prevention

Cancer Awareness

Preventive health is a health strategy that is significantly cost effective and can be adopted by anyone. Prevention costs nothing, but the benefits are priceless. The etiology of cancer of any form is complex since there are numerous factors that can exacerbate its development including genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. The article below is timely and to the point. Its guidelines have the potential to reduce the risk of cancer and where cancer has already developed, they have the potential to delay its progression.

Cancer Awareness

Your diet is one such factor that you can tweak to help lessen your risk of developing cancer down the line. In fact, of the nearly 569,500 cancer deaths that occurred in 2010, it’s estimated that one-third were related to physical inactivity, poor nutrition, obesity or being overweight (also often diet related), and therefore could have been prevented.1
You’ve probably already heard the advice to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, or at least five servings a day, to help fight chronic illnesses like cancer. But, just as important as knowing which foods to eat to help prevent cancer is knowing which foods to avoid.

The Top Cancer-Causing Foods to Avoid
In order to use your diet as a strategic “weapon” against cancer, one of the easiest things you can do is make sure the following foods are not a part of your regular diet.

1. Processed Meats
You may love hot dogs, lunch meat, bacon and sausages, but these meats are among the worst of the worst for your health. When you eat processed meats, you’re almost assuredly consuming sodium nitrite (or sodium nitrate), which is added to processed and cured meats as a preservative, flavoring, color fixative and antimicrobial agent.
Unfortunately, nitrites can be converted into cancer-causing nitrosamines in your body, which may explain why numerous studies have linked processed meat consumption to cancer. For instance:

  • People who eat a lot of processed meat may be 50 percent more likely to develop colorectal cancer than those who eat the least.2
  • Increased consumption of processed meat is associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer.3
  • Eating a lot of processed meat is linked to a 68 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer compared to eating only a small amount.4

 

  1. Red Meat
    While some red meat can safely be included in your diet (for instance, grass-fed beef, which contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) that may help to fight cancer),5 there is evidence that eating a lot of red meat can increase your cancer risk. One such study found that eating red meat daily for 10 years (in an amount equivalent to a quarter-pound hamburger) increased men’s risk of dying from cancer by 22 percent, and women’s by 20 percent.6
    Separate research has also linked red meat consumption to an increased risk of breast,7 colon and prostate cancers.

    3. Charred and Well-Done Meats
    The way you cook your meat may actually make a big difference in the cancer risk it poses to you, with well-done and char-grilled meats among the worst offenders.
    Many studies have shown a correlation between eating well-done meat cooked at high temperatures and an increased risk of cancer, and at least part of that risk is likely due to toxic cooking byproducts.

    For instance, when amino acids and creatine (a chemical found in muscle meats, including beef, pork, chicken and fish) interact with high cooking temperatures, heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are formed. At least 17 different HCAs have been identified that may increase cancer risk,8 including colon cancer, stomach cancer and others.
    Further, a review of 30 epidemiological studies found that 80 percent showed a link between eating well-done meat and cancer.9 A separate study also found a link between charred meat and pancreatic cancer, with those eating the most very well done meat at a 70 percent increased risk compared to those who ate the least.10

    4. French Fries and Potato Chips
    Potato chips and other snack chips and French fries may contain high levels of acrylamide, another carcinogenic substance that forms when foods are heated at high temperatures, such as during baking or frying.
    Animal studies have shown the substance increases the risk of several different types of cancer, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer states that acrylamide is a “probable human carcinogen.”
    Generally speaking, acrylamide may be found in any food heated to a temperature above 248 degrees Fahrenheit, but potato chips and French fries have been found to contain the highest levels among foods tested.11

    5. Sugar -Particularly Fructose
    You may have heard the notion that sugar feeds cancer cells, and although all cells, even healthy cells, use glucose to grow, cancer cells use sugar more efficiently, and in greater quantities, than healthy cells. Research shows a strong connection between sugar consumption and cancer, so much so that you may want to limit or at least moderate your intake to reduce your cancer risk. For instance:

  • Women who ate the most high-glycemic-load foods were close to three times more likely to develop colorectal cancer.13
  • High blood sugar levels, caused by health conditions like diabetes along with eating too many sugary foods, have been linked to cancers of the pancreas, skin, uterus, urinary tract and breast. Further, women with the highest blood sugar levels were found to have a 26 percent higher risk of developing cancer than those with the lowest.14
  • Women with the highest carbohydrate intake (62 percent of their diet or more) were more than twice as likely to develop breast cancer than those with a lower carb intake (52 percent or less).15

One recent study also found that fructose — found in soda and many other processed sweets — may feed cancer cells even more than glucose.16

The researchers “fed” both glucose and fructose to pancreatic cancer cells in lab dishes and found that although the cells thrived on glucose, they used fructose to divide and increase proliferation. The researchers even suggested that limiting the intake of refined fructose may disrupt cancer growth.17

Cancer is currently the second most common cause of death in the United States (heart disease is first), accounting for nearly one of every four deaths.18 While it may be impossible to eliminate your risk entirely, cutting back on, or eliminating, these cancer-causing foods from your diet is one simple way to stay healthy and help keep your cancer risk as low as possible.

