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Category Archives: Cancer Prevention

Could Genomic Sequencing Help Breast Cancer Prevention?

November 23, 2014

genome researchIt is commonly known that breast cancer prevention is done through performing routine breast self-examinations starting at the age of 20 and then it is advanced to undergoing annual mammograms beginning at the age of 40.

However, a much better approach is taken into consideration. If the time comes when genome sequencing will be less expensive and further research studies will be invested in cultivating more knowledge about cancer risk genes, the prevention of breast cancer will be possible as early as birth.

According to the latest studies, including a research published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, breast cancer probability can be predetermined through the use of the sequencing data of the genomes. With the advent of the discovered genetic alterations in cancerous breast cells, it can provide a good opportunity to identify the risk of a woman’s genetic history in acquiring the disease. In a much wider perspective, genomic sequencing can lead the way to the prevention of breast cancer.

In a statement given by a Stanford epidemiology professor, Dr. Weiva Sieh, M.D.Ph.D., “The framework of our study was to ask how useful genome sequencing would be for targeting breast cancer prevention, assuming that genome sequencing were affordable and could be performed on every girl at birth.” She further added, “In the best case scenario, we found we would be able to identify 70 percent of all future cases by targeting the top 25 percent of women [at risk].”

This study has been pursued through the combined efforts of Dr. Sieh and another Stanford professor Alice Whittemore. It involves looking at the chain of connections between 86 various variants of genes and the risk of having breast cancer. The samples were taken from a pool of tens of thousands of women. Making use of a statistical computer model, they were able to calculate the probability a woman who can eventually get breast cancer.

The results of this study will yield advantageous outcomes in how breast cancer prevention is being put to action. First, genetic sequencing can be used to pinpoint which women would have the greater need to undergo breast cancer screening procedures like mammography. To add on, it can also aid potential women, who have been identified as high risk for breast cancer, to avoid non-genetic factors such as doing lifestyle and diet modifications to minimize the risk of progressing into malignancy.

“One of our main messages is that women who are at high risk have the most to gain from modifying lifestyle factors like maintaining a healthy weight or limiting alcohol and smoking. The protective effects of these healthy behaviors are multiplicative,” said Sieh.

Further, Sieh stated that once the culprit genes responsible for increasing the risk of breast cancer is identified, the computer model can estimate the occurrence of future cases by as much as 70 percent.

People who are suspected to be high risk for breast cancer and those who already have the disease can make beneficial use out of genome sequencing. However, the researchers still believe that genome sequencing will not serve as the final verdict on the risk factor of the disease.

Tips to Avoid Cancer

October 23, 2014

cancertipsCancer refers to a group of diseases which involve abnormal growth of cells having the potential of invading or spreading to other parts of the body. The risk of cancer rises significantly with age as well as with the lifestyle that an individual is practicing. It is essential to become aware of the variety of ways one can help prevent the development of cancer as this disease is indeed a devastating one.

It is essential to have a healthy lifestyle in order to have lesser risk of having cancer. Among the important things needed to be considered are the diet, exercise, and the avoidance of tobacco use. Below are some of the vital ways to take into consideration in order to prevent cancer:

Load up on greens – the chlorophyll making the greens its dark color has magnesium which has been found to lower the colon cancer risk for women.

Burn off the risk – do a moderate exercise like brisk walking for about two hours per week as this will cut the risk for breast cancer. Having the regular workouts will aid in lowering the risks by burning the fats.

Filter tap water – this will reduce the exposure to the suspected or known carcinogens as well as hormone-disrupting chemicals. The water must be stored in stainless glass or steel to avoid chemicals that can leach from the plastic bottles like the BPA.

Marinate meat – meats that are processed, cooked well-done, and charred may contain cancer-causing heterocyclic amines, which are formed as the meat is being seared at high temperatures. There may also be polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that may go into the food when it is being charcoal broiled. Adding thyme and rosemary to the marinade and marinating the meat at least one hour prior to cooking will lessen the HCAs by 87% based on a research.

Head off the cell phone risks – usage of mobile phones increases the risk for brain cancer so it is wise to make use of the cell phone for short calls or texts, and utilize a hands-free device which will keep the phone away from the head.

