Gaps in Breast Cancer Research: Getting You to Eat Well and Exercise

You may know that being a healthy weight and exercising can cut your risk of breast cancer, but understanding how to translate these recommendations into action is one of the “critical gaps” in research that can save lives, finds a new study published in Breast Cancer Research.Unveiling #1 - Covered & Confident

The study, which comes at the start of Breast Cancer Awareness month, identifies ten critical gaps in breast cancer research. The authors include more than 100 experts.

Developing interventions and support to improve breast cancer survivors’ health and well-being is another gap in the research. Other critical areas where more research is needed include genetics, molecular markers, treatment and tailored screening and survivorship materials. Convincing clinicians to shift their practice into prevention is another area that needs work, according to the study.

You can read all ten gaps the authors identify in the paper.

As the study points out, when it comes to lifestyle change for breast cancer prevention, there remain many unknowns. We don’t know the relative affect of lifestyle changes on lowering the risk of different types of breast cancers, such as ER negative or ER positive. Does the effect of eating habits depend upon whether you are 15 years old or 50? And how many years do these lifestyle interventions offer protection? Continue reading


Preventing Endometrial Cancer: Talking with Elisa Bandera

The new AICR/World Cancer Research Fund report on preventing endometrial cancer was published today – the report found obesity, coffee, and activity links to risk. The report analyzed the global research on diet, activity, and weight to the risk of endometrial cancer. Here, Elisa Bandera, MD, PhD, the panel lead of this CUP report and an epidemiologist at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, talks about the report’s findings and what it means.Bandera_Elisa_small

Q: This is the first systematic update of the research on lifestyle and endometrial cancer risk since 2007. Overall, what’s new here?

A: For the update, we now have more prospective data for dietary factors and interesting associations emerged with coffee consumption and glycemic load. Coffee consumption was associated with reduced risk while glycemic load increased risk. There is also growing evidence that longer sitting time increases endometrial cancer risk.

Q: But the research for sitting time – sedentary livingwas not strong enough to make a conclusion.

A: There were only three studies at this time but they all suggested increased risk. We could not be certain based on the limited data that the association was independent of BMI. However, sitting time has been emerging as an important risk factor for other cancers, independent of physical activity. In other words, it is not sufficient to go to the gym three times a week. We have to remember to get up out of our chairs and move and avoid extended period of sittings in front of the television or the computer.

Q: How much more research is there now on endometrial cancer prevention compared to the last report?

A: There are more studies, but particularly more prospective studies evaluating dietary factors, which were lacking in the first report.  Still, only few prospective studies have evaluated some of the dietary exposures and endometrial cancer risk compared to the number of studies that have evaluated them in relation to breast or colorectal cancers.

Q: Why is having prospective data so important?

A: The previous report’s conclusions were based on mainly findings from case-control studies, which are generally considered weaker than cohort or prospective studies. Continue reading


A Normal BMI Doesn’t Mean You’re Healthy

bigstock_waist measuring for Karen_1421303You’ve probably heard about BMI (body mass index) and may even have used AICR’s calculator to learn what your BMI is.

BMI is based on a height and weight formula and is one simple way to estimate how much body fat you have. That’s important to know because too much body fat increases risk for many common cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

But a recent article in Science, suggests that almost one of ten Americans may have a normal BMI and still be at risk for chronic diseases typically lined to obesity.

BMI is a strong predictor of health risk in population studies, and obesity clearly increases risk for seven types of cancers and other chronic diseases. However, on an individual basis, the picture is more complex and depends on your metabolic health. Continue reading