Again, eliminating cancer-causing foods is only one way to use your diet to lower your cancer risk. Stay tuned for an upcoming newsletter on the best foods to eat more of to help keep cancer away.

Sources

  1. American Cancer Society Facts & Figures 2010
  2. Journal of the American Medical Association (2005); 293(2):172-82.
  3. Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2006), 98(15):1078-87.
  4. Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2005), 97(19):1458-65.
  5. Cornell University Department of Animal Science, The Bauman Research Group, Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Studies.
  6. Archives of Internal Medicine (2009); 169 (6):562-571.
  7. Archives of Internal Medicine (2006); 166: 2253-2259.
  8. National Cancer Institute, “Heterocyclic Amines in Cooked Meats” September 15, 2004.
  9. Nutrition Reviews 2005 May; 63(5):158-65.
  10. ScienceDaily.com April 22, 2009.
  11. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. World Health Organization. Summary report of the 64th meeting of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), February 8-17, 2005.
  12. National Cancer Institute “Acrylamide in Food and Cancer Risk.”
  13. Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2004); 96(3):229-233.
  14. Diabetes Care, Vol. 30, No. 3, March 2007: 561-567.
  15. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention (2004); 13, 1283-1289.
  16. Cancer Research (2010); 70: 6368.
  17. Reuters.com August 2, 2010.
  18. American Cancer Society Facts & Figures 2010.

Article: Courtesy of The Cancer Nutrition Centers of America (CNCA) Health: http://www.cncahealth.com/explore/learn/cancer-awareness/cut-your-cancer-risk-avoid-these-top-five-cancer-causing-foods#.VLljMXtRSfI

Elder Falls: Epidemiology and Pathphysiology

Elderly people are more prone to falling than other population groups. The causal factors are varied and complicated but the most common are age-related variations in the strength and in the general balance of the elderly as they advance in age. These can be exacerbated by comorbidities that include visual impairment, psychotropic or psychotherapeutic medications as well as osteoarthritic conditions. About 30% of elder falls result in significant injuries that usually require medical treatment. Other times (10% of the time), the fall can result in fractures. Falls are currently reported to be one of the most common concerns for elderly individuals. About 33% of people aged over 65 and also about 50% of all institutionalized persons who are aged over 80 fall each year. Approximately 50% of the elderly who fall experience another fall within the same year. Overall, most of the falls- about 50% – occur in the person’s home. Falls are the main reason elderly people go to emergency departments. Most falls are instigated by a change in location, such as while walking from, say, a bed to a chair or when getting up in the restroom or when trying to go up or come down the stairs.

As people age their physiology changes as well, which increases their susceptibility to falling as well, particularly when they start developing chronic medical conditions. Neurological conditions such as strokes have been associated with falls, probably due to their associated visual spatial problems and balance impairment. It is also true that older people experience a decrease in their ability to rapidly contract their muscles in their extremities, leading to slower responses. Poor depth perception hinders the elderly from quickly getting up from their chairs without risking falling. Those working with this population group ought to take into account their vulnerability and proneness to falling and to sustaining other injuries. Falls have psychological consequences. For instance, the elderly who has fallen down once might be tempted to limit activities that require being mobile because of fear of falling again. This can lead to other health problems such as weakening of muscles, which can increase the possibility of falling again, causing a vicious cycle.

In order to mitigate the incidence and prevalence of falling most states have established fall-prevention screening, referrals, and programs. However, there is need to do more as the elderly population has increased, significantly. Caregivers of elderly folks should ask health care providers about respective state programs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a compendium of effective prevention of falls, presented in 22 scientifically tested interventions grouped into 3 categories for all state organizations wanting to utilize them. There three categories are: exercise-based, home modifications and multifaceted. Some of the fall-prevention tips for the elderly are:

  • Install grab bars besides the bath tub or shower as well as next to the toilet,
  • Always use a nonslip mat in the bath tub or shower,
  • Have railings installed on both sides of the stairways,
  • Improve the elderly person’s lighting and use nightlights,
  • Ask their doctor or their pharmacist to review the medications to identify those that may cause dizziness or drowsiness….etc.

The Bible has a lot of counsel regarding caring for elderly parents and other family members who are not able to care for themselves (1 Timothy 5: 3-4, 8). We should never allow the cares of the world to overshadow the things that are most important – serving God through serving people, especially the people in our own family according to the flesh and according to the Spirit.

Sources

Berry, S.D. & Miller, R. (2008). Falls: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, and Relationship to Fracture. Current Osteoporosis Reports, 6(4): 149–154.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012). Simple Steps to Reduce Fall Risks. Accessed from http://www.cdc.gov/media/matte/2012/07_falls.pdf

Discover time-tested guidelines for elder care and disease prevention that will change your life for good at: The Perfect Prescription by Reigh Simuzoshya.