Eat foods that are clean – it is recommended to buy meats that are free of antibiotics and added hormones as these are suspected to cause endocrine problems like cancer. It is also important to wash the grown foods including the fruits and vegetables which are purchased to remove the pesticides or residues.

Increase the intake of calcium – milk helps to protect from colon cancer.

Pay attention to the pain – it is important to consult a doctor when you experience a bloated belly, pain in the pelvis, and urinary urgency because these symptoms may be a warning sign for ovarian cancer.

Avoid scans which are not needed – it is essential to avoid too much exposure to CT scans because of its high doses of radiation being delivered. Its multiple usages must be avoided because its high doses of radiation may be a triggering factor for the development of leukemia.

This information is not intended to constitute a medical diagnosis or treatment. Seek the advice of a qualified health care physician in regards to your medical care.

Challenges of the Cancer Prevention Study-3

September 17, 2014

PhD Alpa Patel speaks regarding the importance of diversity within the Cancer Prevention Study, CPS-3.

We need diverse populations to participate in cancer research to understand what affects different populations in the U.S is a critical component of cancer prevention and control. Cancer risks affects different populations in a variety of ways and only through a diverse, comprehensive research study, can we get a clear idea on the different ways to fight cancer and help improve the lives of those in our communities as a whole. The cPS-3 studies concluded successfully with more than 300,000 people contributing to its success. However, only through continued effort can we hope to make strides toward the elimination of cancer from our lives.

How the Cancer Prevention Study Can Help Save Lives

August 9, 2014

One of the missions of the American Cancer Society is to conduct a research study. The Society provides funds for the cancer prevention research since the year 1946 to have better understanding in the ways of preventing all kinds of cancer. The study has been first conducted in the 1950’s. Participants are providing the initial lifestyle, behavioral information, or medical data and then this is followed with assessment of their health outcomes over time for the determination of how those outcomes provide relationship to the data which have been already previously collected.

cancerstudyFor the studies, there were a lot of individuals who have been recruited as partners with the American Cancer Society researchers as well as volunteers. The participants provide relevant data including the lifestyle, behavioral, and medical information and this is followed with assessments. The success of the studies is dependent on the commitment of the participants and volunteers who have recruited them. There are already over three hundred scientific articles by the epidemiologists of the American Cancer Society which were published from the studies and the findings indeed have significant contribution to tobacco-related research and there was better understanding of different factors in relation to cancer as well as other diseases and these factors include the physical activity, obesity, air population, diet, and use of hormones.

The previous American Cancer Society long-duration studies include the following:

• Hammond-Horn Study (1952-1955) – Participants were 188,000 U.S. men who were recruited by 22,000 volunteers. It examined the effect of cigarette smoking to death rates from cancer as well as other diseases.

• Cancer Prevention Study (CPS)-I (1959-1972) – It included about 1 million women and men who were recruited by 68,000 volunteers in 25 different states. It was designed in addressing a wide variety of potential exposures aside from the use of tobacco which may decrease or increase the risk for cancer.

• Cancer Prevention Study (CPS)-II (1982-ongoing) – It included 1.2 million participants who were recruited by 77,000 volunteers in 50 various states. Each and every participant has been followed for more than 20 years for the determination of the causes of death. The study addressed different lifestyle and environmental exposures that may have decreased or increased risk for cancer.

• CPS-II Nutrition Cohort (1992-ongoing) – There were 185,000 participants from 21 states and the design of the study is to have better understanding on how the diet is affecting the risk for cancer.

The past American Cancer Society long-duration follow-up studies demonstrated the following results:

– relationship between cigarette smoking and cancer of the lungs
– impact of obesity on the occurrence of cancer risk and death
– impact of different factors in link to risk of cancer such as hormones, diet, physical activity, vitamins, and minerals
– air pollution impact to cardiopulmonary conditions
– link between the use of aspirin and reduced colon cancer risk
– relationship between therapy for postmenopausal hormone replacement and different gynecologic cancers like ovarian and breast cancer
– relationship between diabetes and pancreatic cancer and colon cancer
– link between physical activities and reduced risk of different cancers like the colon, breast, and aggressive prostate cancer

The current study which is the CPS-3 will be conducted in the next 20 to 30 years as the current study population (CPS-II) is already aging. This new study will be for the future generations and it will give improvement in the understanding of the causes of cancer. There will be exploration of new and emerging hypotheses which have relationship to cancer.