For Your Health: HPV Vaccine Prevents Cancer

By Dr. Graham A. Colditz You’ve likely heard of the HPV vaccine, but what you may be surprised to hear is that it is one of the most important advances in the field of cancer in the last 20 years. And while it may not be on the list of required vaccines at your child’s […]

For Your Health: The Blistering Truth About Teens and Indoor Tanning

by Dr. Graham A. Colditz Part of being a teenager is feeling a sense of youthful invincibility. The health concerns of middle age are just that – concerns of middle age – and are so far away that it’s hard for teens to even think about them, let alone want to take steps to avoid […]

HPV Vaccine Prevents Cervical Pre-Cancer – New Report

By Hank Dart An important new report further confirms that the HPV vaccine is both safe and extremely effective at preventing cervical pre-cancers that could develop into cervical cancer. The report, published Wednesday in the Cochrane Library, reviewed the results of 26 HPV vaccine clinical trials that included over 73,000 girls and women ages 15 […]

New Diet Study Finds “Ultra-Processed” Foods May Be Linked to Cancer Risk

by Hank Dart A new study out of France highlights another possible reason to avoid eating too many highly processed foods:  They may increase the risk of cancer. The paper, published yesterday in the British Medical Journal, followed close to 105,000 adults for an average of 5 years.  Along the way, participants were asked to regularly […]

Room for Improvement: Rates of Cancer Risk Factors in Young Adults

As we’ve written about before on Cancer News in Context, good evidence points to the important role that behaviors in youth and young adulthood can have on cancer risk later in life. Health habits started in youth not only have a longer time to impact risk, but they can also have unique and important interactions with the […]

New York Joins Other States with Growing E-Cigarette Restrictions

In a little under a month in New York state, electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) will be banned wherever standard tobacco cigarettes are prohibited. The move adds to a growing list of states restricting e-cig use because of concerns about their impact on health and safety. Although e-cigs are often marketed as safer alternatives to standard cigarettes […]

How Does Your State’s Health Stack Up?

Ever wonder how you’re state stacks up compared to others when it comes to important health risk factors? If so, a tool from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (below) can help you do just that. And while it can be fun to click through and explore the data from different states and for […]

Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center: 25 Years of Progress on the Links Between Overweight and Cancer

At today’s annual symposium of the Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center (BNORC), CNiC’s Dr. Graham Colditz delivered a plenary session talk reviewing BNOCR’s 25-year contribution to the science on obesity and cancer. A past associate director of the Center, Colditz also paid tribute to groundbreaking nutrition researcher, George Blackburn, who passed away in February 2017 […]

Study Looks at Economic Cost of Physical Inactivity. Hint: It’s Big.

A new analysis published last week in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that physical inactivity results in a significant economic burden the world over. Though the authors found that studies looking at the economic impact of inactivity lacked consistent methodology – which, therefore, limited specific conclusions – sedentary lifestyles were found to account […]

Compelling Evidence on Overweight & Cancer Compels Action

An editorial published in today’s British Medical Journal (BMJ) by Cancer News in Context’s Yikung Park and Graham Colditz makes the strong case that it’s time to take action to combat weight-related cancers.  The editorial addresses a new “umbrella review,” also published in the BMJ today, that found strong evidence that overweight and obesity increases the risk of 11 […]

Cancer Missed Factors: Many People Unaware of Key Behaviors That Can Lower Cancer Risk

A new report from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) shows that a large percentage of the United States population remains confused about which lifestyle factors increase the risk of cancer and which do not. While a large majority of the public knows that smoking and sun exposure increase cancer risk, only 50 percent […]

Weighty Evidence: New Report Further Highlights Importance of Overweight and Cancer Risk

A new international report released today further highlights the important role that overweight and obesity play in the development of cancer.  Produced by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and released in the New England Journal of Medicine, the report, Body Fatness and Cancer — Viewpoint of the IARC Working Group, finds that […]

Some Simple Tips for Keeping Weight in Check

Although keeping weight in check can be a tall order in this day of dollar menus and smartphones, it’s well worth the effort.  The cancer benefits alone are huge.  When the impact on heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure, and good old-fashioned quality of life are added, the benefits become enormous.  Try these simple steps: ‪Exercise, […]

Cloudy Evidence on Skin Cancer Screening Shines Light on Prevention

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) reported today in the journal, JAMA, that there is not enough evidence to recommend that adults get screened for skin cancer. Though some professional medical organizations recommend physician-performed visual checks for skin cancer — and many physicians carry them out — the USPSTF found no solid evidence that […]

2015’s Top Posts on Cancer News in Context

It’s been another big year of cancer prevention news, and it started with a real splash way back in January with a headline-grabbing study in Science attributing most cases of cancer to simple “bad luck.” Not surprisingly, we disagreed with that conclusion, and our post responding to the study – and the stories it generated […]

A Closer Look at Obesity, Breast Cancer, and Health Disparities

by Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH Obesity is an established cause of postmenopausal breast cancer, with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) estimating that approximately 10 percent of postmenopausal breast cancer is due to excess weight (1). Overweight and obesity also increase the risk of mortality after diagnosis. One large analysis combining data from […]

