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Sunday, April 17, 2005

Humor, screenings weapons in cancer prevention

Many Americans don't know that colon cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer. Studies show that early detection and treatment can reduce deaths from this disease, yet only 38 percent of colon cancers are detected in the earliest and most treatable stage, according to Sherry Chetty of the American Cancer Society.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, claiming more lives than either breast or prostate cancer. In 2004, approximately 9,220 Texans will be diagnosed with colon cancer and 3,560 are expected to die.

The most uncomfortable part of the whole thing is the cleansing procedure the day before the actual colonoscopy. Friendship and humor are powerful and encouraging tools.
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Most Cancer Deaths Preventable

Most cancer deaths can be avoided and some states are doing better than others, the American Cancer Society says. Cancer is now the leading cause of death for people under 85, but cancer experts say this is largely preventable. It's no secret. Here's how...
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Cook for Cancer Prevention

Hundreds of studies confirm that eating a mostly plant-based diet protects against cancer and other chronic diseases, like heart disease and high blood pressure.

To put this protective power from plant foods in your meals, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) advises you to fill two-thirds or more of your plate with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans. The other one-third or less of your plate can be lean animal protein.
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Breast Cancer: New Tool Assesses Treatment, Prevention

A new tool may be able to help clinicians and researchers monitor and assess the side effects of the treatment and prevention of breast cancer. The tool may also be able to help women who are looking for information on what to expect from breast cancer treatment or chemoprevention, according to a new study.

Annette L. Stanton, Ph.D., of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues used the Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (BCPT) Symptom Checklist to develop the BCPT Symptom Scales to assess side effects among four groups of women participating in different breast cancer studies.

They identified eight factors corresponding to the physical symptoms associated with cancer treatment, chemoprevention, menopause, and normal aging: hot flashes, nausea, bladder control, vaginal problems, musculoskeletal pain, cognitive problems, weight problems, and arm problems.

The authors conclude that the BCPT Symptom Scales is a valuable tool to assess side effects associated with treatment and prevention of breast cancer.
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Preventing Cancer: Exercise Or Diet?

Scientists have long believed that maintaining a healthy weight impacts an individual’s risk for cancer. Researchers know that adults who gain just 10 pounds after the age of 30 significantly increase their risk of developing cancer. Many people either limit their diet to maintain their ideal weight or focus on being active and getting exercise. Henry Thompson has some questions: Is it the weight, is it the exercise or is it the diet that makes the difference? Thompson’s study will span four years and will look at the molecular and cellular differences exercise intensity, duration and frequency has on altering chemical activity, cellular proliferation and molecular pathways within the body that may trigger or help to prevent breast cancer.
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Green Tea Helps Fight Cancer

Green tea extract shows promise as an anti-cancer agent, UCLA study finds. Jonsson Cancer Center researchers find green tea may help fight bladder cancer. A study on bladder cancer cells lines showed that green tea extract has potential as an anti-cancer agent, proving for the first time that it is able to target cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. The study, published in the Feb. 15, 2005 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Cancer Research, also uncovered more about how green tea extract works to counteract the development of cancer, said JianYu Rao, a Jonsson Cancer Center member, an associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and the study's senior author.
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Monday, March 14, 2005

Cancer Prevention In Canada

In 2002, the federal government announced it had devised the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control, a plan to improve the coordination and delivery of treatment, prevention, palliative services and research in Canada.

To date, the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control is still an idea on a shelf. Fed up with the federal government’s lack of action, the National Cancer Leadership Forum launched its Canadian Campaign to Control Cancer (CC2C).

While focusing on palliative care and treatment, the campaign addresses the need for prevention. People are urged to quit smoking, improve their diet, increase their physical activity, and avoid overexposure to the sun, activities which can reduce an individual’s risk of developing cancer.
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Vitamin E From Nuts May Prevent Cancer

A form of vitamin E not found in most manufactured nutritional supplements but is plentiful in many nuts and seeds might halt the growth of prostate and lung cancer cells, according to a new study.

A research team led by Dr. Qing Jiang (pronounced "ching zhang") of Purdue University found that gamma-tocopherol, which occurs naturally in walnuts, pecans, sesame seeds, and in corn and sesame oils, slows the production of lab-cultured human prostate and lung cancer cells.
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Obesity Is Bigger Cancer Risk Than Believed

Overweight and obese people face a much higher risk of dying of cancer than their counterparts who are not overweight, according to a massive 16-year study by the American Cancer Society.
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Cancer Patients Don't Reveal Alternative Therapies

Cancer patients seem to be taking far more alternative therapies than previously thought, but usually only divulge they are doing so when directly questioned by their doctors.

It is important that doctors know about cancer patients' use of alternative remedies because some of them can interfere with conventional cancer treatments.
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NCI Launches Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial

The National Cancer Institute today launched a 12-year, $180 million study to determine whether two dietary nutrients can prevent prostate cancer.

The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, or SELECT, is one of the largest-ever prostate-cancer prevention studies ever undertaken, involving 32,400 men in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

SELECT is the first study designed to look specifically at the effects of vitamin E and selenium, both separately and together, in preventing prostate cancer.
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Selenium May Slow Advanced Prostate Cancer

Men with higher levels of a nutritional mineral in their blood appear to have a lower risk of advanced prostate cancer, according to a new study.

