Setting the Record Straight: The Impact of Diet on Cancer Risk

Photo: Flickr/Mike65444 An article posted earlier this week on the New York Times website stated that the link between diet and cancer risk was, in essence, a “myth.”  And while links between diet and cancer are not as strong as those with some other chronic diseases, like heart disease, the article’s conclusions demonstrate a lack […]

Healthy Eating: Focus on Every Day, not Thanksgiving Day

Tara Parker-Pope wrote an interesting post yesterday on the New York Times’ Thanksgiving Help Line about the commonly thrown around stat that the average person consumes 4500 calories in the course of Thanksgiving Day.  In the piece, she works at length itemizing what 4500 calories would actually look like – choosing many fat and sugar-laden […]

Transdisciplinary Energetics and Cancer (TREC)

Obesity and cancer? Why are we meeting in Philadelphia? These are question not commonly asked on our CNiC blog. Let me explain a little of our new center on obesity and cancer, and link you to our related resources. NCI convened the first meeting of funded centers working together on issues relating energy balance, obesity, […]

Meat: Not for Dinner Tonight

This week was full of news about meat. The week started with news from the Department of Agriculture that US red meat consumption is expected to be lower in 2012 than it was in 2007. Of course, global meat consumption isn’t down, which means the US is continuing the trend we started with tobacco of […]

(Video) 8 Ways to Prevent Cancer (and A Bunch of Other Diseases)

As part of our 8 Ways to Prevent Cancer campaign, the Siteman Cancer Center and the Cancer News in Context team produced a series of videos focusing on practical information and useful tips about each “way.” This is the first in the series, featuring CNiC’s Dr. Kate Wolin. Simple tips.  Big benefits.

6 Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer

Ask women what they think is the biggest threat to their health, and most will answer “breast cancer.”  And even though lung cancer and heart disease kill more women each year, their concern is well placed.  Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the US — about 230,000 American women are diagnosed […]

Obesity increases risk of multiple myeloma – overwhelming evidence.

In our Prevention Snapshot we refer to data from a thorough analysis reported by Renehan who combined prospective cohort data separately for men (7 studies) and women (6 studies) and observed a significant increase in relative risk of 1.11 for a 5 unit increase in BMI for men 1. This meta-analysis also reported no meaningful variation in […]

Colorectal Cancer: Screening Rates Up; New Cases and Mortality Down

A new federal report out yesterday may put some wind in the sails of those who work in the field of cancer prevention.  The July 5 issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shows that rates of screening for colorectal cancer have been climbing steadily between 2002 and 2010, with a related drop in […]

Preventing Disease, Saving Billions of Dollars

In the New York Times this week, Mark Bittman highlights the magnitude of our chronic disease burden and the potential for prevention to save our future federal budget billions of dollars (see story).  A small change in diet to reduce heart disease by 10% would save 100 billion dollars. And this is all easy to […]

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 […]

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 […]

Primary prevention of colon cancer, time to act is now!

In this short update we draw attention to the strength of evidence that colon cancer is largely preventable with what we already know. While we have provided more extensive summaries of the overall evidence in the past 1, and have reported in detail on specific lifestyle habits and colon cancer 2,3, our goal here is […]

Lifestyle changes to prevent premature mortality will trump screening for cancer

This month in the Journal of Clinical Oncology a report from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer screening trial (PLCO) highlights priorities for cancer prevention 1. In a detailed analysis that addresses the potential for PSA screening to reduce mortality from prostate cancer in this randomized trial, the authors report that more than 9,500 […]

Practicing Prevention: Cooking with a Toddler

A few weeks back, we took our toddler to see Sesame Street Live – a groan-inducing rite of passage for many parents of toddlers. This year’s subtitle was “Elmo’s Healthy Heroes,” and the show followed Grover in his efforts to locate his “superness,” which he regained through 4 healthy habits: eating right (in this case, […]

Canada needs to get moving, physical activity report shows

A new report released by Statistics Canada yesterday shows that the level of physical activity in the Canadian population is far lower than previously estimated (see report). While Canada has used self-report to monitor the level of activity in the adult population and seen high levels of reported physical activity – in the new report […]