Practical Steps to Prevent Breast Cancer: Day 5 – Breastfeed, If Possible

It’s day five in our nine day series highlighting key steps and practical tips that can help women lower their risk of breast cancer. Previous days. _ _ _ _ Day 5 – Breastfeed, If Possible Breastfeeding for a total of one year or more (combined for all children) lowers the risk of breast cancer. It […]

Siteman Cancer Center’s Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities Celebrates 10 Years

by Katy Henke 2015 marked 10 years for The Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities (PECaD). PECaD, a National Cancer Institute-funded program, works to eliminate cancer disparities through cancer prevention and treatment. To celebrate 10 years of accomplishment and collaboration in the community, PECaD hosted an evening of achievement on September 15, 2015, presenting […]

Physical Activity and Cancer Prevention: “Step It Up!” Walking Campaign

by Katy Henke In early September 2015, Vivek Murthy, MD, the Surgeon General of the United States, began a national campaign to increase the amount of physical activity Americans engage in each day (see video below).  The campaign, called Step It Up!, works not only to get Americans walking more but also to help facilitate […]

Still Important To Be a Quitter – Looking at Cessation and Lung Cancer Screening

In 2008, scandal struck the world of cancer screening.  A rare occurrence, to be sure. About two years after the release of a groundbreaking study showing that low-dose CT scans could catch lung cancer early and save lives in smokers, it was revealed that the study’s principal investigator had close ties to the tobacco industry. […]

New Dietary Recommendations Take Innovative Approach – and Not Everyone’s Happy About It

By Yikyung Park, ScD Editor’s note: Not surprisingly, the recently released report from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Advisory Committee was met with both praise and scorn.  Many in the medical and health fields lauded the report for its innovative approach to considering both the food environment and sustainability, as well as for its healthy […]

Screening for Cervical Cancer: Is the HPV Test a Good Alternative to the Pap Test?

By Sarah Cortez New guidelines from two professional medical organizations strongly suggest that the HPV (human Pap test micrograph. Photo: Flickr/euthman papilloma virus) test can be used on its own as an effective alternative to standard Pap tests in most women being screened for cervical cancer. For seventy years, the Pap test has been the […]

Preventing Skin Cancer: Tanning Beds Still Alluring, Still Very Risky

Photo: Flickr/whatshername, Creative Commons Lic. There was a nice piece in the New York Times this weekend on the risks of indoor tanning, particularly in youth. Focussing on the personal experiences of a handful of young women and their  parents, it does a very good job highlighting the well-established risks of skin cancer and deadly melanoma, the […]

New Study Shows Being Sedentary is Bad for Physical and Fiscal Health

Creative Commons photo (cropped): Flickr/hjl There is no magic bullet that will guarantee good health.  That’s just an unfortunate fact of life.  But there is something that can help stave off heart disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, and depression, while also helping us maintain a higher quality of life as we get older.  And it’s largely […]

New Study Confirms Weight is a Major Cancer Risk Factor

Photo: Flickr/Kizette The subjects of weight gain, the obesity epidemic, and their major impact on health are brought up so much these days that they’re easy to tune out.  So, if a few articles and news reports here and there pass you by – on accident or on purpose – we understand.  But we won’t […]

Evolution of the Science on Aspirin Use and Colon Cancer Prevention

Yesterday, we posted about a new analysis suggesting that long term aspirin use is likely to have an overall health benefit in the general population even when its side effects are taken into account.  At risk of being wonky, we wanted to follow up on that with a figure that shows the general evolution of […]

An Aspirin a Day…May Have Overall Health Benefits

Photo: Flickr/JenR The writing was on the wall a few years ago, but it seems that we may have finally reached a point where the scientific evidence points pretty convincingly to the potential health benefits of long-term regular aspirin use outweighing the potential risks for most people. That’s the conclusion of a new analysis appearing last […]

Alcohol and Health: Three New Studies and What They Mean for Youth and Young Adults

Photo: Flickr/Tim RT It’s been a big week in the news for alcohol and health. Three separate studies were released that helped shed light on a key issue we often discuss here at Cancer News in Context: the important impact that drinking has on cancer risk – particularly when started early in life. The first […]

New Study: Tanning Bed Use Brings Skin Cancer Risks – and Brings Them Early

Photo: Flickr/whatshername A new study out this week further confirms the dangers of indoor tanning, finding that use of tanning beds and other UV tanning devices is strongly linked to developing skin cancer early in life. Published early online in the medical journal Pediatrics, the study compared the history of indoor tanning in a group […]

Data Show More Support Warranted for Worksite Wellness Programs

Photo: Flickr/abraj This week I had the privilege of addressing the American Cancer Society CEOs Against Cancer at their annual meeting that this year was held at Washington University in St. Louis. As a member of the panel addressing worksite wellness, I was able to briefly summarize the strong evidence that worksite wellness programs can […]

