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American Cancer Society Reports Over 25% Reduction in US Cancer Mortality Over Past 25 Years

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A recent issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians published a study by researchers at the American Cancer Society (ACS), reporting that the US cancer death rate declined by 1.7% in 2015, capping a 26% decline in the US cancer death rate from 215 per 100,000 population in 1991 down to 158.6 per 100,000 in 2015. This works out to over 2.3 million cancer deaths avoided had the death rate not declined.

The decline in cancer deaths is heavily driven by a reduction in the number of people smoking, with the result that the death rate from lung cancer, which still represents the largest cause of cancer deaths, has dropped 45% among men from 1990-2015, and by 19% among women from 2002-2015.

Here in WV, the ACS projects over 12,000 new cases of cancer, and 4900 cancer deaths, in 2018.

Breast Cancer and Meat Consumption

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A recent study published in the European Journal of Cancer by a group of investigators from Glasgow, Scotland, described over 260,000 women ages 40-69 years, who were queried about their consumption of red and processed meats, and were followed for an average of 7 years to see if their diet affected the incidence of breast cancer.
Among women with the highest level of consumption of processed meats, there was a significant increase in the incidence of breast cancer, which reflected the results found in 10 similar prior studies enrolling 1.65 million women. This association was seen in post-menopausal women only.
There was no association of red meat consumption and breast cancer.
So hold the cold cuts, but go ahead and dive into that steak.

Association Between Vegetarian Diet and Depression in Men

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A recent report from the Journal of Affective Disorders described nearly 10,000 men who were queried about their identification as vegetarian or vegan, as well as depressive symptoms. The investigators adjusted for socio-demographic factors including age, marital status, number of children, employment, history of depression or other psychiatric contact, among others. They found that vegetarian men had significantly more depressive symptoms than men who were not vegetarians. The investigators posed nutritional deficiency, for example, iron or vitamin B12, as a possible explanation, although the causation could in the opposite direction, since it is also possible that there is something about depression that predisposes men to a vegetarian diet.
It is worth pointing out here that archery season for deer has already started here in WV, so get your bow, go out into the woods, and be happy!

Drink to Your Health — with Coffee

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Two recent articles in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggest that coffee drinking may be good for your health.
One reviewed data from over 500,000 individuals from 10 European countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. With an average follow up of >16 years, the investigators found a significant reduction in all-cause mortality when those who drank coffee were compared to those who didn’t. Drinking one cup per day was associated with a 12% decrease in the risk of death, while drinking 2-3 cups per day was associated with an 18% reduction. The reduction in mortality was 12% for men and 8% for women, and did not vary by country.
The second reviewed data from nearly 60,000 individuals participating in the Multi-ethnic Cohort study in Los Angeles and Hawaii. With an average follow up of >16 years, the investigators found that compared with drinking no coffee, coffee consumption was associated with lower total mortality after adjustment for smoking and other factors. Specific benefit was seen for deaths from circulatory and digestive diseases.
I take mine black. No sugar, thanks.

Cancer Mortality Rates Decreasing In The US

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Newsweek (3/31, Silva) reported that the National Institutes of Health’s Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer indicated “death rates for the most common types of cancer dropped for men, women and children from all racial and ethnic backgrounds from 2010-2014.” Investigators found that “the rates of new cancers were lower for men but held steady for women.”
On its website, ABC News (3/31, Mohney) reported, “From 2010 to 2014, overall cancer deaths in men decreased by 1.8 percent per year, 1.4 percent per year for women and 1.6 percent per year for” kids. Researchers found that “in men…improvements included a decrease in lung cancer deaths by 3.5 percent per year, a decrease in prostate cancer deaths by 3.4 percent per year and a decrease in colorectal cancer deaths by 2.5 percent” annually. Meanwhile, in women, researchers found “a decrease in breast cancer deaths by 1.6 percent per year, in lung cancer deaths by 2.0 percent per year and colorectal cancer deaths by 2.8 percent per year.”
The report was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Breast Cancer News

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New breast cancer model developed for Hispanic women

A new model developed by Kaiser Permanente will help doctors assess the risk of breast cancer development in Hispanic women. The model is the first to assess breast cancer risk in Hispanic women. Previous models have been developed to examine breast cancer risk in non-Hispanic white, African-American, Asian and Pacific Islander women but not Hispanic women until now.

Researchers from Kaiser Permanente developed the new model as part of the National Cancer Institute’s online Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool. Click here for the full article.

Benefits of Exercising

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Age related loss of muscle mass and function can lead to lifestyle as well as socio-economic and public health challenges. A recent study from Denmark looked compared individuals at least 83 years of age who trained with weights three times weekly to those who did not, and found that weight training led to an improvement in muscle bulk and strength. The take home point here is that you’re never too old to benefit from exercise and a healthier lifestyle.

Antioxidants and Alzheimer’s

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Because Alzheimer’s dementia is a devastating and incurable illness, there has been considerable interest in preventing it. A recent study in JAMA Neurology from the University of Kentucky examined the effects of the popular anti-oxidant supplements selenium and vitamin E on the development of dementia among over 7500 asymptomatic male subjects without any initial signs of dementia, who were followed over the next 11 years. Unfortunately, supplementation did not decrease the development of dementia, nor the overall death rate, cancer, or cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, the data suggested that selenium led to a small increase in type II diabetes, and that vitamin E increased the diagnosis of prostate cancer. The take home point is that these two antioxidants do not appear to reduce the incidence of dementia in healthy elderly men.

Colorectal Oncology News

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New Colorectal cancer targeted therapy combination shows promise

New SWOG study results show significantly better outcomes for patients with a treatment-resistant form of metastatic colorectal cancer when the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib is added to a standard treatment. The findings, for the first time, point at an effective treatment for this deadly type of cancer. Click here to read the full article.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia

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Because Alzheimer’s dementia is a devastating and incurable illness, there has been considerable interest in preventing it. A recent study in JAMA Neurology from the University of Kentucky examined the effects of the popular anti-oxidant supplements selenium and vitamin E on the development of dementia among over 7500 asymptomatic male subjects without any initial signs of dementia, who were followed over the next 11 years. Unfortunately, supplementation did not decrease the development of dementia, nor the overall death rate, cancer, or cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, the data suggested that selenium led to a small increase in type II diabetes, and that vitamin E increased the diagnosis of prostate cancer. The take home point is that these two antioxidants do not appear to reduce the incidence of dementia in healthy elderly men.