Today’s issue of Cancer Research Update looks at how what teens eat, drink and weigh may influence their future cancer risk. The story focuses on girls’ lifestyle habits and future breast cancer risk and the research is intriguing, but just emerging. Some of the strongest evidence relates to drinking alcohol.
This topic is part of a bigger picture in research on cancer risk, where scientists look at risk over a person’s life course. The hypothesis is that many cancers can take years – often decades – to develop and along the way, there are certain times when our diet and other lifestyle habits can prevent or push it along.
A few of the studies investigating this topic are funded by AICR; check back to see their findings.
Today’s issue of Cancer Research Update reports on an interesting new study about how our friends and family have a lot to do with our alcohol habits. It looks like who we socialize with – our social network up to three degrees of separation – influence if we drink heavily or nothing.
For cancer prevention, along with other chronic diseases, the amount of alcohol people drink is important. AICR’s expert report found that drinking any amount of alcohol increases the risk for cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus and breast, and colorectal (in men): The more we drink; the higher the risk.
Today, at the American Association for Cancer Research annual conference, researchers presented a study that may help explain why. It has to do with the sections of DNA at the end of a chomosome, called telomeres. Scientists know that as we age, telomeres get shorter and shorter until the cell dies. Also, shorter telomeres are linked with increased cancer risk.
The new study found that telomere length was significantly shorter among a group of heavy drinks (22 percent consumed four or more alcoholic drinks per day) than those of a comparison group. You can read the release here.