Will losing weight lower your cancer risk? It can.

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Many people think that whether or not you get cancer is just luck of the draw. Or, that your chances are determined by genes you inherit from your parents.

Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD.

While there is some randomness to who develops cancer, and genes are important, a new awareness survey suggests most people don’t know about  lifestyle and health characteristics that affect your risk for cancer. Several of these can be reversed.

We’ve known for many years that being overweight or obese increases risk for several types of cancer, including cancers of the colon, rectum, endometrium, liver, kidney, breast (in postmenopausal women), gallbladder, pancreas, and some parts of the stomach, ovary, and esophagus. Obesity also increases risk for developing advanced prostate cancer, the most dangerous stage of this cancer. Some newer studies suggest that obesity also increases risk for thyroid cancer and for some cancers of the blood, lymph, and nervous systems. Read more… “Will losing weight lower your cancer risk? It can.”

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    For diet and cancer prevention, do we really know enough to act?

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    We do know enough now to make eating choices that lower our risk of cancer. In fact, we know that for people with typical American diets, waiting for more information before making any changes is increasing their risk of cancer.

    It’s true that research on diet to lower cancer risk is a hot area with many questions still to be answered. That’s why it’s important when making changes to make your decisions on guidelines based on the overall body of research. Trying to act on each new study that makes headlines can make you feel like you’ve got whiplash… not a wise approach.

    This year’s AICR Research Conference featured the renowned Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard University presenting his view of what we know and don’t know on diet and cancer. Here’s my take, based on Dr. Willett’s presentation and others at the conference. Read more… “For diet and cancer prevention, do we really know enough to act?”

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      Do foods high in glycemic index increase breast cancer risk?

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      Eating foods with a high glycemic index (GI) can make your blood sugar rise higher and faster after eating. Theoretically, that could cause unhealthy levels of hormones like insulin, which seem to promote development of some cancers, including breast.

      However, research suggests that glycemic index by itself has little to no relation to breast cancer risk.

      The Research

      An analysis of 19 studies found no link between breast cancer risk and diets high in GI beyond what could occur by chance. Even glycemic load (GL), which takes portion size of foods into account, showed no significant link to breast cancer risk. The links were not consistent and could reflect other qualities of those diets. Another analysis that included only studies with a stronger design that follows people over time (called prospective cohort studies) found a weak five to six percent increase in breast cancer risk when comparing diets at the very highest to the very lowest glycemic index or glycemic load, respectively. Read more… “Do foods high in glycemic index increase breast cancer risk?”

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