8 Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer

In our previous posts we have written about the role of postmenopausal hormones as a cause of breast cancer, the value of weight loss and increasing physical activity for prevention and improved quality of life. Here we list 8 major opportunities to reduce the chances of developing breast cancer. When in life they apply can […]

Research Priority: Implementing What Works

Dissemination and implementation of research findings into practice is necessary to achieve a return on investment in our research enterprise and to apply research findings to improve outcomes in the broader community. In a thoughtful review of the application of discovery to prevention of cancer, Bowen and colleagues note, “Our previous 30 years have taught […]

Passive smoke exposure kills

New data on the global burden of disease caused by exposure to second hand smoke (see report) adds to the urgency for action to prevent cancer heart disease asthma and other conditions caused by this exposure (Oberg M, Jaakkola MS et al. 2010). As noted in media coverage of the new findings, worldwide exposure to […]

Tobacco Control Works – Now Implement It

As noted in the NCI Cancer Bulletin this week (see related story), Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Howard Koh, describes the new tobacco control strategy released this month as four pillars of strategic action. These high impact approaches are known to work. Change social norms around tobacco use Improve the public’s health […]

More potential for breast cancer prevention

In the Journal of the National Cancer Institute a new study shows promise for reducing risk for beats cancer through another osteoporosis drug (Lacroix, Powles et al. 2010). Risk of breast cancer is reduced but the small number of women in the trial does not rule out side effects similar to tamoxifen.  The potential for […]

Health and economic burden of obesity

As the prevalence of overweight and obesity continues to climb, the challenges of quantifying the impact of this epidemic to inform public policies and health services becomes more pressing. The consequences of obesity on population health are far–reaching—as demonstrated in extensive analyses of health and economic consequences. For example, Calle and colleagues reported data from […]

Colon Cancer Screening – Just a (great) first step

New research results out today suggest that 1 in 13 colon cancers may be missed on colonoscopy. There are a few reasons this may happen – some you can control and some you can’t. Completing the colonoscopy prep is one you can control – having a clean, prepped colon reduces the changes that a tumor […]

Reduce risk of breast cancer through action today

Breast cancer prevention means taking action now. We talked about awareness earlier this week and have discussed drug strategies to reduce risk of breast cancer in high risk or postmenopausal women. But for every woman there are things to do now to lower risk. be active – increase your level of physical activity maintain a […]

Do we really need more breast cancer awareness?

The LA Times has a provocative new article out that seems to rail against breast cancer awareness month. What are the criticisms? – Since the breast cancer awareness campaign started, age-adjusted rates have remained largely flat. – Talking about “breast cancer” ignores all of the research done to date that shows there are many different […]

Supplements – magic bullet or poison pill?

It seems everywhere you turn, someone is touting a new herbal supplement or extract as the solution to what ails you – prevent cancer, lose weight, reduce cholesterol, boost immunity. You name it, someone is probably selling an herbal concoction to fix it. And often, these claims seem to be backed by scientific research. So […]

The price we pay for obesity: diabetes drives hospital costs

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported yesterday (see full report) that 1 in 5 hospitalizations in 2008 involved a person with diabetes. This amounted to 7.7 million hospital stays at a cost of $83 billion in just the hospital costs. Diabetics had hospital stays that were longer, on average, and more likely to […]

Preventing Cancer: It’s this easy…and this tasty.

In previous posts, we’ve talked about implementing the weekday vegetarian plan or moving from your farm share box to a meal plan. For those who don’t have a big pile of recipes in the kitchen (or who are at work trying to figure out what to make for dinner that night), the internet is a […]

Improving America’s Health

In the August issue of Health Affairs (vol 29, no8 pages 1481-88), David Williams and colleagues summarized the report of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America. Much of the focus of this report is on the need for actions at all levels of society to promote the development and maintenance […]

Untapped Benefits of Physical Activity and Weight Loss in Breast Cancer Prevention

Last week we commented on the data from the Nurses’ Health Study II showing that bike riding could reduce weight gain in premenopausal women. This is just one of many strategies available to women to increase exercise or physical activity, control their weight, and reduce their risk of breast cancer. Why do we focus on physical […]

Does Sunscreen Prevent Skin Cancer?