The researchers led by Dr. Haojie Li of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, showed that higher levels of the mineral selenium in the blood are associated with a decreased risk of advanced prostate cancer, indicating that selenium could slow prostate cancer tumor progression.
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Diet Not Key To Prostate Cancer Prevention

A low-fat, high-fiber diet rich in fruits and vegetables may not affect men's risk of prostate cancer after all, according to one of the first studies to actually test the theory with an experiment.

The researchers led by Dr. Moshe Shike of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York are quick to add that the results of their study published in the Sept. 1, Journal of Clinical Oncology do not necessarily mean diet has no affect on prostate cancer.
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How Green Tea Prevents Cancer

Researchers have identified a possible mechanism by which green tea may protect against prostate and other cancers.

Researchers working with prostate cancer cells have shown that applying the active ingredient in tea called, green tea polyphenols (GTP), to the cells in different concentrations proportionally reduced the production level or expression of a protein called Bcl-XL. Bcl-XL protects cancers cells from programmed cell death or apoptosis. The GTP reduced the concentration of Bcl-Xl and made the cancer cells more vulnerable.

Another study found that found that polyphenols target molecular pathways that shut down the proliferation and spread of tumor cells, as well as slow the growth of tumor nurturing blood vessels. Consumption of green tea polyphenols (GTP) led to reduced levels of IGF-1 (insulin growth factor). Increased levels of IGF-1 are associated with increased risk of several cancers, such as prostate, breast, lung and colon.

A Japanese study of breast cancer patients found that women who drank more than five cups of green tea daily had a lower recurrence rate and longer disease-free survival than women who drank fewer than four cups daily.
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Passive smoking in childhood triples lung cancer risk

Children who are exposed to tobacco smoke in the home (passive smoking) are at a higher risk of developing lung cancer later on as adults, according to results of a massive seven-year European study.
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Air pollution linked to childhood cancers

Most childhood cancers are likely related to industrial and environmental pollutants, most probably inhaled by the mother during pregnancy, according to a new study. The study conducted by Dr. E.G. Knox, professor emeritus, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, points out that several of the implicated compounds may not directly cause the disease, but instead trigger chemical processes within cells that lead to disease.
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Cholesterol Plays Cancer-Prevention Role In Cell

Scientists have discovered that cholesterol has a novel role inside the cell: anchoring a signaling pathway linked to cell division and cancer. This new discovery by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center is published in the March 4 issue of Science.

"Cell signals have to be tightly controlled," says Dr. Richard G.W. Anderson, chairman of cell biology and senior author of the study. "If the signaling machines do not work, which can happen when the cell doesn't have enough cholesterol, the cell gets the wrong information, and disease results."

Though it has earned a bad reputation for its role in heart disease, the fact that cholesterol is essential for the health of cell membranes long has been understood. The cell membrane, which is fluid in nature, contains cholesterol.
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Sunday, March 13, 2005

Adult Stem Cell Gene May Explain Origins Of Cancer

Michigan State University researchers have found that a certain gene, expressed within a human adult stem cell, could hold the key to not only offering new hope to cancer patients, but also to answering the question of how cancer originates.

The discovery that the gene – known as oct-4 – is expressed in normal adult stem cells, by MSU’s James Trosko and colleagues, is detailed in the February issue of Carcinogenesis, one of the world’s top cancer-research journals.

It was already known that the oct-4 gene was located in embryonic stem cells as well as tumor cells, but researchers were uncertain whether it was expressed in adult stem cells.
The MSU researchers, using methods pioneered in their laboratory, were able to test adult stem cells for the expression of the oct-4 gene and found that it was expressed in some adult stem cells.

“If oct-4 is a biomarker for adult stem cells that gives rise to cancer cells,” Trosko said, “then learning how to turn off the expression of the oct-4 gene in cancer cells or even in pre-malignant cells should have tremendous implications for both prevention and treatment of cancer.”

In particular, he said, the use of oct-4 as a screening marker to identify new chemoprevention dietary agents and chemotherapeutic drugs could be extremely helpful in fighting cancer.

“This is especially significant in light of recent findings that, within the billions of cells of a tumor, there exists a few ‘cancer stem cells’ that seem to be the cells that are resistant to cancer therapy,” Trosko said. “In other words, current practices to treat cancers have been directed at the wrong tumor cells.”

The oct-4 gene is a “regulatory” gene, one whose job is to control the expression of other genes.
When it comes to the question of where cancer cells originate, there are two prevailing theories: Either a single stem cell is the target for the process to begin, or any highly specialized, or “differentiated,” cell can be the target cell.

The problem with the second theory, said Trosko, is that for a differentiated cell – one that is already on its way to becoming a kidney cell or breast cell or any other specialized type of cell – to become cancerous, it must first revert back to stem-cell stage.

“In other words,” he said, “it has to turn back time.

“So what we found is that the human adult stem cell in which the oct-4 gene was expressed was the ‘target’ cell for the carcinogenic process to begin. In cells in which it was not expressed, they could not convert back to the adult stem cell stage and then go cancerous.”

Trosko added that there are many benefits to working with adult stem cells, as opposed to embryonic stem cells.

“In particular, we’re able to bypass the ethical, religious, legal and political issues that are raised when we talk about embryonic stem cells,” he said. “We’re able to get the adult stem cells from consenting adults.”

Other members of Trosko’s research team included Mei-Hui Tai, a visiting research associate in the Department of Pediatrics and Human Development; Chia-Cheng Chang, professor of pediatrics and human development; and Karl Olson, associate professor of physiology.
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