From the Field: Working with Survivors for Stronger Bones

dreamstime_xs_12022463Yesterday at our research conference, one popular session focused on bone health for cancer survivors. More than 40 million adults in the US have or are at high risk for osteoporosis, a bone weakening disease.

Often due to some cancer therapies, survivors are at higher risk for bone loss and osteoporosis than the general population.

Breast and prostate cancer treatments may cause low estrogen or androgen levels, two hormones important for strong bones.

Between sessions, I talked with several oncology dietitians about how they work with survivors on bone health in their centers and clinics. While not unanimous, most RDs said their patients are very aware of their increased risk for bone loss and receive DEXA screening — a test for bone mineral density — and treatment, including diet and lifestyle prescriptions as well as appropriate medications. Continue reading


Study: Antioxidants from Our Coffee and Diet May Cut Prostate Cancer Risk

Research now shows that men can reduce their risk of prostate cancer by eating foods containing lycopene and selenium, two phytochemicals that act as antioxidant in our body. Now a large new study that suggests men get over a quarter of their antioxidants from coffee has found that consumingCoffeeBeansCup_dreamstime_13158097_smallplenty of antioxidants from our diet has a weak link to reduced prostate cancer risk.

The study – supported in part by AICR – was published in the International Journal of Cancer last week.

For the study, almost 48,000 men answered questions about what they ate, drank and the supplements they took, starting in 1986 and then every four years. Researchers calculated antioxidant intake by assigning a value to each food or supplement.

Overall, coffee was supplying the men with 28 percent of their total antioxidants; fruits and vegetables were giving the men 23 percent; and dietary supplements another 23 percent. Continue reading


Omega-3s and Prostate Cancer Fact Check: What’s a Guy to Do?

The media is abuzz in the wake of a surprising new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute linking omega-3s to a higher risk of prostate cancer. But should men give up eating their salmon?SuppsInFishShape

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are generally acclaimed for their link to reduced inflammation and overall health promotion, especially heart health. Omega-3s are found in salmon and other fatty fish as well as in supplements. Fish oil capsules containing the omega-3s EPA and DHA are among the most popular supplements.

The study measured the percent of three omega-3s most commonly found in fish and supplements – DHA, EPA and DPA – in the blood of 834 men with prostate cancer matched to 1,393 men without cancer. Men with the highest percentage of omega-3s in their blood had a 43% increased risk of prostate cancer compared to those with the lowest concentration. No increase in risk was found in the men in the two middle quartiles – in other words, those with moderate levels.

What’s a guy to do? For now, follow AICR’s evidence-based recommendations for prostate cancer. Men can include plenty of foods rich in the antioxidants lycopene (tomatoes are a great source) and selenium (found in sunflower seeds and Brazil nuts) and rest easy knowing they’re helping reduce their risk of not only cancer but other chronic Continue reading