The Ongoing Challenge to Secure Resources for Cancer Prevention

The ongoing challenge of garnering appropriate resources and recognition for cancer prevention was highlighted yet again by a recently released paper in the Journal of Cancer Policy titled Cancer economics, policy and politics: What informs the debate? Perspectives from the EU, Canada and US. The overall goal of this paper was to assess the factors that are […]

Becoming a Stand-Up: Fighting Disease with Desks

It was hard to miss the headlines this summer telling us that a new federal study confirmed what many disgruntled office workers had long suspected – that their desk jobs may just be killing them.  While the headlines were a bit overblown, they did capture the essence of what more and more evidence is showing, […]

PSA Screening: Task Force Recommends Against Prostate Cancer Test

Despite the widespread use of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test for prostate cancer, it’s been known for many years that it had murky benefits, especially in the face of its well-demonstrated risks – like impotence, incontinence, and unnecessary surgery. Now, as reported in a very good article in the New York Times, the US Preventive […]

Don’t Quit on Quitting: Smoking Cessation Still an Important Focus

John Seffrin, CEO of the American Cancer Society, made the point at last week’s meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative that tobacco control should remain the highest priority in combatting chronic disease.  It’s a point we’ve certainly echoed on this blog – that efforts to curb tobacco use shouldn’t be relegated to the second tier […]

That’s a Wrap: Images of Smoking Way Down in Youth Movies

In what can only be viewed as a positive in the fight against tobacco, a new federal report finds that images of smoking in youth-oriented movies have plummeted since 2005.  In movies rated G and PG, the rate of tobacco “incidents” (as the report calls them) fell by over 90 percent (see figure).  Even in […]

Going Global: New WHO Report on the Rise of Chronic Disease

It’s been a trend developing for a number of years: the rising prominence of chronic disease across the globe.  Where diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer were once the main health concerns of more affluent countries, they’ve now taken over top spots in developing nations as well – signaling both a shift away […]

Which Screening Tests and When? Two Nice Tools Cover This and More

I was on the Preventive Services Task Force website yesterday to read some new screening recommendations, and I came across a couple neat little widgets that personalize the Task Force’s prevention-related guidelines.  One is intended for the public and provides very nice, straightforward recommendations based on a person’s gender and age.  The other is intended for […]

“Scientific Controversies” Forum on Vitamin D: A Lot of Discussion, Little Agreement

As is clear from a number of our recent posts, there’s some long-brewing controversy in academic and public health circles about the potential benefits and risks of raising the recommended daily amounts of vitamin D.  One main camp believes that there is pretty solid evidence that daily vitamin D intakes of 1000 – 2000 IU […]

Taking a Step Back to Find Prevention’s Place

As a spin-off of our recent 7-Minute Abs post, I’ve spent part of the past week working on a journal article about the evidence and rationale behind our 8 Ways to Stay Healthy and Prevent Cancer (8 Ways link).  And one of the things that the process of reviewing the science and writing the paper […]

New Maps, Same Problem: Inactivity

It’s no real surprise.  Not only are most of us not getting enough exercise to meet health guidelines, a large chunk of us aren’t getting any physical activity at all.  New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 25 percent of adults spend none of their free time exercising or […]

Smoking, Breast Cancer, and One More Reason to Keep up the Fight Against Tobacco

It may not fall into the “shocking” category, but a new Harvard study by our colleagues at the Nurses’ Health Study has provided further insight into the links between smoking and breast cancer (study).  To date, many studies have had waffling results on the subject.  Some showing smoking raising risk; some showing it not affecting […]

Another Cancer Study Shows Health Boost from Aspirin: Is It Time to Revise Recommendations?

The documented benefits of aspirin go back, literally, thousands of year.  As early as the fifth century B.C., Hippocrates noted that a bitter willow bark extract – which contained chemicals very similar to today’s aspirin – was effective at relieving pain.  Since then, aspirin has become the most commonly used medicine in the world, and […]

Obesity: Broad Reach, Broad Fixes

There was a very nice piece this morning on NPR’s Morning Edition building on a study released earlier this month that found that being persistently overweight from young adulthood on can have a profoundly negative social and economic impact on individuals – this in addition to the already well-documented health effects of overweight and obesity (NPR story) […]

Carrot or Cookie: What Influences our Weight Loss Choices?

As national trends have shown us all too clearly, keeping weight in check can be a difficult journey for many of us, and a lonely one at that. Success or failure when it comes to our weight is often pinned to us as individuals. Yet, individual actions are just the culmination of a broader web […]

Potential of Prevention: WALL-E, Active Lifestyles, and the Importance of Good Policy

In the movie WALL– E, the human race has become so dependent on energy-saving devices that they’ve devolved over the course of 700 years into large infant-like beings that can only get around on futuristic wheel chairs. The director of the film has denied that this was targeted social commentary, just a way to develop […]

Of Maps and Cancer Clusters: When Good Data Go Bad

Often on CNiC we highlight the power of data and how valuable it can be in providing key information about the causes of cancer and the success, or failure, at interventions designed to prevent or treat it. This week, New York State released the first set of maps that allow individuals to map cancer cases […]