“Obesity is linked to prostate cancer, scientists know, but it’s not clear why. On Monday, researchers reported a surprising connection.
“When prostate cancers lose a particular gene, they become tiny fat factories, a team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston reported in a paper published in Nature Genetics.
“Then the cancers spread from the prostate, often with deadly effect. Prostate cancers that have not lost that gene also can spread, or metastasize — in mice, at least — but only if they have a ready source of fat from the diet.”
“Cancer cells love glucose, the simple sugar the body uses for energy, so a high-fat, low-carb diet should starve them, right?
“Not so fast. Research in mice suggests that melanomas and other cancers driven by a particular mutation (BRAF V600E) will grow faster in response to a high-fat diet. In addition, lipid-lowering agents such as statins curb these cancers’ growth, even in the context of a more normal diet.”
“If you type ‘detox and cancer’ into an Internet search engine, you’ll get an avalanche of websites, articles, products, patient testimonials, and practitioners claiming that cancer can be prevented or even cured by diets or ‘cleanses’ that rid the body of ‘toxins.’ Are these approaches safe? Are they effective? It’s not necessarily as straightforward as you may think; the details really do matter, says Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, a senior nutritionist at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.
“These regimens and offerings run the gamut: raw food, high-alkaline, and ‘miracle’ diets; herbal supplements or ‘elixirs’; detox drinks with lemon and cayenne pepper; liver, gall bladder and colon flushes or cleanses, coffee enemas, and many more.”
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | Aug 25, 2015
“The Internet is full of ‘miracle cures’ for cancer and alleged surefire ways to prevent it, and well-meaning people may urge cancer patients to just try them out in hopes of eliminating their disease. Some patients, worried that conventional treatments won’t work or pose significant side effects, seek a treatment whose effectiveness isn’t actually supported by scientific evidence or may even prove dangerous. During a time of uncertainty and anxiety, it’s understandable that any hope for a cure — even if it isn’t medically proven — is tempting.
“ ‘Patients want something “natural” to try to treat their cancer or prevent their cancer from coming back,’ says Memorial Sloan Kettering pharmacist and herbalist K. Simon Yeung. ‘But the people promoting these treatments might not necessarily have a medical or oncology background. In addition, patients who try these therapies may find, when they come back to seek mainstream treatment, that it’s too late and their cancer has already spread.’ “
“A number of research studies have shown that coffee helps to protect against breast cancer. A new study led by Lund University, has confirmed that coffee inhibits the growth of tumours and reduces the risk of recurrence in women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and treated with the drug tamoxifen.
“The study, which is a follow-up of the results the researchers obtained two years ago, was carried out at Lund University and Skåne University Hospital, in collaboration with researchers in the UK.
” ‘Now, unlike in the previous study, we have combined information about the patients’ lifestyle and clinical data from 1090 breast cancer patients with studies on breast cancer cells. The study shows that among the over 500 women treated with tamoxifen, those who had drunk at least two cups of coffee a day had only half the risk of recurrence of those who drank less coffee or none at all’, explain researchers Ann Rosendahl and Helena Jernström, who obtained the results in collaboration with Jeff Holly and his research team at University of Bristol.
” ‘The study also shows that those who drank at least two cups of coffee a day had smaller tumours and a lower proportion of hormone-dependent tumours. We saw that this was already the case at the time of diagnosis.’ “
“Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that a component of peanuts could encourage the spread and survival of cancer cells in the body.
“In the first study of its kind, scientists showed that a protein in peanuts, called peanut agglutinin (PNA), binds to a special sugar chain, which occurs mainly on pre-cancerous and cancer cells, and interacts with a larger protein expressed on the surface of tumour cells in the bloodstream.
“The study shows this interaction triggers changes in the larger protein, resulting in underlying adhesion molecules on the surface of the cancer cell to become exposed.
“This makes the cancer cells stickier and easier to attach themselves to the blood vessels. It also allows the cancer cells to form small clumps that prolong the survival of cancer cells in the body’s circulation. Many epithelial cancers spread to the other organs through traveling through the bloodstream.”
“Reducing dietary fat intake for at least 5 years after diagnosis could help improve survival rates for early-stage breast cancer patients with hormone-unrelated breast cancer, according to a new study.
“The findings of the study were presented at the 2014 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium – a 5-day conference aiming to provide state-of-the-art information on breast cancer research to an audience of researchers and physicians from over 90 countries.
” ‘The current findings with respect to long-term influence of dietary lifestyle intervention on overall survival are mixed, but of potential importance,’ reports Dr. Rowan Chlebowski, a medical oncologist from the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, CA.
“The study utilized data taken from the Women’s Intervention Nutrition Study (WINS), a randomized trial that had previously been used to test whether dietary intervention can improve the clinical outcome of women with breast cancer, and assessed death rates after 15 years of follow-up.”
“Two cancer researchers have proposed why antioxidant supplements might not be working to reduce cancer development, and why they may actually do more harm than good. Their insights are based on recent advances in the understanding of the system in our cells that establishes a natural balance between oxidizing and anti-oxidizing compounds. These compounds are involved in so-called redox (reduction and oxidation) reactions essential to cellular chemistry.”
Another story about how some food holds the cure for cancer is making headlines in the Daily Express. This time the saviour is the humble carrot. But it isn’t its first time in the limelight. In March, the Daily Mail claimed that eating carrots is a way to avoid prostate cancer. But, as is the case more often than not, the scientific study published in the European Journal of Nutrition reveals that there is little data to make the claim whether the purported effect was specific to carrots more than any other vegetable.
“Many studies suggest that consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of a variety of cancers. But the charity organisation Cancer Research UK stresses, ‘the link between diet and cancer is complex and difficult to unravel’. That is an important caveat. There is little chance that the key to preventing one of the world’s deadliest diseases has been on our dinner plates the whole time.”