Colon Cancer Deaths to Drop Dramatically?

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According to a new report published in the journal Cancer, the number of deaths in the United States from colon cancer could drop significantly in the next decade due to improved screening and treatment.  In the past 10 years, the death rate has dropped 20% according to the report.  By 2020, the researchers predict, the death rate will be one half of what it was in 2000.

This is good news, but colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers according to David  S. Alberts, MD .  Diet and physical activity play an important role in lowering cancer risk and Dr. Alberts believes this is a message everyone should hear.

AICR’s expert report showed convincing evidence that consumption of processed meat, high amounts of red meat, body fatness and alcohol are causes of colorectal cancer.   Physical activity was shown convincingly to reduce risk of colon cancer.  Foods containing fiber and certain vegetables may also decrease risk for colorectal cancer.

AICR recommends that Americans focus on incorporating healthy habits to lower their risk for developing cancer.  Eating a mostly plant-based diet, limiting red meat to less than 18 oz per week, exercising at least 30 minutes daily and maintaining a healthy weight are ways to reduce risk for cancer as well as other chronic diseases.

Sea Cucumbers: Possible Cancer Fighters?

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This beautiful picture of a translucent sea cucumber — released last week by the Census of Marine Life and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution – reminded me of some interesting research presented at AICR’s conference.

SeaCucThe lab research, presented in a poster session, found that a compound in sea cucumber decreased the growth of breast cancer tumors in mice and decreased cancer growth in cells. Previous lab studies have found that this same sea cucumber compound  — called Frondoside A – inhibited the growth of human pancreatic cancer cells.

The research is still only in the laboratory phase but if you want to try a new seafood, look for dried sea cucumbers in Asian markets.  (Sea cucumber are a common delicacy in many Asian dishes.)

Sea cucumbers are pretty fascinating. They are generally cucumber-shaped and there’s over 1,000 different species of them. To escape predators, sea cucumbers can jettison some of their internal organs, and then grow them back again.

You can see more newly-identified deep-sea organisms here.

Q & A: Thoughts on the Research Conference from AICR’s Alice Bender, MS, RD

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Alice Bender 1Dietitian Alice Bender‘s job here at AICR is to take the research we fund and turn it into practical advice for the public.  Last week was the first time Alice attended an AICR Research Conference.  She attended sessions, blogged a bit, hosted one of the roundtable discussions which were created to help the health professionals who attended our conference network with one another, and anchored our press conference, where she released the results of AICR’s biennial survey on cancer risk factors.

Now that the conference is behind us and things are starting to settle down, we were eager to get her impressions.

Q: What was the most exciting part of the conference for you?

A: Finishing the press conference (laughs)– because once it was over I could really  focus on the research that was being presented.  Actually, there were many highlights – the first one was dinner with [AICR Nutrition Advisor] Karen Collins and Diana Dyer [a cancer survivor/RD and longtime friend of AICR; sales of Diana’s book go towards an special endowment at AICR for research on cancer survivorship.]  It was an exhilarating conversation that stretched to four hours before we knew it — we talked about all kinds of things related to nutrition, organics, sustainability and AICR.

Q: This was your first AICR conference. How’d it compare to what you expected?

A: It was even better than thought it would be. I knew there were going to be many presentation on basic research, but I was surprised — pleasantly so — to see the talks including so much applied information.  It was a nice mix of the science and its real-world implications.

After the jump: Alice talks networking, messaging and new technologies. Read more… “Q & A: Thoughts on the Research Conference from AICR’s Alice Bender, MS, RD”