As we turn to summer, cookouts, and more time in the sun, a burning question is whether sunscreen prevents skin cancer. Much media attention has focused on the slow progress made by the FDA to bring US regulations into line with other countries to gain up to date benefits of sunscreen formulation and consumer labeling […]

Breast Cancer Prevention

New data from long term follow-up of women participating in the STAR trial, a study comparing Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (known as SERMS) for prevention of breast cancer, show strong and persisting benefits of reduced breast cancer risk after stopping therapy (see abstract). This is an important addition to our understanding. Based on follow-up of 18,747 women […]

Genetics and cancer prevention

The Times today reports that the genome ( has deepened understanding of human genetics and opened up the potential for new approaches to treatment of disease. The potential pay off has not yet arrived, however. As the Times story notes, a family history of disease provides a good summary of risk, and also identifies those […]

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 […]

Oral Contraceptives – 50 Years of Progress in Women’s Health

Numerous recent media reports highlight the historic progress in women’s health with development and marketing of oral contraceptives. As Collins reported in the New York Times (column), we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the birth control pill. She notes the need for information on contraception and the challenges women had historically obtaining accurate data. Over […]

Harnessing the Power of Data

The New York Times this weekend (story) featured a fascinating article on the role that data and monitoring are increasingly playing in our lives. Among other things, people routinely harness technology to monitor their own physical activity, daily schedules, and diets as well as to identify missed opportunities and potential causes of desirable outcomes. Research […]

The Skinny on Esophageal Cancer: Obesity, Tobacco, and Screening

While the rates of many cancers have remained stable over the past decade, the rate of some esophageal cancers has been rising, and the main culprit is likely the epidemic of overweight and obesity. Squamous cell cancers of the esophogous , a cancer type largely caused by smoking, have remained stable. But adenocarcinomas of the […]

Tanning Beds, Addiction, and Taxes

A new study in this month’s Archives of Dermatology suggests that indoor tanning can be addicting in young adults (study) (1).  While the study was relatively small, with just over 400 participants surveyed, the results seem to bolster the need for moves toward greater regulation of the indoor tanning industry, especially through policies that curtail […]

Using technology to improve health

Lately, with health care reform being the health topic de rigueur, much of the talk about technology in health has been related to electronic medical records. But, as the presentations at the 2010 Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) Annual Meeting demonstrate, there is a lot more to using technology to improve health than just electronic […]

Despite New Results – Keep Eating Your Fruits and Vegetables

The headlines this week about fruits and vegetables doing little, if anything, to lower cancer risk may entice you to reach for a candy bar rather than a carrot (study), but there’s still plenty of good reasons to keep working on your 5 or more each day. Most importantly, there’s still very good evidence that eating […]

Health care reform and prevention of cancer

In Sunday’s New York Times (story), Robert Pear wrote about the many disease prevention initiatives contained in the new health care law recently passed by congress and signed by the president. It’s important to stop and consider the full implications of this.  Importantly, Medicaid will now cover drugs and counseling to help pregnant women stop […]

Oral contraceptives reduce cancer deaths

A recent study in the British Medical Journal adds further evidence that use of oral contraceptives reduces cancer mortality (full study). In the long term study of over 46,000 women who were followed for up to 39 years, Hannaford and colleagues reported that women who used oral contraceptives (OCs)  had lower mortality from cancers of […]

Cancer Prevention Works

The recent Annual Report to the Nation featuring colon cancer trends ( highlights the success of prevention in reducing colorectal cancer incidence and mortality. Colorectal cancer is the third most frequently diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States for men and women combined. In the US, an estimated […]

Adolescent diet prevents breast cancer

A new study of adolescent diet and subsequent risk of precursor lesions for breast cancer shows that women who had higher intake of fiber earlier in life have lower cancer risk. Data from the Nurses’ Health Study show that women in the highest quintile of adolescent fiber intake had a 25% lower risk of proliferative […]

Key measures to focus cancer prevention

Several measures that are currently poorly defined in many of our studies that focus on prevention are now a priority for us to achieve the goal of preventing the majority of cancer. These are summarized below and in a recent article ( Prevention Questions Cohort Methods issues Which exposure? Refined measures Validation and error correction […]