Category Archives: Cancer

Exercise- The Magic Pill

Middle Age Men Who Exercised Had Fewer Cancers

According to a study in JAMA Oncology, men who are more physically fit in middle age are less likely to develop lung and colon and rectal cancers and less likely to die from these cancers compared with their less-fit peers.

Compared with men at the lowest fitness level, those at the highest level had roughly 50% reductions in lung and colorectal cancer incidence. Among men who developed lung, colorectal or prostate cancer, both cancer-specific and cardiovascular mortality were significantly lower in the active group.

Prostate Cancer Increases Risk of Breast Cancer 

Women who have a first-degree relative with prostate cancer are at increased risk for developing breast cancer, suggests an article in the journal Cancer. 

Roughly 78,000 postmenopausal women from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study provided family cancer histories at baseline. Roughly 4% of women were diagnosed with breast cancer over a median 11 years’ follow-up.

Having a first-degree relative with prostate cancer was slightly more common among women with breast cancer than among those without (11.6% vs 10.1%). The association persisted after adjusting for family history of breast. Women who had family histories of both breast and prostate cancers had higher risk,  and African American women with family histories of both types of cancer had even greater risk.

The authors conclude: “Risk communication between the physician and the patient as well as the dissemination of this information from the patient to immediate relatives would be important in shaping the health behaviors (such as screening for early detection) of those family members, even among those of the opposite sex.”


Vegetarian Diet Associated with Less Colon Cancer

In a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, nearly 80,000 adults completed food-frequency questionnaires at baseline and then were divided into five dietary groups: vegan (8% of the population), lacto-ovo vegetarian (29%), pesco-vegetarian (10%), semi-vegetarian (6%), and non-vegetarian (48%).

During 7 years’ follow-up, researchers documented 490 cases of colorectal cancer. Compared with non-vegetarians, all vegetarians combined had a significantly reduced risk for colorectal cancer, When examined by type of vegetarian diet, only pesco-vegetarians had a significant reduction in risk.

Medicare To Pay For Yearly CT Scans for Lung Cancer Screening in Smokers

Medicare will cover annual lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography in high-risk patients, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced last week.

To be covered, beneficiaries must meet the following conditions:

  • be asymptomatic and aged 55 to 77;
  • be either currently smoking or have stopped smoking within the past 15 years;
  • have a smoking history of 30 or more pack-years;
  • have a written order from a clinician obtained during a lung cancer screening counseling and shared decision-making visit, which includes information on the procedure’s risks and benefits.

Nearly 500,000 Cancers in 2012 Attributable to Obesity

High body mass index (BMI) may be to blame for nearly 4% of all cancer cases, a Lancet Oncology study finds. These cancers include colon, rectal, esophageal, ovarian, uterine, and breast. This link seems to be higher among women than men. Highly developed nations had the most high-BMI-related cancers: North America accounted for about a quarter of all such cases.

Lancet Oncology

Cytisine a Better Choice for Smoking Cessation

Cytisine, a partial agonist of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, helps smokers quit tobacco more effectively than nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT), according to a New England Journal of Medicine study. The plant-based agent has been used for smoking cessation in Eastern Europe for decades but is largely unavailable elsewhere.

Some 1300 adult daily smokers who were motivated to quit smoking were randomized to receive cytisine tablets for roughly 3.5 weeks or NRT (patches plus gum or lozenges) for 8 weeks. Both groups also received behavioral support via three brief telephone calls over 8 weeks.

The primary outcome — self-reported continuous abstinence at 1 month — was higher with cytisine than with NRT. Similarly, abstinence rates favored cytisine at 2 and 6 months. Cytisine was associated with more adverse events (mostly nausea, vomiting, and sleep disorders), but only 5% of participants discontinued the drug because of side effects.

An editorialist notes that cytisine is inexpensive and, if made widely available, could make smoking cessation pharmacotherapy affordable for many smokers.


Daily Aspirin Use May Reduce The Risk of Certain Cancers

Daily low-dose aspirin for a minimum of 5 years appears to have more
benefits than harms in terms of cancer prevention.

The review found reduced cancer incidence and mortality at doses
between 75 and 325 mg per day, starting between ages 50 and 65, with
longer duration of use appearing to confer the greatest benefits.

The researchers found substantial benefit in terms of colorectal,
esophageal, and gastric cancer incidence and mortality. Reductions in
breast, lung, and prostate cancers were more modest.

As expected, aspirin use was associated with increased risk for
bleeding events, but the cancer-prevention benefits outweighed this

-Annals of Oncology