Analysis: That Supplement May Not Protect Against Cancer, Heart Disease

For cancer prevention, the evidence is pretty clear: vitamins, minerals and other supplements alone don’t work. Not relying on supplements is one of AICR’s recommendations for cancer prevention — a recommendation made after analyzing the global SuppsInFishShaperesearch.

Now a review of the research supports this conclusion, finding that many popular supplements do not protect against both cancer and heart disease, the two leading causes of death in America. At least among healthy individuals. And some supplements may possibly cause harm among certain groups of people. The report was published by the US Preventive Task Force, an update to their 2003 report with similar findings.

The analysis reviewed all the new evidence since the last report, collecting only “good quality” studies. At the end of it, there were 26 new studies.

Continue reading


Breastfeeding – Preventing Cancer and Early Death for Mom

iStock_000010494382XSmallBreastfeeding provides numerous benefits to babies, including preventing many illnesses. Often overlooked is the benefit moms get from breastfeeding their babies.

Now for the first time, a study published yesterday found that women who followed AICR’s recommendation for breastfeeding reduced their risk of premature death from all diseases.

The study, featured in Cancer Research Update, found that mothers who breastfed their babies for at least six months had a 17 percent reduced risk for early death compared to women who did not breastfeed at all. Even those who breastfed for a shorter duration had about a 13 percent lower risk for early death. Breastfeeding linked to lower risk for early death from both cancer and cardiovascular disease.

We’ve known, from AICR’s expert report and its updates, that lactation reduces breast cancer risk for mom, but this evidence shows it can also help prevent early death. Although the researchers in this study did not discuss why breastfeeding may lower death risk, we do have some ideas as to how it helps lower risk for breast cancer.

  1. The longer women breastfeed, the fewer menstrual cycles they have and therefore have reduced lifetime exposure to hormones, especially estrogen, that influence breast cancer risk.
  2. Breast tissue is shed during lactation and for mature cells, there’s programmed cell death. Both decrease cancer risk as cells with potential DNA damage are shed or die.

This is the first study to look at the association between breastfeeding and mortality in the mother. The researchers say more studies need to be done to confirm these findings.

Most moms do want to breastfeed their babies as long as they can, but it can be very challenging to maintain without support. Find help, tips and suggestions for successful breastfeeding at womenshealth.gov.

 


Study: Daily Alcohol Drink Shortens Life and Ups Cancer Death Risk

sangriaDrinking a couple glasses of wine or any alcohol beverage every day may increase the risk of dying from cancer and shorten your life by almost two decades, suggests a new study.

The study was published yesterday in the online issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

For the study, researchers looked at recent U.S. data on cancer mortality and two large surveys on alcohol consumption. They used analysis of the literature linking alcohol consumption to cancer risk to determine risk of mortality. The scientists calculated the average number of standard alcoholic drinks (14 grams of alcohol) consumed per day.

The investigators focused their analysis on the seven cancers linked to alcohol consumption: oral cavity and pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colorectum, and female breast cancer.

Using two different methods, they estimated that alcohol caused on average 19,500 cancer deaths each year, which accounts for approximately 3.5 percent of all cancer deaths in the U.S. Cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx, larynx, and esophagus were the most common forms of alcohol-attributable cancer deaths for men, accounting for approximately 4,000-8,400 cancer deaths annually. Continue reading