US Supreme Court Upholds Healthcare Legislation: AICR’s Take

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The Affordable Care Act upheld today by the US Supreme Court is far-reaching and complex — so complex that, according to many polls, most Americans still don’t truly understand exactly how it will affect their lives.

The politics behind the legislation remains controversial. Today, however, as a cancer research and education organization dedicated to prevention, we’d like to address one specific aspect of the law that has nothing to do with political party, namely: How it sets out to broaden our national approach to diseases like cancer by placing an unprecedented amount of focus on prevention.

This helpful page on lists the many preventive care services covered in the Affordable Care Act. Many of these relate directly to cancer prevention, including: colorectal cancer screenings and mammography.

But there’s much more to cancer prevention than screening tests. This is why AICR applauds the inclusion of more pervasive, lifestyle-based services, including those that have been shown to directly affect cancer risk:

  • Obesity counseling
  • Smoking cessation counseling
  • Dietary counseling (for those at high risk)
  • Alcohol abuse counseling

We are heartened to see a governmental approach tackling the underlying roots of cancer risk, not simply treating the disease. We hope today’s decision ushers in a more comprehensive approach to cancer prevention – because AICR has shown that getting the public to move more, weigh less and eat smart could prevent hundreds of thousands of US cancers ever year, and save millions of lives.

Understand: This is only the beginning. More and better prevention efforts are sorely needed and long overdue.  But if there’s one thing our policy report makes clear, it’s that government can’t do it alone.  All levels of society – industry, schools, health professionals, the media, individuals – helped get us to where we are now, and must play a role in the kind of sweeping societal changes needed to make it easier for everyone to make healthy, cancer protective choices.

Study: How Obesity May Trigger Certain Breast Cancers

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AICR’s expert report and its updates have found that excess body fat increases the risk of developing breast cancer in postmenopausal women.  As scientists are learning, how excess body fat plays a role in breast cancer varies by cancer type.

In a study published last month in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, scientists looked at the role excess body fat plays in the development of two types of triple-negative breast cancers. These types of breast tumors don’t respond to hormones and growth factors that typically fuel less aggressive types of breast cancer.

One of the changes that occurs in these two types of breast cancers is EMT, or epithelial mesenchymal transition. EMT signals early development of cancer in epithelial cells, the cells that line the breasts and other organs. It is recognized as a feature of many aggressive tumors. Read more… “Study: How Obesity May Trigger Certain Breast Cancers”

Cancer Prevention Policy In Action: Bloomberg and Disney Take Bold Steps

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Last week, New York’s Mayor Bloomberg called for a ban on larger-than-16-ounce servings of sodas and other sugary drinks in New York City restaurants, delis and other venues.

Today, the Walt Disney Company told the New York Times it would no longer advertize sodas, candy, sugared cereal and fast food on any of its children’s programming – which includes The Disney Channel, ABC Family, and Saturday morning cartoons on ABC. (Due to long-term contracts with advertisers, these ad restrictions won’t take effect until 2015.)

Both measures tackle current obesity rates head-on. And because overweight and obesity cause over 100,000 cancers in the US every year, we at the American Institute for Cancer Research welcome both developments. Read more… “Cancer Prevention Policy In Action: Bloomberg and Disney Take Bold Steps”