy Toast to the New Year

How are you ringing in the New Year – with a few friends at home or out on Times Square? Whatever your plan, you want to celebrate and maybe drink a toast to the New Year. But maybe after weeks of holiday festivities, you’re not feeling like overdoing on food and drink. bigstock-Drinks-with-splashing-citrus-f-28116119

If you want to indulge in one glass of Champagne, that one midnight bubbly won’t break your calorie bank or exceed the healthy limit for alcohol. But if you party for several hours, those pre-midnight beverages can add up. With a little planning though,  you can still stick with AICR’s recommendation to lower your cancer risk: limit your alcoholic drinks to no more than one drink per day for women, two for men.

Going Out Plan:

Look for the low or non-calorie drinks – grab choices like sparkling waters, sugar-free sodas and tea. Or put a splash of wine or juice into a glass of sparkling or soda water for a light spritzer. And focus on dancing – you can stay active and not need to have a drink in your hand all night.

Hosting Plan:

Get creative and become a mixologist or let your guests try their hand at mixology. Offer a “Create Your Own Beverage Bar” starting with a variety of pretty glasses and stemware along with these colorful and tasty ingredients:

Beverage Base (plain or flavored; sugar-free)

  • Club soda or seltzer water
  • Sparkling and mineral waters
  • Tonic water

Flavors

  • Fruit juices and nectars – pomegranate, citrus, apricot
  • Coconut water
  • Teas (black, green, white, chai)
  • Wine
  • Liquors

Healthy Enhancers

  • Herbs – mint, basil, rosemary, thyme, sage
  • Fresh or frozen fruits, whole or sliced; berries, melon, pomegranate seeds, kiwi
  • Citrus peels and slices of lemon, lime, grapefruit or orange
  • Chopped fruit: apples, mangoes, papaya, pineapple
  • Flavored ice cubes: green tea, 100% fruit juice, chopped fruit

You and your guests can have fun creating new combos and maybe hit on some ideas that will help you work toward a healthier weight for lower cancer risk and better overall health or just add color and flavor to your drinks.

Please share your healthy creations with us and have a happy healthy New Year!

See AICR’s Test Kitchen beverages section and a Sonja’s blog on infused waters for more healthy beverage ideas.